Fiona is a leading junior for health and safety. She also specialises in inquests, inquiries and personal injury. She has been recommended in the legal directories for health and safety since 2007. She has particular expertise in long and complex inquests, having acted in the Inquests into the London Bombings of 7 July 2005 and the Lakanal House fire. She has 16 years of experience at the Bar.
Fiona has been involved in many of the most high profile inquests. She is frequently instructed to appear in inquests arising out of workplace accidents, aviation accidents, military deaths, prison/custody/detention deaths, suicides, hospital deaths and road traffic accidents. As a result she is an experienced jury advocate and is well versed in Article 2 considerations. Her clients are varied and have included some of the country’s best known construction companies, transport authorities and large public bodies. She is sensitive to an organisation’s reputational concerns. She acts on a pro bono basis for bereaved families.
Health & Safety
Fiona acts exclusively for Defendants in criminal proceedings. She is currently instructed in relation to a number of ongoing investigations including those following the Grenfell fire and the Didcot Power Station collapse. She acts for all types of employer from major corporations to small family run businesses. She acts for companies and individuals (including directors). She has particular knowledge of the transport industry (aviation; rail; surface transport and underground); construction (including Building Regulations; lifting operations and work at heights); retail (including manual handling and layout of car parks); leisure (including swimming pools); manufacturing; glass and glazing; agriculture; packing; care homes; carbon monoxide; fire safety and legionella. Her previous cases include R v Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure Services Ltd  EWCA Crim 1586 where there was a reduction in the fine imposed for the section 3 breach following the Hatfield rail disaster.
Fiona also acts for both Claimants and Defendants in most aspects of personal injury and fatal accident claims. She is experienced in all types of motor fraud claims including exaggerated; contrived; staged; slam on; low speed impact and phantom passengers. Her personal injury cases include employer’s liability; occupier’s liability; highways claims; claims against schools and holiday claims. She acts in occupational disease claims including claims for occupational asthma and mesothelioma.
In March 2013 she was appointed to the Attorney General’s Junior Counsel to the Crown B Panel. As a result she has represented many government departments including: AAIB, MOD and MOJ.
“She is an impressive operator who knows her law and is very well prepared.”
Leading Junior for Health and Safety, Chambers and Partners 2018
“A robust cross-examiner, who is incredibly industrious and has a good grasp of detail.”
Leading Junior for Health and Safety, Legal 500 2017
“She shows very good attention to detail.” “She’s got a really nice manner and is good in court.”
Leading Junior for Health and Safety, Chambers and Partners 2017
Manchester University 1996 – 1999
First Class Hons Degree in Law
Undertakes Public Access work
Attorney General Panel
Appointed to B panel
Acted for TfL in this inquest into the death of a man who had fallen down emergency exit stairs at Canning Town station. Consideration of issues relating to lone working staff and action to be taken when trespassers access non-public areas, beyond emergency gates. Instructed by TfL Legal. Walthamstow Coroner’s Court. November 2017.
Acted for the MOJ in this 12-day inquest into the death of Sarah Reed at HMP Holloway. Consideration of issues relating to obtaining fitness to plead reports, ACCT reviews and observations, CPA meetings and the cancellation of prison visits. Instructed by GLD. Before HH Sir Peter Thornton QC, City of London Coroner’s Court. July 2017.
Instructed by the MOJ in this 7-day inquest into a death at HMP Elmley. Consideration of issues relating to suicide and self harm; segregation and in-reach referral. Argument as to the application of Tainton. Maidstone Coroner’s Court. September 2016. Instructed by GLD.
Acting for the facilities managers in this 10-day inquest into a death at a hospital. Consideration of issues relating to the management of legionella and responsibilities of different organisations on site. In-depth questioning of the legionella expert instructed by the Coroner. Southwark Coroner’s Court. July 2016. Instructed by OAH.
Instructed by the MOJ in this 4-day inquest into a death at HMP Bullingdon. Consideration of issues relating to suicide and self harm and the treatment of foreign nationals. Also instructed in related Article 2 proceedings. Oxford Coroner’s Court. June 2016. Instructed by GLD
Acted for a school in the inquest into the death of a pupil who had been found hanging at the school. Conclusion of suicide. Inquest considered communication between the school, CAMHS, social services and the police and concluded that that there had been no causative failings by the organisations involved. Southwark Coroner’s Court. Instructed by Weightmans. February 2016.
Acted for the AAIB in relation to the death of four men who were killed shortly after the take-off of their helicopter in Norfolk. Issues around disclosure required by the Coroner by a Schedule 5 notice. Jury returned accidental conclusion. Norwich Coroner’s Court. Instructed by GLD. January 2016.
Acted for the AAIB. Inquest into the deaths of two men who were killed when, in poor weather conditions, a helicopter struck the jib of a crane attached to a building development. Southwark Coroner’s Court. Instructed by the GLD. November – December 2015.
Acted for Anna’s employer in the inquest into her death after she had been found hanging at home. Employer’s handling of redundancy and resignation explored alongside Anna’s treatment by her GP. Narrative conclusion returned. No contributory failings by her employer or GP identified. Barnet Coroner’s Court. Instructed by Pinsent Masons. December 2015.
Fiona Canby was instructed on behalf of the MOD in this inquest in the death of a cadet whilst sleeping out overnight on exercise. Walthamstow Coroners Court. Instructed by GLD. September 2015.
Inquest into the death of a Royal Military Police Corporal found hanging at her barracks. Allegations of bullying and overworking explored. Salisbury Coroners Court. Instructed by GLD for a number of service personnel. February 2014.
Inquest into death of Red Arrows pilot, Flt Lt Cunningham; accidental ejection from his Red Arrows jet.
Contribution proceedings following vehicle incursion onto the West Coast Main Line. Led by Andrew Prynne QC. Instructed by Keoghs on behalf of the motor insurers. July 2013.
Fire at high rise block of flats in Camberwell caused the deaths of six people. Building Regulations in relation to fire safety and high rise structures were explored. The Inquest was heard at Inner South London Coroners Court – HHJ Frances Kirkham. Cathryn McGahey represented The Department for Communities and Local Government, and The Chief Fire Officer. Fiona Canby was instructed by SGH Martineau. January – March 2013. The Inquest took place from January to March 2013.
Acted on behalf of Transport for London. Inner West London Coroners Court – Hallett LJ. Instructed by TfL Legal.
Acted on behalf of Balfour Beatty in the prosecution arising out of the Hatfield Train Crash. Section 3 HSWA and corporate manslaughter. Central Criminal Court. Led by Ronald Thwaites QC, Anthony Seys-Llewellyn QC, James Ageros. Instructed by Fisher Scoggins