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Fiona Butler

Fiona Butler

Fiona Butler

Barrister (Partner)

About Fiona

Called to the Bar in 1999 and following pupillage at KCH Garden Square Chambers, Nottingham, Fiona was Browne Jacobson’s first in-house barrister and pioneered the firm’s Chambers offering. She now leads a 12 strong barrister team having been pupil supervisor since 2010 and has overall responsibility for the pupillage training programme, which trains barristers in house.

With over 21 years' experience the main focus of Fiona’s practice is inquests and she is frequently instructed by NHS Trust bodies (but also on behalf of education and care settings and security regulators) to represent their interests in complex, high profile and lengthy cases, often before a jury. She has particular specialism in offender health.

Some of her high-profile cases include the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter, which was raised by the Prime Minister during Parliamentary questions and the death of Jack Adcock, which led to the subsequent prosecution of Dr Bawa-Garba for gross negligence manslaughter and strike off by the General Medical Council (GMC) which in itself led to High Court challenge.

Fiona frequently jointly represents the interests of more than one Trust or organisation where no conflict arises, for example, she represented both an acute hospital trust and provider of community health services during a high profile baby death inquest – whilst a conclusion of unlawful killing was returned, Fiona’s careful and tactical handling of the evidence meant no future prevention of death reports were made for either client.

She was appointed on behalf of the Security Industry Authority (a non-departmental public body responsible for regulating the private security industry, reporting into the Home Secretary), to conduct inquests nationally concerning positional asphyxia caused by restraint and advise on prevention of future death issues caused by a lacuna in mandatory training requirements and licensing laws.

Fiona also advises local authorities in their function as budget holders for the coronial services within their jurisdiction.

Fiona frequently advises upon obtaining injunctions against media publications at inquests and for example advising an NHS Trust on the merits of obtaining an injunction against 'Tonight with Trevor McDonald' programme, has successfully obtained an injunction against Channel 4 'Dispatches' programme to prevent publication of information pertinent to a jury case. She has obtained an injunction against ‘Take a Break’ magazine which was due to name children currently in the care of a local authority.

Fiona is one of the firm’s leading advocates, working primarily with public sector clients advising them on professional discipline and regulatory matters. Fiona is the client partner for the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA). Fiona was personally engaged with the organisation’s strategic review and provided advice during the restructure as to issues of conflict and potential challenges.

She had oversight for the TRA prosecution of Sophie Rahman who had employed the London Bridge terror attacker to work in a school. This required her to ensure that there was clear multi agency cohesion between the Department for Education (DfE), Counter Terrorism unit for the DfE and the TRA in bringing the case to successful conclusion.

In addition, Fiona is instructed on behalf of NHS England to advise and represent local NHS teams concerning Performer List regulatory matters and any upward appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. Fiona was actively involved in training area teams in the application of the new regulations.

Fiona has previously advised and represented the interests of the Care Quality Commission in obtaining urgent cancellation orders of the registration of care homes and any subsequent judicial review or appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Care Standards) brought, Fiona successfully conducted a five day appeal widely covered by The Times.

Fiona sits as a legal advisor to the Professional Conduct Committee for the Chartered Institute of Building.

As well as being client partner to the TRA, Fiona’s practice includes advising and representing local authorities and educational institutions in claims of disability discrimination and special educational needs brought by parents. This includes representation in the Upper & First Tier Tribunal.

Fiona successfully had a claim dismissed in the early stages of a First Tier Tribunal hearing on the basis the matters complained of did not meet the criteria of disability within the meaning of the Act.

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