Kathryn Riddell

Kathryn is a Partner in Sintons’ Healthcare Team. She has over twenty seven years’ experience in advising on medico-legal matters and has recently gained a Masters in Medical Law with distinction from Northumbria University.

Kathryn advises NHS Trusts on all aspects of medical law and ethics arising from patient care. She was awarded a Master of Laws with Distinction in Medical Law in 2017.


  • Advising on the application of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) in hospital and community settings including capacity assessments, ‘best interests’ decisions, use of restraint, LPAs, advance decisions, DoLS authorisations and the interface between the MCA and Mental Health legislation
  • Deputy Chair of an MCA Steering Group at a large NHS Trust – providing legal advice on the implementation of MCA & DoLS in an acute hospital setting, including advice on upcoming Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)
  • Medical treatment decisions, including consent to treatment, refusal of treatment, end of life decisions, withdrawal/withholding of life sustaining treatment, disputes about best interests, and finely balanced ethical dilemmas
  • Provision of emergency and out of hours advice to NHS Trusts on urgent medical law issues
  • Treatment of children and young people including the interface between Gillick Competence, MCA and the exercise of parental responsibility
  • Advising on complex child and adult safeguarding concerns arising in hospital settings and representing Trusts at local authority Core Group and Strategy meetings
  • Hosting quarterly legal literacy training sessions for safeguarding teams at a large hospital Trust; advising on a varied and complex range of legal issues arising from patient care
  • Extensive expertise in representing NHS Trusts in Court of Protection, Inherent Jurisdiction and Family Court proceedings involving medical treatment and ancillary issues, including urgent and out of hours applications
  • Representing NHS Trusts at Coroner’s inquests including high profile media sensitive deaths, those involving allegations of neglect and gross negligence, complex Article 2 inquests, regulation 28 reports and jury inquests
  • Advising on the drafting and updating of hospital policies and procedures
  • Operating an outsourced claims management service for a Hospital Trust in South of England; acting as a conduit between the Trust, NHS Resolution and panel solicitors and providing regular legal briefings to the Chief Executive
  • Undertaking an independent investigation on behalf of an Ambulance Trust into complaints raised pursuant to the Trust’s Freedom to Speak Up Policy, including matters pertaining to patient safety.

Notable cases:

  • Representing an NHS Trust which successfully argued that the High Court had jurisdiction to maintain or re-impose a reporting restriction order protecting the anonymity of hospital clinicians involved in the care of a child, now deceased, who had been the subject of end-of-life proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction. https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2021/1699.html
  • Acting for an NHS Trust in Inherent Jurisdiction proceedings seeking medical treatment orders enabling two child siblings with a life limiting condition to undergo transplantation. The need for the application arose from historic difficulties in obtaining parental consent for medical procedures. Also represented the Trust in concurrent care proceedings in the Family Court
  • Representing an NHS Trust in ongoing Court of Protection proceedings involving the provision of life prolonging endocrine treatment to a young adult, contrary to her wishes and the wishes of her primary carer. The case also concerns issues of residence and contact
  • Advising an NHS Trust in relation to a Court of Protection application seeking authorisation for the use of physical and/or chemical restraint, which constituted a deprivation of liberty, in order to convey to hospital and undertake cataract surgery on an elderly patient with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviours who resided in a care home.