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Civil Liberties

Civil Liberties Protecting rights is our priority.

Civil Liberties & Human Rights

If your rights have been infringed or you have suffered injustice at the hands of the State you don’t have to suffer in silence. For over 35 years, we have been at the vanguard of challenging unlawful actions by the State.

Hodge Jones & Allen is ranked in the top three tiers of law firms for Civil Liberties and Human Rights law in the UK (Chambers 2014). Our lawyers have an exceptional track record of holding authorities to account, including police forces, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Prison Service, Coroners, the Ministry of Defence, the Crown Prosecution Service, immigration detention centres and healthcare providers.

How can we help?

Our mission is to seek accountability from the state and redress for those whose rights have been infringed. We passionately believe in helping clients from all walks of life, irrespective of their resources. Here are the types of cases we can help you with:

  • Pursuing civil actions against the police or other detaining authorities including immigration detention
  • Police complaints
  • Pursuing Judicial Reviews of decisions taken by public bodies
  • Bringing challenges under the Human Rights Act
  • Equality and Discrimination claims
  • Challenging failures to investigate crimes
  • Holding authorities to account following deaths or injury in detention
  • Human Rights in Healthcare claims

Find out more about how we can help by visiting the other Civil Liberties pages in this section.

Kent Clinics

As well as our offices in Central London, we work in conjunction with Medway and Maidstone Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to offer monthly actions against the police clinics on the first Friday of each month. We offer a free initial twenty minute appointment with one of our solicitors about your case. We are at Medway CAB on Friday mornings and Maidstone CAB in the afternoon. To contact Medway CAB, please call 01634 383 760. To contact Maidstone CAB, please call 01622 752 420  /  757 882.

Hodge Jones & Allen LLP are also working in collaboration with Kent University Law Clinic running another actions against the police clinics in Canterbury. To contact the Kent Law Clinic about an appointment, please call 0808 274 9156.

Top Ranked Civil Liberties Team

Our Civil Liberties team is ranked as one of the top 10 firms in the UK for this area of law in Chambers UK 2014 and the Legal 500 2013.

Susie Labinjoh co-heads the firm’s civil liberties team. She is regarded by market sources as an “extremely good” practitioner and is particularly strong at “winning the respect and trust of her clients and getting to the heart of a case.” She specialises in civil actions against the police and prison service and related human rights claims; and compensation claims for victims of miscarriage of justice and public law challenges related to these areas. Chambers UK 2014

Jocelyn Cockburn co-heads the firm’s civil liberties team. She is described as ‘one of the leading strategic litigators’ and has an ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of cases’. Legal 500 2013

Sasha Barton is highly praised by clients, who describe her as “a star in the making; tactically astute and with amazing forensic insight.” Chambers UK 2014

Anna-Louise Thwaites is described as “sensitive, patient and someone who offers phenomenal levels of client care.” She is known for her strong working relations with prominent human rights organisations. Chambers UK 2014

Award Winning Team

Our Civil Liberties solicitors have been recognised for their pioneering work on some of the most sensitive and high-profile cases over many years.

We launched the judicial review that helped secure the reopening of an investigation into Stephen Lawrence’s death, and which helped bring about the conviction of two men for his murder.

We won a landmark case in June 2013 at the Supreme Court on behalf of families killed in Iraq in poorly armoured Snatch Land Rovers. The ruling established that the Ministry of Defence has a duty to protect the human rights of soldiers, even when they are on the battlefield.

We are renowned for our work on miscarriage of justice compensation claims, our team has unrivalled expertise in this highly specialised field. We are currently challenging the restrictive eligibility criteria for entry to the statutory scheme for compensation for miscarriage of justice in the Court of Appeal.

Our lawyers have represented clients in all of the major protests in recent years, including the G20, Critical Mass, TUC day of action, UK UnCut, anti – Dsei and Dale Farm protests.

All of our lawyers are passionate about their work and have a reputation for fighting tenaciously for their clients no matter what obstacles they face. Several of our solicitors have achieved notable recognition for their outstanding work:

Jocelyn Cockburn:

Winner of Partner of the Year 2012 (The Lawyer Awards)
Highly Commended for Legal Personality of the Year 2013 (Law Society Excellence Awards)
Hot 100 Lawyers 2013 (The Lawyer)
Jocelyn is a well-known and respected media commentator.

Natalie Sedacca:

Shortlisted for Legal Aid Newcomer Award 2013 (Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards)

Sasha Barton:

Young Legal Aid Solicitor of the Year 2012 (Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year)

  • What's the process?

    Whatever your needs, our team of highly experienced Civil Liberties lawyers can provide you with the help and advice you need. The steps to take to get the advice you may need:

    1. Contact one of our experienced team, either by telephone or email.
    2. We will arrange a time to meet to discuss your needs and particular situation in greater detail.

    We’ll ensure that the solicitor you deal with is the right match for your specific situation, helping you find the best possible resolution during a stressful and often sensitive time.

  • Meet the team

  • FAQs

    My son was arrested and says that he was mistreated by the policemen who took him into custody. Can I make a complaint and claim compensation?

    Although your son may feel he was mistreated this doesn’t necessarily mean he will be able to claim compensation. If your son is over 18 then he will need to make a complaint himself, but this should be relatively straightforward with the support of a specialist police complaints solicitor.

    So if he makes a formal complaint, who decides whether the policemen should be prosecuted?

    The decision rests with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), who will be given a copy of the investigation report and other evidence.

    How much compensation will he be able to claim?

    If he has a strong case, then he will be entitled to claim damages. The amount of damages varies depending on the severity of the complaint.

    Is there a time limit for making a complaint and claiming damages?

    Yes, and you need to act quickly since the time limits are strictly enforced. If you are making a claim under the Human Rights Act then you need to issue your claim within a year of the incident. If your claim relates to negligence, then the time limit is three years. For other claims, the time limit is normally six years.

    I lost my job as a result of being arrested. How can I afford to fund my claim?

    Funding a legal action through the courts yourself can cost a lot of money. You may be eligible for public funding (‘Legal Aid’) for your case against the police if you meet the Legal Services Commission’s financial criteria. Alternatively, if we think you have a strong case, we may be able to agree a no win no fee agreement with you.

    A close family member died in police custody. Before being arrested he was perfectly health and I’m sure it must have been cause by the way he was treated. What should I do?

    We can help you deal with the initial investigations and inquest before the Coroner’s Court. We can also help you request the relevant information, such as witness statements, to enable a thorough investigation to be carried out.