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Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Air Pollution

Susie Labinjoh
Susie Labinjoh
Partner
Alice Hardy
Alice Hardy
Partner
Cormac McDonough
Cormac McDonough
Partner
Jocelyn Cockburn
Jocelyn Cockburn
Partner
Nancy Collins
Nancy Collins
Partner
Sasha Barton
Sasha Barton
Partner

Poor air quality is one of the largest environmental risks to public health in the UK and described by the World Health Organization as “a public health emergency”.

Our team of renowned human rights solicitors are skilled at taking on complex and new challenges to gain answers and justice for their clients.

Although you would think the clean air we breathe would be a basic human right, it is not currently recognised. Our team of solicitors examine legal challenges regarding the failure of government bodies to protect the public from, and inform them about, the health risks associated with pollution.

 

Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors?

Our team of lawyers is committed to taking on air pollution cases that impact on the vulnerable to protect their rights. 

The team challenged state bodies in relation to failures to take sufficient steps to reduce exposure to air pollution and provide legal representation to families, residents and others who have concerns about the impact on their health. For example, protection for those who work alongside busy roads and are exposed to high levels of air pollution on a regular basis.

The failure to address the long-known risk of poor health and death resulting from living and working in areas with toxic air must be challenged, and we’re here to help raise those challenges.

Whatever your needs, our team of highly experienced solicitors can provide you with the help and advice you need. Call us or send an email.

“PROFESSIONALLY THOROUGH, HELPFUL, SUPPORTIVE AND FRIENDLY...THROUGHOUT I FELT SO AT EASE AND CONFIDENT WITH EVERYTHING."

Once we have assessed all the relevant information, we’ll let you know if you have a case we can assist with. We’ll then arrange a time to meet or talk through to discuss your needs and particular situation in greater detail.

You’ll then be allocated a solicitor specialising in the field to help you find the best possible resolution during a stressful and often sensitive time.

 

Featured case

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah

Jocelyn Cockburn, a Partner in our team, has represented the family of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah who died on 15 February 2013 from asthma, aged nine, for over seven years. Ella lived only 25 metres from the highly polluted South Circular Road in London.

For three years between 2010 and 2013 she suffered a series of asthma attacks that led to regular hospitalisation. The first inquest did not investigate what had triggered her asthma. This led the family to approach Jocelyn to explore whether there was a link between her episodes of ill health and her exposure to air pollution.

A petition signed by 177,363 people called for a second inquest into her death. In 2019, the High Court ordered that there should be a second inquest into Ella’s death that should investigate whether air pollution had contributed to her death.

On 18 December 2020, following a second inquest, the coroner ruled that “Air pollution was a significant contributory factor to both the induction and exacerbation of her asthma” and concluded “Ella died of asthma contributed to by exposure to excessive air pollution”.

At a press conference following the verdict, Ella’s mother, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah reflected on her daughter’s life and the impact the verdict would have on other children around the world. See full press release.

Outdoor air pollution

Outdoor air pollution has been estimated to be linked to 40,000 early deaths each year, making it the second largest cause of avoidable mortality after smoking. Children and older people are particularly vulnerable, as are people with pre-existing health conditions including asthma.

In December 2020, the team at Hodge Jones & Allen represented Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah during the second inquest of her daughter, Ella. The ruling by the Coroner was a global first as air pollution was listed as the cause of death of the 9 year old girl.

Rosamund was determined to find out why her daughter died when she came to Jocelyn Cockburn, 5 years ago, and she now has the answer to that important question.

“We’ve got the justice for Ella which she so deserved.” - Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah

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WE CAN'T EXPRESS HOW GRATEFUL WE ARE TO HJA. THEY SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE 4YEARS IT TOOK US TO GET JUSTICE FOR OUR DAUGHTER. WITHOUT THEM ANSWERS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REACHED AND WE WOULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN THE TRUTH.