Inquests & Inquiries
Admitted failings in Article 2 inquests needn’t be part of the Coroner’s conclusion
Read Jamie’s post on our UK Inquest Law Blog.
Experience & Expertise
Jamie was trained during pupillage by inquests specialist and Assistant Coroner Bridget Dolan KC, assisting her with her work as Counsel to the Inquest during the Inquests into the deaths of seven British nationals in the terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria. During pupillage he also assisted barristers working on the Hillsborough Inquests and the Inquest into the death of Amy El-Keria.
Following this, Jamie was led by Bridget Dolan KC as Counsel to the Inquest in each of the fresh Inquests into deaths at Deepcut Barracks in 1995 and 2001, investigating the circumstances of the deaths by gunshot wounds of Cheryl James (HH Judge Barker CBE KC, 2016), Sean Benton (HH Judge Rook KC, 2018) and Geoff Gray (HH Judge Rook KC, 2019). All three deaths took place amid allegedly widespread bullying and assault of army trainees.
Jamie was continually involved in all aspects of these major cases, each involving over 100 witnesses, thousands of pages of disclosure, and complex forensic evidence, all under the spotlight of intense media interest and speculation. He has experience, rare in his level of call, of high-profile Judge-led inquests, of unusual situations such as making arrangements for exhumation, of disputed ballistics and pathology evidence, of inquests involving investigation into potentially criminal conduct and issues over the admissibility of previous bad character, and of inquests involving admitted state failings and the application of Tainton.
Jamie’s own inquest experience as sole counsel includes:
On behalf of families:
- LDJ and NN , an Inquest into the death of two young women from traumatic asphyxiation in a nightclub crush. Only weeks after finishing pupillage, Jamie acted pro bono as the sole family representative during a two-week long jury inquest featuring five other interested persons, represented by senior counsel including a KC. After hearing evidence from victims, staff and emergency services, the jury returned a narrative conclusion stating that the safe exit of clubbers had not been adequately considered by club management and that a lack of oversight had contributed to the deaths.
- BM , for the parents of a three-year-old who died from a secondary infection following chicken pox. The Coroner returned a narrative conclusion setting out that an opportunity for doctors to prevent her death had been missed. BM’s family subsequently received damages after the NHS Trust responsible admitted negligence.
- KS , questioning eight doctors and two experts on behalf of a family investigating the complex background to the death of a woman with undiagnosed chronic liver disease who had suffered from years of unexplained abdominal symptoms.
- PW [2016-2017], instructed on behalf of the widower of a 69-year-old woman who had died from sepsis two days after being turned away from A&E. After several part-heard hearings, the Coroner returned a narrative conclusion finding that the death had been contributed to by neglect, and directly referred the A&E Consultant who had discharged PW to the GMC. There were significant factual disputes between Jamie’s client and the Consultant, multiple applications for adjournment by the Consultant’s representatives, and arguments over the admissibility of evidence. Following the Inquest, the family were offered damages by the NHS Trust, which had previously denied liability in its Letter of Response.
- RG , representing a bereaved family at an Inquest into the death of a man from a drugs overdose at a music festival, featuring seven other Interested Persons.
- FH , where a man died from faecal peritonitis following bowel surgery amid what the Coroner found to be inadequate safety-netting advice. T
- NL , representing the widower of a woman who had died from sepsis after a spell on a private ward following bowel surgery. The Coroner found numerous failings in care and returned a narrative conclusion that NEWS scores had been inadequately acted upon.
- TY , acting for the parents of a baby who died shortly after being born. The Coroner made a finding of neglect, as a pathological CTG had been repeatedly misinterpreted, and also made a PFD report arising from her concerns about post-inquest investigations.
Jamie is happy to act on a CFA basis for families considering a potential claim after the inquest, and also where appropriate will protect family participation in the inquest process by acting pro bono.
Representing individual clinicians:
- AW , where Jamie’s client was a GP in a jury inquest into the unexplained death of a woman detained under the Mental Health Act from necrotizing fasciitis. The jury returned a conclusion of natural causes.
- IG , acting for two GPs at a week-long Inquest into the tragic death of a 17 year old from meningitis.
- OW , Jamie represented a Consultant Paediatrician during six days of hearings into the tragic death of a baby from Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn, where there were factual differences between several different doctors and nurses, and critical allegations made both by the bereaved family and between the different clinicians. The factual and medical background was extremely complex. Legal matters were also in dispute with the Coroner inviting submissions both before and during the Inquest on whether Article 2 was engaged.
- AD , representing a trainee GP at a three-week Article 2 jury Inquest into the death of a man with learning disabilities from an undiagnosed ulcer whilst deprived of his liberty in a care home. The Coroner directed the jury that they were not as a matter of law to make any judgmental comment regarding Jamie’s client.
- IS , acting for a GP Practice Nurse at an Inquest into the death of a 94-year-old woman from a subdural haematoma. The Coroner concluded that Jamie’s client had monitored the deceased’s anticoagulation entirely properly, amid criticisms from her family.
- RF , representing a GP facing scrutiny of her response to a 3-week old baby, showing non-specific signs of acute illness, who subsequently died from heart failure. The GP, who faced critical comment in both an NHS Trust’s investigation report and from an expert, was not criticised by the Coroner.
- KC , acting for a doctor questioned over the prescribing of sodium valproate to a young woman whose baby died following a termination of pregnancy.
- PC , representing two GPs and a nurse from the same surgery, all of whom had been involved in assessing a man who died from undiagnosed appendicitis.
- PL , acting for a locum surgeon, who disputed the findings of a Trust SI report that his conduct was the root cause of the death of a woman from an iatrogenic injury to her liver.
Acting for institutions and corporate bodies:
- CF , acting for an NHS Trust where a child had died from a haemorrhage following an operation.
- JR , for an NHS Trust whose patient had died from sepsis following an operation. The circumstances leading to his hospitalisation were the subject of potential litigation and media interest.
- HB , instructed by a local authority whose health and safety officers were facing scrutiny over their handling of a case where an elderly lady in a care home had suffocated during the night.
- HH , acting for the provider of supported living after a resident, recently discharged from hospital, suffered a fatal overdose of drugs.
- BAA , a case where a prisoner was found hanged in her cell. Jamie represented the NHS Trust responsible for prison healthcare, including the psychiatrist who had assessed her risk of self-harm.
- SH , regarding the death of a young woman whilst detained under section, representing the NHS Trust responsible for her psychiatric care.
- KS [2019-2020], representing a charity facilitating shared lives living schemes concerning the tragic death of a man with Down’s Syndrome in a carer’s home. The deceased’s family, represented by a KC, raised allegations of gross negligence and neglect which were rejected by the court.
Jamie also has the rare experience of proceedings under the Presumption of Death Act 2013, successfully obtaining an order in the Chancery Division settling the affairs of a missing person on behalf of his family.