Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2017 in Social and Welfare Law
Stuart is a Partner and the founder and Head of Casework in the Firm’s Community Care and Public Law department.
Stuart has been with the firm since 2002 and qualified as a solicitor in 2004. Stuart has extensive experience over a 20 year period of working with Legal Aid. Stuart was presented with the prestigious award 2017 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in Social and Welfare Law following a nomination by the British Refugee Council for his work on the rights of Migrant Children
He started work as a Public Law and Community Care solicitor in 2007 and has established a department with a growing national reputation for holding local authorities and public bodies to account.
Stuart has experience and an interest in acting for clients and bringing challenges in the following areas:
• Lawfulness of Assessments and Care Plans for vulnerable children and adults in determining eligibility for and entitlement to services under the Children Act and Care Act
• Age Disputed/Detention cases
• Asylum support under s.95 and s.4 IAA 1999 for Asylum and Failed Asylum Seekers
• Services for Families with no recourse to public funds
• The rights of homeless people
Stuart is involved in all aspects of Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Justice and has experience of acting for the Official Solicitor and parties in proceedings before the Court of Protection dealing with capacity, best interests and medical care and treatment.
Stuart manages a team of 4 solicitors and 2 paralegals. The department hold two specialist contracts with the Legal Aid Agency in Community Care and Public Law with in excess of 400 matter starts available per annum.
Stuart has been at the forefront of challenging the rights of children in a series of high profile cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to services from social services and government under sections 17 and 20 of the Children Act 1989 and as Care Leavers.
Stuart has recently been involved in the landmark Brexit litigation acting for two vulnerable groups of peoples whose rights to live and work in the UK were directly affected by the use of the PM’s prerogative powers. In judgment handed down on 24/1/17 the Supreme Court dismissed the Government’s appeal upholding the decision of the Divisional Court that prerogative powers do not extend to the PM giving notice to leave the EU without parliament’s consent.
Stuart is currently instructed to act for a claimant in proceedings before the High Court challenging the duties owed by local authorities to provide accommodation and support to putative children pending a lawful assessment of age (SS v Croydon London Borough Council), he also expects judgment to be given by the Supreme court in the coming weeks challenging the legality of the Immigration Rules 2012 which impose a minimum income earnings threshold of £18,600 before entrants can be granted leave to enter the United Kingdom and the rights and best interests of children under the rules which prohibit parents from entering the UK to be reunited as a family unit if they have a spouse living and caring for a child in the UK.
When not campaigning for the rights of vulnerable clients Stuart provides training to Charities and Community groups in all aspects of Community Care and Public Law.
Stuart is described by a National Penal Reform Charity as a solicitor “who has, time and again, provided the very best legal service and representation to his clients. He is extremely well regarded for his expertise in community care law and does not hesitate to take on a case even when the outcome may seem hopeless. He consistently achieves the best results for his clients, is incredibly hard-working and is unfaltering in his commitment”.
Stuart works with a number of national charities to tackle issues affecting the most vulnerable in society and can accept referrals directly from potential clients or through charities. Stuart has recently been described by a National Children’s Charity as an “absolute pleasure to deal with he responds extremely quickly to any referrals made and has provided great outcomes for our clients. He has made our very vulnerable clients feel well supported and understood when taking them through legal processes”
When not working, which is not that often, Stuart spends time with his wife and 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter and enjoys running, watching football and socialising.
✅ Public Law & Community Care
- R (Miller) -v- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union  UKSC 5 – Judgment of the Supreme Court that Prime Minister’s prerogative powers does not extend to giving Art 50 Notice to leave the EU without approval from parliament
- AA v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor  EWHC 1453 (Admin) – Judgment of the High Court rendering unlawful the detention of unaccompanied asylum seeking children on grounds that they look significantly over 18 years of age.
- R(ZM & SK) v London Borough of Croydon JR/2567/2016
12 Carrington Street
Tel: (0115) 950 3231