Clinical negligence: defendant in North West


BLM's defendant clinical negligence team is well-versed in handling high value and complex litigation brought against healthcare professionals and organisations providing healthcare services. Areas of specialism include dental negligence, ophthalmic treatments, cosmetic procedures and cases arising out of nursing homes and prisons. Sarah Woodwark leads the practice while 'outstanding solicitor' Chris Dexter is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Woodwark

Other key lawyers:

Chris Dexter; Rachel Barnes


Extraordinarily hardworking team coupled with a real empathy for client difficulties.’

The Manchester office is led by some extremely experienced partners who lead a very strong team. Importantly, not only do they have the knowledge and experience to get great results, but they are also deeply committed to providing an excellent level of client service.

The team has a great depth and breath of knowledge. They work across a large spread of the industry – from care homes to prisons and most in between. In my view this it is a particular strength of able to understand how all aspects of the industry operate and inter relate.

Chris Dexter inspires confidence. He has a very sure manner and brilliant technical knowledge. An outstanding solicitor with razor sharp judgement.

‘Rachel Barnes gets to the root of the issues quickly. She is rapidly responsive, very pragmatic and provides concise no-nonsense advice.

Key clients

Medical protection

Dental protection



CNA Hardy








DAC Beachcroft LLP

Simon Wortley leads the Manchester clinical risk practice at DAC Beachcroft LLP, where the team's national reputation is underlined by regular instructions from the main London healthcare providers. Wortley, who is highly regarded for his client handling skills, also works with insurers to the healthcare sector, advising on both domestic and cross-border claims. Other key team members include Sean Doherty and associates Claire Fitzgerald and Paul Burrows.

Practice head(s):

Simon Wortley


DAC’s clinical negligence team is incredibly responsive, cost effective and gives me confidence that the matter is being dealt with in the best way possible. They have a wide range of experience and always know the right person for the job.’

Simon Wortley is the best client relationship partner there is. He is extraordinarily responsive, deals with and resolves any issues promptly, and always knows who has the right expertise for the matter, including for areas outside of clinical negligence. He is very pleasant in meetings and always has a good anecdote to share. He has also provided good training sessions for our in-house team. He ensures that all work coming from his office is of a high standard.

The team is very strong and provides excellent legal advice. It’s an extremely approachable firm and the response time is minimal to any queries raised. The calibre of talent is way above the competitors.

Simon Wortley is sensible in his advice and is able to provide advice with a very short turn over time. He is also most importantly a really approachable person and a great sounding board.’

Key clients

BMI Healthcare Ltd

HCA International Ltd

Medical Defence Union

Elysium Healthcare Ltd

Care Fertility Group Ltd

Florence Nightingale Hospital


NHS Resolution

Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands

SHA (South Africa)

MS Amlin



Allied World Assurance Company

Priory Group

THFC (Transform)


Hempsons' large defendant clinical negligence department is known for handling complex and high value cases, with notable expertise in periodical payments and multi-party cases. The team is also renowned for its experience in handling claims relating to obstetric and surgical negligence as well as severe spinal cord injuries. Anne Ball leads the practice, which has seen a number of changes in recent months as the firm continues to develop its young talent. James Down, Jennie Chapman and Helen Claridge were all promoted to partner in July 2018, while Racquelle Morris retired.

Practice head(s):

Anne Ball


Hempsons have many years experience of working with public sector organisations – their ability to keep pace with the numerous changes has made them the go-to firm for clear advice on healthcare matters.’

‘Their expertise and knowledge is unrivalled and they can always be relied on to have an understanding of the issues at hand.

They have real expertise and experience in dealing with clinical negligence claims.’

Excellent service – Hempsons have an in-depth knowledge of NHS practices. Their advice is sound, well rounded and practical.’


Key clients

NHS Resolution


Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a number of NHS Trusts at liability-only trial in January 2018.
  • Represented defendant trust in clinical negligence claim involving bowel injury.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP's clinical negligence defence team enjoys an excellent reputation, holding places on a number major national healthcare panels such as the Medical Protection Society and NHS Resolution. The group also acts for a significant number of NHS Trusts throughout the country. The 'dynamic and astute' Andrew Craggs and Ian Gardiner jointly lead the department, while other key team members include Richard Watson, David Locke, Mike McKenna, Philip Bradbury and Andrew Leslie. Joanne Hughes was promoted to partner in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Craggs; Ian Gardiner

Other key lawyers:

Richard Watson; David Locke; Mike McKenna; Philip Bradbury; Andrew Leslie; Jonathan Heap; Joanne Hughes; Claire Christopholus; Rachel Doherty


‘This is a team who have a highly specialised knowledge of clinical negligence and work very much in partnership with their clients and counsel. They are extremely knowledgeable, efficient, dedicated and approachable. Nothing is ever too much.’

‘An outstanding service in terms of case preparation, response time and tactical nous.’

‘This a very strong team which has developed over a period of years. Andrew Craggs provides dynamic and astute leadership; knowing how to engage with clients effectively .They understand how to appreciate the client’s perspective and the importance of extra value. The senior lawyers do a significant amount of file handling as well managing and mentoring younger team lawyers. There is good rapport within the teams and you sense the more junior members feel well supported.’

‘David Locke is, for me, probably the best NHS Trust defence lawyer there is. He knows exactly what info to secure from a Trust early on, organises the factual and expert evidence quickly and gets the case prepared in such a way that it is almost always possible to tell before proceedings are issued whether to fight or settle. If settling, negotiates hard for his client.’

‘Andrew Craggs is very effective in his role and there is an impressive array of experienced litigators.’

‘Phil Bradbury is tactically astute and achieves excellent results using meticulous preparation.’

‘Andrew Leslie communicates effectively with his opponents which makes them receptive to his position.’

‘Jon Heap is acquiring a reputation as a leading litigator. He is not afraid to fight on principle which makes him a formidable opponent.’

‘Ian Gardiner has a calm and focused approach which gives him excellent judgement in high value cases.’

‘Joanne Hughes has demonstrated a dynamic and robust approach. She is clearly a star in the making.’

Key clients

NHS Resolution

Medical Protection Society

CNA Hardy

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals NHS Trust

Northern Care Alliance

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

NHS England

Manchester NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Represented NHS England (indemnified by NHS Resolution) in a complex and repercussive case concerning the provision of healthcare in prisons.
  • Instructed by NHS Resolution to represent Countess of Cheshire NHS Foundation Trust in a high value cerebral palsy claim including complex quantum arguments.
  • Instructed by NHS Resolution to handle multiple group actions involving the highest reputational and risk management issues for both individual NHS Trusts, and the NHS as a whole.
  • Instructed by NHS Resolution to represent an NHS Trust in relation to a complex claim by a child who sustained a brain injury as a new-born.
  • Instructed by NHS Resolution to act for two NHS trusts in a very complex and unusual claim brought by twins who sustained brain injuries around the time of their birth.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP is best known for handling complex and high value cases for NHS Resolution and its trust clients. The team has particular expertise in organ transplant and blood donor cases, group claims, claims against ambulance services and the former NHS Direct as well as other telephone triage systems. Richard Jolly and Vicky Morris are the main contacts. Ian Critchley was promoted to partner in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Richard Jolly; Vicky Morris

Key clients

NHS Resolution



North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Mersey Care NHS Trust

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Blood & Transplant

Wirral Community NHS FT

Browne Jacobson LLP

Amanda Callaghan leads Browne Jacobson LLP's clinical negligence defence practice, which acts for major public players in the healthcare sector, such as NHS Resolution and the Medical Protection Society, as well as a line-up of private sector clients. The team's expertise includes a track record of roles on healthcare inquests.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Callaghan

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Peel; Lucy Sealy; Rebecca Fitzpatrick; Ed Pollard; Louise Jackson; Gemma Corlett; Heather Caddy; Sian Brown; Claire Morris


Browne Jacobson has an exceptionally strong team of experienced clinical negligence lawyers handling the most complex and high value claims.

Heather Caddy an associate to watch – she is astute, to the point and gives clear advice to clients.

A really strong regional and national reputation based on its strong relationships built with individual NHS Trusts. Great strength in depth and clinical negligence expertise at all levels of seniority.

The team are always very knowledgeable and professional. The variety of different knowledge in the team is always obvious. They respond in a timely manner.

One of the strongest defendant clinical negligence firms in the country, with a fantastic team in Nottingham and a great set-up there which fosters a really good team spirit.

Key clients

NHS Resolution

Medical Protection Society

The Priory Group

NHS England

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS FT

Stockport NHS FT

Bolton NHS FT

CNA Hardy

Work highlights

  • Success in complex co-defended litigation arising from laser eye surgery involving disputes between the defendants about where responsibility lay for consenting a patient and the extent of the indemnity given by private surgeons to a large private provider of laser eye surgery.
  • Achieved discontinuance of a claim against a GP relating to the alleged delay in diagnosing and treating the claimant’s brain tumour leading to the development of aggressive Grade III Astrocytoma and death.
  • Discontinuance secured less than two weeks before trial in a claim against a GP for the alleged negligent prescription of steroids leading to osteopenia causing or materially causing fracture of the hip.
  • Early discontinuance and saving of costs and damages in excess of £100,000, in a claim arising from mastectomy.
  • Represented the Priory Group in the inquest touching upon the death of a patient in January 2019.