Alexander Hutton KC

Call: 1992 | Silk: 2012 |

Alexander’s practice is focused in two fields: clinical negligence, for claimants and defendants, and all aspects of costs law.

In both these fields, Alexander is recommended in the highest band of leading silks in the directories and acts in connection with a range of clinical negligence cases, with special focus on those of the most serious nature and highest value. He has also appeared in many of the leading costs cases over the last 20 years, and was chair of the committee that introduced the now mandatory electronic bill of costs.

“A great communicator and an excellent key player. He has a complete mastery of the most complex and high-value cases.” “He identifies issues in cases early on and provides astute tactical advice. One of the best clinical negligence silks around.” (Chambers UK 2022)

“One of the best costs barrister out there,” “he’s very technical and thorough.” “Excellent. He has great insight, offers good communication skills and takes a genuine interest in the case.” “Well prepared and razor sharp.” (Chambers UK 2022)

“He contributes immense authority with costs cases and his quality of service is golden.” Legal 500, 2022

“Alex is a brilliant “all rounder” who is technically excellent, a highly skilled and effective advocate who is exceptional at delivering a first class service.” Legal 500, 2022

“Has an ability to cut through detail to the crux of a case with unerring accuracy and confidence” Legal 500 2021

“A go-to leader for big costs actions and cases concerning complex issues relating to the recoverability of success fees” Chambers UK 2021

“He is incredibly personable and has great tactical awareness” Legal 500 2020 

“He always achieves what often seems to be an impossible result”  Chambers UK 2018

It is said of him that he is “An outstanding litigator who elicits trust and confidence from his clients. A superb all-rounder both on paper and in court” (Chambers UK 2022). In costs, “he has a superb command of costs law and is a measured and tenacious advocate” (Chambers UK 2015). He is regularly instructed in some of the largest and most complex clinical negligence actions. Over a number of years, he has appeared in a substantial number of the most important costs cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

As the quotes above suggest, Alexander is an all-rounder with recognised strengths on paper, on mastering difficult medical and legal issues and in person with clients and in court, whether as a trial or appellate advocate. Alexander is instructed in cases involving all aspects of medicine and medical law, with particular emphasis on maximum value injury cases and those which involve complex medical and legal issues. He has always had a mixed practice of claimant and defendant work in both clinical negligence and costs.

Alexander has practised in medical law for over 20 years and is currently instructed in many of the cases with the gravest injuries, highest values and most complex cases for either claimants or defendants. He is a very highly ranked silk in the directories for medical law. He has a particular reputation for dealing with complex medical issues, his cross-examination of medical experts and medical practitioners and his knowledge of costs issues which is invaluable in clinical negligence proceedings.

Legal 500 2021 state he “has an ability to cut through detail to the crux of a case with unerring accuracy and confidence.”

In his early years at the Bar, Alexander had a substantial practice in criminal law (both prosecuting and defending) and he now sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court. He is very familiar with evidential issues and with criminal and quasi-criminal proceedings.

In combination with his long-established practice in medical law, this has placed him in excellent stead to represent doctors, dentists and other clinical practitioners facing professional disciplinary proceedings.

His strengths as a trial advocate and cross-examiner are well suited to these types of cases and he was recommended as a leading junior in this field and now as a leading silk: “Has a respected practice in healthcare disciplinary matters”. “His advocacy is unflowery and very clear”. Chambers UK 2015.

Alexander has been a recognised leading figure in this increasingly important field since the mid-1990s when it began as a recognised specialism and has appeared in a substantial proportion of the most important cases, such as Lownds, Factortame, Gloucestershire CC v Evans, Claims Direct, Accident Line, Jenkins v Young Brothers, Henry v Newsgroup, Blankley, Marcus v Medway.

He represented the appellant in Blankley v Central Manchester NHS Trust, a Court of Appeal case concerning whether the loss of a client’s mental capacity frustrates the contract of a retainer.

“One of the best costs barrister out there,” “he’s very technical and thorough.” “Excellent. He has great insight, offers good communication skills and takes a genuine interest in the case.” “Well prepared and razor sharp.”  Chambers UK 2022

“Alexander commands the respect of both sides” and is “one of the biggest names in costs in the country. He’s an extremely intellectual and powerful advocate.” Chambers UK 2021

It is said of him: “He has a phenomenal command of costs law; you never want your opponents to instruct him” Legal 500, 2020 

“He is a true pleasure to work with. He is excellent with clients, particularly in conference, and his paperwork is always to the point.” “He’s a very good silk who’s been in the costs market for years so he knows his onions.” Chambers UK 2016

“He has a phenomenal command of costs law, and is adept at assimilating huge amounts of information; he has excellent client-handling skills and is extremely collaborative when working with instructing solicitors.” “He’s got a very smooth and easy manner in court” Chambers UK 2015.

“Considered a highly intellectual leader in the costs field”; “He’s eloquent, robust and doesn’t mess about – he tells you how it is”; “He’s incredibly charming and has a very affable style”. “Fiendishly clever, he is regarded as one of the best of his generation” Chambers UK 2014

“He has a superb command of costs law and is a measured and tenacious advocate” Legal 500 2014

Alexander is instructed in cases for anyone from individuals to large corporate bodies in cases involving complex legal issues. He deals with the highest value costs cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal and in advising on retainer issues, drafting retainer documents and advising on costs issues during the course of the main litigation as well as on, and on appeal from, detailed assessments.

“A great communicator and an excellent key player. He has a complete mastery of the most complex and high-value cases.” Chambers UK 2022

“An outstanding litigator who elicits trust and confidence from his clients. A superb all-rounder both on paper and in court.” Chambers UK 2022

“He identifies issues in cases early on and provides astute tactical advice. One of the best clinical negligence silks around.” Chambers UK 2022

“He contributes immense authority with costs cases and his quality of service is golden.” Legal 500, 2022

“Alex is a brilliant “all rounder” who is technically excellent, a highly skilled and effective advocate who is exceptional at delivering a first class service.” Legal 500, 2022

“One of the best costs barrister out there,” “he’s very technical and thorough.” “Excellent. He has great insight, offers good communication skills and takes a genuine interest in the case.” “Well prepared and razor sharp.” Chambers UK 2022

“Has an ability to cut through detail to the crux of a case with unerring accuracy and confidence.” Legal 500 2021

“Commended for his knowledge of the law, process, and procedure, his attention to detail, and strategic advice.” Legal 500, 2021

“Excellent with experts and cuts to the heart of the issues effectively but with a nice manner.” Chambers UK 2021

“A go-to leader for big costs actions and cases concerning complex issues relating to the recoverability of success fees.” “Superb, both in conference and in court, and 100% committed to the case, he is a realistic and highly commercial brief.” Chambers UK, 2021

“Alexander commands the respect of both sides” and is “one of the biggest names in costs in the country. He’s an extremely intellectual and powerful advocate.” Chambers UK 2021

“An absolute joy to work with, he’s assiduous, helpful and incredibly pleasant. Judges really like him.” Chambers UK 2020

“He’s very charming, knows what he’s doing and is extremely well prepared.” Chambers UK 2020

“He offers excellent client service.” Chambers UK 2020

“He’s always very calm in a crisis and is approachable and friendly. He provides pragmatic advice and is a real pleasure to work with.” Chambers UK 2020

“An extremely persuasive advocate with a friendly and down-to earth personality. The depth and analysis of his written opinions always impress” Chambers UK 2019

“A gifted advocate. He is personable, skilled and resolute in cross-examination” Chambers UK 2019 

“Has an extremely agile and quite brilliant legal brain” Legal 500 2019 

“He is extremely bright and has a strong grasp on the technical issues” Legal 500 2019

“He always brings exceptional clarity to the thorniest of costs issues.  His round-table negotiations and performance in court are remarkable and he always achieves what often seems to be an impossible result” Chambers UK 2018

“Incredibly bright and a brilliant advocate.  A superb cross-examiner” Chambers UK 2018

“A likeable and knowledgeable silk, and an excellent advocate” Legal 500 2017

“He is brilliant on his feet” Legal 500 2017

“Quite simply excellent on every level.” “The best advocate in the country for clinical negligence costs and funding.” “He’s a true specialist in this rather complex field and he’s been a leader in it for many years so his knowledge is absolutely first class.” Chambers UK 2017

“He is a first-class advocate, who is very impressive in court”. “The best around on costs, particularly in complex and novel areas.” Legal 500 2016

“He’s extremely affable and easy to work with, and his analytical skills and paperwork are second to none.” “He has an extremely pleasant and attractive presenting style.” Chambers UK 2016

“You feel in court he is really fighting your client’s corner and he does it in a very elegant way. He gets results.” Chambers UK 2016

“He is articulate and compelling in both his written and oral submissions.” Legal 500 2015

“An extremely approachable person and a ferocious trial advocate; he morphs from a cat to a tiger with ease.” Legal 500 2015

“His star has been in the ascendancy for years and is continuing to ascend. He’s very sensible, very fair and very, very bright.” “He’s always very well prepared, and is very impressive on the papers” Chambers UK 2015

“Has a respected practice in healthcare disciplinary matters”. “His advocacy is unflowery and very clear.” Chambers UK 2015

“Has a phenomenal command of costs law, and is adept at assimilating huge amounts of information.” Chambers UK 2015

“The sharpest intellect, technical prowess and among the best advocacy skills around.” Legal 500 2014

“A recent silk whose reputation continues to rise, thanks particularly to the strength of his intellect and the power of his courtroom advocacy. He’s an excellent all-rounder, who is very bright and good with clients.” Chambers UK 2014

“A highly intellectual leader in the [costs litigation] field. ‘He’s eloquent, robust, firm and doesn’t mess about – he tells you how it is. Fiendishly clever’, he is regarded as one of the best of his generation.” Chambers UK 2014

Successfully defended St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, both at trial and on appeal, in connection with a claim pertaining to dyskeratosis congenita, a rare haematological disease.

Totham v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust [2015] Med LR 55, per Elizabeth Laing J: various quantum issues decided on an assessment of damages hearing in a maximum severity brain damaged baby case where damages of more than £10 million were ordered.

Blankley v Central Manchester NHS Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 18; [2015] WLR, Court of Appeal: whether supervening loss of mental capacity by a claimant terminates the retainer between solicitor and client, necessitating the need to enter into a new retainer in order to be able to recover costs thereafter.

Meikeljohn v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2014] Med LR 122 Court of Appeal, including the correct standard of duty for a pre-eminent clinician.

Bentine v Official Solicitor [2014] 1 All ER 983 Proudman J – whether costs disallowed for want of retainer are counted for the purposes of the one-fifth costs rule on a solicitor-client assessment (on appeal to the Court of Appeal).

Henry v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd [2013] 2 All ER 840 Court of Appeal, what is a “good reason” for exceeding a costs budget.

Solomon v Cromwell; Oliver v Doughty [2012] 1 WLR 1048 Court of Appeal, what the costs consequences are of accepting a Part 36 offer pre-action in a case which is covered by fixed fees

Manning v King’s College Hospital [2012] 1 Costs LR 105 Spencer J, relief from sanctions in failing to serve costs information.

Medway PCT v Marcus [2011] Med LR 560 Court of Appeal, the costs consequences of judgment for the claimant of a tiny fraction of the claim in a clinical negligence action where there was no Part 36 offer.

Oliver v Whipps Cross Hospital [2009] Costs LR 474 Jack J – the appropriateness of recovering a 100% success fee on a CFA entered into right at the outset of a clinical negligence claim.

Jones v Attrill (Law Society intervening) [2009] 1 WLR 1731 Court of Appeal (Accident Line Direct challenges to recoverability).

Gloucestershire County Council v Evans [2008] 1 WLR 1883 Court of Appeal the lawfulness of a discounted CFA with a success fee.

Jenkins v Young Bros Transport [2006] 1 WLR 3189: Rafferty J – the lawfulness of assigning a CFA between solicitors.

Burchell v Bullard [2005] EWCA Civ 358; [2005] BLR 330: Court of Appeal – the appropriate principles for making the costs order where a claim was successful and the counterclaim only partly successful, and where one of the parties failed to mediate.

Smart v East Cheshire NHS Trust [2005] EWHC 2086 (QB) [2004] 1 Costs LR 124 (Gage J): the principles of making costs capping orders in non-group action cases (there a clinical negligence case).

R (Factortame) v Secretary of State for Transport [2003] QB 381 (Court of Appeal): the legality of contingency fees for litigation-support organisations and/or experts.

Malkinson v Trim [2003] 1 WLR 463; [2003] 2 All ER 356 (Court of Appeal) – the leading modern case on what costs are recoverable when a solicitor litigant acts in person.

Re Claims Direct Test Cases [2003] 4 All ER 508 (Court of Appeal): whether the cost of a basket of claims management services can be included in an after the event insurance premium recoverable from the paying party.

Lownds v The Home Office [2002] 1 WLR 2450 (Court of Appeal) – the leading case on proportionality under the CPR.

South Coast Shipping v Havant BC [2002] 4 All ER 779 (Pumfrey J) – legal professional privilege and the disclosure of documents on detailed assessment in the light of the Human Rights Act.

  • First Class degree in Politics from Bristol University (1990)
  • Junior Counsel to the Crown (B Panel) 1999-2005
  • Recorder of the Crown Court since 2009
  • Sits as an assessor to High Court Judges on costs appeals
  • Regular lecturer on medical law and costs law issues
  • Chairman of the Jackson LJ committee on the J-Codes and new bill of costs (2013 to date)
  • Volunteer advisor at the Bethnal Green Legal Advice Centre (2001 to date)

Personal: Father of three young children; qualified international ski instructor (BASI level 2); Chelsea Season Ticket holder, and full member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

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