Francesca O’Neill

Call: 2012
Junior (0-10 yrs call)

"A very impressive and commercially minded junior, excellent on her feet, and able to deal with complex jurisdictional issues."
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Expertise
Francesca is recognised as a highly effective and experienced advocate, with particular expertise in trial and at contested hearings. She has  particular interest and experience in professional indemnity work and has advised and acted for claimants and defendants in professional liability actions involving solicitors, barristers, accountants / auditors, surveyors, insurance brokers, construction professionals and other professionals.

She also has a strong background in clinical negligence claims and has been instructed by both Claimants and the NHS to appear at Inquests and contested hearings in cases worth in excess of £1 million.

Her background in commercial and contractual disputes ensures that Francesca is able to advise on complex claims that may involve multiple areas of law: from personal injury to employment,  chancery, or matters involving insurance fraud.

Before coming to the Bar, Francesca read History at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where she was a Senior Exhibitioner. She then obtained an MSc from the London School of Economics gaining a Distinction before studying the GDL and BPTC at City University. The Inner Temple awarded her consecutive Major Scholarships for both years of training and she received The Times Ashley Jackson Law Prize.

She is an elected two-term member of the Bar Council and sits on the Education & Training Committee, a school governor at her local primary, and specialises in toddler wrangling when away from Chambers.
Education

  • MA (History) University of Cambridge

  • MSc (International Relations and Political Theory)  London School of Economics

  • Dip.Law (GDL) City University

  • Bar Professional Training Course, City University

Recent cases

  • Brooks v London Borough of Waltham Forest: Francesca successfully struck out a £5.5 million appeal in front of Mr Justice Knowles arising from a collateral attack on a decision of the Family Court.

  • X v DCHS (NHS Litigation Authority): Representing the NHSLA at a two-week jury Inquest mandated by the HSE following the accidental death of a resident in her wheelchair at a care home. Successfully advised and represented the NHSLA, who came away from the inquest without criticism.

  • Re Harry Whiteman: Francesca represented the family of Mr Whiteman at the Inquest into his untimely death. She successfully persuaded the Coroner to refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions following irregularities in the expert evidence provided by the Mental Health trust.

  • J v QDOS: representing the Defendant in a complex solicitor's negligence case with a value of over £100,000, involving litigants in person, the Financial Ombudsman Service, defective pleadings and multiple summary applications.

  • AIS (Marine) 2 v SQN Holdings: successfully opposed winding up petition in this complex commercial dispute involving penalty clauses and unjust enrichment.

  • Rosser v Devon County Council: a successful appeal in this Highways Act case, involving interpretation of nonfeasance as opposed to misfeasance.
    Blacklisting litigation: instructed as junior Counsel on behalf of the Claimants in this long-running claim for historic blacklisting of construction workers.

Awards

  • 2017: Lawyer Monthly “Women in Law” Award for outstanding contribution in the personal injury field.

  • 2012 Inner Temple Major Scholarship (BPTC)

  • 2011 Inner Temple Major Scholarship (GDL)

  • 2011 The Times Ashley Jackson Law Prize

  • 2008 Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge: Senior Exhibition

  • 2007 Royal Commonwealth Society Scholarship
    2007 Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge: Exhibition

  • 2005 Rothberg Scholarship for Academic Excellence

Memberships

  • Personal Injuries Bar Association

  • London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association

  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

  • British Insurance Law Association

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