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For a summary of topics covered in this blog go to “Welcome to Law and Health”


Valerie Eliot Smith

I am a British barrister. I was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1987. My areas of interest are the law, health and media relations. My legal expertise is in the areas of technology, media and telecomms law (TMT), human rights, open justice, data protection/privacy, freedom of information and intellectual property rights. I practised as a criminal lawyer for ten years.

My background also includes experience in media strategy and communications, journalism, dispute resolution, psychotherapy and human resources. My first degree was in English Literature, in 1977, from the University of London (Bedford College). My primary education took place in Australia.

I have lived with the complex, disabling, multi-systemic, neuro-immune disease myalgic encephalomyelitis  or “ME” since 1981. ME is sometimes referred to (incorrectly – see below in “Definition of ME“) as “chronic fatigue syndrome” or “CFS”. I continued to work, study and practise as a lawyer until 2000 when I was further disabled by additional health problems. I have been unable to work in a formal capacity since then.

I completed the first year of training as a psychotherapist in 2002 but became too ill to complete the full course.

Since 2014, I have been a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, in order to extend my academic background. However, I have been unable to continue with any formal qualifications as I am not well enough to fulfil the strict research, writing and teaching requirements.


Independent and non-practising status

The views expressed in this blog are my own. I am not affiliated to any other group or professional body relating to ME or “CFS” issues. I receive no payment for any of my work and I cover all costs incurred myself.

I am a lifetime member of Gray’s Inn, my Inn of Call, and I maintain my subscription to the Bar Council. My status with the Bar Council is “unregistered” which means non-practising. Non-practising members of the Bar are registered officially by the Bar Council as “unregistered”, a designation which defies both logic and common sense.


Contact details

I can be contacted via my academic email address at  

I can also be reached via tweet/direct message on Twitter @ValeriEliotSmit or by private message to me on Facebook.  


Definition of ME

For clarification purposes: the definition of ME which I prefer is contained within the 2011 International Consensus Criteria (the “ME-ICC”). While I have no wish to exclude those who are diagnosed under other criteria, for me the ME-ICC is the most appropriate definition we have so far, for both clinical and research purposes.

As a result of four decades of experience, observation and research, I regard chronic fatigue syndrome as a condition which is separate from ME. The terms “CFS/ME” and “ME/CFS” are frequently used interchangeably with ME, with CFS and with each other.

There are many other names in use, such as post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) and systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), which only confuses matters even further.

It is very likely that there is frequent cross-misdiagnosis of ME and CFS ie. people with ME are diagnosed with CFS and vice versa. This may depend, at least in part, on which country the patient is located.

This wide range of terminology is both confusing and imprecise. The number of different criteria in use also contributes to inconclusive research results.


Purpose of this blog

I originally started this blog in 2012 in order to publish my work on the so-called “Secret Files on ME“. However, since then, I have developed it into a broader remit (see “CATEGORIES” in sidebar). 


I welcome comments and my policy is simple: please keep it clear, relevant and lawful. All comments are moderated so it may take a little time before they appear. Personal attacks on anyone are not welcome and, in extremis, may not get through moderation. I will respond as and when I can, depending on my own state of health at the time.


If you are making use of information or documents from this blog, please quote this blog as your source and credit my work accordingly.


Nothing in this blog should be taken as either legal or medical advice. I strive to ensure that everything I say is accurate and not misleading but if you think I’ve got something wrong then please let me know. Broken links or out-of-date information happen frequently and, while I try to keep the blog up-to-date, inevitably some things get overlooked. 



78 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Barker permalink
    October 9, 2021 14:23

    M.E sufferers were voice recorded by Lancaster & Fleetwood M.P Cat Smith . With sufferers permission could their personal horror stories regarding GET be used by anyone bringing legal action . It seems a wasted opportunity not to use these testimonies as they were recorded before recent legal action and would be back up to individual claims . Obviously their is written evidence but real voices would hit home that GET disables lives .



  1. Professor Garner, The BMJ and me: an alarming flip-flop on recovery from long Covid | valerieeliotsmith
  2. Beyond the NICE guideline: MEComms© and the case for a public inquiry | valerieeliotsmith
  3. NICE – contemptuous and contemptible: the case for community publication of the “paused” guideline for “ME/CFS” | valerieeliotsmith
  4. Update on the “paused” NICE guideline for “ME/CFS”: the case for individual/community publication. | valerieeliotsmith
  5. A debt of gratitude | valerieeliotsmith
  6. Legal opinion and legal advice: the “paused” NICE guideline for “ME/CFS” | valerieeliotsmith
  7. Abuse of process & abuse of power: a NICE publication (with file download) | valerieeliotsmith
  8. The leak of NICE’s finalised ME guidelines exposes the ‘psych lobby’ scandal – Critical News Autoblog
  9. What’s wrong with the NICE process + what can be done about it? | valerieeliotsmith
  10. NICE developments: preparatory action for a judicial review of the decision to pause publication of the new guideline for “ME/CFS” | valerieeliotsmith
  11. NICE shows transparency, releases documents ahead of 18 October roundtable + a note on parliamentary activity | valerieeliotsmith
  12. NICE publishes updated guideline for “ME/CFS” | valerieeliotsmith

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