Clinical negligence: defendant in London
Capsticks LLP's clinical law team has recently added five new NHS Trusts to the already more than 300 public and independent sector healthcare providers within its client portfolio. Group litigation expert Philip Hatherall leads the specialist inquest team, which provides both an advisory and advocacy service. Majid Hassan, who is the lead partner for The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) specialising in the defence of claims againts GPs, also heads the medical malpractice insurance team, offering representation in a wide range of civil claims brought against private surgeons, clinics and hospitals, as well as providing risk management and governance advice to medical teams in elite sports. The team was involved in some recent landmark cases: legal Director Cassius Box led advice to the defendant in the landmark Supreme Court case Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which clarified the scope of the duty of care of Emergency Department receptionists and non-medical staff; while Catherine Bennett represented three NHS Trusts in a high-profile case that has become the leading authority on the sharing of patient information. Catastrophic injuries, cardiac, obstetric, neonatal and consent-related cases are all areas of expertise for the department.
‘Capsticks been the top specialist clinical negligence defendant firm for many years and remain so.’
‘Capsticks’ strength comes from the leadership of the senior partners and the care which has gone into assembling a team of bright lawyers, who are motivated and work well together in a challenging environment.’
‘Cassius Box has extensive experience and superb judgement. On top of that, he is well respected by his opponents.’
London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust
South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
- Acted for NHS Resolution and Croydon Health Services Trust in the Supreme Court decision Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust on the scope of the duty of care of Emergency Department receptionists and non-medical staff.
- Acted on behalf of NHS Resolution and three Trusts in a case related to the sharing of patient information with a family member regarding a hereditary condition.
- Acted for NHS Resolution and Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in dismissing a a cerebral palsy claim regarding alleged negligence advice on breastfeeding.
- Represented NHS Resolution on behalf of West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust in what is thought to be the biggest settlement ever for a clinical negligence case in the UK (£37m).
- Represented the Trust in connection with the inquest into the death of Alice Brooks, who became ill after eating a meal at a branch of Wagamama.
Clyde & Co LLP fields 'an experienced team handling some of the weightiest clinical negligence cases'. The practice has a full-service healthcare offering, which not only includes defendant clinical negligence, but also encompasses regulatory and disciplinary proceedings, judicial review and representation at inquests. The team is instructed by heavyweights in the public sector as well as several private medical malpractice insurers, healthcare providers and privately paying individuals. Head of the Global Healthcare practice Claire Petts has particular expertise acting for medical professionals in brain injury, obstetric and other maximum severity claims. Gemma Brannigan 's experience spans advocacy in a number of high-profile inquests, including prison inquests. The 'very professional and first-class lawyer' Sam Holden often handles claims involving birth asphyxia and neurological injuries.
‘Clyde and Co are a friendly, experienced and approachable team with a wealth of knowledge about the NHS and Healthcare Law.’
‘They have strength in depth to provide an excellent service to NHS Trusts.’
‘An excellent firm of Defendant clinical negligence solicitors who also have a wealth of experience in handling regulatory and inquest matters on behalf of their clients.’
‘ Claire Petts is hugely experienced in handling all types of complex and high value clinical negligence claims, as well as having a detailed understanding of the regulatory implications of such proceedings for doctors in the GMC or how to handle an inquest arising out of a clinical negligence death.’
‘Sam Holden has a very thoughtful approach and is prepared to fight a claim to trial.’
‘Richard Manstoff is excellent, with an extremely thorough knowledge of his cases and huge attention to detail.’
Medical Protection Society
Premium Medical Protection
Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance
Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
East Kent University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Acting on behalf of CNA Hardy and ITH Pharma Limited in the civil litigation arising from the 2014 baby feed contamination scandal in which 3 babies died and 20 were taken ill with blood poisoning after allegedly receiving medicinal baby feed.
- Representing Medical Protection Society in striking out a claim brought against the claimant’s GP in connection with his prescribing of tramadol for pain relief following a prior road traffic accident.
- Represented five NHS Trusts in striking out a £15m fundamentally defective claim regarding the tying of the claimant’s fallopian tubes without her consent and failure to diagnose pregnancy.
- Instructed by Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance Ltd to represent a consultant neurosurgeon at an inquest which concerned the death of a man following the incorrect insertion of a sub-dural drain.
- Representing Care UK at the inquest regarding an elderly deceased patient who died in a care home where she had developed numerous infected and necrotic pressure sores, on the grounds of negligent care.
DAC Beachcroft LLP fields a 'strong' clinical risk team with an in-depth knowledge of 'all legal aspects of healthcare law', which attracts both nationwide and international instructions. Its client portfolio is populated by a range of healthcare provider and insurer clients, with NHS Resolution taking up most of the 'diligent and approachable' practice's caseload. With more than 25 years' clinical negligence experience, Nigel Montgomery leads the national team, splitting his time between Bristol and London; the practice head is further noted for his management of group actions as well as catastrophic injury work. Birth injury claims are a key strength for co-leader Matthew Mcgrath, who has handled some of the largest claims made against the NHS. Simon Perkins is, in turn, the key point of contact for medical malpractice insurers, and specialises in ophthalmic and plastic surgery claims.
Nigel Montgomery; Matthew McGrath
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice has a wide experience of complex high value cases that is almost unique.’
‘Responsive, efficient and easy to work with.’
‘Approachable and pro-active with a broad knowledge of healthcare law.’
‘I have worked with the healthcare team at DAC Beachcroft for 10 years now. They are always helpful, efficient, provide first rate advice and provide excellent defence for those clinicians who are the subject of a claim.’
‘They are courteous and show interest not just in particular cases, but in the needs of the organisation and its staff as well. As a client I feel looked after and have confidence in them.’
‘Matthew McGrath is one of the best clinical negligence litigators of his generation.’
‘Simon Perkins is in all respects an exceptional lawyer; knowledgeable, effective advocate, extremely helpful.’
The Medical Defence Union
Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
Zurich Global Corporate
Bermuda Hospital Board
The healthcare litigation department at Hempsons demonstrates 'great breadth and in-depth knowledge of clinical negligence', offering round-the-clock advice to public and private healthcare organisations, charities and social enterprises which commission, regulate or provide health and social care services. The team is involved in complex and high value cases that regularly involve multiple defendants. Practice head Mary Menjou deals with cutting edge medical claims, including those involving rare genetic syndromes, tropical diseases, as well as gender transition cases. Previous Claimant work experience provides the 'unflappable' Gautam Chawla with a valuable insight into healthcare litigation involving medical issues like birth injury, delayed diagnosis of cancer, surgical claims and spinal damage. Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, is a growing focus of the practice for resolving claims.
Other key lawyers:
Nadya Wolferstan; John Holmes; Gautam Chawla
‘Traditionally recognised in the clinical negligence field as a leader, Hempsons is able to handle cases at all levels. Fee earners are clever, knowledgeable and very easy to work with.’
‘A great deal of thought goes into cases that reach the firm and their judgement as to the merits of cases is second to none.’
‘A team which has a well established reputation but does not in any way rest on its laurels.’
‘The team has a wealth of experience and access to the best experts.’
‘Mary Menjou is one of the most experienced partners anywhere in this field. She is a lawyer with a real feel for the work coupled with enormous practical skill.’
‘Gautam Chawla is a first rate practitioner, with a fantastic intellect, great tactical nous and oodles of charm. Having seen matters from both sides of the fence, he has great insight into his opponents’ minds.’
Medical Defence Union
Health Trust Europe
Crown Commercial Service
NHS Commercial Solutions
- Hempsons was approached by the Jersey Primary Care Body to advise and assist with its lobbying tactics for the introduction of a statutory discount rate within the Channel Island.
- Acting on behalf of East London NHS Foundation Trust in a contentious inquest focusing on the death of a 35-year-old woman with a diagnosis of several mental health disorders, who resided at a private provider commissioned by the NHS.
- Instructed on behalf of NHS Resolution in an inquest related to the alleged substandard management of ischaemic small bowel and negligent failure to diagnose and treat bile salt malabsorption and vitamin B12 deficiency thereafter.
- Acted on behalf of East London NHS Foundation Trust in an inquest regarding the alleged insufficient efforts by the mental health team to assess a deceased patient and provide treatment.
Kennedys boasts a 'first-class team who provides realistic advice' on all issues of risk management, and also offers defendants representation in civil claims and advocacy at inquests. The team acts on behalf of all parts of the healthcare sector, and is often sought by the NHS, individual clinicians and private hospitals, with international private healthcare providers also featuring in its client roster. The 'innovative' Christopher Malla has more than 20 years' experience settling high value claims, and is an expert on quantum issues relating to periodical payments. Nico Fabri has an extensive track record handling multi-jurisdictional cases on behalf of medical malpractice insurers; while Ed Glasgow tends to focus on complex birth injury claims and cases involving paralysis following spinal injury. Former healthcare department head Janet Sayers retired.
‘Kennedys is one of the leading defendant firms, with knowledgeable and committed solicitors and innovative partners.’
‘Very strong team that is willing and open to discuss opinions. Nothing is ever too much trouble. They are open and quick to rectify if there are some aspects of the service you are not happy with.’
‘Very consistent, keen to work collaboratively and a range of lawyers with different experiences/specialisms.’
‘Christopher Malla is knowledgeable and always ready to assist and advise.’
‘Nico Fabri is fantastic with clients and works really hard to get the best result possible.’
‘Ed Glasgow is very strategic and good at looking at the bigger picture, especially on complex cases.’
- Liability claim regarding delay in administering medication that was successfully defended at trial, resulting in a saving of around £10m for the NHS.
- Acting on behalf of defendants in BP v Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, an important win assisting NHS Trusts in outlining the scope of duty when taking informed consent.
- Instructed to advise the Health and Social Care Advisory Service (HASCAS), Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and Welsh Government on the independent inquiry into alleged institutional abuse of patients over three years at Tawel Fan Ward.
The clinical risk team at Bevan Brittan LLP has a strong track record in multi-party actions, as well as providing specialist support to clients on quantum issues. The NHS and an increasing number of private medical malpractice insurers and healthcare providers instruct the team, which has experience across the complete range of complex and high-value cases resulting from the provision of medical care. Department head Joanne Easterbrook's expertise covers group actions and claims arising out of fertility treatment; while cases involving the Human Rights Act and mental health are some of Julie Charlton's special areas of interest. Standout work saw Dan Morris lead advice to the defendants in the important public policy case of XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust, concerning the recoverability of damages for commercial surrogacy costs in California.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team have a wealth of experience across the healthcare sector and provide high quality, pragmatic advice.’
‘Joanne Easterbrook and Julie Charlton are particularly attentive and supportive.’
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Basildon & Thurrock University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Guys & St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust
West London Health NHS Trust
South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Kent & Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust
- Represented Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust in a claim alleging failure to obtain informed consent during the course of labour and to deliver the claimant by caesarean section, thereby avoiding brain injury.
- Acted for the Bermuda Hospitals Board as monitoring counsel in its successful defence of a claim for failure to diagnose and treat compartment syndrome following surgery after a road traffic accident.
- Represented Whittington Hospital NHS Trust and NHS Resolution in the Court of Appeal on the question of whether a claimant could recover the commercial costs of surrogacy in the US even though such action would not be lawful in the UK.
- Represented the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Foundation Trust in the successful defence of a claim for failure to provide appropriate post-natal care resulting in gynaecological complications.
Hill Dickinson LLP acts for a range of healthcare providers within the public and private sectors, with NHS Resolution standing out as its most prominent client. National head of Health Litigation Andrew Craggs splits his time between Liverpool and the capital, and is backed up by cerebral palsy and spinal injury specialist Janet McWhinney , who oversees the London department. Multi-million pound cerebral palsy cases as well as indemnity issues arising from a claim are common instructions for the team. The practice's expertise and increasing consideration of Alternative Dispute Resolution methods has also enabled a more cost-effective settlement of high-value and contentious matters.
Janet McWhinney; Andrew Craggs
Other key lawyers:
Alaw Owen; Lydia Shelton
Care UK Clinical Services Limited
Virgin Care UK
- Acted on behalf of NHS Resolution in dismissing birth mismanagement claims dating back to 1994, which required detailed investigations to trace witnesses (£10m claimed value).
- Represented NHS England (indemnified by NHS Resolution) in a complex and important case concerning the provision of healthcare in prisons.
- Successfully represented two GP members in striking-out a six-figure claim alleging breach of contract and pure economic loss arising from alleged negligent healthcare treatment provided to the claimant’s partner.
- Represented NHS Resolution in denying a significant future dependency claim for a widow who remarried six months after the death of this wife.
- Achieving excellent settlement on behalf of NHS Resolution for a shoulder dystocia claim (£100k), that would have become costly with the instruction of multiple experts in case litigation had continued.
RPC offers an umbrella service to insurers, private hospital groups, charities, individual practitioners, clinics and other healthcare organisations in the defence of a whole range of claims and related proceedings. The service offering also encompasses representation at inquests and regulatory body investigations. The 'excellent all-round lawyer, business thinker' and leading practitioner in the field of reproductive medicine Dorothy Flower leads a department that is adept at handling high-profile group actions, cosmetic and general surgery claims, as well as cases arising from mental health care provision and allegations of negligence in the care of detainees. Rowan Brown is regularly involved in the most complex work, including multi-party actions and matters with an international focus.
Other key lawyers:
Rowan Brown; Sian Morgan; James Davies
‘Depth and breadth of knowledge and experience combined with a large dose of pragmatism.’
‘RPC’s outstanding characteristic is their meticulous attention to detail at every stage of the process.’
‘Solicitors work hard from the outset to ensure a comprehensive response to a claim is produced, thus helping to protect their defendants and preventing frivolous claims from developing further than they otherwise would.’
‘Dorothy Flower is good at tactics and ensuring the client considers its aims.’
‘Sian Morgan has reassured many of our clients who are concerned about the stressful and unknown process of facing a claim, and that element of calm makes for a better defence.’
‘Rowan Brown is a careful member of the team who will ensure that important matters are not forgotten.’
Spire Healthcare plc
Royal Sun Alliance
British Pregnancy Advisory Service
Make Yourself Amazing
Society of Radiographers
Royal College of Nursing
18 Week Support
- Representing Spire Healthcare in potential group action and associated inquests arising out of treatment provided by Consultant Urologist, Paul Miller.
- Defending a Hungarian dentist in a substantial claim for neurological damages as a result of alleged negligent removal of a tooth.
- Representing Spire Healthcare in the high profile group action arising out of the actions of breast surgeon, Ian Paterson.
- Acting on behalf of Spire Healthcare plc and Royal Sun Alliance in a potential group action related to the alleged negligent treatment of hundreds of prostate and bladder cancer patients by Consultant Urologist Manu Nair.
- Successfully struck out a multi-million pound claim against the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability (RHN).
Weightmans LLP is recognised as one of the leading advisers to NHS healthcare bodies in all areas of litigation. The highest value and most complex claims arising from healthcare provision often feature on the practice's diverse caseload, where maximum severity catastrophic injuries (such as adult and birth brain injury and spinal damage cases) appear alongside group claims. Department head Rachel Kneale focuses primarily but by no means exclusively in high value obstetric and neurological cases. Work involving difficult quantum claims is a key strength for Vanessa Splaine, who also has extensive experience representing clinicians at inquests. Isobel Michie handles an impressive caseload of maximum severity catastrophic injury claims, including several cerebral palsy claims and highly-sensitive cases.
National Health Service Resolution
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Public Health England
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
East of England Ambulance NHS Trust
- Acted for the defendant NHS Trust in a wrongful birth claim pleaded at £10 million, securing a 50% liability discount.
- Acted for the defendant NHS Trust in a cerebral palsy claim that settled for £19.5m, instead of the initially pleaded value of £28m.
- Acted on behalf of four NHS trusts in a case relating to the delayed diagnosis of a rare neurodegenerative condition – settled for £6m.
- Secured a discontinuance at trial of a £25k surgical claim on behalf of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
- Acted for the defendant NHS Trust in a significant bowel injury claim that settled for around £4.4m (claim was for approximately £14m).
BLM receives instructions from a range of clients across the healthcare sector, offering advice in high-value and complex matters. Insurers, medical defence organisations, clinics, care homes and individual healthcare professionals not only seek the practice's representation in civil claims arising from negligence in clinical care but also at inquests, as well as before regulators in disciplinary proceedings. The 'highly competent' Vicki Swanton heads the 'responsive and knowledgeable' team that also has a strong track record handling multi-party litigation.
Other key lawyers:
Greg McEwen; Rosie Shapiro
‘The London office is led by some extremely experienced partners who manage a very strong team. Not only do they have the knowledge and experience to get great results, but they seem to be deeply committed to providing an excellent level of client service.’
‘The BLM team is highly proficient and knowledgeable.’
‘Vicki is effortlessly confident, which is immensely reassuring to clients and in the last few years she has worked on some very large cases and yet has remained entirely unflappable.’
‘Greg McEwen is extremely thorough and has a very sharp eye for detail and numbers.’
‘Rosie Shapiro is a delight to work with; she is an excellent communicator, very professional and responds quickly to any concerns or questions.’
Royal College of Nursing
Harley Medical Group
CMS is noted for dealing with the defence of clinical negligence claims and professional disciplinary cases on behalf of leading medical defence organisations. The team also attracts instructions from other professional indemnity insurers and members of the medical profession, who trust it with often high value and sensitive work, including complex quantum issues involving periodical payments. Dental claims as well as medical advisory work are some of the key areas of activity for the national team's co-leader Chris Horsefield, who is based in the Sheffield office. Apart from acting for defendants in clinical negligence claims, Yvonne Screene's expertise also spans inquests and professional disciplinary investigations.
Chris Horsefield; Rachel Cooper
Other key lawyers:
Yvonne Screene; Nyree Bichard
‘The team presents as one which has strength in depth, and vast experience in this field.’
‘Instructions are clear and concise, and cases are conducted reliably and efficiently.’
‘Yvonne Screene has many years’ experience in this field. She is knowledgeable, firm and authoritative.‘
Keoghs LLP fields a recently established healthcare team that has already built a leading position in the specialist private medical sector. The team acts for private healthcare providers and their insurers in high value clinical negligence claims and group actions. Other regular instructions include defending medical practitioners in a range of disciplinary matters before professional bodies. Department head Sian Davies counts 30 years' experience handling complex and high profile claims brought against a variety of primary care providers, including GPs, dentists, nurses, optometrists, psychiatric clinics and pathology units. The overlapping area of healthcare and sports increasingly features on the practice's caseload, fast becoming a niche specialism.
Other key lawyers:
Jason Howarth; Oonagh Webster
‘The service provided by the clnical negligence team at Keoghs stands out on account of the exceptionally thorough way that matters are investigated.’
‘Both opponents and clients alike are obliged to provide more information and material than is typically demanded, but that, combined with the instruction of experienced experts, enables a realistic appraisal to be made of the merits at an early stage.’
‘Sian Davies consistently retains an excellent grasp of the issues and the strengths and weaknesses of her client’s case and her advice is always well judged.’
‘Insurers benefit from Sian’s tactical nous, and sound appreciation of not just the legal but also the commercial realities.’
‘Oonagh Webster is very good at obtaining the information and material required, from friend and foe. She always demonstrates an impressive knowledge of the evidence and is not phased by difficult opponents.’