With a career as a Registered General Nurse at a London teaching hospital before coming to the Bar, Vanessa’s practice now has a particular focus on cases involving medical issues.
Her expertise straddles both the civil and criminal jurisdictions, offering not only the discipline and detail that civil paperwork brings, but also the skills and experience gained as a criminal advocate. In short, Vanessa is equally strong on paper and in court and will not be “court shy” when it comes to fighting a civil case to trial.
“Her work includes rape cases and matters with medical elements.” Legal 500 2016
Crime, prosecuting and defending. Special interest in cases involving medical issues, owing to previous RGN qualification. Regularly instructed in serious crime, including violence, blackmail, drug offences, rape, ancient child abuse, including abuse concerning very young children. Extensive experience being led in multi-handed murder inquiries for both prosecution and defence. Counsel to the Airedale Inquiry: 2009/10: Inquiry into management and practices of NNPs at Airedale NHS Trust, concerning nurse prescribing & IV administration of opiates, following stayed murder prosecution against a senior NNP. Junior counsel for MDU/MPS in several prosecutions, defending GPs accused of sexual offences against patients.
“A first-rate advocate, who goes above and beyond for her clients.”
Legal 500 2016
Vanessa has been recognised as an up and coming junior in the field of clinical negligence by The Legal 500. Her practice is primarily Claimant based. Her experience includes spinal injuries, cardiac, surgical procedures, neo-natal, birth mismanagement and cerebral palsy, dental, gynaecological and delayed diagnosis cases.
Her previous career, as an RGN specialising in acute medicine and surgery, has proved invaluable for this area of practice, not only in relation to the practical experience gained in the clinical setting, but also as to the day to day operations of a busy hospital and the multi-disciplinary teams working within it.
Vanessa predominantly acts for the Defendant in personal injury cases and she is frequently instructed by the major insurance companies. She undertakes a broad range of personal injury work, including employers’ liability and road traffic claims.
Local authority liability is a particular area of focus and Vanessa is often instructed in stress at work and bullying claims.
She also has extensive experience in failure to educate claims and receives regular instructions on behalf of defendants in claims concerning failure to detect and treat dyslexia and other special educational needs. As junior counsel to Kate Thirlwall QC, Vanessa appeared for Leicestershire County Council in the successful defence of over 100 claims brought as a class action.
Vanessa has published and given seminars on the topic of failure to educate.
Vanessa’s civil experience also extends into the disciplinary arena. She appears before the Care Standards Tribunal, a recent example being the successful defence of a social worker who was challenging the decision to include him on a list of those deemed unsuitable to work with children. Building on her expertise in failure to educate claims, Vanessa also accepts instructions in cases involving all aspects of education law including appeals to sendist.
Given her medico-legal experience, Vanessa is often instructed to represent medical professionals in disciplinary proceedings. She recently appeared before the General Dental Council on behalf of a dentist facing allegations of gross misconduct and is now representing him in a civil fraud action bought by the NHSLA in the QBD.
Vanessa has also developed a growing practice in prison law and is now regularly instructed in both adjudication and parole board hearings in prisons around the country.