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Alexandra Johnstone



Formerly of RadcliffesLeBrasseur, Alexandra is a Partner in our Healthcare Providers team and has considerable experience in advising on legal issues affecting the healthcare sector. She is often instructed to advise on protocols and policies, particularly concerning the mental capacity of patients. She enjoys the challenges posed in advising on legal issues that raise medical ethical dilemmas and has a Master’s Degree in Medical Law and Ethics.

She frequently attends inquests on behalf of healthcare bodies and has represented many care homes and mental health hospitals. She regularly undertakes advocacy at inquests.

Alexandra has advised on claims for NHS and private mental health hospitals, including those arising from the care of prisoners. She has experience with claims arising from the deaths of patients, particularly in connection with patients who have taken their lives when on leave, often where it is alleged there were failures in risk assessments.

She has a keen interest in issues relating to mental capacity and has been involved in Court of Protection cases, including defending challenges to DoLS authorisations brought by residents of care homes. She frequently advises on matters concerning confidentiality, patient’s consent and capacity to make treatment decisions, often in the context of a patient’s refusal of treatment.

She has also acted for healthcare bodies in judicial review applications brought by patients including those alleging breaches of patients’ human rights. She was involved in a judicial review that impacted on the allocation of healthcare resources during the COVID pandemic.

She is regularly asked to lecture to a wide range of healthcare providers on issues such as mental health law, capacity, consent and inquests.

Alexandra’s recent experience includes:

  • Acting on numerous inquests on behalf of healthcare bodies, including a large number of deaths in prison.
  • Advising Mental Health Trusts on various public law issues, including the merits of a proposed judicial review of a decision of the CQC on performance rating.
  • Advice on a range of issues relating to capacity and/or validity of patient’s consent, including advising a hospital on a 16 year old patient refusing treatment for anorexia where parental consent could not be obtained.
  • Representing Trusts and Care Homes in a number of cases before the Court of Protection relating to health and welfare issues, including an important case challenging the opinion of a jointly appointed expert regarding capacity.
  • Advising a Responsible Clinician about the legal issues raised in treatment of a patient on hunger strike.
  • Advice on a number of data protection issues, including disclosure of patient information.
  • Assistance in drafting and advising on a range of policies, taking into account changes in healthcare law.
  • Advising a Mental Health Trust on whether a ban on the use of mobile phones in hospitals was unlawful.
  • Acting for a Mental Health Trust in a patient’s judicial review of an RMO’s decision to contact his parents for treatment purposes.
  • Acting and advising Mental Health Trusts in judicial reviews over decisions to close hospitals.
  • Successfully defending a Mental Health Trust in a claim for unlawful detention by a patient who alleged the incorrect nearest relative had been consulted.
  • Reviewing a number of hospital policies and protocols, for example, Do Not Resuscitate Policies and Consent Policies.
  • Representing two nurses charged with serious professional misconduct in the longest fitness to practise case in the NMC’s history.

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