Caroline Harrison QC successful for Hull University Teaching Hospitals in landmark contempt of court case
Caroline Harrison QC was successful in the landmark Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust v Colley. The judgment was handed down by Mr Justice Bourne, sentencing Natasha Colley to a six- month custodial sentence, suspended for a period of two years, for deliberately attempting to defraud the NHS and deceive the Court.
This decision follows a number of decisions made by the Court to impose harsh sentences on those responsible for attempting to deceive the NHS. It is, however, the first time that the Court has made such a decision against an individual who was a litigation friend of the Claimant (a minor) in the proceedings.
Caroline, instructed by DAC Beachcroft, acted in the original proceedings for the Trust as Defendants, when Ms Colley made the negligence claim as a litigation friend on behalf of her daughter, and then in the subsequent proceedings culminating in a three-day Committal Application at the RCJ last week. Caroline successfully established that Mrs Colley was in contempt of Court for knowingly making false statements supported by a statement of truth, which, if persisted in would have interfered with the due administration of justice. It was held that she did so, knowing that this would increase the value of her daughter’s clinical negligence claim.
These proceedings should not, however, deter genuine Claimants, as NHS Resolution will continue to compensate genuine Claimants fairly, however, will not hesitate to take action to protect public funds and to pursue a prison sentence for anyone attempting to defraud the NHS.
There was considerable publicity of the case in the run up to trial and following the judgment in the national press and on the BBC news.
A link to the full judgment can be found here