Jocelyn is a partner in the Civil Liberties team and has a wealth of experience representing bereaved families at inquests and in claims and other legal challenges against the state. Many of her cases arise under article 2 of the Human Rights Act, which relates to the ‘right to life’ and whether the State has failed to protect individuals.
She is currently involved in a ground breaking case which will examine the government’s actions in relation to unlawful levels of air pollution in urban areas. In 2019 she was successful in arguing that there should be a second inquest into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a nine-year-old child who died of an asthma attack in 2013. The inquest should examine whether air pollution contributed to her death.
The inquest will also consider whether government bodies failed to protect Ella, who lived by the busy South Circular Road, from the risk of air pollution of which they were aware.
Jocelyn has conducted an array of difficult and often high profile cases, for example acting for Neville Lawrence in relation to the Undercover Police Inquiry and other ongoing investigations.
She is concerned about increasing deaths in police custody and in prison and have supported families through the very difficult inquest and claim processes.
She has represented families of UK soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in a challenge to the Ministry of Defence’s use of poorly armoured ‘Snatch Land Rovers’. She argued that Snatch could not withstand the roadside bombs in use by Insurgents and the MoD was aware of this. This ruling by the Supreme Court established for the first time that the European Convention on Human Rights applies to soldiers on the battlefield and that the MoD potentially breached the human rights of UK soldiers.
Awards and Recognition
- Highly Commended for the Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2019; The Law Society Excellence Awards
- Honorary Doctorate of Laws – awarded by University of Kent – July 2017
- Featured in a photography exhibition at the Supreme Court which commemorated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta
- 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
- The Lawyer Awards- Partner of the Year Award 2012
- Eclipse Personal Injury Case of the Year 2010
- Shortlisted for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards and the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year.
- “Jocelyn’s compassion towards us at a time when many other people were dismissive made me and my family feel that someone understood and was willing to fight for us.” (Client)
- “Great service will highly recommend your services.” (Client)
- “She is someone who refuses to bow down or to be intimidated by agents of the state. She is a modern day David who steps up to take on Goliath.” (Counsel)
- “Jocelyn works tirelessly for her clients who have suffered great injustice at the hands of the state.” (Counsel)
- “This case could not have been run without Jocelyn’s determination to see it through” (Counsel)
- Chambers 2021 – Jocelyn was described as “phenomenal at miscarriage of justice cases.” “She is extremely effective.” “Jocelyn Cockburn is a leading solicitor in public and police law, who has a brilliant record in bringing important public interest cases, meticulous preparation and impressive strategic ability.”
- Legal 500 2021 – ‘Jocelyn Cockburn is a top tier solicitor, at the forefront of human rights law. She has been pivotal in several key cases. Her attention to detail is amazing.’
- Chambers 2019 – Jocelyn Cockburn is “a highly experienced human rights lawyer with a brilliant understanding of strategic litigation. She is a real authority in her field.“
- Chambers 2018 – The “fantastic” Jocelyn Cockburn is “right up there with the best lawyers in the country. What is impressive about her is that she is always on top of every detail of the case.“
- Chambers 2017 – “Will turn over every stone to get an answer for her client….Jocelyn Cockburn is hugely diligent and extremely thorough in her investigation of a case. She is very imaginative and uses the law in new ways which others do not spot.”
Membership & Appointments
- The Police Action Lawyers Group
- The Inquest Lawyers Group
- Patron of the British Scoliosis Research Foundation
- Doctor of Laws (Honorary) – University of Kent – July 2017
- Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen, 2007 to date
- Joined Hodge Jones & Allen, 2004
- Admitted to the Roll, January 1997
- Trainee Solicitor, Druces & Attlee, 1994-1996
- Northumbria University Law School 1992 – 1994
- Newcastle University 1989 – 1992 (BA Hons)