Local boy Howard Nulty, after Prescot Grammar and Cardiff University, started his hardworking, but satisfying, career at a large practice in Liverpool. He soon returned to his roots and since 1983, with his partners and co-directors, has built up a successful civil litigation, personal injury and clinical and professional negligence practice.
That practice, St Helens Law, specialises in high value, complex cases involving employer’s liability, clinical errors made by doctors and other professionals - such as accountants and surveyors. Howard says, "Unhappily sometimes we have to take other professionals and even solicitors to court to get the right outcome, but that is part of my job," he adds, "I have taken on a lot of cases that other firms have said were likely to fail and have succeeded. I believe that the purpose of the legal profession is to assist people. That is why I came into the job and that is what I believe in." Howard has successfully sued St Helens, Knowsley and Warrington NHS trusts over cases simply involving lack of care on the part of nursing and medical staff.
A typical case of Howard's involved a machine operator from the midlands who caught his arm in the machinery and lost it due to the guard being removed, "he had seen two firms who both said that it would fail. He ended up with a six figure settlement."
Of course, not all cases are about financial compensation and Howard often takes on lower value cases that are of interest or in the public interest. "I believe that the purpose of the legal profession is to assist people. That is why I came into the job and that is what I believe in." Howard has recently campaigned for an inquest into the death of a patient who died in mysterious circumstances at Whiston Hospital. "The matter went to the Home Secretary who granted the inquest which will be heard later this year. The family it would seem was never offered an Inquest but due to our involvement that will now happen. " The family did not want compensation here but to make sure they knew what had happened. "I have lost count of the number of cases that have come to us after involvement of others that result in a happy client."
Howard, and St Helens Law, tends to do a lot of pro-bono work. Many of their clients have problems that used to be covered by the' Legal Aid' system but now would simply be at the mercy of others, were it not for the fact that they give advice free of charge. Most cases are conducted on a free basis to the clients, recovering costs from the other side. Howard's view is "if you take a case on you should be prepared to be paid nothing if you lose."
Unfortunately the expansion of the personal injury market has resulted in a lot of fairly amateurish attempts by lawyers and none lawyers to cash in. Howard has taken on cases against some of these to obtain proper compensation where people have been let down by others. "Quite a lot of clients come to me quite distressed at having been given wrong advice by others and leave here both wiser and usually with their claim resolved. Even now that the legal profession is more of a business you still have to care about the person and see what it is that person wants."
The cases Howard takes on are nationwide, people come by recommendation from all over England and Wales. On the civil litigation side of the practice he acts for small local firms or major commercial organisations recovering monies as a result of transactions going wrong. These also are dealt with on a no win no fee basis. "On my desk, in any one day, there can be anything from someone who has been bitten by a dog with a small wound to a cerebral palsy claim against the NHS where the child needs compensating for the injuries received in childbirth. All of the cases receive my attention regardless of the amount of money involved."
If you would like to talk to Howard free of charge about any legal matter, Howard and his practice make themselves available seven days a week to clients via their helpline on 0800 975 4321.