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Alex Rook

Partner

Biography

I joined Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law & Human Rights 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

"Alex Rook is excellent, and an expert in his field of public law." - Chambers & Partners, 2019

Alex is a "sharp operator" with "huge amount of expertise"; "a really strong and well-respected lawyer." "His advice was very practical" and he is "good at spotting interesting new areas and pushing the boundaries of public law in the right way". "Completely unflappable and incredibly efficient."   – Chambers & Partners, 2017

"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

"Extremely able in the fields of social care and public law."- Legal 500 2018/19

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

"'First rate' for community care, mental capacity and human rights law" - Legal 500, 2017

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 the leaflet (PDF)
  • 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 & Human Rights 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

  • 30/08/2018
    Widowed Parent’s Allowance: Irwin Mitchell Helps Secure Landmark Supreme Court Victory

    This is a hugely important case which will have a major impact on great number of families across the UK. “With cohabitation on the rise, the issue as to whether unmarried parents should be able to access vital financial support following the death of a partner is clearly a vital one, and the National Children’s Bureau is delighted that the Supreme Court has today recognised that children should not suffer a disadvantage just because their parents chose not to marry. “We are proud to have lent our support to the National Children’s Bureau and are delighted at the Supreme Court’s judgment.”

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  • 02/08/2018
    Major Boost For Deaf Boy’s Sign Language Campaign Following Government U-Turn

    Daniel’s family has always maintained that deaf children such as Daniel should be able to achieve a GCSE in BSL – his first language. “We are delighted that the Government has backed down from its original position as, at present, the lack of a BSL GCSE is having a major and unnecessary impact on thousands of children each year. “It is only right that any qualification should meet rigorous testing criteria set by the Department for Education. However, this announcement is a major turning point and hopefully paves the way so children such as Daniel have access to the education they deserve.”

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  • 06/07/2018
    Family Set To Launch Legal Battle To Challenge Government’s ‘Discriminatory’ Stance on Sign Language GCSE

    The Government has on several occasions said its current policy is to offer a period of stability to schools following other changes and therefore no new GCSE’s are being introduced at this time. “However, we feel that the delay and ultimate failure to introduce a BSL qualification amounts to a breach of a number of legal duties and that this issue requires urgent attention. “It is simply not right that thousands of deaf children across the UK are unable to achieve a GCSE in their first language.”

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  • 15/03/2018
    Parents Instruct Specialist Lawyers To Help Challenge Council’s £20m Spending Cuts To Disabled Children’s Services

    The proposed cuts would impact on some of society’s most vulnerable people, with the county council itself recognising that there are now 7,700 children needing education, health and care plans in Surrey, an increase of 44 per cent over the last eight years. “Whilst we appreciate the very severe budget pressures local authorities face, councils still have a duty to ensure spending decisions affecting frontline services are lawful. “It is our view that the county council’s proposals are unlawful, including as a result of the failure to undertake any kind of consultation on its 2018/19 budget cuts. It is manifestly unfair for the council to set its budget without any consultation with those who will be affected by the significant spending cuts. “We call on the county council to reconsider its decision and engage with those who will be severely affected by this decision.”

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