“Combines sound judgement with detailed medical knowledge and legal analysis;”
The Legal 500
Experience and Expertise
Caroline has over 20 years’ experience practicing in clinical negligence cases. Her core specialisms are driven by her wide medical knowledge; they include cerebral palsy, wrongful birth, maternal deaths, cauda equina and serious spinal injury and psychiatric negligence, usually involving suicide (particularly post-partum suicide) and suicide attempts causing catastrophic injury.
Caroline also acts in serious personal injury cases, particularly those with complex medical causation, and inquests. She acts for both families and Trusts in inquests that involve contested medical issues.
Although a large proportion of Caroline’s practice encompasses damages claims, she also appears in the Court of Protection in medical treatment cases. She has particular experience in obstetric cases and in withdrawal of treatment decisions. She does inherent jurisdiction cases.
Caroline’s years of experience in this field enable her to look at cases from every angle, she frequently finds a novel point or way of presenting a case that could easily be overlooked. Caroline is particularly recognised by clients for her skill in working with experts.
Caroline is the only lawyer to be on the editorial board of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and holds an MA in Medical Law and Ethics from Kings College London.
Cases and work of note
In the last year alone Caroline has secured compensation valuing well in excess of £50 million for individual claimants. In all the cases she has acted without a leader.
- JLB v Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (2019)
This is a claim for brain injury sustained as a young child as a result of failure to diagnose bacterial meningitis following a head injury. The claim settled when the child was a young adult. The brain injury was subtle but life changing. The capitalised value of the settlement was just under £7 million.
- Master PRS (a child proceeding by his mother & litigation friend JKN) v Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2020)
This was a CP case where Caroline represented the Claimant from the first conference in liability to the approval hearing. Her opponent was a senior QC. The case was complicated by delivery being at 34 weeks prior to labour commencing and required facility with antenatal CTGs and difficult causation arguments in relation to prematurity. The claim was compromised in terms of liability at 68%. The capitalised value of the settlement was £9.25 million.
- MS (a child proceeding by his mother & litigation friend SJM) v Dr Chiappe (1) and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (2) (2019)
MS was born with Fetal Valproate Syndrome (FVS) as a result of his mother receiving inappropriate doses of anti- epileptic medication during pregnancy. The FVS caused significant brain injury and behavioural problems. The capitalised value of the claim was in excess of £12 million.
- L B M v The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (2019)
This was a brain injury due to a delay in diagnosing post-partum venous sinus thrombosis in a young woman. The claim settled for £3.25 million.
Notable cases in the last year are settlements in respect of
- wrongful birth (following negligent testing for Down’s syndrome)
- cauda equina and spinal injury cases
- amputations arising out of vascular and/or diabetic negligence
- fatal accidents
Court of Protection
Caroline has advised and appeared in COP cases arising out of both medical treatment decisions (withdrawal of treatment, and obstetric decisions) and welfare/DOLS cases. She is experienced in inherent jurisdiction applications for vulnerable adults.
Her medical knowledge and facility with experts enables her to get a quick command of the issues in medical treatment cases. Her skills enable her to facilitate pragmatic and cost-effective resolutions of cases on behalf of Trusts and protected parties.
She is a contributor to the forthcoming fourth edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law.
Cases and work of note
- London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and (1) LMC (2) EMC (3) LeMC (4) RJ
Caroline was instructed by the Applicant in a contested withdrawal of treatment case. The case was heard by Mrs Justice Judd
- Solent NHS Trust (1) Priory Health Care (2) and KJ
Caroline was instructed by the OS in a ceiling of care case. The case was heard by Mr Justice Moor.
- Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and (1) Child A (2) Miss B Caroline was instructed by the Applicant in a withdrawal of treatment case. The case was heard by Mrs Justice Theis.
Caroline is consistently ranked by both the leading legal directories for her work in Clinical Negligence. Clients cited by the directories note that; “She develops a real rapport with the clients but can still be very straightforward and businesslike, which is a difficult balance to achieve.”
Other recent directory editorial includes:
- intelligent, creative and extremely hard working;
- a brilliant advocate who is really determined and cares for both her clients and solicitors;
- she is responsive and very good with clients but can be formidable in negotiations. Without a doubt she is one of the top senior juniors at the Clinical Negligence Bar;
- she is extremely experienced and thorough, particularly when going through medical evidence. Medical experts really respect her;
- has an extremely thorough understanding of the medical evidence combined with an enquiring mind;
- experienced and down to earth operator;
- great client care skills; and
- meticulous and pragmatic.
- a fearless advocate;
- thorough and knowledgeable, especially on birth asphyxia cases;
- brilliant at getting to the bottom of the medical records;
- a tenacious and robust advocate, but approachable and down to earth when dealing with clients;
- very thorough in her review of the evidence;
- combines sound judgement with detailed medical knowledge and legal analysis;
- an experienced and down-to-earth operator;
- she couples her great client care skills with a meticulous but pragmatic approach;
- delivers a perfect balance;
- brilliant both in court and in settlement meetings;
- has exceptional knowledge and understanding of medical cases particularly those involving obstetrics;
- quick to grasp key issues;
- a very down-to-earth barrister;
- she goes the extra mile for her clients;
- a thorough understanding of medical issues;
- she takes a sensible view when assessing liability and quantum;
- superb client care skills;
- a breath of fresh air;
- very good on the medicine, particularly when it comes to obstetric cases;and
- exceptional at testing medical experts opinions.
Clinical negligence is a highly competitive and specialised area. Large sums are at stake and you can be sure that the opposition will put everything they can into the case. Getting the best outcome requires access to counsel with up to date expertise and the experience to exercise sound judgment. This is what I bring to the case. I have specialised in this area for over 20 years and have worked with or against most of the prominent experts. At an intellectual level I really enjoy engaging with the experts and exploring and challenging complex legal and medical issues but nothing beats finishing an RTM knowing that you have secured life changing compensation for your client.
Any successful clinical negligence case is the product of team work and for me this is one of the most satisfying parts of the job. The clients are a vital part of the team and not just passive recipients of “expert” services. They are of course experts in their own lives and experiences.
“It is not my style to out-expert the expert. I find I get the best results by being an informed enquirer.”
Clients need a clear and accessible explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the case. This is the foundation for building a relationship of trust, empowering the client to make the best choices as the case progresses. Many of the cases I deal with are extremely complex and it can be challenging to explain a case in a way which is accessible but not oversimplified or patronizing.
Caroline is on the editorial board of BJOG (the British Journal of Obstetrics) and is a regular contributor.
Caroline adopts and adheres to the provisions of the privacy notice which can be accessed here.
For further details of Caroline’s practice please contact a member of the clerking or client service team.
Bar Council Membership No: 25115
Registered Name: Caroline Maria Hallissey
VAT Registration No: 735639802