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Nick is a social welfare lawyer specialising in housing & community care, employment, criminal defence 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, disrepair and unlawful eviction, and has a special interest in running technical defences to Section 21 claims.
He also has a busy homelessness practice in county court appeals and 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.
- 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;
- 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;
- Bali v Manaquel Company Limited (Legal Action June 2016), Central London County Court – 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;
- 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.
- R (AR) v London Borough of Lambeth (2015) – succeeded in a contested application for interim relief in a s.188(3) judicial review.
Nick was a duty adviser at Lambeth County Court.
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 (AO) v London Boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth (2017) – both local authorities had refused to assess a homeless child who spent the days at school in one borough, and the nights on the floor of an office in the other (settled after issue);
- 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.
Employment & discrimination
Nick acts in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal, where he often appears for low-waged workers in the cleaning sector and other services industries. He works closely with a number of trade union branches and gives talks about legal developments at branch meetings.
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.
In 2011 Nick was awarded 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 at the International Association of Democratic Lawyers’ congress in Brussels.
- RA v ISS UK Ltd (2017), London Central ET – a claim based on what the tribunal described as the “ingenious proposition” of bringing a Wages Act claim against the ‘parent company’ of a corporate structure where the worker was out-of-time to claim unfair dismissal but had ongoing employment in one of the group’s other sectors (i.e. treating the dismissal as an ongoing unlawful deduction from wages);
- 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.
Nick is an experienced Free Representation Unit representative.
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 C (2017), Woolwich Crown Court – represented a defendant convicted of PWITS class A (street dealing), a third-strike burglary and a second-strike bladed article offence. Despite the mandatory minimums and four-and-a-half year starting point the defendant was sentenced to three concurrent suspended sentences and a drug rehabilitation order;
- 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 fundraiser. 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;
- R v U (2015), Ipswich Crown Court – defendant acquitted of sexual assault.
Nick volunteers with a Reprieve project preparing submissions for prisoners awaiting re-sentencing following the abolition of the mandatory death penalty in Malawi.
- BA (Hons) Law with Politics, University of Manchester
- LLM in Labour Law (distinction), King’s College London
- BPTC, Kaplan Law School
- Jules Thorn Scholarship, Middle Temple
- French (proficient)
- Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (executive committee)
- Housing Law Practitioners Association
- Criminal Bar Association