Nicholas is a barrister with an established advocacy and advisory practice in the areas of medical and mental health law, the response of the emergency services, coroner’s inquests, regulatory, public, police and criminal law. He advises the full range of NHS, private healthcare, insurance and emergency service organisations and individuals and appears as their counsel in court proceedings.
Nicholas has a particular interest in cases arising out of deaths in custody, following psychiatric detention and treatment or where there has been police involvement – he frequently appears in jury inquests following such incidents, which always involve difficult factual issues and the application of human rights law.
Nicholas is regularly instructed in clinical malpractice cases, particularly in the specialist fields of psychiatry, pre-hospital and emergency medicine, anaesthesia, obstetrics, neonatology and paediatrics, and cases which involve sensitive and difficult ethical and treatment considerations.
Nicholas is an experienced jury trial advocate in serious criminal cases, particularly terrorism, homicides and other violent and sexual offences involving forensic science and medical evidence. He has also appeared in many mental health tribunal hearings, particularly those involving hospital, restriction and prisoner transfer orders, as well as before the Parole Board on behalf of life-sentence and IPP prisoners.
Recent cases of note:
- Re: LH - two-week jury inquest; psychiatric assessment and discharge from MHA section; police involvement following discharge only hours before death.
- Re: DM – jury inquest; drowning of male with learning disability; adequacy of supervision of carers/lifeguards; HSE investigation.
- Re: RW – four-week death in custody jury inquest; numerous IPs; provision of psychiatric services at police station/high-security Category A prison and decisions on MHA section (case featured in Chambers & Partners 2018 – Healthcare: Mental Health: Providers).
- Re: PW – hypoxic brain injury when anaesthetic ventilator machine not properly connected; design features of machine/issues regarding adequacy of anaesthetic training.
- Re: AH – emergency CS delivery; whether there had been a stillbirth; expert evidence about obstetric/neonatal care and mothers’ right of choice for mode of delivery.
- Re: JS – delay in transfer between hospitals for surgery; obligations on ambulance service and whether private law duty of care owed to patient; scope of expert witness opinion.
Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
Affiliate Member – Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (of the Royal College of Physicians)