Asylum seekers and refugees

Keith conducts judicial review cases for refugees and asylum seekers in the Administrative Court and Upper Tribunal (IAC).

These have included judicial reviews on behalf of victims of torture. He has successfully represented children threatened with removal on the grounds that the Home Office had failed to take into account the child’s best interests.

He brings claims against Home Office refusals of asylum fresh claims, fee waiver decisions, visa refusals, and against local Councils who fail to provide any or sufficient support for families under s.17 Children Act 1989.

 

Gypsies and travellers

Keith has taken on cases that are far from popular in tabloid eyes. He has defended the eviction of hundreds of Gypsies and Travellers, including over 6 years of litigation for Dale Farm in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Connors v UK, in the ECtHR, was a landmark decision conducted by Keith.

He has pursued homelessness review appeals to challenge the failure of councils to properly take into account aversion to bricks and mortar accommodation and significant psychological harm from unsuitable accommodation, also arguing that councils should not be allowed to rely on their own failure to provide Traveller sites.

Education

Keith has argued in the High Court and at SENDIST appeals for suitable education provision for children with special educational needs and, in particular, autism and Aspergers Syndrome.

He represents before appeal tribunals and local council appeals such as school admissions and exclusions. He has acted in a school transport appeal for a disabled child who was being denied council transport because he was turning 16 years old. Keith is currently instructed in a potential Judicial Review of a council’s refusal to provide post-16 school transport for another child with autism.

He has acted for parents in criminal prosecutions for failing to ensure their children attend school, and took one case to the Administrative Court arguing that a parent of a child who had attempted suicide due to bullying should not be prosecuted for not forcing her child to attend school.

Keith acted for a teacher in the Employment Tribunal in a case that was prominent in local and national media. He doggedly pursued this case for ‘Miss Rusty’ concerning her book ‘Stop! Don’t Read This’ which she wrote with some children who would almost certainly have been expelled had it not been for her dedication to support them. Keith took the case to a successful appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, back to the Employment Tribunal, and back again to the Employment Appeals Tribunal when it finally concluded, sadly without success.

DBS disclosure challenges

In R (RK) v South Yorkshire Police and the Disclosure and Barring Service, the police information in the DBS Disclosure Certificate was declared unlawful.

Keith achieved the first reported successful judicial review against the Independent Monitor for the Home Office in 2016.

In ‘W’ v Secretary of State for Justice, he argued that the national regime for disclosure of convictions was contrary to fundamental human rights. For Keith, the idea that a schoolboy fight that resulting in a conviction for assault and a Conditional Discharge would stay with his client for life must be wrong. ‘W’ had re-trained to be a teacher coming on 50 years old and discovered this ancient offence as a child automatically showed up on his Enhanced DBS Disclosure Certificate.

Whilst losing in the High Court, the case went on to succeed in the Court of Appeal. The government has appealed to the Supreme Court and the ‘W’, linked with other similar cases, is set to be heard in June 2018.

Human rights

Having personally witnessed the eviction of Jimmy Connors and his family from the Leeds City Council’s Gypsy & Traveller site on 1 August 2000, before the Human Rights Act came into force, Keith challenged the UK in the European Court of Human Rights. The judgment almost 4 years later, in Connors v UK [2004] HLR 52, was a landmark case on Article 8 and ranks as one of Keith’s major highlights of his career.

His numerous challenges based on Article 8 ECHR and proportionality also include Price v Leeds CC (in Kay v Lambeth; Price v Leeds), and JL v Secretary of State for Defence. The ramifications have gone beyond human rights defences in housing possession proceedings and developed the domestic law on human rights in England.

Keith conducted the case of McGlinchey & Ors v UK in the ECtHR concerning a prison death and Article 3 which resulted in government implementation of a programme to improve prison health policy for drug addicts, getting health services for prisoners to be maintained within the NHS, and measures including £40 million more for prison health services, £28 million for clinical drug services in prisons in 2006 with £60 million in 2007 and continuing, and drug rehabilitation programmes in 103 prisons.

In recent years Keith has brought judicial reviews concerning the incompatibility with European Convention rights of the statutory regime for disclosure in DBS certificates, both as to discretionary police information and lifelong disclosure of convictions.

As a keen supporter of legal aid provision for access to justice by vulnerable people Keith has sought to protect people’s rights and successfully judicially reviewed the Legal Services Commission (LSC) over legal aid contract tendering. He successfully judicially reviewed the Legal Aid Agency over its interpretation of LASPO concerning abuse of power and its decision to refuse to fund High Court statutory appeals for people struck off the NMC register. He was less successful in a judicial review against the Legal Aid Agency over its decision to stop funding advice and assistance to people for applications to the European Court of Human Rights.

Professional regulation

 

For over 10 years Keith has conducted High Court statutory appeals in regulatory law matters for professionals and has advised nurses, doctors, social workers, and teachers in proceedings before disciplinary and regulatory bodies. These include the NMC, GMC, HCPC, GDC, GTC / NCTL.

This has included appeals in the Court of Appeal that have developed the law on hearsay evidence in fitness to practise cases and the impact of the Human Rights Act on ‘strict’ time limits.

In the 2017 appeal Lusinga v Nursing & Midwifery Council he brought greater clarification in dishonesty cases and the balance of public interest in keeping good nurses in work.

In two Judicial Reviews that are unreported having settled minutes before the final hearing, Keith successfully challenged the denial of legal aid to two nurses to fight their appeals against the NMC.

His experience in appeals for professionals who have been struck off or suspended as nurses, doctors, social workers and so on, provides expertise for people facing panels of the Nursing & Midwifery Council, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal, and other panels that decide on fitness to practise and sanctions.

A vision for Colden

Colden Junior and Infant school is a small rural primary set in a beautiful location in the Pennines. Following a significant leadership change at the school, the Governing Body were keen to develop a long-term strategy to ensure the sustainability of the school and to firmly articulate its values in the light of current education policy.

Colden school brochure

I developed a process which provided not only extensive consultation with stakeholders around their vision for the school but also a strong sense of ownership of the outcomes by the whole school community.

Parents, pupils, staff and governors attended a Saturday morning workshop where they engaged in a range of activities which promoted consideration of the future world the children of today will grow up in, and identified the values, attitudes, skills and capabilities they would need to thrive.  Random selection from each stakeholder group ensured that a wide range of voices were represented – not just the ‘usual suspects’.flip chart

The outputs from the day were collated into a vision and mission statement for the school. This now provides a clear sense of direction. The vision statement has since been used as the starting point for a ‘Theory of Change’ approach to strategy development. Further stakeholder engagement activities have helped the Governing Body to develop the strategy and action plan for the coming years.

The vision has also been illustrated by pupils to provide a very attractive marketing tool.