Sydney Chawatama FCIArb discusses International Arbitration at the 21st Commonwealth Law Conference 2019 - Apr 2019
Sydney Chawatama specialises in clinical negligence and personal injury, acting for Claimants and Defendants. His work in these areas inludes complex high value claims, from initial advice to settlement meetings and trial. He has acted in several birth injury and catastrophic PI claims arising out of road traffic accidents in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Sydney has a broad practice which covers the Court of Protection, professional discipline, costs, mental health law, inquests and child abuse compensation law. He has a developing practice in international commercial and investment arbitration and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Sydney Chawatama frequently acts on behalf of unrepresented practitioners, such as doctors and nurses, through BarristerForMe. He accepts Direct Access instructions in domestic and international arbitration.Clinical Negligence
Sydney accepts instructions on behalf of claimants and defendants involving all aspects of advisory work and litigation. He has extensive experience of claims arising from across a wide spectrum of medical practice including brain and spinal injuries, GP, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Orthopaedics, ENT, Oncology, Nursing & Midwifery, Vascular surgery, Cardiology, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Dentistry, Respiratory medicine, Infectious diseases, Ophthalmology and Psychiatry.
- RE S: Cauda equina. Paraplegia. Causation denied. Settlement £1.2m. November 2018. For Claimant.
- Re R: Claim for alleged negligent psychiatric treatment and human rights claim for alleged wrongful seclusion. LAA issued a ‘show cause’ notice and during funding embargo claim automatically struck out for failure to pay trial fee pursuant to CPR 3.7A1 (7). Had been listed for 6 days in the High Court. November 2018. For Defendant.
- Re PXD: Stroke as a result of prostatectomy in which ureter was damaged. Brain injury and hemiparesis. Injury of utmost severity requiring a full package of care. Settlement at equivalent lump sum of £5.2m. June 2018.
- Re JC: Thyroidectomy resulting in dissection of recurrent laryngeal nerve. Permanent tracheostomy. Settled at mediation for £500,000. June 2018.
- Re O: Fertility treatment. Alleged perforation of the bowel during egg retrieval leading to unrecognised and untreated peritonitis and a temporary stoma. Global settlement £235,000. June 2018.
- Re T: Fatal accident claim. Delay in administering prophylactic anti-coagulant following revision knee replacement surgery. Settlement £115,000. May 2018
- Re M: Alleged failure of anterior lumber interbody fusion, failure to perform a decompression and misplacement of pedicle screw. May 2018.
- Re K: Alleged failure to detect in time fractured sternal wires and wound dehiscence following cardiothoracic surgery involving coronary artery bypass. March 2018.
- Re P: Spinal injury claim arising out of an alleged failure to use a non-styletted lumbar puncture needle on a 15 month old infant in 1982. In 2012 the Claimant was diagnosed with an epidermoid cyst at L2/3 level which, he alleged, was causally related to the lumbar puncture he underwent in 1982. Each party instructed four experts on breach and causation. March 2018.
- Re F. Khan: Fatal accident claim arising out of the death of a mother of two young children. She died following a third trimester miscarriage and attempt medical evacuation following a third trimester miscarriage and attempt medical evacuation following a third trimester miscarriage and attempt medical evacuation following a third trimester miscarriage and an attempted medical evacuation resulting in sepsis. Settlement £500,000. February 2018.
- Re R: Severe drop foot arising from damage to peroneal nerve following hip arthroscopy. High Court trial March 2017. Acted for claimant.
- Re Axx: Catastrophic injury – deafness and behavioral changes- arising out of delay in diagnosis of meningitis infection soon after birth. Multi-million pound settlement including periodical payments. One of the first to settle after change in discount rate. Junior on behalf of Defendant Trust. June 2017.
- Re S: Delayed diagnosis of cervical myelopathy. Settlement July 2017. For claimant.
- Re A: Obstetric claim. Unrecognised severe intra-abdominal bleed following caesarean section. Psychological injury. Settled August 2017. Acted for claimant.
- Re FR: Dental claim arising out of removal of a bridge, resulting in alleged soft tissue injuries to neck and face. Settlement October 2017. For claimant.
- Re O: Hearing loss claim arising out of ear surgery. Liability succeeded on preliminary trial of consent after Montgomery. Settled November 2017. For claimant.
- Re B: Bariatric surgery claim alleging negligent stapling resulting in obstruction and consequent further 3 repair operations. Settled November 2017. For claimant.
- Re K (2017): delayed diagnosis of slipped upper femoral epiphysis in child. Settlement £75,000.
- Re B (2016): missed diagnosis of rapidly expanding aneurysm after recent subarachnoid haemorrhage. Optic nerve palsy and psychiatric injury. Settlement £420,000.
- Re P (2016): toe operation resulting in chronic regional pain syndrome. Settlement £300,000.
- Re C (2016): misreported cervical smear. Stage 2b cervical cancer. Loss of fertility. Settlement £150,000.
- Re B (2016): complete transection of ulnar nerve during fixation of elbow fracture. Settlement £95,000.
- Re E (2016): FAA claim. Failure to diagnose lung connective tissue disease leading to death. Settlement £385,000 with Knauer v MoJ uplift.
- Re B (2016): trial at Liverpool CC. Alleged missed diagnosis of gastric ulcer.
- Re E (2015): delayed diagnosis of tongue cancer. Settlement £45,000.
- Re B (2015): delayed diagnosis of vertebral compression fracture requiring ballon kyphoplasty. Settlement £68,000.
- Re M (2015): delayed diagnosis of malaria resulting in severe falciparum malaria, liver and kidney failure and amputation of toes. Settlement £115,000.
- Re KL (2015): undiagnosed femoral hernia. Acted for defendant. Settlement £225,000.
- Re KD (2015): HHJ Coe QC, Sheffield CC. Successful defence after trial of claim arising out of retrieval of detached needle during laparoscopic gastric bypass operation.
- Re LP (2015): pedestrian child victim of RTA. Infected leg not recognised resulting in below knee amputation. Settlement £1.7 million.
- Re LP (2014): stroke claim against GP. Settlement £138,000.
- Re AH (2014): fatal accidents / secondary victim claim against GP. Leg infection resulting in septicaemia and death. Settlement £1 million.
- Re DJ (2014): settlement £375,000.
- Re PD (2013): settlement £521,500.
- Re B (2012): defendant's appeal from HHJ Gosnell Court of Appeal.
- Re B (2011): missed diagnosis of breast cancer. Trial at Leeds County Court before HHJ Gosnell.
- Re TTM: landmark judicial review in the Court of Appeal related to detention in mental health cases.
Sydney has acted in several birth injury and catastrophic personal injury claims arising out of road traffic accidents in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
He mainly acts on behalf of claimants, accepting instructions in claims arising from RTAs (including MIB claims), workplace accidents, highways, occupiers’ liability and accidents abroad. Special interest in accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.
- ReB (2017): brain injury sustained by elderly man when a passenger on a bus. Liability admitted and case settled for £200,000. Acted for claimant.
- Re A (2016): traumatic amputation of fingers caught in calendar machine. Settlement £325,000.
- Re X. January (2016): non-recent sexual abuse of a child. Settlement £275,000.
- Re R (2016): RTA trial Exeter CC. Child cyclist run down. Moderate brain injury.
- Re N (2016): car / motorcycle RTA. Multiple fractures. Settlement £95,000.
- Re A (2015): child pedestrian RTA. Severe leg degloving injury. Settlement £230,000.
- Re EJ (2015): severe brain injury from RTA. Child pedestrian. Settlement £2 million.
- Re. Oxford District Registry, HHJ Harris. (2014.)
- RE v GE. alleged sexual abuse by father. Limitation defence succeeded and upheld on appeal.
- Re R (2010): RTA trial where a pedestrian was struck by bus near a controlled crossing. Brighton County Court, HHJ Hollis.
- Re B. Settlement (2010.)
- Re S. Exeter County Court. Settlement (2009.)
- Wallsgrave v Snowflake Cat Litter (2003): workplace accident resulting in severe upper limb injury. Settlement £700,000.
- T Van Oudenhoven v Griffin Inns  1 WLR 1413: junior in High Court and Court of Appeal.
Sydney has represented practitioners before the MPTS (including the Interim Orders Panel), General Optical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council. He has recently been instructed by the General Chiropractic Council and appeared on its behalf before the PCC.
- Re Dr O. (2018): GDC initial PCC hearing representing a dentist. GDC sought a suspension order but accepted submissions on behalf of the dentist that a reprimand was the proportionate sanction.
- Re S. (2017): represented a nurse at the NMC in a hearing that lasted four weeks. Her case was joined with four others arising out of the same facts. The panel found that her fitness to practice was not impaired. January 2018.
- Instructed by the GCC to represent it on a preliminary application. 
- Various hearings representing different Registrants at the GOC. 2010 - 2013
- Re Dr N, IOP (2010).
- Re Dr S, Registration Appeals Panel (2011).
- Dr G v Neath Port Talbot Health Board. FHSAA, (2009): two hearings.
- Re Mr P. PMETB Appeal Board, (2008 and 2009).
In the mental health field, Sydney has represented patients and Trusts before the Mental Health Review Tribunal (FTT). He has appeared in County Court and High Court mental health cases, including judicial review in the landmark case of TTM in the Court of Appeal.
He has developed his Court of Protection practice with regular appearances in the High Court in health and welfare cases, including several reported cases. Has received instructions from Trusts, local authorities, families and the Official solicitor on behalf of P. Issues on which he is instructed include capacity, residence, contact with relatives, deprivation of liberty and consent to treatment.
- Re X (2015 -2016): living arrangements and spousal contact. P had a deterioration cerebral palsy. Various hearings at COP at Oxford.
- Re WK (2014): FTT, section 37/41 MHA.
- Re PP (2014): FTT. Section 37 MHA. Successful challenge to diagnosis of mental disorder by patient.
- Re BS (2013): FTT. Section 47/49 MHA.
- Re SB (2013): decision by a patient detained under the MHA to terminate pregnancy.
- PH v CC & Ors, COP, Baker J (2012): (Various hearings.
- B v Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (2012): FTT.
- D v Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (2012): FTT.
- Re TTM (2010): Collins J. Judicial Review hearing (3 days) following on from Habeas Corpus application below.
- Re TTM (2009): Admin Court, Burton J, 10 February. Application for writ of Habeas Corpus. Challenge based on alleged lack of consultation of nearest relative in sectioning process by social worker.
- Re JN (2009): sectioned patient declining to consent to urgent surgery for abdominal cancer. Various hearings in the High Court (COP).
- Re DU.  EWHC 3504 (Fam).
- Re M. Sterilisation. COP, Mrs Justice Eleanor King (2008).
- The NHS Trust v A (a child) & Ors  EWHC 1696 (Fam).
Sydney has extensive experience in costs. He acted for the Defendant in Samonini, which first established a material breach of the CFA Regulations could occur despite the client in fact having no BTE. His costs work includes CFA challenges to enforceability, cost budgeting, solicitor- client costs, points of principle in detailed assessments, full detailed assessments and oral reviews of provisional assessments. Previously a contributor to Westlaw’s Costs Update on detailed assessment.
- Re C (2015): portal exit challenge by D at an oral review of a provisional assessment upholding C's decision to exit. Costs Officer Pigott.
- Re B (2015): Cardiff CC. HHJ Keyser QC. Appeal by D2 against DJ costs order following discontinuance of claim against D1. Successfully overturned.
- Fiona Hatfield v Lewisham Hospitals NHS Trust, SCCO, (2012).
- Lucy Branston (Deceased) v Dr Francis Perez- Carral, Leeds County Court, (2011).
- Jeanette De Bono v Wellcare Nursing Home, SCCO, (2012).
- Re AH and Others (Costs),  EWHC 3524 (COP) Peter Jackson J.
- Gandy v King, SCCO, Master Howarth, (2010).
- Hanley v Smith & Anor  EWHC 90144 (Costs) Deputy Master Williams.
- Poole v Parker , Birmingham CC, HHJ Cardinal.
- Sockett v DTI Sheffield CC, DJ Hill (2007).
- Carter-Ruck v Finn, High Court, Irwin J. (2007).
- Samoni v London General Transport PIQR P20 (2005).
Sydney has a developing practice in international commercial and investment treaty arbitration. In 2012 he was awarded the Advanced Certificate in International Arbitration by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators after examination. He is on the arbitration panels of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa, Johannesburg, and the LCIA-MIAC Arbitration Centre in Mauritius. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In 2017 he was awarded a Diploma in International Arbitration by the CIArb. He accepts instructions as Counsel and as Arbitrator, and may do so on a direct access basis in suitable local and international cases.
In December 2012 he completed an internship at the international law firm Latham & Watkins with the International Arbitration practice, during which he observed an LCIA arbitration and the preliminary stages of two ICSID arbitrations.
Africa International Legal Awareness (AILA) provides intensive courses in Investment Treaty Law and Arbitration. Sydney attended the Introductory Course in September 2013 and the Advanced Course in October 2014.
He has a particular focus on international arbitration in Africa, particularly the sub-Saharan and SADC regions, the latter with which he has close professional and cultural ties.
- Provided assistance with legal research and drafting in an ICSID investment treaty claim.
- Represented a solicitor’s firm in a domestic arbitration under the rules of the CIArb involving complex contractual issues including tendering, procurement and performance of a legal services contract. Arbitration award set aside on appeal to the High Court.
Sydney has appeared regularly at inquests mainly on behalf of families and also on behalf of NHS Trusts and defence organisations representing GPs and practice managers. Has experience of enhanced and jury inquests. Currently a junior in a very high profile inquest involving a termination of pregnancy.
- Re S: Six day inquest into death of an elderly woman admitted to hospital from a care home with bronchopneumonia. The care home and GP were interested parties. The Assistant Coroner rejected a conclusion of unlawful killing and did not find neglect. The police had been requested to investigate but found no evidence of any offence. January 2019.
- Re AC: Nine-day inquest into the death of a woman after a late stage (22 weeks) termination of pregnancy at a private day clinic, having travelled from Ireland. Within 30 minutes of her discharge from the clinic, she collapsed and died in a taxi from massive internal bleeding leading to a cardiac arrest. Read more here. April 2018. Acted for family.
- Re B (2017): represented family in inquest concerning the death of a 41 year old woman who died in hospital from (at the time undiagnosed) infective myocarditis, having been admitted just 3 days earlier with suspected pneumonia.
- Re SG (2016): alleged delay in diagnosis and management of sepsis.
- Re X (2015): acted for GP at 3 day inquest. Deceased had learning disabilities. In-quest verdict quashed by consent by High Court.
- Re F Khan (2015): death following a third trimester miscarriage and attempt medical evacuation. Finding of gross failure made by Coroner.
- Re RC (2015): three day inquest.
- Re Alastair Hosie (2010): out of hours missed diagnosis of leg infection resulting in severe sepsis and death.
- Re Baby Abbie (2010): wrongful prescription of diuretic in infant. South Yorkshire Coroner’s Court, Sheffield. 17 day inquest.
- Andrew Smith (2007): five day inquest before a jury at Leicester Coroners Court.
With his strong background in clinical negligence and personal injury, Sydney is well placed to advise and represent litigants in civil claims arising out of sports injuries.
He accepts instructions (including by Public Access) for representation before disciplinary bodies and hearings conducted by arbitration in all sports.
In this regard, Sydney has a Diploma in International Arbitration and has undergone extensive training in this form of ADR.
Sydney was appointed to the pro bono panel of Sport Resolutions in February 2019. Sport Resolutions is an independent, not-for-profit, dispute resolution service for sport based in the United Kingdom. It was established by the main stakeholder groups in sport. Their aim is to provide an expert, speedy and cost effective alternative to internal appeals processes and court-based litigation. They provide sport specific arbitration and mediation services and operate the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) and National Safeguarding Panel (NSP).
A keen follower of Judo and Sumo wrestling, he was selected for the Zambian Badminton team trials for the Commonwealth Games (in his youth).
Sydney accepts instructions from claimants and defendants regarding child abuse compensation. He is experienced in actions against local authorities (failure to remove, residential care, foster parents), various institutions, and, since Hoare, against alleged abusers.
- Re X. January (2016): non-recent sexual abuse of a child. Settlement £275,000.
- RE v GE.: alleged sexual abuse by father. Limitation defence succeeded and upheld on appeal.
Sydney Chawatama joins Sport Resolutions Pro Bono Panel - Feb 2019
Sydney Chawatama to participate in ‘It’s ok to talk about race! Experiences to help unlock BAME legal talent’ panel discussion - May 2018
Martin Forde QC and Sydney Chawatama instructed in the inquest into death of a woman after termination of pregnancy - Apr 2018
Sydney Chawatama is appointed to Co-Vice Chair of the Law Reform Committee - Dec 2017
Delighted to announce Sydney Chawatama is now a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators - Dec 2017
Sydney Chawatama elected to the Bar Council for 2017 - Oct 2016
Sydney Chawatama in a Court of Protection case on the capacity of a woman with mental health problems to have an abortion - May 2013
Philip Havers QC and Sydney Chawatama win in Court of Appeal on a matter of fact in breast cancer claim - Mar 2012
Neil Garnham QC and Sydney Chawatama win appeal on mental health patients unlawful detention - Jan 2011
Sydney Chawatama defends claim by mental patient released under Habeas Corpus - Jun 2010