Expertise and key strengths
In a legal career spanning over 25 years I have had the privilege of looking after people pursuing small, moderate and large injury claims. In recent years I have specialised in claims involving more complex injury and clinical negligence cases where injuries have been severe or long-lasting, such as acquired brain and spinal cord injury for both adults and children (including many cerebral palsy claims), fatalities, missed diagnosis claims and diabetic amputees.
I am told that my expertise lies in my technical ability to handle complex claims and bring together teams of people to achieve the best possible results for our clients. I have been credited with an ability to “think outside the box” and to achieve creative negotiated solutions to seemingly intractable difficulties. My passion and commitment to early and effective rehabilitation is also well known.
I have a long track record in leading on campaigns for law reform and regularly speak to press, politicians and the judiciary on topics on the law reform agenda.
I prefer to rely on independent statements about my strengths from clients for legal directories which quote me as: ‘devoted and committed’, ‘going the extra mile’ and ‘service standards are very high’. Legal peers say I show “superb judgment, that I am ‘quietly authoritative and extremely industrious’, whilst I referred to in a High Court judgment as ‘being particularly impressive and experienced’.
I have also been recommended for my work with birth injury cases. One leading counsel with whom I have worked has said ‘her conduct and preparation for the Court of Appeal was among the very best that I have seen’ and that ‘it was evident from the trial papers and manuscript that her preparation for trial at first instance was top class’. Another leading counsel has said in a long career that he had ‘never dealt with a team more organised and on the ball’.
I have always wanted to help people who have suffered injury and disability and to push the boundaries for better standards of care. I first worked and qualified as a hospital manager with responsibility for patient complaints, medical records and litigation and that experience has served me well for my subsequent career as an injury lawyer.
My formative years as a lawyer were spent at national law firm Charles Russell LLP where I rose through the ranks to become Head of Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury. I left that firm in 2010 to set up a new team of specialist neurotrauma and clinical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell LLP, where we had many successes both through the courts and in negotiated settlements.
I joined Hudgell Solicitors in 2016 as Group Head of Litigation and at the same time was appointed as a Deputy Master in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.
Proudest professional achievement
A career highlight for me was being chosen to act for a retired Court of Appeal judge in his claim for damages for a significant injury following a road traffic accident.
Another high point for me was being voted into office by my legal peers as President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) in 2008/2009. The organisation has over 4,000 members and campaigns tirelessly for the rights of injured people and it was a privilege to lead on that work during my time in office.
Being praised by members of teams that I have had the joy of managing and co-ordinating as an ‘approachable, supportive and positive boss’ has been an affirmation of my core values and made me proud of what we have achieved together.
Most of my recent court cases and settlements have been covered by anonymity orders but those which have been through the courts without reporting restrictions include:-
The RSA Pursuit Test Cases in 2005 in which I co-ordinated a claimant solicitor group which was successful in recovering after the event insurance premiums for their clients in test case costs litigation.
I acted for the claimant in an employers’ liability case (Denton Hall Legal Services and Ors v Fifield) in 2006, helping the claimant in her successful attempt to secure damages from her employer in respect of the upper limb symptoms she suffered due to her working conditions. The judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
In the case of Raggett v Society of Jesus Trust 1929 for Roman Catholic Purposes and Anor in 2010, I was successful in the Court of Appeal when seeking to uphold a judgment for a claimant who had suffered child sexual abuse at school, even though the defendant raised arguments that the claim had been commenced out of time.
In the case of Micklewright v Surrey County Council in 2011, I acted for the claimant in a Fatal Accidents Act claim where death was caused by a falling tree branch overhanging a public parking space.
In the case of Bristow v Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust & Others, I was successful in obtaining costs sanctions against the defendant for their unreasonable failure to mediate certain issues in the claim.
Qualifications and professional memberships
- Past President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
- APIL Fellow.
- Member and assessor for APIL’s specialist brain injury and clinical negligence accreditation schemes.
- Law Society Accredited clinical negligence panel member.
- Law Society Accredited personal injury panel member.
- Chair of the Civil Procedure Rule sub-committee (CPRC) tasked with drafting court rules for fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence cases (and past member CPRC 2009-2015).
- Chair of the Project Steering Group overseeing the publication of the much revised 2015 Rehabilitation Code.
- Member Advisory Council of Trust Mediation (not for profit dispute resolution service).
- Member Clinical Disputes Forum.
- Governor of Expert Witness Institute and Chair of Marketing & Events Committee.
- Member International Underwriting Association/Association of British Insurers Working Group on Rehabilitation.
- Member Serious Injury Guide Working Party (formerly Multi-Track Code Review Group).
- Member UK Rehabilitation Council (and past founding director and trustee).