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.
- 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'
"Skilled in bringing claims under the Human Rights Acts, particularly Articles 2 and 3, and in deprivation of liberty matters." - Legal 500 2020
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