Name of chambers:
Head of Chambers:
David Pittaway QC
Address of chambers:
4 Paper Buildings
Chambers website address:
Main practice area:
Professional negligence, medical law and costs
Professional negligence; Healthcare; Regulatory; Costs; Commercial; Personal injury
Public access work
Number of junior tenancies (in the last three years):
Number of pupillages:
Financial support level:
£50,000 - £59,999
11 February 2019 at 11:00 AM
Pupillage start date:
12 month pupillage
**We will be hosting an open event for prospective applicants on Wednesday 16th January 2019 at the Apex Temple Court hotel, to give more information about Hailsham and pupillage here. Details of the event are on our website. If you wish to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org **
At Hailsham Chambers we excel in our key areas of professional negligence, medical law, costs, regulatory and disciplinary, personal injury and commercial law. We win awards for our excellence and we are recognised by the legal directories as a leading set in our three main practice areas.
Our ethos is to provide the highest standards of advocacy, advice and service, which is supported by our open door policy and friendly atmosphere within chambers. We are proud of our history, which includes a number of former law lords, but we are an innovative and forward-thinking set.
We wish to recruit two pupils to start in September 2020.
You will be a motivated, ambitious candidate who can meet the following criteria:
• Intellectual ability and curiosity. Usually a minimum 2:1 degree is required but special circumstances will be considered
• Persuasive communication in both oral and written advocacy
• Personal qualities which will allow you to succeed at the Bar including independence, reliability, good judgement, commercial awareness, determination and the ability to build strong working relationships.
• Interest in Chambers and in our areas of practice
We place emphasis upon your answer to the problem question on our application form because we hope this will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your ability and potential. When you make your application, remember that this is your chance to show us your written advocacy skills as well as your intellectual ability.
We provide 12-months’ intensive, high-quality training in a relaxed atmosphere with two supervisors for three months each and a third supervisor for the second six months. As a pupil, you can expect supervision in two or more areas of Chambers’ specialisation. You will also have a mentor who is a recent junior tenant to discuss pupillage confidentially with you and answer any questions throughout the year.
During your first six months, you will work alongside your supervisor on cutting-edge cases, accompanying them to conferences and to court as well as learning the crucial skills of practice by performing challenging written work. Each supervisor will give you an indication of your performance ability and any areas for improvement through regular feedback as well as a formal appraisal at the end of the period. When you are ready, you will start to do assessed work for other members of chambers in order to inform the tenancy decision. After six months, you can expect to receive instructions in your own right and to be “on your feet” in court at least once or twice a week. The tenancy decision will take place in the early summer to ensure that you know the outcome well before the end of your pupillage.
We have an excellent retention rate and five of our pupils in the last three years have become tenants. We plan to continue to expand Chambers and our junior members of chambers have thriving practices. As a new tenant, you will receive five years of close support as a member of our Junior Tenants Committee. Our pupils and junior tenants are busy and their billings compare well to solicitor equivalents.
We offer a £50,000 award including £5,000 guaranteed earnings. You will be able to keep anything you earn on top of the £5,000 guaranteed earnings. You can draw down up to £10,000 of your award during the BPTC year. We offer excellent training and prospects, and aim to invite successful pupils to become tenants.
We are passionate about encouraging applications from a diverse pool of candidates. If you are disabled, please feel free to contact us to discuss any reasonable accommodation that we might be able to make in order to facilitate your application. Hailsham Chambers adheres to and supports the Bar Council’s policies on equal opportunity and non-discrimination.
The following questions will form the Pupillage Application Questionnaire section
of the application form for this pupillage vacancy. These are included here to allow
you to prepare in advance.
- BC1: Why do you believe you will make a good barrister? In your answer, please identify any relevant experiences or skills that you believe may help you in your career (200 words)
- BC2: Why do you want to join our chambers? In your answer, please give reasons for your choice of chambers and explain why you are interested in our areas of practice (200 words)
- You are instructed to advise St Mungo's Hospital NHS Trust on a claim against it by Mrs Hepping. Please assume the following facts:
Mrs Hepping was suffering from severe back pain. On 18 February 2016 she consulted Mr Squab, a consultant neurosurgeon at St Mungo’s Hospital. He properly advised her that she could either have surgery, which was likely to resolve her pain quickly (within a month or so); or physiotherapy, which was likely to resolve it more slowly (within a year or so). She was in great pain and wanted a quick solution if possible.
No criticism is made of the way the risks and benefits of conservative treatment were explained to Mrs Hepping. It is also agreed Mr Squab accurately described the spinal fusion operation to her. He told her that the operation carried a risk of bleeding, DVT and pulmonary embolism, and that there were risks associated with the use of a general anaesthetic. It is agreed between the experts that these risks were very small and that Mrs Hepping was properly advised they were very small.
Mr Squab also told Mrs Hepping, “the chances of the operation failing are very small”. She says she therefore understood that there was minimal risk of the operation making her pain worse.
Following this consultation, Mrs Hepping agreed to have surgery, which took place on 23 February 2016. Immediately beforehand the anaesthetist talked through the anaesthetic risks with her. She was again, correctly, told that the risks of anaesthetic were very small.
Mrs Hepping’s case is that she did not give her informed consent to surgery, because Mr Squab’s advice about the chances of the operation “failing” (as he put it) was wrong. The experts agree there was in fact a 5% risk she would be worse off as a result of the operation either because the nerves in her spine might be damaged or the fusion process might cause increased mechanical back pain.
Her case is that if she had been told about this 5% risk, she would not have gone ahead with the surgery on 23 February 2016 or at all but would have chosen conservative treatment. Her evidence on this point is compelling and it is very likely this will be established.
The surgery alleviated Mrs Hepping’s back pain. However, she suffered anaesthetic complications. It is agreed those complications were not the result of any negligence by St Mungo's, the anaesthetist or Mr Squab but were risks inherent in the operation. Those complications led to a cardiac arrest which caused Mrs Hepping a hypoxic brain injury.
Please advise whether St Mungo's has any defence to this claim, including an estimate of prospects of successfully defending it. Please concentrate on analysis of the legal issues rather than exposition of the facts or the authorities. You are asked only consider the following three cases:
Khan v MNX  EWCA Civ 2609;
Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board  UKSC 11;
Duce v Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust  EWCA Civ 1307.*
*Please assume that Duce accurately sets out the decision in Chester v Afshar  UKHL 41. You are not required to read Chester. All the authorities are freely available at: http://www.bailii.org/
To apply, please click on the Apply Online link below and then complete the online application form.