Susanna Rickard

Call 2009


Susanna’s primary area of practice is the Court of Protection, where she is experienced in both serious medical treatment applications and health & welfare matters generally. She has experience before all levels of court up to (led) the Supreme Court, as well as in the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal. Her work has always involved medical ethics, inquest law, the health and social care sectors, NHS bodies and commissioners, local authorities, care homes and regulators. As well as the bulk of her practice in the Court of Protection, she continues to practise in inquests & inquiries, education law, mental health law and related areas.
In addition to her primary practice at the Bar, Susanna sits both as a part-time fee-paid judge in the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health), and as an Assistant Coroner for Birmingham & Solihull.

“She is so quick and so thorough.”
Chambers & Partners

Susanna is a contributor to the third and more recently the fourth edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law ( June 2022 edited by Christopher Johnston KC and Sophia Roper KC).

experience & Expertise

Susanna has been consistently ranked as a leading junior by the directories since 2014, with clients recently describing her as ‘excellent in cross-examinations and negotiations’;  in ‘complete command of the case’;  and ‘meticulous’, ‘approachable’ and ‘reassuring’.

In the Court of Protection, Susanna has experience in the whole gamut of cases including the most difficult life and death medical treatment matters, but she also actively enjoys being instructed in more typical health & welfare matters, including s.21A applications. Her wider expertise in health/social care and mental health law is brought to bear in her approach. Very experienced in urgent and difficult treatment cases, Susanna can provide clear pragmatic advice at short notice to assist clients in readying a case for court.

Notable cases include the Charlie Gard litigation at all appellate stages up to the Supreme Court (led by Katie Gollop KC) and the Alfie Evans litigation (at the Supreme Court appeal stage, led by Michael Mylonas KC). For more detail of Susanna’s Court of Protection work and reported cases, please view her specialist profile available here.

In Inquests & Inquiries work, Susanna has been instructed for public body Core Participants in the Infected Blood Inquiry and the (currently-running) Covid inquiry. In inquests she is most commonly instructed by NHS Trusts and local authorities, including in related public law matters (s.13 applications and judicial review). For more detail of Susanna’s inquest & inquiries practice, please view her specialist profile available here.

Susanna is also able to offer assistance to organisations grappling with sensitive strategic, ethical and legal issues, which may include the drafting and reviewing of legal and professional guidance. Examples of this type of work which Susanna has undertaken include:


  • Drafting a protocol for NHS use on the treatment of patients who present to hospital after ingesting large quantities of illicit drugs for smuggling, addressing the legal and ethical issues arising from potential police involvement;
  • Advising the Association of Chief Police Officers (now National Police Chiefs Council) in relation to long-term negotiations with the British Medical Association and other interest groups regarding possible changes to the way firearms and shotgun licence applications are granted and reviewed;
  • Advising a medical organisation on transgender healthcare matters including disclosure of birth gender for medical purposes and attempts by some professionals to rely on “conscientious objection” to refuse to treat patients.

Before joining chambers upon completion of her pupillage in 2010, Susanna read philosophy at Cambridge University, including modern ethics.


Susanna has been consistently ranked by Chambers & Partners as a leading junior for Court of Protection matters. The directory describes her as “exceptionally insightful and effective,” describing her as a solicitor-friendly counsel who “cuts through to the real issues.”

Other recent directory editorial includes the following:

  • very responsive and approachable;
  • able to clearly see what the issues in a case are very quickly;
  • so quick and so thorough;
  • incredibly well prepared and completely on top of everything;
  • extremely good, very sensible and experienced;
  • prepares meticulously;
  • Susanna’s written work is really good, as is her presentation to the court;
  • excellent in cross-examinations and negotiations;
  • very approachable and thorough, and her advocacy is really solid;
  • incredibly practical and very reassuring;
  • very good at making a complex situation appear simple, and has the ability to work out the key points in a case very quickly. She analyses situations very well and has good instincts for knowing what matters;
  • very thorough on mental health cases;
  • exceptionally insightful and effective;
  • a favourite of the Official Solicitor;
  • she is practical and able to get to the route of the issue and then look at how it is addressed;
  • is really outstanding on Court of Protection cases, extremely bright, hardworking, thorough, good on her feet and in negotiations;
  • very confident, meticulous and fluent as a speaker;
  • her approach is very pragmatic;
  • a strong public lawyer;
  • able to deal with clients very easily;
  • a real problem-solving approach 
  • very highly regarded; and
  • admirable on her feet.


Advocacy is more than speaking in court. It’s how we shape the many elements of the case right from the start, so that when the judge is reading, they are part persuaded before we even walk into court. I like to have input early on, and to work closely with my instructing solicitors on evidence and expert instructions.

I love my job. I love my working relationships with the many fantastic clients I work with. I enjoy the variety of work, especially balanced with my sitting roles. I find they’re very complementary. I’m at a point in my career and life where I’m really happy to be doing what I do, and I enjoy each and every instruction. It doesn’t have to be anything novel or ground-breaking. There is an interest everywhere.

Good communication and flexibility are two core qualities I try to practise. I like to directly check the client’s timescale needs and make a plan to match those with my availability. I’m happy to pick up the phone for a quick chat, or jump on a short-notice video call where that suits the client best. I’m flexible with my time.

My clients are more than ‘consumers’. Much of my work is for public sector organisations. If an NHS Trust is involved in a difficult inquest with multiple witnesses over multiple days, the stress in that group can be running high. Part of the role is providing leadership before and during the inquest, enabling people to give their best evidence.

We are all still learning. This is something a silk told me when I was a pupil, and I bear it in mind for everything I do. There is always a lesson for next time.


  • Medical Law Reports (Contributing Editor)
  • Inquest Law Reports (Contributor)
  • Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law (3rd edition, 2016; 4th edition, 2022)
  • Public Order: Law and Practice (2012)


Susanna has recently reported on the following for The Medical Law Reports, Inquest Law Reports and the Inquest Law Blog.

  • R (Maguire) v HM Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde [2023] UKSC 20 – deprivation of liberty in a care home – Article 2 obligations – assumption of responsibility.
  • Abbasi and another v Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2023] EWCA Civ 331 – principles to be applied when the High Court considers an application to vary or discharge indefinite reporting restrictions orders made in end-of-life medical treatment cases (appeal outstanding: Supreme Court hearing took place on 15-16 April 2024).
  • An NHS Trust v (1) ST (by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) (2) TH (3) RT [2023] EWCOP 40 – Sudiksha Thirumalesh – End of life hospital patient – Dispute over her capacity to decide on future medical treatment – Official Solicitor acting for patient – Patient also instructing own legal representative directly.
  • In the matter of Alta Fixsler (by her children’s guardian) [2021] EWCA Civ 1018 Child – Withdrawal of treatment – Religious views of family – Best interests test – Substituted judgment – Fresh evidence.
  • TN v (1) An ICB (2) RN [2022] EWCOP 53 – Adult lacking capacity – Best interests – Vaccination –  Parental responsibility – role of the parent in decisions concerning a disabled adult child – Autonomy of disabled adult child – Wishes and feelings of adult lacking capacity.
  • In the matter of X (A Child) (No 2) [2021] EWHC 65 (Fam) Children – Medical treatment – Blood transfusions – Best interests – Gillick competence – Capacity – Autonomy – Treatment against a child’s religious beliefs – Effect of s.8 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969 – Whether the child’s decision should be determinative – Orders to cover expected future medical crises.
  • “Advocacy opportunities for junior counsel: Cross-jurisdictional guidance that Coroners should note”. This is available on our Inquest Law Blog here.

other work of note

Outside Susanna’s most common practice areas listed on this profile she is experienced in several other areas of work, including judicial review, instructions for clinicians implicated in family proceedings, and care home closure appeals, in which she has appeared in the First Tier Tribunal (Care Standards) for both private care providers and the Care Quality Commission.


Susanna adopts and adheres to the provisions of her privacy notice which can be accessed here.

Further Information

For further details of Susanna’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: 55343
Registered Name: Susanna Louisa Rickard
VAT Registration No: 104366638