Hugh solely undertakes claimant clinical negligence claims, whether against the NHS or private healthcare providers. He has substantial experience of spinal claims and the complications arising from such injuries, as well as with regard to issues arising from the provision of healthcare insurance cover, indemnification and recovery.

A significant part of Hugh’s practice includes substandard management of mental health conditions and injuries associated with the failure to protect individuals from harm, both within a hospital environment and in the community.


Hugh is ranked by both of the leading guides to the legal profession: the Legal 500 and the Chambers and Partners Guide.

The Chambers 2020 edition notes that Hugh is “extremely hard-working, with a good knowledge of the law and good tactical instincts,” and “His preparation of cases is meticulous and he has a great eye for detail.”  Past editions have commented upon his “distinguished reputation for work on high-value and complex cases involving psychiatric disorders, spinal cord injury and brain injury”.

The Legal 500 2020 edition comments: “Hugh Johnson has a first class brain, charming manner and diligent approach to all his cases.”


Hugh has acted in a diverse range of cases including:

  • MC v Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, where an 80 year old claimant with a neck injury following a fall was rendered tetraplegic when a protective cervical spine collar was inappropriately removed. Capitalised damages of just under £1.3m were recovered.
  • AP v Lawes, where the claimant, employed by an international insurer in the City, recovered damages of £3.25m (including a £2m earnings loss component) following substandard abdominal surgery.
  • Szatmari v Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where a young claimant was rendered paraplegic following spinal anaesthesia. Capitalised damages of more than £6m were awarded to pay for his healthcare and accommodation needs for life.
  • JP v East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust, a seven figure settlement was agreed following negligent treatment of an incomplete spinal cord injury which inhibited his recovery.


Hugh has acted in mental health claims involving care provided by general practitioners, by community mental health teams and at hospital. His experience includes:

  • PFZ v West London Mental Health NHS Trust, where the claimant, who was suffering from a severe mental illness was permitted to leave hospital in a vulnerable state. He attempted suicide, sustaining severe injuries that left him wheelchair dependent. The Court approved a substantial seven-figure settlement.
  • PBM v Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust,the claimant was a patient under the Mental Health Act 1983, but he was not recalled to hospital when his mental state further deteriorated.  PBM was awarded a six-figure damages settlement for multiple injuries subsequently sustained in an attempted suicide.


Hugh has worked at Stewarts for more than 10 years, specialising in clinical negligence claims.  He started his career with a large regional firm, where he undertook a broad range both personal injury and clinical cases.


Accreditations and Memberships

Hugh is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and The Royal Society of Medicine. He is accredited APIL Senior Litigator.

Hugh was elected secretary of the APIL Spinal Injury Special Interest Group in 2014 a post he had held continuously, before being appointed the group co-ordinator in August 2018.


Hugh has spoken at the GovToday Social Care Conference and has both chaired sessions and spoken at the APIL Advanced Brain and Spinal Injuries Conferences.

He is a contributing author to Lewis & Buchan on Clinical Negligence (8th Edition) published in October 2019.

His articles on the role of expert witnesses in healthcare litigation have been featured in The Lawyer and Lexology legal updates.


Hugh enjoys the most outdoor pursuits. He is often to be found cycling in the Surrey hills with his cycle club.