Ashfords has hired air accident litigation expert Jim Morris as head of the UK firm’s aviation practice.
Morris, who is a barrister and former RAF pilot, joins from Irwin Mitchell, where he spent six years as a partner specialising in air accident litigation.
At Irwin Mitchell he advised on several high-profile air accidents, representing the families of British passengers in the 2015 Germanwings A320-200 crash and the 2012 Sita Air Dornier 228 crash in Nepal.
He also represented the families of passengers killed in the 2012 Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83 crash in Lagos and the 2010 Pamir Airways Antonov An-24RV crash in Afghanistan.
Morris, 46, said he was proud to join Ashfords, which he praised for its sector-specific approach.
“This industry specific expertise fits with my background as a professional RAF pilot,” he said. “[Joining] Ashfords is a very exciting opportunity for me to lead and develop a dedicated claimant aviation practice within an agile, ambitious and reputable international law firm.”
Asked why he chose to leave Irwin Mitchell, Morris said he was bound by a confidentiality clause, which prohibited him from disclosing his reasons for resigning.
“My last aviation practice was just a part of – and controlled by – a much larger general personal injury and travel litigation department,” he said.
“Due to the nature and complexity of air accidents, there is a clear need for a specialist practice that is just dedicated to representing the victims of air accidents. I now have this at Ashfords. I lead a stand-alone aviation practice that can provide the highest level of specialist service to air accident victims.”
He said he hopes to continue building an “ethical and compassionate reputation”, while taking on cases that lead to improved flight safety and achieve the best results for accident victims.
Ashfords confirmed the hire of Morris on 8 February, although his formal start date at the firm was in January.
Rory Mac Neice, head of dispute resolution at Ashfords, said he looked forward to seeing the aviation sector group thrive under Morris.
A spokesperson for Irwin Mitchell declined to comment, but said the firm's aviation team continues to represent victims of major air accidents, including the Germanwings crash.