Home / People / Rachel Cooper
Rachel Cooper

Rachel Cooper

Partner

Contact
T +44 161 393 4760
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
1 The Avenue
Spinningfields
Manchester
M3 3AP
United Kingdom
Languages English
Risk & Investigations

Rachel has since 2006 specialised in professional disciplinary and regulatory law. Rachel acts for both the regulators (prosecuting practitioners) and regulated individuals (defending practitioners) in disciplinary proceedings. Rachel leads the team that acts on behalf of the General Optical Council (GOC) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The team’s work in this area includes investigation complaints, and preparing matters for hearing. 

Historically Rachel acted almost exclusively for a wide range of regulators in the healthcare, social care and education sector. This experience has proved invaluable, giving her a unique insight and skillset, which she now deploys to great effect defending practitioners in these sectors (including, doctors, nurses, and teachers). She acts for clients with indemnity cover or on a private basis. Rachel also represents clients in interim orders proceedings, coroner’s inquests and in police/employer investigations.

The breadth of Rachel’s work in both prosecution and defence includes acting for clients in routine matters to numerous large, complex and high profile cases.

Rachel’s team are currently working with a leading regulator processing mapping its current disciplinary procedures, advising on changes to optimise efficiency, drafting a comprehensive process manual, preparing guidance and precedent documents for use by the regulators in-house team and drafting external stakeholder guidance for publication.

In addition to professional disciplinary work, Rachel has experience advising a number of higher/further education institutions in respect of student disciplinary matters (including investigation complaints and advising on disciplinary processes).

In the education sector, Rachel has recently acted for a large education provider challenging Ofsted findings by way of judicial review, including successfully obtaining an injunction preventing publication of the draft Ofsted report and an order preventing reporting pending the outcome of her client’s challenge.

Rachel utilises her sector expertise to assist corporate clients (both existing providers and those entering the market) advising on regulator matters in the areas of healthcare, social care and education. Including undertaking due diligence for transactions, advising on the regulatory impact of proposed corporate structures and bringing challenges against adverse inspections (for example, Ofsted, Care Quality Commission).

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Rachel is “very thorough and detailed" and "considers all angles of a case and takes a fantastic approach with clients.”

Chambers and Partners, 2017

Rachel is described as “incredibly driven and has incredible judgement." While her team are noted as having "considerable strength in depth and are all willing to go the extra mile; the culture of efficiency, hard work and friendliness is obvious from dealing with any of them."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

Rachel is “efficient, proactive and knowledgeable’ she ‘possesses a rare combination of high-level legal skills and outstanding commercial acumen”

Legal 500, 2017

'‘much admired’ for her ‘dynamism and efficacy’, and ‘sees every point and nails it’'.

Legal 500, 2013

Relevant experience

  • Rachel defends regulated professionals in a wide-range of cases including misconduct, deficient professional performance, ill health and conviction cases. Rachel recently successfully defended a senior doctor in proceedings brought by the General Medical Council comprising 83 allegations including allegations of dishonesty. The case closed, prior to referral to hearing, with no further action. Rachel received the following comments from her client, ‘Over the past three years … you consistently worked extremely hard and gave succinct, quality advice which helped steer me through this difficult period… Such professional care towards your clients reflects your high professional standing and unwavering commitment to your work’.
  • Rachel heads the team (one of two panel firms) delivering presenting officer and legal services to the General Optical Council (GOC). This work is delivered with our joint venture partners (barristers from 2 Hare Court), a commercial arrangement which Rachel was instrumental in creating and is dedicated to its continuing success. The team’s work is extensive including investigating complaints, preparing and presenting cases at hearing, dealing with interim orders, obtaining High Court extensions to interim orders and obtaining High Court orders to secure evidence.
  • Rachel acted on behalf of a large education provider challenging the findings of an Ofsted inspection. She successfully obtained an injunction prevent publication of the Ofsted report, and an order preventing reporting of the proceedings, pending the outcome of the judicial review.
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Education

  • 2001 – LPC, College of Law, Chester
  • 2000 – LLB (Hons), Lancaster University
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Memberships

  • Rachel has since 2014 been an elected committee member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers (ARDL), she also sits on ARDL’s Seminar and Education sub-committee and Junior ARDL sub-committee.
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Health & Safety

Rachel has since 2006 focused much of her work on clients in the healthcare, social care and education sector. In particular, her work is in the regulatory aspects of these sectors. Rachel acts for clients in both the private and public sector. Prior to a career in law Rachel established and ran her own business for 9 years, she utilises this experience to provide highly commercial advice and solutions for her clients.

Rachel work for corporate, real estate and investor clients includes; undertaking due diligence (regulatory aspects) on the acquisition/establishment of private hospitals, clinics, care homes, specialist schools/colleges and children’s homes. She also advises on registration requirements and challenges to inspection outcomes (for example, Ofsted and Care Quality Commission).

Rachel regularly representing clients in Coroner’s inquests proceedings.

She undertakes internal investigations (including Safeguarding), prepares reports on findings and recommendations for improvements. Rachel has experience reviewing and advising on policies to ensure compliance.  Rachel has conducted audits for a leading healthcare regulator applying CHRE/PSA criteria and reporting on findings.

Rachel regularly attends seminars focusing on regulatory requirements, policy developments and funding in her specialist sectors enabling her to advise clients on likely future growth and the impact of regulation.

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Rachel is “efficient, proactive and knowledgeable’ she ‘possesses a rare combination of high-level legal skills and outstanding commercial acumen”

Legal 500, 2017

Rachel is ‘tireless’, ‘super commercial’ and ‘amazing with clients’

Legal 500, 2018

CMS’ Healthcare group includes ‘experts in the complex area where law, regulation, politics and social policy meet’ and the team provides ‘crisp and cost-effective’ service in corporate matters, financing transactions and regulatory work.

Legal 500, 2018

Relevant experience

  • For corporate entities and private individuals, Rachel regularly provides regulatory advice and solutions in relation to Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted registration requirements and challenges to inspection findings. A recent example involved an unusual corporate structure for the ownership of premises and delivery of care home services, which did not fit within the usual registration framework. Rachel provided a novel, yet workable solution.
  • Rachel advised an internet based provider of homecare service in respect of its CQC regulatory requirements and the urgent need to properly register its services if it continued to uses its existing business model.
  • For a range of corporate investor client (in the healthcare, social care and education sectors), Rachel regularly undertakes due diligence and advises in connection with regulatory requirements (including Safeguarding) in respect of the acquisition of private hospitals, private clinics, care homes, schools and colleges.
  • Rachel led a full investigation for a large NHS Foundation Trust following whistle-blower complaints to the CQC reporting poor standards of care across three wards. The work included drafting terms of reference, interviewing over 100 hospital staff, preparing a report on findings, determining if allegations were substantiated and making recommendation regarding changes/improvements required in the hospital’s delivery of services and processes.
  • Rachel represented a medical practitioner in a high profile inquest (the third inquest held following the quashing of the findings of the previous inquests). The deceased died following an operation in a private hospital 14 years earlier. The family were seeking a finding of unlawful death; however, the Coroner dismissed this.
  • Rachel acted on behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in relation to cases arising out of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Independent and Public Inquiries. She led a team responsible for investigating cases and preparing reports for the client. The cases were complex and challenging given the historic nature of events, the multitude of problems associated with the Trust and the high media profile, which exists.
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Education

  • 2001 – LPC, College of Law, Chester
  • 2000 – LLB (Hons), Lancaster University
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Memberships

  • Rachel has since 2014 been an elected committee member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers (ARDL), she also sits on ARDL’s Seminar and Education sub-committee and Junior ARDL sub-committee.
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Dispute Resolution

On qualification in 2004, Rachel worked as a commercial litigator before later moving into the field of regulatory and professional disciplinary law. Prior to a career in law Rachel established and ran her own business for 9 years which enables her to have an in-depth understanding of her client’s commercial drivers.

Rachel’s current work in regulatory and disciplinary law involves litigation and dispute resolution. Rachel acts for clients in proceedings in the High Court including bringing and defending claims for judicial review, obtaining injunctions, Court orders for the provision of evidence, attendance of witnesses and extension to interim orders imposed by regulators.

Rachel regularly acts for clients in Coroner’s inquest proceedings. She also acts for clients in proceedings before the First and Upper Tier Tribunals (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber), in matters of social care and education.

Recently Rachel has advised a client on matters arising from a Public Accounts Committee inquiry.

Rachel has a wealth of experience acting for both regulators and regulated professionals in disciplinary proceedings. She has completed numerous investigations and prepared cases for disciplinary hearing including many, complex, high profile, historic sexual misconduct and involving vulnerable and child witnesses.  Rachel has defended multiple professionals in proceedings before their regulators achieving outstanding results.

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"A secret weapon – she is very savvy, very switched on."

Chambers & Partners, 2014

Rachel is “very thorough and detailed" and "considers all angles of a case and takes a fantastic approach with clients.”

Chambers and Partners, 2017

Rachel ‘possesses superb commercial nous, and unerring commitment.’

Legal 500, 2015

Relevant experience

  • Rachel recently acted on behalf of an education provider challenging the findings of an Ofsted inspection. She successfully obtained an injunction prevent publication of the Ofsted report and an order preventing reporting of the proceedings pending the outcome of the judicial review.
  • Rachel represented a medical practitioner in a high profile inquest (the third inquest held following the quashing of the findings of the previous inquests). The deceased died following an operation in a private hospital 14 years earlier. The family were seeking a finding of unlawful death; however, the Coroner dismissed this.
  • Rachel has secured Court orders requiring police forces to disclose evidence to regulators (relevant to their proceedings) with full costs orders awarded against the police.
  • Historically Rachel has assisted on high value commercial disputes, including a number of proceedings in the Court of Appeal.
  • In proceedings brought by the General Medical Council, Rachel successfully defended a doctor against allegation that he was unfit to practise because he had multiple convictions for fraud (a suspended prison sentence) and ill health (drug addiction). The doctor avoided erasure and the order for conditions imposed at the conclusion of the hearing was revoked early.
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Education

  • 2001 – LPC, College of Law, Chester
  • 2000 – LLB (Hons), Lancaster University
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Memberships

  • Rachel has since 2014 been an elected committee member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers (ARDL), she also sits on ARDL’s Seminar and Education sub-committee and Junior ARDL sub-committee.
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May 2020
Ad­apt­ing reg­u­la­tion for a health emer­gency
Rachel Cooper and Nata­sha Ri­cioppo write an art­icle on "Ad­apt­ing reg­u­la­tion for a health emer­gency".
11 August 2020
COV­ID-19 and its im­pact on the ap­pren­tice­ship sec­tor – nav­ig­at­ing the sec­tor...
The ap­pren­tice­ship sec­tor is one that has seen sig­ni­fic­ant changes over the past 20 years. From the “new deal” for young people in­tro­duced by the first Blair ad­min­is­tra­tion in 1997, to the re­forms...
28 April 2020
Key con­sid­er­a­tions for con­duct­ing in­tern­al in­vest­ig­a­tions re­motely
This guide ex­plores the key prac­tic­al and leg­al is­sues that in­vest­ig­at­ors should have in mind when car­ry­ing out their work on in­tern­al in­vest­ig­a­tions re­motely in­clud­ing plan­ning, priv­ilege, in­ter­views and em­ploy­ment rights, data gath­er­ing and pro­tec­tion a
21 July 2020
Clos­ing the gaps to pro­tect so­ci­ety's most vul­ner­able - are you af­fected...
The is­sue of un­reg­u­lated chil­dren ser­vices in Eng­land has been an in­creas­ing area of con­cern for loc­al au­thor­it­ies, po­lice forces and reg­u­lat­ors for some time. Sec­tion 11 of The Care Stand­ards Act 2000...
25 June 2020
A look in­to the re­mote fu­ture
It has now been some three months since the sus­pen­sion of most reg­u­lat­ory hear­ings due to the Cov­id-19 pan­dem­ic. In that time in­ter­im or­der cases, pre-in­quest re­views, some re­view hear­ings and a num­ber...
29 May 2020
The On­line Harms White Pa­per: can pro­gress be made dur­ing the COV­ID-19...
In March 2020, the In­de­pend­ent In­quiry in­to Child Sexu­al Ab­use (“the In­quiry”) pub­lished The In­ter­net In­vest­ig­a­tion Re­port (“the Re­port”) which con­cluded that reg­u­la­tion of the in­ter­net in­dustry...
17 March 2020
Health and so­cial care reg­u­la­tion in the midst of the Coronavir­us State...
We are cur­rently in the midst of a fast-paced and evolving situ­ation as coun­tries around the world bring in meas­ures to com­bat the spread of COV­ID-19. Emer­gency le­gis­la­tion is cur­rently be­ing draf­ted...
13 March 2020
The CQC’s Coronavir­us Conun­drum
On 4 March 2020, the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion (“CQC”) con­firmed they would con­tin­ue to in­spect ser­vices in light of the COV­ID-19 out­break but were tak­ing a prag­mat­ic and flex­ible ap­proach.As of time...
29 October 2019
In­de­pend­ent re­port in­to NMC’s hand­ling of More­cambe Bay fit­ness to prac­tise...
An in­de­pend­ent re­port com­mis­sioned by the Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Coun­cil (‘NMC’) has been pub­lished last week (23 Oc­to­ber 2019). The in­de­pend­ent audit, un­der­taken by con­sultancy firm Ver­ita, found...