Marc Willems KC

Head of Chambers

Year of Call: 1990Year of Silk: 2015
Practice areas:
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Inquest
  • Personal Injury
  • Regulatory
“He is a very smooth operator and not flappable in advocacy.”
“Marc is well-prepared, meticulous, always calm and very measured.”

Chambers and Partners 2020 / UK Bar - 2024

Marc Willems KC is a leading personal injury silk who acts for claimants and defendants alike in heavyweight cases concerning catastrophic brain and spinal injury. He has dealt with many cases involving citizens of foreign countries. Marc is excellent. He is measured and unflappable. Marc is a joy to work with."

Chambers and Partners 2020 / UK Bar - 2023

Marc is the calmest litigator at the Bar. He has an assured and reassuring manner that puts Claimants and witnesses immediately at ease. He is able to explain the most difficult legal concepts in a manner easily understood by clients. His advocacy style is phenomenally effective and he is also a very effective cross-examiner, drawing the witness in with his engaging style before leading them into the unanswerable killer question. Marc is a true superstar of the Northern Bar.”

Legal 500 - 2023

Marc Willems QC acts for claimants and defendants alike in heavyweight cases concerning catastrophic brain and spinal injury as well as amputations. He has dealt with many cases involving citizens of foreign countries.”
"A very elegant advocate. His tactical awareness and strategic approach to cases has produced excellent results. He is robust in his advice."

Chambers and Partners 2020 / UK Bar - 2022

Acts for claimants and defendants alike in heavyweight cases concerning catastrophic brain and spinal injury as well as amputations. He has dealt with many cases involving citizens of foreign countries.
Strengths: "An exceptionally talented silk, he is very calm under pressure and very client-focused." "His technical ability is unwavering."

Chambers and Partners 2020 / UK Bar - 2021

A very elegant advocate. His tactical awareness and strategic approach to cases has produced excellent results. He is robust in his advice."

Chambers and Partners - 2022 

Overview

Marc Willems KC is the head of Cobden House Chambers.

Marc has over 24 years of experience in the most serious Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence litigation, with considerable experience of Acquired Brain Damage Claims, Spinal Injuries and very severe orthopaedic injuries including amputation cases.

Marc enjoys cases involving complex medical causation issues, detailed factual disputes and legal arguments.

He is a significant contributor to Chambers’ programme of seminars and lectures to firms of Solicitors and has contributed to several mock trials including “Brain Injury and the Law” National Conference.

Marc attends numerous Joint Settlement Meetings and Mediations annually on behalf of clients. In the last six months, Marc has secured a settlement in the sum of £12m for a Defendant and a settlement of £12m in a cerebral palsy clinical negligence claim for a Claimant. Over the last 12 months, Marc has been involved in settling cases with accumulated damages well in excess of £50m.

Marc has been invited to speak at PIBA conferences nationally on three occasions. He also contributes to the legal press when invited.

Marc has been recognised as a leading practitioner in the national legal directories since 2000.Marc is also instructed in Judicial Review work and Solicitors’ negligence cases. He has drafted many standard terms and conditions and advised on solicitor service agreements.

He has acted for solicitors and other Litigation service providers in Insurance disputes.

Marc has developed a practice involving Human Rights disputes and secured the first-ever Declaration that the NHS had breached the Article 3 rights of one of their own patients in that they had breached a patient’s right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.

Marc appears regularly in the Court of Appeal and he has appeared in the House of Lords and in the Supreme Court (in the case of Dunhill v Burgin on the issue of Capacity to Litigate and the effectiveness of a settlement with a Claimant unknown to lack capacity) and in the Privy Council in the case of Attorney General of St. Helena -v- AB.

Marc has also developed a significant practice in Inquest work and is regularly instructed as Counsel to the Inquest in the most complex and sensitive inquests.

Marc has been sitting as a Recorder since 2006 and sits on Crime and Civil.

Over 40 of his cases have been reported on Westlaw UK

Marc was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2015.

In 2015, Marc was enrolled on the list of advocates for St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha British dependencies.

In 2019 Marc became Head of Chambers at Cobden House Chambers.

Since 2018 Marc has chaired the PI and CN (Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence High Case Value) Court Users’ Group which has, under the guidance of the designated Civil Judge, HHJ Bird, sought to improve the efficiency of the case management of claims of the highest value at the Civil Justice Centre and hereby improving access to justice in such litigation for both Claimants and Defendants involved in those cases.

Expertise

Personal Injury

His work in Personal Injury work has taken him regularly to the Court Of Appeal and twice to the House of Lords and Supreme Court.

Marc acts for both Claimants and Defendant Insurers in Personal Injury at the highest level. His work involves Fatal Accidents and cases of the utmost severity. Marc has represented Claimants from abroad on several occasions and has helped to set up care regimes and organize disabled friendly accommodation in Latvia, Poland and Greece.

Marc has succeeded in successfully claiming the cost of a Luke arm which is a fully automated nerve-controlled upper limb in a brachial plexus injury claim.

Marc has acted in several cases involving the most profound injuries including tetraplegia cases.


Clinical Negligence

Marc acts for Claimants in Clinical Negligence cases. He has substantial experience of dealing with cases of brain damage and paralysis caused by negligent treatment.In both PI and Clinical Negligence he deals with cases from an early stage right through to trial, dealing with Liability issues, Causation and Quantum. He regularly deals with settlements which involve Periodical Payment Orders and matters involving the Court of Protection.

Marc has significant experience of cases involving cerebral palsy and has over the last twelve months successfully contested and won two such actions.

Inquests

Over the last 7 years Marc has been involved in three Article 2 Inquests. He represented the family in the Terry Inquest in which a Police Officer was shot dead in a training exercise and he has acted as Counsel to the Inquest on many occasions including a death by Carbon Monoxide poisoning involving 15 Interested Persons and the recent Begley Inquest involving a man who was the subject of forcible restraint and the use of a Taser by the Police. 

Marc was instructed as Counsel to the Inquest in the Metrolink case which led to findings of unlawful killing against security guards subcontracted to work on the Metrolink service in Manchester. Marc was also Counsel to the Inquest in the Hall Inquest in Bradford which involved nine Interested Parties, lasted ten weeks, heard from fourteen expert witnesses and over fifty lay witnesses.

Judicial Review and Solicitors’ negligence cases

Marc is also instructed in Judicial Review work and Solicitors’ negligence cases. He has drafted many standard terms and conditions and advised on solicitor service agreements, as well as acting for solicitors and other Litigation service providers in Insurance disputes.

Human Rights

As mentioned above in the case of UXA -v- Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust (2022) 4 W.L.R. 30, Marc led Professor Connor Gearty QC and Peter Edwards and successfully claimed damages and obtained Human Rights Declarations against the NHS Trust under Articles 2, 3 and 8. Marc is also involved in significant claims against other emanations of the State such as the Police and private care homes who provide services on behalf of NHS England where human rights abuses are being claimed and pursued.

Other

Marc is a significant contributor to seminars and lectures to firms of Solicitors and has contributed to several mock trials including “Brain Injury and the Law” National Conference June 2014. He has been invited to speak at PIBA conferences nationally on three occasions. He also contributes to the legal press when invited.

He has been sitting as a Recorder since 2006 and sits on Crime and Civil. Over 40 of his cases have been reported on Westlaw UK.

Marc contributed an article “Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Actio/The Legal Defence: Did the Supreme Court in Henderson -v- Dorset help PI Lawyers?” to the General of Personal Injury Law Issue 4 2021.

Marc contributed to the medico-legal handbook for lawyers and clinicians entitled “Neuropsychological Aspects of Brain Injury Litigation” edited by Phil S. Moore, Shereen Brifcani and Andrew Worthington published in 2022.

Notable Cases

Dimond v Lovell HL [2000] 2 WLR 1121
Consumer Credit, consequential loss and mitigation, House of Lords.

Donachie v The Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police (2004) CA EWCA Civ 405
Primary victims, tort, personal injury

Tinsley v Sarkar (2004) EWCA Civ 808. CA
Interim Payments when S117 MHA applies

Tinsley v Sarkar [2005] EWHC 192 (QB)
Damages when Claimant released from Section and LA has duty to provide support under S117 of MHA 1983

King v Daltry (2003) EWCA Civ 808 CA
Costs conditions on Appeal and Consumer Credit

Mitchell v Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
Provisional Damages and definition of material risk

Hamilton v O'Kane [2009] CA EWCA Civ 931
Apportionment; Joint liability; Road traffic accidents

Yetkin v Mahmood and another: CA [2011] Q.B. 827
Duty of care; Highway authorities' powers and duties; Pedestrian crossings

Harvey v Motor Insurers' Bureau: Queen's Bench Division (Mercantile Court) (Manchester) 21 December 2011
Arbitration appeals; Arbitrators; Decisions; Findings of fact; Findings of law; Permission to appeal; Personal injury; Road traffic accidents; Untraced drivers

Birch v Paulson [2012] EWCA Civ 487 Court of Appeal
Road Traffic accidents and foreseeability

Inquest: Elizabeth Kerr.
Counsel to the inquest 3 weeks: 15 Parties: Article 2

Dunhill v Burgin Supreme Court [2014] 1 W.L.R. 933
Capacity to litigate and the effectiveness of a settlement with a party unknown to lack of capacity

Inquest: Soran Aziz.
Counsel to the Inquest. Corporate manslaughter alleged.

Inquest: Jordan Begley died whilst being forcibly restrained and subject to a Taser discharge. Counsel to the Inquest: 6 weeks: Article 2

Beaumont v Ferrer [2016] EWCA Civ. 768 ex turpi causa

Young v AIG [2015] EWHC 2160 QB.
Medical Causation

Horner v Norman CA October 2015
Personal Injury, Expert evidence.

Gilchrist v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2019] EWHC 1233 (QB)
Torts; mental health; police; personal injury

Morrow v Shrewsbury Rugby Union Football Club Limited [2020] EWHC 379
Brain injury; causation; epilepsy; psychiatric harm.

UXA v Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust [2022] 4 W.L.R. 30
Human Rights Declarations; Articles 2, 3 and 8. Open Justice, declaratory orders, judicial review, public domain.

Attorney General of St. Helena v AB [2020] UKPC 1
Clinical Negligence Litigation against the Government of the South Atlantic British Protected Territory of St Helena.

Achievements

Qualifications

BA Law


Memberships

PIBA - The Personal Injuries Bar Association 

APIL - Association of Personal Injury Lawyers 


News & Insights


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