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Sally Hatfield QC

Call 1988 • QC 2013

"She has a fierce intellect and very good client manner."
(Chambers & Partners 2020)

Sally regularly lectures to lawyers and to healthcare professionals.

Clinical Negligence

Clinical negligence has comprised Sally’s principal practice area for many years. She acts predominantly on behalf of patients and their families, and has extensive experience across the field, from diagnostic error by GP or hospital, to clinical mismanagement of labour, surgery or other procedure. She deals with cases involving causation of injuries of maximum severity and complexity, and particularly also in the psychiatric ramifications of breach of duty by healthcare staff. She also acts on behalf of prison inmates or their families in claims arising from the delivery of healthcare within the prison estate.

Selected Cases

  • Doona v Mather – Claim involving allegation of delayed diagnosis of melanoma resulting from GP consultation.
  • Z v Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – Claim resulting from negligent obstetric care which led to Claimant undergoing hysterectomy following birth of 1st child. Settlement of claim included full costs of surrogacy expenses for 2 further children.
  • WR v Tameside & Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust – Claim by infant exposed on labour ward to TB, subsequently contracting TB meningitis leading to cerebral palsy. Allegation of failure by Trust to take precautionary screening measures in the light of the TB case. Settlement in excess of £2m plus periodical payments.
  • S v H – Claim by 65 year old for failure in diagnosis and management of spinal arterio-venous fistula which rapidly progressed to paraplegia. Claim against neurosurgeon who saw the Claimant on a private basis. Settled in excess of £1m.
  • Wyatt v Curtis – Wrongful birth claim arising from failure to warn of congenital risks posed by maternal chickenpox in pregnancy. Child born severely disabled. Contested trial of issues of breach and causation. Settlement in excess of £5m.
  • S v Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust – Allegation of negligence arising from circumstances of bowel surgery in which C developed compartment syndrome of the legs. Severe outcome in young man. Settled in excess of £1m.
  • W v Morecambe Bay Primary Care NHS Trust – Psychiatric patient in hospital, allowed to leave ward and jumped from motorway bridge, suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia. Liability compromised; settled for £400,000 plus periodical payments.
  • P v Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority – Claim by 64 year old for Hospital’s failure to heed on an MRI scan a coincidental finding of cerebral aneurysm which subsequently ruptured causing brain injury. Settled for £800,000 plus periodical payments.
  • B v The Home Office – Claim for negligent supervision of suicidal inmate who suffered hypoxic brain injury.
  • M v NW Strategic Health Authority – Cerebral palsy claim from 1986 arising from breech delivery, alleging that fetal head rotated 180′ on body upon delivery.

Criminal Regulatory & Environmental

Sally has extensive experience of representation at inquests involving complex healthcare issues in the community or in prison.

Personal Injury

Sally undertakes essentially two forms of personal injury work: claims involving grave injuries resulting from road traffic or other accidents, and claims involving abuse or assault. The latter will frequently involve issues of vicarious or institutional liability on the part of hospital, prison or local authority.

Selected Cases

  • R v H – RTA claim causing paraplegia in young woman; complex issue of capacity. Settled 2011 for £2m plus periodical payments of £65,000pa.
  • T v T – Road Traffic Accident in 1984 causing profound orthopaedic and neurological injury. Injuries not stabilised until C reached adulthood when it could finally be quantified and settled.
  • Re H – CICA claim resulting from H being shaken as a baby, causing cerebral palsy.
  • Zolla v Goad – Winchester County Court: civil claim against Defendant in person for historic sex abuse.
  • Various Claimants v North Yorkshire Health Authority – Claim on behalf of approximately 20 women subjected to rape or sexual assault by consultant psychiatrist over many years.
  • P & D v A Hospital – Claim on behalf of 2 women subjected to rape or sexual assault by psychotherapist in private hospital.
  • F v Bolton MBC – Claim on behalf of several siblings against Local Authority for failure to heed severe maternal neglect and abuse causing psychiatric injury.
  • R v Nottinghamshire CC – Claim on behalf of family of child taken into care on basis of false allegation of abuse by other family members.
  • Various Claimants v The Home Office – Group action resulting from allegations of brutality and assault in Young Offender Institution.
  • F v The Home Office – Claim by inmate against Home Office in respect of rape by prison officer -settled favourably during the trial.
  • B v Conwy & Denbighshire NHS Trust – Claim against NHS Trust arising from rape of psychiatric patient by nurse

Professional Liability

Sally is instructed on behalf of the GMC in fitness to practise and registration cases against doctors.

Cases include: a mismanaged obstetric delivery followed by job application dishonesty to hide the event, persistent failures alleged against a consultant anaesthetist, mismanagement of a urological procedure followed by dishonesty at inquest, sexual misconduct, self medication and addiction, the registration requirements for non EU nationals.


  • BA (Jurisprudence), Lincoln College, Oxford (1986)


  • Action against Medical Accidents
  • Inquest Lawyers’ Group
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association


“Sally Hatfield, who is ‘always thoroughly prepared’ and ‘excellent with clients – she is approachable and sympathetic, and really inspires confidence.’ She comes particularly recommended for her expertise in inquests and is also highly regarded for her work in complex cerebral palsy and cauda equina claims.”

Chambers & Partners 2012

“Sally Hatfield provides a ‘high-quality, top-notch service for solicitors and clients’, and has particular expertise in inquests.”

Legal 500 2011

“Sally Hatfield handles complex cerebral palsy and cauda equina claims, consistently displaying an understanding of the issues at play and grasping the details of the case. Clients describe her as a ‘dynamic senior junior with a breadth of experience and knowledge’.”

Chambers & Partners 2011

“Sally Hatfield is a ‘lawyer of enormously impressive intellect’, commended for her client care skills and her ‘ability to offer sensitive explanations to clients who have either been bereaved or who have complex and difficult medical issues’.”

Chambers & Partners 2010

“Sally Hatfield has ‘the quality and experience to be instructed in cases suitable for a QC alone’.”

Legal 500 2010

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