Senior Associate Solicitor and head of public law

“…a first-class public law professional with a real eye for detail.”
Legal 500 2020

“There are no words to describe Helen Gill’s outstanding integrity and stoic but compelling and forthright manner in approaching the difficult legal hurdles that have to be overcome in achieving a successful and dignified resolution.”
Legal 500 2020

“an incredibly down-to-earth and intellectually strong lawyer. She is always bubbling with ideas and is very enthusiastic about helping her clients.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2020

“She is extremely enthusiastic and determined. She has an impressive knowledge of the law and a keen understanding of how to use it to achieve practical results.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2017

“Extremely enthusiastic and determined…’impressive knowledge of the law’ in disputes with the state and public bodies…”
Legal 500 2017 

“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 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). Helen is recommended in the Legal 500 in education law (individuals), administrative and public law (next generation partner), and civil liberties and human rights, and in Chambers and Partners for education law (individuals) (band 3).

• 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.

• County Court discrimination claims.
• Employment Tribunals.
• Appeals to the First-Tier Tribunal.
• 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.

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 and universities.
• 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.
• The refusal of a public body to comply with an order of the Employment Tribunal.
• Costs.

Notable Cases:

R (CP) v North East Lincolnshire Council [2019] EWCA Civ 1614

On appeal from the Administrative Court, the Court of Appeal held that the absence of CP’s educational placement costs from her personal budget in her Care Act 2014 care and support plan was a breach of the 2014 Act. The defendant Council was required to compensate CP for her accrued right to the cost of her placement.

R (Dr Catherine Mackenzie) v The Chancellor, Masters & Scholars of the University of Cambridge [2019] EWHC Civ 1060, 2019 WL 02526272

In which the Court of Appeal considered whether a re-engagement order made by an Employment Tribunal created an enforceable obligation on an employer to re-engage an employee.

R (B) v The Office of the Independent Adjudicator [2018] EWHC 1971 (Admin)

Judicial review of the OIA in which the Administrative Court held that the jurisdiction of the OIA is a matter for the Court rather than for the OIA, hence a claimant does not depend on a rationality review by the Court. In this case, the question of whether B’s breach of contract claim was related to the subject matter of his complaint to the OIA was held to be a question for the Court, not a question for the OIA. On the facts of this particular case, the Court rejected B’s argument that the contractual claim and his complaint were sufficiently different. Leon Glenister of Landmark Chambers was instructed.

R (CP) v North East Lincolnshire Council [2018] EWHC 220 (Admin)

Judicial review concerning social care provision for a disabled young woman, the right to education under ECHR, and the social care/education divide

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

UA v London Borough of Haringey (SEN) [2016] UKUT 0087 (AAC) Upper Tribunal Case No: HS/3596/2015

On the jurisdiction of the First Tier Tribunal to decide applications for costs

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.

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 8891 4488