Associate Solicitor

“She has excellent writing and research skills and her communication with us was spot-on. She converted tricky legal points into layman’s language.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2016 

“sharp and resourceful”
Legal 500 2016

“really empathetic and an excellent lawyer.”
Chambers & Partners UK 2015

“Excellent.”
Legal 500 2015

“extremely enthusiastic in the best possible way. She doesn’t waste energy but is very energetic and switched-on about progressing cases”
Chambers and Partners UK 2015 

Helen qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and joined John Ford Solicitors in 2007. Since joining the firm Helen has been successful in representing clients in range of legal disputes. She acts almost exclusively for individuals in claims against the State, public bodies (including local authorities, Government departments, universities, schools and licensing bodies).

Education
• Permanent exclusions from school, including appeals
and Judicial Reviews.
• Judicial Reviews of Local Authorities.
• University appeals and complaints to the OIA.
• Judicial Reviews against Universities and the OIA.
• County Court discrimination claims.
• Breach of contract.
• Harassment.
• Special Educational Needs, including Appeals to the First-Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal.
• Student finance appeals and related Judicial Reviews.
• Human Rights Act claims.

Community Care
• Judicial Reviews of Local Authorities in relation to assessments and care plans, including the failure to provide services and the failure to assess.
• Judicial Reviews of Health Authorities.
• Judicial Reviews of Safeguarding bodies.
• Court of Protection.
Regulatory and Information Law
• Appeals to the Magistrates against refusals of licences, including taxi and security industry licences.
• Appeals by way of case stated to the High Court.
• Fitness to practise (including appeals and connected Judicial Reviews, e.g. for medical students, doctors, pharmacologists, nurses, teachers).
• Complaints to the Press Complaints Commission and connected proceedings.
• Appeals to the Information Rights Tribunal and connected proceedings.
• Complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Public Law
Helen has acted for individuals and groups in a wide range of Judicial Review cases, including cases which have been taken to the Court of Appeal, and would be happy to take instructions on any potential public law claim. Her experience includes:
• The application of the Equality Act to the student finance regime for students arriving from overseas.
• The legality of the withdrawal of a right of appeal.

• Unlawful unofficial exclusions from school.
• The failure of a health authority to comply with the requirements of the National Health Service Act 2006.
• The refusal of a Local Authority to allow access to fee-paying childcare services in its area as a result of a debt being unpaid.
• Prison law and connected Human Rights Act issues.
• Failure of Local Authorities to assess and provide community care services.
• Judicial Reviews of the OIA.
• School closures.
• Expulsions from university courses for, e.g, non-payment of fees.
• Human Rights Act claims including Article 2 of the 1st Protocol (Education) and Article 8 ECHR (private and family life).
• The failure of Local Authorities and Health Authorities to co-operate.
• The failure of safeguarding bodies to properly investigate complaints.
• The fairness of fitness to practise procedures.
• Adaptations to the home for disabled children and connected community care services.
• Costs.

Notable Cases:

Olukanni v John Lewis Plc [2017] UKEAT/0327/16/BA

Helen acted for the Appellant in this case dealing with the definition of disability before the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

R (JF) v London Borough of Merton [2017] EWHC 1519 (Admin)

Judicial Review on behalf of a disabled young man, in which the Local Authority’s assessment under the Care Act 2014 and its decision to move the Claimant to another residential placement were quashed

R (on the application of Mark Logan) v London Borough of Havering [2015] EWHC 3193 (Admin)

Judicial review challenging the Local Authority’s Council Tax Scheme which sought to charge all those of working age at least 15% of their Council Tax bill (including those with disabilities)

R (on the application of AT) v University Of Leicester [2014] EWHC 4593 (Admin)

Judicial review on the procedural fairness of fitness to practise proceedings at a University.

R (on the application of M) v London Borough Of Hackney [2014] EWHC 3470 (Admin)

The lawfulness of a community care assessment.

Pinnington v. Transport for London [2013] All ER (D) 95 (Nov)

A successful appeal by way of case stated against the decision of the Magistrates to remove a taxi driver’s licence, including an application for costs.

R v. the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education ex parte Duddle [2013] EWHC 4918 (Admin)

The duties of the OIA to comply with the Equality Act in dealing with complaints about universities.

R v. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills ex-p Arogundade [2012] EWHC 2502 (Admin); [2013] EWCA Civ 823

On whether ordinary residence for the purposes of the student finance regulations had to be lawful residence.

R v. Medway Council ex-p R [2010] EWHC 873 (Admin)
On suitable education.

Varma v. General Medical Council [2008] EWHC 753 (Admin)

Varma v. North Cheshire Hospital NHS Trust UKEAT/0103/08/ZT, UKEAT/0104/08/ZT

GMC appeal and connected Employment Appeal Tribunal concerning a doctor’s fitness to practise.

Career
Trained Anthony Collins Solicitors, Birmingham; qualified 2004; solicitor Anthony Collins until 2007; John Ford Solicitors 2007 to date.

Area of Specialism: Education law, Community Care, Regulatory Law, Public and Administrative Law, Discrimination, Human Rights Act claims.
Phone: (020) 8800 6464
Email: helen@johnfordsolicitors.co.uk