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Helen Wolstenholme

Call 2002

+44 (0)20 7822 1200

"She's firm but pragmatic, and very good at what she does."

Chambers UK 2019

"She's very experienced, trustworthy and approachable."

Chambers UK 2019

"A thorough and competent barrister with a good eye for detail."

Chambers UK 2018

"She dealt beautifully with a tricky case."

Chambers UK 2018

"Reputed for her ability to address allegations of exaggeration."

Chambers UK 2018

Practice Overview

Identified as a “Leader in the Field” of Personal Injury in Chambers & Partners, Helen has a well-established practice in substantial personal injury litigation, clinical negligence and employment law. She has a reputation for sound judgment and polished advocacy together with a calm, assured manner.

Helen served as Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel) from 2009 to 2014.

Personal Injury

Helen has a broad personal injury practice covering catastrophic injury; employer’s liability (including industrial disease and psychiatric injury); occupiers’ liability and defective premises; accidents abroad; RTAs (including claims involving allegations of fraud) the Animals Act; and product liability / Sale of Goods Act claims. She excels when analysing complex issues and provides well-structured and succinct advice which recognises the commercial realities of civil litigation.

Helen enjoys acting for both claimants and defendants in the County Court and High Court and has experience of inquests, mediations and specialist tribunals such as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

She has a particular interest in cases involving psychiatric injury or thorny questions of causation and has published articles in the New Law Journal and the Solicitors Journal.

Recent cases have included:


  • A v (1) B (2) X NHS Trust: Acting on behalf of the defendants and led by Christopher Russell in this claim for damages arising out of a road traffic accident and subsequent clinical treatment causing spinal cord injury. Claim settled for a sum in excess of £4 million shortly before trial.
  • C v D: Acting on behalf of the defendant and led by Benjamin Browne QC in this claim arising out of a modest road traffic accident but resulting in alleged multiple life-changing injuries, including the development of pseudo-seizures and chronic pain. Case raised complex issues of causation.
  • E v F: Acting on behalf of the claimant in a substantial claim for damages arising out of the development of complex regional pain syndrome following a trip at work.
  • G v Secretary of State for Justice: Acting on behalf of the defendant in this claim for false imprisonment, assault, battery and personal injury arising out of the claimant’s stay at a detention centre pending deportation. Claim dismissed following a multi-day trial in the High Court (QBD).
Clinical Negligence

Helen has a wide-ranging clinical negligence practice.

Recent cases include:


  • H v IJ NHS Trust: Acting for the claimant in a claim arising out of the development of pressure sores caused by negligent treatment following a catastrophic RTA.
  • K v LM: Acting for the claimant in a claim against a cosmetic surgeon and arising out of negligent breast reduction surgery.
  • N v OP: Acting for the claimant in a claim arising out of negligently-conducted ophthalmic surgery (cataracts), resulting in loss of sight.
  • Q v Ministry of Defence: Acting for the defendant in a claim involving an alleged failure to certify that the claimant was a “protected party” for Court of Protection purposes.
  • R v NO NHS Trust: Acting for the defendant in a claim involving alleged failure to obtain informed consent for surgery (application of Chester v Afshar).

Helen’s travel and jurisdiction practice is built on her personal injury and clinical negligence expertise, and she has particular experience of cases involving Spanish law.

Recent examples of her work include:


  • Acting for the claimant, an engineer, who suffered catastrophic injuries to the hands while working on a yacht in Italy, as well as associated psychiatric injury. Case raised complex issues relating to loss of earnings and was settled for a sum in excess of £450,000.
  • Acting for the claimant, who suffered severe facial injuries while being treated for anaphylactic shock as a result of an allergic reaction to penicillin while on holiday in Spain. Clinical negligence claim against Spanish doctor settled before trial.
  • Acting for the claimant, a Spanish stunt man employed by a Spanish company, who suffered severe injuries in England while being filmed on horseback for a television advert.
  • Acting for the defendant insurer in a claim for damages arising out of a catastrophic road traffic accident in Spain.

Helen acts for a broad range of clients across the whole range of employment law, including large multinationals, NHS Trusts and charities as well as for individual claimants, both independently and as Junior Counsel. She is usually instructed on cases involving complex and overlapping claims of discrimination or whistleblowing, and has significant experience of restrictive covenant claims in the High Court.

While Helen has a thriving practice in the civil courts, employment tribunals and EAT, she recognises the advantage of early resolution of disputes and has significant experience of advising employers and employees before litigation has arisen and of representation at internal hearings.

Recent cases include:


  • Smith v Pertemps: Acting for the respondent, led by Paul Downes QC, in this high-profile claim of sex discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair dismissal. The claims were dismissed and an unreasonable costs award in the respondent’s favour was made in the sum of £100,000.
  • Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust v Shah: Acting for the Respondent in this claim arising out of dismissal for gross misconduct (taking blood without patient’s consent) and alleged discrimination. EAT upheld Respondent’s appeal on ET’s failure to apply the range of reasonable responses test.
  • L v PQ Sixth Form College: Acting for the respondent in this claim of discrimination on the grounds of religious belief, brought by a chaplain of a Catholic Sixth Form College.
  • Dr U v Ministry of Defence: Acting for the Ministry of Defence in this ongoing claim of race and sex discrimination, harassment and victimisation brought by a doctor serving as an Officer in the Army and arising out of her time on the Officer-training course at Sandhurst.
  • Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills v Studders & others (2011) EAT: test for employment status.
  • Hardeman v Cosgrove & Cosgrove Ltd (2011) EAT: test for redundancy.
  • Sunley v Ministry of Justice (2009) EAT: correct application of power to review strike out decision.