I represent clients who are harmed by the unlawful actions of the police and other state agencies, including the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Crown Prosecution Service.
I also represent clients bringing legal actions against private companies delivering services within the criminal justice system.
Many of my cases concern complaints and civil actions against the police. These include seeking accountability for clients who are:
- Unlawfully arrested or otherwise detained
- Subjected to unlawful force
- Maliciously prosecuted
- Harassed by the police, including the unlawful use of stop and search powers
- Discriminated against, including racially and disability discrimination such as the police not making reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabilities
- Subjected to treatment that breaches their legal rights, including breaches of the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act.
I also act for the families of loved ones who die in police or prison custody, following contact with the police or as the result of failings by state agencies or private bodies.
In 2019, I was named Lawyer of the Year at the Bristol Law Society awards. I’m a ‘Recommended Lawyer’ in the Legal 500 directory and a 'Star Associate’ in the Chambers & Partners directory. I've written articles for Inquest Law and the Legal Action Group Magazine and deliver training on civil liberties law.
“Quite exceptional - calm, kind and with a thorough knowledge of his subject and the best method of obtaining our objectives. His calm expertise helped greatly to minimise the stress which we would have felt otherwise.” – Legal 500, 2020
“Gus Silverman is 'meticulous in his approach.” – Chambers & Partners, 2020
“He quickly grasped the issues, speedily drafted the claim and explained the matters without fuss or drama. He would carefully steer me to a more sensible course, and the end result was a truly excellent achievement.” – Chambers & Partners, 2019
“Praised for being 'always two steps ahead.' He frequently represents vulnerable claimants in their claims for assault and human rights breaches. He offers additional experience in claims involving the use of tasers. Interviewees state that you can 'absolutely trust his judgement, he knows how to take cases to success.” – Chambers & Partners, 2018
“Very bright and capable' – Legal 500, 2017
Acted for the family of Douglas Oak, who died following restraint by Dorset Police officers. An inquest heard that Douglas was restrained by police officers for 56 minutes before an ambulance arrived, during which time he suffered a cardiac arrest. The Senior Coroner for Dorset expressed "significant concerns" connected with the death. Covered by The Guardian in 2019.
Acted for the family of Ceara Thacker, a 19 year old University of Liverpool student who took her own life in halls of residence. An inquest found there was an “unacceptable delay” in Ceara being able to access university mental health services. Covered by The Guardian in 2019.
Acted for the family of Natasha Abrahart, one of 12 students at the University of Bristol to take their own lives between October 2016 and May 2019. The Coroner found that Natasha's death was contributed to by neglect on the part of mental health services. This case was covered in the BBC documentary ‘Dying for a Degree’ in 2019.
Acted for the family of Deidre Harvey in an inquest concerning her death in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. The jury heard that the Cwm Taf University Health Board failed to remove the ligature point used by Deidre despite it having been identified months earlier. Covered by The Guardian 2018.
Acted for the family of Callum Smith in an inquest concerning his death in HMP Bristol. An inquest jury concluded that Callum’s death had been caused by a long list of failings on behalf of the police, prison service and healthcare providers. Covered by the BBC in 2017.
Acted for the family of 19 year old Ondrej Suha in an inquest concerning his death in HMYOI Brinsford. An inquest jury concluded that Ondrej’s death was caused by being told that he could be deported to Slovakia, where he had not lived since he was four years’ old, just before being locked away for the night. Covered by The Guardian in 2017.
Acted for the family of Abbi McAllister in an inquest concerning her death whilst detained under the Mental Health Act. Inquest proceedings concluded that neglect contributed to Abbi's death. Covered by The Guardian in 2016.
Actions against the police (and related)
Acted for an elderly couple and their son in a successful civil action against the Chief Constable of West Mercia after they were restrained and arrested in their home by armed police officers. Covered by The Daily Mail in 2018.
Acted for the mother of a child in an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The Sussex Police arrested and restrained the child on multiple occasions when she was 11 years old and suffering from a neurological disability. Covered by The Guardian in 2016.
Successful civil action against the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police on behalf of an army veteran who was tasered by police officers during a mental health crisis. Covered by The Guardian in 2016.
Successful claims against the Chief Constable of Sussex Police brought on behalf of peaceful protesters who were arrested during an anti-austerity demonstration in Brighton. The claimants received remedies including damages, a letter of apology, the destruction of their personal information retained by the police and an admission that officers acted unlawfully.
A successful claim against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis after a client’s house was searched by officers who failed to confirm whether the intended target of their search still lived at the property.
A successful claim against the Chief Constable of Essex Police on behalf of a client who was arrested after officers disseminated inaccurate information about him.
A successful claim against the Court Service after a magistrate issued a defective search warrant resulting in the claimant’s house being unlawfully searched.
A successful claim against the Home Office on behalf of a client who was unlawfully detained under immigration powers for one month whilst he was a child.
A successful challenge to a police caution issued to a mentally vulnerable detainee after he was interviewed in the absence of an appropriate adult. The caution was overturned.
Numerous successful police complaints and appeals to the Independent Police Complaints Commission resulting in findings that officers had cases to answer for misconduct.