Our Committee

Our committee is made up representatives from the medical and legal profession. If you are interested in joining the committee please get in touch.

President

Ross McWilliams

Ross is an Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell LLP in Leeds. He helps clients recover compensation for injuries caused as a result of medical negligence including those caused by failures in obstetric, neonatology, paediatric care. Ross also deals with cases involving delay in diagnosis of cancer, hospital acquired infections, substandard abdominal and orthopaedic surgery and amputations. Ross joined the Leeds and District Medico-Legal Society as a member in 2009 and joined the committee in 2015. He is an APIL Accredited Clinical Negligence Specialist.

Vice President

Abeezar Sarela

Abeezar was appointed to the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust as a Consultant in Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery in 2003. He trained in Bombay, London, Leeds and New York. His clinical practice comprises surgery for cancers of the oesophagus and stomach, bariatric surgery, and surgery for acid reflux, gallstones and hernias, with strong emphasis on laparoscopy. He passionate about academic medical law, and he is currently completing a PhD on the law of consent for surgery at the University of Leeds.

Lectures and Events Secretary

Claire Farrell

Claire is an Associate at DAC Beachcroft, Leeds, specialising in defending the NHS against claims for clinical negligence. She acts on behalf of NHS Resolution for Trusts across Yorkshire. Claire deals with a wide range of clinical negligence issues including wrongful births, amputations and orthopaedic surgery. Claire joined the committee in 2017

Membership Secretary

Charlotte North

Charlotte is a Senior Solicitor at Capsticks Solicitors LLP.  Charlotte specialises in clinical negligence, supporting NHS Resolution and a range of Trusts across the UK.  After studying at the University of Sheffield, Charlotte trained at a leading Defendant Insurance Firm before joining Capsticks in 2016. Charlotte joined the committee in 2019.

Paul Cowling

Paul Cowling has been a consultant shoulder and elbow surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals since August 2016.  He was previously a trainee in the North East, and completed fellowship level training at both Leeds and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.  His main areas of interest are keyhole surgery to the shoulder, and both primary and revision shoulder replacement surgery.  He works at a major trauma centre in Leeds, and specialises in the treatment of complex upper limb trauma.  He has published extensively on shoulder replacement surgery, and is involved in research at Leeds Biomedical Research Centre, and Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, Leeds University. He is a national panel member for ODEP for shoulder replacements, and the ’Beyond Compliance’ committee for the introduction of new shoulder replacement implants into the UK.  He teaches Medical Ethics at the University of Leeds, and holds a position on the Ethics and Law Management Team (ELMT) Committee for the university’s medical school.

Almas Khan

Almas Khan has been a consultant in Complex Spine Surgery at the Leeds General Infirmary since 2011. Following undergraduate Medicine and Surgery at Newcastle, he rotated through specialist training in the North East in Trauma and Orthopaedics, with a focus on spine surgery. He moved to Leeds for an Advanced Fellowship in Complex Spine Surgery. His current clinical practice encompasses the range of spine surgery, including spinal deformity correction in adults and children, as well as complex and minimally invasive reconstruction techniques and revision spine surgery. His medico-legal practice focuses on complex problems of the spine and is based, along with his private practice, at Nuffield Leeds Hospital.

Leila Benyounes

Leila is a specialist clinical negligence and personal injury barrister practising from Parklane Plowden Chambers in Leeds. She conducts cases for private clients, public authorities and government departments, representing both Claimants and Defendants. Leila has a particular interest in coronial law and fatal accidents and regularly represents interested persons in inquests including Article 2 jury inquests. Leila joined the Leeds and District Medico-Legal Society committee in 2009 and was President of the Society from 2015-6 and 2018-20. Leila is also a member of Action against Medical Accidents, (AVMA) and the Personal Injury Bar Association, (PIBA).

Anna Datta

Anna is a specialist clinical negligence, personal injury and employment barrister practising from Parklane Plowden Chambers in Leeds. Anna joined The Leeds and District Medico-Legal Society committee in 2010 and became Hon. legal secretary in 2014. Anna is also a member of the Personal Injury Bar Association, (PIBA) and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, (APIL).

HONORARY TREASURER

Richard Paige

Our Honorary Treasurer Richard is a barrister specialising in clinical negligence and personal injury at Park Square Barristers in Leeds. He acts on behalf of both claimants and defendants, as well as interested parties at inquests. He joined the Leeds and District Medico-Legal Society committee in 2018. He is a member of the Personal Injury Bar Association (PIBA) and regularly speaks at AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) events. In 2019 he was appointed a Recorder in the civil jurisdiction.

Simon Britten

Simon was appointed to Leeds Teaching Hospitals as a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon in 2002, having completed surgical training in Bath and Bristol and following fellowship training in the Ilizarov method at the Ilizarov Scientific Centre in Kurgan, Siberia. He was formerly an officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving with the Brigade of Gurkhas in Dharan, Nepal. As a House Surgeon at RAF Wroughton he was involved in the surgical care of servicemen evacuated from the First Gulf War. His practice includes the treatment of severe lower limb fractures and post-traumatic limb reconstruction including non-union, mal-union and deformity, limb length inequality, bone loss, bone infection and amputation. He is currently elected secretary of the British Limb Reconstruction Society. In May 2018 he was awarded the degree of Master of Laws with Distinction in medical law and ethics by De Montfort University Leicester.

Joanne Neale

Joanne Neale is a Partner at DAC Beachcroft, Leeds, specialising in defending clinical negligence claims for the NHS. Joanne has been defending clinical negligence claims on behalf of NHS Resolution since 2004. She is highly regarded for her work on catastrophic injury claims for children and adults and specialises in birth injury matters. Joanne also sits on various Litigation and Patient Safety Review Groups for NHS Trusts. She joined the committee in 2010.

Clare Devlin

Clare works for the Medical Protection Society, jointly managing a wide range of clinical negligence claims with solicitors in Leeds and London on behalf of Medical Protection Members. Previously she worked in hospital rotations in Yorkshire and the East Midlands. She joined the committee in 2018.

Emily Senior

Emily is a Partner at Capsticks LLP and leads a team of 14 Clinical Lawyers in Leeds working for NHS Resolution, supporting a range of NHS Trusts and private healthcare providers across the UK. Emily originally trained in Claimant clinical negligence at Irwin Mitchell LLP after studying at the University of Bristol. Emily has been a member of the society since 2010 and joined the committee in 2013.

Emma Summerfield

Emma is a Solicitor at Hempsons specialising in Healthcare Litigation. Emma runs a varied caseload of clinical negligence claims acting primarily on behalf of NHS Trusts. Prior to joining Hempsons she completed her training contract at Irwin Mitchell. Emma joined the committee in 2018.

Abigail Telford

Abigail is a specialist personal injury and clinical negligence barrister practising from Parklane Plowden Chambers in Leeds. Abigail regularly conducts cases for both Claimants and Defendants. Abigail joined the Leeds and District Medico-Legal Society committee in 2018. Abigail is also a member of the Personal Injury Bar Association (PIBA), the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and AVMA (Action against Medical Accidents).

 

Rachel Sharp

Rachel is an Associate Solicitor at Ramsdens Solicitor LLP. She helps recover compensation for clients who have suffered injury as a result of medical negligence and personal injury. Rachel deals with a wide range of clinical negligence claims including those caused by failings resulting in birthing injuries, orthopaedic injuries and amputations together with delays in diagnosis of cancer and injuries leading to fatalities.

Rachel joined the Leeds and District medico-legal society as a member in 2018 and joined the committee in 2021.

Ruth Heathcote

Ruth is an Associate Solicitor at Switalskis Solicitors Ltd. Ruth trained at Irwin Mitchell LLP after completing her Law degree at Leeds University. She specialises in acting for Claimants in clinical negligence claims. Ruth joined the committee in September 2018 and is an APIL accredited litigator.

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