“She is really approachable. She’s a very good advocate, who has dealt with some monster cases.”
Alexis Hearnden is an experienced advocate with a successful regulatory and public law practice, particularly in the healthcare sector. She acts for professionals and regulators across a range of professions including dentists, opticians, vets, osteopaths and solicitors before tribunals, in judicial review proceedings and statutory appeals. Alexis frequently acts for the Professional Standards Authority in s29 appeals.
Alexis regularly represents family members, local authorities, health authorities and the Official Solicitor in best interests hearings in the Court of Protection. Mental health and community care disputes also form part of her advisory and advocacy work.
She is recommended as a leading junior by Chambers and Partners in the areas of Professional Discipline and in the Court of Protection and by Legal 500 for Professional Discipline.
Regulatory and Professional Discipline
Alexis accepts instructions across a wide range of disciplines for both practitioners and regulators.
Alexis has extensive experience of the regulation of the legal profession. Work includes:
- As junior counsel to Andrew Hopper QC acting for the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in the Court of Appeal. An appeal based on the apparent bias of the Tribunal clerk was dismissed: Virdi v Law Society & Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, 18 February 2010  EWCA Civ 100,  3 All ER 653.
- Acting for a partner accused of recklessness at a firm which was connected – by the SRA – to individuals involved with the intervention into Wollstenholmes LLP.
- Acting as junior counsel to Gregory Treverton-Jones QC before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal defending a practitioner in a ten day case brought by the Law Society.
- Advising a private equity house as to its obligations under the Legal Services Act 2007 when becoming an owner of an ABS.
- An application to the Master of the Rolls in a case about student membership of the Law Society: Re A Solicitor No. 9 of 2009  EWCA Civ 928.
- Acting for a GDL student who was denied student membership to the Law Society on the basis of a caution for shoplifting. The appeal was compromised and the Law Society agreed to issue a certificate of enrolment.
- On appeal, acting for a solicitor struck off for dishonesty arising out of a period of ill health during which the solicitor borrowed money from client accounts. The SRA agreed to erase the dishonesty finding and substitute the strike off with an indefinite suspension.
- Acting as a legal advisor to the ILEX appeal panel and appearing before the ILEX fitness to practise committee.
In the healthcare field work includes a range of professional regulators, for example, the General Optical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the General Osteopathic Council, the Health and Care Professions Council and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. For example:
- Presenting a five day case on behalf of the General Dental Council arising out of poor bridgework.
- Acting for the Professional Standards Authority in a number of statutory appeals involving alleged under-prosecuting or unduly lenient sanctions (e.g. Professional Standards Authority v (1) Health and Care Professions Council, (2) Doree  EWHC 822 (Admin)).
- Advising a regulator as to draft guidance on obtaining consent for treatment and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- Defending the registrant in a 5 day fitness to practise hearing before the General Osteopathic Council.
- Acting for the General Optical Council (GOC)in fitness to practise cases involving record keeping, glaucoma detection and paediatric ophthalmology.
- On appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal, acting for the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) where the GSCC had decided to strike off a social worker for failing to report allegations of child sex abuse: NJ v HCPC 2010/1857/SW. The sanction was upheld.
- Presenting a case on behalf of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) where dishonesty (falsifying records) and animal welfare allegations were found proven.
- Acting for the Health and Care Professions Council in an appeal to the county court brought by a chiropodist against the decision of the HCPC Registration Appeal Panel to refuse his registration on the grounds of a previous conviction. The appeal was dismissed.
- Acting as legal assessor to the British Psychoanalytic Council.
- Acting for a member before the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy conduct committee.
Administrative & Public
Court of Protection and Mental Health
Alexis regularly represents local authorities, the Official Solicitor and families in best interests hearings in the High Court and in the Court of Protection, including urgent applications. As a result, she has experience of working with vulnerable clients and witnesses. Alexis’ background in personal injury litigation has been valuable in recent cases where Court of Protection proceedings are litigated alongside civil proceedings for damages for personal injuries.
- Acting for the local authority in a forced marriage case where P was a young man with autism who had undergone a marriage ceremony in Pakistan: Luton Borough Council v (1) SB, (2) RS (by his litigation friend the Official Solicitor)  EWHC 3534 (Fam).
- Acting for the NHS Trust in a mother’s application to sterilise her adult daughter.
- Cases concerning serious medical treatment and capacity to consent to sexual relations or marriage.
- Advising on cases involving a deprivation of liberty, including claims for damages and declaratory relief.
- Applications to the Court of Protection involving the issues of residence, contact, and alleged abuse.
- Acting in fact finding hearings in cases of alleged sexual and physical abuse.
- Applications to depose a property and affairs deputy.
- Proceedings in the High Court under the inherent jurisdiction in cases where P’s capacity fluctuates and/or there has been undue influence.
In the field of Mental Health, Alexis has represented patients and local authorities in applications to displace the nearest relative and has acted for the Defendant in habeas corpus proceedings. In the First Tier Tribunal Alexis is happy to accept instructions from patients or the responsibility authority and has particular experience in cases concerning high security patients.
- Acting for the NHS Trust in a challenge to the discharge of s.117 duties.
- Representing the patient in an unusual appeal where the judge at first instance had refused to displace the Nearest Relative: Kay v CG  All ER (D) 128.
- Advising a patient on a potential judicial review of a decision not to make a community treatment order.
- Advising a hospital where a conditionally discharged patient alleged that she was de facto detained and therefore deprived of her liberty contrary to Article 5.
- Advising a Trust in a claim for damages for alleged negligence in discharging the duty under s.117.
- Acting for a patient in a judicial review of a hospital decision to refuse an application for family visiting rights in a high security mental health hospital.
Alexis regularly undertakes work for and against local government which particular emphasis on community care.
- As junior counsel to Fenella Morris QC acting for a Primary Care Trust in an application for permission to appeal against a refusal of permission to proceeding for a judicial review in a claim where it is alleged that the PCT is under a duty to provide ‘ordinary’ suitable accommodation pursuant to section 3(1) of the National Health Service Act 2006: R(Whapples) v Birmingham East and North PCT  EWCA Civ 258.
- Acting for the local authority in successfully resist an application for judicial review of a disputed age assessment of an unaccompanied asylum seeking child: R(A) v LB Camden  EWHC 2882 (Admin).
- Advising a local authority in judicial review proceedings where it was argued that a local authority was not entitled to take into account the existence of family accommodation provided under s.4 of the Immigration Asylum Act 1999 when determining whether Y was a “child in need” within the meaning of s.17 of the Children Act 1989.
- Advising the Claimant in judicial review proceedings where breach of section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006 (duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents) was alleged.
- Advising on care charges under the National Assistance Act 1948 and the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudication’s Act 1983.
- Advising a local authority in respect of the ordinary residence test and obligations under the Children Act 1989 , the National Assistance Act 1948 and the Care Act 2014 where the service user lacks capacity.
Recommended for Professional Discipline and Regulatory work in the Legal 500 and for Professional Discipline and Court of Protection: Health & Welfare in Chambers UK 2014.
“Thorough and very approachable.” Legal 500 2015
’”Always very well prepared and ready to take on more senior counsel.” Chambers UK
“Very highly regarded and often instructed by the Official Solicitor.” Chambers UK
“She has a very good technical brain.” “She has got good judgement.” Chambers UK
“Quickly gets to grips with complex cases and can assimilate vast amounts of information” Legal 500
“She gets to grips with complexities very quickly.” Chambers UK
“Her forte is dealing with lay clients. She is very skilled in this area of work.” Chambers UK
“a frequent presence in the SDT and is praised for the strength of her written work” Chambers and Partners
“Considerable experience of solicitors’ disciplinary work” Legal 500,
“Sensitive to clients’ plight in traumatic proceedings” Legal 500
Professional Discipline & Regulation
Virdi v Law Society & Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal 18 February 2010 EWCA Civ 100  3 All ER 653
Alexis was led by Andrew Hopper QC on behalf of the Tribunal in an appeal based on the apparent bias of the Tribunal clerk was dismissed.
Professional Standards Authority v (1) Health and Care Professions Council (2) Doree  EWHC 822 (Admin)
The Professional Standards Authority brought a s29 appeal against a decision of the Health and Care Professions Council Conduct and Competence Committee to impose a caution in a case involving findings of sexual harassment and bullying. Alexis acted for the Professional Standards Authority.
Mental Health & Community Care
K v G and Another  All ER (D) 128
Alexis acted for the patient in an appeal from a refusal to displace the nearest relative.
R(Whapples) v Birmingham East and North PCT  EWCA Civ 258
Acting as junior counsel to Fenella Morris QC in a case concerning the scope of the extent of the duty owed by an NHS to provide accommodation where there is a clinical need for such accommodation.
Court of Protection
Luton Borough Council v (1) SB, (2) RS (by his litigation friend the Official Solicitor)  EWHC 3534 (Fam)
Acting for the local authority in a forced marriage case and securing a finding that P lacked capacity to consent to sex and the marriage
R(A) v LB Camden  EWHC 2882 (Admin)
Successfully resisting a challenge to a dispute age assessment where the claimant relied on paediatric and dental evidence.