||Welcome to VetLaw Ltd
Vetlaw was founded to provided a unique service to members of the legal and veterinary
professions. The Consultants to the company have practised as veterinary surgeons for over
thirty years, and are legally qualified so that our advice is focused by our intimate and extensive knowledge of agriculture, rural pursuits, the equine industry, companion animals, dangerous
dogs and the food industry. A rapid grasp of the facts and technical aspects allows savings
in both time and costs in identification of the critical legal issues. On so many occasions
appropriate initial advice can prevent needless conflict with regulatory authorities and
litigation can thus be avoided.
We are committed to enhancing animal welfare in all its dimensions, and will
advise you how to optimise the welfare implications of your operations.
Madeleine Forsyth has lived and worked in North Yorkshire all her life starting her veterinary career
as a schoolgirl assisting James Herriot, the world's most famous vet. She subsequently worked as a
veterinary surgeon in that Thirsk practice gaining experience in all aspects of mixed practice, dealing
with all species, leaving to found her own mixed rural practice in Helmsley in 1983. She sold her
surgery in 2002 only due to injury, but has not retired from clinical practice which she still carries out,
although to a much lesser extent, and after re-training in law was called to the Bar in 2004. She is a
non practising barrister. Madeleine has acted as an Expert Witness for more than 25 years and her
experience covers an unusual range of comprehensive disciplines. She holds the Certificate of
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in Animal Welfare Science Ethics and Law, a forensic
qualification designed to train experienced practitioners to recognise any compromise of animal
welfare, make an objective assessment of the significance of that compromise, and describe
it in terms acceptable to a Court.
We are happy to be instructed in matters of clinical negligence, as well
as other civil and criminal matters, and undertake Legal Aid work.
Since 1979 she has acted as a Casualty Consultant to racecourses, including Beverley,
Catterick, Thirsk, Redcar and Doncaster and to the Jockey Club acting as Veterinary Officer.
These professional duties were enhanced by her experience as a Jockey Club Permit Holder
and amateur jockey in the 1980s and more recently of running, in conjunction with her practice
a stud standing a thoroughbred stallion, and boarding mares and convalescent racehorses.
Work as a "hands on" vet in rural mixed practice has been her forte, and the Helmsley
surgery provided full medical and surgical facilities for all species, as well as a base
for student nurses and vets to train.
Her client base within the North York Moors included a significant number of hunts, shooting
syndicates and gamekeepers, which has led to her evidence being heard in Court in cases
related to the Badgers Act, Deer Act, Animal Welfare Act, and regulatory matters prosecuted
by local authorities and government agencies, the latter enhanced by her experience as
an Official Veterinarian for the Meat Hygiene Service since 1979.
Latterley she has been much involved with the Dangerous Dogs Act, travelling to Ulster and
Scotland as well as throughout England and Wales, and is equally instructed in these cases
by prosecution and defence. She has given evidence in the first cases heard in respect
of the Japanese Tosa, and Dogo Argentino.
Veterinary Forensic & Law Association
CrimeLine legal showcase for experts
Contact us and discover how Vetlaw can make a difference to you.
Email email@example.com Telephone 01439 788222 Mobile 07711 469470
VetLaw Ltd The Old Post Office : Ampleforth : York : YO62 4DX
The Old Post Office