Posted on 27th January 2016
Plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) and replace it with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities have...
In 2004 I brought a judicial review challenge on behalf of Neville Lawrence against the Director of Public Prosecutions for his decision not to prosecute anyone for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. I have been representing Mr Lawrence ever since. The investigation into the death was reopened and in January 2012 two men were convicted of his murder. In summer 2013 allegations were made by an undercover police officer regarding surveillance of the Lawrence family in the aftermath of the murder. I am advising Mr Lawrence in relation to this and the ongoing corruption investigation.
I am instructed on a number of actions against the police. My current caseload includes an assault by the police on a young black man who was stopped and searched without due authority resulting in serious injury and distress, wrongful imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The claim raises serious issues of the use of racial stereotyping in police stop and search procedures. I also represent the family of Leon Briggs, who was restrained and taken in police custody under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. He died in police custody. Investigations into his death are ongoing but the case raises controversial issues relating to race, mental health and policing.
I have been instructed in several inquests and cases arising out of deaths of military personnel. I represented claimants in a major landmark case in June 2013 at the Supreme Court. This case; Smith & Ors v Ministry of Defence [2013 UKSC 41] allows families of soldiers killed in poorly armoured Snatch land rover vehicles in Iraq to bring their claims for damages under the Human Rights Act and in negligence. The case defines the legal obligations owed by the Government to soldiers killed and injured on active service abroad. This ruling established for the first time that the European Convention on Human Rights applies to soldiers on the battlefield.
I am currently representing several families whose loved ones have died in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centres. The cases involve breaches of Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Some of the allegations relate to failures to provide basic medical care and treatment. I have an expanding practice representing families whose loved ones have died in hospitals and care homes after receiving poor treatment or abuse.
I represented the family of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter. Fiona killed herself and her daughter by setting fire to the family car after years of anti-social abuse which the Leicestershire Police were aware of but failed to address. Some of my ongoing work relates to the duties on the State to protect vulnerable people in our society and hate crime policies.
In 2013 I was Highly Commended at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2013 under the category: Legal Personality of the Year 2013 and was listed in the Hot List 100. In 2012 I won The Lawyer’s “Partner of the Year Award”. Previously I had been presented with the Personal Injury Case of the Year 2010. I have also been shortlisted for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards and the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year.
In 2015 I was recognised for my work in championing the rights of those in the armed forces and some of the most vulnerable in our society, in a unique photography exhibition at the Supreme Court which commemorated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
Click here to read my Q&A on civil liberties and human rights.
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