Frances McClenaghan

Call 2009


Frances accepts instructions in all areas of Chambers’ practice, and has a particular interest in police law and clinical negligence. Frances read law at the University of Durham. After graduating, she was employed as a research assistant in the Public Law Team at the Law Commission. In the 2011/2012 judicial year, Frances was appointed as a judicial assistant at the Supreme Court, working principally with Lord Kerr. 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 clerked primarily by Tom O’Connor,  Joe Ralph and Joe Fletcher.

Frances is ranked as a Leading Junior by The Legal 500 in Police Law.

Frances is called to the Bar of Northern Ireland.

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.

Inquests: represents families, medical clinicians, NHS Trusts and police forces in substantial inquests including those raising Article 2 ECHR. Regularly deals with disclosure issues.

Police Civil Actions: misfeasance claims, including Human Rights Act arguments, data control matters and claims under the Animals Act.

Police Civil Applications in the Magistrates’ Court: DVPO, POCA, SHPO.

Information Retention and Disclosure: principally in police cases, seeking and resisting disclosure in family proceedings, resisting disclosure on grounds of public interest immunity, advising on Data Protection Act 1998 and Article 8 ECHR.

Police Operational Advice: on range of matters whilst seconded to two police forces and upon return to practice, including duties under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Firearms: advises on and represents at shot gun and firearm certificate appeals.

Police Property: conversion, stakeholder applications.

Public Access Accredited
Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland


“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.

Being a judicial assistant at the Supreme Court was a bit like a second pupillage. Each day started with a discussion of the cases with Lord Kerr.

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.

I enjoy problem solving: spending a morning researching a point and finding a practical solution for the client is very satisfying. Equally, I come home from court happy when I have succeeded for the client whether that is by defending a claim on behalf of a public authority or by obtaining answers for a bereaved family at an inquest.


Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, third edition, Bloomsbury Professional


  • ‘The Latest on CONSENT and CAUSATION: Webster v Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust‘, Katie Gollop QC and Frances McClenaghan, UK Healthcare Law Blog
  • ‘No PFD – what about a Paragraph 37 Letter?’, UK Inquest Law Blog
  • ‘Know Your Limits: When is a claimant’s constructive knowledge deemed to kick in under LA 1980?’ (New Law Journal, 8 March 2013)
  • ‘Assessing lay evidence: lessons learnt from Owens -v-South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’ , UK Healthcare Law Blog
  • ‘Protecting Community Protection Notices’,  UK Police Law Blog 


  • Coroners court practice and how to manage cases from the legal practitioner’s perspective
  • Post-Montgomery case law: where are we now?
  • Material contribution case law update

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


  • 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 the 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:
VAT Registration No: 155979847