David Rivers

Call: 2002

"Incredibly bright and very good with clients. He's a technical barrister, so he's very good on the rules and is able to advise on tactical steps on the way forward." "Very good tactically and a strong negotiator."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"His advocacy skills are second to none; he is firm yet pragmatic and always has the client at the centre of his advice. Mr Rivers has a very warm approach with clients which engenders trust at an early stage."

The Legal 500 2021


David is a specialist in personal injury work mainly on behalf of claimants. He has a particular focus on complex quantum work. He is the author of the chapters on Contributory NegligenceEmployer’s Liability Insurance, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Reporting and Enforcement in the Seventeenth edition of Munkman on Employers Liability (2019). He has been recommended by both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 since he was eight years call.

Over the last seventeen years he has acted for many thousands of claimants. His highest settlement, being led by Paul Rose QC, was a lump sum award of £17.9 million. He has acted for a Deputy High Court judge who is now a Lord Justice of Appeal; a professional footballer; a senior police officer and an actor from EastEnders in his claim for injuries suffered whilst shopping in Selfridges.

He has appeared in a number of high-profile inquests. He appeared for the family in the inquest into the death of Amelia Flight which returned a neglect finding against her local GP’s out of ours service, and a two day inquest into the death of a patient caused by her inappropriate discharge from hospital described by the coroner as the last of an accumulation of failures and omissions by the NHS Trust. He was led by Barry Cotter QC (now HHJ Cotter QC) on behalf of the prison officers in the inquest into the death of Harold Shipman.

More recently he successfully appeared for the Claimant in a decision of Mr Justice Foskett in Wright v First Group PLC EWHC 297 (QB) [2018] to allow an adjournment and give permission for the Claimant to change his accident reconstruction expert the day before a High Court trial on liability in a head injury road traffic accident claim. The Claimant’s reconstruction expert had collapsed in his joint statement such that the Defendant withdrew all of its offers and the Claimant was left facing a trial with both experts agreed that there was nothing that the Defendant could have done to avoid the collision. The High Court judge found that the decision was a difficult one but that on balance the trial should be adjourned and a new expert instructed for the Claimant. He ordered the Claimant to pay the Defendants costs of the application but not the trial as they could not demonstrate what loss they had suffered. Permission was given by Sharp LJ on paper for an appeal despite it being a case management decision, with permission to appeal the costs order to be considered once a transcript had been obtained. Jonathan Watt-Pringle QC was instructed for the Defendant. By the date of the Court of Appeal hearing a new expert had been instructed by the Claimant and a new joint statement completed in which all issues were not agreed. The Defendant made a six-figure offer which was accepted by the Claimant shortly before the Court of Appeal hearing. Although a controversial decision it has not been overruled and is still often cited in late adjournment applications.

David was instructed for the appellant in the Court of Appeal case on the validity of a Part 36 offer (Shaw v Merthyr Tydfil County Council [2014] EWCA Civ 1678). He was previously instructed in the Court of Appeal to defend previous success on appeal to the circuit judge, on a costs point arising out of the appropriate interpretation of the CPR, until the appellant withdrew their appeal the day before the hearing was due to be heard.

David accepts instructions on behalf of defendants particularly in cases requiring robust cross-examination. He succeeded by a majority in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Defendant in the case of Iqbal v. Home Office [2009] EWCA Civ 1310 (led by Michael Beloff QC) which has restated the law on both the tort of false imprisonment and nominal damages.

He graduated from Jesus College Cambridge in 2001. Whilst at Cambridge he was awarded the ECS Wade Prize for the top first in administrative law, elected to a Squire Scholarship by the university for his exam performance, awarded the Lovells Prize for the top first in the college, and a College Scholarship for obtaining a first. He obtained a masters degree (LLM) from Cambridge in 2003. Grays Inn awarded him its top (Bedingfield) scholarship for the BVC and an award for pupillage as well as a prize for best speech from the floor in a debate on law reform. He was awarded the Joseph Petty Law Student Prize in 1998.

Professional Recommendations


“Incredibly bright and very good with clients. He’s a technical barrister, so he’s very good on the rules and is able to advise on tactical steps on the way forward.” “Very good tactically and a strong negotiator.”

Chambers & Partners 2021

“Tactically shrewd and not scared to run cases to trial.” “His advocacy skills are second to none; he is firm yet pragmatic and always has the client at the centre of his advice. Mr Rivers has a very warm approach with clients which engenders trust at an early stage.”

The Legal 500 2021

“He’s cool, calm and collected – a forensic operator.” “He’s well organised, always up to date, and able to provide intelligent insight into difficult cases.” “Very tactically astute.” “Extremely impressive on his feet.”

Chambers & Partners 2020

“He identifies strengths and weaknesses immediately and brings courtroom insight.”

The Legal 500 2020

“He’s really, really impressive on his feet and holds his own against far more senior barristers. he really stands out as an advocate.”

Chambers & Partners 2019

“His technical knowledge of statutes, regulations and case law is excellent. he is willing to fight the most complex of cases and is popular with clients.”

Chambers & Partners 2018

“Excellent grasp of detail, inspires confidence in his clients, not afraid of a fight.”

The Legal 500 2018


Personal Injury

Recent and current work

Key contacts

Graham Smith

Deputy Senior Clerk
Graham Smith 020 7269 0357

Olivia Moliterno

Team Leader & Assistant to Senior Clerk
Olivia Moliterno 020 7269 0477
Shortlist Updated

Out of hours

William Meade (Senior Clerk)

07970 649 755


Graham Smith (Deputy Senior Clerk)

07795 023 532