Breast Screening

 

Many women between the ages of 68 and 71 will be waking up to the news that they might be a victim to the NHS computer system which failed to call women for their final breast cancer screening scan.

Screening in the UK starts at the age of 50 and carries on until the age of 71, with scans being undertaken every 3 years to catch any suspicious changes early and to give patients the best chance of a good outcome following a breast cancer diagnosis.  For many the system has not worked and an IT error has resulted in the screening not being carried out as it should have been.

The stories and numbers that are in the press are alarming and it is reported that 450,000 women missed out on the screening between 2009 and this year and of those women, 309,000 are still alive. It is very sad to hear that this means some 41,000 women may have died as a result and gives rise to a serious concern that some of these deaths might have been avoided if screening had taken place.

This is a lot of information and will no doubt be distressing to those who may be affected, someone who thinks that they have missed a screening, a family member who has lost a loved to breast cancer or someone who in the coming days receives an NHS recall letter. 

The NHS have assured the public that they will act quickly and remedy the situation where it is possible to do so.  While we wait for further information to emerge, MW Solicitors encourages those who suspect that they may be affected to use the NHS helpline to seek answers to any queries they may have.

We also encourage patients to seek legal advice as they may be able to seek compensation for any harm that has come to them as a result of a delayed diagnosis.

We Can Help


Nisha Sharma
Nisha Sharma
Partner - Health & Injury

At MW Solicitors, Our Mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have been affected by the failure of the NHS Breast Screening Programme.

Nisha Sharma is a specialist Clinical Negligence solicitor with a wealth of experience in this area and has previously acted for many women in breast cancer claims, most notably in the Ian Paterson litigation.  Nisha can travel to see her clients wherever they may be based in the UK.   

If you feel you may be a patient affected by this failure of the Breast Screening Programme, contact us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

London Legal Walk

MW Solicitors are proud to announce that for the sixth year in a row we will be demonstrating our support for Legal Aid Charities by walking the London Legal Walk.


Keeley Lengthorn
Keeley Lengthorn
Partner - Family & Child Law

Staff from every one of our network of Our Offices will be helping to raise money by donating and walking the walk to support the vital work we see every day carried out by Legal Aid Support Charities throughout the London Region.

Family Solicitor and MW Legal Walk Organiser Keeley Lengthorn said:

"During a time when access to justice is being hindered, the Legal Walk is a real testament and example of the legal professions continued commitment to providing access to Justice to all and is a stellar example of how legal professionals from all areas of law can come together for one afternoon of the year to raise much needed funds for this great cause. Last year saw 12,000 people walk and £800,000 raised. Lets make this years walk bigger and better than ever!"

Dominic Harrison
Dominic Harrison
Chief Executive Officer

MW CEO Dominic Harrison said:

“The London Legal Walk is a great opportunity for us to give back to those often unsung heroes who make it possible for us to provide much needed Legal Aid funded advice to some of the most vulnerable clients who are at the heart of Our Mission; To make quality legal services accessible to everyone”.

London Legal Walk 2016

Farm Fields Sun

A daughter claimed an entitlement to a dairy farm owned by her mother and late father.   The basis of her claim was that a promise had been made to her by her late father that the farm would pass to her on his death. As such she relied on this promise to her detriment dedicating almost 30 years of her life to her parents’ farm.  This claim is known as a proprietary estoppel claim.

In order to assess the claim, Justice Birss referred to the well established indicators of a proprietary estoppel claim in Thorner v Major [2009] 1 WLR 776 HL: “a representation or assurance made to the claimant; reliance on it by the claimant; and detriment to the claimant in consequence of his (reasonable) reliance”.

The claimant was able to successfully evidence that many representations or promises were made to her about the future of her inheritance such as being told to deal with the employees as they would in time be working for her, or that you cannot have it now and have it later. Justice Birss was satisfied that such assurances had been made.

In order to show that the claimant had relied on these promises to her detriment, Justice Birss accepted the evidence that she had been paid low wages, worked long hours, hardly had time off, and made a commitment to her parents’ farm as opposed to other farms because of the assurances given to her. Consequently, Justice Birss stated that her proprietary estoppel claim had been made out.

However, before allowing a conclusion to take place, Justice Birss had to deal with some other interesting points in order to finalise this dispute: firstly, whether her mother would be bound to a promise that was made by her husband to his daughter, and secondly whether a reasonable casual offer that was made by her parents and later rejected by the daughter 10 years prior would prevent the claimant from pursuing her claim.

Justice Birss firstly stated that in reference to the case of Fielden v Christie-Miller [2015] EWHC 87 (Ch) one can be bound by another’s promise if they were aware of it, and in this case he thought that the mother knew of the assurances made to her daughter and was therefore bound. With respect to the second point Justice Birss was of the opinion that “it was not put to the claimant that by refusing the offer…[that] she would forfeit that inheritance”, and that the refusal did not entitle the defendant to abandon the assurances provided to the claimant. However, Justice Birss did apply this fact into his calculation of what relief should be rewarded.

The daughter was awarded £1.17 million of an estate valued at £2.5 million. Evidently, a promise that changed her life.

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who wish to challenge a will.  Sarah and Ravandeep are members of our Estate and Trust Disputes Team based at MW Guildford.

If you believe you may have inadvertently made such a promise or wish to rely on a promise of a gift on death our specialist Estate and Trust Dispute Solicitors are here to help you.  Don't delay, call our Team today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

Coroner's Court

Clare Evans of MW’s specialist inquest team represents the bereaved family of Robin Richards. The lengthy inquest into Robin’s death concluded on 9th March 2015.


Clare Evans
Clare Evans
Solicitor - Civil Litigation

Robin’s death highlights the lack of provision in the community for those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. The ongoing concern gave rise to the Coroner’s decision on 9th March 2015 to prepare a ‘Report to Prevent Future Deaths’, which will be sent to the Department of Health to respond to.

The Coroner will also send a report to Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust arising out of the concerns highlighted at this inquest.

The jury at Somerset Coroner’s Court found that the following factors contributed to Robin’s death:

  • Communication
  • Training
  • Information-sharing
  • Discharge planning
  • Care planning
  • Risk assessment

Robin died on 3rd July 2015, aged 33, further to hanging himself from a staircase at Highbridge Court in Somerset, on 29th June 2015. Highbridge Court is a private Care Home run by Tracscare (now re-branded ‘Accomplish’), which at the time, advertised itself as a specialised forensic Mental Health service.

Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court on 15th June 2015, followed a prolonged in-patient stay - initially detained under the Mental Health Act before becoming a voluntary in-patient - on a psychiatric ward at Wellsprings Hospital, Taunton.

It is well-documented that the transition from in-patient care to the community is a time of high-risk of suicidality, particularly in the first two weeks after hospital discharge.

In spite of this, when Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court, independent expert evidence confirmed the view Robin’s discharge was not adequately planned for, and staff at Highbridge Court had not been informed by staff of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, of the potential risk of harm from Robin, to himself.

The incident on 29th June followed a 2 week period in which Robin regularly expressed suicidal thoughts, and had started to act upon his thoughts by harming himself, including walking in front of moving traffic.

The inquest heard evidence of

  • failings in risk assessment and management;
  • Robin’s family being left out of key discussions and meetings around his care, discharge and risk management;
  • Highbridge Court failing to communicate the full breadth of Robin’s self-harming behaviours to the family or the Trust’s Community Mental Health and Crisis teams;
  • lack of training of care home staff regarding Asperger’s and what to do if someone was found hanging

Details of the Preventing Future Deaths Reports to the Department of Health and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are eagerly awaited. The family hope that lessons will be learned from Robin’s tragic death, so that others with similar presentations will not have to suffer the same fate.

This inquest is timely given the recent Guardian article which reveals fundamental shortcomings in mental health care provision, which puts lives at risk. For example, failures in training, flawed processes and errors in judgement (link to article below).

Further, it is understood there are ongoing concerns in relation to other Tracscare Homes in England and Wales, linking into the broader national concern as to the increasing use of private care homes for the purpose of mental health care provision. It is of note that under the Human Rights Act, private care homes can be ‘public authorities’ and, therefore, obliged to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.

We Can Help

At MW Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have lost loved ones whilst in care.  Our experienced and expert Lawyers will represent you at every step of the way.  From Inquest to prosecution and if applicable, in a claim for compensation.  We will be on hand to ensure that you get the access to Justice that you deserve.

If you or your family have suffered an accident at work and would like to speak to one of our expert injury solicitors, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

Media Coverage

Father and Son

In order to make effective gifts on death, the best way to do so is to make a Will, preferably with the advice of a solicitor. 


Sarah Arnold
Sarah Arnold
Solicitor - Estate & Trust Disputes Specialist


However, there are instances when a proprietary estoppel scenario can arise based on the fact that you made a promise to someone. The person to whom a promise has been made would need to prove that a promise or an assurance was made to them, which was relied upon by them, and as a result of this they suffered a detriment.

James v James

One such case where this line of argument was pursued was in the case of James v James and others 2018 EWHC 43(Ch). The case arose because the son of the deceased, who was excluded from his father’s Will, was claiming that his father had promised him land. The Judge found that even though in the past his father had discussed making his Will in favour of his son, this was not the same as promising to do so.

A further interesting point that was made by the Judge was that even if a promise had been proven (which he did not believe was evidenced), then as the son was being paid proper wages, he failed to evidence the reliance and detriment on such a promise. 

This attempt at proving an entitlement to land after death based upon a promise failed.  However, there are plenty of cases in which a promise is evident and the person relying on it has suffered a significant detriment i.e. declining paid work in reliance on the promise, and these cases can and do succeed.

Davies v Davies

In the case of Davies v Davies and Others [2015] EWHC 1384 (Ch) the son of a farmer successfully brought a proprietary estoppel claim as he was able to prove that oral promises were made, were relied upon and as such he did not pursue other potential careers paths leading to his detriment in investing all his time and money on his father’s farm. The Court awarded him the whole farm, excluding a Bungalow, as opposed to a fifth of it which was what the Will had dictated.  

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who wish to challenge a will.

Sarah and Ravandeep are members of our Estate and Trust Disputes Team based at MW Guildford. If you believe you may have inadvertently made such a promise or wish to rely on a promise of a gift on death our specialist Estate and Trust Dispute Solicitors are here to help you.  Don't delay, call our Team today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

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