Firms To Watch: Clinical negligence: defendant

Mills & Reeve LLP's national medical malpractice team has a growing presence in Manchester, with key names including Wanda Karow, who specialises in claims against cosmetic surgeons and gynaecologists, and Sarah Rose, whose experience includes post-operative infection claims.

Clinical negligence: defendant in North West

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co‘s ‘first rate’ clinical negligence team, described as a ‘delight to work with‘, was bolstered by the firm’s 2022 merger with BLM; this saw the arrival of dental, orthodontic and ophthalmic cases specialist Sarah Woodwark, who now leads the team jointly with highly recommended brain injury expert Vanessa Splaine. Senior associate Rachel Barnes, who has carved out a specialist niche for defending claims against nurses, was another important addition from BLM. Further key names in the team include Deborah Boyd, Christina Bateman and Andrea Crisp. In June 2023, the team was bolstered by the arrival of medical and dental cases specialist Louise Jackson from Browne Jacobson LLP, and in October legal director Bethan Parry followed. Chris Dexter has left the firm, joining Weightmans LLP in October 2022.

Practice head(s):

Vanessa Splaine; Sarah Woodwark

Other key lawyers:

Lee Baker; Deborah Boyd; Andrea Crisp; Rachel Barnes; Christina Bateman; Louise Jackson; Bethan Parry


‘When I have worked with Clyde & Co, I have always found them to be organised and efficient. Instructions are always provided in good time, with the team on hand to respond to any queries and follow up on any issues which arise.’

‘I have worked a lot with Lee Baker, and find him to be efficient and proactive. He is calm and inspires confidence, and is not phased by difficult cases.’

‘This team is a delight to work with. Every case I have had from them has been well prepared and thought through, and they are very responsive when unexpected matters arise. Their approach is reliably practical and sensible.’

Key clients

Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance Ltd

Medical Protection Society


Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

NHS Resolution


Premium Medical Protection



Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP is recommended for its ‘deep specialist industry knowledge and subject matter expertise‘. The firm has a number of impressive panel appointments, including NHS Resolution and the Medical Defence Union. The North West team is led by Simon Wortley, a specialist in work for the independent healthcare provision sector. Also integral is Sean Doherty, an expert on birth injury and orthopaedic malpractice claims with specific experience in defending group actions. Further names to note include senior associate Claire Fitzgerald, a mental health specialist who is experienced in cross-jurisdictional claims, and Bridie Mahoney.

Practice head(s):

Simon Wortley

Other key lawyers:

Sean Doherty, Claire Fitzgerald; Bridie Mahoney


‘The DACB team are extremely engaging, personable and knowledgeable, which serves to create a collaborative exchange of ideas and thought leadership that create benefit ultimately to our mutual clients in the sector.’

‘Relationship management and softer skill sets that compliment expertise in legal matters making it more engaging and collaborative in partnership with mutual clients. Proactive knowledge share is hugely valued and contributes to a mutual respect and positive working relationship.’

‘Deep specialist industry knowledge and subject matter expertise, strong ability to collaborate effectively with other stakeholders to ensure optimal results for clients.’

Key clients

Circle Health Group

HCA International Ltd

Medical Defence Union

Dental Defence Union

Schoen Clinic UK

Teladoc Health UK

Elysium Healthcare Ltd

NHS Resolution

Florence Nightingale Hospital

Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands

Newline Group

MS Amlin

Allied World Assurance Company



Royal Sun Alliance

CNA Hardy


Marsh McLennan

AMMA Assurance (Belgium)

Medical Professional Liability Co. (MPLC)

Watson Tower Wilson

Intereurope AG

Aon UK

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

NHS England/Improvement

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust

Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust



Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Acting for NHS-Resolution in all metal-on-metal hip claims involving the NHS nationally, including a number of ongoing claims involving the DePuy ASR and claims against NHS Trusts.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP specialises in representing the NHS, receiving instructions from NHS Trusts and specific authorities and departments, as well as NHS Resolution. Standout work done by the firm includes defence of claims before the Vaccine Appeals Tribunal and a number matters involving complex issues surrounding quantum and settlement. The team is led by Liverpool-based national head of health litigation Andrew Craggs, a specialist in stress, bullying and sexual assault claims in the health sector. Also integral to the team are GP and dental claims expert Joanne Hughes, vaccine claims specialist and experienced advocate David Locke, and ‘standout associateNick Citron. Senior associate Claire Christopholus is noted for her focus on mental health law.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Craggs

Other key lawyers:

Nick Citron; David Locke; Richard Hackett; Joanne Hughes; Claire Christopholus


‘The team always work hard to deal with matters in an effective and proportionate way.’

‘Nick Citron is a standout associate. He is a partner-in-waiting. Exceptionally bright, hard working and intelligent. A real star and a pleasure to work with.’

‘The Hill Dickinson clinical negligence team are a very experienced and capable team in the clinical negligence field. Ably led by David Locke, who has very capable senior associates and associates who are always on top of their cases, planning in good time, liaising with both NHS Resolution and individual hospital trusts, and showing good strategic and tactical insight.’

Key clients

NHS Resolution

Work highlights

  • Settled a wrongful birth claim using periodical payments.
  • Successfully defended a claim before the Vaccine Appeals Tribunal asserting a link between the seasonal Flu vaccine and narcolepsy and cataplexy.
  • Acted in a matter related to the calculation of damages for future losses in the context of a dispute as to the likely severity of injury.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP, based in Liverpool and Manchester, is one of the leading firms involved in representing the health service in clinical negligence claims, regularly being instructed by NHS Resolution and several major NHS Trusts. The team is co-headed by Richard Jolly, a birth injury specialist, Victoria Morris, an expert in patient safety group actions, and ‘very ableIan Critchley, who has almost two decades of experience defending clinical negligence litigation for the NHS. Legal director Lisa Spencer is noted for her focus on human rights and psychiatric issues. Chris Dexter, who joined in October 2022 from Clyde & Co, is another key name to note. Included in the firm’s standout recent work is the defence of major claims involving blood infections – a key specialism of principal associate Samuel Harland – and chemical exposure.

Practice head(s):

Richard Jolly; Vicky Morris; Ian Critchley

Other key lawyers:

Chris Dexter; Lisa Spencer; Maryam Storr; Allison Brennan; Samuel Harland


‘High level ability with flexibility to cover a range of issues. Good use of cutting edge technology on simultaneous working. Wide range of experiences and skills.’

‘Vicky Morris – very able and committed. Always working to do the best for the client and going the extra mile. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone else. Samuel Harland – very able and a clear partner in years to come. His work is of a high quality and makes working with him very easy.’

‘The team at Weightmans has strong and longstanding relationships in the North West with a number of NHS trusts, medical defence organisations and private hospital groups. The team specialises in medical liability and regulatory cases involving all types of health professionals. It provides, I believe, an excellent service to each.’

‘Ian Critchley is a very able lawyer. He is extremely hard working and has good judgment. He also has excellent client care skills. This is probably why the team in which he is a key figure has established such good relationships with its NHS and other healthcare clients, all of whom are highly demanding.’

‘Everyone I have worked with at Weightmans provides detailed and helpful instructions.’

From the client’s point of view, they have real depth of knowledge about clinical issues and the law and are efficient, approachable and supportive.’

‘I have worked with Maryam Storr several times and have always been impressed by her depth of knowledge, understanding of the client’s needs, and her calm control of the case. She is great to work with. She is everything one could wish for in a clinical negligence solicitor.’

I have worked on more than one case with Allison Brennan and have always appreciated her efficient approach to every twist and turn that might occur in the complex cases we have worked on together. She understands exactly what is needed and more, and gets things done calmly and supportively.’

Key clients

NHS Resolution



Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Wirral University Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Blood & Transplant

Wirral Community NHS FT

Work highlights

  • Advising NHS Resolution, NHS Blood and Transplant, the Department of Health, and various NHS Trusts on several proposed group actions being brought by and on behalf of people infected with viruses, including HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B through the use of blood and blood products.
  • Instructed by NHS Resolution to represent NHS Trusts in claims involving fetal exposure to sodium valproate.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP‘s North West team is led by Amanda Callaghan, who provides legal consultancy services to hospitals and NHS Trusts in the region. Louise Jackson moved to Clyde & Co in June 2023, followed by Bethan Parry in October 2023.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Callaghan

Key clients

Medical Protection Society

NHS Resolution

Dental Protection Limited

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

CNA Hardy

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust

Essex Partnership University NHS Trust

University Hospital of Dorset NHS Foundation Trust