Zena Soormally -
Associate, Court of Protection
T: 0845 094 1685
F: 0207 250 4949
Based in: London
Deprivation of Liberty cases, Court of Protection and Community Care.
Having obtained a LLB Hons degree in law at Queen Mary University in 2006 and a LLM from Kings College in 2008, Zena qualified as a solicitor with Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre in 2012, and joined Simpson Millar LLP (previously Maxwell Gillott) from Fisher Meredith in May 2014.
Zena was originally called to the Bar in 2007, before going on to work for the Office of the Official Solicitor as a civil litigation case manager in 2009. Her time at the Official Solicitor’s office introduced her to the specific needs of clients who lack capacity to instruct a solicitor directly. Zena quickly specialised her practice in the areas of housing and community care, made the decision to qualify as a solicitor and moved to Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre to complete her training, before qualifying in September 2012.
In her Court of Protection and mental capacity work, Zena acts for family members and protected parties in relation to health and welfare decisions, particularly regarding questions of capacity to make decisions with regards to residence, care, contact and contraception, as well as matters relating to capacity to consent to sex. In addition Zena acts on behalf of protected parties, for their family members and through IMCA’s in deprivation of liberty cases.
With regards to community care, Zena assists individuals, on their own instructions or through family members or advocates, to obtain appropriate support and accommodation from social services and Clinical Commissioning Groups, including those accommodated in care homes, hospitals and supported living placements, those leaving custody, fleeing domestic violence, care leavers, minors, and unaccompanied asylum seeking minors.
Zena has worked with a number of charities including Crisis, where she volunteers as a specialist legal adviser at Christmas, and Broadway, to whom she previously provided a fortnightly outreach advice service. Zena has a close relationship with a number of national and local charities and is happy to be contacted directly regarding referrals. Zena is also regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor in relation to community care matters and health and welfare disputes, in the Court of Protection.
Zena is recommended by the Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017 edition and ranked as a Next Generation Lawyer. Associate Zena Soormally, is noted for being ‘a very organised and thorough associate who is a deep thinker and something of a perfectionist. She is a very good litigator who is able to remain on top of large and detailed cases’.
Quoted in Chambers and Partners 2018 as follows: "Rising star" Zena Soormally is an "extremely diligent and thoughtful solicitor with a very practical approach," according to interviewees. She has a notable focus on cases concerning the mental capacity and best interests of vulnerable clients, particularly with regard to residential arrangements. Zena was also ranked as an Associate to watch.
Zena was made an Associate of Simpson Millar in May 2017.
Some of Zena's notable cases include:
- AB v HT v London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham v MB v MS : judgment pending. Zena acts on the instructions of the Official Solicitor as litigation friend for MB in section 16 proceedings relating to care, residence, forced marriage, capacity to consent to sex and marriage.
- London Borough of Ealing v JBMC v SC v TC : ongoing. Zena acts on the instructions of the Official Solicitor as litigation friend for JBMC in section 16 proceedings relating to care, residence and contact.
- KC v NHS Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group v CC v JC  – ongoing. Zena acts on the instructions on KC in relation to s16 proceedings relating to capacity and a best interests decision regarding a holiday abroad for JC.
- PG v London Borough of Brent v The Irish Health Service Executive  – ongoing. Zena acts on the instructions of the Official Solicitor as litigation friend for PG in s21A proceedings challenging a standard authorisation on the basis of best interests, involving issues of cross jurisdiction.
- The London Borough of Lewisham v AB v AL  – ongoing. Zena acts on the instructions of the Official Solicitor as litigation friend for AB in s21A proceedings challenging a standard authorisation on the basis of best interests; this is a complex, long-running case involving detailed care planning and overlapping public law considerations.
- The London Borough of Harrow v AT v DT  – Zena acts on the instructions of the Official Solicitor as litigation friend for AT. The substantive s16 proceedings relating to review of a Court authorised deprivation of liberty have concluded with a judgment awaited in relation to AT’s application for his costs against the applicant. The costs judgment will be one of the first costs judgments, if not the first costs judgment, under the new COP Rules, which came into force on 1 December 2017.
- P v Surrey County Council v Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group  EWCOP 54 https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCOP/2015/54.html. Zena acted for P, by his litigation friend, RPR and mother, BR in a s21A challenge against a standard authorisation, which resulted in an order that it was, in line with the application, in P’s best interests to move to alternative accommodation following a period of transition. Guidance was given in the judgment, which has been of great assistance in other s21A challenges.
Zena is an associate member of the National Mental Capacity Forum