Claire Watson

Call 2001

Overview

Claire undertakes a broad range of public law and human rights work for a wide-range of clients including Police Forces, NHS Trusts, local authorities and healthcare professionals. She is highly regarded for her ability to master complex issues and provide comprehensive and pragmatic advice whilst her approachable and client-friendly manner makes her popular with solicitors. Her public law practice encompasses judicial review challenges, human rights matters, inquests, medical treatment and welfare cases and professional discipline and regulatory matters.

Public & Administrative

“Thoroughly pleasant, remarkably intelligent, quick-witted and always in control.”
Chambers & Partners

Claire was instructed on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service in the inquest into the death of six victims of the In Amenas hostage crisis.
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Experience & expertise

Claire has extensive experience representing families, Police Forces, NHS Trusts and healthcare professionals at inquests throughout the country and in recent years she has appeared in a number of lengthy article 2 inquests investigating deaths in police or prison custody and deaths of detained patients in psychiatric hospitals.  Claire has also been instructed to advise and represent the Metropolitan Police Service in a number of inquests arising from terrorist attacks in Algeria, France and Tunisia.

Claire has a keen interest in human rights matters and has been instructed in a number of cases raising human rights issues, including claims against the the police and healthcare providers for damages under the Human Rights Act, applications to the Court of Protection challenging a deprivation of liberty and applications for Judicial Review.  She also has extensive experience appearing on behalf of doctors granted interevener status in family court proceedings where allegations of non-accidental injury have been made and regularly appears in the High Court and the Court of Protection in medical treatment and welfare cases involving adults and children.

Claire has previously advised on information law and data protection matters; she has appeared before the Information Tribunal in appeals under the Freedom of Information Act and has been instructed in claims under the Data Protection Act.  She has also appeared on behalf of Police Forces, Primary Care Trusts and NHS Trusts in applications for disclosure where issues of public interest immunity and/or confidentiality arise.

cases & work of note

  • 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.
  • Inquest into the death of Mr Alexander (April 2016)
    Claire was instructed to advise the Metropolitan Police Service on evidence and procedure in the inquest into the death of Mr Alexander, who was killed during the terrorist attack on the Bataclan nightclub in Paris.
  • W v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Janaury 2016)
    Claire provided urgent advice in a judicial review claim involving a high profile reality television star. The advice requested was time sensitive as the Claimant was due to appear in the Magistrates’ Court on the following day on charges of common assault and had threatened to bring an urgent judicial reivew claim against the poice for the failure to investigate an allegation of perverting the course of justice.
  • Inquest into the death of Mr Vital (June 2015)
    Article 2 inquest into the death of a man who had jumped through a closed window whilst displaying signs of Excited Delirium (Acute Behavioural Disorder). He was found covered in blood, writhing around on broken glass. Claire represented the Metropolitan Police in this emotionally charged inquest with a jury in which the attending police officers were accused of using excessive force to contain Mr Vital whilst waiting for medical assistance.  The jury found his death was drug related and made no criticism of police.
  • A Local Authority v (1) Mr X (2) Mrs X (3) Dr Z (March 2015)
    Claire successfully splpied for intervener status for a doctor who had been implicated in the non-accidental injury of child who was the subject of care proceedings.
  • In Amenas Inquests (February 2015)
    On 16 January 2013, terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda took hundreds of people hostage at a gas facility near In Amenas in Algeria. 40 foreign nationals were killed either by terrorists or during the intervention by Algerian security forces. Claire was instructed on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service in the inquest into the death of six victims of the In Amenas hostage crisis. This complex and high profile inquest heard evidence from witnesses from all over the world during the course of a 30 day hearing at which the Families, International Oil and Gas companies, the Metropolitan Police and the Government were represented.
  • 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.
  • Inquest into the death of Sean Rigg (June & July 2012)
    Advising and representing a Forensic Medical Examiner in a lengthy and high profile inquest into the death in custody of a man suffering from schizophrenia.
  • R (on the application of Mr B) v A Magistrates’ Court (2) Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (June 2012)
    The Claimant’s son was shot and seriously injured by police during an incident in which he attacked uniformed officers with a knife.  During the subsequent investigation of this incident a search warrant was obtained for the Claimant’s home address.  The Claimant sought permission to judicially review the application for and execution of the warrant by the police and the decision of magistrates to issue the search warrant.  Claire was instructed to advise and draft summary grounds for contesting the claim. Permission was refused on the papers and the Commissioner was awarded his reasonable costs of acknowledging service and preparing summary grounds.
  • A Local Authority v (1) Mrs A (2) Mr B (3) Child C and D (through their Guardian) (4) Dr F (interverner) (February 2012)
    This was a fact finding hearing in care proceedings brought by a local authority.  The child at the centre of the case was a baby who had sustained a significant injury, which was believed to be non-accidental.  Claire was instructed on behalf of a junior doctor who was granted intervener status following allegations by the parents of the child that she had caused the injury.  The parents abandoned the allegations on the first day of the hearing and the doctor was discharged as an intervener and witness in the case.
  • A LOCAL AUTHORITY v (1) A (2) B (3) C (4) D [2011] EWHC 231 (Fam)
    Appearing on behalf of a paediatrician granted  intervener status in care proceedings in the High Court.
  • A Local Authority v (1) Mother (2) Father and (3) A Health Board (4) Dr X  (interveners) (February – March 2011)
    Appearing on behalf of a GP granted intervener status at a fact finding hearing in care proceedings brought by the local authority against the parents of a baby who sustained suspicious injuries.  The parents accused the GP of causing the injury to the child during an examination. Following cross-examination of the medical experts, the GP was discharged as a witness and intervener.
  • Browne v Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police (November 2010)
    Acting on behalf of the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police in an application for permission to apply for judicial review of a SOPO made some 3 years ago. Claire succeeded in an application for a costs against the Claimant when permission was refused.
  • Inquest into the death of Paul Coker (February 2010)
    Acting for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in this high profile article 2 inquest into the death of a man in police custody.
  • Inquest touching the death of Simon Allen (2009)
    Represented a doctor in an Article 2 inquest into the death of an inmate with mental health problems on a prison healthcare  wing.
  • R v Jeffrey [2008]
    Acting on behalf of a Primary Care Trust following the issue of a summons by a Crown Court judge directing disclosure of the medical records of a victim of rape and sexual assault.
  • Rabess v the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2007] EWHC 208 (Admin)
    Appeal by way of case stated in which the prohibitions included in an ASBO were challenged.
  • A Borough Council v (1) A, (2) B, (3) C, D & E (Children by their Guardian) & Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police [2006] EWHC 1465 (Fam)
    Acting for the Chief Constable in family proceedings where guidance was given by the Court on the disclosure of information and documents obtained in family proceedings and the use that can be made of such information by the police for child protection purposes.
  • R (Cleary) v Highbury Magistrates’ Court, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and the Secretary of State for the Home Department [2006] EWHC 1869 (Admin)
    Junior Counsel in claim for judicial review in which guidance was given on disclosure and the procedure to be followed in closure order applications under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
  • Hemsley v (1) The Information Commissioner (2) The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police (March 2006)
    Acting on behalf of the Chief Constable in this appeal to the Information Tribunal against the refusal by the police to disclose sensitive information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Hooper [2005] EWHC 340 (Admin)
    Appeal by way of case stated in which the High Court determined that proceedings under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 were civil and the magistrates had acted ultra vires.