Simon Connolly

Simon Connolly
Year of call:

2019 (Solicitor 2003)

Education:

1999 - LLB (Hons) 2:1, University of Hull

2000 - College of Law (Chester)

Career:

2000-2003 - Forbes Solicitors (Lancashire)

2003-2007 - Henry Hyams Solicitors (Leeds)

2007-2011 - The Medical Protection Society (Leeds)

2011-2019 - BLM LLP (Manchester/ Leeds)

2018 - Higher Rights of Audience (Criminal)

Appointments:

2020 - Attorney General’s Panel of Regional Civil Advocates (C List)

2023 - Assistant Coroner – County Durham and Darlington

Ranked as Tier 1 in The Legal 500 (2024) for Inquests and Inquiries.

Band 2 in Chambers & Partners (2024) – 3 years ranked.

“Simon is caring and good at putting clients at ease; he explains everything in minute detail.” Chambers & Partners (2024)

Simon is a very measured and responsive junior. He is confident and has a great manner with clients.’ Legal 500 (2024)

Simon is very knowledgeable and he has a lot of experience as a barrister and solicitor.” Chambers & Partners (2023)

He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of inquest processes and procedures and he is also incredibly personable and good at putting people at ease. A thorough and tenacious advocate who is determined in court.’ The Legal 500 (2023)

“He’s a very good operator and an effective advocate.” “He is a very personable barrister and clients really like him.” Chambers & Partners (2022)

Simon is a fantastic inquests lawyer. In addition to having an encyclopedic knowledge of coronial law, he has impressive medical knowledge. He is always well-prepared.” Legal 500 (2022)

“on a solid foundation of representing clients throughout his distinguished career as a solicitor Mr Connolly has moved seamlessly to the bar to deliver the same high quality of work. His knowledge in healthcare ensures a wealth of instructions. He has a confident yet amenable approach in court. A very capable advocate indeed” Legal 500 (2021)

Consistently ranked as a leading junior barrister by the leading legal directories since his transfer to the Bar in 2019, Simon’s practice and with that his professional experience continues to develop apace.

The healthcare sector remains a focus and Simon continues to represent a sector-leading prison healthcare provider in complex and lengthy Article 2 jury inquests in Coroner Area’s nationwide.

Recent highlights include a three-week inquest in Exeter involving the suicide of a prisoner in the aftermath of his conviction after trial and a two-week inquest before the Senior Coroner for Inner North London concerning the suicide of a foreign national.

Simon’s prison healthcare practice is complimented by his membership of the Attorney General’s Regional Panel which has seen Simon represent the Ministry of Justice in prison related jury inquest proceedings in “on” and “off” panel areas.

Simon has also solidified his professional relationship with a sector-leading, nationally operating provider of detained, in-patient mental health services with Simon appearing before Coroners sitting with a jury in that connection.

Recent highlights include a seven-day jury inquest before the Senior Coroner for North Manchester in which Simon’s submissions against a neglect rider were successful and a seven-day jury inquest before the Senior Coroner for Gateshead and South Shields.

Simon continues to act for clinicians of all disciplines and specialities on the instruction of two of the three main Medical Defence Organisations and for healthcare corporates in traditional inquest proceedings heard by a Coroner sitting alone.

The cases in which Simon is instructed often generate public interest and garner significant media attention and Simon is adept at strategising to take account of such interests from a reputation management perspective.

Instructing solicitors, lay clients and Simon’s peers consistently commend his unstuffy, genial and collegiate approach to his cases and an uncomplicated approach to his advocacy continues to serve him well.

Notable Mental Health Cases:

Inquest touching the death of JLB (Rochdale): Simon represented a sector-leading provider of detained in-patient mental health services in a case involving metformin toxicity and in which Simon successfully argued against a neglect rider.

Inquest touching the death of SH (Chesterfield): Simon represented a provider of detained in-patient mental health services in a case involving the unexpected self-inflicted death of an established female patient.

Inquest touching the death of SL (South Shields): Simon represented an independent provider of detained in-patient mental health services in an inquest concerning a patient detained pursuant to a hospital and restriction order imposed by the Crown Court.

Notable Medical Cases:

Inquest touching the death of AT (Wakefield): Simon represented an NHS Trust in high-profile proceedings concerning the death of AT who died as a consequence of bacterial meningitis to which an unwitnessed fall in hospital was found to have contributed.

Inquest touching the death of DN (Wakefield): Simon represented an NHS Trust in very high-profile proceedings concerning the death of DN consequent to an undiagnosed cerebral abscess at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inquest touching the death of KT (Sheffield): Simon represented a telemedicine (radiology) provider in proceedings concerning the death of a young female patient several days consequent to her receipt of the Astra-Zeneca COVID-19 vaccination.

Notable Prison Cases:

Inquest touching the death of LH (Exeter): Simon represented a leading prison healthcare provider in a three-week jury inquest concerning a prisoner who took his own life in the aftermath of his conviction after trial.

Inquest touching the death of HHR (Inner North London): Simon represented a prison healthcare provider in a two-week jury inquest concerning the self-inflicted death of a foreign national in which cross-discipline communication issues were explored as causative.

Inquest touching the death of LO (Swansea): Simon represented the Ministry of Justice in a two-week jury inquest concerning the death of a prisoner with a significant mental health history in which failures in ACCT management featured.

Inquest touching the death of RM (Bradford): Simon represented a prison healthcare provider in a post-release inquest which involved novel pre-inquest submissions on Article 2/ jury consequent to the deceased’s status on home detention curfew.

Other Notable Cases:

Inquest touching the death of PJT (Derby): Simon represented an independent care home in proceedings concerning the death of an elderly resident following a fall in a case involving a complicated family dynamic.

Inquest touching the death of TEJ (Nottingham): Simon represented a counselling service in a case involving the suicide of a vulnerable male who sourced illicit toxic substances from abroad.

Inquest touching the death of RC (Doncaster): Simon represented a provider of on-site hospital security services in a case involving the death of a patient who had been removed from Trust premises.

Inquest touching the death of JS (Stockport): Simon represented the Probation Service in an inquest concerning the death of a vulnerable male who had recently been released from prison.

Contact Simon’s clerks

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250

Nichola Fox on 0113 2135213

Imogen Brown on 0113 2135225

Ranked as a “Rising Star”  Inquests and Inquiries in The Legal 500 (2021) 

“on a solid foundation of representing clients throughout his distinguished career as a solicitor Mr Connolly has moved seamlessly to the bar to deliver the same high quality of work. His knowledge in healthcare ensures a wealth of instructions. He has a confident yet amenable approach in court. A very capable advocate indeed” Legal 500 2021

Simon has practised as a healthcare and professional regulatory lawyer for over a decade, during which time he has represented doctors, nurses, pharmacists and osteopaths in criminal investigations and proceedings and in fitness to practise proceedings before professional (GMC-MPTS/ GDC/ GPhC/ GOsC) and local (NHSE) regulatory bodies and in employment disciplinary investigations and proceedings (MHPS).

Much of Simon’s regulatory work has stemmed from his involvement in prior proceedings where, for example, he has represented the professional at an inquest or during a police investigation or criminal prosecution. Simon has regularly been instructed in regulatory cases with a quasi-criminal dimension involving allegations of sexual misconduct which would equally constitute a criminal offence.

Simon relies upon his extensive experience to analyse and understand how and why allegations against healthcare professionals arise and to devise the most appropriate strategy to defeat or diffuse them. His clinical knowledge and uncomplicated approach does much to gain the confidence of his clients generally and, when necessary, to accept and follow seemingly counter-intuitive advice to adopt a favourable, longer-term case strategy.

Notable Cases:

 Dr A: Simon represented an FY2 doctor who was criminally prosecuted for allegedly sexually assaulting two elderly female complainants during consultations which took place in his final (although his first non-hospital-based) rotation. The jury acquitted the defendant within an hour of deliberating. Simon also represented the doctor throughout concurrent GMC proceedings which included appearances before the IOT. Simon was successful in persuading the GMC’s Case Examiners to conclude the case with no further action at Rule 7 stage.

Dr L: Simon represented a Consultant Gastroenterologist who faced an allegation of sexual assault which allegedly occurred during a colonoscopy procedure when the complainant was sedated, with the procedure having been observed by three attending nurses. Simon represented the doctor at his police interview and then successfully persuaded the GMC to withdraw its IOT referral on the basis of the overwhelming evidence that nothing untoward had occurred. The police and GMC investigations were concluded in the doctor’s favour shortly thereafter.

Dr H: Simon represented a Consultant Psychiatrist in a police investigation concerning the death of a patient who had been diagnosed with EUPD and who took her own life hours after her release from a mental health unit having indicated her alleged intention to do so at the time of discharge.

Dr DP: Simon represented an SpR Intensivist during a police investigation relating to an offence of gross negligence manslaughter following an incident of medical misadventure which caused a fatal cardiac arrest. Simon acted in the subsequent inquest proceedings in which his client was criticised by the Coroner and in the consequent GMC investigation which concluded with the doctor’s acceptance of a warning.

Dr B: Simon represented a GP in proceedings before the MPT concerning an alleged sexual assault of a female patient which was said to have occurred during a routine chest examination. The complainant’s account was sufficiently discredited that the MPT acceded to a submission of “no case to answer” during Stage One.

Dr O: Simon represented the brother of a (then) highly prominent member of the government in proceedings before the MPT which concluded with his suspension.

Mr P: Simon represented a pharmacist who was investigated by the police in relation to an offence of gross negligence manslaughter following a prescription error. The pharmacist was not prosecuted.

Dr A: Simon represented a dual-qualified rheumatologist and osteopath who was investigated by the police, his employing Trusts, the GMC and the GOsC in relation to a complaint of sexual assault which, Simon argued, was explained by the complainant’s unfamiliarity with Simon’s client and his enhanced qualifications and experience and by a breakdown in communication during the relevant consultation. Simon’s client was not prosecuted by the police. He accepted a warning from the GMC and a low level sanction at the GOsC.

Dr S: Simon represented a consultant histopathologist who faced proceedings before the MPT following criticism from a Coroner of a post-mortem examination which required further investigation involving the exhumation of the deceased. Many of the allegations against Simon’s client were successfully refuted at Stage One. Those which were admitted or proven were found not to impair the doctor’s fitness to practise.

Advisory

Dr DB v GMC (2016) EWHC 2331 (QB): Simon acted for Dr DB in the High Court and in the subsequent Court of Appeal proceedings in challenging a decision of the GMC to release an expert report commissioned during a fitness to practise investigation to a complainant who intended to use that report to further a clinical negligence claim.

 

Contact Simon’s clerks

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250

Nichola Fox on 0113 2135213

Imogen Brown on 0113 2135225

Ranked as a “Rising star” for Inquests and Inquiries in The Legal 500 (2021) 

“on a solid foundation of representing clients throughout his distinguished career as a solicitor Mr Connolly has moved seamlessly to the bar to deliver the same high quality of work. His knowledge in healthcare ensures a wealth of instructions. He has a confident yet amenable approach in court. A very capable advocate indeed” Legal 500 2021

Since his transfer to the Bar and in view of his extensive clinical knowledge of medicine and dentistry, Simon has begun to develop a clinical negligence practice to complement his inquest and healthcare regulatory practice.

Already, Simon has been involved in cases of fatal and non-fatal injury concerning GPs, surgeons and GDPs involved in general practice, general medicine, general surgery, plastic surgery, general dentistry and orthodontics.

Likewise and so as to complement his Article 2 inquest practice, Simon has begun to develop a Human Rights Act claims practice with a focus upon the custodial and healthcare aspects of rights conferred by Articles 2, 3 and 8 ECHR.

Simon’s developing experience in these areas means that he is able to strategise his inquest work to mitigate the prospect of a subsequent claim and to rely upon his experience of having acted in the inquest when called upon to defend a claim against those he has represented.

Contact Simon’s clerks

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250

Nichola Fox on 0113 2135213

Imogen Brown on 0113 2135225