He is prepared to take on challenging and groundbreaking cases.

Legal 500 2014

significant expertise in housing law cases raising human rights and discrimination issues.

Chambers and Partners 2011

superb... immensely knowledgeable... [and] someone who 'consistently performs well beyond his years'.

The Legal 500 (2011-12)

One of the Future Stars of the Bar 2008

The Times

PERSONAL PROFILE

Alex has a wealth of experience in public law and especially in Human Rights related cases.  He has been counsel in significant cases in both the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, resulting in substantial changes in the law.  Throughout his career he has represented the disadvantaged against the State and public authorities seeking hold them to account.  

In housing law, Alex was counsel in several of the significant cases in both the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights that resulted in Article 8 ECHR being accepted as a potential defence of last resort.  His housing practice includes both residential housing and defending claims for possession of land occupied by persons without permission, whether anti-fracking protestors, homeless protesters or members of the Gypsy & Traveller community. 

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Human Rights, Public Law and Judicial Review

Alex has experience up to and including both the Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.  He has represented the occupants of land in some of the most significant cases on the scope of Article 8 ECHR.  

He is expert in cases involving the Gypsy and Traveller community, including declarations of incompatibility.  He is also familiar with planning inquiries, planning enforcement (in both the civil and criminal courts), associated challenges and mediation.   Between 2005 and 2011 he represented the residents of the “Dale Farm” site in Basildon, Essex, the UK’s largest unauthorized Gypsy and Traveller site.  He continues to represent members of that community in on going homelessness appeals.

Alex's wider practice includes challenges to police disclosure decisions in respect of enhanced criminal record certificates, quasi-public law challenges to decisions of regulatory bodies on behalf of their members, challenging LSC/LAA contracting and funding decisions, challenges to public procurement decisions, schools and education cases, taxi licensing decisions and provision of services and funding to the disabled.  Alex is, of course, very familiar with public law challenges to homelessness decisions including out of hours applications.

Housing Law

Alex has been counsel in some of the leading cases on the scope of Article 8 in possession actions.  He has extensive experience over a much wider range, including homelessness, housing allocation, unlawful eviction, disrepair and disability discrimination.   The latter is of particular interest to him for personal reasons.  He has experience in cases involving Houses in Multiple Occupation and of representing clients with mental health issues.

Local Government Law

Alex has challenged decisions in this area for many years, including planning decisions (on behalf of Gypsies and Travellers), advising on judicial review/human rights cases around school admissions and decisions as to whether or not to prosecute parents for the non-attendance of children at school.  He is currently instructed in a case seeking a declaration of incompatibility in respect of compulsory purchase legislation for Gypsies and Travellers.

Community Care and Court of Protection

Alex has experience of challenging decisions in this area including housing allocation for the disabled and the provision of funding for further education placements.  His expertise in judicial review and Human Rights is an obvious strength in this area.  He also accepts instructions acting for vulnerable parties in Court of Protection proceedings.

Regulatory, including regulatory crime

Alex represents and advises appellants in disciplinary matters against the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Teaching Agency.  He has substantial experience of conducting hearings before the General Medical Council.  This includes interim orders, fitness to practice hearings and challenges by way of judicial review.

He has regularly been involved in fatal accident cases involving the Health and Safety Executive as a result of company failures to safeguard employees or the wider public while at work.  

Inquests

Alex’s practice covers both inquests themselves and consequential applications for judicial review. A number of inquests have included arguments about the appropriateness of holding an Article 2 inquest, and the scope of Article 2 and Jamieson-style inquests where Article 2 does not apply.  Alex also has experience of challenging coronial decisions in respect of Article 2. 

He appeared in the successful claim for violation of Article 3 ECHR arising from treatment of deceased in custody in McGlinchey v United Kingdom (2003) 37 EHRR 41.

REPORTED CASES

European Court of Human Rights

  • Connors v United Kingdom  [2005] 40 EHRR 9; [2004] HLR 52: lack of security of tenure for Gypsies & Travellers, Article  8 ECHR.
  • McGlinchey v United Kingdom   (2003) 37 EHRR 41: violation of Article 3 ECHR arising from treatment of Ms McGlinchey in custody prior to her death.

Supreme Court and House of Lords

  • Doherty & Others v Birmingham City Council  [2008] UKHL 57; [2009] 1 AC 367: Availability of Article 8 ECHR as a defence to possession proceedings.  Public law defences in the county court.
  • Kay & Others v Lambeth LBC; Price & Others v Leeds CC  [2006] UKHL 10; [2006] 2 AC 465: Obligation to give practical recognition to the principles set out in the Strasbourg case law.  The availability of Article 8 ECHR as a defence to possession proceedings.

Court of Appeal

  • Sheridan & Others v Basildon BC  [2012] EWCA Civ 335; [2012] HLR 29: “Suitability” of challenge to offers of “bricks and mortar” accommodation to Gypsies & Travellers.
  • R (McCarthy) v Basildon DC  [2009] EWCA Civ 13: public law challenge to decision to evict residents of “Dale Farm” in Basildon.
  • Dunn & Another v Bradford MDC; Marston & another v Leeds CC  [2002] EWCA Civ 1137; [2003] HLR 15: meaning of “execution of the order” within s85(2) Housing Act 1985. Estoppel.

High Court

  • R (on the application of RK) v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police & Disclosure & Barring Service  [2013] EWHC 1555 (Admin): quashing decision of Chief Constable to disclose allegations of sexual assault by pupils against former teacher following his acquittal by a jury.

RECOMMENDATIONS

"He is prepared to take on challenging and groundbreaking cases."  Legal 500 2014

'significant expertise in housing law cases raising human rights and discrimination issues.'  Chambers and Partners 2011

'superb', 'immensely knowledgeable', and someone who 'consistently performs well beyond his years'. The Legal 500 (2011-12)

One of the “Future Stars of the Bar 2008”  The Times

PUBLICATIONS & SEMINARS

Contributing editor to  Cohabitation: Law & Precedents , Sweet & Maxwell, 2011 – 2013

MEMBERSHIPS & ASSOCIATIONS

Chairman, Harehills and Chapeltown Law Centre, Leeds: 1999 – 2004.

Young Barrister of the Year, Yorkshire Lawyer Awards, 2002.

Legal Action Group