Dr Michael Powers QC (1979, QC 1995)

Dr Michael Powers QC (1979, QC 1995)

BSc MB BS DA FFFLM LLD (hons)
Membership Status: Barrister - Full Member Qualified in 1979 Appointed QC in 1995
Bar Standards Board - Regulating Barristers
Barristers in England and Wales are regulated by the Bar Standards Board

Profile

General Information

Dr Michael Powers QC is leader of the Clinical Negligence Group at Clerksroom and acts on behalf of both claimants and defendants.
 

He has had 35 years’ experience at the Bar in all areas of medico-legal practice focusing on medical, scientific and legal causation. He has published, lectured and broadcast widely on medical negligence. As a strong supporter of the NHS Dr Powers advocates constant attention to standards of practice and an open system of accountability when things go wrong.

Too many lives are lost through clinical negligence and lessons still need to be learned. For many years before the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Hospital scandal, he campaigned for “Robbie’s Law” – a legal duty of candour in the NHS. Until healthcare workers learn that cover-up is worse than owning-up, we will have to continue to employ the legal machinery to unearth the truth. This process is in the interests of patients and the general public.

His other main interests as a medical negligence QC relate to the investigation of deaths (coroners and other inquiries). He has represented the Fire & Rescue service at inquests, the pharmaceutical industry with regard to product liability and licensing and all types of cases (civil and criminal) where scientific principles are involved. He lives up to his Chambers & Partners recognised reputation as being “first-rate on technical evidence.”

As a former helicopter pilot, Dr Powers is instructed in civil and criminal aviation cases. His instructors used to tell him that helicopters are the safest means of air transport – maybe he says– but it depends on who flies and maintains them.

As a trained and accredited Mediator with the Notre Dame School of Law (2000) he mediates principally in professional negligence matters, though he has experience mediating in marine and aviation cases. He is presently engaged in an international commercial arbitration which involves substantial dispute on technical matters.

He has an extensive practice in the Caribbean and he has conducted cases in the Isle of Man and Mauritius and an inquiry in the Channel Islands.

Education in medicine and the law is vitally important to Dr Powers.  He remains a Registered Medical Practitioner and is a lead examiner for the Primary Membership of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians. On the legal side, for many years he has been a grade A advocacy trainer/tutor trainer and he seeks to improve the skills of advocacy of young barristers in England, Wales and abroad.

Practising at the Bar as a medical negligence QC Dr Powers is committed to helping all those who seek justice and accountabiiity.

He was elected a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 1998.

 

Personal Life

Dr Powers's personal life is intrinsically woven into his professional life and the activities of a practising clinical negligence QC. Whilst not shunning the social media, his inputs have been conservative and designed to exchange ideas and news which might be of value to friends and professional colleagues.

Music is an important part of his life. He plays the piano (a Fazioli) but prefers to listen to the better performances of others.  Reading both medicine and law is a necessary and time consuming part of a medical negligence QC’s life. Nevertheless, when time permits, reading for pleasure is a delight for him - provided the prose is cultured and the subject interesting.

With a home on the river Tavy on the western edge of Dartmoor, Dr Powers encourages visiting legal teams and experts to participate in the local outdoor life. Keeping the mind alert through exercise and discussions about the angles in a case whilst walking is invaluable.  The boot was on the other foot when he was prosecuting a helicopter case for the SPA when his team wanted to go on what he termed "route marches" on the moors.  He does not profess the fitness of servicemen and women but maintains that exercise is good for the thought processes: “bath time” as it is otherwise known.

Photography is a passion of his.  After many years a Canon enthusiast he has now reverted to Leica now that digital perfection can be matched with the world’s best photographic lenses.  B&W portraits are a particular interest and he is being drawn back into chemical photography.

Lincoln’s Inn is a fundamental part of Dr Powers's life. Enthusiastic involvement in the collegiate life, education, ethics and advocacy training is a privilege.  The cameraderie of the Bar provides an environment in which there is enjoyment in the stimulus of learning from each other.  He is active in supporting those who aspire to practise in the profession.

A great interest in wine led to Dr Powers to being intronisé vigneron d’honneur by la Jurade de Saint-Emilion in September 2012: it ensures regular visits to the Bordeaux region.

He has two children, both of whom are married. His son Andrew and his wife Cassie have a daughter (Abigail) and his daughter Julia and her husband John have given him a grandson (Robert).

Last but not least Dr Powers is fortunate to have a wife who not only tolerates his interests but becomes involved with them. He shares interests with her – even to the extent of Pamela also qualifying as a helicopter pilot.  Her qualities of patience, care and tolerance support him when he is most under pressure.

Specialisations:

Major medical negligence actions (cerebral palsy, anaesthetic brain damage, neuro/cardiac surgery) for both claimants and defendants. Group litigation involving medical treatment such as excess irradiation cases (e.g. Exeter and RAGE)

Pharmaceutical litigation: egs: the benzodiazepine multiparty litigation for manufacturers and combined oral contraceptive multiparty litigation for manufacturers; carbon disulphide group litigation; general product liability, licensing and judicial review.

Other areas of practice include:

All work where significant medical causation issues arise such as chemicals used in industrial processes. Professional negligence associated with the conduct of medical cases.

Prosecution of Medical Practitioners before the General Medical Council for the GMC and ABPI

Significant Coroners' Inquests (particularly helicopter tragedies and deaths alleged to have been caused by drugs or chemicals) and Judicial Review.

Appointments:

House Surgeon to The Middlesex Hospital, London 1972/73

House Physician to Professor Sir Donald Acheson, Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton 1973/74

Senior House Officer (Anaesthetics) Royal United Hospital, Bath 1974/75

Registrar in Anaesthetics, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow 1975/77

Students’ Counsellor at Lincoln’s Inn 1983/90

Assist. Deputy Coroner (Westminster) 1981/87

President of the South of England Coroners' Society 1987/88

Member of Qinetiq Medical Research Ethics Committee 1999 - 2004

Member of the Advocacy Training Council 2004- Vice Chairman 2007 - 2012

Past Member of the Bar Standards Board Sub-Committee on Revision of the Code of Conduct

Past Member of the Bar Standards Board BPTC Committee

Examiner for the Fellowship of the Facutly of Forensic and Legal Medicine of the Royal College of Physcians

Professional Memberships:

Royal Society of Medicine

Professional Negligence Bar Association

Society of Doctors in Law

Medico-Legal Society of London

Elected Fellow of the Faculty of Forensic Law & Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians (2007)

Personal interests:

Improving the quality of medical practice and advocacy at the Bar;

Lecturing, broadcasting on specialist topics, shooting, flying (holder of PPL(H) and has held ratings on R22, R44 and EC120 helicopters), piano playing and photography.

Education:

London BSc (Hons Biochem) MB BS (Lon) DA (RCS), FFFLM, LLD (honoris causa)

For further details about Dr. Powers' career and practice please click link for his own website.

Testimonials

Testimonials

Areas of Law

Dr Michael Powers QC (1979, QC 1995) is happy to accept instructions as counsel who is:

  • Clinical Negligence
  • Inquests
  • Personal Injury
  • Personal Injury
  • Professional Negligence
  • Road Traffic

Outside of these key areas of law, Dr Michael Powers QC (1979, QC 1995) is always willing to consider any enquiry requiring the experience or knowledge needed to help you or your client. Please call Michael direct or the support team on 01823 247 247 if you would like to discuss any aspect of this profile.

Cases and Publications

I have written many articles on medico-legal subjects. My first publication, as a young co-Author of a biochemistry paper was "Hydroxylations of aromatic amino acids mediated by a tetrahydropterin" Biochimica et biophysica acta {Biochim-Biophys-Acta} 1970 Dec 29, VOL: 222 (3), P: 606-10, ISSN: 0006-3002.

The more prominent other publications are:

Co-Author of "Thurston's Coronership: The Law and Practice on Coroners" (1985) Longman Law, Tax and Finance

Specialist Editor: Coroner's Law in the Justice of the Peace Reports (1985-1990)

Chapter in "Consciousness Awareness and Pain in General Anaesthesia" Butterworths (1987)

Co-Author of "Casebook on Coroners" Barry Rose Publications (1989)

Chapter in "General Anaesthesia" Butterworths 5th edn (1989)

General Editor of "Powers & Harris: Medical Negligence" Butterworths (1990)

Record Keeping in Anaesthesia: what the law requires Br. J. Anaesth. 1994:73:22-24

The Coroner's Inquest: Br. J. Anaesth. 1994; 73; 78-82

Introduction to Medical Negligence Law Clinical Risk (1995) 1, 37-39

Foreseeability and Remoteness Clinical Risk (1996) 2, 85-87

Chapter in "Rehabilitation of the Physically Disabled Adult" Stanley Thornes (1997)

Chapter in "General Anaesthesia" Butterworths 6th edn (1997)

Chapter in "Emergency Anaesthesia" Arnold (1997)

Chapter in "Drug Induced Automatism in Medicine, Medical Devices and The Law" Greenwich Medical Media Limited (1999)

Co-Author of "Sources of Coroners Law" (1999) Barry Rose Law Publishers Ltd

General Editor of "Powers & Harris: Clinical Negligence" Butterworths (2000)

Chapter in "Risk Management and Litigation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology" Royal Society of Medicine (2001)

Chapter in "Acquired Damage to the Developing Brain" Arnold (2002)

Communicating risk in the United Kingdom. BMJ 2003 Sep 27 327(7417) 735-6

Present Consulting Editor: Clinical Risk published by Churchill Livingstone

A Quantum Leap for Investment in Patient Safety: A Legal and Moral Duty. Published privately Simon John and Michael Powers QC September 2011

Opinion on the Crash of Chinook ZD 576 on Mull of Kintyre 2nd June 1994

Please click link for full list of Case Law.

Fees and Feedback

Fees and Feedback

FEES:

Details regarding our approach to fees can be found at the following link:  http://www.clerksroom.com/content-html?cid=336

SERVICES:

Please see “profile” tab for a description of the legal services provided by this barrister.

We aim to complete and return all paperwork within 14 days (2 weeks) of receipt if no specific deadline is provided. We can work to much faster timescales if requested or we can agree a specific target date for each individual circumstance. We will always advise at the outset if counsel is unable to meet any deadline.

Each barrister has a standard hourly rate for their work. The individual hourly rate can be agreed when instructions are acknowledged if preferred. We welcome early discussion as to the suitability of a specific barrister for a specific case. The right barrister will have the relevant expertise to deal with the case but will not be too junior, or too senior depending on the complexities.

We aim to allocate all cases to the correct level of experience & seniority which we believe will prove most to be the most cost-effective solution for our clients.

If, due to urgency, we allocate paperwork to a more senior member of Clerksroom, we will charge the appropriate hourly rate for the work, not for the barrister. We welcome early discussion to ensure the correct fee is applied to the case at the outset.

REDRESS:

All our barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and hold a current practising certificate, details can be found at the following link Barristers’ Register

Complaints information

If you are not satisfied with the service provided, you can make a complaint to Chambers. Information on the chambers’ complaints procedure is available at the following link: http://www.clerksroom.com/content-html?cid=416

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from my chambers, you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. You must contact the Legal Ombudsman either within 6 months following the conclusion of our handling your complaint, within 6 years from the date of the act/omission, or 3 years from the date that you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago).

The Legal Ombudsman’s details are as follows:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
Tel: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Web: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Privacy Notice

Fees and Feedback

1.              This is a privacy notice that describes how, why and for how long I will process or keep your personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’).

2.              The GDPR governs how an individual’s personal data is used, and your rights in relation to that data.

3.              I, Dr Michael Powers QC (1979, QC 1995), have been instructed by you or your litigation friend (usually a parent), through your solicitor or agent, or via the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

4.              It is necessary for me to process your personal data in order for me to provide you with legal services, for example:

·   Advise on the prospects of litigation;

·   Advise on the value of your claim;

·   Representation at a court hearing;

·   Representation at trial;

·   Advise, review or comment on legal issues or evidence.

5.              Processing means anything done to data such as: recording, organising, adapting, altering, copying, consulting, transmitting, combining, erasing or storing it.

6.              The processing for the purposes listed above will take place in accordance with either Article 6(1)(a) GDPR or Article 6(1)(b) GDPR, depending on how you instructed me.

7.              If you have instructed me on a direct access basis, or engaged a solicitor (or legal agent), to assist you in bringing or defending a claim then the processing is necessary to perform a contract to which you are a party (Article 6(1)(b) GDPR). To give effect to that contract (i.e. to bring a claim) it is necessary for me to process your personal data for litigation purposes.

8.              If I am assisting you on a pro bono basis, it will be necessary for me to seek your consent to be able to represent you (Article 6(1)(a) GDPR). In this scenario, you will be sent a consent form.

Recipients of your data

9.              I may also be required to share your data with others, depending on the nature of your case. This may include:

(i)                  Courts and other tribunals to whom documents are presented;

(ii)                Your solicitors, or agent representing you, through whom I have been instructed;

(iii)               Potential witnesses, experts and other persons involved in the case;

(iv)               Solicitors, barristers, or other legal representatives;

(v)                Ombudsman and regulatory authorities;

(vi)               Education and examining bodies; and

(vii)             Current, past or prospective employers.

Special Categories of Data

10.          In some cases I will have been given your personal data that is within the ‘special categories’ of data described in GDPR Article 9(1). For example, personal data that reveals your race, ethnicity, sexual preferences, political or religious beliefs, trade union membership or health. There are also restrictions for processing information regarding criminal convictions.

11.          This type of personal data will only be processed where it is necessary in order to represent you in your legal claim, or advise on the prospects of a legal claim.

Retention

12.          I will retain your personal data for no longer than is necessary, and where it is possible, I will anonymise your data.

13.          How long your personal data is kept will depend on a number of factors. The retention period will be reviewed when the service I am providing you with is complete. However in general, I am obliged by the Bar Code of Conduct to retain records of my cases, and by HM Revenue and Customs to retain records for 6 years.

14.          Once your case has concluded and fees have been paid, I shall retain only the personal data necessary for the following purposes:

(i)                  The legal and professional obligation to retain information relating to my cases;

(ii)                To check for any potential conflict of interests that may arise in the future when I am instructed on other cases;

(iii)               For use in the defence of potential complaints, legal proceedings or fee disputes;

(iv)               To refer back to in future cases which raise similar legal, factual, or procedural issues.

15.          The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14 (ii), (iii), and (iv) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(f) GDPR. That is, for the purposes of legitimate interests that are not outweighed by your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms.

16.          The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14(i) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(c) GDPR. That is, the processing is necessary for me to comply with a legal obligation. 

Your Rights

17.          Where processing of your personal data was based on your consent (see paragraphs 6 and 8) you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. This does not affect the lawfulness of the processing based on consent before its withdrawal.

18.          Withdrawal of your consent to process such data will most likely mean that I am no longer able to provide you with the legal services you seek.

19.          You may request confirmation that your personal data is being processed by me and details about the personal data, the source, the processing, the purposes of the processing, the recipients and the retention period.

20.          You may request a copy of your personal data that is being processed by me. You may also request rectification (i.e. correction) where there are inaccuracies in the personal data.

21.          You have the right to object, on grounds relating to your particular situation, at any time, to processing of your personal data in paragraph 14 of this privacy notice. Should you object, the processing will only continue where there are compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests. 

22.          Where the processing or retention of your data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, it will not be possible to object. 

23.          You have the right to request that your personal data is erased where any of the following apply:

(i)                  The personal data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed;

(ii)                You withdraw your consent where the basis of processing was based on consent and where there is no other ground for the processing;

(iii)               Where your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests override the legitimate interests of processing in paragraph 14;

(iv)               The personal data has been unlawfully processed; or

(v)                The personal data have to be erased to comply with a legal obligation.

24.          You have the right to request that your personal data is restricted from processing, so that it is simply stored, for the following reasons: as an alternative to deletion; so that it can be corrected; for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; to verify if a legitimate ground exists (paragraph 14).

25.          Where it is necessary to correct your personal data, or you have requested the restriction or erasure of your personal data, I shall endeavour to contact the recipients of the personal data, unless this involves disproportionate effort. 

Security

26.          I take appropriate physical and technical procedures to safeguard your personal data to prevent it from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way. The I.T. systems used by Clerksroom are ISO27001 compliant.

Complaints or Queries

27.          If you have any questions regarding this privacy notice, or how I use your personal data please email me: powersqc@clerksroom.com, or my clerks: mail@clerksroom telephone 01823 247 247.

28.          I shall aim to respond as soon as possible, and within 30 days.

29.          You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) if you believe I have not handled your request in an appropriate manner. For information on contacting the ICO please go to: https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Can't find what you are looking for or prefer to talk?

Barristers: 01823 247 247 Mediators: 01823 704 099