Claire Watson KC

Call 2001 | Silk 2022

Claire Watson KC | Call 2001 | Silk 2022

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Claire has wide-ranging experience of medical treatment and welfare cases in the Court of Protection and the Family Division of the High Court. She regularly appears on behalf of patients (on the instruction of the Official Solicitor and CAFCASS), Trusts and private healthcare providers. Claire’s experience includes cases involving urgent applications to withdraw or withhold life saving medical treatment, non-urgent medical treatment, ‘end of life’ care, deprivation of liberty and capacity to make decisions about residence, contact and care. She is also a contributor to the leading text: Medical Treatment Decisions and the Law.

Court of Protection

“She thinks of everything and has all the makings of a star.”
Chambers & Partners

“When to Go to Court/PVS and MCS/Withdrawal of life sustaining treatment”
Claire posts on our UK Medical Decision Law blog on Director of Legal Aid Casework & Ors v Briggs [2017] EWCA Civ 1169.
Click here for the full post

experience & expertise

Claire is regularly instructed in cases in the High Court and Court of Protection involving serious medical treatment for adults and children.  She has appeared in cases involving capacity disputes, welfare matters such as residence, care and contact with others and challenges to DOLS authorisations.  She also undertakes advisory work, including advice on remedies for breach of the ECHR rights of individuals who lack capacity and are the subject of proceedings in the Court of Protection.

Her cases involve issues such as the provision of blood products to the child of family who are devout Jehovah’s Witnesses (Re T), the withdrawal of life sustaining treatment from brain damaged babies (Baby SS and ZT) and patients in PVS/MCS (Re L) and the provision of life saving surgery to patients who lack capacity to consent to treatment (Re JH and Re T).

cases & work of note

  • Re T [2016] Advising and representing an NHS Trust in an application concerning the administration of blood products to a child whose parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Court made a declaration that it would be in the best interests of the child to receive blood products nothwithstanding the absence of parental consent.
  • Re S [2015]  Claire appeared on behalf of two NHS Trusts in an application to provide obstetric treatment to a woman who was was believed to lack capacity to make decisions about her care and treatment in connection with her her pregnancy and labour.  S suffered from bi-polar disorder and had been detained under the Mental Helath Act as she was experiencing a manic episode.  The Court was asked to authorize a care plan which permitted her treating clinicians to perform a ceasarean section.  Although S and her family objected to the plan, the Court agreed that the plan was in S’s best interests and the orders and declarations sought by the Applicants were made.
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust v RC [2014] EWCOP 1317: Advising and representing a patient detained under the mental Health Act 1983 in this 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.
  • King’s College Hospitals NHS Trust v ZT (A child by his Children’s Guardian) & others [2014] EWHC 3315 (Fam): Representing an NHS Trust in a contested application to withdraw ventilation from a child who had suffered a catastrophic and irreversible brain injury.
  • Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v James [2013] EWCA Civ 65: Appearing on behalf of Mr James (“J”), through the Official Solicitor, in the Trust’s appeal against the decision of Peter Jackson J that it was in J’s best interests to continue to receive life sustaining treatment.
  • An NHS Trust v (1) R (A Child by his Children’s Guardian) (2) Mr R (3) Mrs R [2013] EWHC 2340 (Fam): Appearing on behalf of R, a 14 month old child with a terminal mitochondrial disorder, in an application to withdraw ventilation.
  • An NHS Trust v (1) L (2) L (3) FL (4) TL [2013] EWHC 4313 (Fam): Appearing on behalf of the Applicant NHS Trust in this application for a declaration that in the event of a deterioration of the condition of a patient, who had suffered a devastating neurological injury which left him in a minimally conscious state, it would not be his best interests to receive active resuscitation, despite the express wishes of his family.


Claire co-authored chapter five: Restraint, Deprivation of Liberty and chapter eleven: Fertility (2) Assisted Reproduction in the fourth edition of the book Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, edited by Christopher Johnston KC and Sophia Roper KC and written by 27 members of Serjeants’ Inn.


‘Claire is consistently and reliably brilliant with technical expertise, advocacy skill, and health and social care market expertise. She is also responsive, collaborative with instructing solicitors.’
The Legal 500

‘Claire is organised, articulate and has excellent communication and interpersonal skills. She conveys legal advice clearly and always acts in the client’s best interest.’
The Legal 500

‘Claire is organised, articulate and has excellent communication and interpersonal skills. She conveys legal advice clearly and always acts in the client’s best interest.’
The Legal 500

“Claire is brilliant.”
Chambers & Partners

“She is a very good cross-examiner.”
Chambers & Partners

“She is consistently brilliant.”
Chambers & Partners

“She is extremely good with strategic and novel cases and provides very clear, strategic and balanced advice.”
Chambers & Partners

“A very effective advocate who is very calm, knowledgeable and a real force to be reckoned with.”
Chambers & Partners