Peter James - DAC Beachcroft
Peter James

Peter James

Legal Director: Regulatory, Health and Safety and Environmental Law

London - Walbrook

Peter specialises in Regulatory, Health and Safety Insurance services, Health and Safety Corporate Services and Inquests.

He advises and represents corporate and individual duty holders in high profile investigations and prosecutions for corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and serious health and safety offences involving fatalities and catastrophic injuries. He is often instructed immediately following an incident, providing advice on crisis management including initial investigations, dealing with the police and regulator, legal privilege and reputational and media management.

He represents very large and high-profile organisations and SME`s from all areas of industry including construction, waste management, agriculture, charitable organisations, universities and schools, care homes, and organisations and individuals involved in the leisure and travel industry. He provides immediate and ongoing advice and representation through investigations and prosecutions and attends interviews conducted under caution by the police and regulators.

Peter also represents organisations and individuals at high profile and lengthy inquests attracting media attention.

Relevant experience includes advising:

  • Advised and represented a major airline during an investigation and prosecution by the HSE for health and safety offences following a collision between an employee and a vehicle within the baggage hall at terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in March 2018. This followed a lengthy and extensive investigation.
  • Advised and represented a major car retailer during investigation and prosecution for health and safety offences following an accident at one of its auction sites. A customer was hit by a powerful sports car being driven from a viewing hall to the auction hall on a ramp that was used by customers to view the vehicle. The customer received catastrophic injuries.
  • Advised and assisted a major Land Owner following the death of a contractor in December 2021. The contractor was crushed while felling trees as part of the Ash dieback scheme. Assisted throughout the inquest process.
  • Instructed to represent a major food producer. The Company was investigated and is being prosecuted for breaches of health and safety regulations following an accident to an employee who suffered life changing catastrophic injuries while in the process of cleaning chilling tanks used to clean slaughtered birds at its food manufacturing plant. The investigation presented significant challenges due to the pandemic and much of the investigation has been conducted remotely.
  • Represented a groundworker suspected of gross negligence manslaughter following a fatal accident on a construction site. A groundworker was struck and killed by a steel pylon that fell after being fixed to the ground.
  • Instructed to represent a major Construction and traffic management company in an investigation being undertaken by the HSE into a fatal accident involving an employee. The employee was killed when struck by a vehicle while attending a site on a dual carriageway. The employee had received instructions to investigate a branch reported to be overhanging the carriage way causing a danger to traffic.

Business Development:

Peters attends and presents at client and prospective client events on a regular basis. These have included training days and seminars, mock trials and inquests and mock interviews with the police and HSE. He has organised and prepared these events for Corporate clients, brokers and insurers. He has presented talks on Police and regulatory enforcement on topics including legal privilege, crisis management, claims defensibility and sentencing.

Most recently, He presented a live lunchtime webcast to the MGAA on crisis management. The event was attended by 40 delegates. Earlier this year, He delivered a talk and Q&A session to a rail conference on recent prosecutions bought by the rail regulator and the recent conviction and sentencing of WH Malcolm Ltd following the death of a child at one of its depots.

He has developed an interactive workshop (“Directors in the Dock”) for clients and prospective clients focussed on Health and safety investigations and prosecutions of Directors and Senior Managers.

Entries in Directories:

Peter has been recognised as a notable practitioner in the field of Health and Safety in both Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for several years. Below are a number of testimonials from clients appearing in the directories.

"Peter James has significant experience of representing both large organisations and private individuals. His client list stretches across a wide spectrum of sectors including travel and retail. He advises clients on investigations and prosecutions by local authorities and the HSE following HSWA breaches and fatal accidents" - Chambers and Partners 2022

"Peter is very experienced in this field and he is very good with clients. He is very good, very thorough, he knows the regulatory arena inside and out and he is a good technician" - Chambers and Partners 2022

"Peter James leads from the front. Great tactician, commands loyalty and respect with his team. Provides outstanding reassurance to his clients."

"Peter James is a doyen of the Health and Safety insurers’ world. Charming, easy to work with and there’s very little about Health and Safety that he doesn’t know! Tactically astute, he has a quiet and confident calm in his approach to all his cases." - Legal 500 2021

Peter regularly contributes articles to the legal and Health & Safety trade press. These Articles are also circulated on social media platforms. These include the following:

Article for the Forestry Journal - Covid 19 Inspections-what you need to know
Vlog - Prosecutions where trespassers injured on the railway
Article for IOSH Magazine – Comment on R (on the application of Maughan) v Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire



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