Anne-Marie Irwin

Associate

Biography

I am a solicitor in the Public Law department in London. I have expertise in a broad range of public law work and specialise in the law of social care, healthcare and medical treatment, mental capacity, disability discrimination and human rights law.

My practice is particularly focussed on healthcare, medical treatment and other clinical disputes, including withdrawal of life support and other end of life care. These cases often raise issues of medical ethics and human rights and involve legal arguments relating to dignity, the right to life or the right to healthcare. I have experience of urgent and out of hours applications where rapid decisions are needed about a patient’s medical treatment.

I regularly represented Claimants in the High Court in judicial review proceedings, and have successfully challenged decisions at the level of both local and national government. Many of these cases have involved challenging cuts to public services, or access to services, particularly on behalf of vulnerable and disabled people.

I am regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor and other parties to act on behalf of vulnerable adults in the Court of Protection in relation to health and welfare matters, including deprivation of liberty and disputes about contact and residence.

What Do You Do Away From The Office?

I practice meditation and yoga and enjoy reading, writing, and playing the piano. I am Treasurer of the Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group with which I participated in a trial monitoring mission to Egypt in 2014.

What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?

Whenever I succeed in helping a client to obtain the support they need from the state, or to challenge an unfair decision; succeeding on behalf of my clients Ms C and Mr W in the High Court in a challenge to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in R (on the application of) (1) MS C and (2) MR W -v- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Others

Client Testimonials

“Dear Anne-Marie, I would like to thank you very much for the skill, care and consideration that you gave to my mother’s case and to me as my mother’s litigation friend. It is not too dramatic to say that my mother has her life back and a future thanks to Irwin Mitchell.”

– Ms M, daughter of an elderly woman with dementia who I advised in relation to her residence and care

“Dear Anne-Marie, I just want to thank you for your great kindness when I needed advice….You were an island of competence, efficiency and kindness at the time, which was exactly what I needed. Many many thanks once again, and I will be recommending you to friends and colleagues.”

– Ms B, daughter of a man requiring end of life care

“Irwin Mitchell have been fantastic through all of this and especially Anne-Marie who helped move G to a neuro rehab, where he is now receiving excellent care. Appreciate all your expert help and professionalism so very much.”

– Ms L, partner of a man with a severe brain injury

“To Anne-Marie and all who have helped me with my PIP. I believe it is a great thing that you are doing. As you are aware, there are so many others out there trying to get PIP and I thank God you are there for people like myself.”

–Ms B, a disabled woman and claimant of Personal Independence Payments

Notable cases

  • R (on the application of) (1) MS C and (2) MR W -v- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Others [2015] EWHC 1607 (Admin) I acted for the Claimants in this high profile judicial review in which we successfully argued that the delays experienced by claimants of Personal Independent Payments, were unlawful
  • St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust v P v Q [2015] EWCOP 42 in which the Court of Protection concluded, in accordance with our arguments, that it was in the best interests of our client’s brother to continue to receive life sustaining treatment following a cardiac arrest and brain injury
  • KM v Northamptonshire County Council [2015] EWHC 482 (Admin) in which the High Court held that Northamptonshire’s policy on charging for social care provision was unlawful
  • R (on the application of) JM and NT v Isle of Wight Council [2011] EWHC 2911 (Admin) a judicial review which successfully challenged the decision of Isle of Wight Council to restrict its eligibility criteria for adult social care services.
  • R (Gibson) v Waverley Borough Council [2012] EWHC 1472 (Admin). I acted for the Applicant in which quashed a planning permission and listed building consent granted by Waverley Borough Council for a scheme to turn Undershaw into nine separate homes.
  • W v M and others [2011] EWHC 2443 (Fam) the first case in which the Court of Protection considered whether it was in the best interests for artificial nutrition of a woman in a minimally conscious state to be withdrawn
  • Regina (Lewis) v Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (No 2) [2010] UKSC 11 in the Supreme Court. A successful application for judicial review, resulting in a decision that the inhabitants of Redcar were entitled to register an area of land as common land, so preventing proposed development of the land
  • YA(F) v A Local Authority [2010] EWHC 2770. I acted for the Official Solicitor in this case in which the Court of Protection ruled that it has jurisdiction to award damages under the Human Rights Act
  • Salford City Council v BJ (2009) EWHC 3310 (Fam). I acted for the Official Solicitor in this case in which Munby LJ set out guidelines relating to internal and court reviews in "deprivation of liberty" cases, where an individual lacks capacity

Publications

  • Do Not Attempt to Resuscitate: The Legal Issues, nRC August 2014, vol 16, no 8
  • Access to medical treatment for people with an unsettled immigration status, British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, April/May 2012.
  • Your Rights to Children’s Services, My Child and Me Magazine, March 2012
  • Physician Assisted Suicide – Yogi Amin and Anne-Marie Irwin - British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, April/May 2011
  • Understanding Restraint in the Context of Law – Yogi Amin and Anne-Marie Irwin - British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, August/September 2010

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 04/05/2016
    'Do Not Resuscitate Orders' Are Being Imposed Without Consent

    “It is astonishing that hospitals would undergo such an important decision over life or death without consulting the patient or their family members. “Sadly, we see many cases where consultation simply does not happen, and a patient’s right to life is not respected. There should always be a consultation process except for in clearly defined circumstances such as when the clinician believes the process would cause harm to the patient. “Patients and their families should be at the heart of the decision making process when it comes to life and death decisions such as this.”

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  • 31/03/2016
    Dying Patients Routinely Left Under Neglect In Final Hours

    “The findings from the report are very clearly worrying as they raise concerns that the safety and quality of care provided to those reaching the end of their life is simply not good enough and varies widely across the UK. “With new guidelines in place, it must be hoped that lessons have been learned. Everything possible must be done to ensure that all patients’ human rights and dignity are considered during their care, including those with terminal conditions. Patients and their loved ones should be consulted, in so far as possible, to ensure they are comfortable with decisions being taken about their treatment and care.”

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  • 07/09/2015
    ‘Care Must Be Taken’ In Cancer Drug Fund Changes

    “Assessing and ensuring that cancer patients have access to effective medication is of course a tremendously difficult and incredibly emotive issue. “As such, every step has to be taken to ensure that any decisions regarding medication are carefully considered. Sadly, we have seen instances when patients have suffered as a result of unfair restrictions imposed by the NHS and other authorities. “The safety and care of sufferers should always come first and it is vital that these changes do not lead to the restriction of drug treatment that not only has the support of the patient’s NHS doctor but can also prolong – and in some cases save – people’s lives.”

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  • 17/08/2015
    Lawyers Reveal Hopes For ‘Vital’ End-Of-Life Care Improvements

    “The findings from the CQC are clearly very worrying, as they raise clear concerns that the safety and quality of care provided to those reaching the end of their life is simply not good enough. “With NICE recently publishing new draft guidance on end-of-life support, it must be hoped that the mistakes of the past will be tackled and lessons ultimately learned. “The previous Liverpool Care Pathway process, which was in force when this research was undertaken, has come under much criticism and we have seen numerous cases where the guidelines were found to be not fit for purpose. “Everything possible must be done to ensure that a patient’s human rights and dignity are always considered in their care. In addition, patients and their loved ones should always be consulted to ensure they are comfortable with decisions being taken.”

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