Clinical Negligence & Healthcare
“She is an exceptionally bright barrister who is able to cut through complex issues. As a negotiator she comes up with straightforward solutions which everyone else wishes they had thought of.”
Chambers & Partners
Amy Street instructed in claim seeking to change the law to permit assisted dying.
experience & expertise
Amy has a wide-ranging medical law practice, including medical ethics, Court of Protection work, mental health and clinical negligence.
Amy joined chambers to specialise in medical law, having gained a Masters (Distinction) in Medical Ethics and Law from King’s College London.
She has extensive experience acting in High Court medical treatment cases in relation to both children and adults (the latter now in the Court of Protection). She has been involved in countless cases, on all sides of the arguments, giving rise to some of the most difficult human issues which the courts encounter, often concerning life, death and fundamental human rights, such as withdrawal of treatment from children, parents’ religious objections to medical treatment, withdrawal of nutrition and hydration from patients in permanent vegetative state, forced sterilisation of adults with learning disabilities, and force-feeding. Amy has particular experience in deprivation of liberty issues. She also acts in welfare cases in the Court of Protection.
See Amy’s separate Court of Protection profile for details of her extensive expertise and experience in that field.
Amy also has a diverse medical law practice more broadly covering wide-ranging issues such as fertility treatment, DNA testing, and the end of life. She has experience in General Medical Council proceedings. She has significant experience of clinical negligence and is brought in to act in those and other claims such as contract where legal or other complex issues have arisen.
Amy has significant experience of mental health law. She has appeared in tribunal hearings, habeas corpus and judicial review claims and in leading appellate cases developing the law in this field, and is instructed to advise on legal points.
reported cases and selected other work of note
Amy has appeared in leading cases at appellate level as well as at first instance.
- Conway v Ministry of Justice (case ongoing; Amy was instructed before starting parental leave)
Instructed in relation to High Court judicial review seeking to change the law to permit assisted dying. Led by Richard Gordon QC. Central role in co-ordinating the preparation of the claim. Potentially groundbreaking human rights / medical ethics case which has attracted widespread media attention.
- Welsh Ministers v PJ  EWCA (Civ)… [judgment awaited]
Court of Appeal case (on appeal from the Upper Tribunal) on whether a community treatment order under the Mental Health Act 1983 can authorise a deprivation of liberty under Article 5 ECHR. Heard with case of MM which considered the same question in relation to conditional discharge. Instructed at Court of Appeal stage on behalf of the Welsh Ministers, led by Richard Gordon QC, in particular to carry out legal research, legal analysis and develop legal argument. The outcome will affect the ability of the most vulnerable mental health patients to transition from hospital care to the community.
- Spencer v Spencer, Hall & Anderson  EWHC 851 (Fam)
High Court case on whether posthumous paternity testing on a DNA sample given during medical treatment can be ordered under the inherent jurisdiction. Practical significance for patients giving – and hospitals taking – DNA samples. Legal significance on whether the inherent jurisdiction can unpredictably grant new remedies which interfere with human rights. Led by Michael Mylonas QC. Primary responsibility for drafting skeleton arguments and developing legal argument, including human rights points. Instructed on behalf of the deceased’s mother who opposed testing. Permission to appeal granted by Court of Appeal, to be heard October 2017.
- Re JM and others (Incapacitated Persons) (Deprivation of Liberty: Appointment of Representatives)  EWCOP 15;  4 WLR 64.
Significant Court of Protection (High Court level) case addressing the implications of Cheshire West: how people lacking capacity are to be represented in applications to authorise their deprivation of liberty. Co-instructed with Bridget Dolan QC, responsible for drafting skeleton argument on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
- Confidential [2015-2016 and ongoing]
Instructed in a High Court contract claim against a fertility clinic about the use of an embryo and birth of a child without the father’s consent. Led by Michael Mylonas QC, instructed on behalf of the claimant father.
- Confidential 
Instructed on behalf of an NHS Trust to advise on the legality of using electronic forms under the Mental Health Act 1983.
- Confidential :
Instructed on behalf of the NHSLA in clinical negligence proceedings, led by Angus Moon QC. Amy was brought in specifically in relation to a complex issue which had arisen in the case, to carry out legal research and draft an application.
- Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v ML  EWCOP 2;  COPLR 439.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case on deprivation of liberty and the interaction between the Mental Capacity Act 2005 / Mental Health Act 1983. Context was whether it was in the best interests of a young adult with severe learning disabilities and autism to move from his parents’ home to a psychiatric hospital. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor (alternative counsel took over final stage of hearing when it overran). Role included the development and drafting of legal argument on complex statutory provisions.
- Norfolk CC v PB Court of Protection  EWCOP 14;  COPLR 118. Court of Protection (High Court level) case on legal issues relating to the test for capacity and the relevance of influence under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Context was whether it was in the best interests of a 79 year old woman with psychiatric illness to be deprived of her liberty in a care home away from her husband. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor. Role included devising a plan to ensure that the woman’s wishes and feelings were put across properly, and developing and presenting legal argument.
- Cheshire West and Chester Council v P  UKSC 19;  AC 896.
Part of the winning team in this landmark Supreme Court human rights case, which clarified the test for deprivation of liberty, establishing that people lacking capacity in social care settings are entitled to the same protection as those with capacity. Extensive analysis of European Court of Human Rights case law. Instructed at Supreme Court stage on behalf of the Official Solicitor, led by Richard Gordon QC, in particular to carry out legal research, legal analysis and develop / draft legal argument.
- An NHS Trust v A  EWHC 2442 (COP);  Fam 161.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case about whether a delusional, hunger-striking asylum seeker should be force-fed and deprived of liberty. Led by Angus Moon QC, instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor. Brought in to develop / draft legal argument when issues arose about the interaction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 / Mental Health Act 1983.
- A Local Authority v K  EWHC 242 (COP);  1 FCR 209.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case, as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor, successfully resisting an application for a young woman with Down’s syndrome to be sterilised. The court gave important guidance on how non-therapeutic sterilisation cases should be managed.
- An NHS Trust v K  EWHC 2922 (COP);  1 FCR 190.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case on whether a woman with schizophrenia and cancer should undergo a potentially life-saving, but itself high risk, operation against her wishes. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel in this high pressure litigation.
- An NHS Trust v DE  EWHC 2562 (Fam);  3 FCR 343.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case: the first time the courts had authorised the non-therapeutic sterilisation of a man without the capacity to decide for himself, as being in his best interests. Amy was specifically instructed by the Official Solicitor who was safeguarding the man’s interests, to assist Angus Moon QC by carrying out legal research on similar cases in foreign jurisdictions and to draft relevant parts of the skeleton argument.
- G v E (Costs)  EWCA Civ 939;  2 FLR 1297.
Successful appearance as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Official Solicitor, upholding the judge’s award of costs (contrary to the general rule that there be no order for costs) on the indemnity basis. Significant in the developing case law on costs in the Court of Protection.
- PH v A Local Authority  EWHC 1704 (Fam).
Court of Protection (High Court level) case where the court gave guidance on the principles to be applied when addressing questions of capacity. Context was whether a man with Huntingdon’s disease should return to his partner or remain deprived of liberty in a care home under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Capacity was tried as a preliminary issue. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the partner.
- C v A Local Authority  EWHC 1539 (Admin);  Med LR 415.
Judicial review and Court of Protection case (High Court level) about a ‘blue room’ at a residential special school where a young man with severe autism and learning disabilities had been secluded. The court gave guidance on human rights and the lawful use of seclusion. Instructed on behalf of the school as sole counsel.
- TTM v Hackney LBC  EWCA Civ 4;  1 WLR 2873.
Part of the successful team in Court of Appeal case confirming the right to seek damages for unlawful detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. Amy was instructed at Court of Appeal stage on behalf of the patient, led by Richard Gordon QC, on the complex legal point whether the local authority, which had unlawfully applied for the admission, could escape liability because the hospital had detained the patient lawfully under s6(3) MHA.
- G v E (Costs)  EWHC 3385 (Fam);  1 FLR 1566.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which the judge awarded Amy’s client costs (contrary to the general rule that there be no order for costs) on the indemnity basis. (See Court of Appeal entry above)
- A Council v X (2010, unreported).
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which the court made the exceptional decision that it was not in the best interests of a 94 year old dementia sufferer to have contact with her daughter. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel.
- G v E  EWHC 2512 (Fam);  1 FLR 1652.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case where the court gave guidance on the circumstances in which a deputy should be appointed: of significance in the developing case law of the Court of Protection and of practical importance in relation to the care of vulnerable people. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel.
- G v E  EWHC 2042 (Fam);  MHLR 407.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which the court authorised the naming of a local authority which had breached the human rights of a person lacking capacity. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel. Significant in terms of increasing the transparency of the Court of Protection and holding public bodies who have acted unlawfully to account.
- G v E  EWCA Civ 822;  Fam 78.
Part of successful team in Court of Appeal case, instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor, led by Richard Gordon QC, on the legal question whether Article 5 ECHR imposed threshold conditions before the court could consider whether it was in a person’s best interests to be deprived of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Of significance to the growing body of case law relating to the Court of Protection and deprivation of liberty.
- Re A  EWHC 978 (Fam);  2 FLR 1363.
Court of Protection and High Court case on deprivation of liberty in the family home. Parents locked their (adult and minor) children, who suffered from a genetic condition causing severe challenging behaviour, in their bedrooms at night to manage the behaviour. Significant case in the developing case law on deprivation of liberty, in particular the duties of local authorities in relation to ‘private’ deprivations of liberty. Led by Alison Ball QC on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
- G v E  EWHC 621 (Fam);  2 FLR 294.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which Amy obtained the first declarations under the Human Rights Act 1998 in the Court of Protection on behalf of a vulnerable adult who had been unlawfully deprived of liberty by a local authority. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
- D v Hospital Managers of the Edgware Community Hospital  EWHC 3572 (Admin).
High Court habeas corpus application in relation to consultation of the nearest relative under the Mental Health Act 1983. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the hospital and local authority.
- Re B (A Child) (Medical Treatment)  EWHC 1996 (Fam);  1 FLR 1264. High Court case about the circumstances in which it would be in a child’s best interests not to receive intensive resuscitation. Sole counsel on behalf of an NHS Trust.
- Confidential [2006-2008]
Instructed on behalf of a doctor as junior counsel to Adrian Whitfield QC in long-running GMC proceedings
- An NHS Trust v D  EWHC 2439 (Fam);  1 FLR 638.
Amy was instructed as sole counsel on behalf of a family which vigorously opposed a hospital’s application that it would be in the best interests of a 32 year old woman with a terminal condition to withhold life-prolonging treatment.
“She is well prepared, very energetic, works very hard and her court orders are very good. She is outstandingly clear.” “Has all the facts at her fingertips and is prepared in great detail. An extremely helpful and co-operative opponent.”
Chambers & Partners
“She is also hugely adept at handling high-profile and urgent medical treatment matters.”
Chambers & Partners
“She’s appropriately persistent in court, and particularly good with intricate legal complexities.”
Chambers & Partners
“Excellent. She is a formidable junior and perhaps the most thorough of all the advocates I have led.”
Chambers & Partners
“Bright, keen and extremely user friendly”
Chambers & Partners
‘Very competent and thorough, and extremely good analytically.’
The Legal 500
“Also at this set is Amy Street, who is a recognised leader on Court of Protection matters concerning health and welfare. She recently acted in G v E, Manchester City Council & F, a case which focused on a local authority’s removal of a disabled man from his foster mother. Sources praise her for being, ‘just so approachable and having a good understanding of clients’ needs.'”
Chambers & Partners
publications & articles
Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, Bloomsbury Professional, 3rd Edition (2016), co-author
Amy has recently reported on the following cases for the Medical Law Reports:
- R (Speck) v HM Coroner for District of York and Ors  EWHC 6 (Admin)  Med LR 103 Judicial review – Inquests – Scope of inquest – Article 2 ECHR – Right to life – State’s procedural obligation to investigate death – Policy and resources – Causative link with death – Coroner’s duty to investigate – Coroner’s discretion to investigate – Mental Health Act 1983 – Place of safety.
- Staffordshire CC v SRK  EWCOP 27 Med LR 398Human rights – Mental capacity – Personal injury – Deprivation of liberty – Attribution of responsibility to state – Whether state responsible for deprivation of liberty – Whether authorisation of deprivation of liberty by Court of Protection required.
- Re G (An Adult)  EWCA Civ 446  Med LR 249Costs – Mental Capacity – Mental Capacity Act 2005 – Court of Protection Rules 2007 – Personal welfare proceedings – Departure from general rule of no costs order – Proportionate costs order.
- St George’s HC NHS Trust v P  EWCOP 42 Med LR 463 Mental capacity – Best interests – Withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment – Minimally conscious state – Assessment of disorder of consciousness – SMART assessment – Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- Notts Healthcare NHS Trust v RC  EWCOP 1317  Med LR 260 Mental capacity – Mental health – Human rights – Refusal of life-saving treatment on religious grounds – Advance decision – Right to life – Lawfulness of clinician’s decision not to treat