Andrew Hockton

Call 1984

Andrew Hockton | Call 1984

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Overview

Andrew specialises in the fields of regulatory and medical law. He has a high profile medical practice with over 22 reported decisions in the field. He has acted for some of the country’s leading medical practitioners and has been cited in directories as a leader in his fields of practice for many years. He is the winner of the Chambers & Partners award for Professional Discipline Junior of the Year 2016.

Andrew is clerked primarily by Samantha Jones and Louis Lockwood.

Andrew is the author of the Law of Consent to Medical Treatment (Sweet & Maxwell) and the chapter on consent in Clinical Negligence 5th edition, ed Powers & Harris.

“He is a real star – not only a pleasure to work with but highly intelligent and unflappable with it”
Chambers & Partners

 experience & expertise

Andrew’s practice encompasses regulatory proceedings, medical crime, civil litigation, inquests and inquiries. He has a particular interest in treatment cases and is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor, Trusts and patients or their families in cases involving life and death decisions.

cases & work of note

Andrew is regularly instructed in high profile cases involving medical practitioners. Recent examples are:

  • R v B (GP –two counts of sexual assault)
  • R v A (GP- sexual assault x 5; assault by penetration x2)
  • R v Dr B (locum A & E doctor- sexual assault)
  • R v Dr C (A & E doctor-sexual assault)
  • PSA GDC & anor [2016] EWHC 2154
  • Re O [2016] EWCOP 24 (withdrawal of treatment)
  • NHS Trust v VT [2014] COPLR 44 (withdrawal of treatment)
  • Alam v GMC [2015] EWHC 854
  • Ashraf v GDC [2014] EWHC 2618

Recommendations

Andrew has been consistently recommended by both legal directories as a leading junior in both clinical negligence and professional discipline.

Clients cited by the directories note that his knowledge of the law is formidable but his application of it is even better.” 

Other recent directory editorial has included the following:

Publications

  • Law of Consent to Medical Treatment 2002 Sweet & Maxwell
  • Chapter on consent in Clinical Negligence 4th edition Powers & Barton
  • Online editor of Lexis section on GMC proceedings

languages

  • Spanish
  • French

reflections

Advocacy is a surprisingly small part of the work of many barristers – for me it is different and always has been. I started life predominantly as a criminal practitioner and then specialised in medical law. With a substantial regulatory/criminal element, advocacy lies at the core of my practice.

I have spent most of my career in courts, tribunals, hearings of one sort of another across the country. Most of my cases have involved calling and cross-examining experts, trawling through extensive documents and records, highlighting the strengths in my case and identifying the weaknesses of my opponent’s.

Most cases turn on one or two points. They can turn on a single document- for example, a drug chart, buried deep in the records.  There can be considerable satisfaction in identifying the document /s missed by others, including experts, upon which a case turns.

Philosophical notions about the status of ‘facts’ play little or no part in the daily work of our courts.  ‘Facts’ in a legal context are no more or less than what the decision-maker finds them to be. The skilled advocate may, through careful analysis of the evidence and effective cross-examination of witnesses, be able to persuade the decision-maker that what seemed obvious is not, in fact, so obvious and vice versa. The unskilled or clumsy advocate may have the opposite effect.

“Advocacy matters… experience counts.”

That is why advocacy matters. It is also why experience counts. The best advocates in some cases are the ones who say least. Advocacy should not, as it often is (not least by many advocates) be confused with merely talking.

The most important part of the advocate’s job is in preparation and advice. Having focused on the relevant issues and applied the correct legal principles, the advocate must advise on the best course of action-to fight or settle, to admit facts or dispute them.

That’s where judgement comes in. The specialist advocate is peculiarly well-placed to exercise this judgement because he or she knows how the evidence is likely to go-which witness will be shaky, which expert’s evidence is likely to be accepted, and what the tribunal will think of a particular line of argument. This judgement is critical not just to an evaluation of the evidence, but the legal implications of the evidence.

Having specialised in my fields of practice for many years, and spent so much time in different courts and tribunals, I hope that I am able to bring to bear on cases the necessary focus, perspective and judgement and do so in a client-friendly fashion. Most of my cases involve teamwork and I am lucky to work mostly with highly experienced specialist solicitors. The needs of the client lie at the heart of what I and they do.

Legal problems do not always come in neat compartments, limited to narrow subject categories. There are risks in over-specialisation. I think that I am fortunate in having a broad legal background. In the space of a few weeks I have appeared in the Crown Court, defending a doctor in criminal proceedings, the Court of Protection in relation to the withdrawal of life-saving treatment, a coroner’s inquest  and regulatory proceedings before the GMC, as well as advising in civil proceedings.  Adverse medical incidents can generate multiple proceedings. My background and experience mean that I am able to advise on the legal implications of evidence in a number of different forums.

Some cases throw up really difficult issues that cross the boundaries of different areas of specialisation. The best example was the conjoined twins case. Acting for the Official Solicitor, I was able to identify to the court the key issues and the legal implications of the proposed surgery.  It undoubtedly helped that I was working on a book on medical law at the time.

further information

For further details of Andrew’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: 20398
Registered Name: Andrew Ian Callinan Hockton
VAT Registration No: 447132265