I started a training contract in the Social Welfare department at Minton Morrill Solicitors in January 2018. I deal with cases involving housing, public law, community care and Gypsy and Traveller law under Legal Aid and Equality & Human Rights Commission funding.
Prior to starting my training contract I worked as a specialist caseworker with the Housing legal advice team of a large regional charity and was a volunteer Housing adviser at Darlington Citizens’ Advice Bureau. I have experience of representing clients facing possession action by private and social housing landlords, as well as advising on disrepairs, illegal evictions, and other housing matters. I also advise households who are homeless or threatened with homelessness and provide assistance with statutory reviews of Local Authority homelessness decisions. I regularly attend Leeds County Court as part of the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme, providing “on-the-spot” advice and legal representation for tenants and homeowners.
I have a keen interest in discrimination issues, particularly where they relate to mental health. The majority of my past clients have suffered from some form of mental ill health, which is often a root cause of homelessness and of issues which lead to loss of a home such as rent arrears, inability to navigate the benefits system, and mental health related anti-social behaviour. Failures on the parts of landlords and local authorities to give proper consideration to the effects of these disabilities or to provide support to the sufferer can lead to possession proceedings being brought inappropriately, or to incorrect decisions about homelessness duties, all of which are susceptible to legal challenge.
My training contract is part funded by a Justice First Fellowship from the Legal Education Foundation. As part of the Fellowship I am undertaking a research project aimed at improving the provision of “early intervention” housing advice for individuals who suffer with mental ill health. The goal is to establish a network of outreaches in accessible venues around the Leeds city area, supported by self-help resources, and to tap into the experiences of sufferers to develop public policy initiatives to support vulnerable individuals in insecure housing situations.
Graduate Diploma in Law (with Distinction) – the College of Law, 2012
Legal Practice Couse (with Distinction) – the University of Law, 2014
Justice First Fellow, 2017 cohort