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Alexis Hearnden

“Absolutely phenomenal.” Chambers and Partners

Alexis Hearnden is an experienced advocate with a successful regulatory and public law practice. She acts for regulators and those they regulate across a range of professions, including solicitors, doctors, dentists, fertility clinics, architects, vets, and osteopaths before tribunals, in judicial review proceedings and in statutory appeals. In the world of sport, she advises sport national governing bodies, particularly in safeguarding matters.

Alexis regularly represents family members, local authorities, health authorities and the Official Solicitor in the Court of Protection, which complements her broader public law work in the areas of mental health, community care and healthcare.

She is recommended as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners in the areas of Professional Discipline and in the Court of Protection, and by The Legal 500 for Professional Discipline. Alexis was nominated for Professional Discipline Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2020.

Areas of expertise


Alexis acts for a range of professional regulators and professionals across a range of sectors including General Medical Council (GMC), the Professional Standard Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA), the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Bar Standards Board, the Architects Registration Board and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Her work for lawyers facing disciplinary action includes a range of conduct issues (e.g. social media, sexual misconduct, account rules breaches, whistleblowing, non-disclosure agreements and convictions) as well as interventions and injunctions.

Cases of note:

  • PSA v (1) Social Work England, (2) Bennett [2021] EWHC 1288 (Admin) - Alexis acted for the PSA in a successful challenge to a decision of Social Work England to suspend a social worker for breach of immigration rules and dishonesty in order to bring a young child into the UK for adoption.
  • White v General Medical Council [2021] EWHC 3286 (Admin) - A GP challenged interim conditions which were imposed after a video which went “viral” in which he expressed anti-mask views and raised concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.  The case turned on arguments made in reliance on articles 8 and 10 of the ECHR and section 12 of the HRA 1998.
  • Sastry v General Medical Council [2021] EWCA Civ 623 (Admin) - Led by Ivan Hare KC, Alexis acted for the GMC in the Court of Appeal in a decision giving important clarity on the nature of appeals under s40 and s40A of the Medical Act 1983.
  • Garaffa v General Medical Council [2021] EWHC 539 (Admin) - Alexis acted in a statutory appeal where a consultant had performed an irreversible procedure on a patient who was undergoing gender re-assignment surgery, which he had not consented to.
  • PSA v Health and Care Professions Council [2019] EWHC 2819 (Admin) - Alexis acted for the PSA in a challenge to a decision of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in a case where a paramedic had sent messages of a sexual nature to a patient.  The court, allowing the appeal, found that the charges as draft had failed to properly put the gravity of the misconduct to the committee.
  • Neumans v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2018] EWCA Civ 325 - As junior counsel to Fenella Morris KC acting for a firm appealing against a decision of the High Court not to withdraw a notice of intervention, where procedural unfairness was alleged against the SRA.
  • Doherty v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2017] EWCA Civ 1344 - As junior counsel to Fenella Morris KC Alexis acted for the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the correct interpretation of the test applied by the Registrar when a nurse or midwife applies to renew her registration where a conviction was declared at renewal.


Alexis advises law firms in the context of large-scale investigations into compliance obligations and assists with reporting obligations in the event of breach. Recent work includes advising on conflicts of interest, the use of technology, regulatory considerations across a large firm/group structure, as well as under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations.

She is member of the editorial board of the Law Society’s “Legal Compliance Bulletin”.

Alexis advises healthcare regulators on regulatory matters including published guidance (e.g. guidance on consent to treatment and capacity to consent to sex).

Court of Protection and Medical Treatment

Alexis regularly represents local authorities, the Official Solicitor and families in health and welfare and property and affairs cases. She is experienced working with vulnerable clients and witnesses, as attested to by Chambers and Partners “her forte is dealing with lay clients. She is very skilled in this area of work”. Her welfare cases include forced marriage, capacity to consent to sex, residence, care, deprivations of liberty (including damages claims), medical treatment (including sterilisation). On the property and affairs side, she acts in cases concerning the conduct of deputies and challenges to enduring and lasting powers of attorney.

Cases of note:

  • Local Authority v MF [2022] EWCOP 54 – Sir Jonathan Cohen concluded that it was in the best interests of MF, who had been diagnosed with a moderate learning disability and schizoaffective disorder, to move from his home (against his family’s wishes). Alexis acted for MF.
  • PH v Brighton and Hove City Council [2021] EWCOP 63 - The BBC and Sky applied to lift reporting restrictions to be able to report on the case of Tony Hickmott, who has remained in a secure unit years past the point where doctors advise that he is fit for discharge.  Alexis acts for Mr Hickmott (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) in the long running welfare proceedings. 
    BBC News
    Sky News
  • Livewell Southwest CIC v MD [2020] EWCOP 57 - An application for orders permitting sedation, transfer by ambulance to hospital, general anaesthesia and the complete extraction of all teeth.
  • Croydon LBC v KR, ST [2019] EWHC 2498 - Mrs Justice Lieven held that an application brought by the local authority under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court – to ensure that husband and wife lived separately – was a “colossal interference” with their Article 8 rights and was neither necessary nor proportionate.  Alexis acted for the wife of the patient.
  • London Borough of Hackney v SJF, JJF [2019] EWCOP 8 - A capacity and best interests dispute concerning the residence and care for P, a woman with complex health problems.  Alexis acted for her son who himself had learning difficulties and anger management problems requiring careful, sensitive support and representation.
  • Luton Borough Council v (1) SB, (2) RS [2015] EWHC 3534 (Fam), [2017] 4 WLR 61 - Alexis acted for the local authority in a forced marriage case where a young man with autism underwent a marriage ceremony in Pakistan and the court declared that – by virtue of his incapacity – the marriage was not recognised in England and Wales.
  • SCC v MCA [2017] EWCOP 18 - Alexis acted for a local authority in a case concerning Rule 3A representatives. 
  • Miles v Public Guardian [2015] EWHC 2960 (Ch) - Alexis acted for the Public Guardian in an appeal concerning the interpretation and effect of a lasting power of attorney.

Community care and mental health

Community care work overlaps with Alexis’s Court of Protection practice. She acts for individuals, local government and healthcare organisations in judicial reviews across a range of areas including prisons, childcare, accommodation and healthcare services.

She advises in respect of the ordinary residence test and obligations under the Children Act 1989, the National Assistance Act 1948 and the Care Act 2014, including where the service user lacks capacity.

Mental health work includes representing patients and local authorities in applications to displace nearest relatives and in habeas corpus proceedings with tribunal experience focusing on high security patients.


Alexis’s recent work has a particular focus on safeguarding and fairness in disciplinary proceedings. She is a member of the Sport Resolutions Pro Bono Panel and is involved in the National Safeguarding Pilot and has been appointed as a Specialist Member to the Sport Resolutions Arbitration panel. She was selected to be part of an ad hoc panel providing advice and representation to athletes and officials at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships.

Recent Sports safeguarding advisory work has included:

  • Acting as an independent supervisor of a major investigation by a national governing body into alleged sexual misconduct by a coach.
  • Advising a National Governing Board (NGB) Safeguarding Officer on the conduct of a safeguarding investigation.
  • Drafting charges against coaches and advising on issues concerning confidentiality, disclosure and fairness.
  • Advising on data protection issues arising in a safeguarding investigation.
  • Advising an NGB in a case concerning allegations of historic child sex abuse.

She has written in the Sports Resolution Newsletter about the IAAF Regulations on hyperandrogenism from a human rights perspective (with Fenella Morris KC) and on athlete human rights (with Ian Brownhill).


She's fantastic. Really smart and well regarded." "A very capable and accomplished junior." "Very good on her feet and knows the law well." Chambers and Partners

“A very calm and measured barrister who manages difficult clients really well.” Chambers and Partners

Alexis has an incisive eye, cutting through excess detail to get to the central issues of a case quickly and always provides very clear and sensible advice.” The Legal 500

“Absolutely phenomenal.” “She is very good, experienced, committed to this kind of work and she does it well.” “A good junior with an excellent eye for detail.” Chambers and Partners

“A very sensible and realistic advocate.” “She is meticulous in her preparation and she brings a good, pragmatic approach to court. She’s very well regarded by peers and solicitors as well as judges.” Chambers and Partners

“Alexis is easy to work with and builds a good relationship with our clients. She is also effective in dealing with expert evidence.” The Legal 500

“Alexis is thorough and detailed in her advice. Her drafting is excellent, and she has a reassuring and measured approach to difficult and complex issues.” The Legal 500

“Excellent with clients and extremely quick.” Chambers and Partners

“She is fast becoming a go-to barrister for cases where creative thinking is required. She works incredibly hard, and nothing is too much for her.” Chambers and Partners

“She comes across exceptionally well and all of her submissions are incredibly thorough. One of those people who has a fantastic bank of knowledge to call on and is a genuinely nice person to work with.” Chambers and Partners