Clinical negligence in London Bar
1 CROWN OFFICE ROW remains 'the go-to set for medical negligence cases', fielding 'an ever-growing pool of excellent barristers to choose from at all levels'. The set 'offers a diverse range of skills and experience', making it a first-choice for a wide range of clients in relation to high profile multi-party claims and precedent-setting cases. Philip Havers QC represented the defendant in Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust before the Supreme Court, which turned on if non-medical staff (in this case, a receptionist) owe a duty of care to patients. Henry Witcomb QC represented the claimant and John Whitting QC the defendant in SXL v West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, in which a newborn who suffered a catastrophic brain injury after a two-day delay in prescribing aciclovir caused herpes simplex virus to develop into a brain infection received a £37m award, thought to be a national record. Cara Guthrie joined from Outer Temple Chambers.
Hailsham Chambers is 'an increasingly strong specialist set' which offers a 'breadth of knowledge' across every medical specialism. The set is 'packed with bright but critically down to earth individuals' across the spectrum of counsel. 'Highly expert silks' and 'exceptional juniors' are instructed on all types of complex and high-value clinical negligence cases. Alexander Hutton QC acted for the claimant in a brain damage case where a premature baby, following discharge from hospital, developed a cold and blocked nose which worsened into respiratory arrests. Andrew Post QC represented King's College Hospital in a wrongful birth claim arising out of the hospital's failure to identify ambiguous sex before birth, which raised issues in relation to causation and scope of duty - the claim, which was initially pleaded at £7.5m, was settled for £200,000.
One of the 'clear heavyweights for clinical negligence' work, Serjeants' Inn Chambers has a 'breadth and depth' of experienced advocates, which is 'not matched by any other set'. It demonstrates a 'real understanding of the instructing solicitor's expectations' and strives to ensure those are met. Recent standout work includes Court of Appeal case XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust, in which Christopher Johnston QC and Claire Watson represented the claimant (who was rendered infertile by negligent late diagnosis of cervical cancer), who recovered the costs of commercial surrogacy in California despite such arrangements being prohibited across the United Kingdom. Angus Moon QC successfully acted for the defendant in the test case of Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, in which a woman stabbed her mother to death during a serious psychotic episode; the trust admitted liability for negligent treatment but the claim for damages was precluded on the grounds of illegality.
2 Temple Gardens is a 'solid and highly-respected chambers in the field of clinical negligence'. Members act for claimants and defendants, providing 'a balanced approach' to litigation, and are well-regarded for their expertise in group actions. 2018 silk Bradley Martin QC was instructed for the respondent trust in Supreme Court case Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, in which a trust was found liable for inaccurate waiting time information provided by a receptionist. Michael de Navarro QC succeeded before the Court of Appeal in Manzi v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which concerned if adverse inferences can be made when a witness alleged to be relevant to the dispute is absent from trial. Benjamin Browne QC acted on behalf of the successful respondent in an appeal to the Privy Council from the Bermudian Court of Appeal (Williams v The Bermuda Hospital Board) concerning the issue of causation and material contribution to an indivisible injury.
7BR has an 'excellent and deserved reputation in clinical negligence work'. Barristers demonstrate particular expertise in cerebral palsy and spinal injuries arising from negligent medical care. In a recent highlight, Simeon Maskrey QC and Jeremy Pendlebury successfully represented the claimant in Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, in which the Supreme Court found non-medical staff (in this case, a receptionist) owe a duty of care to patients. Maskrey QC also represented the doctor in MNX v Khan, in which the Court of Appeal overturned a decision that a mother could obtain wrongful birth damages for an additional disability over and above the one that was negligently tested for.
Outer Temple Chambers is 'an excellent set'. Often a 'first choice' for high-value catastrophic injury clinical negligence cases, the set fields a strong team, Jonathan Hand QC took silk in 2019, following in the footsteps of Nathan Tavares QC and Eliot Woolf QC in the previous round. Harry Trusted successfully concluded a claim against the Ministry of Defence, where he represented a former soldier, who suffered from epilepsy following the negligent prescription of malaria treatment mefloquine. Secondary victims are another area of expertise - Ben Bradley unusually obtained damages for a father as a secondary victim in a neonatal death claim.
The 'excellent' 1 Chancery Lane offers a 'full range of experience in the clinical negligence field'. Members have particular expertise acting in cases concerning catastrophic birth injuries, as well as claims arising from mental illness. The set has built a 'strong reputation' in multi-party actions and representing defendants in ground-breaking cases. Barristers are praised for their 'collaborative approach to work and instructions'. Edward Faulks QC represented the defendant in the Court of Appeal case of XX v Whittington NHS Trust, in which a claimant, who was rendered infertile due to clinical negligence, sought damages for the costs of a commercial surrogacy arrangement in California. Also for the NHS, Edward Bishop QC acted for the defendant in YAH v Medway NHS Foundation Trust, in which the distinction between primary and secondary victims in claims for psychiatric illness was addressed.
The 'approachable' 39 Essex Chambers has a 'breadth and depth of expertise' and 'good range of counsel' who cover the full array of clinical negligence claims, from minor injuries to complex litigation involving catastrophic injury and difficult group actions. The assessment of quantum in high-value cases is a particular area of expertise for barristers. James Todd QC represented an NHS Trust in contempt of court proceedings (Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Trust v Atwal), arising out of an £835,000 personal injury claim brought by a disk jockey, which was found to have been exaggerated following social media and surveillance evidence - the claimant was committed to prison for three months. Fiona Paterson joined from Serjeants' Inn Chambers and Samantha Jones joined from 7BR in September 2018.
9 Gough Square is a 'good set of chambers with a range of strengths' and 'sound medical knowledge'. High-value birth injury, spinal surgery, fertility treatment and sterilisation claims are all areas of expertise for its barristers, who are also experienced in dealing with genetic issues and delayed cancer diagnosis cases. Grahame Aldous QC and Stuart McKechnie QC reached a multi-million pound settlement, following a Court of Appeal decision (EXP v Barker) concerning allegations of bias on the part of experts, on behalf of a district judge who suffered a disabling stroke after a failure to identify and treat a cranial aneurysm.
Cloisters has an 'excellent selection of highly-skilled barristers' who exhibit expert knowledge in all aspects of medical law. The set specialises in high-value matters, including neurological birth injuries, as well as cases complex quantum issues. Joel Donovan QC and Martyn MacLeish represented the claimant in the Court of Appeal decision of Hewes v West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust , which is now the leading authority on summary judgments in clinical negligence cases. Donovan QC also acted for the claimant in the Court of Appeal in Duce v Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which concerned the determination of informed consent to a total abdominal hysterectomy, which in this instance resulted in chronic post-surgical pain.
The 'very accomplished' Crown Office Chambers 'contains real talent in the field of clinical negligence'. The set is instructed by claimants and defendants on complex and high-value claims arising out of birth injury, failure to diagnose medical conditions, negligent surgery as well as multi-party actions. Barristers are 'approachable and willing to assist' and there is a 'good range of counsel from the junior to the senior end'.
Devereux has 'significant figures, both silks and senior juniors, who have proven strength and ability' and provide 'excellent advice' in relation to clinical negligence matters. Typical instructions include birth trauma, brain injury and cerebral palsy claims, which raise challenging issues in relation to liability, quantum and causation.
The 'impressive' Old Square Chambers is well-established in the clinical negligence field and members are instructed in a wide ranger of cases for both defendants and claimants. Ben Collins QC successfully represented the claimant in Asante v Guy’s & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, a complex claim for inadequate management of sickle cell anaemia.