It was with deep regret and sadness that we learnt of the sudden and unexpected passing of Roger Wicks on 12 January 2016. We had known Roger for over 20 years, initially when he was involved in a number of high-profile multi-party actions.
Roger was a member of the benzodiazepine and Myodil steering committees. The Myodil litigation was a highly successful group action and Roger made a significant contribution to its successful conclusion.
In the 1990s, Roger was a pioneer amongst English litigators in attending the conferences of the American Association of Justice, always looking to see if the English legal system could learn from ‘what the US does today, England does tomorrow’.
The Law Society recognised Roger as a leading clinical negligence practitioner when he was appointed chief assessor to its first specialist panel. We joined as assessors with a small band of others. Roger’s drive was to always ensure quality in the work done by specialist lawyers in this area and he did not show any mercy to those who did not come up to scratch at the candidate interviews.
In 1993 Roger co-founded Gadsby Wicks with Gillian Gadsby. Roger was very proud of the success of Gadsby Wicks, which became the first firm specialising solely in clinical negligence claims on behalf of claimants.
In recent years Roger was instrumental in setting up the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers (SCIL) of which our respective firms are also members. SCIL was set up to assist claimants handling clinical negligence claims in dealing with intended government reforms. Roger worked tirelessly to challenge the government’s reforms, which he felt were unreasonable and likely to reduce access to justice for those injured. His concern was to achieve justice and fair compensation for those negligently injured at the hands of the medical profession.
Roger was always smartly turned out and with his distinctive silver hair (we are sure Roger was born with silver hair) he was always immaculately dressed. It was always easy to feel underdressed alongside him.
Roger had a lovely sense of humour and bore a strong resemblance to the American comedian Steve Martin. In fact, Roger would say to his American lawyer friends that Steve Martin bore a strong resemblance to Roger Wicks.
Roger was a true professional and a genuinely nice man. He and his influence will be truly missed and our sympathies and those of all SCIL members are extended to his family, Gillian, friends and work colleagues.
David Bradshaw is a partner at Hay & Kilner, Trevor Ward is a partner at Linder Myers and David Harris is formerly of Alexander Harris