Kathryn Riddell

Business, Faith Based Institutions, Healthcare, Medico-Legal

Title: Partner

Tel: 0191 226 7829

Email Kathryn Riddell

Kathryn is a Partner at Sintons and specialises in Healthcare and Faith Based Institution law. She has been practising as a solicitor for over 25 years.

Kathryn advises NHS Trusts on all aspects of medical law and ethics arising from patient care. She represents NHS Trust’s and their employees at Inquests, and in Court of Protection and Inherent Jurisdiction proceedings.


  • Advising on the application of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) in clinical and community settings including capacity assessments, ‘best interests’ disputes, use of restraint, LPAs, deputyship, advance decisions, DoLS authorisations and the interface between the Mental Capacity  Mental Health legislation.
  • Medical treatment decisions – including refusal of treatment, consent to treatment issues, end of life decisions, withdrawal of treatment, disputed best interests decisions, and finely balanced ethical dilemmas.
  • Provision of emergency and out of hours advice on medical law issues.
  • Treatment of children and young people.
  • Child and adult safeguarding matters including support and representation for health professionals called to give evidence in Court of Protection, child protection proceedings and criminal proceedings.
  • Court of Protection, Inherent Jurisdiction and Family Court applications including urgent and out of hours applications.
  • Extensive experience of representing NHS Trusts and their employees 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.
  • Advice on delayed/complex patient discharges
  • Dealing with the Police and regulatory authorities.
  • Advising on the drafting and updating of hospital policies and procedures

Faith Based Institution Experience:

Kathryn assists Laura Peace, the Church of England Registrar for the Diocese of Newcastle and the Diocese of Carlisle. The law governing church matters is highly specialist and complex. Kathryn has an in-depth knowledge of both Clergy Discipline and church safeguarding and provides advice to Bishops, Archdeacons, clergy, Parochial Church Councils, and church officers. She is also a member of the Ecclesiastical Law Society.


Safeguarding concerns are, by their nature, highly sensitive and the Church takes its safeguarding responsibilities very seriously. Kathryn works closely with Bishops, Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors, and Church Core Groups, to ensure that safeguarding concerns are responded to, and risks assessed and managed in accordance with best practice safeguarding policy and procedure. She also advises on the implementation of safer recruitment procedures for those working or volunteering with children or vulnerable adults within the Church.

The Clergy Discipline Measure is the legal process by which formal allegations of misconduct against Church of England clergy are made and determined. The diocesan Bishop is responsible for administering discipline over clergy. Clergy Discipline complaints are wide and varied in both nature and gravity. On behalf of the Registrar, Kathryn undertakes preliminary scrutiny of all Clergy Discipline complaints and provides comprehensive advice and support to the Bishop at every stage of the disciplinary process up to and including (where appropriate) imposition of a penalty. She also represents individuals who wish to bring a formal complaint on behalf of a victim, including Archdeacons and Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors.

Kathryn is often asked to advise other dioceses and clergy where a conflict of interest with their own lawyers has arisen.


The Legal 500 2023 & 2024 Guides listed Kathryn as a key individual. The 2024 Guide added “Kathryn Riddell is a first-rate lawyer. She is knowledgeable and has outstanding judgment. She is a first rate forensic thinker, addressing the immediate issues and the issues and evidence that might be required down the line. She is client focused not just in the sense of ensuring the best case is argued, but conscious of reputational issues and the impact on the individuals who work in any organisation. Above all is her judgment which is remarkably accurate and sound.”

The Healthcare team was heralded by the Legal 500 as having “excellent knowledge of the healthcare sector, particularly dentists and GPs – it is considered one of the most knowledgeable firms in this sector in the North East”

The Healthcare team also won praise from the guide, being hailed as “a true leader in the healthcare field”.

The Chambers UK Guide described the Healthcare team as being “a great all-round firm who have the skills and people to provide support for all eventualities” One client noted: “They are very responsive to queries and give very balanced and sensible advice in terms that make sense.”

Key Practice Areas

  • Medical Law & Ethics
  • Coroner’s Inquests
  • Court of Protection