Richard has extensive experience in all areas of personal injury, with particular emphasis upon employer’s liability for accidents and industrial injury and illness litigation (asbestos). Many claims valued in excess of £1m.
Richard is frequently instructed by defendants in civil fraud work. He recently acted for the successful applicant in the High Court in the first reported contempt of court case under the new procedural rules.
He is also regularly instructed by the Government Legal Department in false imprisonment (unlawful detention) cases and claims involving breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Richard is also very experienced in inquest work (including Article 2 and jury inquests). He also accepts instructions in detailed costs assessments.
- B v A: £2.2m (High Court, London) 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.
- S v A: £1m (High Court, London) 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.
- P v P&I (High Court, London): £¾m High Court employers liability claim serious degloving injury of left foot in workplace accident. Multiple experts on both sides.
- G v NHS (High Court, Birmingham): £½m clinical negligence, fatal accident claim following hypoxic brain injury consequent upon surgery. Multiple dependants.
- W v NHS: clinical negligence during delivery of child, major PPH, lifetime consequences for mother.
- B v BN: asbestos fatal accident claim by wife for 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.
- Many other asbestos cases with issues surrounding exposure levels, multiple defendants, causation and quantum.
- Member of senior counsel defence team in 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 involved wide ranging issues of law including personal injury, negligence, vicarious liability, common design, false imprisonment, breach of human rights, trespass to the person.
- MOD (Army): many High Court Non-Freezing Cold Injury claims. Claims usually pleaded in excess of £1m for career loss. Richard’s expertise in drafting complex counter schedules involves all aspects of high value loss of earnings and pension personal injury calculations. Many settlements for substantially less than pleaded by Claimants.
- RTA fraud & credit hire claims, fundamental dishonesty.
- MOJ (CPS) Data Protection Act 2018 / privacy / breach of Art 8 claims.
- MOD (Army): workplace stress. Claim brought for loss of lifetime earnings in the army, loss of pension. Settled for fraction of pleaded case.
- MOJ: 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.
Richard has also appeared in many detailed costs assessments in the county court and in the SCCO. He acted for the Defendant in the costs management appeal Yirenkyi v MOD (QB)  EWHC 3102.
Richard has broad experience of coronial law. He has appeared on behalf of bereaved families and has acted many times for Government Departments in inquests. Richard has appeared in several inquests where the Coroner has appointed Counsel to the inquiry and has frequently appeared alone where other interested parties having instructing Queen’s Counsel.
Most recently Richard was instructed by the MOD in the Deepcut inquest (Sean Benton) arising from a death from gunshot wounds in alleged mysterious circumstances at Deepcut Barracks over 20 years ago. Richard was instructed to represent three former soldiers accused of bullying Sean Benton prior to his death. The case involved applications for special measures, reporting restrictions and cross-examination of a vulnerable witness.
Several inquests have raised issues such as to whether Article 2 is engaged, whether a jury should be summoned. Richard has frequently dealt with submissions involving allegations of unlawful killing, neglect, and Reg. 28 type issues. Richard has attended many PIRs on behalf of interested parties and bereaved relatives and secured the necessary evidence and directions for an effective inquest. In one ongoing matter cross-jurisdictional issues arise involving disclosure from French, Dutch and German military authorities.
Recent notable cases include:
- Acting for MOD in inquest into sinking of French fishing vessel the Bugaled Breizh. The families and boat owner allege involvement of HM naval submarine in the sinking, denied by MOD.
- Acting for family in inquest arising from alleged negligent care in a hospital resulting in hypoxic brain injury.
Acted for three former soldiers in Deepcut inquest (Sean Benton). The three were accused of bullying Sean Benton prior to his death from gunshot wounds, in 1995.
- 14 day Article 2 inquest into death of prisoner at Winchester prison. Neglect, breach of human rights, negligence, ACCT process.
- Acted for motorist in 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.
Article 2 jury inquest involving a prisoner suicide in Exeter prison. Alleged early closure of ACCT, safeguarding, and mental health issues.
- Article 2 inquest following prisoner suicide in Chelmsford prison.
- Acted for family in 3 days, jury inquest. Window fitter killed working at height.
- Inquest following death of prisoner, inquiry into use of prisoner restraints.
View Full CV
How to get the Court to hear your case during the Coronavirus pandemic
12th May 2020
3PB specialist Civil barrister Richard Wheeler has produced an article on how to get the Court to hear your case during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The article “Getting the Court to Hear Your Case During the Pandemic” provides an insight into county court civil listing during the pandemic which may assist litigants to retain their current court listings. It provides answers to the following questions:
• What does the court’s triage process involve?
• What considerations might the court have in mind during triage?
• Why was my case adjourned when it was suitable for remote hearing?
• What practical issues do judges face during a remote hearing?
• What can litigants do to help ensure a case remains listed and is effective as a remote hearing?
‘Richard is a determined advocate who is always thorough and well-prepared. He leaves no stone unturned when investigating complicated quantum issues. You know if he is fighting a case to trial he believes in it.’
Legal 500 2022/Personal Injury/South Eastern Circuit
‘Richard is tenacious and works hard in preparation and in action for his clients. His advice is clear, concise and tactical reflecting a keen analytical mind, and his advocacy is both engaging and persuasive. He understand the pressures affecting the client and he is able to address their concerns sympathetically.’
Legal 500 2022/Personal Injury/Western Circuit
What Treasury Counsel Panel referees say:
“He’s great – advices are clear and concise, skeletons are accurate and tactical.”
“his advocacy was both engaging and persuasive”
“I instruct Richard in complex matters … his analytical skills are always an asset and he always adds to the case.”
“He has a keen analytical mind.”
“great knowledge of the issues and pressures affecting the client”
“I have always found his advice to be practical, thorough and clear.”
“clear, fluent and efficient in handling the complex issues in the case”
“Richard is excellent – nice relaxed style, makes him compelling in conference as well as in trial. He’s very good at explaining even complex issues.”
“personable and easy to talk to quite often we will just talk out any issues over the phone which is really helpful.”