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.
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 Chairman at the General Medical Council – Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. He also sits as a Legal Assessor at the Nursing & Midwifery Council and a Legal Advisor to the General Dental Council. In recent years he has regularly acted for the General Pharmaceutical Council on appeals to the High Court. In 2014 he represented the Council in Gulamhusein v GPhC which re-affirmed the test for extension of an interim suspension order in concurrent disciplinary and criminal proceedings, and in 2015 he represented the Council in Rasool v GPhC where the court in reviewing the domestic and European authorities held that there was no risk of impartiality by reason of the chairman having dealt with earlier preliminary issues. In 2017 he represented the Council in the Supreme Court in the case of Khan v General Pharmaceutical Council, and in 2018 in the Court of Appeal in the case of Hussain v General Pharmaceutical Council.
He regularly advises or represents solicitors in disciplinary and regulatory cases and appears at hearings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and other professional bodies. In 2017 he successfully represented a solicitor before the SDT on allegations of dishonesty.‘ 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 the responsibilities under the Code of Conduct of the head of chambers for the administrative arrangements in chambers; and the question of costs arising out of the successful appeal. From 2006-2012 he was chairman of the Appeal Committee for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. For some years Kenneth has appeared in the Professional Discipline sections of Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. In 2015 Chambers & Partners referred to his dedication to work, and his exceptional legal knowledge as key factors. The Legal 500 2016 described him as always incredibly well prepared. Chambers & Partners’ entry for 2017 referred to his “almost unparalleled knowledge of regulatory case law”, and in 2020 as a ” standout practitioner with a breadth of experience encompassing numerous areas of professional regulation.” The Legal 500 for 2020 referred to him as ” A Stalwart fighter”
In 2008 Kenneth spent six months advising the Financial Services Authority on various matters and in 2012 he chaired a working group of senior practitioners and regulators who submitted a written response on behalf of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers to the Law Commission Consultation Paper on the Regulation of Health Care and Social Care Professionals.
Kenneth is the author of the leading textbook Professional Conduct Casebook, published by the 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.
Representative casesgrid list
Hussain v General Pharmaceutical Council  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  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  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  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  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  EWHC 2591 (Admin)
Concurrent proceedings – interim suspension order granted pending trial of criminal proceedings – test for extension of interim order.
Conlon & Others v Bar Standards Board  Lex Citation 136
Barrister – visitors – jurisdiction of lay or barrister members to sit as visitors. Head of chambers – obligations under Code of Conduct – delegation of responsibility – reasonable steps to ensure proper arrangements made within chambers for carrying out administrative functions.
Williams v Bar Standards Board  31 October 2014 (unreported)
Successful appellant barrister – unfettered discretion of visitors to award cost against Bar Standard Board.
R (Hill) v Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales  1WLR 86 CA
Member of tribunal absent during part of oral evidence – transcript provided to panel member who later returned to hearing – whether hearing complied with rules of natural justice/fairness – whether capable of being waived.
Shaikh v General Pharmaceutical Council  EWHC 1844 (Admin)
Hearsay evidence – admissability – rule 24 GPhC 2010 Rules – application to admit new evidence on appeal refused.
R (Cela) v General Pharmaceutical Council  EWHC 2285 (Admin)
Appeals – time limit – merits and interests of justice.
Ansari v General Pharmaceutical Council  EWHC 1159 (Admin)
Fitness to practise – misconduct – convictions for driving – whether sanction of removal excessive – pharmacists.
Chaudhari v General Pharmaceutical Council  EWHC 3433 (Admin)
Disciplinary proceedings – misconduct – admission of judgments in earlier civil proceedings – weight – adjournment of proceedings – pharmacists.
Sheikh v Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain  EWHC 2602 (QB)
Claim for harassment against society – disciplinary proceedings brought by regulatory body exercising statutory powers – statutory defence under Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – action struck outout.
Yusuf v Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain  EWHC 867 (Admin)
Role of chairman in putting respondent’s case to witnesses when respondent not attending hearing – no unfairness in process adopted by the committee.
Richards v Law Society  EWHC 2087 (Admin)
Case clearly made in correspondence – standard of proof.
Chamba v Law Society  EWHC 190 (Admin)
Solicitor – solicitors disciplinary tribunal – dishonesty – sanction – test to be applied by tribunal for dishonesty.
R (Neelu Chaudhari) v Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain  EWHC 3190 (Admin)
Interlocutory hearing before disciplinary body held in private – not determinative of civil rights and obligations within Art 6(1) of ECHR – application for public hearing dismissed.
R (Sunaina Chauhhari) v Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain  EWHC 3464 (Admin)
Judicial review of investigating committee’s decision not to prefer charges against named pharmacist – lack of evidence that was pharmacist responsible for dispensing relevant prescription – no real prospect of success.
Sritharan v Law Society  1WLR 2708CA
Solicitor – intervention by Law Society – automatic suspension of practising certificate – whether power to restore certificate pending hearing before Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal – whether power of court to devise scheme to replace statutory intervention.
Collins v Office for the Supervision of Solicitors  EWCA Civ 1002
Claim by former client against Law Society alleging negligent investigation by the OSS into the handling of his affairs by his former client – whether duty of care owed by Law Society investigation officers – assumption of responsibility – measure of damages.
R v Law Society ex parte Reigate Projects Limited  1 WLR 1531
Solicitor – dishonesty – compensation – whether consequential losses recoverable from Law Society Compensation Fund – policy not to compensate for consequential loss – whether unreasonable and contrary to objectives of fund.
Health & Safety
He has been involved in health and safety work for over 20 years, mainly for claimants including the following:
- 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
- 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.
- Southall and Ladbroke Grove Rail Accident Inquiries representing injured passengers and bereaved families – evacuation from trains – emergency services response – safety management systems – regulatory framework of safety for rail industry.
- 60 compensation claims for rail accident victims, and post traumatic stress disorder claims.
Kenneth has recently advised major parties in relation to responsibility for the control of legionella bacteria in water systems at commercial properties. He recently acted for a 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 Hamer was counsel at the Southall Rail Accident Inquiry for passengers and bereaved families funded by the Health & Safety Commission and Secretary of State for the Environment Transport and the Regions. In 2000 – 2001 he appeared in both Parts 1 and 2 of the Ladbroke Grove Rail Accident Inquiry on behalf of passengers. At Part 2 of the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry he represented 150 passengers and bereaved families and was lead counsel on the crucial issues of the regulatory framework for the industry, and the establishment of better safety management systems. He has also advised nearly sixty victims in relation to civil claims arising out of the Watford, Southall and Ladbroke Grove rail accidents. Representation included consideration of common issues for passenger safety similar to group litigation.
Kenneth advised 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 advised claimants in respect of the Corby multi-party 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 quarry at Corby, Northants. In 2008 the Court of Appeal held that damages for personal injury in the Corby litigation were recoverable in the tort of public nuisance.
In 1999 he appeared as leading counsel with a junior against two silks in the Court of Appeal in a substantial personal injury case involving complex issues of causation following a fifteen day hearing at first instance, at which twelve expert medical witnesses gave evidence in addition to numerous witnesses of fact.
Kenneth is currently instructed by the BSI Group to advise in relation to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Representative casesgrid list
Sam v Atkins  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  EWCA Civ 765;  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  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  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  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  2 QB 335 CA
Public nuisance – damages for personal injury – whether recoverable in the tort of public nuisance
Common Law & Commercial
Kenneth has recently acted for developers in relation to complex proceedings in the Technology and Construction Court relating to a commercial redevelopment scheme, and is currently advising in relation to a number of professional negligence claims against solicitors and barristers. Kenneth is also currently advising in relation to a number of probate related claims and he has experience of Chancery work generally. In 2015 he appeared in a heavily contested partnership dispute which was settled after 5 days in court, and he is currently appearing in a substantial probate action. Additionally, Kenneth has appeared in numerous money and property disputes often involving complex issues of law or substantial sums of money.
In 2006 he spent six months at the Financial Service 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.
In 2003 Kenneth Hamer was appointed by the Home Secretary to chair a review and report on the current legislative provisions in the Police Act 1996 and non-statutory guidance for appointing independent members to police authorities. The review consisted of Kenneth Hamer as Chairman together with the Chief Executive of the NHS Appointments Commission, and the Chief Executive of Devon and Cornwall Police Authority as specialist advisors. His 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.
He has acted for solicitors in relation to intervention proceedings by the Law Society, and other claims involving the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. In 2004 he acted in stress at work claims, and claims for injury and sickness benefits. He has acted for, amongst others, two directors of a Danish international company in respect of directors’ disqualification proceedings, a German multi-national tanker company against whom allegations of defective products were made, a claimant in a solicitors’ negligence claim concerning the purchase of commercial premises in Spain, and a claim against a Swiss bank for misrepresentation in the giving of a banker’s reference.
Representative casesgrid 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  EWCA Civ 587
Costs – directors liability – full and frank disclosure of means – security for costs.
Rajvel Construction Limited v Bestville Properties Ltd  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  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).
Malekout v Allied Dunbar Assurance plc  EWCA Civ 192
Insurance policy – accident and sickness benefits – pre-existing unknown condition – whether “disablement” within meaning of policy conditions. Court of Appeal following High Court hearing lasting 6 days.
OPM Properties Ltd v Venner & Others  EWHC 427 (Ch)
Specific performance – sale of property – previous signed contract for earlier abortive sale – authority of solicitors and estate agents to exchange contracts – acts amounting to ratification by vendor. 8 days Chancery Division.
Esmail (Abdullah) v Abdullah and Abdulla (2002)
Ten day combined High Court Family and Chancery Division property dispute over title to and ownership of family assets allegedly worth £1 million situate in Kenya and England – whether transfers executed by husband in favour of wife made under duress or undue influence based on wife’s threat not to let husband see the children – conflict between interests of wife and her solicitor – proper approach as to beneficial ownership and financial relief by wife.
Inquiries & Tribunals
Chairman of Home Office Review of the Selection and Appointments Process of Independent Members of Police Authorities (2003-2004).
Counsel for passenger group at the Ladbroke Grove Rail Accident Inquiry (2000-2001)
Counsel for passenger group at Southall Rail Accident Inquiry (1999).
2019 to date – Counsel for British Standards Institution at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry
Representative casesgrid list
In re Barlow Clowes Gilt Managers Ltd  Ch 208
Practice – discovery – public interest immunity – use in criminal proceedings of confidential information obtained by liquidators.
R v Clowes and Others  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
"A stalwart fighter."
Legal 500 2020
"Very charming and professional, and a prominent senior junior in his area."
Chambers uk 2020
News and articles
George Swift 2019 Lecture
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- Recorder of the Crown Court (2000 – 2018) Assistant Recorder (1992-2000)
- Chairman of the Appeal Committee of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (2006-2012)
- Chairman 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 Chairman and Legal Assessor to the General Medical Council
- Legal Assessor to the Nursing and Midwifery Council
- Legal Advisor to the General Dental Council
- Professional Conduct Casebook: OUP, 2013, 2015 (2e) and 2019 (3e)
- Professional Discipline: Recent Case Law
- Environmental Claims
- Fitness to Practise
- Corporate Manslaughter
- Review of Police Authorities
- The Role of the Regulator and Prosecuting Body
- Public v Private Hearings in Disciplinary Tribunals
- Environmental Offences: Sentencing in the Crown Court
- Security for Costs in European Litigation
- Hinde’s How to Prove a Will. 32nd edition
- London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
- Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
- Health & Safety Lawyers’ Association
- Evans Lewis-Thomas Law Award
- Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
- Cheltenham College
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