Duncan McNair

Duncan McNair

Call 2003

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Duncan McNair is recommended by the Legal 500 Bar Directory 2016 for his expertise in the Regional Bar - Western Circuit.
Personal injury and clinical negligence – Leading juniors
Duncan McNair - He provides excellent paperwork, advice and exceptional advocacy skills

Duncan McNair is recommended by the Legal 500 Bar Directory 2015 for his expertise in the Regional Bar - Western Circuit.
Personal injury and clinical negligence – Leading juniors
Duncan McNair - Always efficient and helpful

Duncan McNair is recommended by the Legal 500 UK Directory 2014 for his expertise in the South Eastern Circuit for his Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence expertise. 
3PB’s Duncan McNair - “Unflinching in the face of difficult issues.”

“A talented advocate” – Legal 500

Duncan practices in personal injury and clinical negligence. He is an accomplished and fearless advocate with a substantial advisory and court practice.

Duncan practices in personal injury and clinical negligence, enjoying a substantial advisory and court practice. He is regarded as an accomplished and fearless advocate by both professional and lay clients.

Personal Injury

Duncan acts for both claimants and defendants in all elements of personal injury law including serious road traffic accidents, occupiers’ liability, employers’ liability and high value claims. He often advises in complex disputes requiring extensive schedules and involving challenging causation issues.

Duncan has particular expertise in employers' liability, specifically cases involving accidents at work, where his background outside law and his degree in physics provide a particular insight and skill when dealing with technical expert evidence.

Taking a practical and unflinching approach to risk assessments in marginal CFA cases, Duncan is not afraid to run cases where prospects are less than guaranteed.

He also has experience advising and representing parties at Inquests and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

Cases of note include:

G v a motor insurer [2013]: acted for a passenger who claimed damages for loss of the chance of a career in the armed forces. This required complex calculations as to the value and chance of different factual scenarios, which Duncan resolved by developing an IT-based solution. Settled for £135,000.

Stephens v Braham [2013]: Duncan’s client was a motorcyclist who suffered severe injuries when overtaking a car turning right at a junction. Two independent witnesses gave evidence that the car had been signalling right for some time before the turn. Client’s Part 36 offer was 50/50 and other side’s was 75/25 against. At a hard-fought three-day liability trial the judge found 50/50, matching Duncan’s Part 36 offer.

Tucknott v Bridgend CBC [2013]: acted for a cyclist who fell as a result of a defective bridge surface on a cycle path. He sustained a serious femoral fracture with life-changing consequences. The defendant fought the case on complex arguments as to the status of the path: it argued the path was not a public highway at the accident locus, because the order creating it designated a different route. After cross-examination of the defendant’s surveyor the judge accepted Duncan’s arguments and found the path to be on the public highway. Judgment on liability for claimant.

W v T [2012]: acted for claimant who stumbled over poorly-compacted backfill where a utility company had dug a trench. It denied liability but Duncan pleaded the surprising but effective application of the CDM regulations. Claimant suffered injury to her leg leading to amputation. Defendant raised complex medical causation issues as claimant suffered diabetes and had a serious fracture to the same leg one year previously; alleged that index accident did not cause loss of leg. Both liability and causation issues settled in claimant’s favour for lump sum of £500,000.

Clinical Negligence

Duncan has a burgeoning clinical negligence practice involving issues of limitation and knowledge, consent and negligently performed surgery, including in particular cosmetic surgery. His advisory work is very highly regarded and he is one of the few practitioners in this field to have direct experience of clinical negligence litigation all the way through to judgment.

Recent cases of note include:

C v an NHS trust [2014]. Duncan acted for a claimant who experienced severe complications (including a lifelong colostomy) when a laparoscopic abdominal procedure went wrong. The defendant raised vigorous disputes on breach of duty and causation, but settled for 85% of full valuation a matter of days before trial in the High Court.

E v Dr A [2012]: Duncan acted for the claimant in a six-day trial on the issue of the true extent of informed consent in elective surgery. His opponent was a notable silk with extensive experience of clinical negligence. Duncan succeeded and the defendant failed in his application for leave to appeal.

Before joining the Bar Duncan had a successful career as a recruitment consultant, which provides him with useful and practical experience in the commercial aspects of litigation and expectation management.

Client Testimonials

A Court of Appeal judge commented to Duncan McNair in a recent application for permission to appeal in a personal injury case: “(The client) has been lucky to have you as his advocate".


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