Expertise

Cécile Burgess is a Legal Director in Commercial Disputes in the London Office, specialising in Product Litigation, Safety and Recall. Cécile has extensive experience of acting for global product manufacturers in relation to product liability claims and risk management. Cécile focuses on Life Sciences (pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical devices), and is also experienced in the Retail & Consumer and Automotive sectors. She acts on a wide variety of disputes, including both contractual and tortious claims, and has a strong record of managing large and complex product liability disputes, including high profile group actions.

In addition to her litigation and dispute resolution work, Cécile advises on regulatory, product safety and compliance issues. This work includes management of local counsel in Europe and other international jurisdictions, liaising with authorities and regulators around the world, and advising clients in a "trusted advisor" capacity on liability, regulatory, product safety and compliance issues.

Experience
  • Bailey and others v GSK - The Seroxat Group Action: Acting for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), defending over 100 claims brought against GSK in the English High Court under a Group Litigation Order. Obtained victory for GSK in July 2020, along with an award for costs, in part on an indemnity basis. Continues to act in relation to recovering GSK's costs, in respect of which the third party litigation funder recently paid GSK £5million in full and final settlement of their liabilities for GSK's costs. 
  • TRW Systems UK Ltd & Others v KEMET Electronics Corporation: Acting for KEMET Electronics Corporation, defending a multi-million pound product liability TCC claim brought against them by a number of claimants within the same corporate group, in relation to the supply of allegedly defective components supplied and used in airbag control units sold to third party OEMs.
  • Diesel emissions damages claims: Advising a large group of defendants in relation to a potential diesel emissions group claim brought against them, over the alleged use of “defeat devices” in vehicles.
  • Emergency vaccine damages claims: Acting for a global pharmaceutical company in the defence of a number of English, Scottish and Northern Irish claims for compensation brought in respect of the use the H1N1 vaccine. 
  • Metal-on-Metal Hip Group Litigation: Defending a group action in the English High Court brought by a group of English claimants against a global medical device manufacturer in respect of allegedly defective hip prostheses.
  • Coordinating on an international basis a number of large recalls of consumer products on behalf of market-leading international brand names, including the recall of non-compliant products in the cosmetics, consumer electronics, retail and consumer, and automotive sectors.
Publications
  • "COVID-19 and Vaccine Development: Navigating the UK Regulatory Landscape and Beyond", Product Liability Laws and Regulations 2021, International Comparative Legal Guide 
  • Drugs & Medical Device Litigation 2021, England & Wales, International Comparative Legal Guide 
  • "Medicinal Cannabis and CBD Products – Navigating the UK Regulatory Landscape", Product Liability 2020, International Comparative Legal Guide
  • Drugs & Medical Device Litigation 2020, England & Wales, International Comparative Legal Guide
Languages
  • French (native)
Professional Memberships
  • International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organisation
  • Product Liability Forum, British Institute of International and Comparative Law
Testimonials
  • Recognised as a Rising Star for Litigation in the UK by LMG Expert Guides
  • Ranked as Rising Star by Legal 500 2022 and Star Associate by Chambers 2022 for Product Liability
  • "[Cécile] is a really solid, smart litigator and a great international lawyer." – Chambers 2022 (Product Liability) 
  • "Cécile Burgess is a rising star who combines a superb knowledge of the law with mature litigation judgement." - Legal 500 2021 (Product Liability) – ranked as 'Rising Star'
  • "[Cécile] has a very thorough and sensitive approach to cases and handles them brilliantly." - Chambers 2021 (Product Liability) – ranked as 'Star Associate' 
  • "Managing Associate Cécile Burgess is held in high regard for her handling of substantial claims arising out of defective pharmaceutical products and consumer goods. She handles significant multi-claimant disputes. According to a source, ‘she has a fantastic attention to detail, she is just on top of everything’, while another interviewee identifies her as ‘a very good litigator’." - Chambers 2020 (Product Liability) – ranked as 'Associate to Watch'
  • "Senior associate Cécile Burgess is an outstanding practitioner" - Legal 500 2020 (Product Liability) – ranked as 'Rising Star'