Sonia practices the full range of housing law and undertakes judicial review work arising from all her practice areas. She has particular expertise with clients lacking capacity to conduct litigation and requiring Official Solicitor intervention and also in cases overlapping with Community Care, particularly concerning disability discrimination and compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and also possible intervention of the Court of Protection where capacity issues arise.
Sonia undertook pupillage at Albion Chambers (Bristol) before becoming a tenant at Central Chambers (Manchester). She joined these Chambers in 2006. Before pupillage, Sonia worked as part of the Travellers Advice Team at Community Law Partnership (Birmingham).
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Civil actions against the police
Sonia was initially a criminal defence specialist for 5 years with expertise in cross examination of Police Officers in ‘police assault’ cases. This has stood her in good stead for civil actions involving police misconduct including assault by police officers, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, negligence and claims under Human Rights and Equality Acts.
Defending Possession proceedings: In all claims including rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, succession, termination of joint tenancy, demolition, disrepair counterclaim. Setting aside orders, appeals, stay/suspension of warrants. Article 8 and public law challenges. Expertise in disability discrimination arguments under the Equality Act 2010.
Injunction/committal proceedings: Including ASBI and ASBO applications, expertise in defending clients lacking capacity to abide by injunctions/be responsible for breach.
GANGBOs: Sonia has experience of defending gang injunctions (Gangbos)and in particular breach proceedings. Through her previous experience in criminal law and her current civil practice she has particular expertise in dealing with such cases.
Homelessness: S204 appeals, gateway challenges, challenges to refusals to accommodate. High court applications for emergency injunctions.
Unlawful eviction/Breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment: For claimants including unlawful eviction, harassment, trespass to goods, trespass to the person, assault and harassment. Enforcement of judgments.
Costs: Including appeals to the High Court.
Sonia has particular expertise with clients lacking capacity to conduct litigation and requiring Official Solicitor and also in cases concerning disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Examples include:
- Injunction/committal applications where client lacks capacity to comply with an injunction order/did not have capacity at the time of breach of an order.
- Possession proceedings where clients who lack specific capacity to abide by terms of tenancy agreement/choose where to live.
- Possession/Injunction - clients who are disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 by reason of mental health problems/lack of capacity and against whom possession/injunctive proceedings are discriminatory.
Much of Sonia’s housing practice overlaps into Community Care and she regularly advises on related issues within housing proceedings such as community care assessments, care plans and compliance with the Equality Act. She also deals with best interest considerations and possible intervention of the Court of Protection where specific capacity issues arise.
Undertakes judicial review work across all her practice areas
MEMBERSHIPS & ASSOCIATIONS
Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC)