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Since qualifying in 1985 I have spent my career working for victims of personal injury specialising in product liability, aviation and military claims. I have been involved in many high profile cases including Piper Alpha, Lockerbie, Chinook Mull of Kintyre Crash and the British Midland Crash at Kegworth. I am Secretary of the Royal British Legion Solicitors Group, a former Mediator in the Court of Appeal (pro-bono), former Chairman of the National Young Solicitors Group and was voted Cheshire Woman of the Year 2003. In 2007 the Lawyer magazine named me as one of the top 20 lawyers of the last 20 years.
In Manchester I am a former Chair of the Trainee Solicitors Group, Young Solicitors Group and was President of the Manchester Law Society in 2002 being the Commonwealth Games Year.
I regularly appear at Inquests including those of Corporal of the Horse Matty Hull killed by A10 friendly fire and Sergeant Steve Roberts who was the first soldier fatality of the Iraq war.
"One of the best lawyers I've ever worked with," has a "clear, decisive approach in litigation. " - Chambers & Partners, 2017
Geraldine is "thorough and extremely efficient... and very highly rated for her expertise in military and aviation claims" - Legal 500 2016
A "great tactician, and understands everything about running a case." - Chambers & Partners 2015
She is an expert on military and aviation claims and is regarded as a “fabulous PI lawyer” who is “incredibly knowledgeable and effective for her clients”. - Chambers & Partners 2013
No-one in my family had previously gone to university but I spent a summer in the late 1970s doing work experience with Dan Brennan, now Lord Brennan QC, in his chambers in Manchester and this motivated me. My career in aviation was shaped by the Manchester Air Crash 1985 and military claims by the removal of Crown Immunity in 1987.
I run legal clinics at rehabilitation centres and gain inspiration from meeting service personnel, often very young, who have been injured in the line of duty. I also enjoy Inquests where I can make a difference to the family who are coping with difficult and tense circumstances in an unfamiliar setting with other parties always having legal representation.
I greatly enjoy leading the MOD team of like-minded lawyers sharing tactics and discussing technical issues, particularly with those lawyers in my team who have served in the Armed Forces. I also enjoy the team work approach with lawyers in other specialist fields who can assist my clients including the Court of Protection and Family Law team. Given the high-profile nature of some of my work, I am also greatly assisted by the Press and PR team.
I play on a golf team of girlfriends who are lawyers or connected to the law and we take part in a number of charity events. I also enjoy walking my dog called Busby – my Principal in articles was a Director of Manchester United.
“The priority has to be on getting the best outcome for our troops. On occasion that will be compensation provided by the new proposed scheme. In other instances that may be via a civil case against the MoD brought by a specialist legal team on behalf of the injured soldier.
“Rather than excluding soldiers from bringing civil claims against the MoD by legislation, they should give soldiers affected the choice of how they want to proceed. Some may feel they want to enter into the MoD scheme, others may want a more independent view at what has happened to them and may want a lawyer to help investigate for them or advise on the adequacy of the compensation they are offered under the new scheme.
“Of course there are incidents which happen on the battlefield which cannot be foreseen and the MOD has enjoyed Combat Immunity in relation to military operations for many years. But there are also many incidents where the MoD has raised Combat Immunity in situations which have occurred miles away from the enemy such as road accidents and the Consultation paper hints that the scope of what is considered Combat may apply to the UK which is clearly not a battlefield.
“The MoD is proposing that it will decide itself which cases should be covered by Combat Immunity and those solders would be forced into a compensation scheme with no independent view from their own lawyers – this will include other instances of negligence not just those injuries sustained on the battlefield.
“Without full independent scrutiny, where is the incentive for the MoD to ensure that it doesn’t cut costs too far in terms of the quality and scale of equipment available? We have already seen major issues with transport vehicles and body armour in recent years. There are serious concerns that by closing the door to potential legal action, it removes this level of independent scrutiny which keeps our soldiers safe.”
“The news about the crash is devastating and we commiserate the victims and their families. We wish all involved a speedy recovery from their injuries.
“The Air Accident Investigation Branch injury will have to answer a whole host of questions as to how this crash happened under a thorough investigation. The helicopter will go through a product defect assessment, along with a safety standards investigation, to identify the cause of the crash and to ensure an accident like this does not happen again.”
“It’s absolutely crucial that lessons are learned from this Inquiry in order to protect our soldiers in any current and future conflicts. For our troops and their families it is a matter of life and death. Whatever the reasons for going to war, there is simply no excuse for sending our troops into Iraq, or any other warzone, without providing them with the most appropriate equipment and training to help prepare them for battle.
“The inquest and investigations into Sgt Roberts' death proved that he - along with thousands of others - was not given Enhanced Combat Body Armour which would have saved his life. The descriptions of tracking where body armour was and who was in possession of the available sets paints a picture of chaos where no one really knew what the situation was on the front line.
“David Cameron has today accepted that sending troops into battle without the right equipment was unacceptable and it is crucial Government never forgets the consequences.”
“Paul, Simon and I are delighted to be recognised for our specialist work for service personnel over 29 years. The group is about long term collaboration with other devoted lawyers and sharing information under the constant support of The Royal British Legion.
“The award highlights in particular the pro bono work at military inquests and campaigns for change to the rights of members of HM Armed Forces. This area of law is new, with immunity being removed in 1987 and it has been a privilege to serve these clients and the Legion over that time.”
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