Year of Call:
Cara Guthrie specialises in Clinical Negligence, and has done so since she started in practice. She also acts in Personal Injury cases, inquests, lawyers’ negligence cases and Court of Protection cases and regularly represents claimants and defendants in High Court trials.
She is instructed by many of the leading firms of clinical negligence solicitors.
Cara has been highly ranked as a leading junior (Band 1) in clinical negligence in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for many years.
Cara’s deep expertise in the clinical negligence sector means that she is instructed by claimants and defendants in both complex and serious cerebral palsy, brain injury and spinal injury cases, either with a leader or on her own. Cara is also instructed in other clinical negligence cases covering the full spectrum of medical issues.
Her professional negligence work generally arises from the management by solicitors and barristers of personal injury or clinical negligence litigation, reflecting her experience and knowledge of these fields. She is instructed by both claimants and defendants. Most notably she successfully defended the barrister defendant in Dunhill v W Brook & Co  EWCA Civ 50.
Cara considers herself to be approachable and to work well ‘as part of the team’ with her instructing solicitors and expert witnesses. She is extremely empathetic and well able to deal with the sensitive issues that arise in many clinical negligence claims. She is nonetheless able to give robust advice when needed. Cara prides herself on an efficient working style, and on being able quickly to identify the issues at the heart of any claim. She regards negotiation as one of her strengths, and has trained as a mediator.
As a member of the Ogden Working Committee, Cara has a detailed understanding of issues such as multipliers, discount rates and periodical payments which she uses for the benefit of her clients. She is highly numerate and has undoubted expertise in quantum.
Cara is instructed mainly by claimants in complex and catastrophic injury cases. She has represented claimants who have suffered spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and amputation. Her wealth of experience in brain injury and spinal cord injury Clinical Negligence cases is invaluable when acting for claimants with similar injuries in personal injury cases.
Whilst many of her cases are quantum-only, she has also contested liability in road traffic and employer’s liability cases.
Cara would be happy to accept instructions from defendants, and she regularly acts for defendants in Clinical Negligence cases.
R v Aviva (2015)
Represented a family of claimants injured in a road traffic accident. The father suffered a mild to moderate brain injury but there was a dispute about the aetiology of his cognitive impairments. The effect of his cognitive impairment on his future earnings was also in dispute. After the claimant rejected several low value offers, the case settled for £205,000. The daughter’s claim for severe brain injury is ongoing.
H v Kings College Hospital (2015)
Represented D in a case in which an elderly C had been rendered tetraplegic whilst undergoing surgery to decompress his cervical spine. Breach of duty involved consideration of the following issues: positioning of the patient, the standard of surgery, what could be seen on the imaging before and after surgery and the management of C after the operation. There were numerous factual and expert witnesses. Liability was hotly contested. Settlement of damages and costs reached at an RTM. The damages settlement included periodical payments and was worth c. £780,000.
A v Barnet Hospital & Dr Hodge (2014)
Instructed by Claimant in a case about delayed diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis, which led to tubercular meningitis and caused incomplete tetraplegia. Liability disputed by defendants who embarked on a cut-throat defence. Led by David Westcott QC. Liability settled at 97.5% very shortly before trial. Quantum complicated by the fact that the Claimant’s condition had improved substantially in the months before trial and the Defendant was postulating further improvement in condition. The case required two RTMs; D’s valuation increased substantially by the second RTM. Quantum settled for a lump sum and periodical payments worth in excess of £8 million.
K v Generali L’equite (2013)
Together with David Westcott QC, acted for a young male claimant who sustained very severe brain injury in a road traffic accident in France. Very large claim for future loss of earnings. Case settled for well over £15 million.
RXB v Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (2013)
Together with David Westcott QC, acted for Claimant who sustained a spinal cord injury during surgery which was not recognised or remedied until 11 days later, ultimately causing tetraplegia. Complicating factor: C had been seriously disabled from birth. D admitted breach but difficult issues of causation and quantum arose, especially relating to C’s outcome with proper treatment and how damages should be quantified in a case of serious pre-existing disability. At RTM D counsel, unusually, persuaded fundamentally to reassess the case. PPO settlement worth c. £7.0 million achieved post RTM.
N v Imperial College Healthcare Trust (2013)
Together with David Westcott QC, represented Claimant in action against 2 hospital trusts for failure promptly to respond to symptoms of paraplegia after the removal of an epidural catheter. Detailed evidence about breach of duty and complicated arguments (by reference to published literature) on causation. Settled on advantageous terms (capitalised value of PPO >£1M for claimant aged 75).
AC v Motor Insurers Bureau (2012)
Acted for the Claimant in a contested High Court quantum trial, led by Gerard McDermott QC. Claimant sustained a severe brain injury in a road traffic accident. All heads of loss other than future care agreed prior to trial.
Noble v Owens (2011)
Junior counsel for the Claimant, led by Gerard McDermott QC, in a contested 7 day fraud trial. The Defendant appealed against the award of damages, seeking an order for a retrial, on the grounds that surveillance evidence demonstrated that the judgment had been obtained by fraud. The Defendant failed to prove the allegation of fraud. The expert views were accepted that improvement was multi-factorial and it was held that the Claimant did not dishonestly conceal from the court or the expert witnesses his then true state of disability or dishonestly emphasise his disability. Landmark case in insurance fraud for Claimants.
Appointments & Memberships
- Ogden Working Party
- Personal Injury Bar Association
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
Cara Guthrie is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.
Areas of Law
- Clinical Negligence
- Product Liability
- Court of Protection
- Personal Injury
- International Injury & Travel
- Professional Negligence
- Public Law
- Mental Health
“Very bright and very easy to work with. She offers really robust advice and she is very good on quantum.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2019
“Analytical, well prepared and an excellent advocate.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2019
“Decisive, focused, efficient and excellent with complex cases.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2019
“She is very thorough and has a commanding presence.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2018
“Absolutely brilliant. A real safe pair of hands. Analytical and very authoritative.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2018
“Decisive, focused, efficient and excellent with complex cases.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2017
“She is incredibly intelligent, and quickly grasps and offers solutions to complex issues. Her analysis of cases is excellent.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2017
“Fantastic at quantum and a great negotiator.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2016
“She was excellent throughout the case and always available.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2016
“Her pleadings are detailed and she is brilliant on her feet.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2016
“A QC of the future, she’s clever, robust and hard-working. Very user-friendly, she’s good tactically and excellent in court.” “She’s great with numbers and phenomenally quick in conference.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2015
“An excellent heavyweight junior who thinks imaginatively to find a solution to a thorny issue.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2015
“She is a very bright woman who is fiercely organised, very tenacious and a fighter – she’s very direct.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2014
“A great advocate, who gets excellent results for clients.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2014
“Thorough and extremely numerate.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2013
“Extremely bright and tenacious.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2013
“Dynamic, personable and excellent with figures”. “She impresses solicitors with the fact that she is “absolutely laser in cutting through to the issues.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2012
Cara Guthrie has “a strong grasp of difficult legal issues.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2012
Cara Guthrie is “phenomenally bright” and “operates at a level that is very advanced for her call.” Solicitors turn to her as “she’s just what you want at a hearing – confident, articulate and bright.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2011
Cara Guthrie is “a pleasure to work with”, she is “excellent with figures and has a strong grasp of relevant legal principles.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2011