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I qualified as a solicitor in Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law department in September 2012, having begun my training contract with the firm in September 2010.
I have experience in a variety of cases involving claims against the police, health and welfare, and Court of Protection.
I have recently been appointed as trustee for the Public Law Project.
I act for clients in claims against the police arising out of a variety of situations, such as:
I also bring claims against local authorities where decisions they have made on taking children into care or removing vulnerable adults from their families has amounted to an unlawful deprivation of liberty or an unlawful interference with their right to family life.
I represent families at inquests into the death of a loved one where that death has occurred in police custody, prison or a mental health hospital or where the death has occurred after contact with the police.
I also assisted on the high profile inquest into the death of Lloyd Butler in June 2014. Lloyd died after being inappropriately detained in a police station in Birmingham in 2010 in contradiction of force policy which should have mandated that he be taken straight to hospital. The jury found that Lloyd probably would have survived if taken to hospital.
I act for individuals wishing to challenge decisions made by adult social care and children's services in relation to closure of respite centres, day centres, care homes or withdrawals of services previously provided. This includes considering whether local authorities have complied with their consultation duties, their obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. For example, I am presently instructed in relation to the proposed closure of School Road respite centre in Bristol.
I also bring challenges on behalf of individuals who are concerned about cuts to individual care packages or failures relating to provision of children's services under the Children's Act 1989.
Currently I am instructed on the case of R (on the application of Hardy) v Sandwell Council in relation to the local authority's decision to take into account the care component of Disability Living Allowance when assessing entitlement to a discretionary housing payment.
I represent family members in court of protection proceedings as well as through the Official Solicitor in health and welfare disputes. This includes best interest decisions on contact, care and residence as well of deprivation of liberty cases.
I have written case notes for INQUEST magazine, most recently in November 2014.
I worked with Cerebra, a charity for children with neurological difficulties, to review and update two of their key guides for parents. You can download these guides at Cerebra's website:
“Nothing can turn back the clock and return Oliver to his children and family, but the family hope lessons have been learned by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust so that no other family has to live with the pain of losing a loved one in these circumstances.
“The family would however like to thank the paramedics and police officers who attended Oliver on Friday 14 August.
“We will now examine the coroner’s findings and advise the family on the next steps available to them.”
“Sarah, Naomi and the rest of Oliver’s family are devastated by his loss, and that feeling has been compounded by the unanswered questions about whether more could have been done to prevent his death.
“They are hoping that Tuesday’s inquest will highlight any flaws or failings there may be so these can be learned from to prevent other tragedies.”
The common law and legislation in the UK have provided rights and protections for people with disabilities.
In addition both the EU and the UK have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which guarantees equality of rights of disabled people before the law on issues such as health, education, employment, access to justice and independent living. The UK is also a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability (Article 14) and offers protection for people with disabilities through a number of the other articles. The Human Rights Act incorporates these rights into domestic legislation.
The UK has developed a string of positive legislation for the protection of the rights of those with disabilities, most notably the Equality Act 2010. This Act consolidated a large amount of existing legislation (including those relating to other protected characteristics such as race, religion, gender and sexual orientation). This and previous legislation were introduced to ensure compliance with a number of EU equality directives.
Membership of the EU offers a large degree of protection for people with disabilities because of its directives on equality. However, if that protection was removed by a vote to leave the EU, people with disabilities would still benefit from the CRPD and the ECHR. It is unlikely that Equality Act would be repealed should the UK leave the EU, as we would still need to comply with the other international conventions which we have ratified. However, people with disabilities would not benefit from any further directives or regulations that the EU issued on disability rights and would be reliant on domestic legislation and common law keeping pace with the advancement of the rights of people with disabilities.
What Brexit would affect is the ability to potentially rely on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) which in particular includes many wider social and economic rights, such as the rights to fair and just working conditions, to healthcare and to have personal data protected. If disabled people wished to try and strike down UK legislation as incompatible with rights under CFR under EU law – that avenue would not be available after a vote to leave.
“With Taser-carrying police officers in England and Wales being in the minority but on the rise, it’s deeply concerning how often we hear of its disproportionate use.
“A police custody suite is a controlled environment where officers are on hand in numbers to deal with difficult situations, so using a Taser – which is classed within the police as a less lethal weapon - should be a rarity.”