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.
"Hi, I would just like to thank Irwin Mitchell and especially Gus Silverman and his aide, Emma, for the help and support they gave us through a difficult 2 years following a bereavement and subsequent inquest. Their guidance and diligence was invaluable in our quest to seek answers in an arena that was totally alien to us. The positive result of the issuing of a prevention of future deaths report was a credit to Gus's desire to level an uneven playing field by hard work and a calming demeanour in what was an emotional inquest." - 5* Trustpilot review
"From day one through to the end, which was some three & a half years later, we would never have been able to conclude our case or understood the root cause of our sister passing whilst in care without the professional input, deep knowledge of public law & human rights, dedication, tenacity & support from Gus Silverman over the last number of years. Due to the difficult nature of our case, I am very grateful to Gus for the sensitivity and respect shown throughout the duration of the case."- 5* Trustpilot review
"Gus Silverman from Irwin Mitchell represented us at my sons inquest. He was friendly, welcoming and compassionate from the onset and worked in an extremely professional manner. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Irwin Mitchell to anyone who needs help in this field." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Gus has been fantastic while dealing with my case, because of the challenges I faced I sometimes found it difficult to be in the presence of men however, Gus was sensitive to my needs and respectful. He was very understanding. I was made aware of updates regularly in my case and I cannot fault his work or his perseverance while challenging the Police on my behalf...
"I will forever feel indebted to Gus because of the hard work he has put in while working with me, I had an amazing team behind me which were my advocate and Gus himself. I can't express how grateful I am to Irwin Mitchell and to Gus for what they have done for me. I finally got my justice after so many years and I owe it all to Gus!" - 5* Trustpilot review
"From the outset, our solicitor was committed to obtaining justice for my family. Throughout the journey (which lasted over three years), he was professional and empathetic, keeping us updated every step of the way. He supported us first through the inquest and helped us to obtain a verdict that my relative’s death was caused by neglect and then managed the subsequent claims for family costs and distress. I am incredibly grateful to him for supporting my family and I through this difficult process. We would not have been able to do it without him." - 5* Trustpilot review
"He is a fantastic lawyer. I have confidence in his technical ability, he makes interesting points and he is very thorough. "Gus was very impressive, very hard-working, and he's got a very thorough grasp of law and practice in the areas of policing, police regulations and inquest law. "He really cares about his cases, he's down to earth and really brilliant." - Chambers & Partners, 2021 (Star Associate)
“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 peaceful protestors arrested outside of Bristol Magistrates’ Court whilst demonstrating in support of the ‘Colston 4’. Avon and Somerset Constabulary admitted that it had unlawfully arrested the protestors and breached their human rights. This is thought to be the first time a police force has admitted unlawfully arresting protestors under Coronavirus Regulations. Covered by The Guardian and Channel 4, April 2021.
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.