Judicial Review and Human Rights Public Interest Cases

National law firm Simpson Millar has been involved in a number of recent important judicial reviews challenging policies of public authorities. Our Public Law Solicitors are always happy to discuss potential challenges and strategic litigation with charities, NGOs and other organisations and individuals.

Recent Public Interest Cases 

Cuts to SEN Provision in Bristol

Education and Public Law Solicitor Dan Rosenberg represented parents who were challenging Bristol City Council’s decision to reduce their Special Educational Needs (SEN) budget by £5 million.

This was in the context of the Council already having the highest rate of fixed term exclusions nationally in both primary and secondary schools. Budget cuts would have been made to provision provided to mainstream schools, as well as pupil referral units and in other areas.

The case was successful at Court and forced Bristol City Council to reconsider the decision, and to re-consult. Once they did the exercise properly, they came to the conclusion that spending on Special Educational Needs needed to be increased, not reduced.

This was an outcome that was very welcome for families with children with special needs in Bristol - hopefully the extra investment in the Bristol area will improve the outcomes for children with Special Educational Needs.

Abortion – Access to free NHS services in England for women from N. Ireland

Angela Jackman, a Partner in Simpson Millar’s Public Law team, acted for the claimants in the high profile case of R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health. This case related to women from Northern Ireland who wished to have an abortion not being able to access free NHS services in England.

The case was ultimately unsuccessful in the Supreme Court. However as result of the issues raised by the case, and the pressure that arose from that, the government backed down and stopped charging Northern Irish women who travel to England for an abortion.  

 “Myth Busting” Guidance for Social Workers

Instructed by the charity Article 39, Simpson Millar Partner Oliver Studdert brought a challenge to the government’s “myth busting” guidance for social workers dealing with children in need. 

Much of what was written in the guidance was contrary to the legislation, as it encouraged social workers to take short cuts and ignore legislation, which would have been to the detriment of the children and young people that they were supposed to be supporting.

The government conceded very quickly once legal proceedings were issued, the government agreed to withdraw the guidance.

Reduction to Payments to Victims of Human Trafficking 

Sílvia Nicolaou García, an Associate Solicitor in Simpson Millar’s Public Law team, acted for a victim of human trafficking in the case of RMK and AM v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a strategic challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to cut by 40% the subsistence payments to victims of human trafficking who were seeking asylum in the UK.

This was a government decision that was very hard to understand, but was one which they maintained right up until it was found to be unlawful in the High Court. Simpson Millar worked with numerous NGOs and front-line charities supporting victims of human trafficking to successfully bring this case.

Our Public Law Solicitors can discuss with you and your organisation ideas and issues at an early stage. We can also advise on funding options, and have brought cases of this nature under Legal Aid, as well as using crowd funding and other alternative funding models.

For more information see Judicial Reviews and Human Rights and Claims against Public Authorities.

Should you wish to discuss further, call Simpson Millar on 08002605010 and ask to speak to Dan Rosenberg or Oliver Studdert or Silvia Nicolaou Garcia.

For free legal advice call our Human Rights and Judicial Review Solicitors

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