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Fiona McGhie

Associate Solicitor

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:

  • 'Supporting disabled children and young people who are victims of or witnesses to crime'
  • 'Arrest and detention of disabled children'

Testimonials

Fiona is "a safe pair of hands" with "excellent judgement". She is "very bright and capable" - Legal 500, 2017

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 18/07/2018
    Family Welcomes Extra Training for Devon And Cornwall Police Custody Staff Following Son’s 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.”

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  • 19/06/2018
    Legal Challenge To Inadequate Care ‘A Wake-Up Call To The NHS’

    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.”

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  • 15/01/2018
    Poppi Worthington Inquest: Poppi’s Mother “Relieved To Finally Have Some Answers”

    “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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  • 14/12/2017
    Poppi Worthington Inquest Mother Awaits Outcome As Hearing Adjourns

    Hearing the evidence presented throughout this inquest has been extremely difficult for Poppi’s mother who is still obviously devastated by her daughter’s death. She is grateful to the coroner and his inquest team for their thoroughness over the past few weeks and we now await the conclusion in January.

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