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Barrister - Rachel Thomas

Senior Practice Manager:
Abdul Hafeez

Practice Group Clerks:
Craig Wain
Gavin John
Lucas Bennett
Christy Irvine

Chief Executive & Director of Clerking
Tony McDaid

Tel: +44 (0) 845 210 5555
Fax: +44 (0) 121 606 1501
[email protected]

Rachel Riley - Inquests, Coronial Law & Public Inquries

Rachel accepts instructions from family members from the earliest communication with the coroner when issues such as disclosure, scope and expert evidence are being considered, to representation at pre-inquest reviews and inquests.

Rachel has particular experience in cases involving deprivation of liberty, often where Article 2 ECHR is engaged as a result of deaths in prison, psychiatric hospitals or following police restraint or contact. Rachel’s Court of Protection practice gives her a particular advantage in inquests where the deceased lacked capacity or was subject to a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisation in a care home or hospital at the time of their death.

Rachel is also happy to accept instructions to advise or represent clients in relation to civil claims for damages and judicial review challenges to inquest rulings or conclusions.

NOTABLE CASES                                                                            

Inquest touching upon the death of Czeslaw Minkler, involving the death of an elderly man suffering from dementia. Mr Minkler was a former Olympic wrestler who suffered an unwitnessed fall whilst in a care home where he was deprived of his liberty. Rachel represented Mr Minkler’s family as junior counsel to Nageena Khalique QC.

Inquest touching the death of Quentin Woolmer, involving the death of a man who had previously been reported as a missing person. This 5-day Article 2 inquest involved issues including the adequacy of the police response following reports that Mr Woolmer was missing. The inquest took place following the conclusion of an IPCC investigation into the management of the police operation to try to locate Mr Woolmer. Rachel represented Mr Woolmer’s family.

Inquest touching the death of Cara Walls, involving the death of a patient at Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital. The jury recorded a number of admitted failings in Miss Walls’ care, including a shortage in staffing which led to observations being missed. The jury concluded that although it was not possible on the evidence to conclude that these shortcomings contributed to Miss Walls’ death, they may have done so. Rachel represented the CQC at this 10-day Article 2 inquest.  

Inquest touching the death of David Hoyle, involving the death of an eminent tree surgeon and conservationist when a tree uprooted and fell on his car during stormy weather. Rachel represented Mr Hoyle’s family at this inquest which involved issues including the adequacy of the council’s system of inspection.

Inquest touching the death of Charles Dahl, involving the death of a man who contracted peritonitis when a 20cm segment of indwelling urinary catheter detached and perforated his bladder. The Coroner concluded that it was likely that the fragment of catheter became detached almost a year before Mr Dahls’ death, and that there had been missed opportunities to identify and remove the fragment. The matron of the community nursing team gave evidence that this case illustrates the difficulties of managing a catheter in the community and that lessons have been learnt as a result of this incident. Rachel represented Mr Dahl’s family at the inquest.


Bar Professional Training Course; UWE Bristol (Outstanding)
ADR Group Civil and Commercial Mediator
LLB Law; Aberystwyth University
Lincoln’s Inn Hardwicke Scholarship and Buchanan Prize