The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon
Work 01622 690691
Fax 01622 681430

John Sheath

Work 01622 776406

Work Department



Partner and head of Brachers’ Healthcare team.


  • Healthcare & Medical Defence
  • Inquests & coroners courts
  • Complaints and independent reviews
  • Health & safety
  • Governance and risk management


John trained at Norton Rose and qualified in 1976. John joined Brachers in 1981 and was made partner in 1983, and Managing Partner 2004-12. In 2008 he obtained an MBA with distinction.

 John has over 35 years’ experience in providing specialist advice in clinical negligence, inquests, health & safety, corporate manslaughter, risk management and governance, mental health, consent and capacity issues.

John’s extensive experience includes the support of NHS clients through major incidents including Kent & Canterbury Hospital (cervical smears), East Kent Health Authority (Dr Ayling), East Kent NHS Hospitals (Rodney Ledward), West Kent HA (Michael Stone), Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (C Difficile) and Sussex NHS Partnership and Maidstone &Tunbridge Wells (corporate manslaughter).

His extensive experience covers Court of Protection declarations, GMC and GDC proceedings and Chairing Performance List Panels; Judicial Review and advice on major reorganizations and consultation procedures. He has developed a substantial inquest practice for NHS Trusts and a leading defence organization.

He supports NHS training on specialist topics such as consent, confidentiality and capacity, information governance, professional accountability, witness skills and the legal implications of record keeping and provides first-hand practical training for staff in the form of mock inquest hearings. 


  • Legal 500 UK 2014: Health South East “an excellent solicitor”.
  • ADR Group: accredited Civil & Commercial Panel Mediator




  • The Law Society
  • The Health & Safety Lawyers Association
Legal Member to the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust Ethics Committee


Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School Rochester 1963-9

Southampton University 1970-3 LLB (Hons)

Guildford College of Law 1973/4  Sols Qualifying Exams

South East: Human resources

Health and safety

Within: Health and safety

Brachers' health and safety team is 'highly attentive, always available and willing to talk through any issues', with team head Lee May singled out for his 'strong in-depth knowledge of his subject area'. The practice acts for public and private sector clients, and is noted for its construction, healthcare and education sector expertise. John Sheath has more than 30 years' experience handling inquests, corporate manslaughter, and risk management and governance issues.

[back to top]

South East: Insurance

Clinical negligence: defendant

Within: Leading individuals

John Sheath - Brachers

Within: Clinical negligence: defendant

With 'excellent defendant firm' Brachers, clients 'always know that the case will be well prepared and thought through'. The team is renowned for its case work with the Medical and Dental Defence Unions, Specsavers Optical Group, Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Newline Insurance Company, especially on brain injury, cerebral palsy, psychiatric, dental, oncology and ophthalmic claims. Clients recommend 'fantastic and hugely experienced' practice lead Scott Alexander, as well as 'efficient and tireless' associate Harriet Humphrey, the 'hardworking' Frances Cutler and the 'competent' Dana Ellis. Another key team member is experienced healthcare law partner and mediator John Sheath.

[back to top]

South East: Public sector


Within: Leading individuals

John Sheath - Brachers

Within: Health

Brachers fields a team with extensive experience in healthcare matters, as illustrated by its presence on the NHS Commercial Alliance framework panel and its work for a number of NHS trusts and medical defence organisations. The practice also acts for GP federations, corporations and individual practices, for which it handles merger and succession issues. Recent work includes acting for Medway NHS Foundation Trust in an inquest concerning the death of a patient from suspected pre-eclampsia, and advising Tonbridge Medical Practice on the development of a new surgery. John Sheath leads the healthcare team and has more than 30 years' experience handling clinical negligence inquests, health and safety issues, and Court of Protection declaration work, among other areas of expertise. Employment specialist  Catherine Daw is also recommended.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to