Frances McClenaghan

Call 2009


Frances is an experienced inquests advocate. She has represented numerous interested persons: families, medical practitioners, NHS Trusts and police forces. Understanding the variety of approaches adopted by coroners is key to Frances’ inquest practice. Client care is also one of Frances’ strengths. She seeks to put witnesses at ease: understanding their concerns and clearly explaining the process and likely outcome.

Inquests & Inquiries

“Frances is assertive but not aggressive; she reads the court room well and takes an appropriate approach with both coroner and witnesses.”
Lisa O’Dwyer, Director Medico-Legal Services at AvMA

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

experience & expertise

Frances has extensive inquest experience, which includes:

  • appearing on behalf of a care home, whose resident died of infection of the legs, due to self-neglect. This was described by the Coroner as the most complex case that Coroner’s Court had dealt with. It spanned a month, involved ten Interested Persons (including CCGs, Trusts and individual clinicians) and required two Counsel to the Inquest. The jury did not return a finding of neglect.
  • representing two GPs at a 5-day, Article 2 jury inquest. Frances persuaded the Coroner not to leave neglect to the jury as the evidence did not satisfy the Galbraith plus principle.
  • representing a Mental Health Trust in an inquest concerning the death of a young girl due to anorexia nervosa. Issues included the transition from child to adult mental health services.
  • representing the family at an inquest where neglect was found on the basis of systemic failings by mental health services to provide support and accommodation to a vulnerable young adult. She is instructed in the civil claim which is ongoing. Click here for news coverage.
  • representing the Metropolitan Police in the Tanya Morahan inquest which concerns the death of a voluntary patient on unauthorised leave. The Coroner has agreed with her that Article 2 is not engaged. This decision was challenged unsuccessfully (see R (Morahan) v Her Majesty’s Assistant Coroner For West London [2021] EWHC 1603 (Admin) and the related blog post). Frances represented the Police in the Court of Appeal, whose judgment is awaited.

Frances is also experienced in inquiries. She is currently instructed by the Cabinet Office in the Covid Inquiry.

Public Access Accredited
Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland


Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, fourth edition, Bloomsbury Professional.


  • ‘Mere bystanders? Obtaining the criminal records of lay inquest witnesses’, UK Inquest Law Blog
  • ‘The Art 2 investigative duty and ‘historic’ allegations – when is the duty engaged?’, UK Inquest Law Blog
  • ‘Revised Chief Coroner’s Guidance 17 on Conclusions and Law Sheet 1: Unlawful Killing’, UK Inquest Law Blog
  • ‘Probably unlawful killing: a new inquest conclusion’, UK Inquest Law Blog
  • ‘No PFD – what about a Paragraph 37 Letter?’, UK Inquest Law Blog


Coroners court practice and how to manage cases from the legal practitioner’s perspective

pro bono

  • Court of Appeal Pro Bono Scheme participant
  • Represented 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