Note for Claimants*

  1. On 20th March 2017 the discount rate changed from 2.5% to -0.75%. The life multiplier for a 7 year old child with a life expectancy to age 60 changed overnight from 29 to 65, more than doubling the capital value of a future loss claim.

  2. This good news brought an as yet unresolved problem for accommodation claims. For nearly 30 years, since March 1988, the standard approach to valuing the cost of accommodation was that set out by the Court of Appeal in Roberts v. Johnstone. If you were living in a house worth £200,000 and you needed to move to a house costing £500,000 the court would not give you the ‘windfall’ of the additional capital, £300,000. Damages are supposed to run out on the day you die but the asset would survive you. Instead you were entitled to compensation for the loss of the use of the additional capital. The discount rate was used to assessed the annual value of the loss. Therefore where the required capital sum was £300,000 the annual value (multiplicand) would be £7,500. This would be multiplied by the life multiplier, so using the figures above, £7,500 x 29 would give an R v. J award of £217,500.

  3. There were many problems with R v. J. The biggest was in cases of limited life expectancy where the award would be far too small to fund the purchase of a property. There were ways around this, including a claim for the cost of adaptations which were awarded in full. Therefore in a case with limited life expectancy you would achieve a bigger award by buying a small house and spending a lot on adaptations than by buying a bigger house and spending very little on adaptations.

"The most complicated skill is to be simple.” Dejan Stojanovic

The EU Product Liability Directive 1985[1] and the consequent Consumer Protection Act 1987 (“CPA”) were introduced in the aftermath of the Thalidomide scandal. The legislators’ intention was to provide a level playing field for EU manufacturers and, more importantly, a simple and uniform no-fault consumer protection system throughout the EU.[2]  Despite the latter aim, product liability has created some of the most complex litigation ever to hit the UK courts.  Pleadings can resemble – to those who can remember them – telephone books.  There are often detailed and complex requests for further information about the precise mechanisms alleged to have caused the defect or injury in issue.  This has created a far more complicated legal process than the fault-based system the Consumer Protection Act was meant to supplant.[3]   In short, as stated by Emily Jackson:

“The Consumer Protection Act, despite its name, has proved to be a remarkably consumer-unfriendly piece of legislation.”[4]

On 26 May 2017 a specially constituted Administrative Court comprised of Lady Justice Sharp and Dingemans J heard the first appeal brought by the GMC against a decision of a Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal under s.40A of the Medical Act 1983 in GMC v Dr Jagvivan [2017] EWHC 1247 (Admin). The PSA joined as a party since, in the event of the Court finding the GMC had no jurisdiction, it wished to argue the same points.

This was a case where the MPT found misconduct but no impairment and did not give a warning. The case was fought on its merits and on the issue of jurisdiction, which is the important aspect.

Court of Appeal hearing 25th May 2017

How do the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Mental Health Act 1983 fit together?

Should a Mental Health Tribunal (or First Tier Tribunal) limit its deliberations to whether a patient meets the statutory criteria for detention, or should it also consider whether the patient’s Convention rights have been or would be breached by the detention and/or the circumstances of the detention?

That was the question faced by the Court of Appeal when it heard the appeal of one of the most restricted patients in the United Kingdom, JD, on 25th May.

Read Michael Mylonas QC's article in the Solicitors Journal, here

1. If you have a spinal surgery case where a patient has suffered a non-negligent complication you need to read Mr Justice Green’s careful analysis of the law of consent post-Montgomery in Thefaut v. Johnston [2017] EWHC 497 QB, handed down last week on 14th March 2017.

Supreme Court Appeal Heard: 14th and 15th December 2016
Judgment to be handed down: 22nd March 2017

The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in its second appeal concerning the Mental Capacity Act 2005 at 9.45am on Wednesday 22nd March 2017.

What are the issues? Sir James Munby P dismissing the appeal to the Court of Appeal stated, “[this case] raises fundamental questions as to the nature of the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction and in particular, the approach it should adopt when a care provider is unwilling to provide, or to fund, the care sought, whether by the patient or, as here, by the patient’s family.”

You can find an update to the third edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law concerning Thefaut v Johnson here

1. This morning the Lord Chancellor announced that the discount rate would be revised from 2.5% to -0.75%. This clearly has major implications for the calculation of future losses and will lead to much higher awards and settlements than we have seen before. There are also major implications for the calculation of damages for accommodation where this is required as a result of negligently caused injury. Roberts v Johnstone is dead.

The decision in Roberts v Johnstone
2. Since March 1988 and the decision in Roberts v Johnstone [1989] Q.B. 878; the cost of future accommodation has been calculated on the basis of compensation for the loss of use of capital required by the purchase of a more expensive property. In Roberts the Court of Appeal held that appropriate compensation would be calculated on the basis of an assumed rate of return of 2%. In 2001 the Lord Chancellor exercised his power under the Damages Act 1996 to set the discount rate at 2.5% and this figure has been used for R v J calculations ever since.

R v J doesn’t work with a negative interest rate
3. It is a statement of the obvious to say that R v J does not work with a negative interest rate. Claimants using an R v J calculation would be paying money back to the defendant.

It was time for a change anyway
4. For many years claimants have been arguing that the R v J calculation is outdated in an era when house prices are so much greater and where a low multiplier (e.g. in cases of limited life expectancy) would not produce a large enough capital sum to fund the purchase of a property. Today’s announcement cuts through these arguments. R v J was only ever intended as a pragmatic fudge, once it ceases to be pragmatic it simply disappears as an option.

So what are the alternatives?

Webster v Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2017] EWCA Civ 62

This was a consent claim where breach of duty was admitted, there was a dispute about the advice that should have been given and where causation was denied. Unusually the Court of Appeal reversed the first instance finding on causation with the result that the brain damaged child’s case succeeded. 

The decision provides some insight into the type of factual causation evidence that judges find persuasive. It also reminds us of the importance of identifying clearly the advice that should have been given, had a patient-centred, patient-specific approach been adopted.

Today is the official launch of the third edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law. You can find extracts from the print edition and updates on specific chapters on our website here.

John de Bono QC
AVMA Conference, 2016

 

Rule 1: The court will (almost) always be sceptical and unsympathetic.


Rule 2: Alcock remains the law. It is arbitrary and unfair.


Rule 3: It is almost impossible to win a secondary victim claim.


Rule 4: Your best hope is to make your client a primary victim.


Rule 5: ‘Shocking’ requires something truly extraordinary.


Rule 6: Walters was correctly decided but will rarely be followed.


Rule 7: Shock is required, neither ‘mere death’ nor a gradual decline will ever be enough.


Rule 8: A gap in time between breach and injury is a huge hurdle.


Rule 9: We should keep fighting these cases, but only the very strongest ones.


Rule 10: Great care is required with factual & expert evidence (including C&P reports).

Please click here to read Conrad Hallin's commentary for the Medical Law Reports.

Serjeants’ Inn Chambers & Oxford Neurosurgery and Spine Practice - 7th Annual Oxford Medical Law Conference
Wadham College
26 September 2016

 

Legal Update

 

Duty of Care

1. Smith v University of Leicester NHS Trust [2016] EWHC 817 (QB) (15 April 2016):

a. Neil Caven (“Neil”) a patient at the Defendant hospital (D) suffered from a long-standing (undiagnosed) disease. In March 2003 a doctor at D’s hospital requested a diagnostic test but the test was not performed.
b. In March 2006 Callum Smith (“Callum”) was admitted to hospital and underwent testing and was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) (a childhood version of Adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN)). By the time of diagnosis the condition was too far advanced for treatment to be effective and Callum subsequently died on 26 April 2012.
c. Following Callum’s diagnosis, his brother Connor Smith (“Connor”) underwent testing and was also diagnosed with ALD. Connor received treatment and his general health remained satisfactory.
d. Following the diagnosis of Callum and Connor, Neil was seen in D’s clinic in 2006 and stated that his first cousin had been identified as a carrier of ALD. It was then noticed that the diagnostic test considered in 2003 had never been performed. The test was carried out and Neil diagnosed with the adult form of AMN.
e. C alleged that D was negligent in not performing the test on Neil in 2003 and alleged that had the test been performed it would have led to testing of the wider family which would have included Connor and Callum and would have given rise to their diagnosis 2.5-3 years earlier which would have led to a materially improved outcome for both.
f. The Claim was struck out on policy grounds.
g. HHJ McKenna held: “this is a novel claim where it would not be fair just and reasonable on policy grounds to impose a duty of care on the Defendant in respect of those who are not its patients” (§30).

On 15th April 2016 Peter Jackson J handed down judgment in Spencer v Anderson (Paternity Testing: Jurisdiction) [2016] EWHC 851 (Fam), an unusual case involving novel legal issues about whether the court can use the inherent jurisdiction to direct scientific testing of the DNA of someone who has died, for the purpose of providing evidence of paternity. The DNA sample had been provided as part of the deceased's medical treatment. No consent had been given for paternity testing and it was not clear that the deceased had ever known he might have a son.

1. Commentators have asked about the legal consequences of a health service body or other registered person under the Regulated Activities Regulations 2014 providing a notification of a patient safety incident under Regulation 20 (2) upon information provided by an individual doctor.  

Would that material be admissible against the individual doctor in (say) some later criminal prosecution in relation to the same event?

Eloise comments:

“The General Medical Council have this week made a welcome announcement that new guidance on cosmetic procedures will be brought into force from June 2016. This follows the recommendations in the Keogh review and a number of high-profile cases such as the PIP breast implant litigation. The guidance sets out a framework for protecting patients who are considering or undergoing cosmetic procedures.

The provisions on consent will be of great interest to the medico-legal community in the light of last year’s landmark Supreme Court judgment in Montgomery – which is yet to be considered by the higher courts in the context of cosmetic surgery claims. Under the new GMC guidance, the doctor who performs the cosmetic procedure will be responsible for consenting the patient and must not delegate this responsibility. It remains to be seen whether the civil courts will recognise this as an aspect of the duty to obtain properly informed consent.”

Eloise acted for the Thompsons subgroup of claimants in the PIP litigation, has published for Jordans on the Cosmetics Regulation and has experience of clinical negligence cosmetic surgery claims. Please click here for further details of her work.

On Tuesday 24 February 2016 the Supreme Court gave judgment in Knauer v Ministry of Justice, which has completely changed how future dependency loss is to be assessed in claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Please click here to read Sebastian Naughton's summary and analysis of the case.

On 25th January 2016 the Privy Council upheld the decision of the Appeal Court of Bermuda to award significant damages to a claimant on the basis that a short delay in operating on his appendix had materially contributed to his injury. The headline is that the doctrine of material contribution survives and that the Privy Council did not accept an argument that the decision in Bailey v. MoD was wrong.

Angus Moon QC and Caroline Hallissey were instructed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Claimant in the important decision in Reaney –v- University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust & or. Judgment was given on 2nd November 2015.

The Claimant suffers from very serious disabilities as a result of negligently caused pressure sores. The case deals with the circumstances in which a Claimant may recover for the costs of care when there was a need for care prior to the Defendants’ clinical negligence. Although the Defendants’ appeal from Mr Justice Foskett was successful, the Claimant now has the opportunity to seek to argue before Mr Justice Foskett that as her care needs following the Defendants’ negligence are qualitatively different from those which pre-existed the negligence, the Claimant is entitled to recover her care costs.

The patient in this Court of Protection case, a 50 year old mother of three, had unsuccessfully attempted suicide by taking a paracetamol overdose; she suffered severe kidney failure and relied on dialysis to stay alive. After 8 weeks’ she refused further treatment. On the Trust’s application for a declaration that she should have dialysis forcibly, if necessary, the Court had to determine whether she had capacity to refuse. Finding that she did, the Court reaffirmed her Article 8 right to self-determination.

Mr Justice MacDonald said:

"That she considers... the fear that she has lost, and will not regain, 'her sparkle' outweighs a prognosis that signals continued life will alarm and possibly horrify many.

"Her decision is certainly one that does not accord with the expectations of many in society.

"Indeed, others in society may consider her decision to be unreasonable, illogical or even immoral within the context of the sanctity accorded to life by society in general.

“None of this, however, is evidence of a lack of capacity."

Mike Horne acted for the Trust and Katie Gollop was instructed by the Official Solicitor on behalf of the patient.

Click here to read the full judgment.

The case has been widely reported in the media. Please click the following links to read coverage on The Sunday Times, Guardian and ITV websites.

This paper supplements the debate that took place between Angus Moon QC and Rad Kohanzad at the Duty of Candour seminar on 24th September 2015 entitled “Duty of Candour (“DOC”) and whistleblowing”. 

Whilst the talk assumed little knowledge of whistleblowing, this paper provides the background to the subject matter of discussion and explores the interrelationship between the duty of candour and whistleblowing.

The phrases “whistleblowing” and “duty of candour” are now often used in conjunction with each other but even to seasoned lawyers, the precise relationship between the two is not entirely clear.

At its simplest, as Sir Robert Francis QC observed in Freedom to Speak Up: An independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS, they are part of a range of measures which help enable or ensure staff speak up. Before exploring the relationship between the DOC and whistleblowing, it may be worth providing a brief summary of the evolution of whistleblowing legislation.

Anthony Haycroft successfully represented a Scottish orthopaedic surgeon in a 9-day Fitness to Practise hearing in Manchester, in respect of an allegation of rape of a medical student at a private party. The doctor was not prosecuted by the Scottish authorities where the criminal rules of evidence are different from those in England. The GMC decided to bring FTP proceedings.

The case was legally complex: there were issues as to whether to bring judicial review proceedings in Scotland and also concerning previous allegations of rape made by the complainant in Scotland. The defence successfully applied for relevant disclosure and then permission to question her about the previous incidents.

The Panel acceded to Mr Haycroft’s submission that a “heightened examination of the facts” was called for and that upon such exercise “cogent evidence” of proof was lacking. None of the charges were found proved.

Anthony Haycroft was instructed by Douglas Jessiman and Ms Lindsay MacNeill of BTO solicitors, Glasgow  supported by the Medical Defence Union.

This ground breaking case is the first in which the Court has authorised the withdrawal of  artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) from an incapable patient who, although in a state of very reduced consciousness, is clinically stable and still exhibiting some awareness. The decision puts the autonomy of the patient firmly at the heart of judicial decision making: as the judge remarks this is not a case about the right to die but concerns the right of this unfortunate woman to live her life at the end of her days in a way that she would have wished.

Respect for her human dignity and her freedom overwhelms the presumption that there should be any further prolongation of her life.

Serjeants' Inn Chambers represented the Clinical Commissioning Group.

Please click here to read the above article on the Legal Futures website.

Sebastian appeared for the claimant in this 5-day trial concerning paramedic negligence in failing to convey the deceased to hospital in light of cardiac symptoms.  Breach of duty and causation were in issue; HHJ Godsmark QC found for the claimant on both points. Sebastian was instructed by Hayley Smith from Irwin Mitchell.

At a hearing before the Fitness to Practise Panel of the GMC between 2nd and 10th November 2015, the complainant (Patient A), who was a young mother who had just given birth, made an allegation of indecent assault against the Respondent, who was working at the time as a locum SHO in paediatrics. It was alleged that the doctor had rubbed her back and touched/held her breast for 2-3 minutes and that his conduct was deliberate and sexually motivated. Patient A alleged that the assault took place while she was breast-feeding. 

The Fitness to Practise Panel acceded substantially to the application made on behalf of the doctor to throw out the allegations at the close of the Council’s case under rule 17(2)(g) of the FTP Rules.

The panel concluded that the many inconsistencies in Patient A’s various accounts rendered her evidence so weak and inconsistent as to be insufficient for the case, in relation to the main allegations, to proceed. 

A single remaining factual allegation concerning chaperoning, that was not thrown out at the close of the Council’s case, was also found not proved. Accordingly, the case was closed with no adverse finding. 

Please click here to read the above article from today's Law Society Gazette.

Bridget Dolan represented the parents of Sally Mays at the inquest into her death in October 2015.

The Senior Coroner for Hull found that the decision by senior psychiatric nursing staff to refuse Sally a hospital bed when she was in obvious need of admission, was an “unconscionable and quixotic decision” following a “lamentable”, “perfunctory and slipshod assessment” of Sally. 

Click here for recent press coverage.

We also won Professional Discipline Set of the Year for the second year running and were one of five finalists for Client Service Set of the Year, with Anthony Haycroft a runner up for Professional Discipline Junior of the Year.

George Hugh-Jones QC has secured the acquittal of a spinal surgeon at the GMC. The surgeon faced multiple charges, including substandard surgery and four cases of dishonesty.

George Hugh-Jones QC was instructed by RadcliffesLeBrasseur.

The practitioner, who is  an experienced dentist specialising in oral surgery, faced allegations concerning treatment, planning and obtaining consent in relation to implant treatment.

At the conclusion of a one-week hearing on 16th October 2015, the Committee concluded that his fitness to practise was not impaired.

The practitioner was represented by Andrew Hockton, instructed  by Nailah Heslop-Mears of BLM, London.

Summary: 

  • The Regulators’ response to the Francis Report and the adoption of “A professional duty of candour”
  • The development of guidance to healthcare professionals.
  • The impact of “the professional duty of candour” on disciplinary proceedings: some practical tips on:
    • Rule 7 responses.
    • Witness statements: Should they be provided and if so when?
    • Giving evidence at a disciplinary hearing. 

Introduction

Robert Francis QC (as he then was) opened chapter 22 of his February 2013 inquiry report in the following way:

“Openness, transparency and candour are necessary attributes of organisations providing healthcare services to the public. There is strong evidence based on the actions in particular of the Trust and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that insufficient observance of these requirements has been prevalent..."

The report commended us, as the only set of chambers featured, as “stand-out” in terms of our success in “facilitating a partnership between clients and Chambers and introducing initiatives to help clients…”.

Click here to read the full report.

We are delighted to have been named Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Set of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2015.

The awards will be presented to the winners at a networking dinner on 10th November 2015. Click here for further information.

1.Where an individual doctor has provided information pursuant to his employer/provider’s duty under the Regulated Activities Regulations 2014, would the subsequent deployment of that information in criminal proceedings offend any individual doctor’s claim to the right against self-incrimination and/or violate Article 6.?  This short paper seeks to set  out the European perspective. 

Article 6 states:

In the determination of… any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair….hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

Serjeants’ Inn Chambers hosted an evening with Sir Robert Francis QC on Thursday 24 September 2015 to discuss and reflect upon the impact of the Duty of Candour, as recommended in the 2013 Francis Report, upon practice in a variety of healthcare areas, including inquests.  

Cecily White and Paul Spencer considered the impact in the Coronial jurisdiction of the rather snappily named “Regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014” (ie the Duty of Candour regulations).  Their paper is summarised below.

Anthony Haycroft successfully secured an order of conditions for a Spanish dentist facing numerous allegations of both clinical safety issues and widespread record keeping deficiencies. 

The dentist was working in Cambodia and gave evidence via Skype. All of the recording issues were admitted and some isolated clinical issues but all contested clinical issues were found not proven.

The Committee then accepted that the failings were due to a difference in foreign training and did not amount to misconduct.

A 3-year order of conditions aimed at improving record keeping was argued for and ordered. 

Anthony Haycroft was instructed by Judith Duffin of BLM London, instructed by Lynn Rees of Dental Protection.

We are delighted to have been named Chambers of the Year at the Halsbury Legal Awards 2015.

The award brochure noted:

The judges were impressed by this set’s progressive approach which runs in tandem with its strong record on ground-breaking litigation. Effective management and dedicated client management teams have combined to enable it to develop international markets marking a truly remarkable year.

 For further details click here.

Please click here for details of this new publication by Charles Foster and Jonathan Herring.  The book is described by its publishers as contending that:

“our welfare is inextricably entangled with that of others, and accordingly law and ethics, in determining our best interests, should recognise the central importance of relationality, the performance of obligations, and (even apparently injurious) altruism”.

We are delighted to announce that Gemma Hobcraft (2006 call) has joined Chambers as a new tenant. Gemma practises in professional discipline and regulatory work and public law. She regularly appears before health care regulators, acting in the full range of conduct, competence and health cases.

David Morris represented a GP doing weekend Out of Hours work.He had been accused of issuing a series of prescriptions for long term (2-4 months) supply of high value medications including insulin, asthma inhalers, Viagra and  nutritional supplements in fictitious patient names.  

The prescriptions had been dispensed many weeks after their prescription at pharmacies distant from the OOH centre but close to addresses used by the doctor.  

The doctor’s defence was that he had been duped either by dishonest patient relatives/friends or by dishonest healthcare workers (district or care home nurses) who had taken advantage of his lack of knowledge of UK general and OOH practice.  For a decade he had practised solely as a GP with British forces in Germany.

While the Panel thought that his oral evidence had been, at times, vague and evasive it was unable to identify any personal or financial motive.  Further, it noted that the prescribed drugs were not typical of those often obtained fraudulently such as opiates, strong painkillers and benzodiazepines. It accepted that he had acted in good faith on the information provided to him by the patients’ representatives.

Having found that the doctor’s fitness to practise was not impaired, the Panel went on to reject the GMC’s submission that the doctor should receive a formal warning for poor record-keeping, which he had admitted in his evidence.  

It accepted the defence submission that it would be wrong to issue a warning about matters which had not been formally alleged against the doctor and about which no findings of fact had been made.

In the circumstances the Panel agreed that it did not have the power to impose a warning about matters not included in the formal allegation. In so doing the Panel expressly rejected the contrary advice of the Legal Assessor. 

David Morris was instructed by Christopher Briggs and Christian Carr of  DACBeachcroft and supported by the Medical Defence Union.

David Morris represented a high profile GP who had been chairman of his local Clinical Commissioning Group with responsibility for a multi-million pound budget.

The doctor faced numerous allegations of dishonesty including:

  • getting a receptionist to forge his GP partner’s signature on a life insurance application form;
  • witnessing the signature on the Will of an elderly hospital in-patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease and dementia when he knew that the patient may have lacked sufficient mental capacity;
  • failing to disclose his Out of Hours (OOH) work to the GMC and
  • failing to disclose his interim GMC suspension to the OOH employer.

The doctor was also charged with Deficient Professional Performance having done poorly in a GMC clinical assessment. He admitted this allegation.

The MPTS Panel only found one allegation of dishonesty proved: the life insurance forgery. While finding his witnessing of the Will ill-advised, the Panel was not satisfied that it was actually dishonest.

On the proved facts the GMC sought the doctor’s erasure from the Medical Register. Unusually for a case of dishonesty the Panel were persuaded that neither erasure nor suspension was necessary to maintain public confidence in the medical profession. They were satisfied that their finding of Impairment coupled with a substantial period (3 years) of conditional registration would send a clear message to the public and the profession as to the seriousness of his misconduct.

David Morris was instructed by Simon Kernyckyj and Amy Wilson of RadcliffesLeBrasseur and supported by Sarah Townley of the Medical Protection Society.

Anthony Haycroft has represented a General Dental Practitioner in a 7-day Professional Conduct Committee hearing covering substantial clinical failings in complex restorative dentistry in two different patients. 

The failings ranged from inadequate treatment planning, assessment and diagnosis, incorrect use of radiographs, poor record-keeping, poor periodontal assessment and treatment and failure to obtain informed consent. Numerous failings were admitted and the remainder were effectively withdrawn after discussion between the experts.

The defence made clear from the outset that misconduct was accepted, but presented substantial remediation evidence to show no current impairment. The GDC sought then to argue for impairment on public interest grounds, however the defence's counter-arguments were accepted and no impairment was found. 

Anthony Haycroft was instructed by Deepika Raino of RadcliffesLeBrasseur and supported by John Kocierz of Dental Protection.

Bridget Dolan represented the patient (through the Official Solicitor) in this medically and ethically complex case concerning an application to withdraw treatment from a man in a minimally conscious state.

Mr Justice Newton accepted Bridget’s arguments that when assessing the value of life from the particular perspective of this patient,  there was strong evidence from the accounts of his family and based on his religious beliefs, that any life, no matter how profoundly disabled, would be considered by him to be of significant value.

The judge found that life-preserving treatment was neither futile nor burdensome and that, despite his profound brain injury, his present life was one P would find worthwhile, even though many others would not adopt the same position.

The treatment has therefore been continued.

We are delighted to announce that Bridget Dolan has won the Barrister of the Year award and Gerry Boyle was awarded bronze at The Lawyer Awards 2015.

Serjeants' Inn Chambers was awarded bronze in the Chambers of the Year category.

Eloise Power has represented the GDC in a hearing concerning challenges to IOC decisions under s32 of the Dentists Act.

The hearing established that the IOC and Court’s function in relation to an interim order is one of risk assessment and that there is no threshold specified in the legislation. 

In his judgment, Warby J stated:

“I accept the submission of Miss Power that the function of the IOC and the court in relation to an interim order is one of risk assessment. This necessarily requires that attention is paid to the nature of the allegations and the evidence which is relied upon to support them. The fact that it is an exercise of risk assessment cannot justify the court ignoring the need to pay attention to the quality of the evidence and the possibility or prospect that it may not be sufficient to justify the view that there is a risk. But there is no threshold specified in the legislation other than the need to protect the public, the public interest and, where applicable, the interests of the registrant. It is not a question of the threshold of a prima facie case.”

Please click here to read the full judgment.

We are delighted to announce that David Lawson has joined Serjeants’ Inn Chambers this month.

David has an established practice in education law, local government, public law and human rights and the Court of Protection.  Recent work has included judicial reviews of local authorities, universities, discrimination claims, advising on school regulation and appeals concerning Education, Health and Care Plans.  He is involved in a number of cases relating to reductions in public services and has appeared in several joint Court of Protection and judicial review challenges. 

David is a valuable addition to our public law team and his practice fits well with our expertise in the Court of Protection, health care and regulatory fields.  He is the fourth established practitioner to join us this year and his arrival reflects our ongoing commitment to building the expertise and service we offer to our clients.

We are delighted to have been highly commended in the Chambers Innovation category at the Legal Innovation Awards 2015.

The awards, held at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London, recognised forward thinking vision in the operation and delivery of services and client care.

On 19th May 2015, at the conclusion of a sensational case at the GMC, the careers of two promising young doctors were saved . 

The doctors had obtained overseas convictions in Spain for an offence of assault, arising from events during a stag weekend in Barcelona. Under the rules of the Fitness to Practise Panel they were unable to go behind the overseas convictions. The panel, however, heard compelling evidence that threw serious doubt upon the fairness of the proceedings giving rise to the convictions and concluded that the fitness to practise of neither doctor was impaired. 

The panel further concluded that, in the exceptional circumstances of the case, a warning was neither necessary or appropriate. 

The case received widespread publicity in the national and local press. 

The doctors were represented by Andrew Hockton, instructed by Katie Costello of BLM, Manchester and Kate Williams of RadcliffesLeBrasseur, Leeds.

Christopher Johnston QC has represented an 11-year-old claimant who suffered brain damage following his birth.

The boy was born with abnormally low blood sugar levels which were not monitored or treated.

Speaking at the High Court hearing, Christopher said “He now has the mind of a six-year-old with no prospect of improvement [and] is someone who will require care and support for the rest of his life.”

The settlement comprised a £1.45m lump sum plus index-linked periodical payment orders (PPOs) for care, case management, therapies and loss of earnings. On a traditional 2.5% discount rate multiplier approach the settlement was worth about £6.6m, but if the Claimant lives as long as expected this will equate to £13m in index-linked payments over his life span.

Charles Foster represented Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena in the first ever prosecution under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

Dr. Dharmasena was a junior doctor who attended a Somali woman in labour. The woman had been infibulated as a child, and had subsequently been deinfibulated. The doctor made an incision through scar tissue in order to catheterise the urethra prior to effecting instrumental delivery. He then inserted a suture to stop bleeding from the wound. The prosecution said that this constituted FGM. The trial was contested for two and a half weeks before Sweeney J at Southwark Crown Court. The jury quickly acquitted.