Vivienne is a retired solicitor and former Mental Health Appeal Tribunal judge. She qualified as a solicitor in 1971, after which she works as a lecturer in mental health and childcare law.

She practised as a solicitor form 1986 to 1992, specialising in child care representation, and was a non-executive member of the South West Hertfordshire Health Authority from 1984 to 1988. From 1987 to 1990 she served on the Mental Health Act Commission and sat as a district judge on the Social Security Tribunals until 2004.