• An extraordinarily experienced practitioner specialising to the highest degree in regulatory law and professional discipline, Lydia Barnfather combines first-rate judgement and technical skill with exceptional advocacy and a calm tenacity that impresses regulators and professional clients alike.

    Crime

    Lydia Barnfather is a highly regarded advocate who honed her skills practising in the field of serious general crime. She is regularly instructed to represent professionals, often in proceedings parallel to those being brought by a regulator.

    Regulatory

    Lydia has consistently been Ranked Tier 1 by the Legal 500 in Professional Discipline and has been nominated for Professional Discipline Junior of the Year by Chambers UK 2021. She is rightly regarded as one of the leading practitioners in this field having specialised to the highest level in the prosecution, defence and professional discipline of professionals. She has extensive experience appearing before a range of tribunals as well as before the appellate courts. She advises and appears in some of the most high-profile and sensitive cases brought by a wide range of organisations and regulatory bodies as well as acting for individual members and corporate bodies facing investigation.

    Public

    As a revered regulatory practitioner, Lydia Barnfather is ideally placed to take cases within the field of professional discipline through the appeal stages of the high court to judicial review and to other arenas in their related proceedings, including inquests and inquiries. Her vast expertise of the complex technicalities of the professions and the nuanced approach of various regulators has made her the model candidate to represent parties as the decisions of public bodies and regulators are appealed or as the role of core participants in an incident are explored.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2022: Professional Discipline – Band 1

    Legal 500 2022: Professional Discipline and Regulatory – Tier 1

    Chambers UK 2021: Nominated for Professional Discipline Junior of the Year.

    'She is top tier, a very senior specialist in the area. It is always reassuring working with Lydia: she is extremely experienced and incredibly competent, insightful and calm. A top-class advocate. Lydia is authoritative, bright and very persuasive advocate. She is thorough, calm and, all round, a really excellent barrister.' Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2022)

    'Lydia's advocacy is excellent and her judgement is first-class. Tribunals clearly like her and trust her judgement. She is rightly considered to be one of the best professional discipline juniors at the Bar.' Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory (2022)

    'She is extremely good - an excellent prosecutor who is superbly well prepared. Her cross-examination was extremely well structured.' 'She is a leader in the field and is supremely competent in this area.' 'A go-to barrister for complex or high-profile regulatory cases.' Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2021)

    'Lydia is an authoritative, bright and strategic advocate who is trusted by clients with their most complex and high profile matters. She provides robust case direction to achieve consistently strong results.' Legal 500 Professional Disciplinary and Regulatory Law (2021)

    ‘Authoritative, approachable and easy to deal with. She is able to identify and highlight evidence overlooked by others.’ ‘Great to work with and manages her cases with minimum fuss. Highly regarded by clients and always gets a good result.’ ‘An extremely experienced practitioner in all things relating to professional regulation.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2020)

    ‘She is a formidable advocate, charismatic, persuasive and extremely well prepared.’ Legal 500 Professional Disciplinary and Regulatory Law (2020)

    ‘Authoritative and approachable.’ ‘She's incredibly experienced in the field and a real pleasure to work with.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2019)

    ‘A brilliant trial advocate who manages her cases with the minimum of fuss.’ Legal 500 UK Professional Discipline (2018)

    ‘Very experienced and well respected in healthcare regulation. She is thorough, tenacious and always impresses the tribunals she appears before.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2018)

    ‘A brilliant trial advocate who manages her cases with minimum fuss. She'll sort the wood from the trees, even on the most technical of cases, and presents superbly. She's equally at ease with complex clinical issues and probity cases.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2017)

    ‘An accomplished advocate with deep expertise in medico-legal matters. She acts for professional bodies including the GDC, GMC and HCPC, and also has a growing practice on the defendant side.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2016)

    ‘Brilliant, and experienced in all facets of professional discipline she excels in the medical and social care fields before the courts and tribunals. Client-centred and praised for her speedy responses and pragmatism she is known for being decisive but also willing to discuss matters.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2014)

    Professional Memberships

    • Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
    • Criminal Bar Association
    • South Eastern Circuit
    • Former Committee member, Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
    • Former member, Bar Professional Standards Committee

    Education

    • St Hilda's College, Oxford University, MA
    • University of Westminster, CPE

    Recent Cases

    • Lydia Barnfather was instructed to represent a hospital speech and language therapist accused of acting outside of her scope of practice and for inaccurate record-keeping.Counsel is instructed by Ewan Bright of BLM Law.

      ...
    • Lydia Barnfather prosecuted a dental practitioner who had been charged with providing multiple extractions on a patient with a declared blood clotting condition which led to the patient bleeding to death.Counsel was instructed by Harry McNeilly of the GDC...

      ...
    • Lydia Barnfather successfully represented an optometrist who had been accused of sexual misconduct involving two patients and an allegation of inappropriate misconduct with a child. No findings of fact were made in respect of any charge.Counsel was instru...

      ...
    • Lydia Barnfather prosecuted five dental practitioners who had submitted false clinical audits to National Education Scotland as part of their individual audit requirement. Findings of dishonesty were made against all five registrants.Counsel was instructe...

      ...
    • Lydia Barnfather prosecuted an experienced dental practitioner who had been involved in large-scale defrauding of the NHS and sustained negligent care and treatment of multiple patients over a 5-year period. Following the hearing, the dental practitioner ...

      ...
    • Lydia Barnfather defends doctor accused of sexualised behaviour to six women including staff.

      ...
    • Lydia Barnfather acted for PSA in matter concerning a sanction determination which was insufficient for the protection of the public.

      ...
    • Lydia Barnfather successfully defended a doctor in respect of whom a former patient sought to bring a private prosecution for assault. 

      ...

    News

    Articles

    • Preparing for remote hearings: Planning ahead to avoid pitfalls

      The outbreak of Covid-19 has put a sharp focus on video link hearings in legal proceedings, and has greatly accelerated their use. The Coronavirus Act 2020 has expanded the use of remote hearings in the criminal courts. Over the Easter weekend,The Times r...

  • A truly exceptional advocate with first-rate judgement and technical skill; from her beginnings as an outstanding criminal practitioner, Lydia Barnfather continues to impress in the criminal courts.

    Overview

    Lydia Barnfather is a highly regarded advocate who honed her skills practising in the field of serious general crime. She is regularly instructed to represent professionals, often in proceedings parallel to those being brought by a regulator.

    Experience 

    Lydia’s background is in crime, having spent the first years of her career exclusively in the criminal courts both prosecuting and defending on a range of cases including: murder, rape, child abuse, fraud and drugs offences. For much of her career she has been on the CPS’ specialist rape advocate panel.

    The focus of Lydia’s practice has since developed to incorporate professional individuals often undergoing parallel proceedings before the courts and their regulatory organisations. She has extensive experience of all tiers of both criminal and regulatory jurisdictions and of a vast variety of offences. In recent years Lydia has represented a number of healthcare professionals as they have been investigated by their employer, appeared as an interested party at inquests as well as throughout proceedings brought by both their regulator and the Crown Prosecution Service. 

    Lydia impresses any tribunal she appears before, whether regulatory or criminal; she is an exceptionally gifted advocate and a pleasure to work with.

    Reviews

    'Lydia's advocacy is excellent and her judgement is first-class. Tribunals clearly like her and trust her judgement.' Legal 500 (2022)

    'Lydia is an authoritative, bright and strategic advocate who is trusted by clients with their most complex and high profile matters. She provides robust case direction to achieve consistently strong results.' Legal 500 (2021)

    'Great to work with and manages her cases with minimum fuss. Highly regarded by clients and always gets a good result.' Chambers UK (2020)

    ‘A brilliant adviser and trial advocate, who manages her cases with minimum fuss.’ Legal 500 (2017)

    ‘Well regarded for her uncompromising advocacy.’ Legal 500 (2016)

    Recent Cases

    • Lydia Barnfather successfully defended a doctor in respect of whom a former patient sought to bring a private prosecution for assault. 

    News

    • Jocelyn Ledward Wins Crime Junior of the Year Award at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021

      We are delighted to announce that Jocelyn Ledward has been successful in winning Crime Junior of the Year at this year's Chambers UK Bar Awards.Jocelyn is a highly regarded junior in the field of general crime. She has particular expertise in sensitive, h...

    • Tom Kark QC, Lydia Barnfather and Jocelyn Ledward shortlisted in the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021

      We are delighted to announce that three members of chambers have been shortlisted in the Chambers UK Bar awards across the fields of Professional Discipline and Crime.The shortlisting is as follows:Professional Discipline Silk of the Year - Tom Kark QCPro...

  • An absolutely brilliant advisor and trial advocate, Lydia Barnfather has impressed in all facets of professional discipline. She is clear, decisive, calm and excels in the court room, understanding the most complex of cases and presenting her cases superbly.

    Overview 

    Lydia has consistently been Ranked Tier 1 by the Legal 500 in Professional Discipline and has been nominated for Professional Discipline Junior of the Year by Chambers UK 2021. She is rightly regarded as one of the leading practitioners in this field having specialised to the highest level in the prosecution, defence and professional discipline of professionals. She has extensive experience appearing before a range of tribunals as well as before the appellate courts. She advises and appears in some of the most high-profile and sensitive cases brought by a wide range of organisations and regulatory bodies as well as acting for individual members and corporate bodies facing investigation. 

    Experience

    Lydia Barnfather is an expert in all aspects of conduct, performance and health and is a highly experienced practitioner having appeared and advised multiple times on matters concerning the GMC and MPTS, GDC, GOC, GOsC, GPhC, GCC, HCPC and NHS England amongst many others. In addition to acting for an extensive range of regulators, she is also repeatedly instructed by a number of defence organisations and firms. She often represents individuals undergoing parallel criminal and regulatory proceedings whilst also being called upon by regulators to advise and present in difficult or complex cases. She undertakes work before a range of tribunals and efore the High Court and has additionally advised and acted for the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). 

    Recognised as an absolute expert in this field, Lydia is frequently invited to provide in-house training to regulators and experts.

    Lydia is renowned for her dedication, thorough yet efficient preparation, tenacity and highest quality advocacy. She is a true expert in professional regulation and is an absolute asset, whichever team she is on.

    Notable Cases

    GCC v AS (2021)
    Acted for the GCC on a case concerning a chiropractor's alleged dishonest conduct following the provision of treatment which resulted in a fatal fracture of the patient's cervical spine. 
     
    GOC v Mr L (2021)
    Acted for the registrant in a case concerning allegations of breaching Covid-19 restrictions and secured a finding of no misconduct. 
     
    GDC v Mr M (2021)
    Acted for the GDC in a case concerning racist comments of one of its own Panel Members. 
     
    GMC v Dr X (2021)
    Successfully represented a neurodiverse doctor accused of dishonesty. 
     
    GDC v A, R. A, I & M (2019)
    Prosecuted 5 interlinked registrants for dishonest submission of clinical audits and professional development claims to National Education Scotland. 
     
    PSA v HCPC & RS (2018)
    Advised and represented the PSA on appeal to the High Court following a flawed decision by the HCPC which was insufficient for the protection of the public interest.
     
    GPhC - Gosport Independent Panel Report
    Advised the GPhC in respect of parallel proceedings following the Gosport Independent Panel Report.
     

    GDC v Vieru-York EWHC 1784 (2015)
    Prosecuted a Harley Street dentist for gross clinical errors involving implant surgery and ensured the findings were upheld on appeal. 

    GDC v Ashraf EWHC 2618 (2014)
    Dentist was successfully prosecuted by Lydia for three separately orchestrated NHS frauds and successfully resisted arguments on appeal of double jeopardy.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2022: Professional Discipline – Band 1

    Legal 500 2022: Professional Discipline and Regulatory – Tier 1

    Chambers UK 2021: Nominated for Professional Discipline Junior of the Year.

    'She is top tier, a very senior specialist in this area. It is always reassuring working with Lydia: she is extremely experienced and incredibly competent, insightful and calm. A top-class advocate. Lydia is an authoritative, bright and very persuasive advocate. She is thorough, calm and, all round, a really excellent barrister.' Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2022)

    'Lydia's advocacy is excellent and her judgement is first-class. Tribunals clearly like her and trust her judgement. She is rightly considered to be one of the best professional discipline juniors at the Bar.' Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory (2022)

    'She is extremely good - an excellent prosecutor who is superbly well prepared. Her cross-examination was extremely well structured.' 'She is a leader in the field and is supremely competent in this area.' 'A go-to barrister for complex or high-profile regulatory cases.' Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2021)

    'Lydia is an authoritative, bright and strategic advocate who is trusted by clients with their most complex and high profile matters. She provides robust case direction to achieve consistently strong results.' Legal 500 Professional Disciplinary and Regulatory Law (2021)

    ‘Authoritative, approachable and easy to deal with. She is able to identify and highlight evidence overlooked by others.’ ‘Great to work with and manages her cases with minimum fuss. Highly regarded by clients and always gets a good result.’ ‘An extremely experienced practitioner in all things relating to professional regulation.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2020)

    ‘She is a formidable advocate, charismatic, persuasive and extremely well prepared.’ Legal 500 Professional Disciplinary and Regulatory Law (2020)

    ‘Authoritative and approachable.’ ‘She's incredibly experienced in the field and a real pleasure to work with.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2019)

    ‘A brilliant trial advocate who manages her cases with the minimum of fuss.’ Legal 500 UK Professional Discipline (2018)

    ‘Very experienced and well respected in healthcare regulation. She is thorough, tenacious and always impresses the tribunals she appears before. Very able.’ Chambers UK (2018)

    ‘Clients absolutely love her; she's very clever and has wonderful judgement. You feel very lucky if she's in your corner. A brilliant trial advocate who manages her cases with minimum fuss. She'll sort the wood from the trees, even on the most technical of cases, and presents superbly. She's equally at ease with complex clinical issues and probity cases.’ Chambers UK (2017)

    ‘An accomplished advocate with deep expertise in medico-legal matters. She acts for professional bodies including the GDC, GMC and HCPC, and also has a growing practice on the defendant side.’ Chambers UK (2016)

    ‘There are very few questions that she hasn’t seen or doesn’t have an informed viewpoint on.’ Chambers UK (2015)

    ‘She sees the wood from the trees in the most technical of cases and presents superbly.’ Chambers UK (2015)

    ‘Brilliant and experienced in all facets of professional discipline she excels in the medical and social care fields before the courts and tribunals including on behalf of the GMC, GDC, GCC, former GSCC, HCPC,  NHS England and others. Client-centred and praised for her speedy responses and pragmatism she is known for being decisive but also willing to discuss matters.’ Chambers UK (2014)

    ‘Excellent across the board and noted for her ability to strike up rapport with solicitors, clients and witnesses. She specialises in prosecuting medical and social care professionals before tribunals and in the criminal courts.’ Chambers UK (2013)

    Recent Cases

    • Lydia Barnfather was instructed to represent a hospital speech and language therapist accused of acting outside of her scope of practice and for inaccurate record-keeping.Counsel is instructed by Ewan Bright of BLM Law.

    • Lydia Barnfather prosecuted a dental practitioner who had been charged with providing multiple extractions on a patient with a declared blood clotting condition which led to the patient bleeding to death.Counsel was instructed by Harry McNeilly of the GDC...

    • Lydia Barnfather successfully represented an optometrist who had been accused of sexual misconduct involving two patients and an allegation of inappropriate misconduct with a child. No findings of fact were made in respect of any charge.Counsel was instru...

    • Lydia Barnfather prosecuted five dental practitioners who had submitted false clinical audits to National Education Scotland as part of their individual audit requirement. Findings of dishonesty were made against all five registrants.Counsel was instructe...

    • Lydia Barnfather prosecuted an experienced dental practitioner who had been involved in large-scale defrauding of the NHS and sustained negligent care and treatment of multiple patients over a 5-year period. Following the hearing, the dental practitioner ...

    • Lydia Barnfather defends doctor accused of sexualised behaviour to six women including staff.

    • Lydia Barnfather acted for PSA in matter concerning a sanction determination which was insufficient for the protection of the public.

    • Lydia Barnfather successfully defended a doctor in respect of whom a former patient sought to bring a private prosecution for assault. 

    News

    • Jocelyn Ledward Wins Crime Junior of the Year Award at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021

      We are delighted to announce that Jocelyn Ledward has been successful in winning Crime Junior of the Year at this year's Chambers UK Bar Awards.Jocelyn is a highly regarded junior in the field of general crime. She has particular expertise in sensitive, h...

    • Tom Kark QC, Lydia Barnfather and Jocelyn Ledward shortlisted in the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021

      We are delighted to announce that three members of chambers have been shortlisted in the Chambers UK Bar awards across the fields of Professional Discipline and Crime.The shortlisting is as follows:Professional Discipline Silk of the Year - Tom Kark QCPro...

    Articles

    • Preparing for remote hearings: Planning ahead to avoid pitfalls

      The outbreak of Covid-19 has put a sharp focus on video link hearings in legal proceedings, and has greatly accelerated their use. The Coronavirus Act 2020 has expanded the use of remote hearings in the criminal courts. Over the Easter weekend,The Times r...

  • Inquests, Inquiries and Public Law

    With an astute and forensic mind, Lydia Barnfather effortlessly transfers her knowledge and expertise from both the criminal and regulatory fields to that of Public Law.

    Overview

    As a revered regulatory practitioner, Lydia Barnfather is ideally placed to take cases within the field of professional discipline through the appeal stages of the high court to judicial review and to other arenas in their related proceedings including inquests and inquiries. Her vast expertise of the complex technicalities of the professions and the nuanced approach of various regulators has made her the model candidate to represent parties as the decisions of public bodies and regulators are appealed or as the role of core participants in an incident are explored.

    Experience

    Lydia has been involved in a number of inquests as well as advised in respect of a number of applications for Judicial Review arising out of her regulatory practice. 

    Lydia’s experience of inquests ranges from medical professionals to army serviceman. She is called upon to act in technically complex matters and has recently successfully represented a doctor referred by a Coroner for Gross Negligence Manslaughter. She has represented a police doctor after a suicide following police release from custody as well as represented the interests of bereaved families including a the family at the Inquest into the death of a military policeman killed in Afghanistan.

    Lydia’s knowledge, vast intellect and calm and assured approach make her the ideal candidate in this field.

    Notable Cases 

    Inquest into the death of Mrs L (2021)
    Lydia represented a consultant who provided a fatal injection and she ensured evidence was adduced before the Coroner which refuted the suggestion of negligence. 
     
    Inquest into the death of Mr L (2021)
    Lydia represented a surgeon involved in the care of a patient who died of septic and haemorrhagic shock following a post operative wound infection. 
     
    Inquest into the death of Mr DL (2020)
    Lydia represented the family of a man who died of neuropenic sepsis and ensured the family's concerns about his care were appropriately explored. 
     
    Inquest into the death of Mr X (2018)
    Lydia represented a police doctor (FME) at an inquest into the suicide of a prisoner. 
     

    Sergeant Loughran-Dickson (2014)
    Lydia represented the interests of the family of Sergeant Robert David Loughran-Dickson who had been killed in a gun battle in the Helmand Province.

    Reviews

    'It is always reassuring working with Lydia: she is extremely experienced and incredibly competent, insightful and calm. A top-class advocate.' Chambers UK (2022)

    'Lydia's advocacy is excellent and her judgement is first-class. Tribunals clearly like her and trust her judgement.' Legal 500 (2021)

    'She is extremely good - an excellent prosecutor who is superbly well prepared.' Chambers UK (2021)

    'Lydia is an authoritative, bright and strategic advocate who is trusted by clients with their most complex and high profile matters. She provides robust case direction to achieve consistently strong results.' Legal 500 (2021)

    ‘Great to work with and manages her cases with minimum fuss. Highly regarded by clients and always gets a good result.’ Chambers UK (2020)

    ‘Clients absolutely love her; she's very clever and has wonderful judgement. You feel very lucky if she's in your corner. A brilliant trial advocate who manages her cases with minimum fuss. She'll sort the wood from the trees, even on the most technical of cases, and presents superbly. She's equally at ease with complex clinical issues and probity cases.’ Chambers UK (2017)

    ‘There are very few questions that she hasn’t seen or doesn’t have an informed viewpoint on.’ Chambers UK (2015)

    ‘She sees the wood from the trees in the most technical of cases and presents superbly.’ Chambers UK (2015)

    ‘The brilliant Lydia Barnfather is excellent across the board and noted for her ability to strike up rapport with solicitors, clients and witnesses. She specialises in prosecuting medical and social care professionals before tribunals and in the criminal courts.’ Chambers UK (2013)

    Articles

    • Preparing for remote hearings: Planning ahead to avoid pitfalls

      The outbreak of Covid-19 has put a sharp focus on video link hearings in legal proceedings, and has greatly accelerated their use. The Coronavirus Act 2020 has expanded the use of remote hearings in the criminal courts. Over the Easter weekend,The Times r...