Aswini Weereratne KC > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Doughty Street Chambers
53-54 DOUGHTY STREET
LONDON
WC1N 2LS
England

Work Department

Position

Aswini Weereratne has built a diverse practice in challenging areas.  Her expertise focuses on the protection of the most vulnerable people, children and adults, in society, usually because of mental disability, or abuse and exploitation, through litigation and advisory work with an emphasis on human rights.  She utilises her skills in a wide range of practice areas and cases concerning public and private law issues, welfare and medical treatment cases in the Court of Protection, actions against state bodies, for example, assault and unlawful detention claims, non-recent child abuse claims, inquests and inquiries, reporting restrictions and international law.

Aswini also has extensive experience of investigatory procedures, in public inquiries, inquests, and as independent chair of inquiries, tribunals and professional regulatory bodies.  She has chaired six independent homicide inquiries.  She appears in courts and tribunals at all levels, including the Supreme Court.  

Aswini acts for NGOs, government bodies, such as the British Council, and individuals, sometimes through a litigation friend, for example, the Official Solicitor. She is conversant with applications and interventions to international human rights bodies, and before higher courts. She undertakes advisory work including on legislative reform and policy. She has advised lobby groups and parliamentarians on legislation and policy, for example, on FGM. She chaired the mental health and capacity overlap topic group for the Independent Mental Health Act Review chaired by Professor Sir Simon Wessely. She is invited regularly to speak at conferences and events at home and abroad.

She was deputy chair and chair of the Investigating Committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council from 2014 to 2020, and has been a part-time judge of the first-tier Tribunal (Health Education and Social Care Chamber) since 2001, where she is committed to promoting effective participation and access to justice. She is a qualified mediator and is an enthusiastic advocate of alternative dispute resolution and redress mechanisms. 

Aswini is able to accept instructions under the Direct Access scheme. 

 

Career

Called 1986; Gray’s Inn; full time practice at the Bar since 1991. A part-time legal member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal (Southern Region) (now First-Tier Tribunal (Mental Health)) since 2001. Appointed an independent adjudicator for the Legal Services Commission in the area of institutional abuse in 2008. Various appointments to chair homicide inquiries. Publications of note: ‘Limitation in historic child abuse cases post Hoare – the cart before the horse’ PI Focus, December 2010, AplL; ‘Safeguards for informal patients’, Journal of Mental Health Law, 20 (2010) 71. Special issue on ‘A model law fuidng incapacity and mental health legislation – is it viable; is it advisable?’; chapter on Mental Health in Crime and Human Rights. Published by OUP in December 2009; co-author of Butterworth’s ‘New Law Guide to the Mental Capacity Act 2005’ published in April 2008; six Homicide Inquiry reports; consultant editor, ‘Halsburys Laws of England, Mental Health’ volume for publication in 2006, ‘LexisNexis’ Butterworth’s; contributor to: ‘International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims. Analysis and options for the development of further criteria for the operation of the trust fund for victims.’ A discussion document. Published by Redress, Dec 2003.

Memberships

Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers, Court of Protection Bar Association. Member of executive committee of the Bar Human Rights Committee, MIND, LAG, Liberty and the Legal Aid Lawyers Practitioners Group, Vice President of Association of Sri Lankan Lawyers in the UK. Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Education

Ursuline Convent School; Sussex University (BSc Hons); City University (DipLaw); School of Oriental and Asian Studies, London University (LLM International Human Rights).

Leisure

In her ‘spare’ time she bakes delicious bread and walks her two adoring mutts.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Court of Protection and community care

Doughty Street Chambers is ‘a power set‘ with ‘a plethora of excellent barristers in this area‘. The team of ‘strong COP practitioners‘ is well versed in advising on deprivation of liberty matters, contentious property and affairs cases, and issues surrounding capacity, to name a few areas of expertise. Aswini Weereratne KC is ‘a strong advocate who is able to untangle complicated and knotty issues‘; she ‘is one of my first choices for complex Court of Protection cases with a mental health aspect, given her excellent knowledge of both areas and her ability to approach such cases with great care and skill‘, said one client. This year sees Jamie Burton KC elevated to silk, while Tom Stoate, Zia Nabi, Antonia Benfield, Daniel Clarke and rising star Mary-Rachel McCabe are new entrants at the junior end.