‘Gets the right results time and again.’
Legal 500 2019
Esther Esther

Barrister: Esther Maclachlan


Deputy District Judge (2015)

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


Esther is an experienced advocate with a mixed civil and family practice. Her approachable style and pragmatic clear advice puts clients at ease and inspires confidence. She is particularly valued for her expertise in cases involving medico-legal complexities, whether family or civil. She is very skilled in the cross examination of medical experts and has a reputation as a confident, calm, but firm advocate.

Her civil practice covers clinical negligence, personal injury, and employment law (see below for more detail). She is instructed across a wide spectrum of clinical negligence and personal injury matters, predominantly multi-track, including employers’, occupiers’ and product liability, highways act, road traffic, fatal accidents and child abuse claims.

In respect of her family practice, Esther specialises in care and adoption proceedings with substantial experience of cases involving non-accidental injuries, including abusive head trauma, sexual abuse and chronic neglect.

Her clinical negligence practice 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 draws upon her expertise in other areas to undertake work in the Court of Protection.

Esther was appointed a Deputy District Judge in 2015 and sits on the South Eastern Circuit.

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

  • delay in diagnosis and misdiagnosis of strokes and of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT),
  • misdiagnosis and delay in the treatment 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,
  • negligent treatment of urological and gynaecological conditions,
  • negligent treatment of a variety of orthopaedic injuries,
  • failure to diagnose and treat fractures leading to permanent disability,
  • surgical negligence resulting in permanent disability,
  • failure to obtain an informed consent,
  • use of defective medical products.

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

Personal Injury:

Esther has a predominantly claimant-based personal injury practice but does undertake some defence work. She largely deals with multi-track claims involving serious or catastrophic injury but will also accept instructions in fast-track matters where there is some complexity in respect of liability or quantum.

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 an interest and has represented many claimants who have suffered complex psychological, psychiatric injury and chronic pain conditions with serious consequence.

In addition to the above she represents families at inquests and also regularly appears before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel.


Esther represents claimants and respondents in a diverse range of employment matters in the ET and EAT including unfair dismissal, discrimination, whistle blowing, TUPE and breach of contract. 

She has worked with a number of different organisations in order to achieve a cost effective and expeditious outcome to testing employment matters. She has advised medical practitioners, including, doctors, dentists and pharmacists, local authorities, and guided many businesses through the process of negotiating compromise agreements or preparing for tribunal hearings.


Esther specialises in child law. She undertakes public and private law work and has a particular specialism in care and adoption proceedings. 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 a highly skilled advocate 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 particularly experienced in representing young and vulnerable parities and parents who lack capacity.

Her expertise in public law proceedings extends to the judicial review of local authority decisions. She is frequently instructed to advise local authorities, respondent parents and guardians in connection with care proceedings. Esther has also represented applicants in free standing applications for judicial review not arising out of family law proceedings.

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

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