Tom Semple

Called 2016

Tom is incredibly thorough and his medical understanding is excellent. He has a very methodical approach to cases. Very down to earth with the clients.

Legal 500 2022 (Rising Star - Clinical Negligence)

About

Tom specialises in clinical negligence, personal injury, inquests, and Court of Protection work. He has a particular interest in healthcare matters and is skilled at getting to grips with complex medico-legal issues in difficult cases.

His clients praise his attention to detail, personable approach, and pragmatic advice.

Tom’s clinical negligence practice encompasses both claimant and defendant work. It builds upon his time working for a nationally recognised law firm before coming to the bar. He is experienced in a wide range of complex and high value clinical negligence disputes, including birth injuries, surgical negligence, dental negligence, delays in diagnosis, fatal injuries, informed consent, and material contribution claims.

Tom also manages to maintain a broad personal injury practice. He acts on behalf of claimants and defendants at High Court and County Court level. His practice includes employers’ liability, public liability (including occupiers’ liability, Highways Act, and public nuisance), road traffic accidents, product liability, fatal accidents, and CICA appeals.

His inquest work involves acting for families and other interested parties, in both Jamieson and Middleton-style inquests. Tom regularly acts in inquests concerning hospital and nursing home care, road traffic accidents, and potential breaches of health and safety regulations. He has experience in inquests both with and without a jury sitting.

In the Court of Protection, Tom is regularly instructed on behalf of local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, P, and members of P’s family. He has appeared in a wide range of disputes, typically arising out of section 16 and section 21A applications. His practice covers both Health & Welfare and Property & Financial Affairs. Recent matters have included disputes over contact arrangements, overlapping jurisdiction with the Mental Health Act 1983, care arrangements, revoking lasting powers of attorney, medical treatment, and capacity assessments.

Areas of Expertise

Accolades

Tom has a particular interest in clinical negligence, which has become a significant part of his practice since joining chambers. He acts on behalf of patients, hospital trusts, GP practices and individual practitioners. He has experience in drafting statements of case, advising on prospects and quantum, CCMCs, JSMs and inquests involving suggestions of clinical negligence. His practice benefits from his experience in a busy clinical negligence department at a leading law firm before coming to the bar. He is happy to advise in matters on an informal basis, particularly in the early stages of claims.

Tom’s practice covers all areas of clinical negligence, including orthopaedic surgery, obstetrics, diabetes management, emergency care, mental health, dental, nursing and residential care.

Recent matters include:

  • Advising on quantum where the claimant was given ten times the recommended dose of anti-epileptic medication (settled).
  • Drafting the Defence on behalf of a GP Surgery in a multi-defendant claim regarding the management of a wound infection (settled).
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim and advising on quantum following a stillbirth (settled).
  • Advising on prospects on paper and in conference with multiple experts in defending a claim concerning the management of a diabetic foot injury. Tom advised the defendant NHS Trust throughout the claim, attended the CCMC and then successfully resisted the claimant’s application to amend the Particulars of Claim before trial (discontinued).
  • Representing the defendant NHS Trust in a joint settlement meeting in a matter arising out of alleged dental negligence (settled).
  • Advising in conference on prospects and quantum, and drafting the Particulars of Claim, regarding injuries arising from a failure to identify red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome (settled shortly after issue).
  • Advising the defendant NHS Trust on prospects and quantum, and drafting the Counter Schedule of Loss, in a claim concerning an alleged failure to offer early revascularisation of the patient’s leg, causing amputation (settled).
  • Advising in conference and drafting Particulars of Claim in a multi-expert case arising from the death of a newborn baby (ongoing).

Road Traffic Accidents

Tom is very experienced in all manners of RTA claims in both the High Court and the County Court. He acts on behalf of both claimants and defendants. He also has a busy paper practice, including advising on liability and quantum. Recent matters include:

  • Representing a young widow whose husband died in a road traffic accident. Claim currently valued in excess of £800,000 (ongoing).
  • Representing a taxi driver involved in a road traffic accident, where a pedestrian was killed (following the inquest, a civil claim was not pursued against the taxi driver).
  • Representing the third party, whose work equipment fell off his vehicle onto the motorway. A collision occurred between the claimant and defendant, who were following the third party (successfully defended at trial).
  • Representing the claimant who sustained a whiplash injury, but did not pursue a claim until 18 months post-accident and had sought no medical treatment. Allegations of fundamental dishonesty were raised but were dismissed (claim succeeded at trial).
  • Representing various insurers, usually resisting credit hire claims and general liability disputes.

Public, Product and Employers’ Liability 

Tom is experienced in EL/PL matters, both from his work before joining chambers and since becoming a tenant. He is regularly instructed to draft statements of case, advise in conference, and attend trials at High Court and County Court level. Recent matters include:

  • Representing a child who sustained a scar to his head after accidentally colliding with a metal protrusion from the defendant’s building, causing a public nuisance (claim settled the day before trial).
  • Representing the third party in a claim arising out of a street light column collapsing during repairs, injuring an employee of the third party but was working to the specifications of the defendant. Tom advised on liability and settlement (claim settled the day before trial).
  • Representing the defendant employer regarding a claim arising out of an alleged failure to adequately train and warn the claimant as to the risks of manual handling heavy work equipment to and from the back of a work van (successfully defended at trial).
  • Representing a claimant whom has lost multiple fingers in an accident at work. Value expected to be a six-figure sum (ongoing).
  • Representing a third party involved in the supply of brackets for a staircase bannister, that subsequently snapped and injured the claimant (ongoing).

Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals

In pupillage and since becoming a tenant, Tom has experience in advising on and attending CICA appeals. He has particular experience in disputes over whether the assailant lacked capacity.

Tom has been involved in numerous inquests during pupillage and since becoming a tenant. He is primarily instructed in relation to healthcare-related deaths, but also accepts instructions concerning deaths in the workplace, prison deaths and road traffic fatalities. He is experienced in drafting submissions, advising on strategy, pre-inquest reviews and final hearings.

Recently concluded cases include:

  • Re RY: An eleven-day inquest with a jury concerning the death of a pedestrian struck by collapsing rubble from the facade of a building on the high street. The inquest touched upon the various roles and responsibilities of the interested parties under the CDM regulations and how the wall came to be constructed without wind restraints 14 years prior to its collapse. Tom represented a structural engineer engaged on the project. The conclusion was ‘accidental death’ and no adverse findings were made against Tom’s client.
  • Re AA: A three-day inquest involving a death following a fall in a care home, where the Coroner concluded that the death would have been avoidable had the care home carried out risk assessments. Tom acted on behalf of the family. The inquest was followed by the first successful CQC prosecution of a local authority, where the authority admitted failing to provide safe care and treatment. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-50715988.
  • Re LJW: A three-day Article 2 inquest with a jury concerning a death following the development of septicaemia. The inquest involved four interested parties and questions over whether the deceased had received appropriate care in hospital and in the community after developing foot ulcers, which became infected.
  • Re CAJ: An inquest concerning the death of a pedestrian involved in a road traffic collision with a taxi. The conclusion was accidental death. Tom acted on behalf of the taxi driver’s insurer.
  • Re DH: A three-day Article 2 inquest with a jury concerning the death of an inmate due to methodone toxicity. Tom represented the deceased’s family. The jury concluded that the prison officers’ failure to carry out routine welfare checks contributed to the death.
  • Re MAP: A four-day inquest concerning a neonatal death. The inquest explored the impact of failing to consider medical records regarding previous pregnancies and delays in converting to an emergency caesarean section. Tom represented the family. It was concluded that delays in converting to an emergency caesarean contributed to the death.
  • Re PT: A two-day inquest concerning the management of the deceased’s toxic epidermal necrolysis. The inquest revealed that the deceased was cared for on a ward where clinicans had no experience in dermatology and national guidance for transfer were not followed. Tom represented the family.
  • Re RG: A two-day inquest involving a death following a head injury. The issues centred on the advice given to the deceased by the paramedics.
  • Re PH: A three-day inquest concerning the death of a patient with dementia who had been injured in a road traffic accident, after he managed to leave a hospital ward without the staff noticing. The Coroner concluded that the failures of the nursing staff amounted to neglect and this contributed to the death. Tom acted on behalf of the deceased’s family.
  • Re KG: A two-day Article 2 inquest involving the death of a voluntary psychiatric in-patient. The issues concerned whether a different treatment plan or effective communication with the police when the deceased went missing would have prevented the death. Tom represented the family.

Tom is particularly experienced in section 21A applications, section 16 applications, final hearings and round table meetings between the parties. He also has experience of cases where there is an overlap between the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 1983. He has a keen interest in health and welfare matters, having studied medical and mental capacity law at post-graduate level.His practice benefits from his clinical negligence work and his experience in dealing with parties that lack capacity arising out of injuries. Tom takes a collaborative approach and is willing to advise informally from the outset.

He accepts instructions in all areas, including:

  • Deprivation of Liberty declarations;
  • Welfare decisions;
  • Removal of the Nearest Relative.

 

Recent and ongoing matters include:

  • Representing the son of P in a matter where different family members and the local authority could not agree on P’s care requirements and whether the LPA ought to be revoked.
  • Representing a local authority in proceedings where P’s care home were threatening to terminate the placement, owing to P’s increasing level of need.
    Representing a local authority in a matter concerning the inherent jurisdiction, where P was a minor over the age of 16, and best interests declarations were needed.
  • Jointly representing a local authority and CCG in proceedings where P’s capacity had been described as fluctuating and P’s engagement with the public bodies varied.
  • Representing the mother of P in proceedings where the CCG sought to remove P from the family home.
  • Representing a local authority in s.21A proceedings where agreement could not be reached as to the least restrictive option for P’s residence and care needs.
  • Representing P through his litigation friend in contested s.21A proceedings concerning whether P should be allowed to return to the family home on a trial basis.
  • Representing the CCG in contested s.21A proceedings where P wishes to move out of a care setting and to a different local authority.

Tom is regularly instructed on behalf of Claimants and Defendants to attend contested costs hearings in a variety of matters, but particularly in relation to clinical negligence claims.

Recent matters include:

  • Representing the defendant in a contested costs matter following settlement of a clinical negligence claim. Tom successfully limited the claimant to pre-issue costs on the grounds that the claimant had unreasonably failed to attempt to resolve the dispute without proceedings.
  • Attending numerous CCMCs in high value personal injury and clinical negligence claims, including those with multiple defendants and applications to include or restrict expert evidence.

As a result of his inquest and Court of Protection practice, Tom advises public bodies, including local authorities and the NHS, on public law matters such as NHS Continuing Healthcare and Ordinary Residence disputes.

Recent matters include:

  • Advising a local authority in a long standing dispute over Ordinary Residence, pre-dating the Care Act 2014.
  • Advising and representing NHS CCGs in proceedings concerning the failure to provide NHS Continuing Healthcare.
  • Advising a local authority on Ordinary Residence in a cross-border matter.

Tom undertakes a broad range of property & affairs matters in the Court of Protection. He accepts instructions from all interested parties, including the Office of the Public Guardian, Local Authorities, P, and family members. He regularly appears in applications regarding the mismanagement of P’s funds and removing deputies and attorneys.

Recent matters include:

  • Representing the OPG in a dispute concerning P’s capacity to execute the LPAs and whether the attorneys had breached their duties under the MCA.
  • Representing a local authority in a disputed application to become P’s deputy for property & financial affairs.
  • Representing the OPG in an application to remove P’s deputies for failing to comply with the deputyship order.
  • Representing the OPG in an application to remove one of two attorneys on the grounds of financial mismanagement.

Legal 500 2022 Clinical Negligence - Rising Star - "Tom is incredibly thorough and his medical understanding is excellent. He has a very methodical approach to cases. Very down to earth with the clients."

Legal 500 2022 Inquests and Inquiries - Rising Star -  "Tom has a very methodical approach to cases. He can communicate with the client in a way they understand and makes them feel at ease."

Personal Injury Bar Association (PIBA) Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) Leeds & District Medico-Legal Society Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) Court of Protection Practitioners Association (CoPPA) Inner Temple

Inquest touching the death of Audrey Allen (2018) Tom represented the family of Miss Allen. The inquest investigated failings in the care provided to the deceased at a care home operated by the local authority. The Coroner may critical findings against the care home, holding that the deceased would have survived had appropriate risk assessments been in place. The inquest was followed by the first CQC prosecution of a local authority. The authority entered an early guilty plea and was fined £500,000 for failing to provide safe care and treatment. Tom's article for AvMA covering the inquest can be accessed here. The BBC's article covering of the CQC prosecution can be accessed here.

BPTC, BPP Law School (2016) LLM (Distinction), Healthcare Ethics and Law, The University of Manchester (2013) LLB (Hons), The University of Manchester (2012)