Home Health Law North Bristol NHS Consider -v- White: Contempt of Court docket in a scientific negligence declare | Scientific Negligence and Non-public Damage Weblog | Kingsley Napley

North Bristol NHS Consider -v- White: Contempt of Court docket in a scientific negligence declare | Scientific Negligence and Non-public Damage Weblog | Kingsley Napley

North Bristol NHS Consider -v- White: Contempt of Court docket in a scientific negligence declare | Scientific Negligence and Non-public Damage Weblog | Kingsley Napley


In my weblog on 21 April 2022, I summarised the verdict of the Court docket with regards to Natasha Colley, a contempt of Court docket dedicated by way of the Claimant’s mom and Litigation Buddy. This weblog specializes in an extra judgment for contempt: North Bristol NHS Consider -v- White. The case issues a declare for medical negligence for Cauda Equina Syndrome the place the Claimant exaggerated the level of her accidents.

The events in Pass over White’s declare reached settlement when it comes to legal responsibility – they agreed the Defendant pay 50% of the price of Pass over White’s declare. The agreement coated causation of Pass over White’s Cauda Equina Syndrome however didn’t quilt the level of signs stated to were led to by way of the Defendant.

Pass over White valued her declare, in her Agenda of Loss, at £4.1 million plus a sum for basic damages for ache and struggling. Following receipt of the Agenda of Loss, the North Bristol NHS Consider urged surveillance brokers to video Pass over White to get entry to her stage of mobility and features whilst out of the home. The surveillance video pictures confirmed Pass over White visiting supermarkets, getting out and in of her automobile freely and simply, strolling with none obvious limp, slowness or incapacity. She used to be additionally observed bending down and sorting garments at the back of her automobile.

North Bristol NHS Consider served its Counter Agenda pleading basic dishonesty and quantified the declare at round £34,000 plus basic damages for ache and struggling. The Consider additionally issued an software to strike out Pass over White’s declare.

The strike out software used to be heard by way of His Honour Pass judgement on Gore QC who struck out Pass over White’s declare for her failure to agree to Court docket instructions, and ordered her to pay off period in-between bills of damages totalling £45,000.

North Bristol NHS Consider then commenced contempt complaints and the evening prior to the listening to Pass over White agreed a clarified set of admissions acknowledging that:

1. She informed her ache control professional that “she used to be not able to stroll for 20 steps prior to having to forestall; if she didn’t use a crutch she used to be most effective ready to hobble”.

2. She informed her care professional that “she may no longer stroll for 10 metres prior to preventing; she may climb slowly if she stopped each and every 3 steps; she may pressure for 20 mins; she used a crutch outdoor; she used to be not able to transport from kneeling to status; she required supervision within the bathe and help along with her sneakers and socks.”

3. She informed her OT professional that “when she went out she used one crutch; she had excessive issue with kneeling, squatting or running at low ranges; she discovered it extraordinarily tough to get down directly to the ground to play along with her son.”

4. She informed her neurosurgical professional that “outdoor she walked with an elbow crutch; she may stroll for 10-20 steps prior to desiring to forestall and leisure; she may no longer get out and in of the bathtub.”

In a witness remark produced following receipt of the surveillance proof Pass over White maintained her that she had no longer been cheating. She stood by way of her earlier feedback at the extent to which her disabilities limited day-to-day dwelling and impacted upon her private care wishes.

The committal for contempt used to be heard by way of Mr Justice Ritchie on 24, 25 and 26 Might 2022. Ritchie J made a discovering of incontrovertible fact that between Might 2018 and January 2019 Pass over White dishonestly and deliberately made false statements to 4 professionals who had been reporting to the Court docket on her bodily situation. Within the context of a declare valued in far more than £4 million Ritchie J discovered past cheap doubt that the false statements with regards to Pass over White’s mobility had a worth of no less than £1 million.

In gentle of this discovering of reality Ritchie J went directly to cross sentence for contempt.

Culpability and Hurt

It used to be famous that Pass over White were cheating in some way that she misled many professionals all over her medical negligence declare. She persisted that dishonesty in her witness remark in spite of being proven the surveillance proof which had uncovered her dishonesty. She confirmed no perception, working out or regret in doing so.

As to hurt led to, Ritchie J pointed to Pass over White’s behavior that put the NHS, throughout the Consider, to further expense in acquiring professional reviews, expending prison charges and wearing out surveillance and bringing contempt complaints. Her behavior additionally ended in precious Court docket time and sources getting used. She led to expenditure to the Criminal Support machine which is able to by no means be recovered.

Non-public Mitigation

Ritchie J pointed to the next components in mitigation:

1. Pass over White had a 9 12 months outdated son;

2. She lived along with her mom who supplied some care to her son;

3. Pass over White had already suffered on account of her dishonesty. She misplaced the residual price of her medical negligence declare which can have been as prime as £150,000. She recovered £45,000 of period in-between bills however used to be ordered to pay off this sum;

4. Pass over White suffered a terrible bodily problem on account of her degenerate spinal situation which first changed into symptomatic when she used to be in her overdue teenagers;

5. Pass over White had obviously suffered a significant depressive dysfunction (as evidenced by way of a psychiatric file) which were recurrent and fluctuating. Her situation had a disruptive impact on her decision-making procedure;

6. Pass over White and her son have rights below the Human Rights Act to a circle of relatives existence, and Pass over White has rights below the Equality Act 2010 on account of her bodily disabilities, and

7. The time that had befell between the top of Pass over White’s medical negligence declare, the beginning of the contempt complaints and the permission listening to. The complaints were striking over her for for much longer than somebody would need in a really perfect global. Alternatively, the delays had been contributed to my Pass over White’s failure to make complete and frank admissions of her contempt till the remaining minute.


Ritchie J held the start line for contempt of Court docket is a sentence of imprisonment of twelve months. On account of the mitigating components this used to be diminished to six months. Consideration then grew to become as to whether the sentence will have to take quick impact or be suspended.

At paragraph 101 of his judgment Ritchie J said whilst sentencing Pass over White “I believe that you just recently do provide a possibility to the general public handbag and public establishments as results of your means on your medical negligence declare towards a tax payer funded organisation. I don’t believe a suspended sentence would correctly ameliorate that possibility. I believe that you’ve got proven a historical past of deficient compliance with Court docket orders and regulations with regards to statements of fact within the medical negligence declare and specifically your interplay with the professionals and your carrier of witness statements with statements of fact which contained cheating falsities. No mitigation has been put ahead to turn that there’s any previous rehabilitation when it comes to your interactions with the NHS Consider or the DWP or any life like prospect of rehabilitation on your interactions with State funded organisations.

He persisted at paragraph 103 pointing out “In spite of everything I don’t believe that postponing the sentence gets the message throughout to you sufficiently strongly that: defrauding the NHS, which is funded by way of the tax payer is totally unacceptable. Nor wouldn’t it ship out the correct message to these recently suing NHS Trusts or those that will achieve this one day.

Pass over White used to be sentenced to six months quick imprisonment.


That is the 3rd medical negligence case in 5 months to were the topic of contempt complaints. Defendants and their advisers are obviously alive to the potential of claimants to magnify the affect their accidents have on everyday dwelling. Pass over White’s case is every other instance of the will for claimants to be prompt at the outcome of creating false statements, the reality Defendants can, and do, search surveillance proof and the significance of verifying a claimant’s model of occasions.

Claimant advisers will have to as a question in fact behavior an in depth assessment of disclosure subject material (scientific and DWP data, social media and different 3rd celebration disclosure subject material). Moreover, witness statements for claimants will have to no longer most effective focal point on what a claimant can not do on account of their accidents, but in addition summarise what they may be able to do on a just right, dangerous and conventional day.

On the finish of his judgment, Ritchie J set out an appendix of related sentencing in related circumstances. This comes in handy studying for individuals who specialize in scientific negligence and private harm litigation – the judgment is to be had in this hyperlink.

Additional knowledge

If you want to any extent further knowledge or recommendation concerning the matter mentioned on this weblog, please touch Richard Hotel or our Scientific Negligence and Non-public Damage group.



Richard Hotel is a Spouse within the Scientific Negligence and Non-public Damage observe and has been recognised inside the box of medical/scientific negligence inside the Chambers UK and Criminal 500 directories. He’s an for my part ranked attorney for medical negligence inside Chambers UK, A Shopper’s Information to the United Kingdom Criminal Occupation.




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