Crown Office Chambers is particularly “renowned for its savoir-faire in major multiparty litigation relating to pharmaceutical and medicinal products.” These have included claims involving Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, contaminated blood products and HIV-Haemophiliacs, Opren (an anti-arthritis drug), Benzodiazepine (tranquillisers), Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (human growth hormone), Third Generation Oral Contraceptives, the MMR/MR (measles, mumps and rubella, and measles and rubella) vaccines, Epilim (a drug to control epilepsy), Vioxx (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ), Hylamer hip prostheses, and the experimental drug TGN 1412 at Northwick Park Hospital (the “human guinea pigs”). Unitary cases have involved, amongst others, claims concerning toxic shock syndrome associated with Tampax brand tampons and Zyprexa, a treatment for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia allegedly causing the onset of diabetes. All of these cases require a firm understanding of the underlying science and medicine, as well as a sound grasp of epidemiology. Most concern important public health issues.
As well as specialising in pharmaceutical litigation, Crown Office Chambers also has considerable involvement in non-pharmaceutical product liability litigation. Cases include the design of fork lift trucks, the tobacco litigation, the design and manufacture of Dunlop tyres, organo-phosphates (incorporated in sheep dip), the design of the cabs of Scania 4 lorries, leather sofas causing dermatitis, the supply and installation of white cement and of a shot blasting machine, uPVC windows turning pink, as well as the supply of a water softening unit alleged to have caused flood damage. Other recent group litigation in which members of Chambers have been involved has included the Atomic Veterans Litigation. In addition many of our members regularly conduct cases in which products are alleged to have caused damage to property typically by fire, explosion or flood, either in a domestic or industrial context. About 20 members of Chambers were instructed in the Buncefield litigation.
Members of Chambers who practise in this area have extensive expertise in the procedural and case management issues that multi-party litigation raises, European legislative implications, related insurance liability, and the very important aspect of costs sharing orders in such multi-party litigation. Our recognised strength in depth and experience of team working in product liability claims gives us the ability to provide high calibre teams of counsel for large and complex disputes, whether in litigation or in other forms of dispute resolution. Most of those who practise in this area are identified individually in the directories as highly regarded.