Nick is a social welfare lawyer specialising in housing & community care, criminal defence, employment and public law. He is committed to legal aid work and cases with a human rights dimension.
He has worked at a number of UN agencies and international NGOs, and was a caseworker in law centres before becoming a barrister. Solicitors have described him as “intelligent and dedicated” and “friendly and approachable”. He accepts direct access cases.
Nick specialises in representing tenants and homelessness applicants. He has an excellent knowledge of possession and disrepair, and has a special interest in running technical defences to Section 21 claims.
He is also an experienced advocate in the homelessness field. Since joining 1MCB in 2015 he has had a busy practice advising and representing in couty court appeals, and he appears in the High Court in homelessness and community care judicial reviews.
Before becoming a barrister Nick worked as a housing caseworker at Brixton Advice Centre and Brighton Housing Trust, and as a volunteer at South West London Law Centres. He was a duty adviser at Lambeth County Court. Through his involvement in local housing campaigns and work at law centres Nick has direct experience of the housing office, and is well-placed to advise on practical considerations in homelessness cases.
He provides training to housing solicitors and caseworkers and is very happy for firms and law centres to approach him with requests for seminars.
- R (AR) v London Borough of Lambeth (2015) – succeeded in a contested application for interim relief in a s.188(3) judicial review;
- R (AU) v London Borough of Lambeth (2016) – succeeded in a homelessness appeal on the correct application of the ‘priority need’ test in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Hotak, Johnson & Kanu. The appellant suffered from asthma and depression.
- Bali v Manaquel Company Limited, ('Legal Action' June 2016) – a novel technical defence to a possession claim that succeeded on appeal (commentary here);
- R (JO) v Hertsmere Borough Council (2016) – the local authority had issued a negative priority need decision and refused to accommodate pending review. On receiving counsel’s draft statement of facts and grounds challenging the refusal to provide interim accommodation the local authority not only agreed to accommodate, but withdrew its priority need decision;
- Rodrigues v Lambeth (2017) - a successful appeal on whether an applicant was homeless. The local authority had failed to take into account the hazardously small size of the appellant's accommodation, failed to make adequate inquiries into whether the applicant could climb the stairs, and relied on generic 'medical guidance' which it had failed to disclose;
- Thomas v Lambeth (2017) - a homelessness appeal in which the court criticised NowMedical for its inadequate reports, which (wrongly) based their advice on the fact that the applicant didn't suffer from more serious forms of mental ill-health.
Nick is frequently involved in bringing claims relating to children’s rights and adult social care. He has an excellent grasp of the eligibility criteria and substantive rights under the Children Act and Care Act, as well as a strong tactical insight into local authority decision making.
- R (O) v London Borough of Lewisham (2016) – advising a ‘no recourse to public funds’ family on whether new information provided had ‘triggered’ a new urgent assessment in the last few hours before the local authority’s offices closed for Christmas;
- R (MM) v London Borough of Lambeth (2016) – application for interim relief (assessments under the Care Act and Children Act and interim accommodation) granted on the papers;
- R (TJ) v London Borough of Lambeth (2016) – advising in a complex inter-connected immigration, welfare benefits, housing and community care case where the family had lost its eligibility for mainstream benefits;
- R (AN) v London Borough of Lambeth (2016) – advising in a proposed judicial review concerning the local authority’s power to use s.17 of the Children Act to prevent eviction where a family was subject to the benefits cap.
Nick has a busy criminal defence practice. During pupillage he focused on crime and developed strong advocacy skills. His experience working in law centres has given him excellent client care skills. He has a particular interest in protest cases.
In 2012 Nick worked as a pro bono legal assistant on the standby defence team for Radovan Karadzic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
- R v U (2015), Ipswich Crown Court – defendant acquitted of sexual assault.
- R v S (2016), Woolwich Crown Court – four-day robbery/burglary where the Crown’s witnesses had complex learning difficulties and gave evidence through intermediaries.
- R v Q & Others (2016), Blackfriars Crown Court – representing two of six co-defendants in a high value drugs importation confiscation matter.
- R v W (2016), Bristol Magistrates' Court - W was charged with obstructing an officer. He was the only person charged after a police operation, which involved CS spray, tasers and dogs, at an anti-fascist fundaiser. No evidence was offered after the prosecution admitted on the day of trial that the police had taken footage, which had been placed on the wrong file and not disclosed.
Nick has particular expertise in trade union law: he previously worked at the UN's International Labour Organization in Geneva where he researched and reported on national systems of social dialogue and labour inspection; and at the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) monitoring labour rights violations and giving technical advice and legal guidance to trade unions and NGOs. He works closely with a number of trade union branches and gives talks about legal developments at branch meetings.
He is experienced at representing workers in the Employment Tribunal in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. He is an experienced Free Representation Unit representative and continued to accept instructions in employment matters when he began practice. As a pupil Nick assisted in Henderson v GMB - a case about discrimination on the grounds of political belief ('left-wing democratic socialism') - which is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal.
In 2011 Nick was awared an LLM with distinction in labour & employment law. His research focused on the causes of the poor legal protection of labour rights in the UK. He has written about employment law for the journal 'International Union Rights' and 'Socialist Lawyer' magazine (of which he is now the editor) and delivered a paper on the right to strike at the International Association of Democratic Lawyers’ congress in Brussels.
- AG v Julius Rutherfoord (2017), London Central ET - three-day race discrimination final hearing.
- HL v BMG Properties (2017), London Central ET - succeeded in an out-of-time application to set aside an 'unless order' that had resulted in strike-out.
French - proficient
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (executive committee)
Housing Law Practitioners Association
Criminal Bar Association
BA (Hons) Law with Politics, University of Manchester
LLM in Labour Law, King’s College London
BPTC, Kaplan Law School
'Socialist Lawyer' magazine: http://www.haldane.org/socialist-lawyer/