What a difference a century makes

Wilson Browne

1st March 2018

Legal Briefing

Wilson Browne

WILSON Browne's Clinical Negligence Team are celebrating the admission to the Roll of Solicitors of new team member Marianne Stapleton and a landmark for Partner and Head of Team Louise Tyler as she reaches 25 years since she was admitted as a solicitor.

Marianne has recently completed her training contract with Wilson Browne and the firm has been delighted that she has joined their Legal 500 recognised Clinical Negligence Team.

Louise was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors on 15 February 1993 having completed her training contract with Kettering firm Lamb & Holmes. She is now a member of the Law Society and AVMA Clinical Negligence Panels, head of the firm's Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Teams and a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers.

Over her career, Louise has become expert in the field of seeking compensation for clients injured as a result of medical accidents. She has recovered damages for those who have experienced severe complications on giving birth, delay in diagnosis of cancer and a huge range of other injuries suffered by clients as a result of negligence by doctors.

Just last year Louise was involved in the high-profile case of Jack Adcock, a six-year-old boy from Leicester with Downs Syndrome who died of sepsis. As a result of the negligence in that case the doctor who failed to treat him has been struck off.

During 25 years in practice, Louise has seen many changes in the law - both in the way the law is applied and in the way clients are able to access services, with websites and emails now the norm.

Incredibly, also just 100 years ago, no woman could be a solicitor or a barrister. Gwyneth Bebb famously took the Law Society to Court in an effort to secure a declaration that she was a 'person' within the meaning of the Solicitors Act 1843 and was therefore entitled to be admitted to the preliminary examination of the Law Society. Gwyneth Bebb lost the case. The judge ruled that women were incapable of carrying out a public function in common law, a disability that must remain 'unless and until' Parliament changed the law.

Gwyneth Bebb had secured a place to read Law at Oxford, becoming only the sixth woman to do so but despite her first class marks women were not awarded degrees or allowed to graduate in 1911.

After losing her case against the Law Society - and being refused a place to study as a student barrister in 1919 - the publicity from her case helped the campaign for women's admission to the legal profession in Britain, and the passage of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 allowed women to be lawyers.

Bebb was finally admitted to the Bar on 27 January 1920, just 5 weeks after the birth of her first child and a mere 4 weeks after the Sex Disqualifiction (Removal) Act 1919 came into force.

As Wilson Browne's Clinical Negligence Team welcomes newly qualified solicitor Marianne Stapleton who was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors on 15 January this year and celebrates Louise Tyler's silver jubilee in the law it is amazing to think that a mere 100 years ago neither could have enjoyed such success.

Contact Wilson Browne on 0800 088 6004 or visit www.wilsonbrowne.co.uk

Wilson Browne