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I am a solicitor in the Public Law & Human Rights department at Irwin Mitchell. I joined Irwin Mitchell as a trainee solicitor in 2011 and qualified into the department in 2013.
I specialise in administrative and public law, helping individuals to secure statutory services and to investigate or challenge decisions which have been made by public bodies.
I act on behalf of vulnerable adults and their families in health and welfare disputes within the Court of Protection, when the Court is asked to decide what is in the best interests of an individual who lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
I represent disabled adults and children in judicial review proceedings concerning local authorities' duties to provide them with sufficient care and support. I also act in cases which challenge local government policies or statutory guidance, where these appear to be unlawful or discriminatory.
I also specialise in education law. I act in disputes which relate to an individual's education provision, including challenges to education provision for children with Special Educational Needs.
“We have been instructed by the Save Desborough Library Campaign Group to establish whether Northamptonshire County Council’s consultation and decision making is lawful.
“It is vital that the council consults residents, and makes its final decision, in a lawful and fair manner. Any flaws in the consultation and decision making process may ultimately be subject to judicial review proceedings.
“This is obviously a very important issue and whilst we appreciate that local authorities are experiencing budget and resourcing pressures, the scale of the proposed library closures is significant, and it is therefore unsurprising that so many local residents are so worried about the future of these invaluable services.”
“This is one of the first reported cases, where the court has justified the appointment of a family member as litigation friend in a medical treatment case.
“The judge specifically said that just because the mother was asking for withdrawal of treatment, this did not make her an unsuitable litigation friend.”
“There are legal mechanisms which hospitals and councils can use to try and resolve disputes over a child’s best interests, and what medical treatment they should receive. It was not appropriate in this case for our client to have been placed on a child protection plan and for her family to have been accused of ‘neglect’.
“This led to a situation where there was a complete impasse in providing care to her, and she remained without medical treatment for over a year. Naturally our client is delighted that the High Court has confirmed that the decision taken by the Council was unlawful, and that this never should have happened.
“Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident and as a firm we have seen other cases in the past where local authorities have placed disabled children on child protection plans instead of meeting their needs as a disabled “child in need”.
“Although this latest judgment is obviously specific to the facts of this particular case, this judgment should hopefully provide a warning to other local authorities to ensure they work with families, consider the purpose of the child protection measures, and lawfully apply the relevant guidance, when making these decisions in future.”
“The proposed plans to close the Newmarket Hub obviously came as a significant shock for Lynda and Jack, as well as others who use the services provided by Leading Lives on a daily basis.
“The users of services should have been consulted before any decision to close the facility was made, and we are pleased the council has now launched a full public consultation after we informed them of our intention to challenge the closure.
“We will now be watching closely to ensure that they take into account the views of the local service users, including Lynda, as part of their full consultation.”
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