Ranked in The Legal 500 (2022) for Inquests and Inquiries
“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
Simon is a specialist and expert inquest practitioner, with inquests constituting his principal area of practice. His expertise is such that Simon was appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Regional Civil Counsel (C List) after only six months in practice at the Bar as a transferred solicitor, following an open process which the Attorney General described as “fiercely competitive”.
In consequence of Simon’s healthcare regulatory law background, his inquest practice heralds a strong healthcare aspect. He is regularly instructed to represent corporate healthcare providers and their employees in addition to individual practitioners across all healthcare disciplines on the instruction of MDO’s, insurers and employers. Simon’s general sector and specific clinical knowledge are impressively well developed.
Simon spends much of his time appearing before Coroners sitting with a jury in multiweek death in custody cases which engage Article 2 ECHR, in which he will regularly represent the prison healthcare provider and appear with and against experienced counsel, including members of the Attorney General’s A and B lists (representing the Ministry of Justice).
Simon’s experience of such cases means that he has comprehensive understanding of prison processes (both discipline and healthcare), including transfers, reception screening, first night, location, movement, ACCT management, general discipline and healthcare provision. He also very much understands the unique complexities of life and work within the secure estate and the daily pressures faced by those detained and who work within it.
Simon’s more traditional inquest practice has seen him represent surgeons, anaesthetists, physicians, psychiatrists, GP’s, nurses and pharmacists in addition to primary urgent care out of hours providers, care homes (staff and providers) and other private health and social care service providers. Since his transfer to the Bar, Simon has expanded his inquest practice to include the representation of police forces and Local Authorities.
Simon has an uncomplicated approach to his advocacy which finds favour with his tribunal and also those he is instructed to represent.
Article 2 Inquests:
Inquest touching the death of MM (Inner South London): 11 day inquest concerning the death of a prisoner in which the evidence as to the cause of death was equivocal (toxicological/ violent/ natural). The inquest also touched upon the adequacy of the deceased’s reception screening, the management of his mental health condition and his management under the ACCT process. Heard by Henrietta Hill QC sitting as an Assistant Coroner. Conclusion: Drug Related.
Inquest touching the death of RG (St Pancras): 7 day inquest concerning the self-inflicted death of a prisoner who took his own life in view of the guilt associated with the nature of his offending. The inquest touched upon the deceased’s management under the ACCT process and the adequacy of the emergency response, in respect of which Simon successfully deployed a Tainton argument to exclude that issue from the jury’s consideration. Conclusion: Suicide.
Inquest touching the death of DA (Doncaster): 8 day inquest concerning the self-inflicted death of a prisoner whose mental health had deteriorated whilst in custody. The inquest touched upon the management of his mental health condition and the prison’s response to his deterioration via the ACCT process and during a time when the prison regime was restricted as a consequence of a walk-out by discipline staff. Simon successfully argued that non-causative or contributory failings should be returned as a (Box 3) factual finding and not as part of a narrative. Conclusion: Narrative (Suicide).
Inquest touching the death of PB (Wakefield): 4 day inquest concerning the death of a prisoner as a consequence of mixed drug toxicity and in which his medical management at the time of his reception into prison and on the day of his death were scrutinised without ultimate criticism. Conclusion: Drug Related.
Inquest touching the death of JW (Doncaster): 3 day inquest concerning the self-inflicted death of a prisoner shortly after his transfer into prison. The inquest scrutinised his reception screening and also the management of his enduring mental health conditions. Conclusion: Misadventure.
Inquest touching the death of TG (St Pancras): 7 day inquest concerning the self-inflicted death of a deaf and so vulnerable prisoner three weeks after his entry into prison. The inquest scrutinised the impact of a delay in the provision of hearing aids within the context of his deteriorating mental health. Conclusion: Narrative.
Inquest touching the death of AHS (Ipswich): 5 day inquest concerning the self-inflicted death of a long-term prisoner who had variously complained at his perceived ill-treatment and arguably manipulated the prison system to his own ends. Conclusion: Misadventure.
Inquest touching the death of CW (Worcestershire): 10 day inquest concerning the death of a prisoner from opioid toxicity shortly following a decision to withdraw him from IDTS as a consequence of medication diversion. The case also included the scrutiny of the resuscitation within the context of survivability and causation. Conclusion: Narrative.
Inquest touching the death of ES (Bolton): Simon represented a GP who prescribed Oromorph to a patient with a differential cancer diagnosis. The patient succumbed to a respiratory arrest days later. Simon challenged the pathology and toxicology evidence to establish a cause of death of (1a) pneumonia and (1b) COPD and not opiate toxicity.
Inquest touching the death of JM (Liverpool): Simon represented a Consultant Anaesthetist following the death of a severely disabled young boy who suffered a serious extravasation injury during surgery and arrested post-operatively. Whilst the death was explained by a rare and previously undiagnosed congenital heart condition. Simon’s client faced an assertion of “situational blindness” by his response to the arrest, which was successfully refuted. Conclusion: Narrative (natural causes).
Inquest touching the death of Baby SD (Rochdale): Simon represented a Consultant Obstetrician following the death of a neonate from sepsis within the context of post-natal hyperbilirubinemia which developed following a missed ante-natal Anti-D injection. The case involved complex neonatology and paediatric pathology evidence as to causation and preparation for exchange transfusion. Conclusion: Neglect.
Inquest touching the death of MC (Preston): Simon represented a Consultant Radiologist based in Northern Ireland who remotely reported on out of hours films for English Trusts in a case involving an orbital abscess related death in which subsequent local scanning was delayed although, as was established, not as a result of the actions of Simon’s client. Conclusion: Neglect.
Inquest touching the death of MS (Northumberland): Simon represented an Out of Hours provider who employed a German locum GP who diagnosed a potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmia in a student who became lost to follow-up. Conclusion: Natural Causes.
Inquest touching the death of IJF (Manchester): Simon represented a Birmingham based GP who prescribed an anti-depressant to an adolescent who later went on to take her own life whilst at university in Manchester. Conclusion: Suicide.
Inquest touching the death of HB (Nottingham): Simon represented a national pharmacy chain in inquest proceedings concerning the death of an elderly gentleman from sepsis and in which a prescription for antibiotics was not dispensed. Conclusion: Natural Causes.