Judge approves suicidal girl care plan

A judge who said society should be "ashamed" for not protecting a suicidal girl has approved a care plan for her. The girl, known as X, will be moved to a special unit on Thursday after doctors managed to find her a place. Sir James Munby, head of the family courts in England and Wales, said the provision of care "should not be dependent" on legal involvement. The secure unit where the 17-year-old has been living has spent £125,000 on extra staff to care for her. The unit - which has not been named - said the Youth Justice Board "failed" to provide additional resources to maintain X's safety despite repeated requests. The details were revealed in the latest judgement...

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STUART LUKE WINS LEGAL AID LAWYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Stuart Luke, who heads our Public Law and Community Care team, won the prestigious Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award (LALY) for his outstanding work in the field of Social and Welfare law at a ceremony held in London last night (5th July 2017). The LALY Awards, now in their 15th year, are presented annually and recognise the immeasurable contribution that legal aid lawyers make to social justice and the rule of law. The awards were presented by Baroness Doreen Lawrence. Stuart had been nominated for the award by the Refugee Council and supported by a number of eminent barristers with whom he has worked on a series of notable cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court, as well as...

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New child cruelty sentencing guidelines proposed

Abusive or neglectful parents who blame their partner for their own child cruelty could face tougher sentences in new court proposals. The new sentencing guidelines in England and Wales say blaming others should be considered an "aggravating factor" when deciding a sentence. The change comes after many cases where one parent or carer sought to blame the other for what had happened. The Ministry of Justice backs the plan, saying child cruelty is "abhorrent". The proposed guidelines are to be applied in those cases where there are charges of cruelty to a child, allowing a child to die or suffer serious physical harm, or failing to protect from a young girl from female genital mutilation (FGM). The Sentencing Council has...

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Thirteen convicted over Devon care home abuse

Thirteen people have been convicted after an inquiry into abuse at two care homes for adults with learning disabilities. Residents at Vielstone near Bideford, in Devon, were routinely punished by being held in empty rooms without food, heating or a toilet, a court heard. Staff left vulnerable residents in the rooms, often overnight, during 2010 and 2011 as an abusive culture developed. Manager Jolyon Marshall was jailed for 28 months. He was jailed for conspiracy to falsely imprison and perverting the course of justice. Twelve other people, including other staff members and Marshall's wife, were convicted of the "organised and systemic abuse" of disabled residents after a series of trials at Bristol Crown Court. More on the punishment room trials...

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LEGAL AID LAWYER OF THE YEAR NOMINATION FOR STUART LUKE

Stuart Luke who leads our Public Law and Community Care team has been shortlisted for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards for 2017. The shortlist was announced by the director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, Carol Storer today, who said , “ It is such a privilege to be able to celebrate the ground breaking, life changing work of access to justice lawyers. The calibre of this years nominations was staggeringly high, and a real reflection of the expertise, grit and compassion which characterises the legal aid sector.” Stuart was nominated for the award by the British Refugee Council who have described him as an exceptional talent and supporter of refugee children’s rights. They have cited a...

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Congratulations to Tarun

Tarun Bhatia today qualified as a solicitor. Having completed his degree at Leeds University he went onto do his Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Trent University. Tarun has exhibited exceptional skills and expertise during his Training Contract. He has largely worked in our Criminal Department but lately has been assisting with Children and Care Law work. Tarun is a real asset and starts work immediately representing clients in Children and Care Law. Congratulations to Tarun from everyone at Bhatia Best!

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Dr Jeroen Ensink death: Widow denied legal aid for inquest

The widow of an academic stabbed to death by a man suffering from psychosis has been denied legal aid for an inquest into the killing. Jeroen Ensink, 41, was killed outside his home in December 2015 by student Femi Nandap, 23, days after knife charges against Nandap were dropped. An inquest into police, prosecutor and mental health authorities' actions leading up the killing has been set up. Nadja Ensink-Teich said it is "unfair" she had been refused legal aid. A crowdfunding page set up by Mrs Ensink-Teich raised thousands of pounds within hours of going online. Dr Ensink was stabbed as he left his north London home to post cards announcing the birth of the couple's daughter, Fleur, 11 days...

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Ash Bhatia receives prestigious award on 7 April 2017

The Nottinghamshire Law Society Dinner was presided over by Mike Auty QC as the incumbent President. Mike singled out a number of individuals for special praise, not least our own Managing Partner Ash Bhatia. Ash being an ex President and constituency representative of the Nottinghamshire Law Society at national level, has worked closely with Mike during his term. The award presented to Ash was described by Mike as ‘within his gift’ and thus a personal recognition of Ash’s work on a local level and for the National Law Society. Ash was described as the primary tactician in negotiations with the Ministry of Justice during recent proposals for criminal legal aid restrictions and tendering. Mike went on to say that Ash played a...

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The Court of Appeal Rules Government are unlawfully detaining children

In a landmark judgment given by the Court of Appeal in the case of Abdul-Muttalab Ali v Secretary of State the court ruled that the Government have been unlawfully detaining vulnerable unaccompanied asylum seeking children since 2015. The case was on appeal from an earlier High Court judgment by Mr Justice Silber (AA v SSHD [2016] EWHC 1453 (Admin)) who also found in the Claimant’s favour that it was unlawful for the Government to detain an asylum seeking child on the basis of a visual age assessment that their appearance suggested they were older than 18. Stuart Luke, Partner and Head of the Community Care and Public Law Team was instructed by the Claimant to bring the challenge.  On appeal...

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Landmark Judgment a victory for the rights of unaccompanied children

The High Court today, 24 February 2017,  gave a significant judgment on the rights and responsibilities of Social Services Departments of Local Authorities to vulnerable unaccompanied refugee children. In the case of SS v Croydon London Borough Council,  a vulnerable unaccompanied child  challenged Croydon Council's decision to refuse to treat him as a child and provide services to him under the Children Act whilst conducting an assessment to determine his precise age. Whilst Croydon Council acknowledged that SS had to be treated as a child whilst an assessment was being completed, they argued that they were not responsible for and not required to provide accommodation suitable for him as a 15 year old child or provide services or support including...

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