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Luke Berry

Luke Berry

Luke Berry

Barrister (Senior Associate)

About Luke

Luke leads the Exeter barristers’ team and his work focusses on providing robust advocacy and pragmatic advice on all things health related: from personal injury and clinical negligence, to mental health, inquests and family disputes involving medical evidence. He acts for some of the firm’s biggest clients ay procedural hearings through to substantive, multi-day trials and inquests, and is seen as a ‘go to’ in the South-West for practical legal advice delivered with emotional intelligence.

As an advocate, Luke provides his clients with a voice and is often called on when technical ‘black letter’ law does not provide an answer.  Luke represents clients in civil, criminal, family and coronial proceedings, and any other jurisdiction where a professional may be called to defend their actions. 

Understanding the importance of a timely and accurate response to paperwork Luke’s approach to his written advocacy have received praise from the Judiciary.

Luke has an interest in developing junior advocates through advocacy training and is both an advocacy trainer and a pupil supervisor.  He is also authorised by the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation.

Noted as a key lawyer in this field, Luke’s primary caseload comes advising and representing healthcare bodies at inquests (jury and non-jury), civil proceedings and in the Court of Protection, all highly emotive areas. Described by a solicitor as “fantastic on his feet but also really reassuring to witnesses”, Luke is regularly instructed by some of the firm’s biggest healthcare clients and is seen as a ‘go to’ for practical advice and detailed knowledge of the law delivered with emotional intelligence.

Luke has recently been instructed in a string of lengthy jury inquests, in which Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights is engaged, across the South West and wider regions. These include not only mental health related inquests (in which Luke has a particular interest), but also offender healthcare, acute and surgical complication as well as ambulance delay cases. Luke appreciates that being in court on an inquest is only part of the role played by an advocate and the support and advice required by clients and witnesses extends beyond the day in court, to a comprehensive service in conference and advising pre- and post- inquest.

This experience accordingly often sees Luke working at the edge of the firm’s practice areas, including advising and acting for healthcare trusts in family proceedings, including those involving allegations of non-accidental injury often during concurrent criminal proceedings and preceding potential civil claims and has previously achieved complete “exoneration” of clinicians accused of injuring a child in defence of care proceedings. Luke is often instructed to appear unled against leading juniors or Queen’s Counsel in this field.

Luke has also quickly developed a practice in the Court of Protection both locally on the Western Circuit and nationally, including in the Central Registry, before all levels of judges including in the High Court. Reflecting the broad similarity between the jurisdictions, Luke is comfortable conducting directions hearings all the way through to findings of fact and final hearings.

The breadth of Luke’s civil practice extends from health clients – through NHS Resolution - to the firm’s other insurance clients where Luke is appreciated for his detailed working knowledge of obscure parts of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. Luke is regularly consulted on an ad hoc basis by solicitors working in the insurance sector and has a strong underlying understanding of the commercial insurance market – knowing what information insurers really want, rather than a detailed recitation of the law. This awareness allows Luke to cross sectors within the firm and work as closely with colleagues in construction and property, through professional negligence, to personal injury and clinical negligence.

With a particular focus on solicitors’ negligence, Luke has become a standing adviser and counsel of preference on claims relating to matters such as multiple dwelling relief, doubling ground rent and other conveyancing mishaps, as well as more involved matters, including cases of fraud. Luke is quick to win the confidence of professional and lay clients and this reflects in his case load. Luke is regularly instructed in 6 – 7 figure value cases. The joined-up nature of Luke’s practice means that he is able to advise and provide representation throughout the entire life of a case; from pre-action letters of response, to trial advocacy.

In respect of the firm’s education work, as an advocate, Luke represents schools and local authorities at a range of hearings from exclusion and admissions appeals (a matter on which Luke has previously presented), through disability discrimination claims and appeals against Education and Health Care Plans before the First Tier Tribunal and works closely with school staff as witnesses, preparing them to appear before tribunals. The variety in Luke’s common law practice means that he is often called on to advise in areas where there is a complex interplay between areas of law; such as in respect of the regulatory and civil matters which arise in respect of school transport, or where the criminal law and employment law meet in teacher’s disciplinary case. Luke’s practical, pragmatic and proportionate advice is well-received by busy teachers and administrators alike.

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