Rachel has a broad public law practice, with a particular interest in education and healthcare law. She also has a busy inquiries practice, and is currently instructed as junior counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. She also practises planning and environmental law. She regularly appears in the High Court, Court of Protection and County Courts as well as the appellate courts, on behalf of individuals, central and local government, NHS bodies and companies.
Rachel is on the Attorney General’s C Panel of counsel.
Prior to joining chambers, Rachel worked at the Free Representation Unit and continues to undertake pro bono work on a regular basis, through Advocate and others.
Areas of expertise
Administrative and Public
Rachel acts on behalf of both claimants and defendants across a range of public law cases, including consultation challenges, Equality Act/Human Rights Act claims, and EU law issues. Rachel undertook a secondment to the Department for Exiting the European Union in 2019/2020.
She has particular interests in education law (including special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and Equality Act issues) and is currently instructed by the Department for Education in the Covid-19 Inquiry, and in healthcare, regularly acting in community care and mental health challenges as well as serious medical treatment cases, and advising on contractual issues arising in healthcare settings.
Rachel was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel in September 2020 and is regularly instructed by a range of departments.
Cases of note
- Zulfiqar v Secretary of State for the Home Dept  EWCA Civ - (With Rory Dunlop QC) Represented the Home Office in a case concerning interpretation of the foreign national offender provisions in the UK Borders Act 2007 (UKBA) and the proper approach to the Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) proportionality exercise. (Judgment)
- WC & BB v Somerset County Council  EWHC 2936 (Admin) - (With Steve Broach and Gethin Thomas) Challenge to the reorganisation of schooling in Somerset on consultation/public sector equality duty (PSED)/discrimination grounds. (Judgment)
- Windrush Lessons Learned Review - (With Katherine Apps) Instructed to assist the independent assessor, Wendy Williams, with her revisit of the Home Office’s progress in meeting the recommendations of her report into the Windrush scandal. (link)
- Abbasi v Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 1699 (Fam) - (With Vikram Sachdeva QC and Jack Anderson) Represented the Press Association in a case concerning the High Court’s jurisdiction to maintain (or impose) reporting restriction orders protecting the anonymity of clinicians and other staff providing care to a child following the child’s death and the Article 8/10 ECHR balancing act. (Judgment)
- Proposed challenge to remote education provision - Instructed by the Department for Education in relation to a proposed challenge to provision of remote education.
- Proposed consultation challenge - (With James Eadie QC) Instructed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in relation to a proposed challenge to a consultation on changes to the private parking regime.
Court of Protection and Medical Treatment
Rachel acts across the full range of Court of Protection issues, including health and welfare and property and financial affairs as well as serious medical treatment issues. She is experienced in urgent/out of hours applications, as well as more unusual applications including applications for committal following breach of an injunction. She contributes to the 39 Essex mental capacity newsletter and is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor, families, health bodies and local authorities.
Cases of note
- RKS v London Borough of Hillingdon - Application by P’s brother, who also lacked litigation capacity, to set aside a previous order permitting sale of P’s property by the local authority, on the basis that the property was held by P in trust.
- Re T - Application that surgery to remove cataracts was in the best interests of P, who had been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) and could not be safely discharged home due to cataracts causing bilateral blindness (Mr Justice Knowles).
- Re TH - Application for decision that surgery was in the best interests of P, who had sustained a compound fracture to his femur in opaque circumstances whilst non-compliant with anti-psychotic medication (Mr Justice Hayden).
- Abbasi v Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 1699 (Fam) - With Vikram Sachdeva QC and Jack Anderson) Represented the Press Association in a case concerning the High Court’s jurisdiction to maintain (or impose) reporting restriction orders protecting the anonymity of clinicians and other staff providing care to a child following the child’s death. (Judgment)
- Application for withdrawal of life sustaining treatment - Represented the father (pro bono) in a case concerning the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a child.
- Re MR: committal application - Represented the local authority on an application for committal of a person involved with P who had repeatedly failed to abide by injunctions restraining contact imposed by the High Court.
Inquiries and Investigations
Rachel is currently instructed on a number of high-profile public inquiries. She is junior counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, working on Modules 2 (manufacturers) and 6 (central government and testing). She is also instructed on the Covid-19 inquiry for a government department.
Rachel also worked on a major non-statutory investigation, the Windrush Lessons Learned Review. She was instructed by the independent advisor in relation to the revisit of the original recommendations.
Cases of note
- Grenfell Tower Inquiry - Rachel has been instructed as junior counsel to the inquiry since 2017, working on how the products used on the building were manufactured and sold (Module 2) and the regulatory regime and role played by central government (Module 6). She has written cross-examination for senior counsel to the inquiry and also conducted her own cross-examination.
- Inquiry into Covid-19 - Rachel is instructed by the Department for Education for the forthcoming Covid-19 inquiry.
- Windrush Lessons Learned Review - Rachel was instructed as junior counsel on this major non-statutory investigation, when the independent advisor returned to assess progress on her initial recommendations (reported April 2022).
Planning and Property
Rachel has substantial advisory experience in planning and environmental matters on behalf of both prospective claimants and local planning authorities (LPAs), including land classes and use of land orders, hazardous substance consents, variations to planning conditions and challenges to the grant of planning permission on environmental, landscape, heritage and flooding grounds, proposed s288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 challenges.
She has acted as sole counsel in a village green inquiry and also has experience of enforcement matters.
Cases of note
- Miskin Village Green Inquiry - Instructed by local community action group (through the Environmental Law Foundation) in relation to land at Cefn Yr Hendy.
- Proposed challenge to grant of permission - Instructed by the Secretary of State in relation to a proposed challenge on ecology/interpretation of policy/alternative use grounds to the grant of permission for 72 dwellings in Sheffield.
- Enforcement matter - (with Celina Colquhoun) Instructed in relation to an enforcement raising issues concerning mental capacity.
- Proposed consultation challenge - (With James Eadie QC) Instructed by MHCLG in relation to a proposed challenge to a consultation on changes to the private parking regime.
Regulatory and Disciplinary
Rachel has a growing regulatory and disciplinary practice and has acted for both registrants and regulators in cases before the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), General Medical Council (GMC) and Professional Standards Authority (PSA). She has also undertaken secondments at the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) and the Office for Students.
Cases of note
- Lau v Teacher Regulation Authority - Instructed by the Secretary of State in relation to a challenge to a decision of the Teacher Regulation Authority (permission refused).
- Proceedings in front of the HCPC - (With Robert Lazarus) Instructed by the registrant in a case concerning allegations of dishonesty arising from reports prepared in support of applications for immigration status.
- GMC v Seda - (With Robert Lazarus) Acted pro bono for the successful registrant in a case concerning allegations of dishonesty.