Practice area(s): Medical negligence
Location(s): Melbourne
Qualification(s): BEc, LLB

Kathryn Booth is a Principal Lawyer of Maurice Blackburn, based in Melbourne. She is a Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist, Australian Institute of Company Directors Accredited Member and the Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year 2018 for Health. Kathryn practices exclusively in medical negligence claims on behalf of patients and their families. She is also one of three Maurice Blackburn lawyers listed by the prestigious Doyle's Guide as a leading plaintiff medical negligence lawyer in Melbourne, and Best Lawyers has named her the top medical negligence lawyer in Australia. Kathryn established the firm’s medical negligence practice in Victoria in 1991, and was the head of the largest national plaintiff medical negligence team in Australia until 2018, when she stepped down from the role. She continues to practice solely in medical negligence claims and remains a trusted leader and expert in the medico-legal field.

"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 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. More than 1,000 patients have been assisted through 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 medical 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.

Memberships & accreditations

  • Law Institute of Victoria Member
  • Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist
  • Law Institute of Victoria Litigation Lawyers Executive Committee Chair
  • Law Institute of Victoria Medical Negligence and Public Liability Committee Member
  • Honorary Duty Solicitor Alfred Hospital
  • Doyle's Guide leading plaintiff medical negligence lawyer in Melbourne
  • 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
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors Accredited Member
  • Ruyton Girls’ School former Director & Deputy Chair

Awards

  • Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year 2018 - Health
  • Best Lawyers 2018, top medical negligence lawyer in Australia
  • Listed by the AFR as one of the best medical negligence lawyers in Australia in 2016
  • Doyles Guide - Medical Negligence Compensation Lawyers, Vic - Leading lawyer, 2016
  • Doyles Guide - Medical Negligence Compensation Lawyers, Vic - Leading lawyer, 2017
  • Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Pro Bono Award finalist, 2016
  • Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Pro Bono Award finalist, 2015

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Pro bono finalist 2015