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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers

Kenneth Hamer

"Almost unparalleled knowledge of regulatory case law. His grasp of detail is nearly unequalled, together with his encyclopaedic knowledge of regulators"

Chambers UK 2017


Call
1975

Kenneth Hamer is an experienced barrister and has an extensive practice. He has wide experience of civil litigation at almost every level, particularly in the fields of professional negligence (including claims against architects, surveyors, valuers, accountants, solicitors and barristers); clinical negligence; personal injury involving issues of liability and quantum; and substantial common law commercial claims. He frequently appears against silks, often leading more junior counsel himself. He represents both claimants and defendants.

Kenneth also has substantial experience in all areas of professional discipline and regulation. He is the author of the leading textbook Professional Conduct Casebook, published by Oxford University Press, Now in its third edition, and he regularly lectures and writes articles on regulatory and disciplinary matters. He is a former Recorder of the Crown Court and regularly sat in crime, civil and family matters.

See Kenneth talking to the OUP about his Professional Conduct Casebook (2nd edition) here.

 

Expertise


Professional Discipline

Kenneth has substantial and wide ranging experience in professional conduct and competence matters. He has expertise in health care, legal, accountancy and financial aspects of professional discipline. He is a former member of the prosecuting panel of the Bar Standards Board, and since 2017 has been a Legally Qualified Chair at the General Medical Council – Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. He also sits as a Legal Assessor at the Nursing & Midwifery Council and as a Legal Adviser to the General Dental Council. In recent years he has regularly acted for the General Pharmaceutical Council on appeals to the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

He regularly advises or represents solicitors in disciplinary and regulatory cases and appears at hearings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and other professional bodies. He was a member of the prosecuting panel of the Bar Standards Board and the General Council of the Bar for over 20 years, and he also represents or advises barristers facing disciplinary issues. In 2014 he was instructed by the Bar Mutual and successfully represented a joint Head of Chambers on appeal before the Visitors concerning responsibilities under the Code of Conduct for the administrative arrangements in chambers. From 2006 – 2012 he was chair of the Appeal Committee for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Kenneth is the author of the leading textbook Professional Conduct Casebook, published by Oxford University Press. His book, now in its third edition, is hugely relied upon by practitioners in this field. It contains all key professional conduct cases in a single portable volume and analyses cases across an extensive range of professions including the healthcare professions, law, accountancy and financial services, the police and prison service, and sports law, and contains well over 1000 cases. He regularly lectures and writes on professional conduct issues and is the joint editor of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers’ Quarterly Bulletin.

In 2003 Kenneth was appointed by the Home Secretary to conduct a review and report on the legislative provisions in the Police Act 1996 and non-statutory guidance for appointing independent members to police authorities. The review consisted of Kenneth as chair with the Chief Executive of the NHS Appointments Commission and the Chief Executive of Devon and Cornwall Police Authority as specialist advisors. Kenneth’s report, Review of the Selection and Appointments Process of Independent Members of Police Authorities, was presented to Parliament on 4th May 2004, and contained a range of recommendations to improve the appointments process of key posts in police authorities, highlighting the need to engage local people and the importance of police authorities continuing to develop effective links with other community groups.

In 2012 Kenneth chaired a working group of senior practitioners and regulators who submitted a written response on behalf of ARDL to the Law Commission Consultation Paper on the Regulation of Health Care and Social Care Professionals.

Representative cases

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  • Hussain v General Pharmaceutical Council [2018] EWCA Civ 22

    Court of Appeal rejects any procedure defect in hearing or that sanction of erasure was disproportionate.

    The case arose from a BBC documentary into a number of pharmacies in London selling prescription-only medicines without a valid doctor’s certificate, and the appellant Mrs Hussain was the responsible pharmacist on duty when an undercover reporter was able to buy Amoxicillin, a prescription-only medicine, over the counter in the absence of a valid prescription.

  • Khan v General Pharmaceutical Council [2017] 1 WLR 169 SC (S)

    Supreme Court Review procedure – need for panel to focus on current impairment at original hearing and at review hearing – whether sanction excessive and disproportionate.

  • Abdul-Razzak v General Pharmaceutical Council [2016] EWHC 1204 (Admin)

    Supply of prescription-only medicines without a prescription by counter-assistants at pharmacy – role of responsible pharmacist – patient safety – video evidence – weight to be placed of footage.

  • Burrows v General Pharmaceutical Council [2016] EWHC 1204 (Admin)

    Criminal caution for fraud – failure of registrant to attend fitness to practise hearing – representation by counsel at hearing – removal from register – lack of insight.

  • Rasool v General Pharmaceutical Council [2015] EWHC 217 (Admin)

    Bias – chairman of fitness to practise committee chairing earlier interim order against employee of registrant – no risk of impartiality.

  • Gulamhusein v General Pharmaceutical Council [2014] EWHC 2591 (Admin)

    Concurrent proceedings – interim suspension order granted pending trial of criminal proceedings – test for extension of interim order.

Health & Safety

Kenneth has been involved in major health and safety work for over 25 years, mainly acting for claimants including the following cases:
• Corby Group Litigation involving children born with limb disorders exposed to toxic waste before birth.
• Buncefield Litigation – claims by residents affected by oil depot explosion
• Southall and Ladbroke Grove Rail Accident Inquiries representing injured passengers and bereaved families dealing with issues such as evacuation from trains, emergency services response, safety management systems and regulatory framework of the rail industry.
• Stress at work claims including teacher unable to cope; insurance agent bullied by employer; accountant suffering depressive illness through exhaustion; barrister working for international bank put under excessive strain.
• Claims for medical sickness including work related injury benefit payable under NHS Regulations for dentists; and accident and sickness health insurance policies acting for insurers, and policy holders.
• Numerous medical negligence claims against NHS Trusts, and consultants.
• Responsibility for the control of legionella bacteria in water systems at commercial properties in central London.
• Group of 11 mothers who gave birth to children born with fetal deformities (primarily gastroschisis) living adjacent to landfill sites used to dispose of liquid or sludge wastes.

In 1999 Kenneth was counsel at the Southall Rail Accident Inquiry representing passengers and bereaved families funded by the Health & Safety Commission and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. In 2000 – 2001 he appeared in Parts1 and 2 of the Ladbroke Grove Rail Accident Inquiry. At Part 2 he represented 150 passengers and bereaved families and was lead counsel on the crucial issues of the regulatory framework for the rail industry, escape from the train and the establishment of better safety management systems. Kenneth went on to advise claimants in respect of the Buncefield disaster where fuel escaped from storage at the Buncefield Oil Storage Depot in Hertfordshire in December 2005. He also acted for claimants in  the Corby multi-party group litigation involving children born with limb deformities, their mothers having lived or worked close to and been exposed during pregnancy to toxic waste from the former British Steel ironworks plant at Corby, Northants. In 2008 the Court of Appeal held that damages for personal injury in the Corby Group Litigation were recoverable in the tort of public nuisance.

Kenneth is currently instructed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) Group to advise in relation to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Kenneth has recently been advising on the regulatory status of MHRA/CE marked equipment being used to prevent COVID-19.

 

Representative cases

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  • Sam v Atkins [2006] RTR 14 CA

    Road Traffic – vehicle travelling at 20 mph overtaking stationary van in busy shopping street – pedestrian emerging from in front of van hit by vehicle – judge finding driving at 20 mph negligent but not causative – whether findings inconsistent – whether accident reasonably avoidable.

  • Vahidi v Fairstead House School Trust Limited [2005] EWCA Civ 765; [2004] EWHC 2102 (QB)

    Stress at work claim – teacher known to be unable to cope – foreseeability and causation established for second breakdown on return to work – whether breach of duty established – 10 days High Court, 3 day Court of Appeal held no breach of duty as school took reasonable steps.

  • Butler v Mount Vernon & Watford General Hospital NHS Trust [2002] EWCA Civ 1387; Med Lit Cases 0842

    Joint expert – put forward by defence reporting favourably to claimant – evidence agreed – application by Defendant to call additional evidence refused – effect on funding arrangements.

  • Hobin v Douglas [2000] PIQR Q1 (CA)

    Costs – personal injury – civil procedure – appeal on causation with offer of global figure for damages. Substantial personal injury case involving complex issues of causation lasting 15 days at trial with 12 expert witnesses giving evidence. 4 days in Court of Appeal.

  • Hassan v Gill [2013] PIQR P1 CA Court of Appeal

    Slipping hazard in shop – whether reasonable system – extent of evidence and burden of proof on defendant.

  • Corby Group Litigation [2009] 2 QB 335 CA

    Public nuisance – damages for personal injury – whether recoverable in the tort of public nuisance

Common Law & Commercial

Kenneth also has an extensive common law and commercial practice, particularly in the fields of professional negligence and financial matters. In the 1990s he was involved in the Barlow Clowes trial which lasted eight months at the Old Bailey. He has acted in company director’s disqualification proceedings, boundary disputes and cases of sale of goods and defective products. In 2006 Kenneth spent six months at the Financial Services Authority working in its General Counsel’s Division advising on a range of financial regulatory issues including the merger of two building societies, banking issues and European legislation.

 

 

Representative cases

grid list
  • Dhillon & Another v Heer Manak Solicitors

    Nottingham County Court September 2016 (10 days) Mortgagae monies – use of monies – breach of trust – employee of solicitors – whether claimants knew of or authorised transactions.

  • Rajvel Construction Limited v Bestville Properties Limited [2012] EWCA Civ 587

    Costs – directors liability – full and frank disclosure of means – security for costs.

  • Rajvel Construction Limited v Bestville Properties Ltd [2011] EWHC 2669 (TCC)

    Coulson J: hether High Court has jurisdiction to make freezing order to support order for security for costs – circumstances in which appropriate to grant injunction – section 37 Senior Courts Act 1981.

  • Rajvel Construction Limited v Bestville Properties Ltd (2011)

    Technology and Construction Court – security for costs – second application – change of circumstances – evidence not disclosed by claimant at previous hearing.

  • Rajval Construction Limited v Bestville Properties Ltd [2010] EWCA Civ 1621

    Claim form served without response pack as required under CPR 7.8 – default judgment – litigants in person – setting aside default judgment under CPR Part 13 without terms – recording of proceedings – Technology and Construction Court.

  • Britton Special Steels Limited v Wood (2006)

    Claim for £800,000 against former director for alleged breach of fiduciary duties – payments made to associated company of director – issue as to proper consideration for payments and knowledge by fellow directors and shareholders – action dismissed (4 days, Bristol).

Inquiries & Tribunals

1999 – Counsel for passenger group at Southall Rail Accident Inquiry
2000-2001 – Counsel for passenger group at Ladbroke Grove Rail Accident Inquiry
2003-2004 – Chair of Home Office Review of the Selection and Appointments Process of Independent Members of Police Authorities
2019 to date – Counsel for British Standards Institution at Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Representative cases

grid list
  • In re Barlow Clowes Gilt Managers Ltd [1992] Ch 208

    Practice – discovery – public interest immunity – use in criminal proceedings of confidential information obtained by liquidators.

  • R v Clowes and Others [1992] 3 All ER 440

    Witness summons against liquidators – production of documents – information provided to liquidators voluntarily and in confidence – whether public interest in confidentiality outweighing public interest in ensuring that defendants received fair trial.

 

What the directories say


"Kenneth has a completely encyclopaedic knowledge of case law relating to professional disciplinary work. Even in hotly contested cases, he is courteous and helpful at all times."
Legal 500 2021

"He has a very strong reputation as being somebody who knows all the cases in this area." "He is certainly a tenacious opponent." "He is a walking encyclopedia of professional discipline law."
Chambers UK 2021

"A stalwart fighter."
Legal 500 2020

"Standout practitioner with a breadth of expertise encompassing numerous areas of professional regulation. Known for his adept representation of accountants and barristers as well as his impressive prosecution work on behalf of the General Pharmaceutical Council"
Chambers & Partners 2020

"Very charming and professional, and a prominent senior junior in his area. Excellent knowledge and application of case law to unusual problems. He is well regarded, particularly in High Court work and advice on legislative frameworks".
Chambers uk 2020

Instructing Kenneth Hamer

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Appointments

• Former Recorder of the Crown Court (2000 – 2018), Assistant Recorder (1992 – 2000) sitting in Crime, Civil and Family matters
• Chair of the Appeal Committee of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (2006 – 2012)
• Chair of Home Office Review of the Selection and Appointments Process of Independent Members of Police Authorities (2003 – 2004)
• Lecturer, Holborn College of Law (1970 – 1974)
• Accredited Mediator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
• Former member of prosecuting panel for Bar Standards Board.  Former member of the Disciplinary Tribunal Panel of the Council of the Inns of Court.
• Legally Qualified Chair and Legal Assessor at the General Medical Council (Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service)
• Legal Assessor to the Nursing and Midwifery Council
• Legal Advisor to the General Dental Council
• Joint Editor of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers (ARDL) Quarterly Bulletin

Publications

 

• Professional Conduct Casebook, Oxford University Press, 2013, 2015 (2e) and 2019 (3e)
• The Boundaries of Professional Misconduct in the Legal and Health Care Professions (Lecture to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Published by ARDL 2016)
• The Implications of Bawa-Gaba and the Boundaries of Professional Conduct (Lecture to Royal College of General Practitioners, Published by ARDL 2019)
• Review of the Selection and Appointments Process of Independent Members of Police Authorities (Home Office)
• Security for Costs in European Litigation
• Hinde’s How to Prove a Will, 32nd edition

Memberships
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Health & Safety Lawyers’ Association
Education
  • Evans Lewis-Thomas Law Award
  • Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
  • Cheltenham College
Regulatory Information

All members of Chambers are registered with the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales. For our standard contractual terms click here.

Bar Council Number: 13145

VAT Registration Number: 244796037

Legal Status: Barrister

Professional Insurance: All members of Chambers have professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd. Territorial coverage is world-wide and subject to the term of the Bar Mutual. Click here for details.

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

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