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I trained and qualified as a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, specialising in civil liberties and human rights law in the Public Law & Human Rights department.
I have experience in a variety of civil liberties cases involving claims against the police and local authorities, inquest, judicial review, health and welfare and Court of Protection.
I have recently been appointed as trustee for the Public Law Project, and am a committee member for the South West Court of Protection Practitioners Association.
In October 2016 I was awarded Junior Lawyer of the Year at the Bristol Society Annual Awards.
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.
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.
I successfully represented the claimant in 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 worked with Cerebra, a charity for children with neurological difficulties, to review and update two of their key guides for parents:
Fiona is "a safe pair of hands" with "excellent judgement". She is "very bright and capable" - Legal 500, 2017
"Excellent service and care. Compassionate and professional. Would highly recommend." - Trustpilot review
“Leocardo’s death has had a profound effect on all of his family who are all still struggling to come to terms with how he died.
“For more than a year the family have had a number of concerns about whether their father’s care package was sufficient to keep him safe, and whether his death was preventable. They now hope that the inquest process will provide them with vital answers they want regarding his death.”
Logan’s tragic death highlighted serious concerns about the inadequate understanding by a number of police officers of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, a key piece of legislation in their daily duties.
“Logan’s family have always called for lessons to be learned so his death was not totally in vain. We hope the findings of the IPOC investigation help Devon and Cornwall Police better understand the legal duty the force has to protect everyone in its care so other families don’t have to experience the years of anguish that Logan’s family have felt.”
This case contains a significant lesson for all NHS commissioners and providers who need to support patients with both learning difficulties and a physical illness or condition.
“The CCG ultimately accepted that the support being sought by Richard was a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act. CCGs need to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities when it comes to supporting disabled people and making reasonable adjustments where appropriate.
“The issues raised in this case should act as a wake-up call to CCGs on this hugely important matter.”
“The past five years have been a complete nightmare for her. Not knowing what happened to Poppi on that day, and knowing that there were evidence gathering failures by the police in the very early stages of the investigation has made things even worse.
“She is disappointed that Poppi’s father chose to rely on his right not to answer questions which may incriminate him. Whilst she understands he is entitled to do this, she considers that the coroner’s inquiry has been frustrated by this, she considers he should have given the coroner the crucial evidence of Poppi’s last few hours.
“This is now the third time a court has found, on the balance of probabilities, that Poppi was anally penetrated prior to death and my client hopes that the CPS will take another look at this case.
“She is grateful to the coroner for his thoroughness throughout the inquest and she is relieved that despite there being some gaps she is now closer to the truth, even though that truth is devastating.
“She asks that her privacy is respected at this difficult time."
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