Gross negligence manslaughter defence

Gross negligence manslaughter investigations – how we can help

There has been much discussion, in recent times, of a perception that more and more prosecutions are being pursued for allegations of Gross Negligence Manslaughter. This has been a particularly vexed issue for healthcare practitioners like Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who are at risk of being prosecuted following the death of patients to whom they have administered treatment. If you have been accused of such an offence, or think there is a chance you will be, Hempsons’ team of criminal defence lawyers is able to advise and defend you through what can be an incredibly traumatic, upsetting and often complicated experience.

Hempsons has a proven track record of advising and defending individuals charged with gross negligence manslaughter, whether that is at a police interview pre-charge, or at trial in the Crown Court.

What is gross negligence manslaughter?

In order for someone to be convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, the prosecution must establish:

  • that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased
  • that duty of care was breached by the defendant
  • that breach caused the death of the deceased
  • at the time of the negligence, there was an obvious risk of death and
  • the nature of the defendant’s negligence was so “gross”, it amounts to a criminal offence

The prosecution will need to establish all 5 of the above elements in order to secure a conviction. That means the bar is set high and a conviction is not easy to secure, so prosecutions should be rare. However, if you are accused of such an offence, the potential consequences are inevitably serious, the law (and often the evidence) is complicated and it is important that you have access to expert legal advice from the outset.

Given our expertise of representing healthcare practitioners, Hempsons is particularly well-placed to defend doctors charged with medical manslaughter, but we are also able to assist individuals charged with gross negligence manslaughter in any other circumstances, including those under investigation by the Health & Safety Executive.  We also have established relationships with many of the leading criminal defence barristers in this area of the law, so we are able to ensure you have full, comprehensive and effective representation throughout. Contact us today to receive the advice and support you need.

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  • Chambers UK 2023
    “Adam Smith possesses a wealth of expertise in defending clients facing GDC, GMC and HCPC investigations into allegations of inappropriate behaviour, dishonesty and sexual assault. He is also noted for his representation of police officers facing claims of misconduct.”
  • Chambers UK 2023
    “He is a super solicitor – he’s incredibly organised and has a very calm manner with clients and litigation. His drafting and communication skills are excellent.”
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    “The tireless and very clever Katherine Sheldrick is highly recommended for any person facing professional discipline proceedings, and has been a first choice for many for several years.”
  • Legal 500 2022
    “Katherine Sheldrick is outstanding; a master of the fine detail.”
  • Legal 500 2022
    “Hempsons are acknowledged heavy-hitters in the field of healthcare law, led for many years by the legendary and irrepressible Bertie Leigh. They have an outstanding reputation and continue to provide excellent service to medical defence organisations, as they have done for many years. They set high standards that they consistently meet year on year.”
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    “I consider Hempsons to be one of the most solid NHSR panel firms and high-ranking clinical defence solicitors. Their resources are second-to-none in London and they have a solid team of motivated, experienced lawyers who obtain excellent results.”
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    “Hempsons in Harrogate are a close-knit and very effective team who have long-established links to their clients. The team has a combined level of experience which is very impressive.”
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