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Caroline Barrett

Associate Solicitor

Biography

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.

Testimonials

"Particularly effective" - Legal 500, 2018/19

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 12/12/2018
    Lawyers Issue Urgent Judicial Review Application To Save Northamptonshire Primary School From Closure

    “Great Creaton Primary School is an important part of our client’s life, as well as being an integral part of the local community. “It is a small rural primary school but it provides a vital service in a largely rural county where access to other neighbouring schools can be difficult. Great Creaton is valued by our client and her family as having a warm and friendly setting and has traditionally been a popular choice for parents of children with additional needs as a result. “Our client believes that the council’s decision is unlawful for numerous reasons, including a failure to lawfully consult with local residents and pupils and to properly consider the impact of the closure on the local community, children with special educational needs, and those who had chosen Great Creaton School specifically because it is a non-denominational school. It is our client’s view that these failings are such that the decision to close Great Creaton School was unlawful. “Although pupil numbers have been falling in recent years, our client considers that numbers could once again increase with a change in school management, a fresh approach and, hopefully, the support of a local Multi Academy Trust. “It is vital that an interim relief hearing is heard before the planned closure to ensure the school has the chance to stay open and continue to provide educational services to its pupils pending full determination of the case.”

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  • 14/08/2018
    Family Wins Fight To Challenge Library Closures As Judicial Review Deems Decision Making Process ‘Unlawful’

    “We were instructed to act on behalf of a minor, represented by her mother acting as litigation friend, with her case funded by legal aid. They sought to challenge Northamptonshire County Council’s decision to shut 21 libraries across the county. “The closure of libraries has a disproportionate effect upon children and vulnerable people and our client’s family was extremely concerned that she would not have access to the same library provision as her elder siblings. Local schools also relied upon the local library services. “The ruling shows that the family was right to challenge the council. Many other local residents have also supported the judicial review proceedings, and all the residents who came forward and urged the council to review and change its decision are vindicated by this ruling. “Our client recognises that the council is in a precarious financial position. Commissioners have been appointed to run the Council’s executive functions by the Secretary of State and a raft of further cuts was announced by the Council in a highly charged meeting last week. “Nevertheless, this ruling confirms that all Councils, regardless of their financial position, simply must comply with their statutory and common law duties. This is in principle with the rule of law. The Council has duties to its local residents and it must continue to make decisions in a lawful manner.”

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  • 10/08/2018
    Northampton County Council Cuts: Care Must Be Taken With Service Changes

    “One of the key responsibilities of councils is to comply with statutory duties both in delivering services and in meeting the needs of local people. Many local authorities are currently looking to reduce services to a so-called ‘core offer’, however it remains to be seen whether any further reductions to already stretched services will be lawful and will be sufficient to discharge councils’ statutory duties in this area. For example a council’s duties to meet the needs of disabled adults and children is set out in law – these duties cannot be ignored simply because a council is running out of money. “It is of course appreciated that council resources at present are very limited and changes to council spending need to be made, however it is absolutely vital that the needs of vulnerable children and adults continue to be met. Compliance with statutory duties is not optional – and we have acted for a number of families who are extremely concerned about the erosion of vital services which they desperately need."

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  • 26/07/2018
    Judicial Review Hearing This Week As Fight To Save Libraries Progresses To The High Court

    “We have been instructed to challenge Northamptonshire County Council’s decision to shut 21 libraries across the county. “Many people using the library services are children, or are elderly, disabled, or from low income households and they may struggle to access the library provision in larger towns. “These cuts are extensive and our client and her family are concerned that this will have a very significant impact upon their ability to access a library service and the impact on local residents, many of whom live in rural areas. Our client’s family believe that, if implemented, these cuts will have a huge detrimental impact on the local community in Northamptonshire. 13 of the libraries identified for closure have children’s centres within them and even at this stage it remains unclear what will happen to those children’s centres if all these libraries close. “We have advanced a number of legal submissions against the closure of these libraries, including an argument that to leave only 15 libraries in Northamptonshire would leave the council in breach of its duty to maintain a comprehensive and sufficient library service in the county. We are also arguing that the council failed to carry out a lawful public consultation into the proposals and that it did not conduct a full and lawful assessment of how vulnerable people will be affected by the closures.”

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