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Joel Donovan QC Door Tenant

Queen’s Counsel: 2011

Year of call: 1991

Practice Areas


  • Clinical negligence
  • Personal injury
  • Professional negligence
  • Professional regulation and discipline

Areas of Practice

Joel is a clinical negligence and personal injury specialist. He focuses on high-value High Court cases, typically involving brain damage or serious spinal injury. He has very substantial experience in successful claims resolution, whether through negotiation, mediation, trial or appeal. In the 2012-13 edition of Chambers and Partners, he is rated for both clinical negligence and personal injury. “Highly regarded for his expertise in severe brain, spinal cord and psychiatric injuries”, he is also praised for his “thorough advice and a realistic view on difficult issues”, “outstanding analytical skills,” and “incredible memory.” As one solicitor noted, ‘if you ring him about a case a year after it’s finished he knows exactly what you are talking about.” Joel is an experienced teacher of advocacy and is accredited as a lead trainer by Lincoln’s Inn. He designs and organises the Personal Injury Bar Association’s specialist advocacy course.

Appointments and Memberships

  • Personal Injury Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • Action against Medical Accidents
  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
  • Arbitrator under the MIB Untraced Drivers’ Agreement¬†– April 2014

Notable Cases

  • R v A Trust: a very high value wrongful birth case arising from failed fetal medical management; child born with perisylvian polymicrogyria and severe global developmental delay. Liability admitted at pleadings stage; quantum ongoing.
  • W v K and others: 100% approved settlement shortly before liability trial of a claim against GPs for failure to recognise signs of ‘sentinel bleeding’ prior to a devastating sub-arachnoid haemorrhage. Quantum ongoing.
  • Hort v Charles Trent Ltd: successful appeal to Mr Justice Eady against refusal of District Judge to allow substitution of a new expert for an expert in whom confidence had been lost.
  • Sutherland v Turnbull: successful costs application to Mr Justice Stadlen, following disputed interpretation of rule 36.10(2) CPR, after claimant’s acceptance of an offer to compensate her for only some of her injuries.
  • Mabiriizi v HSBC: an utmost severity road traffic accident case, involving the application by Mrs Justice Sharp of the Eeles v Cobham Hire Services principles governing interim payments.
  • H v A Local Health Board: a complex secondary brain injury claim eventually resulting in seven-figure lump sum/periodical payment settlement following protracted negotiations, approved by Mr Justice Kenneth Parker.
  • Connor v Surrey County Council: this highly-publicised stress-at-work case involved a head teacher targeted by Muslim governors. Reported on appeal at [2010]IRLR 521).


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