Alex Rook

Partner

Biography

I joined Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law department in 2006 and was made a Partner in 2013. I act for individuals, charities and companies in the full range of judicial review cases, with particular specialisms in the law on consultation, in health and social care, mental capacity and human rights law. 

In October 2014, I won the first Supreme Court case in relation to the law on consultation (Moseley) which ruled that all public authorities need to improve how they consult with local people. I was also instructed to intervene on behalf of national charities (Age UK, SENSE, RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind) in two of the leading Supreme Court community care cases in recent years as well as having successfully brought judicial review proceedings in a number of High Court and Court of Appeal cases. 

I have acted in numerous commercial judicial review cases, protecting the rights of companies that are affected by decisions made by public authorities.

I am also regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor as well as families and advocates to act on behalf of vulnerable adults who lack capacity to make decisions regarding their health and welfare in proceedings in the Court of Protection, and was invited to give evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to help consider the effectiveness and adequacy of the law as well as access to justice for vulnerable individuals.

Notable cases include:

  • R (on the application of Moseley (in substitution of Stirling Deceased)) (Appellant) v London Borough of Haringey (Respondent) [2014] UKSC 56
  • R (LH) v Shropshire Council (2014) EWCA Civ 404
  • Blake and others v LB Waltham Forest [2014] EWHC 1027 (Admin)
  • R (KM) (by JM) v Cambridgeshire County Council [2012] UKSC 23 
  • JM & NT v Isle of Wight Council [2011] EWHC 2911 (Admin)
  • R (on the application of McDonald ) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2011] UKSC 33 (6 July 2011)
  • Independent News and Media and others v A [2010] EWCA Civ 343 regarding 'good reason' for the media to attend hearings in the Court of Protection (which would otherwise be held in private)
  • London Borough of Enfield v SA v FA v KA [2010] EWHC 196 (Admin) – the COP has power under COPR 2007 r95(d) to admit hearsay evidence which originates from a person who is not competent as a witness
  • Re F [2009] EWHC B30 (Fam) regarding the test in accordance with s48 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 regarding an adult's capacity in order to found the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection
  • KD and LD v LB Havering [2009] EW Misc 7 (EWCOP) — confirming that the court has the power to deal with cases summarily but that power is unlikely to be exercised appropriately where there is a serious or potential issue as to the appropriateness of deprivation of liberty and so where articles 5 and 6 of the ECHR are potentially engaged
  • Westminster Social and Community Services Department v IC and others [2008] EWCA Civ 198 in the Court of Appeal and London Borough of Ealing v KS and others [2008] EWHC 636 (Fam) both of which related to the incapacitated adult’s capacity to consent to sex and/or marriage and/or contraception
  • London Borough of Ealing v KS and others [2008] EWHC 636 (Fam)

Testimonials

"A very classy litigator, who is strategic and understated in a way which is effective" and according to sources is "Brilliant, connected superbly and hugely respected" - Chambers & Partners 2016

A "keen and hard-working" lawyer, who is "very tactically astute, with a good nose for issues." - Chambers & Partners 2015

"Tenacious, intelligent, very likeable." - Chambers & Partners 2014

"Professional and knowledgeable" and "So much is about the client's story, so you need emotional intelligence – he is really good at that." - Chambers & Partners 2013

Combines a "brilliant strategic legal mind with the ability to relate to clients from all walks of life" - Legal 500 2016

"A star of the future" as well as "extremely dynamic" - Legal 500 2013

Publications

  • Capacity to Marry and Marriages Abroad - Yogi Amin and Alex Rook - Solicitors Journal
  • Court of Protection for Public Lawyers - Authors: Nick Armstrong and Alex Rook -  Judicial Review, Volume 17, Number 1, March 2012 , pp. 28-35(8) Hart Publishing
  • The Wrong Key, June 2010 - As the press celebrates the Court of Protection's coming out party, Barbara Hewson and Alex Rook pondered how long its 15 minutes of fame will last.
  • Best Interests Decision Tool - Ambitious about Autism, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation in partnership with Alex Rook at Irwin Mitchell, have produced a leaflet to help individuals who feel that they are not being appropriately consulted about the welfare of their loved ones. Download a PDF of the Leaflet
  • Times lawyer of the week, 1.12.11
  • Childcare for Families with Disabled Children - An online guide on how to access free childcare for two to four-year-olds. Compiled by Irwin Mitchell alongside Steve Broach (Barrister at Monkton Chambers) for the charities Contact a Family, Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) and The Family and Childcare Trust.

What Inspired You To Get Into Law?

My inspiration to become a lawyer, and in particular a public law solicitor, came from the combination of the academic challenge it presents and the high level of client contact. I have not been disappointed. (In truth, I was also told from a young age that I was so argumentative that I should be a lawyer!)

What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?

Working with disadvantaged people to ensure that their rights are protected.

What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?

The quality of work in the public law department is pretty much unrivalled nationwide. Every day brings new challenges and keeps me passionate about my work and the changes we can make to people's lives through enforcing their legal rights.

What Do You Do Away From The Office?

Spend time with my wife and two children. I am a passionate Spurs fan and try to get to watch them as often as possible, and am just about managing to keep my own amateur football career going!



Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 16/11/2015
    Welsh NHS Faces Judicial Review Over Failure To Plan Mental Health Care Services

    “There is a monetary cost to the NHS of having to send someone to Brighton or elsewhere in England, but there is also the personal cost to that individual and their family who are forced to have to travel up to 500 miles for a round trip just to see their loved ones. As has been repeatedly recognised, this can lead to increase distress and challenging behaviour, leading to a vicious circle for young adults like Claire. “Claire and her family feel very strongly that more could and should be done to gather the information required to plan services for people like Claire with a real, long-term solution in Wales so that they can get the support they need in an environment that is appropriate for their needs. We hope this case will establish the legal requirements for those managing the NHS in Wales.”

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  • 11/11/2015
    Social Care Improvements ‘A Matter Of Life And Death’

    “The research by Scope highlights the type of concerns that we are regularly contacted regarding, with many vulnerable members of society feeling that they have been ignored or let down regarding the level of support available to them. “It is vital that the Government and local authorities urgently work together to consider what can be done to improve standards and services, with ultimate aim of ensuring that everyone is able to get the best from life and live as independently as possible. “Disabled people should not be left isolated and alone in this manner and it is vital that action is urgently taken on what could ultimately prove to be a matter of life and death.”

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  • 29/04/2015
    Welsh Government Faces Judicial Review Over Failure To Provide Sufficient Mental Health Care Services

    “How can the welsh Government and local health boards know if they are meeting the needs of vulnerable people in this situation when it doesn’t know what the scale of the need and demand for these services is? They simply aren’t collecting this data which they could use to ensure they have the resources to meet the needs of vulnerable people and we have been told that there is literally nowhere that Claire can go in all of Wales. “There is a monetary cost to the NHS of having to send someone to Brighton or elsewhere in England, but there is also the personal cost to that individual and their family who are forced to have to travel up to 500 miles for a round trip just to see their loved ones. As has been repeatedly recognised, this can lead to increase distress and challenging behaviour, leading to a vicious circle for young adults like Claire.”

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  • 29/04/2015
    Permission Granted for Legal Battle Over Charity’s Care Arrangements To Go To High Court

    “This represents the next steps in the group’s legal battle to safeguard the rights of the vulnerable adults who call these communities home. They believe the changes would bring about a massive upheaval for vulnerable people in Botton, Delrow and the Grange. We argue that what they are proposing goes directly against the terms of their governing charity agreement. “There are serious concerns about changing the way of life that has existed for many decades, and how this would impact on the village communities, and we hope that the court will ultimately order that the trustees have acted in a way that is beyond their powers.”

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