Paul Spencer

Call 1988

Paul Spencer | Call 1988

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The current edition of Chambers & Partners describes Paul as a “respected advocate who is particularly noted for his adroit handling of complex inquests.” He has a unique knowledge and experience base which encompasses not only complex and high profile inquests and public inquiries, but he also is developing considerable expertise of Parliamentary Select Committee hearings.

Inquests & Inquiries

“He is very easy to contact and has very good client skills. In court he’s a fabulous advocate.”
Chambers & Partners

Paul Spencer speaks at APIL’s elderly care conference on lessons from the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry – Avoiding future regulatory pitfalls.
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 experience & expertise

Frequently Paul, in conjunction with external or internal organisation legal teams, will represent large numbers of staff who have been summonsed to give evidence to Coroner’s and in Art 2 investigations to a Jury investigating a death. Paul has a long history of working with the healthcare sector, prisons, secure services, schools, care, nursing and children’s homes and has an in-depth insight into the statutory framework and policies and procedures of those organisations and how they function and how systems can occasionally fail. Where failures are identified Paul is able to guide organisations and their staff on how best to approach Coroners inquiries or other investigations to ensure that the lessons learned are appropriately communicated. Many of the cases Paul is involved with attract local and national media attention and he has views on how best those can be managed.

cases & work of note: Inquests

  • Representing the Head of a prison healthcare unit at a 4 week Art 2 inquiry;
  • Representing the staff of an Academy school accused of ignoring claims that the child was being bullied in the weeks leading up to the child taking his own life;
  • Representing the staff of a large NHS mental health service organisation who were alleged to have failed to spot warning signs of a son’s deteriorating mental health before he stabbed and killed his father; Representing a Consultant anesthetist who it was said failed, along with others, to react to surgical warning signs of a patient bleeding out;
  • Representing a Consultant who it was said failed, along with others, to spot meningitis in a child repeatedly brought to A&E;
  • Representing a GP practice who it was said, failed along with other healthcare professionals, to ensure a pregnant mother received whooping cough vaccine within 28-32 weeks of pregnancy;
  • Representing staff of a nursing home who wrongly served a ‘nil by mouth’ dementia resident fish and chips;
  • Represented a large independent psychiatric service and its staff at an Art 2 inquiry where is was said that there were repeated failures to ensure that a section 3 patient with a long history of serious self-harm behaviours was kept safe;
  • Representing Gold Command and other senior police officers said to have allegedly failed, along with the fire service, to have reacted swiftly to a fire in a house of multiple occupation;
  • Representing a community mental health team who it was said failed to spot and react to allegedly obvious signs of a patient in the communities deteriorating mental health;
  • Representing a train operating company following the death of one of its workers after he was hit by a passing train on the track;
  • A number of Armed forces deaths abroad;
  • Representing a police divisional surgeon where it was alleged that there were systems failures by him and others that were causative of death.

cases & work of note: Inquiries

  • The Mid Staffs Inquiry Deepcut
  • Hillsborough
  • The Department of Health investigation of one of England & Wales largest independent providers of termination services following revelations in the national press that sex selection terminations were being offered to women
  • Winterbourne View. Following the broadcast of BBC’s Panorama undercover investigation into the abuse at Winterbourne View, Paul was instructed by Andrew Parsons at RLB to advise and act for Castlebeck after the CQC imposed admission embargos on all of Castlebeck’s other services. PWC was asked to undertake a wide scale investigation and review of Castlebeck and Paul and Andrew advised on disclosure, corporate issues and other considerations of that review
  • Representing one of England’s largest termination services during a wide scale DoH and CQC investigation after one of its independent Consultants offered a sex selection termination.

select committee hearings

The power and scope of Select Committees was widened in 1979 and we have seen from on-going or recent investigations into BHS, Sports Direct and their advisors how appearing before a Parliamentary Select Committee can feel like an onerous task, particularly if you are attending for the first time. Of note is the widening of scope of Committee inquiries – those advising clients whether they be financiers, lawyers and others are no longer excluded and interesting issues of legal professional privilege are raised.

Paul has the expertise and experience required to advise those who have been requested to attend and give evidence to Parliamentary Committees. He is able to meet with clients beforehand, brief them and explain the process and procedural rules. Paul understands the importance of risk management and how appearances before Select Committees have the very real potential to blemish reputations, affect businesses. He can assist in training, preparing preparatory letters and statements with a view to addressing likely areas of MP or Peer questioning.


“Paul is extremely engaging, persuasive and insightful, which makes him a tremendously powerful yet empathetic advocate.”
Chambers & Partners

“Paul is very diligent and sensible and is able to provide excellent drafting.”
Chambers & Partners

“He is pragmatic and very commercially aware.”
Chambers & Partners

“Paul is strategic, very knowledgeable, and extremely personable. He is always well prepared.”
The Legal 500

“Paul’s expertise is unquestionable; his analytical approach and attention to detail are unsurpassed; and his calm and reassuring manner with clients and witnesses is always welcomed.”
Chambers & Partners

“He’s a very user-friendly barrister who is approachable and hard-working.”
Chambers & Partners

“He’s very clear, thorough and good at understanding things from a client’s point of view.”
Chambers & Partners

‘An excellent advocate with a robust approach to cases that achieves results.’
The Legal 500

“Paul Spencer is charming with clients, opponents, coroners and judges alike. He is conscientious and analytical. He has represented a range of public and independent organisations in inquiries at the highest levels of public scrutiny. He is a trusted and valued adviser and advocate.”
Chambers & Partners

‘Paul is great – a really safe pair of hands and very sharp.’
The Legal 500

“He’s extremely proactive and approachable and will come back very quickly with a strategy for moving forward. He’s able to convey his legal knowledge without frightening the client with an avalanche of information.”
Chambers & Partners

“He’s calm under fire and nothing takes him by surprise, which is very reassuring for his clients.”
Chambers & Partners

‘Particularly skilled at dealing with corporate clients.’
The Legal 500

“He’s unbelievably good with the jury and is a go-to for state bodies in trouble. He’s very good at presenting the humane side of organisations in very difficult cases.”
Chambers & Partners

“A resilient and extremely hardworking individual.” 
The Legal 500

“Extremely client-friendly and a good advocate.”
The Legal 500