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Fiona McGhie

Associate

Biography

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. 

Actions Against The Police

I act for clients in claims against the police arising out of a variety of situations, such as:

  • Wrongful arrest: I’ve helped people who were wrongfully arrested for possession of indecent images where police investigators made typographical errors when looking at IP addresses. 
  • Assault: I represent clients who have been assaulted by the police, including people who have been struck with a taser or sprayed with CS gas in situations where this amounted to excessive force.
  • Claims under the Human Rights Act 1998: This has included claims against police forces for inappropriately disclosing sensitive information to employers which has caused harm, and sometimes where that information has been incorrect or misleading.
  • Breaches of Article 3 (of the European Convention on Human Rights): These claims are brought on behalf of victims of serious sexual or physical assault. They typically arise when police have failed to follow procedures for securing video evidence, failing to undertake appropriate forensic testing; or where they have failed to follow crucial leads.
  • Malicious prosecution.

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.

Health And Welfare

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.

Court of Protection

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.

Publications

  • I regularly write case notes for INQUEST journal
  • Article for INQUEST law on the implications for jury inquests of the judgment in Cheshire West (2014)
  • “The Importance of Carefully Drafted Advance Decisions", British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, October/November 2012

I worked with Cerebra, a charity for children with neurological difficulties, to review and update two of their key guides for parents. These guides are available to download from Cerebra's website:


Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 28/06/2017
    Inquest Finds Woman Who Hanged Herself At Mental Health Facility Did Not Intend to Take Her Life

    “Cara’s death raised some troubling questions regarding the care she received at Rampton Secure Hospital. “It is a relief for Deirdre that she now has the answers she has waited so long for, even though they paint a vivid picture of Cara’s last hours at the facility, something that no parent should have to face. Of particular concern to her is the fact that the ward was understaffed on the day of Cara’s death and the impact that may have had on the care which she received. “We sincerely hope that lessons are now learned so that others don’t suffer as Cara did, or as her family continue to do.”

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  • 29/11/2016
    CPS Review Confirms There Will Be No Charges Over Death Of Poppi Worthington

    “Poppi’s mother is understandably both distressed and disappointed by the CPS’s decision not to bring a prosecution regarding her death. “She has always been anxious to know exactly what happened to Poppi on the day of her death as well as to secure justice for her little girl. “She hopes that an inquest, which was delayed while the CPS examined its decision, will shed some light on Poppi’s injuries and create a path to justice so her daughter can finally be at peace.”

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  • 09/11/2016
    Public Law Experts Call For Government Bedroom Tax Rethink

    “Anyone who has a ‘spare bedroom’ is affected by the bedroom tax but the reality for many disabled people is that the bedroom isn’t spare at all but simply used for another purpose, such as accommodation for an overnight or respite carer. “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a victory for common sense for those whose disabilities require them to have an extra bedroom. We would now urge the Government to rethink the bedroom tax so that victims of domestic violence housed for their own protection, are also no longer penalised by this one-size-fits all policy.”

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  • 11/08/2016
    Family Of Man Found Hanged After Mental Health Phone Assessment Welcomes Report To Prevent Future Deaths

    “Nothing can turn back the clock and return Oliver to his children and family, but the family hope lessons have been learned by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust so that no other family has to live with the pain of losing a loved one in these circumstances. “The family would however like to thank the paramedics and police officers who attended Oliver on Friday 14 August. “We will now examine the coroner’s findings and advise the family on the next steps available to them.”

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