Barrister Kathryn Duff

Kathryn Duff

Year of call: 2009  

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“Friendly and approachable, combines her knowledge with efficiency.”

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Overview


Kathryn joined Chambers in 2010 after successfully completing pupilage. Kathryn is a civil practitioner specialising in employment and discrimination, regulatory, personal injury and family law, reflecting the multidisciplinary ethos of Chambers.

Kathryn is a conscientious and skilled advocate, bringing clarity and an eye for detail to both her written and oral advocacy. Kathryn has vast experience in shepherding difficult and complex cases from the initial advisory stage, through to successful conclusion in court. Her compassionate, caring approach puts clients at ease, and ensures they are fully in the legal process. Kathryn is committed to achieving the best result for every client, be they private individuals, local authorities or major corporate entities.

Kathryn graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she won the Sir William McNair Mooting Award. Subsequently she worked in the Philippines as an intern to the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies. On completing her Masters in Public International Law at LSE, Kathryn spent a number of years working for the South East Asia team at Amnesty’s International Secretariat in London. Kathryn is an Astbury Scholar of the Middle Temple, and in 2009 was awarded Middle Temple’s Chrystal MacMillan Award for academic excellence.

Clinical Negligence Personal Injury Employment Child & Family Commercial Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Clinical Negligence


Kathryn is developing her clinical negligence practice as part of her wider civil practice. She acts for both Claimants and Defendants and is willing to accept cases on a CFA basis where appropriate. Kathryn has recently appeared in both the Employment Tribunal and in front of the Nursing and Midwifery Council in cases arising from alleged patient neglect and misconduct at a London Hospital.

Memberships


  • AvMA

Disciplinary Tribunals Inquest and Judicial Review

Disciplinary Tribunals


Kathryn is building her practice representing individuals working within the medical profession whose conduct and fitness to practice has been called into question. Kathryn has represented a number of medical professionals in front of the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Employment Tribunal, in cases arising from unfair dismissal, discrimination and allegations of misconduct.

Inquest and Judicial Review


Kathryn regularly puts her clinical negligence knowledge and skills to use in front of the coroner. She has appeared at inquests involving failure and delay in diagnosis, failure to operate, negligent surgery, the impact of miscommunication on patient outcome, mismanagement of patients in A & E, lack of effective post-operative management and care and inappropriate or inadequate treatment. Kathryn is willing to appear on a CFA and will consider acting pro bono.

Clinical Negligence Cases


  • EC: Represented the family’s interests at a three day inquest onto the death of a sixteen year old boy who died of internal bleeding three days after surgery to correct a fractured collar bone. Narrative conclusion
  • SP: Represented the family’s interests at the inquest into the death of a 68 year old lady who died after lapses in care, miscommunication and failure/delay to operate. Narrative conclusion.
  • NMC v SN: Represented a nurse at a multi day Conduct and Competence Committee investigating her conduct and fitness to practice. The charges of failing to administer analgesia at the prescribed frequency and administering controlled drugs without another nurse present were ultimately dismissed, and the restrictions placed on the client’s nursing practice removed.

Personal Injury


Kathryn acts for both Claimants and Defendants in all aspects of personal injury law. Kathryn’s personal injury practice encompasses employer’s liability, occupier’s liability, slip and trips, highways claims, abuse, false imprisonment, road traffic accidents and fraudulent claims.

She regularly appears in Small, Fast and Multi-track hearings from the inception of a claim, including case management hearings and interim applications, to contested final hearings and remedies hearings (including infant settlement approval hearings).

Kathryn regularly provides advice on evidence, liability and quantum, and has extensive experience drafting pleadings.

Actions Involving The Police Fraudulent Claims

Actions Involving The Police


Kathryn spent two years as a ‘Baby Barrister’ at the Treasury Solicitors Office civil team. The majority of claims she dealt with involved personal injury claims brought by serving prisoners, claims of false imprisonment against the Police and prison service, and personal injury claims brought by serving Police Officers and prison staff. Kathryn has also been instructed by the Police to defend claims of assault and battery, false imprisonment, race discrimination, breaches of the Human Rights Act and aggravated and exemplary damages. Kathryn has successfully resisted applications for jury trial in false imprisonment claims, and has represented the Police in numerous disclosure applications.

Fraudulent Claims


Kathryn has successfully defended numerous actions brought against innocent motorists in road traffic accidents by so-called ‘cash for crash’ Claimants. She has also successfully resisted similar allegations brought against genuine Claimants.

Personal Injury Cases


  • CAPB v Suffolk CC: At trial successfully defended the local authority school against a pupil claimant who had suffered chemical burns during a science experiment demonstration carried out by her teacher.
  • CH v CG: Successfully acted for a Claimant who suffered a crush injury at work. The claimant was 17 years old at the time of the accident, and there were complications arising as to the identity of her employer.
  • ZG v AG : Successfully represented the Claimant at a contested trial in a whiplash claim arising out of a road traffic accident.
  • LW v Maclaren Europe Ltd: successfully advised on quantum for a claimant minor with finger crush injuries caused by her pram.

Employment


Kathryn has a substantial employment practice and is an experienced advocate in front of both the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeals Tribunal. She has successfully acted on behalf of individuals and employers, and enjoys repeat instructions from local authority clients. Kathryn is experienced at appearing in multi-day Tribunals involving complex issues of fact and law; she recently successfully represented an employee in an eight-day hearing claiming unfair dismissal and race discrimination. Kathryn regularly represents parties in unfair and wrongful dismissal, discrimination, whistle blowing, TUPE and redundancy claims. Kathryn takes a forensic approach to remedy hearings and is particularly adept at handling complex pension disputes. She often provides written advice on employment matters and regularly chairs lectures and training seminars on employment matters.

Equality & Discrimination Pensions & Benefits Termination Of Employment TUPE Whistleblowing & Victimisation

Equality & Discrimination


Kathryn has appeared in numerous claims alleging race, sex and disability discrimination, often in conjunction with other claims. She has a particular interest in discrimination law having worked for Amnesty International for many years as a human rights campaigner and researcher. Kathryn has brought her unique understanding of discrimination issues to bear on claims involving vulnerable clients with notable success, most recently achieving a £45,000 payment to an unfairly dismissed engineer, £15,000 of which was awarded for injury to feelings as a result of disability discrimination. Kathryn has also refuted spurious allegations of discrimination leveled at employers, for example attaining a costs order in favour of a local authority against a teacher claiming race discrimination after the Tribunal found her claim to be wholly misconceived.

Kathryn regularly provides training on discrimination issues, for example through the 7BR ‘Introduction to Employment Law’ series, and through more bespoke seminars to special interest groups, such as Kick It Out.

Pensions & Benefits


Kathryn has a special interest in this area and regularly provides training to special interest groups on these issues, most recently delivering a specialist seminar on remedies focusing on pension awards to Essex County Council’s legal department. Kathryn has dealt with numerous claims involving pensions awards, obtaining large pension payouts of five figures for successful Claimants and successfully utilizing expert evidence on the issue where required.

Termination Of Employment


The majority of employment claims Kathryn deals with involve the termination of an employee’s employment. Her breadth of experience in this area encompasses claims of constructive dismissal, capability and conduct dismissals, redundancies and whistleblowing, alongside more straightforward claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal. Kathryn regularly provides training on termination both through the 7BR ‘Introduction to Employment Law’ series and more bespoke seminars to special interest groups.

TUPE


Kathryn has dealt with numerous claims involving TUPE issues, most recently advising a charity as to the status of transferred park wardens.

Whistleblowing & Victimisation


Kathryn has acted in a number of whistle blowing and victimization claims, most recently providing advice to a care home consortium enabling them to negotiate a settlement before trial, and successfully refuting a claim of whistle blowing and race discrimination made by another care home worker dismissed for gross misconduct.

Employment Cases


  • Mr M Holden v Roalco Ltd: Successfully represented a 66 year old building surveyor who accused his employer of direct age discrimination and unfair dismissal by way of unfair selection for redundancy. The Claimant was awarded nearly £40,000 damages, including £13,600 Injury to feelings award in relation to the age discrimination.
  • JP v WF Borough Council: Successfully defended a local authority school from claims of unfair constructive dismissal, race and sex discrimination and whistle blowing. Obtained a Restricted Reporting Order to protect the identity of the school and staff.
  • WV v CG Ltd: Represented a Claimant awarded over £45,000 comprising lost earnings, loss of pension, and injury to feelings award (disability discrimination) of £15,000. Successfully defended appeals of liability and remedy in the EAT.
  • FA v W Hospital NHS Trust: Achieved a £12,000 award for an unfairly dismissed nurse accused of failing to follow the correct protocol for dealing with deceased patients. Eight day Tribunal prepared with only one week’s notice.
  • EK v DP Primary School: successfully defended a primary school from claims of unfair dismissal and race discrimination, in circumstances where the claimant teacher had been dismissed for assisting pupils in their exams and falsifying exam data.
  • CV v MK: Defended a family employer against claims of unfair dismissal, race discrimination, unlawful deduction of wages, and harassment brought by a domestic worker. Successfully demonstrated the Claimant’s claim fell within the exception to the provisions in the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999.
  • AB v PB Ltd: Claimant Head Chef’s redundancy was unfair; awarded £25,000 in loss of earnings and unpaid wages.

Child & Family


Kathryn accepts both private and public Children Act Work. She is acutely aware that all court proceedings involving children and families are sensitive and often distressing to those involved, and brings a sympathetic yet robust approach to every case. Kathryn represents clients at both interim and final hearings in cases involving domestic violence, neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. She has had particular success at preventing the removal of children at an interim stage and in preventing final adoption orders from being made.

In her private work Kathryn acts for parents in contact and care proceedings. She has acted for clients in numerous multi-day fact-finding hearings, successfully establishing findings of domestic violence, abuse and neglect. Kathryn has obtained numerous non-molestation and occupation orders on behalf of clients.

Care Proceedings & Adoption Private Law Children Proceedings

Care Proceedings & Adoption


Kathryn has acted for parents, guardians and local authorities in care and adoption proceedings, including interim hearings. She is acutely aware of the difficulties faced by all involved in these types of cases, and is adept at managing parties expectations and supporting clients through the legal process. Kathryn successfully resisted applications to remove children at the interim stage, and final adoption orders.

Private Law Children Proceedings


Kathryn acts on behalf of mothers and fathers seeking residence of, or contact with, their children. Applications range from facilitating straightforward negotiation and conflict resolution, to complex issues of fact and law. Kathryn has appeared in numerous multi-day fact finding hearings involving issues of domestic violence, neglect and abuse. She has successfully applied for numerous non-molestation and occupation orders.

Child & Family Cases


  • SM & RM: successfully resisted the local authorities application for removal of the child at an interim stage, and the ultimate planned adoption of the child, in circumstances where the child was living with the maternal grandfather.
  • AB &CD: represented the local authority in successfully removing an infant from the care of its mother, then subsequently its father at the interim stage due to neglect.
  • VM v JEH: Represented the mother of four children under the age of 8 whose father applied for residence and contact orders. Case involved issues of domestic violence and substance abuse, and required two separate applications for non-molestation orders during the course of litigation.
  • MT v GR: Represented the mother of an infant at a five day fact finding hearing, successfully establishing issues of domestic violence and substance abuse.
  • CB v CK: represented a mother resisting an application for contact with a child who alleged her father had sexually abused her at previous contact sessions.
  • JK v GM: Successfully reestablished contact between a father and his child to include holidays abroad, after mother had wrongfully denied any contact for 6 months.

Commercial


Kathryn has an expanding commercial practice that encompasses professional negligence, sale of goods, guarantees, consumer credit, fraudulent misrepresentation and contractual claims. She has acted on behalf of estate agents in contractual property claims, as well as individuals and companies in loan and guarantor disputes.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline


Kathryn has an expanding regulatory practice. She benefited from pupilage under Tim Walker, which encompassed hearings in front of the FRC. More recently her practice has expanded into regulation of the medical profession. Kathryn recently undertook a three-day hearing in front of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Conduct and Competence Committee, involving examination of a client’s fitness to practice. Kathryn has also cross-represented members of the nursing profession in the Employment Tribunal involving similar issues of alleged misconduct, fitness to practice and failure to follow NHS Trust policies and procedures.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline Cases


  • NMC v SN: Represented a member of the nursing profession at a multi day Nursing and Midwifery Council Conduct and Competence Committee hearing investigating her conduct and fitness to practice. The charges of failing to administer analgesia at the prescribed frequency and administering controlled drugs without another nurse present were ultimately dismissed, and the restrictions placed on the client’s nursing practice removed.
  • FA v WH NHS Trust: Represented a Claimant Nurse claiming unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal. Claimant had been dismissed after allegations of disrespecting a deceased patient and failing to follow the deceased patient protocol were made. The claimant was awarded £12,000 damages.
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