Welcome to the Gatehouse Chambers Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team newsletter, October 2021 edition, edited by Emma Zeb.
There is always a real buzz in the legal community at this time of year as we see the professional rankings in Legal 500, not only of our team but also those of friends, colleagues and much valued clients who have shown us such support over the last 12 months. This year, more than ever, we are extremely proud to see the recommendations in Legal 500 which ranks nearly all of the Gatehouse Chambers Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury and Inquest Team as leaders in their fields. Well done to Aneurin Moloney who is noted as one of a small number of rising stars in clinical negligence at the London Bar and thank you to all of our clients who supported the team and assisted us in achieving such great recommendations.
In other news we are delighted to share that Helena Drage has been appointed to the Attorney General's C panel of Counsel.
Edited by Emma Zeb
Legal 500 - 2022 recommendations
Charles Bagot QC – Leading Silk – 'A leader in the field of secondary victim claims. He is always superbly prepared...'
Emma Zeb – Leading Junior – 'A brilliant advocate. She is impeccably prepared, very approachable and practical'.
Vanessa McKinlay – Leading Junior – 'An extremely knowledgeable barrister in the field of clinical negligence. She is exceptionally good with clients and is always very quick to grasp the key points of a claim'
Henry Slack – Leading Junior 'An approachable and quick thinking advocate'
Aneurin Moloney – Rising star – 'He is a fearsome advocate, who brings a pragmatic approach to the table when required'
Gatehouse Chambers – 'Robust yet approachable barristers with a wide range of expertise and fantastic clerks who are always willing to assist and find solutions...'
Charles Bagot QC – Leading Silk – 'He has full control of the facts, the arguments and, ultimately the court.'
Colm Nugent – Leading Junior – 'He shows steely resolve to see a case through to conclusion'
Emma Zeb – Leading Junior – 'An excellent tactician who is always prepared to ask difficult questions when required. Extremely personable and fantastic with witnesses and clients'
Jasmine Murphy – Leading Junior – 'She has an ability to digest complex medical evidence quickly and provide comprehensive and well though through advice'
Henry Slack – Leading Junior – 'Has a very open manner and is good at conference and on his feet'.
Inquests and Inquiries:
Emma Zeb – Leading Junior – 'A brilliant tactician. Thorough and well prepared with an extremely robust brand of advocacy. Advice to the client is presented in a clear fashion and to the point, and difficult matters not strayed away from.... '
Activity Report – What we have been up
Charles Bagot QC has:
- Been preparing for an upcoming novel application where the Court will be asked to consider whether to grant an order staying a neonatal injury claim unless the Claimant and his parents undergo testing to establish whether the injury has a genetic cause or not.
- Successfully settled several high value clinical negligence claims at RTMs, including a cerebral palsy case, pleaded at £23m, which was resolved subject to Court approval on a periodical payments basis.
- Been instructed to advise in two insurance coverage disputes in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands respectively.
- Advised on approval in a complex fatal accident claim, acting for the Claimant family members, where the Deceased had children with three different partners.
Colm Nugent has:
- Just settled an admiralty fatal accident claim for a widow in a long-running high-profile claim against the ship owners in which the skipper was recently jailed.
- Been advising a major medical device company as regards potential product liability claims by NHS patients.
- Secured an indemnity costs order against a defendant who sought (unsuccessfully) to bring a costs action against a medico-legal expert.
- Given a three-hour seminar on assessing loss in complex loss of earnings claims.
Vanessa McKinlay has:
- Had a number of settlements recently with a psychiatric element to them.
- Been led by Charles Bagot QC in settling a seven-figure psychiatric injury case following stillbirth and in obtaining High Court approval of a £600,000 settlement in a fatal claim after a patient absconded from a psychiatric ward.
- Achieved a £510,000 settlement at mediation for a Claimant who suffered psychiatric injury following a negligent misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
- Been busy in the Coroner's Court, both representing the Health Board at an inquest into the death of a child from meningitis and starting her new role as Assistant Coroner in Birmingham and Solihull.
- Recorded a podcast with Colm Nugent about the Court of Appeal decision in Griffiths v TUI.
Jasmine Murphy has:
- Been busy lecturing on the latest in Animals Act claims and is also preparing a seminar on how to deal with litigants in person.
- She is currently involved in several multi-million pound catastrophic injury cases for both claimants and defendants.
Aneurin Moloney has:
- Been receiving a number of new clinical negligence instructions, including to represent the claimant in a claim concerning the wrongful intravenous administering of adrenaline causing a cardiac event, and another claim arising out of a GP's prescribing of opiates to a patient with a historic dependency.
- Settled a claim on behalf of a protected party who suffered a delay in diagnosis of a fractured femur.
- Settled a case on behalf of a claimant who suffered foot drop following spinal surgery. This case involved allegations of negligent surgical technique as well as consent issues, although the case was settled without an admission of liability.
On behalf of a defendant, successfully defended a claimant's Section 33 Limitation Act application where they had issued only one month late.
Lastly, we have a substantial webinar programme coming up which includes:
A series of Gatehouse Chambers #Brews on:
- Inquests and inquiries.
- Experts, the first of which will be an exciting debate between Vanessa McKinlay and Colm Nugent around the recent decision in the Court of Appeal in Griffiths v TUI (UK) Ltd  EWCA 1442 – see below for Aneurin Moloney's summary of the recent decision in the Court of Appeal decision in this case.
A series of J2J (Junior 2 Junior) training sessions on aspects of clinical negligence aimed at those with less experience or looking to refresh their knowledge:
- First steps on the path to litigation
- Making or breaking your claim/defence: expert evidence
- What do you need to prove breach of duty?
If you received this newsletter, then you will receive an invitation to these shortly. If you are interested but unable to attend, please do still sign up as a recording of the session which will be circulated after the event to those indicating an interest. With these forthcoming training sessions in mind, we hope you enjoy the selection of articles below.
Changes afoot for the Coroner's service.... Just a few!
Summary of the Government's recent response to the Coroner's Service Inquiry Report.
It has been a tough time during the Pandemic for those practising in the area of complex inquest work. There remains a significant back log of cases in many Coroner jurisdictions and especially in cases that require a jury. Many hearings are still being vacated and often at the last minute. At the other end of the scale difficult cases are being listed quite late in the day and often creating difficulties for all involved in terms of ensuring there is sufficient support for the bereaved as well as proper opportunities for attendance and representation at any hearing. The pandemic recovery therefore remains challenging in this jurisdiction.
E-scooters, cyclists and obvious risks
A lasting impact of the pandemic appears to be the shift in travel behaviour towards increased use of e-scooters and bicycles, powered or non-powered. E-scooter rental schemes have been up and running in London and other cities since June 2021. However, my observation of London traffic suggests that most e-scooters being used in London are privately owned and consequently illegal to use on roads, pavements, cycle lanes and other public places.
Expert witnesses: TUI or not TUI – should a party ask a question?
The Claimant relies upon an expert's report. The Defendant doesn't. Which approach should the Court take:
- that the Defendant, who does not challenge any aspect of the expert's report, is entitled to submit at the conclusion of trial that the expert's conclusions shouldn't be accepted.
- that any party must challenge the evidence of any witness that they wish to submit should not be accepted?
Well, the Court of Appeal, by a 2 to 1 majority decision, considered the first approach to be correct.
This is the case of Griffiths v TUI (UK) Ltd  EWCA Civ 1442 – a package holiday gastric illness case, which has been the subject of 2 appeals.
Spin the wheel - get to know us better!
And so for a bit of fun... each newsletter, a member of our team has a go at spinning the 'wheel of questions'. This month Vanessa McKinlay has braved the wheel. If you have any suggestions for questions to add to the wheel then we are all ears!
Q. What was the first concert you attended?
A. Queen at Wembley Arena when I was a teenager. It was spectacular. I thought all concerts were going to be like that, so you can imagine how disappointed I was for years afterwards.
Q. Where do you most hope to visit?
A. Anywhere that involves feeling that first blast of hot weather when you walk down the steps of the plane.
Q. What was your first job?
A. Picking strawberries in the school holidays. Initial productivity was 50% as I managed to eat alternate ones until I was caught.
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