Steve Broach

Year of call:
2008
Email:
steve.broach@39essex.com

Clerks:
+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“Very strong academically and a very good advocate, he’s a go-to junior”
Chambers UK 2021

Steve Broach is a public lawyer who advises and represents individuals, charities, companies and public authorities. He has particular interest and expertise in health, education and social care, with a focus on disability and children’s rights cases. His practice ranges from commercial judicial reviews to challenges to funding cuts to public services. Steve also has a regulatory public law practice involving challenges to decisions of regulatory bodies and the police.

Steve is a discrimination specialist who is experienced in using discrimination arguments in public law challenges. For example in the recent case involving Mr and Mrs C he persuaded the Upper Tribunal that the application of the ‘tendency to physical abuse’ exemption from the protection of the Equality Act 2010 breached Article 14 ECHR when applied to children with autism. Steve is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission ‘A’ Panel of counsel.

Steve is instructed in the High Court and above in applications for judicial review, in the Court of Protection for cases involving the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and in the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal in education and other appeals. He also has significant expertise in advising clients on safeguarding issues in relation to both children and adults.

Steve is ranked in four categories by Chambers and Partners, including in Band 1 for Community Care and Education. Steve has appeared in a large number of reported cases, including many of the Supreme Court cases on disability issues. Steve was awarded Young Barrister of the Year at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2011.

Steve is co-author of Disabled Children: A Legal Handbook (Legal Action Group, Third Edition, 2020) and Children in Need: Local Authority Support for Children and Families (Legal Action Group, Second Edition, 2013). He wrote the chapter on the Independent Safeguarding Authority (now Disclosure and Barring Service) in Professional Discipline and Healthcare Regulators: A Legal Handbook (Legal Action Group, 2012). Steve is an editor of the Community Care Law Reports, published by Legal Action Group.

Before coming to the Bar in 2008, Steve worked extensively in the voluntary sector on behalf of disabled children and disabled adults. From 2006 to 2008, Steve was Campaign Manager for the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign (EDCM). From 2004-2006, Steve was Head of Public Affairs at TreeHouse, the national charity for autism education. Prior to this, Steve established the policy and campaigns team at the National Autistic Society, where he was Head of Policy and Campaigns.

Administrative & Public


Steve is instructed on a wide range public law challenges and routinely advises and represents claimants in judicial review proceedings. He also undertakes advisory work for companies, charities and public authorities. Alongside acting for individual claimants he provides advice and representation to a range of commercial organisations, particularly those operating in the health, education and social care sectors.

Steve has a detailed understanding of the law, guidance and policy affecting children and disabled people. Steve frequently advises and represents parents and disabled young people in appeals to the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal in relation to education matters. He has particular expertise in using the new schemes introduced by Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Care Act 2014.

Steve’s notable public law cases include:

ECtHR

  • McDonald v UK, 20 May 2014 – first decision of the European Court of Human Rights to find breach of human rights in withdrawal of care services.

Supreme Court

  • R (DA) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] UKSC 21 – second challenge to the ‘benefit cap’ limiting payment of welfare benefits. Appeal narrowly failed, now the leading case on Thlimmenos discrimination under Article 14 ECHR.
  • Re an application by Siobhan Mclaughlin for Judicial Review (NI) [2018] UKSC 48 – acting alone for National Children’s Bureau, whose intervention in this successful Article 14 ECHR challenge to a key bereavement benefit was described by Lady Hale as ‘helpful’.
  • Mathieson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] UKSC 47 – rule suspending payment of benefits to disabled children in hospital held to breach Article 14 ECHR (prohibition on discrimination).
  • R (KM) v Cambridgshire CC [2012] UKSC 23 – leading case on application of ‘Resource Allocation Schemes’ in which seven-member Supreme Court clarified (i) the absolute nature of the duty to meet eligible community care needs, (ii) the need for sufficient reasons to be given to justify resource allocation decisions and (iii) the requirement of intense scrutiny by the Court in important community care decisions.
  • R (McDonald) v Kensington and Chelsea [2011] UKSC 33 – appeal concerning whether a decision to terminate night-time carer support for a disabled woman by reliance on the provision of incontinence pads was compatible with the authority’s obligations in domestic community care and disability discrimination law and under Article 8 ECHR (see McDonald v UK above).
  • A v Essex [2010] UKSC 33 – junior counsel for the National Autistic Society as Intervener – case concerned the nature and scope of the right to education under Article 2 of Protocol 1 ECHR in relation to disabled children.

Court of Appeal / High Court / Upper Tribunal

  • R (ECMA) v SoSEFRA [2019] EWHC 2813 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to announcement of ban on electronic dog collars. Claim dismissed but permission to appeal granted on three grounds (appeal hearing May 2020).
  • R (Simone) v Chancellor of Exchequer and SoS for Education [2019] EWHC 2609 (Admin) – senior junior for claimants (with Jenni Richards QC and Katherine Barnes) in challenge to under funding of special educational provision; understood to be first claim of this kind against the Chancellor for which permission granted.
  • R (Drexler) v Leicestershire CC [2019] EWHC 1934 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in High Court in claim that a local authority’s post 16 school transport policy breached Article 14 ECHR. Judgment of Court of Appeal awaited.
  • R (L) v Buckinghamshire CC [2019] EWHC 1817 (Admin) – leading case on the nature of the duties on local authorities in relation to children’s centres. Obtained permission as leading junior (with Katherine Barnes), led by Fenella Morris QC for final hearing.
  • R (ZK) v Redbridge LBC [2019] EWHC 1450 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to local authority policy as to the provision of teaching assistants for children with sensory impairments. Permission to appeal granted, appeal to be heard late 2020.
  • R (AD) v Hackney LBC [2019] EWHC 943 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to local authority policy as to allocation of resources to schools to secure provision in Education, Health and Care Plans. Permission to appeal granted, appeal being heard March 2020.
  • R (Hollow) v Surrey CC [2019] EWHC 618 (Admin) – junior counsel (led by Jenni Richards QC) in challenge to major local authority budget cuts in relation to special educational provision.
  • R (Johnson and others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] EWHC 23 (Admin) – junior counsel (led by Jenni Richards QC) in successful challenge to interpretation of regulation governing assessment periods for Universal Credit.
  • R (WX) v Northamptonshire CC [2018] EWHC 2178 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision to close majority of county council’s libraries. Acted as leading junior.
  • R (KE and others) v Bristol CC [2018] EWHC (Admin) 2103 – successful challenge to decision to cut budget for special educational needs and disability (‘SEND’) provision by roughly £5m. Acted alone initially, led for final hearing (by Jenni Richards QC).
  • Mr and Mrs C v Governing Body of a School, Secretary of State for Education and National Autistic Society [2018] UKUT 269 (AAC) – successful appeal holding that the application of the ‘tendency to physical abuse’ exclusion from the protection of the Equality Act 2010 indirectly discriminated against pupils with autism and other recognised impairments contrary to Article 14 ECHR.
  • R (SB) v NHS England [2017] EWHC 2000 (Admin) – successful challenge to refusal of funding for medication to treat physical health needs of child with autism. Acted alone initially, led for final hearing.
  • R (DAT and BNM) v West Berkshire Council [2016] EWHC 1876 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision to cut funding to short breaks for families with disabled children provided by voluntary sector organisations. Acted alone against Leading Counsel.
  • R (Woolfe) v LB Islington [2016] EWHC 1907 (Admin) – challenge to operation of housing allocation scheme. Successful in part, challenge to council’s interpretation of ‘New Generation’ element of scheme allowed.
  • R (S) v NHS England [2016] EWHC 1395 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision to refuse funding for narcolepsy medication on basis Claimant’s needs were not ‘exceptional’
  • R (H and others) v Ealing LBC [2016] EWHC 841 (Admin) – successful challenge on discrimination and other grounds to the scheme which ringfenced 20% of Ealing’s social housing for working households and ‘model tenants’. Scheme quashed by the Court (overturned by Court of Appeal).
  • London Borough of Hillingdon v WW [2016] UKUT 0253 (AAC) – successfully resisted the Local Authority’s appeal raising issues as to the appellant’s mental capacity and the Tribunal’s reasoning on the issue of school placement.
  • R (Dyer) v Welsh Ministers [2015] EWHC 3712 (Admin) – high profile challenge to lack of specialist mental health provision for women with autism and learning disabilities in Wales.
  • R (HA) v Ealing LBC [2015] EWHC 2375 (Admin) – successful challenge on multiple grounds to the residence criteria restricting access to the housing register in Ealing for those who have lived in the borough for at least five years.
  • R (L and P) v Warwickshire CC [2015] EWHC 203 (Admin) – complex judicial review of changes to education and care services to disabled children in Warwickshire in the context of the Children and Families Act 2014.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Independent Safeguarding Authority) v SB (RCN intervening) [2012] EWCA Civ 997; [2013] 1 WLR 308, and Disclosure and Barring Service v Harvey [2013] EWCA Civ 180. Leading cases on the requirement of proportionality in barring decisions by the Disclosure and Barring Services.
  • R (J) v Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall [2012] EWHC 2996 (Admin), R (A) v Chief Constable of Kent [2013] EWHC 424 (Admin), and R (L) v Chief Constable of Cumbria [2013] EWHC 869 (Admin). Counsel for claimants (acting alone in each case) in successful challenges to police disclosure decisions. Breach of Article 8 ECHR established in each case and HRA damages awarded.
  • R (B) v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2012] EWHC 1264 (Admin) – counsel (acting alone) in successful challenge to decision by NMC to re-open finding of no case to answer. Decision held to have been taken ultra vires and in breach of both substantive and procedural legitimate expectations.
  • R (Waxman) v Crown Prosecution Service [2012] EWHC 133 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision of CPS to discontinue prosecution of a stalker. Human Rights Act damages obtained.
  • R (VC and others) v Newcastle CC [2011] EWHC 2673 (Admin) – Divisional Court case establishing that the Children Act 1989 takes precedence over ‘hard case’ support under ‘section 4’ for families with no immigration status.
  • R (W) v Birmingham CC [2011] EWHC 1147 (Admin) – successful challenge to Birmingham’s decision to move to ‘critical only’ eligibility for adult social care. Birmingham held to have breached the disability equality duty and to have failed to have conducted a lawful consultation.
  • R (O) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [2011] EWCA Civ 925 – junior counsel in appeal in relation to placement of child with severe autism.
  • R (O) v Barking and Dagenham LBC [2010] EWCA Civ 1101 – junior counsel for The Children’s Society in successful intervention establishing primacy of leaving care duties over asylum support scheme.
  • R (RCN and others) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2010] EWHC 2761 – case in which the High Court declared that provisions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Acts 2006 to place individuals on a list of people prohibited from working with vulnerable adults and children without giving them an opportunity to make representations were contrary to articles 6 and 8 ECHR. Rare ‘declaration of incompatibility’ made under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Court of Protection


In addition to his public law practice, Steve appears in complex cases in the Court of Protection, involving best interests determinations of issues of central importance to his disabled clients and their families. Steve has been instructed by the Law Society in the cases dealing with the fallout from the Supreme Court’s judgment in Cheshire West as to the procedure to be adopted in cases where authorisations for deprivations of liberty are sought from the court.

Steve has particular expertise in the application of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to 16- and 17-year-olds, having been instructed in several complex cases which engaged the provisions of the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014 alongside the MCA. Steve is also well placed to advise clients on issues relating to deprivation of liberty, having been instructed by charity interveners in Cheshire West in the Supreme Court. Combining these two areas of expertise, Steve is well placed to advise on the application of the forthcoming Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) to 16- and 17-year olds (as well as the new LPS scheme generally).

Steve’s notable Court of Protection cases include:

  • Re JM [2016] EWCOP 15 – instructed by the Law Society in case concerning the proper procedure to be adopted when there is no person to act as a representative in applications concerning deprivations of liberty for people who lack capacity to consent to their care arrangements.
  • Re NRA [2015] EWCOP 59 – instructed by the Law Society in the case considering whether P always needs to be a party to proceedings concerning deprivation of liberty.
  • Re X (Court of Protection Practice) [2015] EWCA Civ 599 – acted for the Law Society in appeal concerning disabled people’s rights in cases where deprivation of their liberty is being authorised by the court.
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council v P and Others [2014] UKSC 19 – junior counsel for the National Autistic Society (NAS) and Mind as interveners – case established equal right to liberty for disabled and non-disabled people and radically increased protection for disabled people in institutional settings.
  • Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v James [2013] UKSC 67; [2014] AC 591 – challenge to declarations that it was not in Mr James’ best interests to receive life sustaining treatment– leading case on best interests decision making under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
  • A Local Authority v E [2012] EWHC 1639 (COP) – junior counsel for local authority – high profile and controversial Court of Protection application re life-sustaining treatment for a young woman with anorexia expressing a wish to be allowed to die.

Alternative Dispute Resolution


Steve has extensive experience in a range of disputes relating to service provision, in particular education, health and social care services. In addition to the wide range of public law claims on which he is instructed, Steve is also frequently instructed on claims in relation to breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010, as well as other heads of claim. Steve has successfully resolved as counsel high value and complex claims in relation to care provision, as well as a wide range of public law disputes, through a range of Alternative Dispute Resolution processes including mediation. He is a member of 39 Essex Chambers’ fixed-fee arbitration and adjudication panel.
Steve is ranked in four categories in Chambers and Partners including Community Care and Education, being described as ‘professional, very knowledgeable and reliable’ and ‘a go-to barrister for community care work’.

Central Government


Steve is regularly instructed in judicial review claims against central government departments and non-departmental public bodies. Steve’s recent central government cases include what is understood to be the first case in which permission to apply for judicial review was granted in a challenge against the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Simone v Chancellor of Exchequer and Secretary of State for Education, concerning alleged under-funding of special educational provision). Steve has also acted for claimants in several successful judicial reviews of funding decisions by NHS England.

Steve’s key central government cases include:

  • R (DA) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] UKSC 21 – second challenge to the ‘benefit cap’ limiting payment of welfare benefits. Appeal narrowly failed, now the leading case on Thlimmenos discrimination under Article 14 ECHR.
  • Re an application by Siobhan Mclaughlin for Judicial Review (NI) [2018] UKSC 48 – acting alone for National Children’s Bureau, whose intervention in this successful Article 14 ECHR challenge to a key bereavement benefit was described by Lady Hale as ‘helpful’.
  • Mathieson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] UKSC 47 – rule suspending payment of benefits to disabled children in hospital held to breach Article 14 ECHR (prohibition on discrimination).
  • R (ECMA) v SoSEFRA [2019] EWHC 2813 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to announcement of ban on electronic dog collars. Claim dismissed but permission to appeal granted on three grounds (appeal hearing May 2020).
  • R (Simone) v Chancellor of Exchequer and SoS for Education [2019] EWHC 2609 (Admin) – senior junior for claimants (with Jenni Richards QC and Katherine Barnes) in challenge to under funding of special educational provision; understood to be first claim of this kind against the Chancellor for which permission granted.
  • R (Johnson and others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] EWHC 23 (Admin) – junior counsel (led by Jenni Richards QC) in successful challenge to interpretation of regulation governing assessment periods for Universal Credit.
  • Mr and Mrs C v Governing Body of a School, Secretary of State for Education and National Autistic Society [2018] UKUT 269 (AAC) – successful appeal holding that the application of the ‘tendency to physical abuse’ exclusion from the protection of the Equality Act 2010 indirectly discriminated against pupils with autism and other recognised impairments contrary to Article 14 ECHR.
  • R (SB) v NHS England [2017] EWHC 2000 (Admin) – successful challenge to refusal of funding for medication to treat physical health needs of child with autism. Acted alone initially, led for final hearing.
  • R (S) v NHS England [2016] EWHC 1395 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision to refuse funding for narcolepsy medication on basis Claimant’s needs were not ‘exceptional’
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Independent Safeguarding Authority) v SB (RCN intervening) [2012] EWCA Civ 997; [2013] 1 WLR 308, and Disclosure and Barring Service v Harvey [2013] EWCA Civ 180. Leading cases on the requirement of proportionality in barring decisions by the Disclosure and Barring Services.
  • R (B) v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2012] EWHC 1264 (Admin) – counsel (acting alone) in successful challenge to decision by NMC to re-open finding of no case to answer. Decision held to have been taken ultra vires and in breach of both substantive and procedural legitimate expectations.
  • R (Waxman) v Crown Prosecution Service [2012] EWHC 133 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision of CPS to discontinue prosecution of a stalker. Human Rights Act damages obtained.
  • R (RCN and others) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2010] EWHC 2761 – case in which the High Court declared that provisions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Acts 2006 to place individuals on a list of people prohibited from working with vulnerable adults and children without giving them an opportunity to make representations were contrary to articles 6 and 8 ECHR. Rare ‘declaration of incompatibility’ made under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Education


Steve’s education law practice is focussed on the educational rights and interests of disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs (SEN). He is regularly instructed in complex judicial reviews and Tribunal appeals involving disputes between families, young people and public bodies. As a co-author of the leading practitioner text in this area (Disabled Children: A Legal Handbook), Steve has comprehensive knowledge of the statutory scheme introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014. Steve has recently acted in several high-profile challenges to local authority policies in relation to children and young people with SEN, including three (Drexler v Leicestershire; AD v Hackney; ZK v Redbridge) for which permission to appeal has been granted by the Court of Appeal. As well as representing families, Steve also advises and represents schools who are in dispute with local authorities in relation to SEN issues.

Steve is also instructed to advise and provide advocacy in relation to a wide range of other educational issues, including school closure and re-organisation issues, safeguarding issues, admissions and exclusion appeals and related public law challenges and school transport disputes.

Steve’s key education cases include:

  • A v Essex [2010] UKSC 33 – junior counsel for the National Autistic Society as Intervener – case concerned the nature and scope of the right to education under Article 2 of Protocol 1 ECHR in relation to disabled children.
  • R (Simone) v Chancellor of Exchequer and SoS for Education [2019] EWHC 2609 (Admin) – senior junior for claimants (with Jenni Richards QC and Katherine Barnes) in challenge to under funding of special educational provision; understood to be first claim of this kind against the Chancellor for which permission granted.
  • R (Drexler) v Leicestershire CC [2019] EWHC 1934 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in High Court in claim that a local authority’s post 16 school transport policy breached Article 14 ECHR. Judgment of Court of Appeal awaited.
  • R (ZK) v Redbridge LBC [2019] EWHC 1450 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to local authority policy as to the provision of teaching assistants for children with sensory impairments. Permission to appeal granted, appeal to be heard late 2020.
  • R (AD) v Hackney LBC [2019] EWHC 943 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to local authority policy as to allocation of resources to schools to secure provision in Education, Health and Care Plans. Permission to appeal granted, appeal being heard March 2020.
  • R (Hollow) v Surrey CC [2019] EWHC 618 (Admin) – junior counsel (led by Jenni Richards QC) in challenge to major local authority budget cuts in relation to special educational provision.
  • R (KE and others) v Bristol CC [2018] EWHC (Admin) 2103 – successful challenge to decision to cut budget for special educational needs and disability (‘SEND’) provision by roughly £5m. Acted alone initially, led for final hearing (by Jenni Richards QC).
  • Mr and Mrs C v Governing Body of a School, Secretary of State for Education and National Autistic Society [2018] UKUT 269 (AAC) – successful appeal holding that the application of the ‘tendency to physical abuse’ exclusion from the protection of the Equality Act 2010 indirectly discriminated against pupils with autism and other recognised impairments contrary to Article 14 ECHR.
  • London Borough of Hillingdon v WW [2016] UKUT 0253 (AAC) – successfully resisted the Local Authority’s appeal raising issues as to the appellant’s mental capacity and the Tribunal’s reasoning on the issue of school placement.
  • R (L and P) v Warwickshire CC [2015] EWHC 203 (Admin) – complex judicial review of changes to education and care services to disabled children in Warwickshire in the context of the Children and Families Act 2014.
  • R (O) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [2011] EWCA Civ 925 – junior counsel in appeal in relation to placement of child with severe autism.

Health & Pharmaceuticals


Steve has developed a specialist practice in both challenging decisions made by NHS bodies and advising NHS bodies on the lawfulness of decisions and policies. In terms of his advisory work, Steve has been instructed to advise on which clinical commissioning group holds the ‘after care’ duty for persons detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 upon their release from hospital. Steve’s claimant work in the health context has focussed on challenges to NHS England funding decisions, including two successful claims overturning exceptional case funding decisions.

Steve’s key health cases include:

  • McDonald v UK, 20 May 2014 – first decision of the European Court of Human Rights to find breach of human rights in withdrawal of care services.
  • Mathieson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] UKSC 47 – rule suspending payment of benefits to disabled children in hospital held to breach Article 14 ECHR (prohibition on discrimination).
  • R (McDonald) v Kensington and Chelsea [2011] UKSC 33 – appeal concerning whether a decision to terminate night-time carer support for a disabled woman by reliance on the provision of incontinence pads was compatible with the authority’s obligations in domestic community care and disability discrimination law and under Article 8 ECHR (see McDonald v UK above).
  • R (SB) v NHS England [2017] EWHC 2000 (Admin) – successful challenge to refusal of funding for medication to treat physical health needs of child with autism. Acted alone initially, led for final hearing.
  • R (S) v NHS England [2016] EWHC 1395 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision to refuse funding for narcolepsy medication on basis Claimant’s needs were not ‘exceptional’
  • R (Dyer) v Welsh Ministers [2015] EWHC 3712 (Admin) – high profile challenge to lack of specialist mental health provision for women with autism and learning disabilities in Wales.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Independent Safeguarding Authority) v SB (RCN intervening) [2012] EWCA Civ 997; [2013] 1 WLR 308, and Disclosure and Barring Service v Harvey [2013] EWCA Civ 180. Leading cases on the requirement of proportionality in barring decisions by the Disclosure and Barring Services.
  • R (B) v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2012] EWHC 1264 (Admin) – counsel (acting alone) in successful challenge to decision by NMC to re-open finding of no case to answer. Decision held to have been taken ultra vires and in breach of both substantive and procedural legitimate expectations.
  • R (RCN and others) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2010] EWHC 2761 – case in which the High Court declared that provisions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Acts 2006 to place individuals on a list of people prohibited from working with vulnerable adults and children without giving them an opportunity to make representations were contrary to articles 6 and 8 ECHR. Rare ‘declaration of incompatibility’ made under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Local Government


Steve has acted in many of the most important local government cases in recent years, particularly those involving the provision of care services to disabled people. As the co-author of the leading practitioner text on disabled children (Disabled Children: A Legal Handbook), Steve is particularly well placed to act in cases which involve the rights of this group of children. However Steve’s local government practice extends well beyond social care, including challenges to school transport policies, library closure decisions and housing allocation schemes. Steve has also acted in a number of recent high profile judicial reviews of policies in relation to special educational provision by local authorities. Steve is well versed in the intricacies of local government decision making and as such is able to advise both potential claimants and local authorities themselves as to the lawfulness of policies and decisions.

Steve’s key local government cases include:

  • R (KM) v Cambridgeshire CC [2012] UKSC 23 – leading case on application of ‘Resource Allocation Schemes’ in which seven-member Supreme Court clarified (i) the absolute nature of the duty to meet eligible community care needs, (ii) the need for sufficient reasons to be given to justify resource allocation decisions and (iii) the requirement of intense scrutiny by the Court in important community care decisions.
  • R (McDonald) v Kensington and Chelsea [2011] UKSC 33 – appeal concerning whether a decision to terminate night-time carer support for a disabled woman by reliance on the provision of incontinence pads was compatible with the authority’s obligations in domestic community care and disability discrimination law and under Article 8 ECHR (see McDonald v UK above).
  • A v Essex [2010] UKSC 33 – junior counsel for the National Autistic Society as Intervener – case concerned the nature and scope of the right to education under Article 2 of Protocol 1 ECHR in relation to disabled children.

Court of Appeal / High Court / Upper Tribunal

  • R (Drexler) v Leicestershire CC [2019] EWHC 1934 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in High Court in claim that a local authority’s post 16 school transport policy breached Article 14 ECHR. Judgment of Court of Appeal awaited.
  • R (L) v Buckinghamshire CC [2019] EWHC 1817 (Admin) – leading case on the nature of the duties on local authorities in relation to children’s centres. Obtained permission as leading junior (with Katherine Barnes), led by Fenella Morris QC for final hearing.
  • R (ZK) v Redbridge LBC [2019] EWHC 1450 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to local authority policy as to the provision of teaching assistants for children with sensory impairments. Permission to appeal granted, appeal to be heard late 2020.
  • R (AD) v Hackney LBC [2019] EWHC 943 (Admin) – leading junior for claimants in challenge to local authority policy as to allocation of resources to schools to secure provision in Education, Health and Care Plans. Permission to appeal granted, appeal being heard March 2020.
  • R (Hollow) v Surrey CC [2019] EWHC 618 (Admin) – junior counsel (led by Jenni Richards QC) in challenge to major local authority budget cuts in relation to special educational provision.
  • R (WX) v Northamptonshire CC [2018] EWHC 2178 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision to close majority of county council’s libraries. Acted as leading junior.
  • R (KE and others) v Bristol CC [2018] EWHC (Admin) 2103 – successful challenge to decision to cut budget for special educational needs and disability (‘SEND’) provision by roughly £5m. Acted alone initially, led for final hearing (by Jenni Richards QC).
  • R (DAT and BNM) v West Berkshire Council [2016] EWHC 1876 (Admin) – successful challenge to decision to cut funding to short breaks for families with disabled children provided by voluntary sector organisations. Acted alone against Leading Counsel.
  • R (Woolfe) v LB Islington [2016] EWHC 1907 (Admin) – challenge to operation of housing allocation scheme. Successful in part, challenge to council’s interpretation of ‘New Generation’ element of scheme allowed.
  • R (H and others) v Ealing LBC [2016] EWHC 841 (Admin) – successful challenge on discrimination and other grounds to the scheme which ringfenced 20% of Ealing’s social housing for working households and ‘model tenants’. Scheme quashed by the Court (overturned by Court of Appeal).
  • R (HA) v Ealing LBC [2015] EWHC 2375 (Admin) – successful challenge on multiple grounds to the residence criteria restricting access to the housing register in Ealing for those who have lived in the borough for at least five years.
  • R (L and P) v Warwickshire CC [2015] EWHC 203 (Admin) – complex judicial review of changes to education and care services to disabled children in Warwickshire in the context of the Children and Families Act 2014.
  • R (VC and others) v Newcastle CC [2011] EWHC 2673 (Admin) – Divisional Court case establishing that the Children Act 1989 takes precedence over ‘hard case’ support under ‘section 4’ for families with no immigration status.
  • R (W) v Birmingham CC [2011] EWHC 1147 (Admin) – successful challenge to Birmingham’s decision to move to ‘critical only’ eligibility for adult social care. Birmingham held to have breached the disability equality duty and to have failed to have conducted a lawful consultation.
  • R (O) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [2011] EWCA Civ 925 – junior counsel in appeal in relation to placement of child with severe autism.
  • R (O) v Barking and Dagenham LBC [2010] EWCA Civ 1101 – junior counsel for The Children’s Society in successful intervention establishing primacy of leaving care duties over asylum support scheme.

Recommendations


Administrative & Public

“His advice is excellent. He’s forceful and his submissions carry weight. He’s also good at dealing with clients – he understand their needs and translates them into good outcomes.” “Unbelievably committed and conscientious. Very knowledgeable about special educational needs and the rights of disabled children.” – Chambers UK, 2021

“An excellent advocate, able to clearly present the case to the judge in a measured way and respond to judicial questioning calmly, maintaining a high standard of presentation of the case.” – Legal 500, 2021

“He’s easy to work with and efficient, and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the area.” “Particularly good at coming up with novel solutions in cases.” “He provides practical and user-friendly advice and is technically very strong in this field.”Chambers UK, 2020

“Very genial and good with clients.” “Approachable and hands-on. He’s great in court and turns things around very quickly.”Chambers UK, 2019

“A real go-getter. He’s passionate, bright and committed to every client.” “His written work is of an excellent quality and he is able to make strategic decisions on cases.”Chambers UK, 2018

“Knows the law inside out; he offers swift, practical advice in complex areas of law which are constantly evolving.” – Chambers UK, 2017

Human Rights

“He’s the best barrister out there for disability and education-related cases.” “A well-recognised specialist in his field.” – Chambers UK, 2021

“A brilliant lawyer and great in written submissions and in court.” Legal 500, 2021

Education

“He’s really passionate about this area, making sure people’s rights are protected and thinking about cases creatively to put forward a challenge in the best way possible. He is good at coming up with new and interesting lines of argument.” “He is one of the absolute leading juniors when it comes to legislation concerning a disabled person’s rights. He has an encyclopedic knowledge and is able to apply it extremely quickly.” – Chambers UK, 2021

“Innovative, imaginative and bold. Incredibly committed and knowledgeable when it comes to disabled children’s rights.” Legal 500, 2021

“The king of SEN law – nobody knows it better than he does. He’s absolutely brilliant and works tirelessly to achieve positive outcomes for children and their families.” “He’s so passionate about what he does and challenges huge decisions in the public arena. He’s incredibly approachable and excellent at reassuring nervous clients.”Chambers UK, 2020

‘‘Incredibly committed and knowledgeable.’’Legal 500, 2020

“He’s professional, very knowledgeable and reliable. He has a wealth of knowledge in relation to children with disabilities and adult social-care matters.”Chambers UK, 2019

“There is nothing he doesn’t know when it comes to the legal rights of disabled children and he works tirelessly to use the law to achieve positive outcomes for children and their families.” “He gives very clear advice, is a good advocate, and is excellent at reassuring nervous clients.”Chambers UK, 2018

“His knowledge of the law surrounding disabled children is hard to beat.” “He always pushes new ideas to do with this area of the law and his attention to detail stands out as a definite strength.”Chambers UK, 2017

Local Government

“He has excellent attention to detail and is very passionate about the area. He’s creative in the way he approaches cases and is very personable and easy to work with. His advocacy is also excellent.” “Has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law, good judgement and takes on ambitious cases.” “Proactive and very kind.” – Chambers UK, 2021

“Very impressive, takes good points and delivers well in court.” “He is extremely experienced and is very good on paper.”Chambers UK, 2020

“He is a standout in anything to do with the rights of disabled people, I don’t know anyone as committed as him – he’s brilliant.” “Very much at the forefront of this area.”Chambers UK, 2019

“He is well connected to parents’ groups for disabled children and always gives 100%; he is a very committed barrister.” “He is willing to take on difficult cases, especially for disabled children, and is always strategically minded.”Chambers UK, 2018

“He is a go-to barrister for community care work”, “The work he does is impressive and his track record speaks for itself.”Chambers UK, 2017

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

Barrister portfolio

Close

Click the + icon next to any barrister to add their profile to this portfolio.

Barrister Call CV Email

3