Richard Wheeler

Year of Call: 2004
Email Address:
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Telephone: 01962 868884

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Richard Wheeler practises predominantly in personal injury, clinical negligence, public and regulatory law, and inquests. Alongside a busy practice acting for claimants, Richard has been a member of the Treasury Civil Panels since 2012 and is frequently instructed by the Government Legal Department to act for the defence.

He has appeared frequently in inquests on behalf of HM Prison Service and the Ministry of Defence and is often instructed to defend claims alleging breach of human rights law.

Richard is currently instructed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the multi-million pound Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation (KEGL), in which over 40,000 individuals have brought claims arising from their experiences during the Mau Mau Emergency in the 1950s. Richard is led by Guy Mansfield QC and Neil Block QC in the KEGL litigation.

He sits as a Deputy District Judge on the South Eastern Circuit.


  • Personal Injury
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    Extensive experience in substantial claims in all areas, with particular emphasis upon employer’s liability for accidents and stress at work and industrial injury and illness litigation. Instructions have included claims valued in excess of £1m.

    Recent cases

    • Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation (multi-million pound group action by 40,000 “Mau Mau” and related claimants alleging UK Government responsibility for alleged mistreatment during the Kenyan Emergency in the 1950s). Multiple allegations of torture, beatings, rape, breach of international conventions. The litigation involves wide ranging issues of law including personal injury, negligence, vicarious liability, common design, false imprisonment, breach of human rights, trespass to the person.
    • Acted for Claimant in £2.2m High Court catastrophic injuries claim arising out of road traffic accident. Experts: orthopaedic, general surgery, psychology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, neurology, care. Claimant confined to wheelchair and in need of 24 hour care.
    • Acted for child Claimant in £2m brain injury claim arising out of knocked down by a car in London. Experts: educational psychology, neurology, care. Issue: causation of the injuries, whether non-negligent speed would have led to same injuries. Led by Stuart Brown QC but conducted successful JSM as junior alone against leading counsel.
    • Acting for lady knocked down by a van and crushed against a wall. Experts: neurology, psychology, neuropsychology, care. Issues: capacity, care requirements, loss of earnings, loss of pension.

    Government Defence Work

    • Acted for Ministry of Defence defending claim by female officer for workplace stress. Claim brought for loss of lifetime earnings in the army, loss of pension etc c. £500,000. Experts: psychiatric. Issue: breach of duty, causation, quantum. Ongoing.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in High Court defence of claim brought by convicted murderer and his family claiming damages for breach of Art. 8 Human Rights Act 1998. Trial heard by Mr Justice Blake. Submissions on quantum drawing on European Court of Human Rights case law. Amount awarded for general damages was exactly the sum Richard had advised would likely be awarded.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in claim brought by prisoner for alleged negligent use of force by officers. Issues: correct application of control and restrain procedures, de-escalation techniques, causation, quantum.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in claim brought by a Muslim prisoner alleging endemic racism in a particular prison. Issues: breach of Art 3, Art 8, Art 14 HRA 1998; application for specific disclosure, lifting of redactions; issues of data protection, relevance, proportionality.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in claim brought by life sentence prisoner seeking damages for alleged unlawful restrictions on his licence. He alleged he was unable to visit his relatives or tend wife's grave due to restrictions. Claim pleaded breach of Art 8 and Art 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in claim brought by prisoner for alleged inhuman treatment (Art 3) and breach of Art 8 arising out of alleged failure by prison to provide access to medical care.
    • Acted for the Ministry of Justice striking out a claim by witness in criminal proceedings who alleged her personal details had been wrongly disclosed. Issues: breach of confidence, breach of the Data Protection Act, immunity from suit.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice striking out claims for misfeasance in public office brought by prisoner against two prominent MPs.


    • Acted for Claimant husband in fatal accident claim arising out of his wife's mesothelioma contracted while washing husband's overalls in the 1960s. Experts: respiratory surgeon, workplace hygienist evidence. Issue: whether exposure was de minimis / in excess of acceptable levels in the 1960s. Settled eve of trial for £150,000.
    • Several other asbestos cases with issues surrounding exposure levels, multiple defendants, causation and quantum.

    Employer's Liability

    • Acted for Claimant in High Court claim. Claimant suffered life changing injuries when knocked down by a forklift truck. Suffered de-gloving injury to lower limb. Issues: Workplace Regulations, contributory negligence, withdrawal of admissions. Experts: orthopaedic, plastic surgery, prosthetics, care. Settled for £700,000.

    Many other cases involving workplace accidents, scaffolding, construction, docks, ladders, machinery, etc.

    • Inquests
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      Richard has expertise in all types of inquest, including acting for the Government in prison inquests where an individual dies in the custody of the state, such as suicide. He also advises bereaved families and dependents.

      Recent notable cases include:

      • Re R. 8 day jury inquest into death of undercover policeman in Southampton. Public interest immunity regarding the operation the police were conducting at the time of the fatal accident
      • Re R. 5 day  Art 2 jury inquest involving a prisoner suicide. Alleged early closure of ACCT, safeguarding, and mental health issues;
      • Re T. 3 days, jury inquest. Window fitter killed working at height;
      • Re H. Death of prisoner, inquiry into use of prisoner restraints.
  • Clinical Negligence
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    • Acted for young girl who suffered facial paralysis following maxillofacial surgery. Causation in dispute.
    • Acted for Claimant who suffered delayed diagnosis and avoidable continuing pain arising from negligent wrist surgery.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in claim brought by prisoner who allegedly contracted HIV in a prisoner on prisoner assault. Alleged negligence in failing to screen for HIV after the fight and failing to prescribe prophylactic medicine. Issues: causation, prognosis, quantum.


    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in 8 day jury Art 2 inquest arising out of suicide in prison. Issues: alleged premature closure of ACCT, safeguarding, disclosure, redactions, data protection, scope of inquiry.
    • Acted for driver who pulled out of a garage into the path of a police motorcyclist travelling at 90mph pursuing target in undercover police operation. Police motorcyclist was killed. Issues: public interest immunity, disclosure, self incrimination, design and layout of the road, speed, distance and perception evidence.
    • Acted for Ministry of Justice in 5 day Art 2 inquest arising out of suicide in prison. The Inquest heard expert medical/psychiatric evidence and concentrated on the assessment by Prison and Healthcare staff on deceased’s level of risk to himself.
  • Public and Regulatory
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    • Civil penalties under Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
    • Health care regulation, particularly care homes
    • Prisoner Human Rights claims
    • Data Protection Act claims
    • Breach of confidence
    • Immunity from suit
    • Art 2 Inquests

    Recent cases

    • W v HCC & Ors - instructed in breach of human rights claim brought by estate of deceased prisoner. Alleged breaches of Art 2 (right to life), Art 3 (torture) and Art 8 (private life) European Convention on Human Rights.
    • Inquest into sinking of Bugaled Breizh - instructed by the Ministry of Defence in this long running inquest into the sinking of a French fishing vessel in 2004. Multiple evidential and legal issues arising from lengthy proceedings in France. Art 2 inquest. Families allege involvement of HM naval submarine in sinking, denied by MOD.
    • A v CQC - Care home facing closure by the regulator. Appeal to Care Standards Tribunal. Health and Social Care Act 2008 and Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009.
    • H v B - Advising to director level national care home provider. Claims for breach of contract, negligence brought by family of service user.
    • M v CQC - Advising care home as to appealing closure notice from Regulator.
    • S v SoS - Appearing for Secretary of State. Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.  Defeating appeal of fines imposed for carrying illegal immigrants across UK border.
    • K v Ministry of Justice  - High Court trial, human rights claim by convicted murder. Acting for Secretary of State.
    • T v SoS - for Justice Life sentence prisoner, restrictions on licence; Art 8, Art 14 European Convention on Human Rights
    • M v MOJ - Human Rights Art 3 (inhumane treatment), Art 8 (right to life), Art 14 (discrimination) - alleged failure by prison to provide access to medical care.
    • G v MOJ - Striking out claim, breach of confidence, breach of Data Protection Act, immunity from suit.
    • F v MOJ - Strike out claims for misfeasance in public office against two prominent MPs.
  • Mediation
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    Richard is an Accredited Mediation Advocate.

Academic qualifications

  • Warwick University Philosophy and Literature First Class, 2000
  • CPE, Merit, 2003
  • BVC, Very competent, 2004
  • Inner Temple Horace Avory scholar 2004

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Accredited Mediation Advocate
  • Appointed Western Circuit Representative to the Inner Temple Bar Liaison Committee 2013
  • Appointed by Attorney General to Treasury Council Regional Panel 2012
  • Appointed Legal Assessor to the General Council of Osteopaths 2014
  • Appointed Deputy District Judge (Civil) South Eastern Circuit 2015
  • Junior Counsel to the Crown (B panel) from September 2015
  • New practitioner advocacy trainer, Inner Temple

Professional bodies

Personal Injury Bar Association

Direct Access

Richard Wheeler is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

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