- Raymond Machell QC
- Geoffrey Tattersall QC
- David Allan QC
- Winston Hunter QC
- Christopher Melton QC
- Simon Myerson QC
- James Rowley QC
- David Heaton QC
- Andrew Lewis QC
- Sally Hatfield QC
- Richard Pearce
- Mary Ruck
- Peter Burns
- Darryl Allen
- Simon Kilvington
- Benet Hytner QC
Leading Junior, Band 1, Chambers & Partners 2012
|CALL||1993 (Gray’s Inn)|
|PRACTICE AREAS||Clinical negligence and Healthcare
Fatal Accidents and Inquests
Personal Injury and Industrial disease
|APPOINTMENTS||First Tier Tribunal Judge, Health and Social Care Tribunal (formerly MHRT) (2007)
Human Rights Commission Preferred Counsel Panel (2011)
|ASSOCIATIONS||Professional Negligence Bar
Northern Circuit Medical Law Association
Northern Administrative Law Association
Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
Mary has a long – held interest in medical law, stemming from post graduate academic study in Medical Law and Ethics with Professor Ian Kennedy at King’s College, London.
She practised at the London Bar for 6 years in general common law, personal injury and clinical negligence before moving to Manchester where she specialises in clinical negligence claims and cases involving medical issues and serious injury.
Mary is particularly interested in claims arising out of brain injury.
She acts for both Claimant and Defendant.Concluded cases
PJ –v- Northwest Strategic health Authority (2010): brain in jury resulting in frontal lobe damage and spastic quadriparesis, settlement on basis of periodical payments order (gross settlement close to £6m)(with Andrew Moran QC).
JC –v- Northwest Strategic Health Authority (2010): interesting case due to fact that severely birth – injured claimant had already exceeded life expectation indicated by Strauss data; Settlement of lump sum £2.65 million with periodical payments order of £160,000 per year (with Andrew Moran QC).
JB –v- Wrightington Wigan & Leigh NHS Trust (2009): Birth injury; lump sum of £2.1 million with periodical payments order variable over C’s lifetime (with Simon Taylor QC).
AL –v- North & East Yorkshire & Northern Lincolnshire Strategic Health Authority (2009): settlement of lump sum £1.6 million with periodical payments order of £161, 614..49 per year (with Robin Oppenheim QC).
AP –v- Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority (LTLPI 6/11/2009; 2007): settlement of £500,000 for failure to close ventricular septal defect before Claimant’s 2nd birthday, resulting in Eisenmenger’s syndrome
CD –v- Sefton Health Authority (October 2005 PICL): birth injury with preserved intellect; £5 million settlement lump sum (with Andrew Moran QC).
Anderson –v- Blackpool Wyre and Fylde Community Health Services NHS Trust (2003) (unreported); split trials on liability and quantum; eventual award of over £2 million for Claimant needing constant care due to severe PTSD; one of the largest known awards at the time for injury (with Andrew Moran QC for split trial on liability and quantum).
Wardlaw –v- Farrar  EWCA Civ 1719: represented on appeal to the Court of Appeal. Concerning negligent failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism and contribution to deathSample current cases
Claims are usually (though not exclusively) of high value and are usually complex in terms of law or medicine or both, for example:
- Wrongful birth; liability settlement achieved at 90%; quantum pending
- Brain injury through management of birth and neonatal period, failure to identify meningitis etc. resulting in severe cognitive and physical deficit
- Delayed diagnosis of cancer
- Delayed diagnosis of vascular disease resulting in unnecessary amputation
- Failure to manage haemorrhage during surgery
- Failure to identify and manage post – partum haemorrhage during spinal surgery resulting in death
- Failure to diagnose detached retina resulting in loss of sight
- Delayed diagnosis of sub – arachnoid haemorrhage
- Negligence resulting in compromised fertility
- Claims arising out of failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome
Mary is regularly instructed to represent the General Medical Council in front of the Fitness to Practise Panel and in Registration appeals. She has represented the GMC in cases of significant length involving the cross – examination of medical experts and the handling of medical and lay witnesses.
She has experience of representing in front of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and advises on judicial review.Concluded cases
Deficient professional performance/ misconduct in the context of
- slimming clinics
- cosmetic surgery
- obesity surgery (not cosmetic)
- anaesthesia (involving detailed understanding and analysis of anaesthetic medicine)
- medication overdose (arising out of systems failures)
- Failures in management of Care Homes (involving detailed analysis of the relevant legislation)
- Failures in the provision of psychiatric care for those suffering substance misuse addiction
- Failures in management of terminal cancer (including consent issues and advice for surgery over palliative care)
- Fitness to practice of doctor from Sweden operating in the UK private sector on an NHS waiting list initiative
Appeal against SRA refusal of re – accreditation of solicitor on clinical negligence specialist panel.
- Advising a North West firm in relation to an Appeal against the refusal of an LSC contract during a competitive tendering process
Mary represented the Claimant parents in Khan –v- UK (see below) from first instance to its eventual successful resolution in Strasbourg, with significant developments in the law at the Court of Appeal in the domestic jurisdiction. Her innovative arguments, novel at the time they were being argued at first instance, were eventually successful in the ECHR.
Mary currently represents the family of a soldier killed in a Puma helicopter crash in Iraq in 2007 in a case involving Article 2 and Article 8 breaches.
RK and AK -v- Oldham NHS Trust and Dr B Lloyd's Law Report Medical 1: in a case where the cause of action arose prior to the Human Rights Act 1998 coming into law, parents were accused, allegedly wrongfully, of injuring their baby daughter resulting in the baby being taken into care. The claim was pleaded in tort and on the basis that the failure to give the family a mechanism by which the alleged breach of their human rights under Article 8 could be litigated in the domestic courts offended Article 13 of the ECHR. The case was struck out at first instance because parents are not owed a duty of care in tort and the judge considered that the claim under Article 13 could only be brought in Strasbourg.
JD, MAK & RK & Anor -v- East Berkshire Community Health NHS Trust and Ors  EWCA Civ 1151: the Court of Appeal held that the blanket policy preventing children bringing claims in tort as per the House of Lords decision of X –v- Bedfordshire could not withstand the bringing into force of the Human Rights Act 1998. However, the parents’ similar claim to a right of action failed because of apparent “conflict” between a parent accused of abuse and the rights of the abused child, a conflict which had to be resolved in favour of the child (with the late Allan levy QC).
JD, MAK & RK & Anor -v- East Berkshire Community Health NHS Trust & Ors  UKHL 23: the House of Lords upheld the Court of Appeal decision by a 4:1 majority (Lord Bingham of Cornhill giving the dissenting opinion in favour of the argument that a direct duty of care should be owed to parents; with Brian Langstaff QC, now Mr Justice Langstaff).RK and AK -v- United Kingdom (Application No 38000/05): the ECHR found that Article 8 was engaged but there was in fact no breach because the child had been accommodated within her extended family. There was, however, a breach of Article 13 in the State’s failure to accord the parents a means by which they could litigate their action within the domestic jurisdiction. The parents were awarded 10,000 Euros each and costs for the breach of their human rights.
Sample current cases
- Cases arising out of the UK government’s continuing failure to give parents a domestic remedy where alleged clinical negligence results in the removal of their children from their care.
- Representing the family of Soldier JB, killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2007; issues of pre – deployment training, over - tasking while on active service, failures in maintenance resulting in breaches of Article 2 and Article 8. The MoD have indicated they will settle the claim on the basis of the pleaded case.
Mary has undertaken Article 2 inquests with and without a jury in cases involving deaths in custody, care homes and psychiatric hospitals and numerous cases under the Fatal Accidents legislation.
She edits the Fatal Accidents section of Butterworths Personal Injury Litigation Service.Sample cases
- Deaths arising out of failures to manage post – partum haemorrhage; to identify heart attack; to manage surgical haemorrhage.
- Deaths arising out of fatal road accidents (pedestrians, motor cyclists etc).
- Deaths in custody: failures in management of psychiatric illness leading to suicide.
- Deaths in care homes: failures in care of the elderly and vulnerable adults.
As a keen equestrian and Committee Member of the Spinal Injuries Association Cornflower Ball, Mary has a particular interest in personal injury cases involving brain injury and spinal injury.
Her interest in industrial disease arises from working as Legal Adviser to the Republic of South Africa in 1998, when she was the author of a position paper presented to the first – ever National Summit on Asbestos in Johannesburg.Sample cases
- Ziemniak –v- EPTM Ltd CA (Civ Div) LTL 7/5/2003, Times May 15, 2003: Claimant suffered maxillofacial and brain injury when a suspension chain holding a lifeboat failed; right of civil action under the Merchant Shipping (Life Saving Appliances) Regulations 1980, SI 1980/538
- Traumatic brain injury including frontal lobe dysexecutive syndrome
- Traumatic upper and lower limb amputation
- Spinal injury
- Traumatic brain injury resulting in personality change and offending behaviour (consideration of Gray –v- Thames Trains  EWCA Civ 713; now see  UKHL 33)
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