Gus Silverman

Solicitor

Biography

I represent clients who have been harmed by the unlawful actions of the police and other state agencies, including the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Crown Prosecution Service. I also represent clients bringing legal actions against private companies delivering services within the criminal justice system.

Many of my cases concern complaints and civil actions against the police. These include seeking accountability on behalf of clients who have been:

  • Unlawfully arrested or otherwise detained
  • Subjected to unlawful force
  • Maliciously prosecuted
  • Harassed by the police, including in relation to the unlawful use of stop and search powers
  • Discriminated against, including racially and in relation to a disability (which can include a failure by the police to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a disability)
  • Subjected to treatment which otherwise breaches their legal rights, including in relation to the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act. 

I also act for the families of loved ones who have died in police or prison custody or following contact with the police.

My notable cases include:

  • Acted for the family of Abbi McAllister in an inquest concerning her death whilst detained under the Mental Health Act. Inquest proceedings concluded that Abbi’s death had been contributed to by neglect (Covered in The Guardian, January 2016).
  • Acted for the mother of ‘Child H’ in an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Child H was arrested and restrained by Sussex Police officers (including by way of handcuffs, leg straps and spit hoods) on multiple occasions when she was 11 years old and suffering from a neurological disability. The investigation resulted in findings that various officers had cases to answer for misconduct (Covered in The Guardian, June 2016).
  • Successful civil action against the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police on behalf of an army veteran who was Tasered by police officers during a mental health crisis. The claim settled for £50,000, reportedly one of the highest settlements in a Taser case (Covered in The Guardian, September 2016).
  • Successful claims against the Chief Constable of Sussex Police brought on behalf of peaceful protesters who were arrested during an anti-austerity demonstration in Brighton. The claimants received remedies including damages, a letter of apology, the destruction of their personal information retained by the police (fingerprints, DNA profiles and custody photographs) and an admission that officers acted unlawfully.
  • A successful claim against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis after a client’s house was searched by officers who failed to confirm whether the intended target of their search still lived at the property.
  • A successful claim against the Chief Constable of Essex Police on behalf of a client who was arrested after officers disseminated inaccurate information about him.
  • A successful claim against the Court Service after a magistrate issued a defective search warrant resulting in the claimant’s house being unlawfully searched.
  • A successful claim against the Home Office on behalf of a client who was unlawfully detained under immigration powers for one month whilst he was a child.
  • A successful challenge to a police caution issued to a mentally vulnerable detainee after he was interviewed in the absence of an appropriate adult. The caution was overturned.
  • Numerous successful police complaints and appeals to the Independent Police Complaints Commission resulting in findings that officers had cases to answer for misconduct.

Prior to qualification I trained at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors in London where I worked on a number of high profile cases, including:

  • The second inquest concerning the death of 14 year old Adam Rickwood, the youngest person to die in custody in modern times.
  • The death of Jimmy Mubenga, who died whilst being restrained by G4S security guards during an attempted forced removal from the UK.
  • ZH v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis concerning the prolonged restraint of a severely autistic young man by police officers during a school trip to a swimming pool. This was the first case to find that officers had breached their duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and had subjected a claimant to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Upon qualification I practised at Fisher Meredith in London where I continued to develop my expertise in the field of civil liberties law in general, and actions against the police in particular.  

In November 2014 I moved to Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, from where I continue to represent claimants and complainants from across England & Wales.

Gus Silverman is "impressive" - Legal 500 2014


Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 07/10/2016
    Inquest Concludes into Death of Vulnerable Man With History Of Mental Illness And Lighting Fires

    “Bob was a desperately vulnerable man who lived in highly dangerous conditions for more than a year prior to his death. “It is a matter of serious concern that none of the statutory agencies involved in Bob’s case sufficiently understood the legal powers they had available to them to keep him and other people safe. It is now for Bristol City Council and the Avon Wilshire Partnership to learn the lessons arising from this inquest so that vulnerable people living in the community receive a suitable, and safe, level of care.”

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  • 15/09/2016
    Bedfordshire Police Pay Settlement To Army Veteran Tasered by Officers

    “Clearly there are a number of serious concerns about the way Michael was dealt with by police. The footage from the police body cameras shows that before firing the Taser officers failed to take more than cursory steps to obtain the advice of mental health specialists, despite the fact that they were literally in the car park of a hospital. Most concerning of all is the use of a Taser on mentally ill individual who was asking officers to talk to him. “This appears to have been a case of officers using a Taser because they decided an hour was long enough for them to spend with Michael, as opposed to as a last resort. As the recent death of Dalian Atkinson has tragically illustrated, Tasers can be fatal. They must only be used where less dangerous options have first been considered and reasonably rejected. “Better training for front line officers, and better systems for securing rapid support from mental health services, are necessary to ensure that my client’s experience is less likely to be repeated in future. “We are glad to have secured a substantial settlement from Bedfordshire Police but the force has failed to apologise for their actions, despite being asked to do so on multiple occasions. My client hopes that the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire will reconsider his position and apologise so that Michael can start to put this distressing experience behind him.”

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  • 08/06/2016
    IPCC Criticises Sussex Police’s Treatment of Disabled 11-Year-Old Girl

    “The systemic failings uncovered by the IPCC’s investigation are truly shocking. Child H was detained for a cumulative total of 60 hours in various police stations. During this time every Sussex Police custody sergeant and Inspector involved in her care failed to call an appropriate adult, most obviously her mother, to support her. “In the last Queen’s Speech the Government undertook to ban the use of police cells as places of safety for those under 18 years of age. This commitment must now be put in effect as soon as possible. “My client calls on the Chief Constable of Sussex Police to commission an independent expert in managing challenging behaviour to review the extremely intrusive form of restraints used against Child H by officers in this case. It is a particular matter of concern that the IPCC felt unable to uphold Ms H’s complaint regarding the uses of ‘spit hoods’ on her daughter as this supposedly accorded with force policy that any spitting will always justify hooding.”

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  • 14/01/2016
    Inquest Finds Neglect And Multiple Failings By Mental Health Trust Contributed To Patient’s Death

    “This tragic case highlights real concerns about the quality of the care and treatment provided to some of the most vulnerable patients detained under the Mental Health Act. “Abbi’s family have been left devastated by her avoidable death. As the jury’s conclusions have made clear, there were a significant number of basic failures leading up the decision to take Abbi out of a secure environment on 16 April 2015, a decision which ultimately led to her death. “It is particularly shocking that the Trust waited for over an hour before contacting the police. When the police were contacted the Trust failed to tell them that Abbi had previously attempted to jump from a car park. Had this information been provided to the police with the necessary urgency there was a real chance that Abbi’s death could have been avoided. “It is now imperative that lessons are learned from this tragic case so that vulnerable detained patients are provided with an appropriate level of care in order to prevent similar deaths occurring in the future.”

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