Clare Hennessy

Call 2009


Clare is in demand for her combination of effective court room advocacy and approachability. She began her career as a criminal barrister and draws on her considerable advocacy experience in her work in clinical negligence, inquest, police and professional discipline cases: an instructing solicitor notes that Clare is “always hard working, responsive, calm under pressure – her advocacy skills are second to none.” 

Clare is clerked primarily by Tom O’Connor,  Joe Ralph, Jubeda Begum and Josie Ryan.

“A punchy, sharp and highly effective advocate. She has a real knack for getting to the heart of the matter, delivering her arguments forcefully but sensibly, a combination which invariably wins over tribunals.”
The Legal 500

Clare is a contributor to the fourth edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law (edited by Christopher Johnston KC and Sophia Roper KC).


Clare has a wealth of advocacy experience, and has appeared in courts at all levels up to and including the Court of Appeal. She has conducted hundreds of trials, including scores before a jury. Clare has an active court practice, appearing regularly in Coroners’ Courts and before regulatory disciplinary panels, as well as civil courts. Clare also has a substantial clinical negligence practice, with a focus on effective drafting and pre-trial tactics.


Clare has a busy practice across all areas of chambers’ work. In her own right she has represented families, professionals and NHS Trusts at inquests, acted on behalf of both claimants and defendants in clinical negligence matters and has appeared in a wide range of police law matters, including as a legal assessor.


Clare co-authored chapter seventeen: Treating Suicidal Patients 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.

Clare was also a contributor to the third edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law. Clare is a contributing editor to the Medical Law Reports. She has written ten practice notes for LexisNexis Butterworths.


Clare has recently reported on the following cases for The Medical Law Reports.

  • Negus v Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust [2021] EWHC 643 (QB) [2021] Med LR 449
  • GMC v Haris [2020] EWHC 2518 (Admin) MLR 2021 03 [2021] Med LR 66
  • Schembri v Marshall [2020] EWCA Civ 358 [2020] Med LR 240
  • SC v University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust [2020] EWHC 1610 (QB) [2020] Med LR 403
  • Kearsey v NWC [2016] EWHC 1603 (Admin) [2016] Med LR 461
  • Case V [2016] EWHC 2356 (Fam) MLR 2016 40


I am regularly instructed in jury inquests and, given my criminal Bar background, this is something I particularly enjoy. There’s something about watching and reading and appealing to a jury which I would never want to leave behind. And waiting to hear their verdict is always gripping.

“I think the three secondments earlier in my career have really helped me to understand the client perspective”

But paperwork is rewarding too: it’s a good change of pace after the adrenaline of advocacy to be able to absorb yourself in the detail of, for example, lengthy medical records for a clinical negligence case. It’s also interesting to really learn about a particular procedure or the way a hospital unit or prison wing is run.

Clients often tell me I am approachable and I think the three secondments earlier in my career (at the NMC, the FSA and the SFO) have really helped me to understand the client perspective. I like the variety of people we deal with in our cases – solicitors, lay clients, police officers, clinicians, experts: everyone has something different to bring to a case.

I really enjoy the challenges of inquest work. You’re on your mettle because the law is constantly changing and inquests are often subject to judicial review. The facts are generally distressing too and it’s often very tense: you are always very conscious that this is the chance for those involved to get some sense of resolution.

I’ve appeared in front of a wide range of regulators, with numerous cases in the GMC, GDC, NMC, HCPC, GCC, BACP, RCVS and ACP. That’s unusual, especially at my level of call, so I am really proud of that.



Clare is recommended by The Legal 500 for her expertise in professional discipline. The 2022 edition noted that “she has a great analytical mind“. Other recent editorial has described her as ‘a punchy, sharp and highly effective advocate’ and ‘she has a real knack for getting to the heart of the matter, delivering her arguments forcefully but sensibly, a combination which invariably wins over tribunals.’


  • 2005 – 2008 BA (Hons) Exeter College, Oxford
  • 2008 – Quarrell-Read Prize, Exeter College, Oxford
  • 2009 – Called to the Bar, Gray’s Inn, Lord Justice Holker (Major Gray’s Inn Scholarship)
  • 2009 – Winner of the Gray’s Inn Debating Competition
  • 2010 – Runner-up in Gray’s Inn pupils’ advocacy course


Clare adopts and adheres to the provisions of her privacy notice which can be accessed here.

further information

For further details of Clare’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: 55150
Registered Name: Clare Danielle Hennessy
VAT Registration No: 988 3264 66