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Who Represents Who

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Irwin Mitchell has a ‘substantial team nationally that has real depth’. Julia Lomas heads the team , which includes the ‘very experienced’ Alex Rook  and Bristol-based Polly Sweeney. Sheffield-based Yogi Amin  is ‘a very experienced public law litigator and a good judge of a case’. Associate Anne-Marie Irwin is also ‘brilliant’. The team acts as professional deputy or trustee on many complex and high-value cases involving multimillion-pound funds.

Thomson Snell & Passmore fields an ‘efficient, highly competent, experienced and knowledgeable team’.  Eddie Fardell heads the team and is ‘highly intelligent, has vast experience and is very good and constructive with clients’. The ‘very pragmatic’ Martin Terrell is ‘sensitive to clients’ needs’ and Brian Bacon is ‘very responsive and intelligent – he has very good judgement’. Newly promoted partner Catherine Fuller and senior associate Heather West ‘are responsive and have good knowledge of this area’. The team is skilled across the board and regularly deals with property and financial deputyships, welfare and contentious cases as well as personal injury trusts. It continues to receive a steady flow of referrals from other law firms, counsel and the Official Solicitor as well as a large amount of expert witness work. It has also seen an increase in referrals for investigatory work where previous deputies or attorneys have been removed for misconduct.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates

GT Stewart is able to take on both private and publicly funded cases. Its solicitors and advocates can provide advice in the following areas of law.

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Withers LLP  is regularly involved in high-value financial cases. The ‘very pragmatic and sensitive’ Julia Abrey  co-heads the elder law team with Stephen Richards. Paul Hewitt  is a ‘master tactician and has an almost supernatural sense of how to get the best result from any situation’. At associate level Alice Tomlin is a ‘superstar in the waiting’ and Deborah Nicholls is ‘quick and clever’. As well as representing families and appointed representatives of older and vulnerable people, the team regularly acts for trustees, executors, charities and other professional groups. It also advises on disabled trusts and other advance decisions to refuse medical treatment also known as ‘living wills’.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is ‘one of the leading firms in the Midlands for Court of Protection work’. Sheree Green and Donna Holmes  are both ‘knowledgeable, punctual and display a caring and supportive manner with clients and explain matters to clients, most with learning difficulties, in terms that they will understand’. Senior associate Alex Elphinston ’s strengths are his ‘promptness, courtesy, communication, attention to detail and thoughtfulness about the many complex dimensions of a client’s life’. Green is a panel deputy and acts as professional deputy or attorney personally for around 50 clients including those who have been awarded substantial settlement in personal injury or clinical negligence actions. Other key clients include the Office of the Public Guardian.

Anthony Gold has a sizeable team with particular experience in helping clients who have been disabled as a result of birth defects, injuries or clinical negligence. Head of team David Wedgwood is ‘approachable, considerate and empathetic whilst maintaining a fully professional stance’. Alexandra Knipe ‘blends a real kindness with good advice. She is very clever, technically accurate and efficient- she is also always available at short notice’. Nicola Gunn and her team are ‘considerate and caring to the client’s needs and requirements whilst maintaining a highly professional position in continuing to manage their clients’.

Bindmans LLP  is ‘a leading firm in COP for welfare and medical treatment cases in particular’. Laura Hobey-Hamsher  has ‘particular skill and expertise in the difficult area of representing families caught up in medical disputes’. Solicitor Will Whitaker  is ‘supportive and understanding, completely unflappable and deals sensitively with the most challenging clients’. Associate Charlotte Haworth Hird  is ‘very experienced’. It advises a wide range of clients on issues as diverse as the withdrawal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration from patients in a minimally conscious or persistent vegetative state to cases involving an individual’s capacity to consent to marry.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's Suzanne Marriott  has a ‘long history of acting in this area which gives her and the team an unrivalled depth of expertise’. The ‘knowledgeable’ Sally Ashford  has ‘an ability to explain complex matters in a way that is straightforward and understandable’. Marriott is a member of the Solicitors for the Elderly and both Ashford and Marriott are members of the STEP special interest group on mental capacity. Duncan Elson has a ‘great deal of gravitas’. Anita Gill left the team to join Kingsley Napley LLP .

Clarke Willmott LLP fields ‘a highly skilled and experienced team that is easy to communicate with’. Anthony Fairweather leads the ‘very experienced’ team, which includes Anne Minihane, who is ‘professional, diligent and knowledgeable’; the ‘highly experienced’ Jess Flanagan, who has a ‘passion for getting what her clients want and for respecting their rights'; and Charlotte Bromley, who is ‘committed, caring and excellent with clients’. Fairweather and Minihane are both members of the Office of the Public Guardian Panel of Professional Deputies. The team specialises in the management of high-value personal injury awards stemming from catastrophic injury and clinical negligence cases for clients with complex ongoing care needs.

Enable Law  is ‘a leading firm in the South West for Court of Protection work’. The team has considerable expertise in elder law, brain injury and trusts involving incapacitated individuals. It also assists people with learning difficulties as well as advising on statutory wills and issues of physical and financial abuse. Key figures include Andrew Hannam, senior associate Katie Webber, and consultant Patricia Wass, who is an ‘outstanding practitioner who knows her stuff, is sympathetic, intelligent and approachable’. Senior associate Holly Mieville-Hawkins and legal director Stacey Bryant are also recommended; Bryant is well regarded for her work on mental capacity issues and has extensive experience in Court of Protection cases specialising in property and financial affairs.

Gillhams Solicitors LLP  fields a ‘well-respected team that provides an excellent service’. Christopher Poxamatis  garners praise for being ‘thorough, diligent and good at finding creative solutions’. Also recommended are Lisa Cornish, the ‘very knowledgeable and caring’ Hina Tailor, the ‘experienced and conscientious’ Anthony Krikler and the ‘exceptionally knowledgeable’ Russell Caller. It has three panel deputies and now manages over 120 deputyship cases ranging from helping elderly clients to those suffering from mental health issues. The group also helps clients who have suffered a brain injury from an accident or as a result of medical negligence.

Hugh James  has a ‘highly competent and experienced team that provides an exemplary service’. The ‘excellent’ Andrew Harding leads his team ‘efficiently and professionally and really cares about the clients’. The team deals solely with high-value and complex cases arising from damages claims and assists clients with various matters such as overseeing the direct employment of care teams, the purchase of properties and other matters including the management of planning and building applications. The team also helps clients with issues surrounding the investment of funds and the provision of care for the lifetime of the client. It currently manages the affairs of 135 individuals. Senior associate Robert Hurling  is also recommended.

JE Bennett Law's ‘well-respected team' is ‘first rate for deputyship matters’. Jane Bennett is ‘superb at handling very difficult matters and at empowering and involving the client whenever possible’. The team is known for its Court of Protection deputyship work and advice to vulnerable clients regarding court of protection litigation, powers of attorney and elderly issues. It routinely handles disputes involving competing interests on contentious family-related matters frequently centring on financial and care/welfare related disputes. Senior associate Amy Paxton has ‘extensive knowledge of this area and can explain things in a way that is understandable, despite having to cover some complicated subjects’.

Sean Humber  leads a ‘strong team’ at Leigh Day that is ‘dedicated, well organised and gets results for its clients’. Anna Moore  is an ‘exceptionally committed lawyer with excellent judgement’. Kate Egerton  ‘takes time to really understand a case and is always on top of the detail’. Frances Swaine  is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor in best interest applications. The team is acting in Court of Protection proceedings about the care and residence of a woman with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Mackintosh Law  is a ‘highly committed firm that will go that extra mile for the client’. The' outstanding, incredibly impressive and formidable’ Nicola Mackintosh is ‘dedicated to her clients and to securing access to justice’. The firm specialises in mental capacity law and is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to the Senior Courts in vulnerable adult protection cases and challenges to deprivation of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act. It is adept at advising where there are issues about the protection of adults at risk of abuse or neglect or on issues of capacity regarding a range of issues including medical issues. Other areas of expertise include advising clients with disabilities (adults and children) and their carers about their entitlements to assessments and services from local authorities and NHS agencies.

Miles & Partners LLP  has an ‘approachable, very dedicated and experienced team’ under the leadership of Rachel Turner  and Floyd Porter . The ‘unbelievably thorough’ Turner is a ‘very safe pair of hands which she combines with a first-rate knowledge of the law and practice in this area’. Porter is a ‘determined fighter for his clients’ rights whether he is acting for the vulnerable individual or the family members. He is unafraid of difficult legal challenges’. The ‘extremely personable’ Andrew Bowmer who joined from Steel & Shamash  ‘works hard for clients and has real expertise both in COP work and in community care’. The team’s focus is on mental capacity and mental health law. It is frequently involved in cases that involve issues surrounding the capacity and the best interests of vulnerable adults who cannot take important decisions themselves. It is skilled at challenging detentions in hospital under the Mental Health Act and in challenging unlawful detentions by bringing High Court actions for judicial review.

Penningtons Manches LLP  ‘consistently delivers an outstanding level of client service; the team has an excellent grasp of the needs of the most vulnerable and catastrophically brain injured clients’. The ‘knowledgeable, practical and approachable’ Julie Burton leads the team, which includes senior associate Daniel Toop, who is ‘very hardworking and extremely pragmatic’. The group acts as a professional deputy or trustee for individuals who have received an award as a result of a personal injury or clinical negligence claim. It acts for both children and adults with acquired brain injuries and other injuries across the UK and has some clients who live abroad. The team also acts for a number of elderly clients on estate management issues.

Russell-Cooke LLP advises on the full range of contentious and non-contentious property and affairs matters. The ‘very proactive and attentive’ Gareth Ledsham  leads on the contentious side and ‘takes time to explain complex points. He gives measured advice’. Rita Bhargava  is adept at advising on all capacity issues. The skilled team is experienced at handling complex cross border/ private international law issues. It also acts (through Russell-Cooke Trust Company) as an independent attorney, deputy for financial affairs as well as trustee on various matters. It is recommended for its ability to combine tax and succession advice with general advice on property and other matters for those who lack capacity.

Simpson Millar LLP  has ‘unbelievably efficient and excellent lawyers who clearly take immense pride in their work'. The ‘very experienced’ Angela Jackman  is a ‘very confident litigator’ and the ‘tenacious’ Julie Cornes  ‘fights every case with care and excellent attention to detail every time’. The ‘phenomenal’  Oliver Studdert and associate Zena Soormally  are also recommended. The team continues to handle disputes involving local authorities and health trusts over welfare and the best interests of incapacitated, disabled and elderly people. The team has an excellent reputation for its work in pursuing challenges on behalf of both patients and their relatives in the court of protection over deprivation of liberty issues in particular.

Steel & Shamash  has ‘very experienced lawyers who are very good team players and fight hard for their clients’. The ‘wise, deeply experienced and highly effective’ Janice Kaufman  specialises in mental capacity and child care law and has extensive experience in representing parties in the Court of Protection. She represents parents, children and interveners in care proceedings including cases involving non-accidental injury and allegations of fabricated illness and sexual abuse. She has also represented many with mental health difficulties and is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor. Anna O’Connell  heads the public law practice and is often instructed on Court of Protection cases where there is a lack of capacity. Andrew Bowmer is now at Miles & Partners LLP

Switalskis Solicitors  has a ‘strong presence in the North with a growing national reputation’. Alex Guy  has an ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the practices of the Court of Protection and the role of professional deputy in the context of personal injury awards’. Michael Kennedy  is a ‘first-class lawyer with an impressive command of the law in this area which he combines with a solid knowledge of the Mental Health Act’. Chartered legal executive Caroline Hurst 's ‘knowledge of COP work is extremely strong’. The team is renowned for dealing with complex mental capacity and welfare cases as well as deprivation of liberty cases in the court of protection alongside community care challenges. It also works closely with the firm’s clinical negligence and serious injury teams.

Weightmans LLP  has a number of excellent practitioners including Simon Goacher  and Richard Jolly, who are both based in Liverpool, and Birmingham-based Tony Yeaman . The team advises on a broad range of welfare, health and property issues for a significant number of local authorities, NHS trusts and private health and social providers. The team acted for a North West based NHS Foundation trust in an application for an urgent declaration for serious medical treatment in relation to a patient who was detained under the Mental Health Act. The patient was pregnant and was no longer cooperating with her antenatal care. The trust determined that it would be in her best interest to undertake a caesarean section at 37 weeks. The court granted this order declaring that it was lawful for the trust to provide delivery by caesarean section.

Glen Miles  at asb law LLP  has an ‘encyclopaedic technical knowledge of this area and fights his clients’ corner every time’. Associate Stella Mullane leads the vulnerable people team in Crawley. The team works closely with vulnerable and elderly people as well as their families and support teams and routinely assists individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries especially acquired head and brain injuries.

Adrian Mundell  heads the team at Ashtons Legal, which specialises in acting for clients who have suffered a catastrophic acquired or birth-related brain injury. It also acts for elderly clients and those with mental health problems. Tom Cook ‘takes time to consider options and his answers are always considered and thoughtful’. The group acts as professional deputy for over 100 clients. The team also supports family members who are acting as lay deputy or those cases where the team is appointed as an attorney or trustee. Associate Anna Foster  is also recommended.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors  is an ‘excellent firm that handles an impressive amount of work in this challenging area’. Lesley-Ann Mayhew  deals with ‘complex and intricate issues and does so with great authority and aptitude, explaining difficult concepts with consummate ease’. Mayhew handles work nationally with a particular specialism in acting in cases involving multimillion pound damages awards for claimants of medical negligence. It has a proven track record of advising clients on a wide range of matters including application to the court for statutory wills, lifetime gift orders and special needs trusts.Andrew Flannagan  is another key member of the team.

Bevan Brittan LLP  fields a ‘highly experienced team particularly in medical COP cases’. Simon Lindsay  has ‘good judgement, is calm and measured and is excellent with clients’. The team has particular expertise in the issues that are thrown up by the Mental Capacity Act, the Mental Health Act, human rights and equality issues. It acts for commissioners, providers and care co-ordinators across England from is four offices in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and London. In particular it routinely advises NHS England on deprivation of liberty, mental capacity, best interests and safeguarding issues.

Alastair Collett  heads the Court of Protection team at Bircham Dyson Bell, which is best known for managing capacity issues for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The group has considerable experience in contested Court of Protection cases and works closely with its litigation colleagues, for example, in bringing and defending objections to enduring/lasting powers of attorney. James Freemantle  is another important member of the team.

Boyes Turner  has an ‘efficient and responsive team that is willing to listen to its clients’ views and wishes’. Group head Ruth Meyer  and senior associate Alexander Wright  are both ‘very considered and knowledgeable and work hard.’. Senior manager Anne Pearson  is ‘client-focused and organised, with genuine empathy and understanding of her clients’ complex needs’. The team advises on a broad array of matters from property and affairs deputyships to private personal injury trusts. It is also known for its work on complex statutory will applications and on witness statements covering deputyship and trustee costs. It currently manages the financial affairs of 68 individuals as either a professional deputy or a trustee of a personal injury trust – the majority of these matters are multimillion-pound complex cases resulting from clinical negligence claims.

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates has a ‘thorough and competent team that is growing its reputation in this area’. Elizabeth Cleaver  (a higher rights advocate) is ‘calm, experienced and on the ball’. The department has particular experience in welfare matters and is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent vulnerable adults in complex cases involving deprivation of liberty, care and residence issues. Cleaver’s work spans financial and welfare matters.

Capsticks LLP  has a ‘knowledgeable team that has the clients' best interests in mind when it comes to patient care’. Head of team Francis Lyons  and consultant Lindsay Gee  both have a ‘thorough knowledge of the legislation around capacity and mental health’. The team advises NHS providers and commissioners as well as public, private and charitable sector clients on all issues involving incapacitated and vulnerable adults and children. It is experienced at advising on the interaction between the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the deprivation of liberty safeguards. It advised Enfield CCG in a court of protection case regarding the placement of a 19 year old with brain injury. The brain injury had been acquired in infancy.

Cartwright King focuses on representing the individual. For legally aided and privately funded work it is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor as litigation friend in cases where the client lacks capacity. The group is a large supplier of mental health legal aid in the UK. Conor Maguire  is recommended along with Lauren Crow .

At DAC Beachcroft LLP  Newcastle-based Gill Weatherill heads a ‘very responsive’ team. The national team advises NHS and independent providers of health social care services as well as local authority commissioners of care. In a complex case the team brought a court of protection (High Court) application on behalf of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust seeking a best interests’ declaration. This was in respect of the proposed surgical clearance of all of an incapable patient’s teeth. The patient was a Syrian refugee with learning disabilities who was non-verbal and had witnessed the torture of his brother in Syria by way of forced tooth extraction. Senior associate Jemma Gillson  is also recommended.

Dawson Cornwell  has substantial court of protection expertise which is largely due to the strength of Jeremy Abraham’s experience as a court appointed deputy. Abraham has ‘great client management skills and is reassuring and wise’. His cases generally involve mid-to-high-net-worth individuals some of whom have been awarded substantial compensation and he focuses on property and affairs. Other areas of expertise include advising on declarations of capacity as well as on the international removal of people who fall under the remit of the court of protection. Associate Anna Shadbolt  is ‘very clever and relates brilliantly with clients’.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors fields a ‘team that is quick to respond’. Key contacts are Rachel Caswell , Jemma Garside  and Toufique Hossain . It has a multi-disciplinary team that collaborates with its experts from its mental capacity, mental health, community care, clinical negligence and public law departments. Alex Peebles  and Helen Cummings  are both ‘personable and client-focused but with a keen eye on the law, strategy and procedure to ensure the very best outcome for their clients’.

Anna Bond  joined the team at Fieldfisher  from Thomson Snell & Passmore . Bond has a ‘great air of confidence which is very reassuring for clients and they always feel valued. Her approach is totally client centred’.  Senior associate Robin Tubbs  is ‘forensic and dogged – he pays great attention to detail’. It has approximately 70 ongoing deputyships and specialises in the management of deputyships for children and adults who have suffered catastrophic injuries.

Freeths LLP  has an ‘excellent team’. Melanie Williams and Jane Maitland  have been appointed to the Office of the Public Guardian’s Panel of Deputies for sometime. The majority of its clients are brain injured and have received multimillion pound compensation awards. Other areas of expertise for the team include preparing expert reports on court of protection costs for litigation proceedings and preparing statutory wills and gift applications. It also acts as professional deputy for clients with valuable estates including several with large agricultural estates and businesses.

The ‘calm’ Amy Butler at GT Stewart Limited can ‘handle anything that is thrown at her really well, has a good knowledge of mental health and social welfare issues and is realistic in assessing a case'. Butler does a substantial amount of work for the Official Solicitor and ‘is a confident litigator who works well with counsel and develops an excellent rapport with her clients’. Assistant solicitor Warwick Norris ‘combines both a strategic application of the law with also being able to work with the most traumatised and vulnerable clients with empathy and compassion’. Areas of expertise include advising clients who are deprived of their liberty and the human rights issues that flow from this in particular under Article 5 and 8 of the ECHR.

Peter Gosling heads the team at Higgs & Sons with the support of associate Annabel Kay. The team works closely with its clinical negligence and personal injury teams and has been working on a significant number of high value and complex professional deputyships and associated court of protection matters. Nick Moxon  is another key member of the team and acts as court of protection panel deputy for clients with major mental health problems in the Midlands area.

Philippa Barton heads a ‘professional team’ at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP. The team specialises in property and affairs deputyships for clients who have received high-value personal injury awards. Angela Nunn joined the team from Sternberg Reed. Nunn is ‘genuinely empathetic and understands the complex needs and circumstances of her clients’.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)  is a ‘quality firm with a knowledgeable and approachable team. It is easy to get hold of the team when required’. Jacqueline Almond  is ‘empathetic and is able to summarise situations without complexity’. Chartered legal executive Elena Hall  is ‘very efficient’. The group receives referrals from panels, local charities, care homes and other firms that do not specialise in this area. It also gets work from local authorities. The group provides a wide range of services and deals with a myriad of other issues such as applications for the appointment of deputies. In addition it advises on statutory wills and lifetime gifts.

Kingsley Napley LLP  provides an ‘excellent service to its vulnerable clients’. Simon Hardy  has a ‘personal touch with clients, who is very knowledgeable and has a real empathy with his clients’. Anita Gill joined the team from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP  and is a ‘hugely experienced and a respected panel deputy and COP practitioner’. Gill is adept at administering and managing the affairs of the elderly particularly those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The team primarily assists clients with property and affairs matters. Many of its clients lack capacity due to a catastrophic medical negligence or an acquired brain injury. The team is one to watch.

Jill Mason  runs an ‘excellent’ health and mental health team at Mills & Reeve LLP . Recently the team acted for a Midlands CCG where a relevant person challenged a deprivation of liberty that the patient was subject to. The firm was able to appear quickly and demonstrate to the judge that all was in order, that the care package was appropriate and that the correct procedure was being followed.

Head of department at Minton Morrill is Julia Morrill who is well-regarded. The team assists vulnerable people especially those with a mental incapacity as well as their families and advisors. The team helps with the management of multimillion pound funds for those who lack mental capacity to manage their property and affairs.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur's ‘knowledgeable and approachable’ team includes the ‘very practical’ Andrew Parsons and ‘highly competent’ Jonathan Shankland. The team has been involved in a number of high-profile cases and vulnerable person matters for both private clients and institutional clients.

Shoosmiths LLP  provides ‘accurate and helpful advice’. Lucy Taylor ‘explains all the legal terms in a language that clients can understand’. The team acts for a large number of vulnerable clients of all ages including those with acquired brain injuries, mental illnesses, learning disabilities or degenerative diseases such as dementia. Charlotte Dunn is the head of department.

Manchester-based Martin Hudson  heads the team at Slater and Gordon. Nationally the team acts as financial deputy for over 300 clients. The team has recently dealt with a wide range of applications including complex statutory will and gift applications.Lucy Nicol and Gillian Hitchen joined Irwin Mitchell .  

Stephensons Solicitors LLP's ‘background knowledge and experience in public law and social care is invaluable’. Melanie Varey is a ‘fantastic lawyer who has immense client empathy’. Varey specialises in advising parties on best interests, capacity disputes, deprivation of liberty and appeals against deprivation of liberty safeguards.

The ‘switched-on’ Lynne Bradey is the key figure  at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP. The specialist court of protection team and the personal injury team deal exclusively with clients who lack mental capacity or who have suffered serious injuries or illness. In 2015 the firm was added to the Office of the Public Guardian Panel Deputy List.

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