In Memoriam : Paul Wesson

It is with great sadness that we share the news that our colleague, Partner and friend, Paul Wesson passed away on Monday 18th December 2023.

We convey our most sincere condolences to Paul’s wife, Dawn, and children David and Rhianna.

Paul was one of the first to join Bhatia Best more than 32 years ago.

He was a stalwart colleague, mentor to many and personal friend to all. He will be dearly missed.

Success Stories – Judicial Review – Asylum – Inadequate Hotel Accommodation

Rahul Bhatia and Penelope Baird of Bhatia Best Solicitors recently represented the Claimant in R (SA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWHC 1787 (Admin).

 

An important case where Mr Justice Fordham gave guidance on when hotel accommodation being provided for asylum seekers under s.95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 becomes ‘inadequate’, and thus unlawful. The case focuses in particular on the use of such accommodation for pregnant women and families with young children.

 

The Claimant is an asylum seeker who, when she came to the UK, was pregnant and had three children (then) aged 10, 9, and 3. The family were destitute with no access to accommodation and so the Secretary of State for the Home Department (“SoS”) accepted she had a duty to provide her with accommodation and support under the 1999 Act. The family were allocated to a single room in a hotel. The family remained in the hotel environment up to and after her giving birth and had been residing there for 8 months by the time the claim was filed. By the time of the hearing before Fordham J they had been residing there for 15 months.

 

Fordham J found that the accommodation was inadequate; the fact of the Claimant’s pregnancy, the ages of the children, the facilities available in the accommodation, and the sheer length of time they were residing in the hotel all playing important factors in determining the inadequacy of the accommodation.

 

Fordham J granted a mandatory order requiring the SoS to move the family to dispersal accommodation (normally a house or flat of their own) within 5 days.

 

The full judgment was handed down on Friday 14 July 2023 and can be read here: SA, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWHC 1787 (Admin) (14 July 2023) (bailii.org)

 

Rahul and Penelope were assisted by Counsel, David Gardner of No5 Chambers.’. You can access his comments and profile here.

 

This case is one of the many handled by our Public Law Department where some of the most vulnerable in our country are being let down by the system. Our Public Law specialists are here to hold government agencies to account over failures to abide by the law.

Nottingham University Hospitals Maternity Review – More Cases To Be Investigated

There has been significant press coverage of late highlighting the shocking failings which have occurred in the maternity services in Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. These issues go back over many years. The Trust has one of the largest maternity units in the country which includes the Queens Medical Centre and the City Hospitals in Nottingham.

Click on the link below:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-66151746

The Maternity Review which is now underway indicates that, unfortunately, a substantial number of families have suffered because of the continual shortcomings in the Trust’s care providing services.

We are already helping and assisting clients and victims who have given us their accounts of how they were allegedly dealt with by Nursing Staff, Consultants, Doctors and Administrators both inside and outside of the NHS.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury, either as the mother or child, during pregnancy or delivery, or if there has been a stillbirth or a neonatal death has occurred, then our specially trained Solicitors are here to listen and help.

An injury can happen prior to the birth, during or even after the delivery of a baby, the impact of which can be life-changing for the family. We at Bhatia Best understand how difficult that can be to come to terms with and to know where you can turn for help.

Contact Us

No matter where you are in the country, Call 0333 016 3333 option 3 for a free, initial telephone consultation or email Joseph.Rahm@bhatiabest.co.uk with your details.
Our expert team are here to guide and assist you.

On the Subject – Domestic Abuse : Raising awareness during NO MORE Week

Our family team in Nottingham have on Friday 10th March taken part in Wear Something Blue during NO MORE Week in order to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

This week from 5th to 12th March 2023 is NO MORE Week, an annual event by UK Says No More. UK Says No More is a national campaign that seeks to raise awareness to end domestic abuse and sexual violence across the UK. The Crime Survey for England and Wales published in Nottingham 2022 estimates that approximately 1 in 5 people aged 16 years and over had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 years.

Domestic Abuse can take place in many forms, including: –

• Physical abuse
• Verbal abuse
• Psychological and Emotional abuse
• Sexual abuse and violence
• Financial abuse and control
• Coercive control
• Violent or threatening behaviours

We understand that leaving a relationship featuring domestic abuse can be extremely difficult however, we are able to advise on your available options including considering injunctions available. There are two types of injunctions the Court are able to make: –

• Non-Molestation Order
• Occupation Order

At Bhatia Best we understand the sensitive and difficult nature of these issues and seek to provide a safe environment for individuals to talk to our dedicated team. We are able to offer Legal Aid for all domestic abuse matters, subject to a Legal Aid Assessment. If you wish to speak to a member of our team, please contact us on 0333 016 3333.

Ben Brown is appointed Associate-Solicitor in Nottingham

We are proud to announce that Solicitor & Higher Courts Advocate, Ben Brown has been appointed Associate in our Nottingham Crime Department.

Originally joining the firm in June 2012 as a Student on placement from Nottingham Trent University, Ben returned to us after graduating in 2014 and has since gained a wealth of experience in all aspects of Criminal Litigation.

Now appearing before both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts, Ben provides his clients with the exceptional levels of service to which we as a firm aspire.

Congratulations!

On The Subject: Consent Orders & Divorce

Whilst the law in relation to divorce changed in April 2022, making the process simpler it is important to note that a Final Divorce Order (formerly Decree Absolute) does not prevent future financial claims against assets, property, income pensions and your estate upon death.

Even where financial arrangements are agreed between you and your former partner it is strongly advisable that a Consent Order is approved by the Court upon Conditional Order (formerly Decree Nisi) stage of the divorce process. We are able to assist in the preparation and submission of agreed Consent Orders.

The Court’s role is limited where matters are agreed to reading through the consent order alongside a statement of information form which gives brief details of your financial situation. Provided the consent order is drafted correctly and the agreement is fair it will be approved and become binding upon the making of a Final Divorce Order.

Where financial arrangements have not been agreed we can assist in exchanging financial disclosure, advising following mediation and negotiating a settlement.

Where it is not possible to reach agreement through mediation or negotiation we are able to assist in financial remedy proceedings, arranging private FDR hearings, and in representation in arbitration.

If you require any assistance in relation to financial matters please contact a member of our team who will be happy to help. Initial fixed fee appointments are available.