Practice area(s): Medical negligence
Qualification(s): BEc, LLB
Kathryn Booth is a Principal and Director of Maurice Blackburn, based in Melbourne. She is a Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist who practices exclusively in medical negligence on behalf of patients and their families. Kathryn established the firm’s medical negligence practice in Victoria in 1991 and is now the head of the largest national plaintiff medical negligence team in Australia.
"Medical malpractice cases put the spotlight on the care the patient has received. After there has been an error, people need answers and accountability for what has happened. I have been working in medical law for 24 years and I'm passionate about getting answers for people who have been injured by the health care system.”
In alliance with the Monash University Michael Kirby Centre, Kathryn also established a new pro bono legal clinic for patients at The Alfred Hospital. The HeLP Clinic, the first of its kind in Australia, provides legal triage to hospital patients and their families. Kathryn has the title of Honorary Duty Solicitor Alfred Hospital, and she is also the legal supervisor of the clinic.
Kathryn has achieved hundreds of settlements for catastrophically injured adults and children. Her special interests are obstetrics and gynaecology.
In 2012, Kathryn represented Darcy Hanssen, a Melbourne boy with cerebral palsy who received an out-of-court settlement to pay for his life-long care needs after he suffered complications at birth. She also represented Jasmine Fletcher in a similar case after the little girl was born with cerebral palsy.
Kathryn also represents families in Coronial Inquests.
“Often the families I represent have not used the legal system before and the process can be especially daunting when they are going through a time of severe emotional trauma. I help guide them through the Coronial Inquest with the aim of finding some resolution to that most difficult of questions – ‘Why did they die?’.”
Kathryn has also called for the Victorian Government to expand Coronial powers to investigate still births.
“The law in Victoria doesn't recognise the baby as a human being until it has taken its first breath. Parents are issued with a birth certificate for their baby, but no death certificate if the baby is stillborn. Parents want answers, and currently the Coroner's hands are tied. It's time for the Victorian Government to expand the Coroner's jurisdiction so they can have the discretion to investigate.”
As one of the top medico-legal practitioners in Australia, Kathryn is often requested to present at major medical law conferences on medical and health issues, duty of care of doctors and malpractice, baby deaths and IVF. She also lectures to lawyers and health professionals on the duty of care owed to patients.
Kathryn was a board member of Maurice Blackburn for four years. She jointly established the firm’s Women’s Law Section in 1995 and was an inaugural co-convenor of the group. Kathryn also helped establish the Victorian Women Lawyers and was an inaugural committee member. Her leadership reaches far beyond the firm, providing advice to the Federal Government on medical malpractice and the National Injury Insurance Scheme.
Memberships & accreditations
- Law Institute of Victoria Member
- Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist
- Law Institute of Victoria Medical Negligence and Public Liability Committee Chair
- Law Institute of Victoria Litigation Lawyers Executive Committee Member
- Honorary Duty Solicitor Alfred Hospital
- Australian Lawyers Association Member
- Law Council of Australia Working Party on NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) Member
- Plaintiff Lawyer Advisor to the Federal Government on NIIS (National Injury Insurance Scheme) and Medical Misadventure
- Ruyton Girls’ School former Director & Deputy Chair