Helen Burnell

Helen Burnell


Mills & Reeve

Lawyer Type:
  • Solicitor
Years Qualified:

Mills & Reeve

Personal Profile

I specialise in medical ethics matters for NHS and private health organisations. My focus is on assisting clients who are making decisions about the care and treatment for children, those who lack capacity and for those who are facing end of life care decisions. I regularly act in cases that attract media interest, including treatment cases under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court and those involving end of life decisions.

I provide advice at short notice and out of office hours for clients in order to complement their clinical requirements. I am experienced in co-ordinating fast moving cases involving multiple clinicians/experts.

Within my Court of Protection practice I regularly advise clients in relation to DOLS, the interface between the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 1983, continuing healthcare and NHS commissioning duties.

Examples of cases I have been involved in include representing the NHS bodies in the matter of Re C (2010), a Court of Protection case relating to the the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration for a patient in a permanent vegetative state. I also act for the PCT in the case of 'AM', relating to the law of assisted suicide.

Other issues I regularly advise on include consent, disclosure, child protection, inter-agency working, palliative care and community care.

I aim to ensure that my clients feel fully supported and well informed about the legal processes that surround the issues they face.

I previously worked for a central government agency representing children in complex family proceedings, including high profile medico-legal cases, and draw on that experience to assist clients in safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults who they care for.

In 2010, I sat on the sub-committee (health and welfare) to the Court of Protection Rules Committee, which was established by the President of the Family Division to review the Court of Protection rules relating to health and welfare applications.

I regularly conduct seminars on my specialist topics, contribute to our monthly Health Legal Updates and provide briefings on key areas of law as case law or legislative developments are announced.


Fountain House
130 Fenchurch Street


  • Disputes
  • Mental Health & Capacity
  • Business disputes

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