Joel Donovan QC > Cloisters Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Cloisters Chambers

Living Wage

Joel Donovan photo

Work Department

Clinical negligence; personal injury; professional negligence; professional regulation.


Barrister practising mainly in complex high-value clinical negligence and PI, including grave birth injury and brain/spinal cord lesions. Accepts public access. Commended in Chambers UK 2016 for both clinical negligence and personal injury:

“..phenomenally intelligent and a real pleasure to work with.” “.. incredible in terms of his ability to absorb folders of information and drill down to the key issues. He makes the instructing solicitor’s job so much easier. He combines being calm, sensible and unflappable with a determined desire to win.”

“…a fantastic strategist, with an ability to see all the complexities of a case before they actually play out in court.”

Recent cases include key Supreme Court decision of Mohamud v Morrisons [2016] AC 677 (‘close connection’ test for vicarious liability); M v A Highway Authority (liability settlement arising from catastrophic motorcycle vs. pothole collision); Z v K (six-figure approved settlement of challenging catastrophic injury claim arising from drunken joyriding); D v P NHS Trust (seven-figure lump sum/PP approved settlement arising from delayed spinal immobilisation, leading to quadriplegia); Y v L NHS Trust (ongoing high-value claim arising from alleged contamination of spinal anaesthetic causing arachnoiditis); W v K (seven-figure lump sum/PP approved settlement in GP claim arising from devastating subarachnoid haemorrhage); X v Y (high-value wrongful birth case for mother of child with severe global developmental delay); Z v A Trust (cerebral palsy: seven-figure lump sum/PP approved settlement); and several ongoing high-value claims involving delayed recognition/treatment of cauda equina syndrome.


Former solicitor; called 1991; QC 2011. Lead advocacy tutor, Lincoln’s Inn. Appointed arbitrator under MIB Untraced Drivers’ and PIcARBS schemes.


Fluent French; working Spanish.


PNBA; PIBA; AvMA; APIL; Bar Pro Bono Unit panel.


Durham University.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Clinical negligence

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 5

Joel Donovan QCCloistersProvides thorough advice and adapts to the approach needed with any individual client.

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.