Barrister and Part Time Judge
I am a barrister that specialises in the law relating to children and adults with additional needs. Most of my work is in the Court of Protection, which is a court that makes decisions for people who lack capacity to make decisions in any particular area, for themselves. I also specialise in the duties of public bodies towards children and adults under different types of legislation, such as the Care Act 2014, the Children Act 1989 and the Mental Health Act 1983. I have a developing interest and practice in Education Law.
I sit part time as a Judge of the Mental Health Tribunal and I am also a nominated Judge of the Court of Protection (part time); I am also a qualified Mediator (ADR Group).
There are many areas in which people with WS and their families may come across legal issues as part of planning for their care, health and education. These may be:
· Capacity issues – where a person is asserted to have/lack capacity in a particular area and there is a dispute about this. This can range from whether a person has capacity to make decisions about their care, contact with others, finances, internet use, a healthcare decision or any other matter.
· Disputes about care provision – this may be about where a where a child or adult should live, or what type of care they require under the relevant statutory framework. The dispute may come from the person with WS or their family.
· Deprivation of liberty issues – where a person has restrictions imposed upon them that they lack capacity to consent to; many of these restrictions require authorisation by the Court of Protection.
· Mental health matters – including issues about what package of care a person may be entitled to under section 117 Mental Health Act 1983 (aftercare).
· Children transitioning to adult services – this is a notoriously difficult period of transitioning between statutory services and requires careful planning.
· Applications for Deputyship or Lasting Powers of Attorney – which are instruments that enable a person to make decisions (relating to either Health and Welfare or Property and Affairs) for someone who cannot make a decision for themselves.
· Disputes above what educational provision is required for children with SEND – it is not uncommon for legal issues to arise as part of the process for seeking an Education Health Care Plan and ensuring it is maintained/fulfilled.
I have a special interest in Williams Syndrome and I am happy to be consulted about difficulties individuals with WS or their families may be encountering in the above areas. Whilst I cannot provide direct legal advice without acting under a retainer on instruction from a solicitor, I am more than happy to provide information, sign-posting and general guidance.