Eastwoods is experienced at defending clinical negligence claims and personal injury claims in a sporting context and has the expertise to defend a range of professional negligence and personal injury claims, as well as clinical negligence claims.
The firm is regularly instructed to advise and defend GPs, surgeons, physicians, nurses, dentists and various other clinical practitioners in medical and dental litigation. Our experienced team investigates and manages claims from the early stages of litigation through to procedural hearings and trials in the High Court and County Court. We undertake all medical and dental injury litigation including defending claims arising from surgical and medical procedures, and those arising from alleged negligent misdiagnosis and advice. The team has experience in high value (multi-million pound) claims involving spinal, brain and birth injuries.
In these complex and often lengthy cases Eastwoods provides clear and specialist advice to identify and resolve issues on behalf of our clients and , where appropriate, we negotiate settlement of claims before they reach court. With our wider medico-legal experience we are able to identify and manage any simultaneous or prospective regulatory proceedings .
Additionally, we have represented in Employment Tribunal proceedings a number of professional clients who have been dismissed following investigations and disciplinary processes.
Eastwoods is consistently recognised in Chambers Directory and Legal 500 as a leader in this field and it is in this field in particular that we have built our reputation. Most of the lawyers in the firm are regularly involved in a breadth of regulatory defence cases and some members of the team have been defending clients in regulatory matters for 20-30 years.
We have experience of defending individuals before numerous regulators, including the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) and formerly the General Medical Council (GMC), the General Dental Council (GDC), Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and others. Our reputation in this field has primarily been built on our extensive experience acting on behalf of healthcare professionals before the MPTS and the GMC. The majority of the caselaw which has developed in this field, and applies across all regulators, not just those in healthcare, has come from MPTS/GMC (and GDC) cases, making us perfectly placed to defend any individual in any regulatory matter.
Eastwoods and its members have been involved over the years in a number of the largest and highest profile MPTS/GMC cases, including that arising from issues surrounding the MMR vaccination, the major case arising from paediatric cardiac surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary and another involving breast screening in Devon. We have been involved on behalf of our clients in a number of appeals/challenges of regulatory decisions to the High Court and some of those cases feature in the law reports. Both Simon Eastwood and Adam Smith have been invited to speak at annual regulatory/disciplinary conferences.
Whether you are a healthcare professional, teacher, barrister, sporting professional, accountant, or any other professional subject to a regulator, we can advise and assist you at all stages of a regulatory investigation. The importance of seeking early advice when you first hear from your regulator cannot be understated. Often the initial written response will shape the remainder of the investigation and, whether that investigation concludes at an early stage or proceeds to a hearing, what is said in the initial response is likely to be crucial. We can advise and assist you in this and submit written representations on your behalf.
In the event that your regulator seeks to restrict your registration on an interim basis whilst its investigation is ongoing, a number of our lawyers are experienced in conducting the advocacy at interim orders hearings on behalf of clients. If it comes to a final substantive hearing, from hearings lasting one day to hearings of many months, we have a wealth of experience of conducting such hearings, working in conjunction with a number of counsel highly experienced in this specialist field.
We also have significant experience advising clients in regard to proposed disclosures within DBS enhanced disclosure certificates, making representations on behalf of those clients with a view to minimising or eradicating any disclosure. We also have experience of challenging such disclosures by way of Judicial Review. Again, such disclosure can have a significant impact on a professional career and we can assist you to achieve the best possible outcome.
Regulatory proceedings can extend over a long period of time and can be very stressful given what is at stake in regard to an individual’s career. We understand that, and our years of experience mean that we are ideally positioned not only to give you legal advice and assist you with the process, but to provide you with the necessary support throughout any regulatory investigation.
Since its inception, Eastwoods has provided advice and representation to medical professionals involved in disciplinary proceedings before Hospital Trusts, PCTs (now NHS England) and private medical employers. We appreciate how traumatic these investigations can be for clinicians and are able to offer guidance throughout the process including representation at interviews, meetings and disciplinary hearings. We routinely advise in cases involving allegations of clinical and/or professional misconduct and are committed to ensuring that complaints are fairly investigated and decided.
Eastwoods also assists medical students in disciplinary proceedings across the country and have been involved in a number of Student Fitness to Practise proceedings before various University Medical Schools.
Our wider medico-legal experience allows us to advise in any complementary or subsequent regulatory investigations and proceedings.
Eastwoods regularly appears at Coroner’s Inquests across the country on behalf of medical professionals. We assist clinicians preparing for inquests and provide advice and support to those who are called to give evidence as a witness or interested party. Our expertise allows us to guide practitioners through these delicate proceedings mindful of the potential for any subsequent regulatory or civil consequences. Whether you are involved in a simple 1 day inquest or a lengthy, multi-party inquest Eastwoods can provide clear and specialist advice to protect your interests.
Eastwoods is regularly involved in applications for Judicial Review and appeals of regulatory and disciplinary decisions. We frequently advise clients on the merits of challenging unfair or unlawful decisions at a local level (i.e. employing bodies) or in the First Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal, High Court or Court of Appeal. Our expertise allows us to guide clients through these complex and lengthy proceedings to achieve the best outcome. Notable reported appeal and Judicial Review cases include the following:-
We have significant experience of defending clients charged with serious criminal offences, leading to trials in the Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court. Our experience is at all levels of the criminal process, from attending an initial interview with the police through charge, Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court preliminary hearings and ultimately to trial. We also have experience in the Court of Criminal Appeal.
The cases we are involved in regularly attract TV and press coverage and we are well used to managing this and to helping our clients through all aspects of what can often be a highly stressful experience.
We are able to handle the full range of criminal cases and our experience includes cases involving allegations of:
• Manslaughter (by gross negligence)
• Sexual Assault
• Common Assault/Battery (including domestic violence)
• Perverting the Course of Justice
• Making/Possession/Distribution of Indecent Images of a Child
• Computer Misuse Act offences
• Importing an Indecent Article
We are acutely aware of the sensitivities involved in managing a criminal case for professional and other clients and the potential for serious career and reputational damage. Given our complementary expertise in defending professionals facing regulatory and disciplinary investigations, we are especially conscious of the potential regulatory ramifications of criminal cases, and vice versa, and are very well placed to advise on each of these aspects with an eye to the bigger picture where there are potentially multiple simultaneous investigations.
We have particular expertise in defending healthcare professionals, having dealt with many sexual assault, gross negligence manslaughter and NHS Counter-fraud cases, as well as numerous others. We have also assisted clients in defending criminal allegations arising from health conditions such as alcoholism and drug addiction. We regularly act in other proceedings arising from the same circumstances, including regulatory investigations and hearings, Inquests, civil claims and a number of successful challenges of information included in enhanced DBS certificates.
The type of assistance we can provide includes:
•Police Station Representation - If you are required to attend an interview at the police station, be it voluntarily or under arrest, you have a right to legal representation. It is vital that a considered response is given at any police interview because what is said (or not) can be crucial in dictating the ultimate outcome. We have extensive experience of accompanying our clients and advising them at police interviews.
• Magistrates Court Representation - If you are charged with an offence and are summoned to appear in the Magistrates’ Court, we can ensure that you are properly represented at that hearing.
• Crown Court Representation - If your case proceeds to the Crown Court, we have years of experience of gathering evidence and undertaking all the necessary preparation to put you in the best possible position to put a robust defence at trial. It is also important that you have high-quality representation at the trial itself - we work with a range of skilled and well-renowned criminal counsel.
• Appeals – In the event that you have already faced trial unsuccessfully, we can advise and assist regarding any potential appeal, whether against a conviction or sentence. Time is of the essence, so contact us straight away if you are considering an appeal.
• General Advice - Prevention is better than cure and, particularly with some of the more technical offences, we may be able to advise on how to minimise the risk of criminal prosecution in the future.
The Eastwoods team has been involved in some of the most high profile and important public and private inquiries in the last 15 years including The Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry, The Shipman Inquiry and The Mubarek Inquiry. We have also provided advice and representation in private criminal proceedings following The Taylor Inquiry (Hillsborough).
We are able to provide advice and representation to individuals and organisations involved in Inquiries and have a particular interest in medical matters given our wider expertise.
Eastwoods has previously advised institutional and individual clients in the amateur or professional sport setting. With our extensive experience of regulatory defence we can assist with representation before governing bodies, disciplinary panels, selection and funding committees. In addition, we have experience of sports related arbitration and litigation.
Notable previous cases include the representation of Dennis Wise following his dismissal by Leicester City Football Club and a British Paralympic athlete challenging his non-selection for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We also have considerable experience defending amateur sports instructors/clubs/institutions in personal injury claims.
Eastwoods assists clients with a wide-range of employment- related matters, from internal disciplinary investigations arising from performance issues, to Employment Tribunal Proceedings and whistle-blowing.
Our Healthcare expertise puts us in a particularly position to assist doctors and dentists facing Trust-related employment issues, during what can be daunting, stressful and emotionally draining times for our clients.
As a natural adjunct to Eastwoods' other expertise, we are well-placed to represent clients working in professional sport, the most high profiles example being when we represented Dr Eva Carneiro in her dispute with Chelsea FC, as well as having assisted Dennis Wise following his dismissal from Leicester City FC.
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Eastwoods Solicitors is the trading name of Eastwoods Solicitors Limited, (company number 07350954) (VAT number 839 6906 74). We use the word ‘partner’ to refer to a director of the company. A list of directors is open to inspection at the registered office. Eastwoods holds appropriate professional indemnity insurance details of which can be obtained from the office manager.
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