Bridget Dolan QC

Call 1997 | Silk 2016

Bridget Dolan QC | Call 1997 | Silk 2016

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Overview

Bridget is particularly recognised for her niche clinical negligence specialism focusing on cases that involve mental health issues. In addition to claims arising from psychiatric negligence and fatal self-harm, she acts in high value claims where a psychiatric injury or ‘nervous shock’ has been caused alongside the physical injury.

Clinical Negligence & Healthcare

“Absolutely reliable and incredibly clever… has a good approach with witness. One of the best cross-examiners at the bar.”
Chambers & Partners 2017

In 2015 Bridget was awarded ‘Barrister of the Year’ by The Lawyer.

Clinical negligence

experience & expertise

Bridget represents claimants and defendants in a clinical negligence practice that covers all types of health care cases, ranging from catastrophic birth injuries to end of life palliative care issues. Unsurprisingly, given her PhD in psychology, she has a particular specialism in cases with a mental health aspect and so has acted in countless cases involving negligence by mental health professionals, secondary victim ‘nervous shock’ claims, claims for damages for psychiatric injuries and claims following third parties being injured or killed by psychiatric patients. She appeared in AD in the Court of Appeal, successfully defeating a claim for the costs of rearing a healthy child following the alleged failure to prevent the pregnancy of a psychiatric in-patient.

Health Care Law

Bridget’s wide experience of healthcare law means that she is often called upon to advise on the many difficult dilemmas that face clinical staff, NHS Trusts and other corporate bodies. Recent examples include: whether a proposed late termination would be lawful under the Abortion Act 1967, the conditions under which voluntary police interviews of hospital staff are conducted and the provision of treatment to a non-UK national. She also provides general operational advice on hospital policies and procedures, such as those addressing: triage during a swine flu epidemic; management of aggressive behaviour by hospital visitors, observation of psychiatric in-patients and the investigation of serious incidents.

Mental Health Law

Her previous professional background as a forensic psychologist and her current experience as a Mental Health Tribunal judge is put to good use when Bridget advises and appears in cases in all areas of mental health law. As well as appearing in Mental Health Tribunals (where she acts for patients and the responsible authority) Bridget represents parties in civil claims for false imprisonment arising from detention under the Mental Health Act, cases displacing nearest relatives under s.29 MHA and in judicial review and habeus corpus applications following compulsory detention.

Human Rights Law

Many of Bridget’s cases involve complex claims under the HRA for damages for breach of Convention rights. As well as defending claims against hospitals, in 2016 she negotiated a substantial payout under Art.2 and Art.3 for the family of a patient who killed herself after being wrongly denied admission to psychiatric unit. She also achieved a very large settlement in a claim for misfeasance in public office and breach of Art.3 and Art.5 on behalf of a patient who was wrongly ‘re-sectioned’ and secluded after he had been discharged by a criminal court.

Seminars & Lecturers

Following on from her previous career as a Lecturer at St George’s Medical School Bridget provides training for healthcare providers and solicitor’s firms on aspects of law related to their practice. This includes delivering seminars and courses to meet the statutory training requirements for approval under s.12 MHA1983 and for MCA DOLS mental health and best interests assessors. Bridget is always happy to work alongside solicitors firms and healthcare bodies to devise and present custom-made training.

recommendations

“Her advocacy skills are excellent and she clearly enjoys being in the courtroom. She is measured and knows when to take points and when not to. Skilled, tenacious yet graceful.”
Chambers & Partners 2016

“Very bright and knowledgeable, with a good feel for what is likely to happen.” “She doesn’t miss anything and gives the impression of being a couple of steps ahead of everyone else.”
The Legal 500 2016

“Passionate about her work, she’s a thorough and utterly reliable counsel, who is able to deliver digestible advice in tricky cases.” “She is utterly dependable and has a keen eye for important details missed by others.”
Chambers & Partners 2015
 
“She is a delight to work and has comprehensive knowledge of the law.”  “She is smart, perceptive and absolutely excellent with clients.”
The Legal 500 2015

“She doesn’t miss anything and gives the impression of being a couple of steps ahead of everyone else.”
The Legal 500

“Continues to earn the respect of market commentators for her clinical negligence practice. She has substantial medical expertise rooted in her dual qualification as a barrister and forensic psychologist. ‘She is wonderful on cases overlapping with mental health; she’s an absolute authority there. She’s good with more troubled clients, has a lovely manner and is patient.”
Chambers & Partners 2014

“A go-to for heavyweight medical cases, who regularly advises the Official Solicitor as well as public bodies on general operational policy relating to the Mental Capacity Act. ‘She is a leading expert on capacity matters and that comes from her background in psychology. She provides well thought-out advice, is very pragmatic and is good at cross-examining experts and asking the right questions.”
Chambers & Partners 2014

“She is sensible in court and takes a practical approach to the issues in the case and how to deal with them. She also has a solid base of clinical knowledge.” “Even under huge amounts of pressure she has a calm, controlled and collected approach.” Chambers & Partners

“Very sensible, approachable and open.  She is ‘the kind of advocate that judges like.’”
Chambers & Partners 2013

Publications

Bridget has written 3 books and over fifty academic articles: A selection of her publications include:

Medical Treatment Decisions and the Law (2016) Co-author of two chapters and editor of three others. Bloomsbury, London

Forensic Mental Health Concepts Systems and Practice (2009) Chapter: Law and the Mentally Disordered Offender: an Overview of Structures and Statutes. Bartlett and McGauley, Oxford University Press (co-authored with Martin Wrench)

Disclosing confidential clinical information (2004) Psychiatric Bulletin, 28, 53-56,  Gaskell, London

An introduction to the law relevant to Mentally Disordered Offenders (2004) Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, S12-18, Wiley, London.

Review of Treatments for Severe Personality Disorder (2003) Home Office, London (co-author of report commissioned by the Home Office/Dept Health)

The Mental Health Act 1983 explained (2001) Dolan B & Powell D, Stationery Office, London (Second Edition)