Robert Francis QC

Called to the Bar 1973

Queen's Counsel 1992

Clinical Negligence & Healthcare

Robert undertakes clinical negligence actions on behalf of claimants (publicly, privately funded or on CFAs) and defendants, including NHS and private bodies, medical defence organisations, and insurers continuously for over 30 years.

Notable Cases

Clinical negligence
Dowson v Sunderland Hospitals NHS Trust [2004] Lloyds Rep Med 177 (Causation of neonatal stroke

D v East Berkshire Community NHS Trust HL [2005] UKHL 23; CA [2003] 4 All ER 796; [2003] Lloyds Rep Med 552 (Duty of care in diagnosis of child abuse)

AD v East Kent NHS Trust QB [2002] Lloyds Rep Med 424; CA [2003] 3 All ER 1167 (Unwanted birth to mentally ill mother)

Burke v Leeds Health Authority [2001] EWCA CIV 51 (unreported 29/1/01) (causation)

Brown v Lewisham & North Southwark HA [1999] Lloyds Rep Med 110 (CA) (causation)

Howard v Wessex RHA (1994) 45 Med LR 57 (QB) (proof of negligence)

Gascoine v Haringey Health Authority (1992) 3 Med LR 291 (want of prosecution)

King v Weston Howell [1989] 1 WLR 579 (CA) (negligence and costs)

Roberts v Johnstone [1989] 1 QB 878 (CA) (damages for costs of accommodation)

The Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (chairman)

The Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Inquiry[ (chairman)

Independent Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of GB (chairman)

Independent Inquiry into the care and treatment of Peter Bryan and Richard Loudwell at Broadmoor Hospital (chairman)

Independent Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Michael Stone [chairman]

Inquiry to investigate how the NHS handled allegations about the performance and conduct of Richard Neale

Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry

Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry


Medical treatment cases
Re L (Medical Treatment: Benefit) [2005] 1 FLR 491 (Fam)  (withholding artificial ventilation in spite of parent’s wish it should be given)

W Healthcare NHS Trust v KH, H, PH [2004] EWCA Civ 1324 (withholding artificial nutrition from non-PVS patient)

R (Burke) v General Medical Council  [2004] Lloyds Rep Med 451 (Fam/Admin) (advance directives, life prolonging treatment)

Leeds Teaching Hospital  NHS Trust v A & Others QB [2003] Lloyds Rep Med 151; [2003] FLR 109 (IVF error)

A Health Care Worker v Associated Newspapers [2002] EWCA Civ 195 (confidentiality of treatment information – freedom of press)

B v A NHS Trust (Family Division, 22/3/02) (Refusal of consent to artificial ventilation)

In re A [Mental patient: sterilisation] [2000] 1 FCR 193

In Re MB (Caesarean Section) (1997) 8 Med LR 217 (Non-consensual Caesarean Section)

In Re: T (a minor) (Wardship: medical treatment) [1997] 1 WLR 242

In re S (Hospital Patient: Court’s Jurisdiction) [1995] Fam 26 (CA) (custody of incapacitated patient)

B v Croydon Health Authority [1995] Fam 26 (CA) (force feeding)

Airedale NHS Trust v Bland [1993] AC 789 (HL) (persistent vegetative state)

Re J (A minor)(Child in care: medical treatment) [1993] Fam 15 (CA) (withdrawal of treatment)

Re A [1992] 3 Med LR 303 (Fam) (definition of ‘death’)

F v. Berkshire Health Authority & Another (Mental Health Act Commission intervening)
[1990] AC1 (HL) (sterilisation of mentally handicapped adult

Directory Comments

A high-profile silk who led the nationally reported Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry, the findings of which were recently published with substantial implications for medical defence bodies and the wider NHS.  "He is excellent - a pleasure to work with." Chambers and Partners 2014


"Excellent in all areas," Robert Francis QC has had much of his time taken up by public inquiries of late. It is little wonder that he is in such high demand, as solicitors describe him as "a seasoned performer," who is "formidable" and "forensically exceptional." Chambers and Partners 2013


Robert Francis QC is ‘one of the outstanding silks of his generation’ Legal 500 2012


"a silk who gets to the heart of issues quickly and heads a legal team really well."... Chambers and Partners 2011

 'Robert Francis QC is a key name in the field, noted for his work on high-profile matters. Consistently impressive, he is "very polished and presents cases well.".... Chambers and Partners 2011


 "...'amazingly modest', 'utterly first rate', 'great experience', 'top quality in his field'..." Legal 500 2010

 Robert Francis QC benefits from tremendous experience of medical law. He is praised for his "gentle touch in the courtroom" and his "measured and dependable approach to complex cases." Chambers and Partners 2010

 'one of the most high-profile names in the sector. "A silky-smooth and highly effective advocate," he “brings experience, savvy, and an ability to think round corners” to each case he handles.' Chambers and Partners 2010