Vanessa is an experienced advocate and regularly appears in fast and multi track trials, CMCs, CCMCs, costs hearings, applications and approval hearings. The vast majority of her practice consists of personal injury work, clinical negligence (with a particular emphasis on cosmetic surgery claims), inquests and costs. Her personal injury work includes all aspects of the specialism, including employers’ liability/industrial disease claims, public liability claims and road traffic accidents. She has particular expertise in highways cases.
Vanessa acts for both Claimants and Defendants and is willing to consider instructions on a CFA basis. She has a busy paperwork practice which includes pleadings, advices on liability, quantum, procedure and tactics and drafting schedules and counterschedules.
In the year prior to starting her career at the Bar, Vanessa gained valuable experience working as a paralegal in a top-tier personal injury firm specialising in catastrophic brain and spinal injuries.
Vanessa’s practice encompasses all areas of personal injury, including road traffic accidents, public liability, employers’ liability, clinical negligence and industrial disease.
She has developed an extensive practice in highways cases and is currently co-writing a practitioner text on all aspects of highways law and practice. She acts predominantly for highway authorities but also accepts instructions from claimants.
She has also appeared in a huge variety of public liability cases, including claims arising out of an allegedly defective football pitch, inhalation of carbon monoxide from a defective boiler, burns arising from the use of public transport and claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972. She also appeared in numerous cases involving all manner of slips and trips. A recent case involved a football being kicked over a fence enclosing a five-a-side pitch and knocking an elderly lady over.
She is currently acting in two cases involving the liability of a school, the first involving an injury caused to a child in PE, the second involving an injury caused to a member of staff by a child.
Vanessa’s practice also includes numerous aspects of employers’ liability claims. She was instructed as a second junior in the case of Wembridge and Others v East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service  EWHC 2331 (QB) alongside Frank Burton QC and Andrew Roy, in which fire officers were suing the fire service in respect of injuries caused in an explosion of a fireworks factory.
Vanessa also has considerable experience of fatal claims, including pleading schedules and counterschedules. She has given seminars on secondary victims and psychiatric injury, and hazardous activities.
Vanessa has an extensive clinical negligence practice with a particular emphasis on cosmetic surgery cases. Her cases have included all aspects of breast surgery (including augmentations, reductions, mastopexies, reconstructive), rhinoplasties and brachioplasties along with more minor cosmetic procedures, such as laser hair removal, permanent make up and fillers.
Her clinical negligence practice also includes a considerable number of dental negligence cases which have involved all aspects of dental treatment. She has acted in cases involving orthopaedic surgery and obstetrics/gynaecological treatment.
She acts predominantly for claimants but also accepts instructions on behalf of defendants.
Vanessa has a particular interest in employers’ liability and regularly acts in industrial disease cases. She has acted in cases involving asbestos, HAVS/WRULD and noise-induced hearing loss. Vanessa’s practice also includes stress at work cases and she is currently instructed as a junior in a complex stress at work case which is listed for a three-week trial in November.
She is instructed on behalf of both claimants and defendants.
Vanessa has appeared at numerous inquests and pre-inquest reviews on behalf of families and other interested persons. She has acted in article 2 inquests and inquests with juries and the inquests have involved all types of case, including deaths arising out of clinical negligence, road traffic accidents, accidents at work and neglect. Her recent inquests included:
- Single lung transplant, primary graft dysfunction leading to death
- A toddler with congenital cardiomyopathy with suspected mitochondrial disorder who suffered three cardiac arrests. He was treated for viral infection rather than myopathy. The third arrest was fatal.
- A 61- year old lady with a very complex medical history, admitted with a recurrent history of urinary tract infections. Underwent surgery (a colposuspension, a clam cystoplasty and reimplantation of the ureters) which eventually led to her becoming septic and developing necrotising fasciitis. She died of multi organ failure.
- Death of a three month old baby girl as a result of liver failure.
- A lesion on an adrenal gland was thought to be metastatic tumour from breast cancer. The operating surgeon misinterpreted the vessels and ligated a crucial artery supplying blood to all internal organs. The error was not picked up and the patient died as a result of ischaemia.
- Abdominal compartment syndrome developed following routine surgery leading to widespread ischaemia and death
Road traffic accidents
- Ten- day inquest into the death of an undercover police officer who was pursuing a suspect when a car pulled into his path
- Seven- day inquest into the death of a mental-health patient who absconded from hospital
- The Bestival Bus Crash inquest into the death of two teenagers and the driver
- Inquest into the death of a mental-health patient who hijacked an ambulance during his transfer to a specialist hospital
- Inquest into the death of a cyclist who hit a pothole and was then hit by a vehicle which was overtaking
Many of these inquests have generated instructions to act in the civil claim.
Vanessa is a member of Chambers’ costs team and regularly appears in cost hearings. These include costs and case management conferences, costs applications, summary and detailed assessments. She is very familiar with the MOJ Protocols and the attendant costs rules and is often instructed to deal with technical costs questions.
Vanessa has acted in a case of sexual abuse involving an elderly lady and her carer.
Vanessa has extensive experience in all aspects of credit hire. She appears in trials and interim hearings as well as advising and drafting pleadings.
Vanessa’s fraud practice has focused exclusively on fraud arising out of road traffic accidents. She has acted in numerous low-velocity impact cases.
Bar Vocational Course (Very Competent), City University, London
Graduate Diploma in Law (Commendation), City University, London
B.A.(Hons) Music (First Class), St Hilda’s College, Oxford
Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
Music scholarship (St Hilda’s College, Oxford)
Personal Injuries Bar Association, Lincoln’s Inn, South Eastern Circuit