Margaret has more recently concentrated on claims of major birth defect, paraplegia and tetraplegia or major handicap through surgical error or diagnostic failure.
She has had a continuing interest in medical, mental health and ancillary social issues from the start of her career, having appeared in the Normansfield Inquiry (mental handicap hospital crisis), and served on a local authority social services committee.
She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Professional Negligence Bar Association (elected 2009).
Experience in major cases includes
- hip dysplasia (birth / congenital / developmental)
- Erbs Palsy and shoulder dystocia sustained at birth
- anaesthetic accident at surgery to fit elderly hospital patient resulting in tetraplegia
- meningitis resulting in brain damage with major impairment of locomotor function
- erroneous diagnosis of life-shortening illness
- GP diagnostic failures / delays
- delay in treatment of myocardial infarction, with psychological sequelae and personality change
- infant gastro-oesophageal reflux resulting in permanent digestive problems
- malignant testicular tumour with failure in follow-up (fatal)
- malpositioning of prosthesis on orthopaedic surgery to shoulder
- undiagnosed osteosarcoma in child, resulting in total loss of one lower limb
- spinal surgery, decompression, syringomyelia
- gynaecological problems and surrogacy
- psychiatric problems including obsessional compulsive disorder, depression and anxiety including failures / errors in diagnosis.
She has dealt with a wide variety of special social issues most particularly claimants with special educational and behavioural problems, and also including accommodation in Gibraltar (arising out of a birth injury case), capacity and mental health.
- Y v Z Hospital NHS Trust – Claim successfully settled for capitalised value of £7m (lump sum £2.3m). Child claimant, a victim of birth injury, suffers from dystonic athetoid cerebral palsy but with good cognition. Issues on liability: timings at delivery, CTG, mother unattended. Liability admitted early after contentious pleadings. Special issues on quantum: accommodation, education in mainstream schooling with requirement for additional educational assistance and tailored IT provision; also on availability of public services & funding, & periodical payments. Further points on financial advice, mode of disposal, and appropriate orders.
- K v Nottingham University Hospitals Trust – Claimant a child victim of birth injury, with dystonic athetoid cerebral palsy. Liability compromised shortly pre-trial. Issues on care, residence, accommodation and education.
- Parkinson v St James Hospital Trust – CA: 2002 QB 266, clinical negligence leading case: damages recoverable by mother of disabled child born after negligent sterilization / genetic advice.
- Skitt v Khan & Anr – (CA: (1997) 8 Med LR, clinical negligence: limitation.
- Margaret Bickford Smith QC has contributed to the May 2016 edition of The Resolver
- Margaret Bickford-Smith QC’s inaugural CIArb Oxford Lecture published
- Margaret Bickford-Smith QC to deliver inaugural CIArb Oxford Lecture
- AB (a child) v Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust
- MA (Oxon)
- Recorder (Civil and Criminal cases)
- Queens Counsel 2003
- Bencher of the Inner Temple
- CIArb Mediation Panel
- Vice-Chair, Inns Conduct Committee 2009
“Highly experienced in clinical negligence as well as injury and disease work.”
Legal 500 2014
“Committed…utterly dependable…has a fantastic manner with clients.”
Legal 500 2010
“Recommended where complex care and social issues are involved.”
Legal 500 2009