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Andrew James

Andrew James | Senior Associate

ajames@hja.net 020 7874 8458

I have acted for injured claimants for more than 30 years and have vast experience in high value road traffic accidents, employers’ liability and occupier’s liability litigation.

I have worked previously at Thompsons, Rowley Ashworth, Fentons and Slater & Gordon and for the past 25 years I have specialised in industrial disease and asbestos disease cases. I have written for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers journal and I am an APIL Accredited Occupational Disease Specialist and Asbestos Disease Specialist.

I have acted for numerous clients from asbestos charities in the UK and Australia and regularly attend the Asbestos Sub-Committee of the All Party Parliamentary Group at the House of Commons.

Client Comments

“From our first meeting with Andrew James we received excellent service, efficient, prompt, kind and very understanding due to the nature of this case. He would always explain things in detail, nothing was too much trouble and would like to thank him very much. My husband would have been very proud of the outcome of his case.”

“Easy to talk to and compassionate for me, explained everything fully and in plain English. Very prompt service, professional and pleasant to deal with throughout.”

Andrew James came to my house and did a thorough history of my working life to establish all the facts he could. He kept in contact so I knew the progress at all times. He was always very helpful. I am very happy with the settlement he obtained for me. I will have no worries for my wife in her future.”

Case Study

I acted for the widow of a man who had died some 12 years earlier. She was convinced that the recorded cause of death, lung cancer, was wrong and that he had died of mesothelioma.

Her late husband was one of 3 brothers who all worked as laggers for Newalls Insulation Limited, a T&N company. His 2 brothers had died of mesothelioma and brought successful claims but her husband’s recorded cause of death prevented his widow pursuing a claim. We were able to trace and access the original tissue samples and to establish that her husband had in fact died of mesothelioma and that his cause of death had been wrongfully diagnosed.

The defendants denied liability as his exposure to asbestos was pre 1942 but we were able to gain access, via Chase Manhatten Bank in America, to the documents that had been hidden by T&N in their premises at Trafford Park in Manchester. We used these to seek to establish guilty knowledge back to the early 1940’s. There were millions of pages of documents in the depository relating to health and safety and T&N had misled the English courts over the years of the existence of any such documentation.

Through a number of applications, including one for contempt, we were able to force the Defendant’s to acknowledge that the documents existed and eventually rather than allow further applications and the forced access to the documents they conceded liability.

At the end of the trial we adduced the numerous bundles of documents we had obtained from America into evidence in open court and were so able to disclose the evidence outside of the proceedings. The case formed the subject of a feature in the Mail on Sunday and a Channel 4 documentary on T&N and their deceit in relation to disclosure.

Case Study

I acted for a retired teacher who spent her working life teaching science. After finishing her teacher’s training she eventually moved to the La Retraite High School in Sutton in 1972. The school was run by the Inner London Education Authority and they adopted the Nuffield Combined Science and Biology Syllabuses as a method of teaching science. This involved the far more practical involvement of pupils in experiments.

In the course of a each working day she would handle the asbestos mats placed under Bunsen burners as well as the asbestos impregnated gauzes used on top of the Bunsen tripods. Over time the mats became frayed and dust and fibres were given off from handling the mats. This was simply brushed off.

She started to develop symptoms of chest pain and after extensive investigation she was given the diagnosis of mesothelioma. I pursued a claim for damages against her former employers. Although they have never admitted liability, ILEA’s solicitors made an offer to settle her claim in full within 11 months of the diagnosis, but sadly she had died from the disease the day before, aged 72.

Her husband used the compensation to set up a fund in his wife’s name to help public awareness of this disease and to provide assistance and support.

Case Study

I acted for Jonathan Woods, a forensic CID officer of the Anti Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police, who attended the scene of the Brighton Bombing in 1984. He and his fellow officers, seeking forensic evidence, removed by hand tons of rubble and dust that had collapsed from the floors above into the basement. The dust raised by their work was so heavy that they often had to stop to allow the dust to settle as they could not see the floor where they were working.

For the first two days he worked without any respiratory protection. Two days after they started blue asbestos dust was discovered in the rubble and although the officers were provided with slightly better masks no adequate protection was provided for the remaining 14 days that they were in the basement.

Mr Woods developed Mesothelioma in 2015 and a claim was made against the Metropoiltan Police and Sussex Police as neither admitted liability for their failure to protect him. Within the court procedure for mesothelioma claims is an early hearing called a “Show Cause” hearing. At this hearing the Defendants have to show that they have reasonable prospects of defending the claim and it is used to force the Defendants t show their case or concede liability. Shorlty before that hearing the Defendnats admitted liability. Sadly Jonathan Woods died within days afterwards and the claim continues on behalf of his widow.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3362013/Brighton-bombing-kills-policeman-31-years-Anti-terror-officer-dies-cancer-exposed-asbestos-sifted-rubble-scene.html

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/6806783/Asbestos-from-Brighton-bombing-kills-anti-terror-cop-31-years-after-IRA-blast.html

Although not an occupational disease case I am proud of the fact that I ran the case of Jolley v Sutton LBC all the way to the House of Lords. The case had been turned down by his previous solicitor as having low prospects of success. It involved a young boy who was crushed and left paraplegic when an abandoned boat fell on him. He and his friend were trying to repair the boat while playing on a council estate. Although we won at first instance the Defendants appealed and won in the Court of Appeal. We continued to fight the case and were successful in the House of Lords. The case has been widely reported as it is a leading case on the issues of foreseeability of injury in negligence.

 

Expertise

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos disease
  • Industrial disease
  • Employers’ liability
  • Occupiers’ liability

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
  • Accredited Occupational Disease Specialist
  • Accredited Asbestos Disease Specialist
  • Member of Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Personal Interests

Mountain biking, skiing, reading.