Barrister Deirdre Goodwin

Deirdre Goodwin

Year of call: 1974  


“Amazingly supportive and knowledgeable. Her mastery of clinical negligence is second to none”

Chambers & Partners



“Her knowledge is outstanding … very experienced .. Exceptional attention to detail”

Chambers and Partners 2019

Deirdre Goodwin specialises in complex clinical negligence and catastrophic personal injury. She has a well-earned reputation as an experienced and skilled advocate who is “approachable and gets on well with clients” with “a terrific grasp of the law” (Chambers & Partners 2014) supported by “a strong grasp of medicine” (Chambers & Partners 2010). She has been listed in 2019 Chambers Directory as a Leader in her field for the thirteenth consecutive year, noting her “particular skill in obstetric and perinatal asphyxia brain injury claims”.

Deirdre has been involved in a number of important developments including the early use of structured settlements, acting for the plaintiff in the first personal injury claim where damages exceeded £1 million, and as lead junior counsel in Bolitho.

She is “a fierce advocate who really fights for her clients” (Chambers & Partners 2008) and has acted for both claimants and defendants in a large number of cases where damages have exceeded £6 million, many including periodical payments. She is also recommended for “her efficiency with paperwork, her rapport with experts and her ‘user-friendly’ attitude” (Chambers & Partners 2013)

Deirdre has the ability quickly to distil the diverse issues in challenging cases with a keen intuition for an opponent’s position. She is considered a “very able, conscientious and meticulous operator” (Chambers & Partners 2011) who is “extremely thorough and effective” (Chambers & Partners 2014).

Deirdre contributed to the 1st and 2nd editions of the PIBA Personal Injury Handbook and has written articles for the Personal Injury Law Journal, including an article entitled Interim Payments: Room for rent.


Clinical Negligence

Clinical Negligence

Her legal expertise and level of technical knowledge is tremendous

Chambers & Partners 2017

An experienced clinical negligence practitioner with a flair for pursuing claims concerning obstetrics and catastrophic injuries, among other matters.

Described as “amazingly supportive and knowledgeable. Her mastery of clinical negligence is second to none. She knows what questions to put to medical experts and how to evaluate their evidence”. Her “all-round advocacy and advice is first class” Legal 500 2018

Deirdre is regularly instructed in cases arising from severe perinatal asphyxial brain damage, pre-natal diagnostics, Erb’s palsy, paediatric neurological injury, major neurosurgical and orthopaedic iatrogenic injury and delayed diagnosis of cancer and meningitis. Her experience encompasses specialist knowledge in mental capacity matters including interaction with Local Authority claims for recoupment of statutory payments for care and accommodation provision to children and protected parties.

She has been Visiting Counsel to the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority and lectured on medical law and ethics, clinical negligence & catastrophic injury claims to lawyers and health professionals.

Relevant publications include:

  • “Room for rent” Personal Injury Law Journal (2016) March pp12-17 – article on Roberts v Johnstone – a prescient analysis of the obstacles presented by the RvJ test in the valuation of accommodation claims in catastrophic injuries
  • ‘CPR: no procedural hiding place – the Mitchell effect’: Discussion of the changing litigation landscape (2014) Personal Injury Law Journal, February 2 -7.
  • ‘Test of Capacity to conduct proceedings’: Dunhill v Burgin (UKSC) (2014) Personal Injury Law Journal, April 10-14.
  • ‘Does your client have the capacity to settle?’ LNB News 24/03/2014 102.
  • ‘Capacity: Masterman-Lister and Bailey v Warren reconsidered’ (2013) Personal Injury Law Journal, February 6-7.
  • ‘Mediation: An invitation to be ignored at your peril’: The costs consequences of a refusal to mitigate six years after Halsey (2013) Personal Injury Law Journal, December 13/January 14 2-5.

Reported cases include:

  • AC (a minor suing by his litigation friend MC) v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2015] EWHC 3644 (QB), Whipple J – Eeles interim payment application for £1.203 million to fund purchase of suitably adapted accommodation plus structured behavioural management programme for a 6 year old child with dyskinetic cerebral palsy who is mobile and has severe behavioural problems with suggestions of autism. Fully opposed by Defendants. Interim payment awarded in full.
  • Bolitho v City & Hackney [1997] UKHL 46, (1997) WLR 1151: Definitive ruling on meaning of ‘responsible body of medical opinion’ within the Bolam test, and its application to acts of omission and causation; Deirdre settled the Grounds of Appeal to the Court of Appeal, the question for certification by the Court of Appeal to the House of Lords and the written Petition to the House of Lords where she was lead Junior Counsel.
  • Murphy v Wirral (1996) Med L R Vol 7 p99: Compromised on appeal at 90%: award of £2.25 million.

Settlements include:

  • AC (by his father and litigation friend MC) v St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust -December (2018) – Claimant was the second of dichorionic and diamniotic twins who suffered an avoidable disruption in the oxygenated blood supply to his brain through delay by the Defendant Trust’s obstetricians and midwives during his birth. He sustained an acquired brain injury which has resulted in dyskinetic cerebral palsy with associated cognitive deficit, developmental delay and severe behavioural difficulties. Approved settlement: £5.3 million retained lump sum and PPOs in respect of care, case management and Court of Protection costs. Capitalised value: £22.335 million
  • RH (executor of the estate of JH) v University Hospitals Bristol Trust and North Bristol NHS Trust (2016) – negligent reporting of mammogram resulting in death 3 years later at age 58. Concealment by Trusts of request by deceased (senior manager at one of the Trusts) for review of earlier mammography and comments upon the same by ‘whistle-blower’ in subsequent independent Inquiry into Pathology Services at both Trusts. Written admission of lack of openness by both Trusts, duty of candour admission having been made a condition of settlement terms even though events were pre-Regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, the Claimant arguing that the duty of candour has been implicit in these claims since the 5th century.


  • PNBA (Professional Negligence Bar Association)
  • Oxford Medico-Legal Society
  • Member of the Midland Circuit
  • PIBA (Personal Injury Bar Association)
  • AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents)

Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

Deirdre has lectured extensively on medical ethics to health bodies including Advanced General Practitioner Trainer Courses. Topics have included death certification post Shipman; withdrawal of nutrition and hydration; neonatal euthanasia and the interaction of the Human Rights Act with Healthcare Law. Lectures include a neonatal training day for the South London Neonatal Group and facilitation of a neonatal case study debate.

Clinical Negligence Cases

Settlements include:

  • CS v Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trust (2013): Birth asphyxia cerebral palsy. £7m lump sum equivalent. Instructed pre-settlement by Local Authority regarding statutory payments recoupment.
  • Austin v Cayman Islands (2013): Acting for Defendant, $13m+ birth asphyxia claim where 2.5% discount factor not binding. $2.375 million (£1.8m) settlement including costs.
  • KB v Swindon & Marlborough NHS Trust (2012): Anaesthetic accident in repeat surgery following negligent orthopaedic procedure. Severe arachnoiditis, communicating hydrocephalus and paraplegia. £6.1 lump sum equivalent: £2.5m lump sum and staged Variable PPO specifying lifetime syringomyelia risk.
  • SH v Taunton & Somerset Hospitals NHS Trust (2011): Cerebral palsy following aminophylline overdose to premature neonate. £6.8m lump sum equivalent.
  • AJ v Staffordshire (2010): Child abuse: neonate suffered severe skull fractures resulting in brain damage and violent, disinhibited personality. Causation compromised 50:50: £2.5m.
  • MA v South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (2010): Birth asphyxia cerebral palsy claim. £3m equivalent – 2/3 apportionment.
  • ACE v GOSH (2009): Brain damage following burst balloon during paediatric cardiac catheterisation: £5.85m.
  • D v G (2001): Tetraplegia following clinically contra-indicated cervical angiogram: £4m.
  • Thompson v Sheffield Fertility Clinic (2000): Contractual breach: three embryos replaced instead of two.
Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Her knowledge of claims concerning traumatic brain injuries is phenomenal and she has a calm, kind and thoughtful approach with clients.’ Legal 500 2019

All round advocacy and advice is first class. Legal 500

Described as ‘extremely experience and knowledgeable, she relishes a challenge’, Deirdre’s experience extends to all areas of personal injury practice where she acts both for claimants and defendants. Her focus is on catastrophic injury claims arising from head and spinal trauma, multiple injury cases and high value Fatal Accident Act claims.

Deirdre also acts for Claimants and Defendants in as industrial accident and disease cases; in particular mesothelioma claims.

Deirdre was counsel in Harrop (1988), the first PI claim to exceed £1 million, including breaking new ground in recovering sums for parents’ loss of income and costs of retaining a team of professional head-hunters to recruit a multi-disciplinary care team;

Relevant publications include:

  • ‘CPR: no procedural hiding place – the Mitchell effect’: Discussion of the changing litigation landscape (2014) Personal Injury Law Journal, February 2 -7.
  • ‘Test of Capacity to conduct proceedings’: Dunhill v Burgin (UKSC) (2014) Personal Injury Law Journal, April 10-14.
  • ‘Does your client have the capacity to settle?’ LNB News 24/03/2014 102.
  • ‘Capacity: Masterman-Lister and Bailey v Warren reconsidered’ (2013) Personal Injury Law Journal, February 6-7.
  • ‘Mediation: An invitation to be ignored at your peril’: The costs consequences of a refusal to mitigate six years after Halsey (2013) Personal Injury Law Journal, December 13/January 14 2-5.


  • PIBA (Personal Injury Bar Association)
  • Oxford Medico-Legal Society
  • Member of the Midland Circuit

Personal Injury Cases

Settlements include:

  • GA v JGE Truck & Plant Limited (2016) Spinal injury – quadriparesis to elite cyclist struck by opening rear door of oncoming lorry. £1.9 millionTaylor v Anderson & Taylor Bros Plant (2004):  Serious head injury; compromised 60:40; complex past and future loss of earnings/shareholding claim: £3m.
  • E v Ageas Insurance Ltd (2014): Head injury following cycling accident where C cycled across major road junction without looking. Complex arguments regarding Local Authority claim for recoupment of residential care costs against personal injury damages and C’s equity in family home. £1.45m lump sum on 50:50 apportionment with funds ring-fenced in CoP.
  • Bannister v Bauman (2013): RTA moderate to severe head injury exacerbating pre-existing OCD to severe and debilitating level such that Claimant could not work or be left unsupervised. £4.53m claim – £2.6m settlement, acting for Defendant foreign insurer.
  • Morgan v Griffey (2013): 17 year old Claimant suffered a severe head injury after running across pedestrian light-controlled crossing where lights green in favour of traffic. Capacity finely balanced. Court approval of £1.67m settlement (c.66%) to provide CPR 21.10 protection. Judge commented “In the good old days she would not have succeeded…there were real risks that the Claimant would have got absolutely nothing”.
  • Whitaker v Nuttall decd and MIB (2004): RTA catastrophic head injury. £4.75m including £1.5m structured settlement self-funded by MIB.

How to get in touch

For more information please contact our clerks by calling +44 (0) 20 7242 3555 or by email.

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