Barristers fight Piper Alpha negligence claim

TWO BARRISTERS accused of negligence by a disaster witness who lost a compensation fight have applied for the claim to be struck out.

The High Court application was filed by law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain which is representing Nigel Wilkinson QC and Anna Guggenheim, both of Raymond Kidwell QC's 2 Crown Office Row set.

The two barristers are being sued for negligence by Francis McFarlane, from Scotland, who witnessed the agonies of the injured and dying from a fire-fighting ship during the Piper Alpha oil disaster.

A writ from McFarlane's solicitors Levinson Gray says Wilkinson and Guggenheim were McFarlane's leading and junior counsel in an unsuccessful attempt to sue Occidental Petroleum for damages in 1989.

It accuses them of acting negligently and claims legislation protecting barristers from being sued should be abolished. It also claims to have identified three areas of alleged failure by the barristers which were not the subject of immunity.

The hearing will take place in camera later this month. Levinson Gray has confirmed it will contest the application.