Claire Watson

Call 2001

Overview

Claire specialises in clinical negligence, professional discipline and regulatory law, police law, inquests and related public law matters. She also has extensive experience in medical treatment and welfare cases in the Court of Protection. She is recommended as a leading junior by the legal directories where she is described as “thoroughly pleasant, remarkably intelligent, quick  witted and always in control”. Claire has a reputation as a tenacious advocate and is known for her practical, no-nonsense style and absolute approachability.

Claire is clerked primarily by Tom O’Connor, Samantha Jones, Louis Lockwood and Shaun Coleman.

“An outstanding advocate who is always exceedingly well prepared.”
The Legal 500

Claire Watson represents the Metropolitan Police in the inquests into the deaths of 30 British nationals who died during a terrorist attack in Sousse, Tunisia

Experience and expertise

Claire has built an impressive reputation in the field of clinical negligence with a varied practice representing both Claimants and Defendants for over 15 years. She frequently appears on behalf of healthcare professionals in all types of disciplinary proceedings and is regularly instructed in best interests and welfare cases in the Court of Protection and the Family Division of the High Court. In the field of police law, Claire has extensive experience of civil actions, inquests and misconduct proceedings. She undertakes a wide range of advisory work and has a particular interest in advising the police on operational and policy matters. Claire also undertakes a broad range of related public law work encompassing judicial review challenges, human rights matters, inquests and professional disciplinary matters.

cases & work of note

Claire has appeared in a number of notable cases: she is currently instructed in the inquests into the deaths of those killed in the terrorist shooting in Sousse, Tunisia and has previously appeared on behalf of the Metropolitan Police in the inquests into the terrorist attack at In Amenas in Algeria. Claire recently represented a patient detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 in a ground-breaking case regarding the extent of a doctor’s duty to prevent the death of a detained patient when Article 2 and Article 9 rights compete and is currently being led by Angus Moon QC in one of the first appeals by the GMC against a decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal under section 40A of the Medical Act 1983

  • Tunisia Inquests (October 2015 – January 2017)
    On 26 June 2015 38 people were killed whilst on holiday in Sousse, Tunisia. A similar number were injured. The Inquests into the deaths of the 30 British nationals who died during that attack are to be heard by His Honour Judge Loraine-Smith in January 2017. Claire is instructed on behalf of the Metropolitan Police to advise on procedure, evidence (gathered both in the UK and abroad) and disclosure.
  • Mr X v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (October 2016)
    Claire recently advised the Metropolitan Police regarding police powers of retention of an 8th century artefact in a threatened claim under the Torts (Wrongful Inte rference with Goods) Act 1977.
  • GMC v Dr X (September 2016)
    Claire appeared at a hearing before the MPTS on behalf of a doctor accused of inappropriate tactile behaviour. In the face of robust submissions from the GMC that erasure was the only appropriate sanction, Claire persuaded the Panel that a sanction of suspension was sufficient.
  • GDC v Mr H (August 2015)
    Claire successfully defended a dentist facing misconduct allegations arising from his emergency treatment of a patient.
  • GMC v Dr R (April 2016)
    Claire appeared on behalf of a GP at a review hearing before the MPTS.  The doctor’s fitness to practise was found to be impaired in 2014 as a result of professional boundary violations with two female patients. Claire successfully persuaded the Tribunal on a review of the case that the doctors fitness to practise was no longer impaired and he was permitted to return to unrestricted practice.

Recommendations

Claire has been consistently recommended by the directories as a leading junior. Recommended for clinical negligence, professional discipline and regulatory including police law and inquests and inquiries, the current edition of the Legal 500 notes that “clients know she gets results.”

Claire was The Times’ Lawyer of the Week in October 2012 following her involvement in a high profile application to the Court of Protection to withhold life-saving treatment from a patient who was severely brain damaged and in a minimally conscious state
Click here for press coverage

Clients comments include, “You never let me down!”, “Many thanks for your kind support and a great job done!”, “I am extremely grateful for your skilled help and representation at the hearing…I am certain that your preparation and execution of my defence on the day was the key to a successful outcome…”; “I was immpressed with the manner which you acted on my behalf being very calm, professional and just simply excellent!”

Other recent directory editorial has included the following:

At school my teachers said I talked too much in class. It’s great to be able to put that to good use as a barrister. I feel privileged to be able to do this job as I know I can make a real difference to the lives of those I represent.

I fight for the interests of my clients with the fervour I would expect from someone representing me. The human interaction and teamwork at the heart of my practice is really what makes being a barrister so rewarding.

“I know I can make a real difference to the lives of those I represent”

As a barrister, no two days are the same. I am constantly learning and developing my knowledge and skills and it is particularly satisfying to be able to delve into fascinating areas of medicine, dentistry and policing practice as well as developing areas of law and to apply that in a practical way to achieve the best possible outcome for my clients.

Publications

Co-author of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law (3rd Edition)

Memberships

• Professional Negligence Bar Association
• Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
• London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association

Qualifications

1996 – 1999: St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, BA Jurisprudence
1989 – 1996: St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School

further information

For further details of Claire’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: 42873
Registered Name: Claire Elizabeth Watson
VAT Registration No: 802124191