“I would like to express our gratitude to Rachael for her professionalism and expertise at the inquest. We felt we could completely rely on Rachael’s knowledge and advice throughout the day. She was very kind and sympathetic to us and there was absolutely nothing she missed.”
Rachael secures neglect finding for family in neonatal death inquest. Read more about the case here.
Rachael joined Chambers in October 2020, upon successful completion of her pupillage. During her pupillage, she was supervised by Sebastian Naughton, Elliot Gold and Clare Hennessy. She gained experience in all core areas of Chambers’ work and is building a practice in the Court of Protection, inquests, clinical negligence, professional discipline, public law and police misconduct. She appears regularly in front of a wide range of courts and tribunals and is also building a significant paperwork and advisory practice.
Rachael has a keen interest in inquests and coronial law. She is well versed in multi-day inquests involving complex issues of medical treatment and the law, and frequently advises clients pre-inquest.
- Most recently, Rachael was instructed in her own right in a five-week Article 2 inquest concerning mental health care and treatment.
- Rachael was also instructed in a three-week jury inquest in a complex case concerning issues of mental health, capacity and substance misuse.
- Rachael is currently acting pro bono in an inquest concerning an unexpected neonatal death. She is happy to accept pro bono instructions for families navigating the coronial process.
- During pupillage, Rachael gained experience of inquests touching deaths in eating disorder wards, mental health units and unexpected neonatal deaths and assisted supervisors with these cases.
- She has experience drafting submissions on the applicability of Article 2 in inquests where there have been systemic failures on the part of the state.
Rachael is always eager to hold conferences before inquests in order to explain the coronial process to clients, to discuss the scope of an inquest and to ensure clients feel at ease and understand what is going to happen in court.
Rachael is developing a strong practice in clinical negligence. She is regularly instructed to draft pleadings and to appear in CCMCs and application hearings.
During pupillage, Rachael was supervised by two clinical negligence specialists, Sebastian Naughton and Clare Hennessy, and she was able to develop her understanding of complex claims including cauda equina syndrome, delayed diagnosis of cancer and brain injuries.
Rachael has significant experience drafting in the clinical negligence context. She has experience drafting:
- Particulars of Claim and Defences in clinical and dental negligence cases, including those involving complex conditions, issues of causation and delays in treatment;
- An interim payment application for a high-value clinical negligence claim in which the Claimant successfully obtained a £500,000 interim payment;
- Skeleton arguments;
- Expert agendas in complex clinical negligence cases;
- Advices on liability and quantum;
- Schedules of Loss and Counter Schedules, including in multi-million pound claims.
Rachael also has experience in civil claims arising from breaches of the Human Rights Act and personal injury claims, especially claims brought by those lacking capacity, protected parties or victims of historic child sex abuse.
Court of Protection
Rachael has a growing Court of Protection practice. To date in tenancy, she has acted on behalf of ‘P’ (i.e. the individual who may lack capacity in proceedings), P’s family members, local authorities, and Clinical Commissioning Groups (‘CCGs’). Rachael is well versed in s21A applications and has also advised on capacity evidence.
Most recently, Rachael acted on behalf of P’s family in s21A proceedings. She successfully persuaded the court to allow a trial of home visits, despite this being contested by both the Local Authority and the Official Solicitor.
She also accepts instructions in property and affairs cases and has been instructed by the Office of the Public Guardian.
Rachael worked with Nageena Khalique KC on the fourth edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law textbook. Rachael and Nageena’s chapters focus on (i) religious objections to treatment and (ii) adults lacking capacity.
In police misconduct cases, Rachael acts exclusively for the Appropriate Authority, prosecuting police misconduct. In her own practice, she has acted in police misconduct hearings concerning the use of illicit substances by officers and breaches of the standards of professional behaviour, including discreditable conduct.
During pupillage, Rachael was supervised by police law specialist Elliot Gold and gained experience in complex and high-profile police misconduct proceedings.
Rachael also has experience in civil actions against the police and in advisory work. She has appeared in CCMCs, application hearings and county court trials. She also has experience drafting:
- Advices on liability, quantum and evidence in civil actions against the police, including at the pre-action stage;
- Pleadings in civil actions against the police, including protest claims;
- Regulation 21 and Regulation 43 Notices for Police Misconduct proceedings and advices on evidence, procedure and anonymity applications.
Rachael is regularly instructed to obtain civil orders for a wide range of police forces, including Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, Sexual Risk Orders, Stalking Protection Orders and Closure Orders.
Employment law and public law
Rachael is keen to develop her practice in these two areas of law. During pupillage, Rachael drafted Grounds of Complaint and Grounds of Response in Employment Tribunal cases, including in complex discrimination law claims. She was recently instructed in an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal. She has also succeeded in strike out applications, and successfully obtained costs for unreasonable litigation conduct, in this no-costs jurisdiction.
Rachael has a particular interest in public law and judicial review and is keen to develop a practice in this area. During pupillage, she gained experience drafting grounds for judicial review and pre-action correspondence in anticipated proceedings for judicial review.
Pro Bono Work
Rachael also undertakes work on a pro bono basis and recently completed the ‘25 for 25’ Challenge which involved undertaking a significant number of hours of pro bono work through Advocate as well as the Free Representation Unit.
Rachael has acted in Criminal Injuries Compensation appeals before the First-tier Tribunal for both the Free Representation Unit and Advocate. Rachael successfully obtained an increase of £40,000 in award for a claimant who sadly sustained a brain injury following a violent assault. Rachael is currently acting for a victim of serious domestic violence in her claim for criminal injuries compensation.
Prior to the Bar
Before joining Chambers, Rachael worked in diversity and inclusion and social mobility research in both the public and private sectors. Upon graduation, Rachael worked as a manager at a specialist diversity organisation that helped students from ethnic minority and social mobility backgrounds to gain access to top graduate jobs. Rachael managed client relationships with the Civil Service Fast Stream, GCHQ and Teach First, worked as a job coach with candidates and developed unconscious bias training materials. She held coaching sessions with over 500 students who went on to receive offers for the Civil Service Fast Stream or its related diversity internship schemes.
Rachael was later employed as a manager at the Judicial Appointments Commission working on judicial diversity policy and the development of fair selection exercise materials. She delivered outreach presentations to lawyers throughout England and Wales, working to encourage more ethnic minority lawyers, women and lawyers with disabilities to consider judicial appointment. Rachael also provided Secretariat support to the Judicial Diversity Forum – a quarterly meeting between the JAC, the Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Chancellor and representatives from the legal profession.
Rachael remains passionate about diversity, inclusion and social mobility.
Rachael also worked as a casework volunteer at the Bar Pro Bono Unit and taught debating in prisons as part of the Vocalise programme.
• Bachelor of Laws (Hons), University of Cambridge – First Class
• Bar Professional Training Course, BPP University Law School – Very Competent
PRIZES, SCHOLARSHIPS & ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS
• Prince of Wales Scholarship, Gray’s Inn – Scholarship to fund the cost of the BPTC
• Rosemary Murray Scholarship, University of Cambridge – Scholarship awarded for obtaining a first class degree result
Rachael co-authored chapter three: Deciding for Others – Adults and chapter fourteen: Religious Observance and Objections to Treatment in the fourth edition of the book Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, edited by Christopher Johnston KC and Sophia Roper KC and written by 27 members of Serjeants’ Inn.
Rachael produces head notes and commentary for the Medical Law Review (MLR) on clinical negligence cases.
Rachael contributes regularly to Chambers’ blogs, including the UK Medical Decision Law Blog, UK Inquest Law Blog, and UK Police Law Blog. Rachael is one of the current editors of the UK Police Law Blog. Recent examples of Rachael’s writing include the following blog posts/articles:
- Correlation does not imply causation
- How long can the police hold data about a person allegedly vulnerable to radicalisation?
- The perils of fast-tracked documentary inquests
- Altruistic stem cell donation by a person lacking capacity
- Data on Death
Rachael has recently reported on the following cases for the Medical Law Reports:
- Aderounmu v Colvin  EWHC 2293 (QB)  Med LR 616 Clinical negligence – Capacity – Protected party – Limitation.
- Ismail v Joyce  EWHC 3453 (QB)  Med LR 232 Clinical negligence – Breach of duty – Witness evidence.
• Court of Protection Bar Association
• Professional Negligence Bar Association
• Young Legal Aid Lawyers’ Association
• Free Representation Unit
• Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit)
Rachael adopts and adheres to the provisions of her privacy notice which can be accessed here.
For further details of Rachael’s practice, please contact a member of the clerking or client service team.
Bar Council Membership No: 72449
Registered Name: Rachael Louise Gourley