“He is extremely detailed, thorough and on point. Clients really warm to him. He is brilliant to work with and goes through everything with a fine-tooth comb.” Chambers & Partners
experience & expertise
Michael’s has practised in healthcare law throughout his career. For over twenty years he has had a busy and high-level clinical negligence practice in which he has acted for Claimants and Defendants in a wide range of claims. His long experience of representing healthcare professionals before their regulatory bodies and in coroner’s inquests brings added depth to his understanding of the choices and outcomes his clients face. Michael’s practise has an increasing focus on issues surrounding mental capacity, in which he regularly appears in treatment decision cases for both the Official Solicitor and NHS bodies.
Michael has always had a varied, busy, and heavy-weight clinical negligence practice since his early days as a tenant in Chambers. Clinical negligence has remained the mainstay of his practice since taking Silk in 2016. He has always aimed to act for both Claimants and Defendants in similar proportions. This improves not only the objectivity of his advice, but gives an excellent understanding of the issues each party faces and the best tactical approach.
Most areas of medicine have featured in Michael’s caseload. His practise has increasingly focused on claims of the highest value and complexity, such as those involving brain injury at birth, other brain injury, spinal injury, and delayed diagnosis of cancer. He has a particular expertise in civil claims involving complex issues of causation, whether the issues are factual, medical or legal: he acted for the successful claimant in a leading case of successive tortfeasor, Wright v Cambridge Medical Group  QB 312.
The natural overlap between the issues of capacity and consent to medical treatment in clinical negligence claims has led to Michael developing expertise in cases where adults or children are unable to make their own decisions about serious medical treatment. Michael has acted in several leading Court of Protection cases in recent years, such as An NHS Trust & Others v DD  EWCOP 5 (forcible sterilisation) and (1) NHS Trust (2) NHS Trust v FG  1 WLR 1984 (guidance for managing pregnancy of women with mental illness).
Whatever their nature, Michael has long been known for approaching his cases with meticulous preparation and attention to detail, to ensure that no stone is unturned in securing the best possible outcome for his clients. This theme is common to all aspects of his work, whether it be paperwork, consultations, written or oral advocacy.
Whether acting for a grievously injured claimant or clinicians facing the pressures that litigation or regulatory proceedings bring, Michael always tries to be approachable, flexible and responsive.
recent judgements include:
- Raggett v (1) King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust & Others  EWHC 1604 (QB) (acting for the lead defendant in a claim involving delayed recognition of vascular injury);
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v (1) C (2) V  COPLR 50 (acting for NHS Trust in a notorious case where a patient was held to have capacity to refuse life-sustaining treatment);
- Welch v Waterworth  EWCA Civ 11;  Med LR 41 (acting for the defendant at trial and on appeal in a vascular surgery case leading to loss of all renal function);
- (1) NHS Trust (2) NHS Trust v FG  1 WLR 1984 (acting for the Official Solicitor, case giving detailed guidance for managing pregnancy in pregnant women with mental illness);
- An NHS Trust & Others v DD  EWCOP 8,  EWCOP 11,  EWCOP 4,  EWCOP 13,  EWCOP 44, and  EWCOP 5 (acting for the Official Solicitor in a series of applications involving management of ante-natal care, forcible capacity assessment, per-natal care, contraception and culminating in forcible sterilisation);
- NHS Gloucestershire CCG v AB  EWCOP 49 (authorising withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration in patient in a permanent vegetative state ‘PVS’)
- Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust v JB  EWHC 342 (COP) (acting for Official Solicitor in application involving amputation);
- Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v AA  EWHC 1666 (Fam) and  EWHC 132 (Fam) (acting for NHS Trust seeking declarations);
- Wright v Cambridge Medical Group  QB 312; (acting for claimant at trial and on appeal in the now leading case on the legal approach in cases of delayed referral to third parties); and
- Re SB  EWHC 1417 (COP) (acting for patient resisting declarations that she lacked capacity to terminate pregnancy).
Before his recent appointment to Silk, Michael had been consistently rated as a leading junior (Band 1) for clinical negligence in both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. He is rated as a New Silk in both clinical negligence (Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500) and Court of Protection: Health & Welfare (Chambers & Partners).
Recent editorial includes:
- very good tactically, particularly in cases where there are multiple defendants;
- I’ve been incredibly impressed with his attention to detail;
- one of the very top juniors in the country;
- he’s a really conscientious barrister;
- is genuinely helpful – nothing’s too much trouble;
- he’s a very hard-working man;
- you’ll always get his full attention;
- good on his feet, he has a very sure grasp of the case;
- he is good at scrutinising the records and the evidence;
- often acts as sole counsel against silks on medically complex cases involving catastrophic brain and spinal injuries, and delayed diagnoses of cancer;
- he’s well respected and client-friendly;
- he has stacks of confidence and experience, and grasps the issues in a case very quickly;
- he has a strong civil background but also criminal advocacy skills;
- a senior junior well versed in matters before the GMC and GDC;
- an attractive advocate;
- extremely personable and reasonable;
- he excels due to his extremely thorough case preparation; and
- I am staggered at how good he is.
- Williams v The Bermuda Hospitals Board  UKPC 4  Med LR 65Clinical negligence – Causation – Material contribution – Cumulative causes – Successive causes – Single causative agent.
- DS v Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 1246 (QB)  Med LR 339 Clinical negligence – Placental abruption – Delay in delivery – Brain damage – Causation.
- Richards v Worcs CC 2016] EWHC 1954 (Ch)  Med LR 534 Mental Health Act 1983, section 117 – Failure of statutory bodies to provide aftercare services – Private funding – Restitution – Unjust enrichment – Public law – Private law – Procedural exclusivity – Strike out.
- Totham v Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 97 (QB)  Med LR 55 Clinical negligence – Quantum – Brain damage – Damages – General damages – Gratuitous care – Case management – Lost years – Future childcare – Future transport.
- Wye Valley NHS Trust v Mr B  EWCOP 60  Med LR 552 Court of Protection – Mental illness – Capacity – Best interests – Life-sustaining treatment – Amputation – Wishes and feelings – Religious beliefs and values.
- Hibbert v GMC  EWHC 3596 (Admin)  Med LR 84 General Medical Council – Waiver of the five-year rule – Judicial review – Quashing decision – Retrospective effect – Jurisdiction of Registrar to reconsider decision.
- Sandwell & W Brim Hospitals NHS Trust v CD  EWCOP 23  Med LR 424 Withholding life sustaining treatment – Persons lacking capacity – Practice guidance – Urgent applications – Timing of applications – Preparation for urgent applications
- Re (DK) v Sec of State for the Home Dept  EWHC 3257 (Admin)  Med LR 51 Judicial review – Mental illness – Immigration – Persons unsuitable for detention – Unlawful detention – Damages – Duty of enquiry – Human rights – ECHR, articles 3, 5 and 8 – Causation – Nominal damages.
Most of our lay clients have not met a barrister before. I try to dispel any preconceptions by being approachable and completely on top of their case. Whenever we meet, I always take time to understand their concerns and ensure that the client remains at the centre of the decision-making.
All barristers have slightly different ways of working. The facts in our cases are often involved, and the medicine complex. For me, attention to detail has always been really important. What at first seems like a small point of detail can lead to a chain of enquiry, a productive line in cross-examination, or ultimately a decisive factor in a judgment.
“I always take time to understand their concerns and ensure that the client remains at the centre of the decision-making.”
It is one of the strengths of the split legal profession that the client has the benefit of at least two lawyers thinking about the case. My instructing solicitors are all experienced professionals with their own perspectives of a case. I welcome and value their full involvement in the advice we give and decisions we make.
I have been a tenant here for the whole of my career. One of the real strengths of our Chambers is the fact that there are so many colleagues who specialise in the same areas as I do. If any of us have a difficult or new legal issue, or a difficult judgment call to make, there are always senior colleagues only too happy to help. That support is enormously reassuring, but also means that the client receives the best service we can give.
- Contributing Editor to LS Law Reports, Medical
- Contributor to Medical Treatment Decisions and the Law (3rd edn)
related professional activities
- Director of the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund
- Member of the Bar Council Remuneration Committee
- Member of the Bar Council Civil (Public) Panel
- Member of PNBA and LCLCBA
- Mentor Bar Council’s Silk and Judicial Appointments Scheme
university or higher level qualifications
Cambridge University, Trinity Hall [MA (Law) 2:1]
Michael adopts and adheres to the provisions of the privacy notice which can be accessed here.
For further details of Michael’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: 28966
Registered Name: Michael Andrew Horne
VAT Registration No: 629193518