DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Serjeants' Inn Chambers

Court of Protection: Health & Welfare

16 ranked barristersBand 1All CircuitsUK Bar 2021 View ranking table

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Serjeants’ Inn Chambers retains its reputation as a leading set for health and welfare matters, and is routinely instructed in leading cases in the Court of Protection as well as the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. The team offers considerable expertise in complex medical treatment disputes, including the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, as well as cases concerning capacity to consent to sexual relations and deprivation of liberty challenges. The set's strong bench of barristers is regularly called upon to act on behalf of vulnerable individuals and their families, the Official Solicitor and several NHS trusts. Instructing solicitors report that the set is "always the first port of call for complex and high-profile cases."

Client service:

"The clerks are responsive and always happy to help - nothing is too much trouble." "The clerks always assist where they can and are good at keeping us updated with issues if they arise. They are very supportive and approachable." "The chambers as a whole is extremely well run, and the clerks have been very helpful in solving issues involving conference calls and video conferences." Lee Johnson is the senior clerk. He is assisted by Joe Ralph, who is "brilliant and takes the time to learn about his barristers' practices. He listens in to webinars and gets to know the work inside out, proving a great support to the solicitors he works with."

Strengths:

Amy Street
Leading junior who is at the forefront of developing case law in the Court of Protection. She has featured numerous times in cases dealing with the rise in social care placements that amount to a deprivation of liberty following the decision in the Cheshire West case. Although she has particular experience in deprivation of liberty cases, she is also hugely adept at handling high-profile and urgent medical treatment matters.
"She is very good and extremely clever."
Recent work: Represented the Official Solicitor in Court of Protection proceedings to decide whether a 25 year old man with severe learning disabilities and autism should stay in his family home, or be moved for treatment in hospital where he would be deprived of his liberty until he could have a supported living package arranged in the community.

Strengths:

Angus Moon QC
Offers considerable expertise in medical ethics. He is regularly called on to advise on complex cases involving patients without capacity to consent to medical procedures and the withdrawal of medical treatment, including artificial nutrition and hydration., "Very clever and forceful in court." "A punchy advocate who is excellent on the detail."
Recent work: Instructed in an application to require provision of anti-retroviral therapy to a child with HIV against his parents' wishes.

Strengths:

Anna Tkaczynska
Acts in a wide range of welfare matters. She is particularly adept at handling cases concerning deprivation of liberty, and represents local authorities, trusts, clinical commissioning groups and relevant person's representatives. She is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor. Her broad expertise extends to human rights claims arising from Court of Protection proceedings.
"She's always very calm and will listen to everyone's opinion. She takes a reasonable and rational approach and provides strong and practical advice to her clients." "Meticulous in her preparation and brings a good, pragmatic approach to court. She's very well regarded by her peers and solicitors, as well as judges."

Strengths:

Bridget Dolan QC
Accomplished silk in regard to complex mental capacity issues, who had a previous life as a forensic psychologist. She is particularly adept at dealing with cases involving end-of-life decisions for people in minimally conscious states, and is also experienced in the handling of deprivation of liberty matters and those concerning capacity to consent to sexual relations. She is frequently instructed on behalf of incapable persons and on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
"She has deep sector knowledge and is really easy to work with. She's extremely good at assimilating immense quantities of information, knowing what the judge will be interested in and identifying how to present a case to a judge." "She is excellent in court and commands the judges' attention."
Recent work: Acted for an NHS trust in an emergency case to obtain a court order to allow the trust to use sedation and restraint, if necessary, to proceed with a liver transplant which would save a teenager's life.

Strengths:

Claire Watson
Experienced in the handling of a wide range of health and welfare cases. She frequently is instructed by the Official Solicitor, NHS trusts and private healthcare providers. Her broad expertise encompasses cases concerning end-of-life care, deprivation of liberty and mental capacity.
"She is extremely good with strategic and novel cases and provides very clear, strategic and balanced advice." "A very effective advocate who is very calm, knowledgeable and a real force to be reckoned with."

Strengths:

Conrad Hallin
Has a breadth of experience in the Court of Protection and is instructed by a broad range of clients, including the Official Solicitor, local authorities and NHS trusts. He is particularly experienced in serious medical treatment cases, including applications for life-saving medical treatment, end-of-life withdrawal of medical treatment, and treatment of suicidal patients. He is also well versed in handling cases involving allegations of serious sexual assault against incapacitated adults.
"His drafting is good and he is very experienced in Court of Protection matters." "Has sound judgement and is sensitive to the underlying issues." "He's very good at looking at the bigger picture."
Recent work: Represented Manchester City Council in a case in which a young autistic woman with an obsessional interest in Asian men has been found by the court to have capacity to marry and engage in sexual relations, but to lack capacity to decide whether contact with men is safe.

Strengths:

David Lawson
Has a broad practice in the Court of Protection that encompasses cases concerning deprivation of liberty, capacity to engage in sexual relations, removals to a place of safety and urgent applications for life-saving medical treatment. 
"He is absolutely fantastic - he goes above and beyond. His cross-examination skills are beyond compare. He is so effective."
Recent work: Instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent a man with learning difficulties, autism and mental health difficulties in a trial to determine his capacity to marry and to consent to sexual relations.

Strengths:

Debra Powell QC
Excels in health and welfare cases, and is particularly well known for handling matters concerning end-of-life care, and welfare decisions such as those concerning residence and contact. She frequently acts for health and social service bodies, as well as for private entities and the Official Solicitor. 
"Very calm and measured, but extremely effective in court."
Recent work: Acted for the family of a woman who had suffered a severe stroke and was considered to be in a vegetative state. The Hospital Trust sought to withdraw ventilation.

Strengths:

Emma Sutton
Represents a range of clients that includes English and Welsh local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and family members. Her practice encompasses cases concerning capacity, serious medical treatment, and health and welfare applications involving various decisions about care requirements. Her health and welfare practice is complemented by her broad expertise in public law.
"She is so meticulous and precise, and her attention to detail is just incredible. She leaves no stone unturned." "Firm, fair and articulate with extensive knowledge of the law. She has the ability to distil issues in cases quickly and effectively, and is an exceptional advocate."
Recent work: Instructed by the applicant in A Local Health Board v JK, a contested claim regarding medical treatment for a prisoner on remand who refused to eat and wished to die.

Strengths:

Katharine Gollop QC
Established counsel in serious medical treatment cases in the Court of Protection and Family Division. She is instructed in cases requiring specific speed and skill in this area. Acting primarily for NHS trusts, she is often involved in high-profile and sensitive matters. She also sits as a deputy High Court judge.
"Excellent for high-profile and serious medical treatment cases." "Very bright."
Recent work: Instructed in a case involving a five year old child whose brain and brainstem were catastrophically damaged. The hospital wanted to withdraw mechanical ventilation, but her parents wanted to take her to Italy for continued treatment.

Strengths:

Michael Horne QC
Principally known for his work in cases which relate to applications involving serious medical treatment. He is adept at acting for the full range of parties in Court of Protection proceedings, although the majority of his instructions come from NHS trusts and the Official Solicitor. His Court of Protection practice is rooted in a broad healthcare practice which informs his understanding of complex medical issues. 
"A knowledgeable silk with lovely style in court. He is persuasive and so knowledgeable about all medical law." "Sensible, personable and really knows what he is doing."
Recent work: Instructed in serious medical treatment case concerning the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration from a patient in a minimally conscious state after a drug overdose.

Strengths:

Michael Mylonas QC
Head of the Court of Protection team and a vastly experienced silk who draws particular praise for his work handling medical treatment and welfare cases. He is often instructed in complex cross-border issues. He receives instructions from a broad range of clients, including NHS trusts, patients and the Official Solicitor, and is known for his sensitive and pragmatic handling of medical cases.
"A very calm advocate who is well respected by the judiciary." "Highly experienced and robust advocate with extensive experience in the Court of Protection. He builds very good relationships with clients." "He is superb on his feet and a first choice for ethical cases. He has a very good manner with families."
Recent work: Instructed in an application to the court for a declaration of death for a child who was brainstem dead but still had a beating heart.

Strengths:

Nageena Khalique QC
Renowned silk with a broad practice that encompasses cases concerning deprivation of liberty safeguards, serious medical treatment, sexual abuse, forced marriage and financial abuse relating to vulnerable people. She is instructed by a range of clients, including NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups and the Official Solicitor. 
"She communicates extremely well with vulnerable clients and builds a rapport." "Reliable in her advice and able to turn around huge volumes of work very quickly. She has a tremendous capacity for breaking the complex down into the simple." "Very approachable, extremely supportive to juniors and works collaboratively. Her court manner is wonderful - she's a really good advocate."
Recent work: Instructed in a case involving a young, intelligent man with Asperger's and leukaemia who, against his best interests, wanted a bone marrow transplant after repeat failures and non-compliance with treatment protocols.

Strengths:

Rhys Hadden
Experienced across a broad range of Court of Protection cases, including those concerning deprivation of liberty and areas of overlap with human rights law. He often represents family members, local authorities and the Official Solicitor.
"Calm and considered in his approach, and he really uses that to get results. He's particularly good with vulnerable clients and has a really excellent manner about him." "He is incredibly clear, calm and articulate."
Recent work: Instructed in an application for the Court of Protection to approve serious medical treatment in relation to a young man with paranoid schizophrenia who was refusing surgery to his fractured and dislocated shoulder.

Strengths:

Sophia Roper
As a former specialist lawyer at the Official Solicitor's office, she is highly sought after in medical treatment and welfare cases. She is instructed in matters involving the interface between mental health and mental capacity law.
"She is very responsive and takes a proactive role in cases. Her knowledge of the law is excellent, her drafting is really good and her advocacy is very impressive." "She thinks deeply about cases and provides advice that is really concise and clear."

Strengths:

Susanna Rickard
Her wide-ranging experience in the Court of Protection encompasses cases relating to healthcare, welfare and financial decisions. She is known for her work in 'life and death' matters, as well as those concerning best-interest decisions. She most frequently acts for families, patients and trusts. 
"She is able to clearly see what the issues in a case are very quickly and is very responsive and approachable." "Incredibly practical and very reassuring." "Excellent in cross-examinations and negotiations."


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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

All Circuits

Court of Protection: Health & Welfare


Angus Moon QC
Band 3
Bridget Dolan QC
Band 1
Debra Powell QC
Band 3
Katharine Gollop QC
Band 2
Michael Horne QC
Band 2
Michael Mylonas QC
Band 1