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Doughty Street Chambers

Work 020 7404 1313
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Bristol, London, Manchester

Aswini Weereratne QC

Work 020 7404 1313
Doughty Street Chambers (Doughty Street Chambers)


Aswini specialises in mental health and healthcare law, including in particular, capacity and best interests, human rights and tort actions against public authorities including social services and the police. She is also experienced in community care and prison law. Her practice encompasses both public and private law. She regularly appears in the Court of Protection instructed by the Official Solicitor, local authorities and other individuals, dealing with issues of health and welfare, and has co-authored a text on the Mental Capacity Act 2005. She is often invited to lecture and write on both the Mental Capacity and Mental Health Acts and human rights. She has made successful applications to the European Court of Human Rights. She also has long experience of inquests and inquiries. Since 1996 has been engaged as chair in six independent homicide inquiries commissioned by various health authorities and has been counsel in a number of other inquiries relating to mental health care and treatment (including Ashworth Special Hospital Inquiry, 1998). Reported cases include: Hillingdon v Stephen Neary (by his litigation friend) and Mark Neary [2011] EWHC (COP) : case involving an incapacitated adult deprived of his liberty under the MCA and an application by the press to attend the hearing; AH v West London Mental Health NHS Trust [2010] UKUT 264 and [2011] UKUT. A successful application seeking a public hearing before the First Tier Tribunal. Test under MHA 1983 and Article 6 clarified; AB and others v Nugent Care society: Institutional abuse multi party action. Physical and sexual abuse of boys in children’s homes during the 1970s and 80s by staff leading to psychiatric damage especially post traumatic stress disorder: [2006] EWHC 2986; [2009] EWHC 4812; [2010] PIQR P3 (CA) and most recently [2010] EWHC 1005 (QB): two claimants won damages after trials on limitation and liability; LBE v SK and others [2008] EWHC 636. Welfare of incapacitated adult of Afghani origin. Issues of care, residence, sexual contact and marriage; E v Channel 4 and News International Limited [2005] EWCH Fam. Acted for defendants to resist an attempt to restrain broadcast of a TV programme about the care and services provided for an incapacitated woman with multiple personalities; R(IH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; Secretary of State for Health and others [2004] AC. House of Lords. Acted for patient unable to take advantage of a decision of the Mental Health Review Tribuanl to discharge him from high secure hospital for lack of community services.


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.


AVMA, MIND, LAG, Association of Prison Lawyers.


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

London Bar

Court of Protection and community care

Within: Court of Protection and community care – Leading silks

Aswini Weereratne QC - Doughty Street Chambers ‘A first choice, utterly reliable silk who never fails to impress with her ready grasp of the facts.’

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