Like a handful of her peers, Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC chose the bar because a man told her it was no place for a woman.
In the world of personal injury, including abuse claims, she is a market leader – someone who will always go that extra mile for the claimant. Her practice is so busy that she makes visits to clients at home on the weekend so they get the personal treatment, critical for claimants daunted by the prospect of the High Court.
Her breakthrough case came when she acted for respondents JGE in their case against Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust. The case determined the vicarious liability of the Church regarding sexual abuse by a paedophile priest.
Prior to that she worked on a series of cases concerning clients who were put into care. At one time she was involved in 92 inquiries involving children and 15 group actions.
She is a go-to lawyer in the area of clinical negligence and in 2012 alone she secured settlements worth £137m for her clients, many of which include periodical payments. It is no mean feat. “It is very humbling when you see young children with catastrophic injuries living in very difficult conditions,” she says. “It takes a long time to get interim payments.”
This year she will act for the alleged victims of Jimmy Savile. She is also instructed by Redress to intervene in the landmark Mau Mau Kenyans case against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the High Court.