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Susan Rodway KC

"She wholeheartedly embraces her clients' cases and then fights them every inch of the way." "She is a very experienced, well-known and respected silk." "A formidable opponent." Chambers and Partner, Clinical Negligence, 2022

Susan has a wealth of experience across a wide spectrum of civil and commercial litigation, domestic and international arbitration, in particular sports arbitration, and mediation. She is renowned for her advocacy skills, particularly in cross examining experts in specialist scientific, medical and sports arenas. She has been instructed in numerous leading cases arising out of clinical negligence, catastrophic injuries, group litigation, professional negligence of accountants and solicitors and sports law and domestic and international sports arbitration, in particular arising out of motorsports, cycling or equine competition including anti-doping issues.

Areas of expertise

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Despite her grounding in litigation and her fearsome reputation as an advocate, Susan has always been interested in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). She was involved at the outset in initiatives within the NHS to find methods of dealing with patient complaints without resort to litigation and qualified as an accredited mediator over 13 years ago. She acted as vice chairman of the NHS Tribunals, which decided complaints against general practitioners and pharmacists. She frequently resolves her own cases by ADR and is as member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the London Court of International Arbitration as well the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, enabling her to act or sit as an international arbitrator.

Susan has recently been appointed as a legal arbitrator to Sports Resolution. 

Clinical Negligence

In clinical negligence, Susan has a formidable reputation. Many of her cases have resulted in landmark decisions or record awards of damages. She acts mainly for claimants in cases involving catastrophic birth injuries, acquired brain damage, failures in diagnosis and treatment and foetal abnormalities. She acts for international claimants to pursue claims against health professionals in foreign jurisdictions. 

Cases of note:

  • Evie Toombes  v Dr Philip Mitchell [2020] EWHC 3506 QB And [2021] EWHC 3234 - Landmark case of pre-conception negligent advice leading to birth of claimant with spina bifida. Civil Liability (Congenital Disabilities) Act 1976. Action brought in claimant’s own right against general practitioner. Claimant succeeded on liability and case proceeds to assessment of damages. 
  • Thorley v West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust [2021] EWHC 2604 (QB) - The claimant had atrial fibrillation for which he was prescribed warfarin. Following a coronary angiogram, the claimant had an ischaemic stroke. This left him physically and cognitively disabled. The claimant brought a negligence claim against the defendant trust. He alleged that the trust had caused or, in the alternative, materially contributed to his stroke for two reasons. Firstly, the trust advised him negligently to stop warfarin four days, as opposed to three days, prior to the angiogram. Secondly, the trust failed to restart warfarin on the evening of his procedure.

    The trust denied breach of duty, but admitting that warfarin should have been restarted no later than one day following the angiogram. Causation was denied.

    Mr Justice Soole made the following findings: there was no breach of duty beyond that which was admitted by the trust; the case failed on ‘but for’ causation; and material contribution would not apply where indivisible injuries are caused by a single tortfeasor.

Personal Injury (including Abuse)

Susan is an experienced and established personal injury practitioner and is instructed by both claimants and defendants across the whole range of circumstances giving rise to liability from tort to breach of statutory duty to criminal prosecutions. She regularly acts in cases leading to catastrophic injuries such as acquired brain damage, spinal injury, multiple trauma and loss of limbs as well as claims for psychiatric injury, stress, bullying or harassment and fatal accidents. She is held in high regard as a fearless advocate for her clients and her willingness to pursue novel arguments which challenge and seek to extend the boundaries of established decisions.

For example, she has appeared in most of the leading cases of actions under the Animals Act 1971 for injury or damage caused by horses. It is significant that a number of recent decisions have exonerated keepers of animals from liability by applying the statutory defence of “volenti” under section 5 of the Act. This is an argument which she has long promoted in the appellate tribunals. 

In another but related area, she has regularly pursued cases arising out of hospital acquired infections. These cases were difficult to establish in the early days but this field of litigation has led to changes of policy within the health system. She has also acted in emerging areas of industrial/occupational diseases such as claims for bladder cancer caused by petro-chemicals or aerotoxic syndrome caused by inhaling aircraft cabin air (which is thought to have an association with organophosphates). 

Her case load often involves an international element, and she is comfortable with disputes as to the correct legal forum or those requiring the application of foreign law and practice.

Cases of note

  • EXE v Governors of the Royal Naval School [2020] EWHC 596 (GB) - The defendants employed a 30-year-old man, “Hughes”, as a kitchen porter from 15 October 1990 to 10 July 1991 at their school for girls. He was provided with accommodation on the school premises. The defendants were not aware that Hughes had a criminal record, including offences of indecent assault on a female and unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 15. Had the defendants been aware of these convictions, Hughes would not have been offered employment.

    This was a very thorough judgment by a careful judge. The core issue was limitation and at every turn the defendants were able to show that the lapse of time had adversely affected the evidence in respect of all issues. There was no need for the judge to go on to consider in detail issues 2,3 and 4 and make findings on them. The fact that he did so and supported his findings with clear and powerful reasoning makes this an extremely useful judgment to consider in the context of historic sexual abuse claims.
  • Sid Ali Atmani et al v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea et al (AKA Grenfell Tower, Civil Litigation) - Susan Rodway QC, Shaman Kapoor and Emma Corkill represent 87 claimants in their civil claims for injury and losses arising out of the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, London which led to the death of 72 people. Instructed by Bishop Lloyd and Jackson Solicitors (BLJ), the claims have been issued against the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the tenant management organisation (TMO) that between them owned and operated Grenfell Tower.

    Together with all other known Grenfell proceedings, the claims were consolidated solely for a case management conference which took place on Wednesday 7 July 2021 at which Susan and Shaman attended.

    More than 1,100 claimants were represented at the hearing by 22 different firms of solicitors representing claimants who have been bereaved, those that survived, those that were residents, those that were visitors, and those that were emergency responders. The defendants across all proceedings were represented by a further 16 different firms of solicitors and the lawyers involved required three court rooms for in person attendance as well as remote link.

    All parties (except for the BLJ claimants) had agreed to a stay for nine months. Facing claims of being an “outlier”, “splinter group” and “lone voice”, Susan articulated that the BLJ claims should not be delayed and that they were ready to issue their particulars of claim so that we could all find out how RBKC and TMO seek to defend the indefensible given their total refusal to make a formal admission of liability. The court granted a stay except to allow the BLJ claimants to serve their particulars of claim by 31 August 2021.
  • Laura McEwan v Avon and Somerset Constabulary - QB-2019- 003393 - Claim following claimant being hit by a police car during a car chase, whilst she was out celebrating her birthday. Complex matter involving multiple expert witnesses.
  • Al-Najar v The Cumberland Hotel (London) Limited [2019] EWHC 1593 (QB) - Several guests staying at the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch were attacked by Philip Spence, who had entered their room to steal. The guests had over-ridden the door closing and locking mechanisms and left their bedroom door open whilst they slept. The case raised important issues about the liability of a hotel for the criminal acts of third parties.

    The judge found that the hotel owed a duty of care to the claimants to take such care as was reasonable in all the circumstances to protect them from injury. He found that reasonable security was provided and that there had been no breach of duty and the claims were dismissed.

Sports Law

Susan is an active and competitive rider and motorcyclist and drives sports and supercars on and off track. Susan is a mediator and arbitrator and regular lecturer on international sports law. She is a member of Women in Sports Law Association (WISlaw). Her past and current work covers design and construction of racecourses and motorsports tracks (all weather surfaces/ portable hurdles/safety barriers); product liability: equine and motorsports equipment; insurance coverage; regulatory, selection and eligibility and anti-doping (various sports); appearing in many of the leading cases decided under the Animals Act 1971. Susan is currently extending her academic qualifications by completing her Master’s degree in International Sports Law. She also heads up chambers’ sports law group.

She has recently taken on the sub-concussion cases for claimants in contact sports such as rugby union, rugby league and football. 

Cases of note

  • Rugby Union Concussions Claims - Susan is instructed by Richard Boardman of Rylands Law to act for a large number of professional rugby union players in their actions against the Rugby Football Union (RFU)/WRU  and World Rugby arising out of permanent brain damage due to concussions and sub-concussive injuries suffered during their professional career. The claim is brought in negligence and is based upon allegations of failings in the introduction and implementation of rules and regulations to identify, reduce or prevent damage due to repetitive head injuries in match play and in training sessions. It is likely that proceedings will be issued in early 2021 and that the claimants will apply for a Group Litigation Order in order to manage the claims.


  • “A dynamic and fearsome advocate who is very bright. She is down to earth, approachable and works extremely hard." "She gets straight to the heart of a case and has a very caring approach. She is a really effective advocate." Chambers and Partners, Personal Injury, 2022
  • “She wholeheartedly embraces her clients' cases and then fights them every inch of the way." "She is a very experienced, well-known and respected silk." "A formidable opponent." Chambers and Partner, Clinical Negligence, 2022
  • “‘A great advocate – definitely someone you want on your side.” The Legal 500, Personal Injury, 2022
  • “Susan is fearless. She is a fantastic advocate and will go the extra mile.” The Legal 500, Clinical Negligence, 2022