Serjeants' Inn Chambers

Court of Protection: Health & Welfare Department

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Serjeants' Inn Chambers is a leading Court of Protection set, housing extensive experience in health and welfare matters. Areas of particular strength for the team include cases involving the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, deprivation of liberty and the capacity to consent to sexual relations. Members are regularly instructed to act on behalf of individuals and their families, NHS trusts and the Official Solicitor. Recent work for the set includes Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group v FC and TC,a complex withdrawal of life-sustaining nutrition and hydration matter concerning a person in PVS, and Welsh Ministers v PJ, a case concerning mental health and human rights heard in the Supreme Court. Instructing solicitors praise the set as a "very impressive outfit" and "a leading set for healthcare matters."

Client service: "The clerking team is well organised and responsive, and the clerks are all willing to go the extra mile." "The clerks have a really good knowledge of their barristers and know who is good for which case. They can offer appropriate alternatives and get fees notes very quickly." "It's a great team to have in your corner for urgent matters - the set's strong relationship with the listings office is a huge asset." Lee Johnson is the senior clerk.

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.
Strengths: "She's very effective and really knows her stuff."
Recent work: Instructed in Welsh Ministers v PJ, a Supreme Court mental health and human rights case. The court confirmed that a community treatment order under the Mental Health Act 1983 cannot authorise a deprivation of liberty under Article 5 ECHR.

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, CCGs and RPRs. She is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor.
Strengths: "She is really approachable, extremely thorough and very knowledgeable." "She is deeply effective in terms of her advocacy - she knows exactly the right questions to ask at exactly the right time."

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 at 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.
Strengths: "Bridget is able to get to the crux of a matter swiftly and succinctly. Her expertise in complex matters in the Court of Protection, particularly with regards to sexual relations, is outstanding. She is accessible, responsive and provides clear and helpful advice." "She is really down to earth, gets things really quickly and thinks outside the box." "She's fantastic on her feet - an excellent advocate."
Recent work: Represented the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group in a sensitive and complex case concerning the withdrawal of life-sustaining nutrition and hydration.

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. 
Strengths: "Excellent - he is extremely reliable, inventive and intelligent." "He can approach situations in a really sensitive way, but can also be forceful when needed."
Recent work: Instructed by Manchester City Council in a case concerning a young autistic woman with an obsessional interest in Asian men. She was 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.

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. 
Strengths: "He is thorough and approachable." "He relates well to clients and provides sound advice."

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. 
Strengths: "She is very knowledgeable and pragmatic." "She's very good with clients and gives them great reassurance. She's also brilliant with the law."
Recent work: Represented a patient, instructed by the Official Solicitor, in a hearing to determine whether it would be lawful to operate on the patient's shoulder under general anaesthetic despite his vehement opposition.

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. 
Strengths: "She is extremely approachable and has the respect of the judges." "Her preparation is absolutely meticulous and her attention to detail is like no other." "She is fierce when she needs to be and her knowledge of the legal frameworks used in the COP is encyclopedic. She's also very responsive and brilliant with clients." "She's technically brilliant and her preparation and the amount of work she puts in is phenomenal."
Recent work: Instructed by St Andrews Hospital in an application relating to serious medical treatment including the continued withdrawal of CANH.

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.
Strengths: "A highly experienced barrister and a real fighter who will go above and beyond for her client." "An effective advocate."

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. 
Strengths: "A pleasure to work with – he is particularly good at liaising with health and social care professionals to understand the nuances of the evidence."

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.
Strengths: "He's extremely good on his feet and a very experienced advocate." "He's very eloquent in court and is the voice of reason and calm outside court." "His knowledge is second to none."
Recent work: Acted in the case of Alfie Evans, a 21-month-old child who was suffering from an advanced neurodegenerative disease. His doctors considered it in Alfie's best interests to end artificial ventilation, while the parents strenuously opposed this view.

Nageena Khalique QC
Renowned silk with a broad practice that encompasses cases concerning deprivation of liberty safeguards, 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. 
Strengths: "Nageena is fantastic - her knowledge of the healthcare sector is second to none, she's very personable and she works in a collaborative way." "She's reliable in her advice and is able to turn around huge volumes of work very quickly. She has a tremendous capacity to break the complex down into the simple." "She has such a human approach and can put people at ease instantly."
Recent work: Represented the family in a highly sensitive serious medical treatment case concerning a patient with a prolonged disorder of consciousness. The treating clinicians wanted to impose ceilings of treatment and a do not resuscitate notice.

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.
Strengths: "He's responsive, practical and helpful." "He's incredibly approachable, hard-working and great with clients." "He's very down to earth and sensible, and he has a really likeable manner in court."

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 on matters involving the interface between mental health and mental capacity law.
Strengths: "Meticulous and thorough - she's the person every instructing solicitor needs." "She has a phenomenal knowledge of the law and is very good with clients."
Recent work: Represented a Colombian woman who had collapsed and suffered a massive hypoxic brain injury. She had been kept in hospital for several years despite repeatedly expressing a wish to return home. The public authorities responsible for her had failed to progress her return.

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 interests decisions. She most frequently acts for families, patients and trusts. 
Strengths: "She is 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." "She is very approachable and thorough, and her advocacy is really solid."
Recent work: Acted as junior counsel in the Supreme Court stage of the litigation concerning Alfie Evans.