With over 35 years’ experience at the bar, Petar Starcevic is one of the most senior and trusted barristers in the market. He maintains a complementary triple specialism in clinical negligence, personal injury and employment. As you would expect from his vast experience, which includes a plethora of reported cases and senior appellate cases, the vast majority of Petar’s cases are either multi-track cases of the most significant importance and challenging complexity in respect of clinical negligence and personal injury work, or cases that concern and involve high value, high stakes litigation in the Employment Tribunal, EAT or in the appellate courts.
A unique feature of Petar’s practice is the way in which each of his three main areas of practice not only complement each other, but also add to the overall quality of his advice, his commercial and legislative awareness and his tactical acumen in both advocacy and case strategy. As an example, Petar regularly brings his vast, frankly impressive, medico-legal knowledge to bear not only in serious clinical negligence and personal injury cases, but also in appropriate employment cases, such as complex disability discrimination and career long loss claims.
Petar is called upon by a trusted pool of major national and leading regional firms for his expertise and for the straightforward way in which he advises. His clients, lay and professional alike, particularly value the way in which he can ‘tell it straight’, though with tact and empathy.
Instructed in a wide range of reported cases and appeals, Petar has been considered a ‘go to’ clinical negligence barrister for many years. He has a strong track record acting for Claimants, though also maintains a regular defendant practice. As an example of his quality, there have been several occasions where defendant insurers, local authorities and NHS Trusts have sought Petar out based on both the quality and expertise of his advocacy, as well as the results as he has obtained against them, for their own work. Petar finds that by acting for Claimants and Defendants alike, he understands how the opposing party will act and the tactical steps they will be contemplating in almost any situation. Petar’s professional clients particularly value the tactical and commercial advantage he therefore brings in cases upon which he is instructed.
Petar is comfortable across the full range of clinical negligence work, and brings a vast base of medico-legal knowledge to bear for his clients in each case. His practice covers, as an illustrative example, negligence caused by:
- Opticians – e.g. failure to diagnose glaucoma leading to blindness;
- Dentists – g. administering anaesthetic, fitting of onlays, TMJD consequent to surgery;
- Cardiologists – e.g. failure to diagnose aortic dissection; monitor Tetralogy of Fallot;
- Oncologists – e.g. failure to diagnose cancer leading to death;
- Orthopaedics – e.g. failures to diagnose and treat fractures, compartment syndrome;
- Obstetrics and neonatal – i.e. cerebral palsy, failure to repair episiotomy; and
- Surgical negligence – e.g. injury to bowels, ureters, nerves during surgery.
Petar has dealt with some of the most serious cases including those involving serious adverse outcomes and death. A snapshot of the many serious cases Petar has dealt with in recent years includes:
- P-S v NHS – concerning a failure to diagnose and treat aortic dissection promptly leading to fatality and claim by the Claimant’s dependants;
- A v NHS – concerning a failure in the treatment of sub-glottic stenosis consequent upon intubation leading to fatality and claim by dependants, settlement approved by the court;
- K v NHS – concerning a fatal failure to diagnose and treat toxic epidermal necrolysis;
- O v NHS – concerning a failure to diagnose and treat compartment syndrome in a young sportsman leading to lower limb amputation with claims for special accommodation and prosthetics, Peter secured a successful settlement after a JSM;
- W v NHS – this unusual case concerned a hysterectomy performed without patient consent in a woman of child-bearing age;
- D v NHS – concerning a failure to diagnose pelvic cancer in an elderly claimant;
- TD v A – concerning a decision to perform ERCP and a failure to manage post-ERCP pancreatitis resulting in death, Petar helped secure settlement prior to a High Court trial;
- A v NHS – this interesting case concerned an FAA claim arising out of suicide in hospital;
- C v Malik – concerning a failure by a GP to diagnose or refer a patient suffering from cancer leading to the patient’s fatality; and
- H v NHS – concerning a very high value claim of cerebral palsy requiring lifelong care.
Personal Injury (including catastrophic and fatal injury)
The perfect complement to his Clinical Negligence practice, Petar’s personal injury practice is also a predominantly claimant-leaning in nature and he operates at the most senior end of the market. Petar regularly appears in multi-track and complex cases in the following focus areas:
- Fatal accident claims;
- Accommodation, Swift v Carpenter claims;
- Catastrophic and brain injuries;
- Claims involving service personnel and loss of pension;
- Stress and psychiatric illness arising out of work;
- Insurance issues, including cases involving claims made directly against insurers under the European directive, MIB claims, insurance repudiation issues (including personal claims against directors and employees where the company is in liquidation), claims for professional negligence against insurance brokers for failing to arrange appropriate insurance or act carefully once notified of claims, and s.151 RTA claims involving Churchill Insurance v Wilkinson.
A snapshot of the many serious cases Petar has dealt with recently includes:
- T v C – concerning a severe brain injury following an RTA;
- B v Redhall – fall by a rigger from a 30m tower leading to life changing injuries;
- A v AG Ltd – concerning an accident at work leading to severe brain injury, legal incapacity and requiring lifelong care;
- W v J plc – concerning a severe brain injury, which was unusual in that it was in respect of an already brain injured claimant;
- T v C – a high value accident at work claim against the employing company and directors personally, with related contested claims against insurers and insurance brokers;
- W v MoD – concerning an injury to a serviceman on exercise, including claims for career loss and loss of pension;
- K v PS – a claim for stress at work from breaches of duty leading to loss of career; and
- S v Police – a claim by a serving police officer injured whilst engaged in firearms training.
Petar’s wider fatal accident experience includes:
- TD v A – concerning the death of a wife, which was settled just before final trial;
- A v NHS – the death of a father with dependant children, settled with court approval;
- OB v H – a fatal accident of a professional man with his own business, concerning claims on behalf of his dependants, this was settled after JSM;
- A case involving suicide by a mentally ill in-patient whilst on adventure activity, consideration of claims against the hospital, including a claim under the Human Rights Act and against the activity provider; and
- An RTA resulting initially in two fatalities and one severe brain injury in the same family, complicated by a claim by local authority for reimbursement of accommodation and care costs.
Petar’s wider catastrophic injury experience includes:
- A case involving severe brain injury following an accident at work, capacity was in issue and the case involved difficult client care, as well as a lifelong loss of earnings and care;
- A case involving cerebral palsy following peri-natal negligence. This resulted in severe disability, lifelong care and accommodation requirements, which settled at JSM; and
- A case involving an RTA leading to the loss of both lower limbs, claim for single storey and ongoing care, difficult issues over life expectancy.
Petar also has a successful practice industrial disease, including stress at work claims, including issues of abuse of process and issue estoppel in claims following tribunal claims, mesothelioma claims, NIHL claims and claims by service personnel following injuries resulting in loss of military career, e.g. non-freezing cold injury, but also cases of third-party negligence resulting in loss of military career.
Whilst a leading junior in clinical negligence and personal injury work, Petar is also a heavyweight in the employment arena. He maintains a full spectrum advocacy and advisory practice, with particular specialisms in complex discrimination, whistleblowing and dismissal cases. Unlike his other areas of practice, Petar has an evenly balanced Claimant and Respondent practice. He regularly represents major employers, public bodies and private individuals in difficult, high profile multi-day cases. Over his distinguished career, Petar also has handled cases involving collective redundancies, TUPE and the Equal Pay Act.
Petar finds that his extensive medical and clinical knowledge is particularly valuable in cases involving disability discrimination and health issues at work. A snapshot of the many reported cases he has been involved in includes:
- Brown v G4 Security (Cheltenham) No.UKEATPA/1392/09/RN – one of the few cases before the EAT on the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004;
- Savage v SITA (UK) No.UKEAT/0169/10/CEA – concerning the obligations to consult in collective redundancies;
- Rudge v Port Vale Football Club – wrongful dismissal and the first ever case heard by the football league panel reported in sports press;
- Sutton v Flintshire CC – a high profile whistle-blowing case receiving publicity from Radio 4’s “File on Four” programme;
- Smith v West Midlands Fire Service – unfair dismissal claims by service personnel who arranged an initiation ceremony for a new recruit, attracting national publicity including national BBC radio news;
- Gumbley v Exel Europe & Bost Logistics – concerning the meaning of a TUPE service provision change;
- Child Support Agency v Truman  IRLR 277 – the first case in the EAT considering the impact of Lewisham LBC v Malcolm in disability related discrimination;
- Passmore v Young Womens’ Christian Association – claim of sexual discrimination and harassment by a male Claimant against a mainly female organisation heard over 3 weeks;
- Kelly v Probation Service – a racial discrimination claim heard over 2 weeks, remedies hearing and ongoing related personal injury claim for stress at work;
- Mallabar v Worcester College – equal pay and complex claims of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. Equal pay claim involved hearing on issues of “like work” and “work of equal value” as well as “material difference” defence in the context of appoint to a progression through pay grades and calculation of award at remedy hearing; and
- Choudhury v Forum Law – a historic pre-transfer equal pay claim determined with PHR on issues of limitation.
Working with Petar
Petar’s regular clients comment on the straightforward, robust and clear way in which he guides clients, sometimes including bereaved families and clients with life-changing injuries, through the legal process. A mature, vastly experienced advocate and adviser, Petar is renowned for his ability to test the deepest intricacies of complex medico-legal and clinical evidence with even the most senior of experts.
It is perhaps no surprise that many of Petar’s clients have trusted him with their most complex work for decades, though he is also licensed to undertake direct access work. Petar’s vast knowledge in each of his three main areas of practice means that he has come across almost every outcome and issue. He takes a forensic approach to his preparation and is truly ‘across his brief’ on each occasion. Professional clients particularly value his responsive nature.
LLB – University of Bristol
Bar Finals – Inns of Court School of Law, London
Appointments and Memberships
Employment Law Association
Birmingham Medico Legal Society
“Petar is a good fit for clinical negligence clients and has a mastery of handling multiple experts in a conference on complex claims.” Legal 500 2023