David Morris

Call 1976

David Morris | Call 1976

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Overview

David Morris has acted for health professionals and organisations in difficulty for many years. He has represented them at disciplinary panel hearings, the tribunals of their regulators, at inquests in the Coroner’s Court, criminal trials in the Crown Court and appeals in the High Court. Whether medical student, senior consultant or hospital trust he deploys the same friendly, relaxed but rigorous approach. He aims to minimise the stress of a lengthy, lonely, career-threatening process and to secure the best possible outcome.

David is clerked primarily by Lee Johnson, Stephen Somerville, Jennifer Pooler and Louis Wilkins.

“He displays the ability to master complex information coupled with superior advocacy skills and the ability to relate well to, and gain the confidence of, the individuals whom he represents”
Chambers & Partners

“Thank you for all your hard work on this case with your customary rabbit-out-of-the-hat ending”
Instructing Solicitor, [national] firm

experience & Expertise

David is a well-known junior who specialises in the defence of healthcare professionals and hospital trusts. He has long experience in representing them before their regulators, on appeal to the Administrative Court, at criminal Crown Court trials and Coroners’ inquests. In recognition of his skill and knowledge, he was recently awarded the accolade of Professional Discipline Junior of the Year at the Chambers & Partners’ UK Bar Awards.

David combines a detailed knowledge of tribunal and court practice and procedure with a friendly and relaxed approach that is designed to secure the best possible outcome for the client and to make a stressful, career-threatening process more bearable than might otherwise have been the case.

cases & Work of note

  • General Dental Council  v T 2016
    David successfully defended a dentist who was the director of a company owning over 10 dental practices. He was accused of knowingly and dishonestly buying counterfeit dental equipment for the practices on eBay from Chinese websites for prices a small fraction of those paid for genuine items.
    On the face of the evidence about the ludicrously low prices paid a finding of dishonesty seemed inevitable. The Panel accepted his submissions on the need, in accordance with cited legal authority, to look for cogent evidence of dishonesty and to apply both an objective and subjective test. The Panel found that, while the dentist showed a profound level of naivety, he had not been dishonest.
  • Inquest 2016
    David recently represented a private psychiatric hospital group whose patient committed suicide with a belt she had concealed in her room as the ligature. The Coroner found a number of failings in care but David dissuaded her:
    i)  from concluding that the hospital was guilty of neglect; and
    ii) from her expressed view that a Prevention of Future Death report was required by convincing her that the hospital had taken all reasonable steps to remedy its deficiencies.
  • General Medical Council v H 2015
    A GP faced allegations of dishonestly issuing prescriptions in the names of fictitious patients. In his submissions David had cited authorities emphasising the importance of identifying cogent evidence and motive before finding charges of dishonesty proved. The Panel, while considering the doctor’s evidence to have been at times vague and evasive, was unable to identify any personal or financial motive and did not find him dishonest. 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 David’s 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.
  • General Medical Council v A 2014.
    Mr A was a senior surgical Specialist Registrar who faced charges relating to his performance of an appendicectomy on a 20 week pregnant woman during which he in error removed one of the patient’s ovaries having mistaken it for the appendix. These included poor clinical performance before, during and after the procedure and acting beyond the scope of his competence. The patient subsequently died from infection. It was not however part of the GMC’s case that Dr A’s failures contributed to the patient’s death. The on-call consultant who had allowed Mr A to conduct the procedure without being present to supervise him was also a defendant in the case.
    Mr A admitted the majority of the allegations. Since the incident Mr A had done substantial remedial work. The Panel found his failings so serious that, notwithstanding his remediation, they considered his current fitness to practise to be impaired. Conditions of supervision and retraining were attached to his registration.
    Immediately after the Panel’s sanction Determination the GMC’s Chief Executive, Niall Dickson, issued a Press Release. In it he criticised the leniency of the Panel’s sanction saying that for such a serious clinical incident which had such serious consequences a sanction of suspension should have been imposed.
  • R v B 2013 Lincoln Crown Court
    David secured the acquittal of a junior hospital doctor accused of sexual assault on two patients.
  • General Medical Council v Kakade 2013 EWHC 2110 (Admin)
    David successfully applied to terminate a GP’s interim suspension order on grounds of procedural irregularity and substantive error in Panel’s determination.

recommendations

David has long been recommended by both The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a leading junior in Professional Discipline. In 2013 Chambers & Partners awarded him Professional Discipline Junior of the Year. The current edition notes that “David is a barrister for whom complex cases are second nature. He’s very thorough and has an incredible eye for detail. He’s excellent on complex, paper-heavy cases and is phenomenally experienced.”

Other directory commentary has included the following:

Reflections

As a scientist at school I was tempted to be a patent lawyer. But fate led me to healthcare law. I have no regrets as the work combines the science and the practitioners who use it to keep us well and treat our ill health.

“I get most satisfaction from earning the gratitude of clients at the end of their case.”

Amongst the professions, healthcare professionals and organisations are rightly the most rigorously regulated. They try their best to treat and do no harm. They are now more frequently accused of falling short of their best. Whether true or false, for individual professionals the accusation is shattering and intensely stressful. They deserve help and I enjoy doing my best for them.

I get most satisfaction from earning the gratitude of clients at the end of their case, whatever its outcome. At first meeting before trial or hearing they are always anxious and often resentful and defensive. To see their brilliant smiles and tears of relief, to be hugged when the result was good or to hear their genuine thanks for having done all that there was to be done when the result was bad is what drives me to do the best I can.

There is also the reward of being part of a cohesive defence team in advising and guiding the clients so that they realise and approve the most effective way of presenting their cases. And of course there is the joy of undermining the prosecution’s factual and expert witnesses and of obtaining a fair, and sometimes unexpectedly good, decision.

To help me get there I constantly recall the advice

of a good friend:

‘You have always got to be match fit’;

of my school English teacher:

‘99% of genius is taking pains’;

and of Dick, the butcher, in Henry VI Part 2:

‘The first thing we do: Let’s kill all the lawyers’.

Further Information

For further details of David’s practice please click on the links to the left or contact a member of the clerking or client service team.

Bar Council Membership No: 15924
Registered Name: Mr David Paul Morris
VAT Registration No: 245298246