Catriona Stirling

Year of Call: 2008

PRACTICE AREAS

Clinical Negligence | Human Rights | Personal Injury | Regulatory

HIGHLIGHTS

Acted in multiple catastrophic birth, brain and spinal injury cases including contested High Court quantum trial of Totham. Author of Personal Injury Schedules: Calculating Damages (4th edition - pub.2018) - leading practitioner text on damages.

Overview

Clinical negligence

Catriona specialises in clinical negligence and has developed a substantial practice encompassing the whole range of liability and quantum work across this area.

She has particular expertise in quantum and has acted as junior in multiple maximum severity spinal and brain injury cases (including birth injury and later onset), including the contested High Court trial of Totham.

She has drafted several schedules which capitalise to in excess of £10 million (prior to the discount rate change) and £30 million (following the discount rate change).

In these cases, she has been heavily involved in working with experts and advising clients on key quantum issues including:

- life expectancy disputes;
- rates and levels of care in catastrophic injury cases;
- challenges to Roberts v Johnstone prior to the change in the discount rate;
- alternative ways of presenting accommodation claims following the change in the discount rate; and
- lost years claims for children.

Her work as sole Counsel has included successful claims in the areas of:

- wrongful birth (failure to detect fetal abnormality);
- obstetric negligence in performance of caesarean;
- delayed diagnosis of cancer;
- failure to treat diabetic retinopathy;
- delayed and inadequate abdominal surgery;
- inadequate knee and hip replacements;
- failed shoulder and wrist surgery;
- performance of septorhinoplasty;
- adverse drug reactions;
- dental negligence;
- performance of laser eye surgery;
- urology issues;
- consent
- detainees under the Mental Health Act
- nursing issues including pressure sores and falls;
- Articles 2 and 3 of the Human Rights Act.

Personal injury

Catriona is regularly instructed in catastrophic personal injury cases.She has acted for a number of claimants with brain and spinal injuries and lower and upper limb amputations.

Her experience including road traffic accidents, occupiers' liability, employers' liability, defective products, occupational stress, civil claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, industrial disease, fatal accidents and tripping and slipping cases.

Her current personal injury instructions include:

Acting on behalf of two individuals who were injured in the Alton Towers 'Smiler' rollercoaster crash and underwent lower limb amputations.

Acting for a claimant injured in a road-traffic accident who has subsequently undergone a lower-limb amputation.

Inquests

Catriona also has a strong interest in acting for families in inquests arising out of healthcare. She has acted for a number of families following deaths due to inadequate hospital care including cases of suicide following alleged inadequate provision of treatment and care by local mental health care services. Many of her inquest instructions have led to successful clinical negligence claims.

Most recently she was instructed in a five day Article 2 jury inquest, concerning the suicide of a patient under NHS mental health services, securing a narrative conclusion and a Prevention of Future Death report.

Court of Protection and Medical Law

Catriona has a particular interest in Court of Protection and medical law work and would like to expand her practice in this area.

Her experience includes acting for families in end of life cases and many of her cases have involved consideration of human rights issues.

Other experience

In her first five years of practice, Catriona also specialised in employment and equality law and regularly appeared in the Employment Tribunals and EAT, acting for both claimants and respondents. Because of this, Catriona has much more extensive experience of trial advocacy and witness handling than many of her contemporaries who specialise in clinical negligence and personal injury.

In 2011-2012, Catriona spent two legal terms at the Court of Appeal working as Judicial Assistant to Lord Justice Pill and Lord Justice Mummery, where she was involved in a number of high profile cases, particularly in the areas of judicial review and human rights. She has previously worked as an advisor for Liberty, advising on a range of domestic human rights issues.

Awards

University of Edinburgh:

John Hastie Law Scholarship for the most distinguished student graduating in the year of award, taking into account performance in the first two years of study;
Green Prize for the two year LLB student with the best overall performance;
Miller Prize in Scots Law for student with the highest placing in Commercial Law;
Margaret Malloch Scholarship for the two year LLB student with the best academic record on completion of the first year of study; and
James Craig Howie Memorial Prize for the best performance overall in first year private law subjects.
University of St. Andrews:

Robert T. Jones ("Bobby Jones") Exchange Scholarship
South Eastern Circuit:

Florida Bar Advanced Civil Advocacy Course Scholarship

Appointments and memberships

Professional Negligence Bar Association
Personal Injury Bar Association
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
Action v Medical Accidents (AvMA)
Court of Protection Practitioners' Association
INQUEST

Publications and training

Catriona is involved in writing a number of key practitioner works in the fields of personal injury and clinical negligence:

• She is an author of Personal Injury Schedules: Calculating Damages (4th edition), general editor William Latimer-Sayer QC.
• She is a sub-editor of Kemp & Kemp: Quantum of Damages.
• She is a contributing author to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers' book: Personal Injury Law, Practice and Precedents (chapters on Provisional Damages and Private Healthcare).
• She is a contributing author to Lewis & Buchan: Clinical Negligence A Practical Guide (7th and (soon to be published) 8th edition) (chapter on legal remedies).
• She has drafted a number of Practice Notes and Precedent Pleadings for LexisPSL.
• Catriona is in demand to give talks and seminars across her areas of expertise and is always happy to discuss training needs with solicitors and tailor seminars to those needs.

Recent topics on which she has lectured include:

• Problems and Pitfalls in Expert Evidence
• Drafting Schedules of Loss - Common Errors and How to Avoid Them
• Ogden VII and the calculation of special damages
• Latest Developments in Liability in Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury
• She has previously spoken on a variety of topics including Consent following Montgomery, the Impact of Human Rights in Clinical Negligence, the Jackson Reforms, and Multiple Tortfeasors and Intervening Acts.

Catriona also regularly writes articles and blogs on recent developments in the clinical negligence and personal injury fields. Blogs can be accessed below. Articles include:

• “Assessment of damages: paying unfair”, Personal Injury Law Journal, No. 172, February 2019: looking at some of the key areas of the law in relation to quantum of personal injury damages which are in need of reform.
• "A modern take: Will the Supreme Court's pruning result in new growth?", New Law Journal, 19 September 2015: an analysis of the decision of the Supreme Court in OPO v MLA (the James Rhodes' memoirs case) which dealt with the tort of intentional infliction of harm.

Qualifications

University of St. Andrews, MSci., First Class.

University of Edinburgh, LLB (Accelerated), Distinction.

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands, LLM, Distinction

Highlight cases

Clinical Negligence:
• Currently acting in three catastrophic birth injury cases listed for trial in early 2020 (led by William Latimer-Sayer QC).
• Two catastrophic birth injury cases which settled in 2019 (led by William Latimer-Sayer QC).
• Transpelvic amputation case settled in 2019 (led by William Latimer-Sayer QC)
• Catastrophic birth injury case settled in 2018 (led by William Latimer-Sayer QC).
• Acting as sole counsel in two cases settling for more than £500k in 2018.
• Acted as sole counsel for successful claimant in wrongful birth case in 2016.
• Totham v King's College NHS Trust [2015] EWHC 97 (QB); [2015] Med LR 55: December 2014 High Court quantum trial in complex birth injury case. Capitalised award of over £10 million (led by William Latimer-Sayer).
• XXX v Barnet & Chase Farm Hospital NHS Trust (2013), Kemp/Lawtel quantum reports: Complex brain injury case which settled very shortly before trial for the equivalent of a £6.9 million lump sum (led by William Latimer-Sayer).
• P v AB (2012): Complex brain injury arising out of mismanagement of birth which settled shortly after an RTM for the equivalent of a £6.5 million lump sum (led by Dr Simon Taylor QC).
• N v Y (2013): Negligent treatment of spinal abscess which settled at RTM for the equivalent of a £2.9 million lump sum (led by Joel Donovan QC).

Personal Injury:

• Alton Towers litigation: Currently acting on behalf of two individuals who were injured in the Alton Towers 'Smiler' rollercoaster crash and underwent lower limb amputations (led by William Latimer-Sayer QC).
• Acting for lower limb amputee injured in RTA in case which settled in 2018 (led by William Latimer-Sayer QC)
• T v U: Accident at work with four defendants and complex liability issues which settled favourably following mediation (led by Joel Donovan QC).

Inquests:
• Acted in 5 day Article 2 jury inquest arising out of death of patient at Maudsley Hospital, resulting in narrative verdict and Prevention of Future Deaths report.

Court of Protection / Family Division:
• X v An NHS Trust (2015): Acting for family of 11 year old boy in case concerning withdrawal of life sustaining treatment. The case report can be accessed here: http://www.cloisters.com/images/FD15P000456_approved__judgment_2_Oct_15.pdf

Employment and Equality:
• Martlet Homes & Ors v Layton [2016] ICR 261, [2016] IRLR 107: Leading case on interpretation of TUPE, which held that there is no relevant transfer for the purposes of the TUPE Regulations when there are multiple transferees which include the original transferor.
• Smania v Standard Chartered Bank [2015] IRLR 271, [2015] ICR 436: Whistle-blowing, Art.11 ECtHR and territorial jurisdiction. The first time the EAT addressed the question of whether a different test for territorial scope is appropriate for whistle-blowing complaints head-on.
- Moran v Ideal Cleaning Services Ltd [2014] ICR 442, [2014] IRLR 172, [2014] 2 CMLR 37: Leading case on interpretation of Agency Workers Regulations.
• Whitehead v Dudley MBC: Complex and high value equal pay claim, in which the genuine material factor defence put forward by the local authority was successfully defeated.