"A highly rated junior."

Legal 500 2020
Esther Esther

Barrister: Esther Maclachlan


Deputy District Judge (2015),South Eastern Circuit, Civil, Family (s8 and Public law) and Court of Protection

Diplock Scholar, Middle Temple (2005); BVC, City University (2005); CPE, City University (2004); BA History & Politics, University of Leeds (1997)


Esther is a skilful and dependable advocate with a mixed civil and family practice. Her approachable style and clear advice puts clients at ease and inspires confidence. She is highly effective in court, known as much for her forensic examination of the evidence as her ability to craft a persuasive legal argument. Her client care skills are second to none. She is ranked in the Legal 500 and is described in the 2019 edition as a barrister who ‘gets the right results time and again.’

She specialises in cases concerning complex medical issues, undertaking a wide range of multi-track clinical negligence and personal injury matters and with respect to her family practice, care proceedings involving non-accidental injury, including abusive head trauma and sexual abuse.

Her clinical negligence expertise gives her a distinct advantage when dealing with complex medical evidence in care proceedings. Similarly, her experience of care proceedings makes her an obvious choice of counsel for any personal injury action arising out of historical child abuse.

She also undertakes Court of Protection work and is often asked to advise in civil and family matters which involve protected parties and applications to the Court of Protection.

Esther was appointed a Deputy District Judge in 2015 and sits on the South Eastern Circuit. She is authorised to hear civil, family and Court of Protection matters.

She is trained and approved by the Bar Council to receive instructions directly from the public and businesses.

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Clinical Negligence:

In clinical negligence matters Esther acts exclusively for claimants. She is very skilled in the cross examination of medical experts and her calm and confident manner in court gives her a reputation as a highly effective advocate.

Her practice covers a wide variety of claims and she has experience of the following types of cases;

  • delay in diagnosis and misdiagnosis of cardiac conditions, strokes and Deep Vein Thrombosis,
  • misdiagnosis and delay in the treatment of all types of cancer,
  • negligent prescription of the incorrect medication and failure to prescribe,
  • negligent provision of cosmetic and laser surgery,
  • healthcare associated infections including both acquisition and delay in diagnosis/treatment,
  • birth injury cases and obstetric negligence, including hypoxia and brain injury,
  • wrongful birth cases, 
  • negligent treatment of urological and gynaecological conditions,
  • negligent treatment of a variety of orthopaedic injuries,
  • development of pressures sores and ulcers,
  • failure to diagnose and treat fractures leading to permanent disability,
  • failure to diagnose and mismanagement of spinal injury leading to death,
  • failure to diagnose renal disease leading to end stage renal failure,
  • surgical negligence resulting in permanent disability,
  • failure to obtain an informed consent,
  • use of defective medical products.

Esther regularly appears in the coroner’s court and has been instructed to represent several families at inquests arising out of deaths at hospital due to clinical negligence. She has a very sensitive approach with clients and has helped many traumatised families through distressing and complex inquests, going on to represent them in their clinical negligence claims.

Client Testimonial

“Esther is a caring and compassionate professional with a particularly personable approach. She is able to explain the most complex of matters in the simplest of ways to ensure that every client fully understands all aspects of their claim. Her knowledge of the law and medical matters is outstanding. It is an absolute pleasure to work alongside her in clinical negligence cases. Not only is she an intelligent and articulate barrister but one who is willing to go the extra mile. It is obvious that she always strives to achieve the best outcome for her lay clients and as an instructing solicitor she is a very supportive to work with. “

C. Gooch Partner, Stone Rowe Brewer LLP

She was a contributing author to Clinical Negligence Claims: a Practical Guide (first and second editions, published by 9 Gough Chambers, edited by Graham Aldous QC).

She is a member of AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents).

Personal Injury:

Esther has a predominantly claimant-based personal injury practice but does undertake some defence work. She deals with multi-track claims involving serious or catastrophic injury.

Her experience covers a broad range of matters including;employers’ liability, occupiers’ liability, road traffic accidents, product liability, accidents abroad, public liability and fatal accidents.

She has particular expertise in representing child claimants and protected parties and also undertakes work in the Court of Protection.

She has a particular interest in and has represented many claimants who have suffered complex psychological, psychiatric injury particularly PTSD and chronic pain conditions with serious consequence.

Esther also has experience of working in-house at a leading PI firm so she understands first-hand the demands placed on instructing solicitors. She was recently seconded to Irwin Mitchell to oversee the handling of a complex international personal injury claim arising out of a terrorist attack at a BP refinery in Algeria. Esther managed a team of solicitors and paralegals and worked with Andrew Ritchie Q.C. and Shahram Sharghy representing two families in their claims under the Fatal Accident Accidents 1976 against BP Plc and two other BP subsidiaries (Gaviria & Johns v BP 2019).

Alongside her personal injury practice Esther has helped many traumatised families through distressing and complex inquests, then going on to represent them in their civil claims. Examples of her experience include representing the family of a young cyclist killed by police responding to an emergency call, representing the family of a teenager killed in a RTA following vehicle theft and representing families whose loved ones have died in hospital following negligent treatment.

She is a member of PIBA and APIL.


Esther specialises in child law. She undertakes public and private law work and has a particular specialism in care and adoption proceedings and cases involving complex medical issues drawing on her expertise in clinical negligence matters. She is highly regarded by judges and her opponents and is a popular choice of counsel with local authorities, parents and children’s guardians in equal measure. She has dealt with a range of cases involving child fatality, non-accidental injury, sexual abuse, contested and international adoption, removal from the jurisdiction, “miracle births” and intractable contact disputes.

She is particularly experienced in representing young and vulnerable parities and parents who lack capacity and has been instructed by the Official Solicitor in numerous cases.

Esther regularly lectures on developments in the law particularly with respect to adoption.

She sits as a Deputy District Judge in the family court and is authorised to hear s8 and public law matters.

She is a member of the FLBA (Family Law Bar Association) and ALC (Association of Lawyers for Children).

Court of Protection:

Esther sits as a judge in the Court of Protection. 

She frequently advises on matters concerning capacity and the management of awards through trusts and or deputyships. 

By way of an example Esther undertakes work that covers the following areas:

  • S21A applications under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOHLS),  
  • Issues relating to the appointment of welfare and or finance deputies,
  • Decisions involving complex care packages or specialist medical care,
  • Issues arising in the course or family proceedings where there is a conflict between the interests of P and the interests of the child,
  • Personal welfare applications.

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