Frances McClenaghan

Call 2009


Frances has a depth and breadth of expertise in medical and police matters. She acts in a range of connected proceedings: inquests, judicial review hearings and before police misconduct panels. Frances is assiduous and practical. She can be relied upon to provide clear, timely advice. She is an effective advocate who enjoys working collaboratively with clients.

‘Frances is a very efficient and personable barrister. Her style of presenting is calm and concise.’
The Legal 500

Frances represented the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in Morahan v Assistant Coroner for West London in the Court of Appeal.

Read judgment here.

Experience & Expertise

Clinical Negligence: has experience, from preliminary advices, through to pleadings, interim applications and hearings in a wide array of cases. Her practice includes cases concerning secondary victims, stillbirths and cosmetic surgery, as well as Fatal Accidents Act and contribution claims.

Product Liability: she assisted Eloise Power in the JJML Pelvic Organ Prolapse Products Litigation as well as vaginal mesh cases involving other manufacturers. Frances has advised on solicitors’ negligence arising from product liability and clinical negligence claims.

Inquests: represents families, medical clinicians, NHS Trusts and police forces in substantial inquests including those raising Article 2 ECHR and DoLS.

Police Civil Actions: misfeasance claims, including Human Rights Act arguments, and judicial review.

Police Misconduct: frequently asked to advise and to represent the AA at misconduct hearings, including those relating to allegations of dishonesty. Frances has experience representing the AA in judicial reviews of panel decisions.

In Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis v A Police Misconduct Panel [2022] EWHC 2857 (Admin), Frances successfully challenged a panel’s decision to issue final written warnings to two firearms officers found to be dishonest. She persuaded the Court that the sanction decision could and should be remitted to a fresh panel.

Police Operational Advice: on range of matters whilst seconded to two police forces and upon return to practice.

Prior Expereince

  • Research assistant in the Public Law Team at the Law Commission.
  • Judicial assistant at the Supreme Court, working principally with Lords Kerr and Reed.


‘Frances has a keen eye for detail, and a breadth of experience which gives her the ability to view matters from different angles.’
The Legal 500

‘Frances is a very efficient and personable barrister. Her style of presenting is calm and concise.’
The Legal 500

‘Very experienced and trusted by coroners. Thorough, charming and very easy to work with.’
The Legal 500

‘A very thorough and self-possessed advocate.’
The Legal 500 

‘She has a keen eye for detail.’
The Legal 500 

‘She deals with cases efficiently and successfully.’
The Legal 500 

“Frances McClenaghan is a highly experienced junior.  She quickly establishes a rapport with people, is able to rapidly grasp complex issues and deals efficiently with pressing deadlines.  She shows clear and impressive judgement and is sound and thorough both in advocacy and writing.”

Instructing Solicitor


Growing up in County Armagh, Northern Ireland I didn’t know anyone who was a barrister. My parents worked in education (a teacher and a local education authority officer). They emphasised the value of public service. I hope my work improves public services, whether by conserving taxpayers’ money or, in the clinical negligence context, ensuring lessons are learned from the experiences of injured patients.

I studied law because I wanted to learn something practical. I didn’t start my degree knowing I wanted to practise law; my first moot changed that. On your feet you quickly realise which arguments make sense and which don’t.

On your feet you quickly realise which arguments make sense and which don’t.

The greatest lesson Lord Kerr taught me was, if you say to a judge that you’ll deal with a question in due course, make sure you don’t forget! That and, treat everyone you encounter with courtesy.


Frances co-authored chapter six: Going to Court 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.


  • ‘Mere bystanders? Obtaining the criminal records of lay inquest witnesses’, UK Inquest Law Blog
  • ‘The investigative duty and ‘historic’ allegations – when is the duty engaged’, UK Police Law Blog
  • ‘Genetics evidence revolution: How should courts determine permission applications?’, UK Healthcare Law Blog
  • ‘Reducing restrictions, increasing inconsistency? Impact of the Lockdown Amendment Regulations on the Police’s Enforcement Ability’,  UK Police Law Blog
  • ‘Clinical records do not necessarily trump lay evidence: CXB v North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust [2019] EWHC 2053 (QB)’, UK Healthcare Law Blog
  • ‘Protecting Community Protection Notices’,  UK Police Law Blog
  • ‘The Latest on CONSENT and CAUSATION: Webster v Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust‘, Katie Gollop KC and Frances McClenaghan, UK Healthcare Law Blog
  • ‘No PFD – what about a Paragraph 37 Letter?’, UK Inquest Law Blog
  • ‘Assessing lay evidence: lessons learnt from Owens -v-South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’ , UK Healthcare Law Blog


pro bono

  • Court of Appeal Pro Bono Scheme participant
  • Represents families through the Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) Pro Bono Inquest Service


  • Sir Walter Wigglesworth Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn Pupillage Scholarship
  • College of Law Negotiation Competition Prize
  • College of Law Civil Procedure Prize


  • Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland
  • LLB (Hons) – University of Durham, (2006)
  • BVC – College of Law, London (2008)


  • Personal Injuries Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association


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

Further Information

For further details of Frances’ practice please click on the links to the left or contact a member of the clerking or client service team.

Bar Council Membership No: 54947
Registered Name: Frances McClenaghan
VAT Registration No: 155979847