Inquests & Inquiries
“Anthony’s key strength is his thorough approach to the case. He is fully prepared for each and every eventuality, and ensures the staff giving evidence are put at ease and are as well prepared as possible. He advocates to a high standard and goes above and beyond.” – The Legal 500 (‘Rising Star’ in Inquests & Inquiries)
“Anthony is very bright and puts witnesses called to inquests at their ease. He is an excellent communicator and an impressive legal brain.” – Chambers & Partners (‘Up and Coming’ in Inquests & Public Inquiries)
Experience & expertise
Anthony’s wealth of experience in clinical negligence, coupled with his in-depth understanding of medical matters and healthcare systems, has led him to be instructed in many healthcare-related inquests. He regularly acts on behalf of bereaved families, NHS Trusts, other healthcare organisations, and individual healthcare professionals.
Anthony often has to deal with challenging issues for his clients, including potential neglect, corporate manslaughter, serious systemic shortcomings, and complex medical matters. He regularly questions senior clinicians and expert witnesses in a wide variety of fields, including psychiatry, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, respiratory medicine, intensive care, obstetrics, paediatrics, and emergency medicine. A number of Anthony’s cases have been multi-week, Article 2 jury inquests involving healthcare delivered in prisons. Anthony has considerable experience in cases involving suicide.
Inquests are difficult for everyone involved, but Anthony’s calm and personable approach reassures his clients. He takes the time to ensure that they fully understand the inquest process. His priority in all cases is to get the key questions answered and address any concerns. Some cases in which Anthony is instructed lead on to clinical negligence proceedings, where his performance at the inquests has often led to favourable settlements or outcomes on behalf of his clients. Anthony always considers the bigger picture.
Alongside his inquest practice, Anthony has experience in high-profile public inquiries. In 2018, he was instructed as Junior Counsel to the London Fire Brigade in relation to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. He spent four months at the LFB’s offices primarily working on disclosure matters. Towards the end of his time there, he led a team of document reviewers and took steps to improve the document review process. More recently, Anthony has been instructed by a Core Participant in the UK Covid-19 Inquiry and is a junior to Claire Watson KC. He has experience of working on important rule 9 witness statements.
Cases & works of note
A number of Anthony’s inquests from the last few years are of particular note:
- CG (2022-23): Anthony acted for the husband of a 41-year-old woman who died suddenly from a terminal cardiac arrhythmia caused by ischaemic heart disease. Following questions from the Coroner and Anthony, a GP admitted that he failed to arrange a follow-up appointment with the Deceased and failed to refer her to A&E. The cardiological aspects of the case were complex. The Court delivered a narrative conclusion and found that there was a missed opportunity to prevent CG’s death.
- LH (2022): A 33-year-old epileptic man with complex needs had a seizure and died. Anthony represented the company responsible for the care home in which he lived. The 5-day inquest was factually complex. The care home staff were criticised for allegedly failing to conduct adequate observations, among many other things. Anthony successfully guided his client’s 10 witnesses through the process. The Coroner accepted Anthony’s submissions that (i) there were no causative failings, (ii) there was no neglect and (iii) there was no need to make a PFD report. The Coroner did not criticise Anthony’s client at all in her conclusion. The client praised Anthony for being ‘exceptional, not only in representing us as an organisation and assisting the coroner in reaching her conclusions, but also on a very human level helping us to navigate a totally alien and intimidating environment.’
- DK (2021): Anthony represented the widow of DK, who died from cardiac tamponade after undergoing complex cardiac surgery. After Anthony questioned a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon and a number of other clinicians, the Coroner concluded that there was a failure to adhere to a departmental standard operating procedure, which led to a delay in performing an echocardiogram postoperatively. Following Anthony’s submissions, the Coroner found that an earlier echocardiogram would have prevented DK’s death. The lay client praised Anthony for his ‘professionalism, understanding and empathy’.
- LC (2020): This inquest received national media attention. 13-week-old baby LC presented to A&E with signs of sepsis. Senior doctors failed to recognise how ill LC was. Contrary to NICE guidelines, it took over 6 hours to give him antibiotics. Expert evidence established that earlier treatment would have saved LC’s life. Anthony’s questioning led to a number of admissions from senior medical professionals. He persuaded the Coroner to leave the issue of neglect to the jury, who in turn returned the conclusion of ‘natural causes contributed to by neglect’. Following Anthony’s submissions, the Coroner also made a PFD Report. The lay clients described Anthony’s performance as ‘excellent’ and said that, without his input, ‘we would have had no chance in the inquest to get the result we did. You helped us get justice.’
- TR (2020): TR was a remand prisoner. Anthony acted for the NHS Trust which delivered healthcare services in the prison. TR died of cardiorespiratory arrest following a COPD exacerbation. After 4.5 weeks of evidence from over 35 witnesses, Counsel for the Family submitted that neglect and unlawful killing (corporate manslaughter) on the part of the Trust should be left to the jury. Anthony persuaded the Coroner against leaving either of these serious findings to the jury, who also did not find ‘probable’ causation on the part of the Trust.
- FMC (2019): Anthony acted for the husband of FMC, a 40-year-old who was pregnant with twins following IVF treatment. She and the twins died 18 weeks into the pregnancy following a rare uterine rupture. After Anthony questioned the clinicians (including hospital consultants and paramedics), it became apparent that failures in the ambulance and on arrival at the hospital prevented FMC from being seen by the obstetric team promptly and from having a hysterectomy. The Coroner concluded that an opportunity was lost and it was possible that the outcome would have been different. The Coroner also made a PFD report against the two relevant NHS Trusts. The Partner instructing Anthony said he did an ‘excellent job’.
- NL (2019): Anthony represented the family of NL, a 13-year-old girl with sickle cell disease. She was admitted to hospital with signs of a chest infection and was discharged following antibiotic treatment. A few days later, she died from acute inflammatory response syndrome. Following Anthony’s questioning of a number of hospital consultants, admissions as to shortcomings and causation were made. The Coroner concluded that there was a failure to undertake a CRP test prior to NL’s discharge and, had this failure not occurred, her subsequent deterioration and death would have been avoided.
- JB (2019): Anthony acted on behalf of the bereaved family in a 4-day jury inquest involving a sudden cardiac death, medically complex issues involving the effect of anti-psychotic medication, and failures in monitoring the deceased. Anthony’s instructing solicitor, a Partner at a leading firm, commented that ‘he was brilliant in representing the family of [JB] at her Inquest. The family were very impressed with him, as was I. His manner with clients and the Coroner is commendable … [Y]ou have a star in the making there.’
In addition, Anthony was instructed as Junior Counsel to HH Brian Barker CBE KC who chaired a complex Article 2 Investigation into a near-death in prison, which involved numerous issues regarding mental health and self-harm. Bridget Dolan KC was Counsel to the Investigation.