David Firth

Head of Litigation, Partner

Experience 

David is head of the litigation division at Capsticks. He joined the firm in 1995 and works with clients across the firm’s key sectors, with a particular emphasis on construction dispute resolution and health and safety matters. 

Expertise 

David has supported clients undertaking fire safety remedial works both in seeking damages for contractors’ historic design and workmanship breaches and, in the case of registered providers, managing their relationships with leaseholders. He and his team routinely deal with payment disputes, extension of time requests, contested termination rights and related damages claims, representing employers, contractors and subcontractors.  

For health and safety, David is best known for supporting clients undergoing criminal investigation for a range of offences including corporate manslaughter. He advises on disaster response, reputation management, internal investigations, at all stages from interview under caution through to Crown Court prosecution. 

With clients facing enforcement action from the police, the HSE and the Care Quality Commission over many years, David is very familiar with their ways of working, what tactics work to minimise regulatory intervention and, crucially, those that do not. He has supported organisations and individuals through every aspect of the investigation process, up to and including interview under caution, and uses his expertise to help avert further enforcement action, or to minimise the reputational impact if a criminal prosecution is commenced.  

Notable projects 

Construction 
  • Representing a large NHS foundation trust on a multi-million pound extension of time claim relating to a ground-breaking medical treatment facility project in North London; successfully resisting two adjudication attempts by the contractor and re-engaging it with the contractual dispute resolution mechanism. 
  • Advising a G15 registered provider on the recovery of damages from a variety of contractors for the replacement costs of defective cladding, for buildings above and below 18m across its estate. 
  • Pursuing damages from a contractor in voluntary liquidation and dissolved in questionable circumstances, requiring restoration to the Companies House register and the pursuit of damages against former directors personally. 
  • Limitation rescue: securing, on two working days’ notice, a four month standstill agreement to enable with a registered provider to pursue negotiations relating to fire safety remedial works required from a household name building contractor while preserving the right to litigate if required.  
Investigations; health and safety  
  • Acting for a household name private sector care provider prosecuted in the Crown Court for health and safety failures following a death from legionella at a care home. David successfully argued for the withdrawal of the prosecution against the holding company and helped keep the fine against the care provider company itself to a minimum at the Crown Court sentencing hearing, following a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity. 
  • Advising an acute hospital NHS trust facing inconsistent and inappropriate enforcement action by CQC during the second COVID-19 surge in late 2020. The regulator served a s.31 notice imposing conditions which would have severely hampered the trust’s ability to provide effective care to patients with acute respiratory illness. Following written representations drafted for and with senior board members, CQC withdrew its notice. 
  • Support on one of the major Jimmy Savile investigations, involving analysis of the client NHS body’s policies over a period in excess of 40 years, close working with the independently-instructed investigation team, and advice to the trust board on implementing recommendations and in response to major press interest following publication of Savile reports nationally and the Health Secretary’s Statement to the House of Commons.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons), University of Exeter, 1989
  • MA, University of Durham, 1990

Contact David Firth