Nancy acts for families bereaved by deaths in custody or state care, prisoners and those who have suffered an injustice by public authorities. She has particular expertise in acting for people with learning disabilities who have suffered an abuse of their rights whilst detained or in the care of the state.
Nancy represents people who seek to hold to account those acting on behalf of the state. She has particular expertise in representing people whose loved ones have died in state care or detention, those who suffer injustice in prison and individuals with learning disabilities who are caught up in the criminal justice system. Nancy’s cases include:
Claims and challenges against the police
The Ministry of Justice
Public law challenges.
Nancy specialises in acting for individuals with learning disabilities who have become caught up in the criminal justice system, people who have suffered discrimination on grounds of race, gender and disability, prisoners and the families of people who have died in police or prison custody or in mental health detention. She as a particular interest in challenging unlawful decisions by public authorities on behalf of political or campaigning groups in any of these areas.
After qualifying as a solicitor at Clifford Chance 2000 Nancy moved to Liberty where she gained experience of claims against prison authorities, the police and deaths in custody. She became the senior solicitor at the Prisoners’ Advice Service in 2001 where Nancy developed her expertise in prison law. In 2007 She joined Bhatt Murphy Solicitors where over the course of 6 years Nancy expanded her knowledge of prison law, civil claims against detaining authorities and inquests.
Nancy joined the public law team as an Associate at Irwin Mitchell LLP in 2012 where she headed up the civil liberties team and worked on complex inquests into the deaths of individuals with learning disabilities held in mental health detention, claims against the police and public law challenges. Nancy joined Hodge Jones & Allen in 2016.
Nancy is currently representing a number of Hillsborough families under the “Hillsborough Victims’ Misfeasance Litigation” – claims being brought for misfeasance in public office against the Chief Constables of South Yorkshire and West Midlands Police in relation to the investigations made by the police following the Hillsborough tragedy in April 1989.
1997 – 1998: Legal Practice Course, BPP
1996 – 1997: Postgraduate Diploma in Law, BPP
1992 – 1996: French and Italian BA, University of Leeds
2016: Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
2013 – 2016: Associate, Irwin Mitchell LLP
2007 – 2013: Solicitor, Bhatt Murphy
2001 – 2007: Senor Solicitor, Prisoners’ Advice Service
2001 – 2001: Locum Solicitor, Liberty
1998 – 2001: Trainee Solicitor and then newly qualified solicitor, Clifford Chance LLP
“Having you as our solicitor has been a real blessing for us”
“Your knowledge of the law, your understanding of how to fight a case like ours, your kindness to us on a personal level and your steadfast approach is something that we will never forget”.
Edwards v United Kingdom (Application No 447/99) Christopher Edwards was remanded into prison custody for inappropriate behaviour associated with his diagnosis of schizophrenia. He was placed in a cell with Richard Lindford, a man with a history of violence, including an assault on another prisoner and who was also a schizophrenic. Richard stamped and kicked Christopher to death. A private, non-statutory enquiry was held into his death, which found there had been a systemic collapse of the protective mechanisms which should have been in place to protect Christopher. There were no civil proceedings and no criminal charges were pursued. Christopher’s parents complained that the authorities had failed to protect the life of their son. The Court found that the agencies had failed to share information relating to Richard Lindford and that this amounted to a violation of Article 2. They also found that there had been a breach of the investigative obligation under Article 2 as the inquiry held into the death was not held in public, witnesses were not required to attend and the applicants were only able to attend for three days and had to wait until the publication of the report to discover the substance of the evidence.
Daniel v St George’s Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and London Ambulance Service  EWHC 23 (QB) Claim arising from the death in custody of a man detained at HMP Wandsworth during the London riots. The Court accepted the arguments advanced on behalf of the Claimants concerning the engagement of the operational duty under Article 2 and the relevant causation test to be applied. The judgment clarifies the definition of victims under section 7 of the Human Rights Act.
Claim against Serco (2016) Claim against Serco arising from the death of a young man at HMP Doncaster. The claim was settled following a ten day inquest at which the jury returned a highly critical conclusion noting the failure of prison and mental health care staff to provide the deceased with appropriate care to manage his clear risk of suicide and self-harm. I acted for the mother of the deceased and the estate. The case settled for £15,000.
Inquest touching upon the death of LM (2016) LM rang 999 alleging that she was being beaten. The line was cut. The call handler returned the call and graded the call as priority, requiring a police response within an hour. The police controllers failed to dispatch police resources within the hour. The call was subsequently downgraded in breach of force policy and the incident was deferred until the next morning. The following morning LM was found dead. At the inquest the jury found that LM had suffered deliberate third party trauma, which had caused her death. The jury returned a critical narrative conclusion finding that multiple police errors and omissions contributed to her death. The related civil claim was settled following pre-action correspondence. This was reported in the Guardian
Inquest touching upon the death of AD A man with autism who died at a care home from an undetected gastric ulcer. AD had been in care for 50 years and had suffered poor treatment over many years and had been denied access to basic healthcare. He had a habit of eating cigarette butts and other items injurious to his health, but was allowed to wander around the grounds of the home unescorted. We fought for an article 2 compliant inquest with relevant medical expertise. After a two week inquest, the jury found that the failure to call a GP when AD was ill was a gross failure. NHS England is conducting an independent investigation into the circumstances of Paul’s death. This was reported by the BBC
Claim against Metropolitan Police (2015) Claim for assault and false imprisonment for a man with severe learning disabilities who the police tasered whilst he was out for a walk with a piece of wood, which he failed to put down. The case settled for £6,000 plus an apology.
“The Government should introduce a significantly simpler and more generous scheme for legal aid.”Among the observations and recommendations in the Bach Commission’s ‘The right to justice’ report published last autumn, the call for a more generous legal aid scheme was rightly highlighted as one of the most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, for those waiting to see whether the Government will similarly acknowledge this call in its review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), the wait will likely be extended. This is because of recent reports of doubts over the feasibility of the Ministry of Justice’s summer deadline as published in their post-legislative memorandum last October.
The fire at the Grenfell Tower block on 14 June 2017 was the type of appalling tragedy that no-one would expect to happen in one of world’s richest countries in the 21st century. A 24-floor tower block in North Kensington, West London was destroyed by a blaze that started in one of the flats. At the time of writing, 80 people have been confirmed dead but local residents believe the real numbers are likely to be significantly higher. Shortly after the fire it emerged that a local residents’ association had raised safety concerns in early 2016, which included the chilling premonition: ‘It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.’