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Bridget Dolan KC represents family at Inquest into the death of Dr Kim Harrison, who was killed following significant failures in the mental health care of his son

5th June 2024

A bereaved family represented by Bridget Dolan KC have called for an independent review into mental health services following the tragic death of Dr Kim Harrison (Kim) in 2022. Kim was assaulted by his son, Dan, who had been formally detained under the Mental Health Act; but less than an hour before the assault he had absconded from the ward in Neath Port Talbot Hospital whilst a staff member was conducting a conversation at an open door. Dan had been detained as he was considered to be a risk to others. At the time of the assault Dan was suffering from untreated schizophrenia which caused him to have paranoid delusions about his father.

The inquest revealed numerous failures by Swansea Bay University Health Board (SBUHB) in the care of Dan which had contributed to Kim’s death. The coroner found that before the killing, over a number of months, the Harrisons had raised their concerns with SBUHB staff on multiple occasions regarding the perceived failures in SBUHB’s management of Dan’s mental health; including writing to the SBUHB Interim Chief Executive, the Medical Director, the Nurse Director for the Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Service Group and other members of SBUHB’s senior management team.

The Coroner has now issued a ‘prevention of future deaths’ report (here) highlighting the shortcomings of the Health Board and the City and County of Swansea Local Authority including:

  • The failure to put in place appropriate and timely follow up arrangements when Dan’s consultant left the service.
  • The failure to ensure that Dan was regularly and assertively visited in the community so that he could be re-engaged with mental health services.
  • A flawed Mental Health Act (MHA) assessment of Dan in early 2021.
  • Failure of an AMHP  to comply with their s.13(4) MHA duty and to collect sufficient collateral information before visiting and assessing Dan under MHA.
  • The defective security system and lack of adequate training of staff regarding door access on the ward, which was being operated in an unsafe manner.
  • Failure to properly address Kim and Jane Harrison’s complaints about Dan’s care which they raised before the killing – when an independent report was commissioned by the Health Board but then was, inexplicably, not shared with the consultant psychiatrist whom it criticised at any point prior to Kim’s death.

Following an investigation by the Sunday Times which highlighted the scale of mental-health related killings in Britain, Dr Jane Harrison, Kim’s wife, said that she believes “the NHS has become used to poor mental health care and is tolerating the deaths that happen as a result.” Earlier she had told the BBC that she believed her son was let down at all stages of his mental health care, and that her “family has suffered immeasurable harm at the hands of managers and senior clinicians.”  Dan is as much a victim of this tragedy as his father.

Bridget Dolan KC is instructed by Joanna Bennett of Bindmans. You can read more about this case, as well as Bridget’s involvement, here.

Read the PFD report here.

 


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Nageena Khalique KC appointed as leading counsel to represent the Welsh Government in Module 6 of the Covid-19 Inquiry

29th May 2024

We are delighted to announce that Nageena Khalique KC has been appointed as leading counsel to represent the Welsh Government in Module 6 of the Covid-19 Inquiry. This module commenced in December 2023, with public hearings expected to take place in the summer of 2025.

Module 6 will investigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on both the public and private adult social care sector in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It will grapple with difficult issues concerning the consequences of government decision-making on those living and working in the care sector, including, but not limited to, hospital discharge to care homes after the introduction of government restrictions, restrictions on visitors to care homes, and the availability of PPE for the care sector. You can find out more information about the scope of Module 6 on the Covid-19 Inquiry website.

The decision was taken by senior officials of the Welsh Government after a competitive interview process. It was based on Nageena’s specific experience and expertise of the care sector, including its structure and the complex policy and legal issues that arise in the area. Please click here for more information about Nageena’s practice in health and welfare law.


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Scott Matthewson returns from Argentina where he advised leading Argentine judges, lawyers and academics & advocacy training

23rd May 2024

Scott Matthewson has just returned from Argentina where the adversarial system of trial is being newly implemented. Scott was part of a four-person team advising leading Argentine judges, lawyers and academics on the adversarial system in England & Wales and training lawyers in the method of advocacy training adopted by the Inns of Court. Scott joined Joanna Korner CMG KC (British Judge of the International Criminal Court in the Hague), Professor Cheryl Thomas KC (UCL) and Upper Tribunal Judge Jill Frances. Supported by the British Embassy and funded by UCL, ROLE UK and the Inner Temple, the team delivered a series of seminars, lectures and workshops to lawyers, judges and government ministers in Buenos Aires and to the Supreme Court in Salta. The team plans to return in the coming years to advise on the roll out of a new Argentinian advocacy programme across the country.

Read more about it on the Argentinian State Website here.

Read more about Scott’s practice here.


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John de Bono KC, Katherine Hampshire and Imogen Goold speak at Careers in Medical Law and Ethics event held at the University of Oxford

17th May 2024

On Monday 13th May a panel discussion was held in Oxford to give students the opportunity to find out about careers in Medical Law and Ethics.

The panel consisted of representatives from the Bar (John de Bono KC and Katherine Hampshire of Serjeants’ Inn Chambers), from two firms specialising in medico-legal matters (Rob Tobin, Head of the Medical Law team at Kennedys, and Flora Jago, a senior solicitor at Hempsons), and from academia and policy (Jonathan Herring, Professor of Law at University of Oxford and Imogen Goold, Professor of Medical Law, University of Oxford and pupil at Serjeants’ Inn).

 


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Serjeants’ Inn Nominated for 3 Legal Cheek Awards 2024

15th May 2024

We are delighted to be nominated for 3 categories at The Legal Cheek Awards this year. These include:

  • Best Chambers for Quality of Work 2024
  • Best Chambers for Colleague Supportiveness 2024
  • Best Chambers for Legal Tech 2024

Congratulations to everyone else who has been nominated and thank you to all our clients for your support.

Read the full list of nominees here.


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Anthony Searle secures neglect finding and 2 PFD reports in tragic sepsis inquest

8th April 2024

Anthony Searle, instructed by Sanja Strkljevic and Ella Cornish of Leigh Day, represented the bereaved daughter of Tracey Farndon at the resumed inquest into her death on 4 April 2024.

Tracey, an otherwise healthy 56-year-old woman, attended the Emergency Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the early hours of 25 April 2023. She died the same day from septic shock, caused by sepsis secondary to community-acquired pneumonia. Not a single healthcare professional suspected sepsis at any point prior to Tracey’s death, despite signs being present.

Mrs Louise Hunt, HM Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, heard evidence from Tracey’s daughter and partner, as well as a Consultant in Emergency Medicine, a Consultant Thoracic Surgeon and an Emergency Department Matron.

Anthony’s questioning and legal submissions led the Senior Coroner to accept that there was sufficient evidence to justify the serious finding of neglect. The Senior Coroner considered that there was a gross failure to provide basic medical attention in the form of obtaining Tracey’s blood pressure reading and NEWS2 score shortly after her arrival. Had these gross failures not occurred, a different pathway would have been triggered, including a medical assessment of Tracey, various investigations, and the commencement of the Sepsis Six pathway. The Senior Coroner considered these gross failures to be causative of Tracey’s death.

As a result of the deficiencies in her care, Tracey was left without a full set of observations (and any repeat observations) for around 5 hours following her arrival, she had no medical assessment for over 6 hours, and she was never given antibiotics. The staffing levels and overcrowding in the Emergency Department were significant contributory factors hindering healthcare professionals’ ability to give Tracey the care she needed.

As well as making the rare finding of neglect, the Senior Coroner considered it appropriate to write two Prevention of Future Death (‘PFD’) Reports. The first will be sent to the Department of Health and Social Care because the Senior Coroner has serious ongoing concerns about resourcing in emergency departments. The second will be sent to University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust owing to a continued significant lack of understanding of sepsis.

The result of the inquest has been the subject of media attention (BBC, The Mirror, Birmingham Mail). The PFD reports are awaited and will be published here.

Anthony is a specialist in clinical negligence and healthcare-related inquests. He has significant experience in cases involving sepsis. His profile can be viewed here.


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Sabina Rizvi Inquest concludes

27th March 2024

Sabina Rizvi was murdered in the early hours of 20 March 2003. Around a week earlier her boyfriend MW had, it was alleged, robbed PA of his Audi TT. In the subsequent days PA sought the assistance of Metropolitan Police Service in recovering the car while Sabina and MW sought to assert genuine ownership of it. On 19 March 2003 Sabina attended Bexleyheath Police Station to give a voluntary statement about her alleged purchase of the car. At the police’s request the car was brought into the Station by her boyfriend who arrived wearing a bullet proof vest. He was arrested and interviewed. Following his interview MW provided information about a threat to his life made by PA. He was released on bail. Within minutes of Sabina and MW leaving the station they were ambushed and shot multiple times. MW was very seriously injured. Sabina tragically died. PA was convicted of Sabina’s murder but his two accomplices have never been identified to the criminal standard of proof.

The inquest into Sabina’s death was resumed after a campaign by her family. It was held in Court No.1 of the Old Bailey before HHJ Rafferty KC sitting as Assistant Coroner, over 14 days. The inquest focussed on (1) whether the police deliberately notified PA and/or others of the whereabouts of MW; (2) whether the police inadvertently notified PA and/or others of the whereabouts of MW; and (3) whether the police knew or ought to have known that an attack would or might take place and whether steps could or should have been taken to prevent it.

After hearing extensive submissions, the Coroner concluded that there was insufficient evidence to leave any of these issues to the jury and directed the jury to return a conclusion on Unlawful Killing.

For press coverage see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/ckd87z4nr5yo

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-68632098

John, James and Cecily appeared for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. They frequently appear in high profile inquests and inquires and related litigation.


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Nageena Khalique KC wins Advocate of the Year at The Women & Diversity in Law Awards 2024

18th March 2024

We are delighted to announce that Nageena Khalique KC has been awarded Advocate of the Year at The Women & Diversity in Law Awards 2024.

As the first female Asian deputy High Court judge in the Family Division and co-founder of Facefacts charity, Nageena has made significant contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal profession.

Nageena’s work often champions the rights of vulnerable members of society, particularly in serious medical treatment cases that impact reproductive rights, sexual autonomy and religious beliefs.

In addition, she has provided mentoring and motivational speaking to aspiring female barristers and a Birmingham school with large cohorts of Muslim and Asian children.

For more details on Nageena’s practice, please click here.


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Conrad Hallin successfully represents Luton Borough Council in the Court of Appeal

29th February 2024

Conrad successfully represented Luton Borough Council in the Court of Appeal in the Official Solicitor’s appeal of the decision of a High Court Judge that it was in the best interests of P, a young man with significant learning difficulties, not to travel to Afghanistan with his extended family, who had previously gained asylum in the UK but were planning a trip to their country of origin. In the first case of its kind, the Court of Appeal refused the Official Solicitor’s appeal on the basis that the first-instance judge had erred by giving too much weight to the Foreign Office Guidance not to travel.

Jamie Mathieson had previously successfully represented Luton Borough Council in the High Court.

Read more about Conrad’s practice here.

Read more about Jamie’s practice here.


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Sophia Roper KC and Benjamin Harrison successfully act for the Official Solicitor in Aberdeenshire Council v SF, EF and Sunderland City Council [2024] EWCOP 10

29th February 2024

Sophia Roper KC and Benjamin Harrison acted for the Official Solicitor in Aberdeenshire Council v SF, EF and Sunderland City Council [2024] EWCOP 10 where they successfully persuaded Poole J to refuse to recognise a Scottish Guardianship Order. The Guardianship Order purported to grant P’s mother the power to authorise the deprivation of P’s liberty for a seven year period without any means of effective review.

The court found that the Scottish Guardianship Order was made in a manner which (i) did not give P an opportunity to be heard in circumstances which (ii) breached of the principles of natural justice, and (iii) breached P’s fundamental human rights under Articles 5, 6 and 8 ECHR.

This case is the only reported example of the Court of Protection exercising its discretion to refuse to recognise a foreign protective measure which was made in another jurisdiction within the UK. Sophia and Ben were instructed by Caroline Hurst of Simpson Millar LLP.

Read more about Sophia’s practice here.

Read more about Ben’s practice here.


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Serjeants’ Inn specialises in important, high profile medical, police, regulatory, criminal and public law cases, often involving political, ethical or social issues: read more

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Awards

Angus Moon KC 1986 | 2006    Joint Head of Chambers
Michael Horne KC 1992 | 2016    Joint Head of Chambers
Adrian Hopkins KC 1984 | 2003
John Beggs KC 1989 | 2009
Michael Mylonas KC 1988 | 2012
John de Bono KC 1995 | 2014
Dijen Basu KC 1994 | 2015
Nageena Khalique KC 1994 | 2015
Katie Gollop KC 1993 | 2016
Simon Fox KC 1994 | 2016
Bridget Dolan KC 1997 | 2016
Gerard Boyle KC 1992 | 2017
Sarah Clarke KC 1994 | 2017
Debra Powell KC 1995 | 2017
Jon Holl-Allen KC 1990 | 2018
Ian Skelt KC 1994 | 2020
Mark Harries KC 1995 | 2019
Sophia Roper KC 1990 | 2022
Claire Watson KC 2001 | 2022
Neil Davy KC 2000 | 2023
Emma Sutton KC 2006 | 2023
Laura Nash 2009
Jemma Lee 2010
Liam Duffy 2012
Chloe Hill 2019
Imogen Goold 2023    Pupil
Allegra Enefer 2024    Pupil
Sir Robert Francis KC 1973 | 1992    Associate Member
James Watson KC 1979 | 2000    Associate Member
His Honour Brian Barker CBE KC 1969 | 1990    Associate Member
Natalie Cargill 2016    Associate Member
Susan Burden 1985    Door Tenant
Anthony Jackson 1995    Door Tenant
Benedict Wray 2009    Door Tenant