Law for Orthopaedic Surgeons - Avoiding Jeopardy

This is a course structured by pre-recorded lectures available 6 weeks before the delivery day of case-based discussions and Q&A, which provides broad coverage of the interface between law and the practice of orthopaedic surgery. It is specifically designed to highlight potential pitfalls in practice from the medico-legal perspective and to help steer surgeons away from potential jeopardy.

The course is aimed at consultants, SAS doctors and orthopaedic trainees who wish to gain knowledge of the elements of law which underpin various aspects of contemporary surgical practice. It includes:

  • practical advice on how to approach giving evidence in legal proceedings such as coroner's court
  • advice on practical measures to avoid jeopardy with employers, the courts and the regulator
  • a full delivery day of case-based discussion talks with Q&A including a mock coroner's inquest
  • pre-recorded material to be watched in advance, which will be available 6 weeks prior to the course delivery day

Faculty is comprised of experienced consultants in surgical specialties, all with extensive knowledge of law relating to surgery, practising barristers, coroners / assistant coroners and a representative from the Medical Protection Society. Please see below for further details of faculty members.

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Course Structure

The following are the topics covered on the course. Pre-recorded material on each topic will be available to participants 6 weeks in advance of the delivery day of live virtual talks. 

The course covers topics of surgical relevance including consent, gross negligence manslaughter, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and the GMC, blood transfusion refusal, introduction to coronial law and coroner’s court, confidentiality and data protection, clinical negligence, and the pitfalls of social media.



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Leila Benyounes

Barrister, Assistant Coroner and Recorder, Parklane Plowden Chambers

Leila is ranked as a leading barrister in Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for Clinical Negligence and Inquests and Inquiries. She represents both Claimants and Defendants which include private clients, public authorities and government departments. Leila has a special interest in coronial law and regularly acts for interested persons in high profile, media sensitive Article 2 jury inquests. She is Joint Head of the Inquests and Inquiries Team at Parklane Plowden Chambers.

Leila is appointed as an Assistant Coroner and as a Recorder in Crime and sits on a part-time basis in these roles alongside her practice as a barrister.  She has been appointed to the Attorney General’s Treasury Counsel Panel A since 2010. Leila was the President of the Leeds and District Medico-Legal Society from 2015-16 and 2018-20 and remains on the Society’s Committee. She is a lecturer on the Medical Ethics and Law Module at Leeds Institute of Medical Education at the University of Leeds.

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Simon Britten

Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon and BOA Medico-legal Committee Chair, Leeds Teaching Hospitals

Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals since 2002, having completed surgical training in Bath and Bristol and following fellowship training in the Ilizarov method at the Ilizarov Scientific Centre in Kurgan, Russia.

My clinical practice includes the treatment of severe lower limb fractures and post-traumatic limb reconstruction including non-union, mal-union and deformity, limb length inequality, bone loss and amputation.

Current President Elect of the British Limb Reconstruction Society and Chair of the British Orthopaedic Association Medico-legal Committee.

In 2018 I was awarded the taught degree of Master of Laws with Distinction in medical law and ethics by De Montfort University Leicester.

My other interests include Nottingham Forest FC, Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Football Club, modern languages, old Gothic Hammer Horror films, Formula One motorsport and the castles of Northumberland.

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Simon Gregg-Smith

Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon

Simon Gregg-Smith is a consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. He specialises in shoulder surgery. He has always been interested in how we communicate with patients and the process of consent. He has run a medico-legal practice for more than 20 years and now does increasing numbers of cases of clinical negligence, acting as an expert both for the NHS and claimants. Over the last few years the number of cases involving allegations related to consent have risen significantly, probably because of the Montgomery case in 2015. He has just finished a term on the BOA medico-legal committee.

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Leslie Hamilton

Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon

As a young paediatric cardiac surgeon giving evidence to the Bristol Inquiry prompted an interest in how the law interacts with clinical practice. This led to an LLM in Medical Law which in opened up a number of opportunities - as Faculty on the RCSEng "Legal Aspects of Surgical Practice" course; while I was on Council, co-authoring the College's "Good Surgical Practice" and "Consent" guidance following Montgomery; and later, appointment as Assistant Coroner (prior to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 which stopped doctors being appointed as Coroners). 

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Heidi Mounsey

Medicolegal Consultant

Heidi Mounsey is a medicolegal consultant and provides advice and support with a variety of medicolegal matters, including claims, complaints, disciplinaries, and regulatory proceedings. She is a former anaesthetic registrar and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. She joined Medical Protection in 2016.

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Sameer Singh

Mr. Sameer Singh qualified from Guys ad St Thomas Medical School and completed his Orthopaedic Training in London, Liverpool, New Zealand, and Australia. Clinical practice includes all aspects of upper Limb disorders and Trauma. He has been working as an expert witness since 2018 and completes 200 reports per year, Mr. Singh is keen to educate and mentor the future generation of expert witnesses in producing high-quality reports.

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Abeezar Sarela

Consultant Surgeon

Mr Abeezar I Sarela is a consultant surgeon in The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, based at St James’s University Hospital. He was appointed in 2003. His practice encompasses surgery for cancer of the oesophagus and stomach, bariatric surgery, and surgery for benign disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract. He is passionate about medical law. He was awarded a PhD degree from the School of Law, University of Leeds in March 2021. His research focuses on theories of justice for medical treatment and case law on medical negligence, particularly in respect of informed consent.


Further Information on Course Topics

The topics for the 2023 Law for Orthopaedic Surgeons - Avoiding Jeopardy course are:

Consent: The legal background to consent and how surgeons can ensure they comply with it (Simon Gregg-Smith), particularly in the elective setting

By the end of this session participants will:

  • Understand the evolution of the law in relation to consent.
  • Understand the importance of the Montgomery ruling and subsequent cases
  • Be aware of the standards expected by the GMC.
  • Develop methods for ensuring that consent is obtained and clearly documented to an appropriate standard.

Clinical negligence: This session looks at the criteria to be fulfilled in order to prove clinical negligence with examples of case law. (Abeezar Sarela)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • Criteria to be fulfilled to prove a case of medical negligence (Duty of care, Breach of Duty, Breach of duty leading to harm)
  • The Bolam test as a determinant of the standard of care
  • When does the doctor patient relationship (duty of care) come into being?
  • Causation and the ‘but for’ test
  • Expert opinion has to withstand logical scrutiny (Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority (1997)
  • Inexperience -law requires that the trainee or the learner to be judged by the same standard as his more experienced colleagues-Wilsher vs Essex (1988)
  • Vicarious liability of employers and private practice jeopardy under contract law
  • The limitation period
  • Loss of chance case – inability to achieve full recovery.

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and the GMC: The regulatory role of the MPTS and the GMC (Heidi Mounsey)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • The role of the MPTS in the regulation of doctors' practice
  • How the MPTS is linked to the GMC
  • What functions are delegated to the MPTS from the GMC
  • The burden of proof in MPTS proceedings

Consent in trauma; the McCulloch judgment; case examples:  An update on consent in trauma in light of the GMC guidance; and an update on the most recent Supreme Court case (Simon Britten)

 By the end of this session participants will be sufficiently informed to:

  • Understand that the GMC guidelines on consent in an emergency are brief and a relatively ‘low bar’ to clear
  • Consider whether the trauma patient truly has capacity to give consent to treatment
  • Consider when to treat in ‘best interests’ given the patient’s physiological and psychological state
  • Understand the need to consider the least restrictive options for treatment when a patient is unconscious
  • Understand the implications of the McCulloch judgment when considering the reasonable treatment options to put to the patient

Introduction to coronial law and coroner’s court: This session will give participants an understanding of the coronial system and how this interacts with medicine. (Leila Benyounes)

The aim of the session is to reduce the mystique behind the coronial system and provide confidence when dealing with coroners and attending the inquest.

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • When the coroner needs to be involved in your medical practice
  • The steps taken between reporting a matter to a coroner and an inquest being held
  • What happens at an inquest
  • Common issues that arise with medics at inquests

Confidentiality and Data Protection: The importance of confidentiality in medical care and its ethical and legal basis. (Sameer Singh)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • The ethical and legal basis of confidentiality
  • Regulation of confidentiality and the Information Commissioner's Office
  • The Data Protection Act and GDPR
  • Caldicott Principles
  • Practical legal considerations in electronic communication with colleagues

Gross Negligence Manslaughter: An exploration of how the criminal law impacts on clinical practice (Leslie Hamilton)

By the end of this session participants will:

  • be aware of the potential criminal charges which might be brought against the hospital and a doctor
  • know the definition of gross negligence manslaughter
  • understand the role of the Coroner, the Police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service)
  • be aware of the outcome of recent cases.

Safe social media for doctors (Heidi Mounsey)

By the end of this session participants will understand:

  • The risks of engaging with social media as a doctor
  • GMC guidance
  • The online disinhibition effect
  • Case studies


Course Date & Location

Future course dates for 2024 are still to be confirmed.

Course Fees: 

The course fee is £200 for BOA members (£300 for non-members). 

Fees are payable at the time of registration. Your place is only treated as confirmed once payment is received.

Booking terms:

By booking onto this course you consent to:

  • The BOA Privacy Policy found here
  • The use of your work/personal email and Zoom for all communication and learning material needs.

Please note, sharing any of your own, or others, personal details in any of the above software/programmes is not permitted

Terms and Conditions: By booking onto this course you are confirming that you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions of the BOA Law for Orthopaedic Surgeons - Avoiding Jeopardy course.

Our policy team are happy to help you with any queries you may have regarding the course. You can contact us by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 02074056507.