Gareth Mitchell

Gareth Mitchell

Background

Gareth Mitchell is a partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn. He is an expert in judicial review, claims for financial and other redress for failings by public bodies, and social welfare law.

Expertise

Overview

Gareth is a highly experienced litigation solicitor focusing on three main areas. First, bringing judicial review claims for both legally aided and privately paying individuals as well as for charities, CICs and other organisations. Second, helping people to secure financial and other redress for mistreatment, negligence, human rights abuses and/or discrimination by public bodies. Third, he is an leading expert in social welfare law – in particular housing law, community care law and social security law.

Gareth is committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for his clients by being accessible, hard-working and determined to succeed. He is recommended as a leading individual for his judicial review, civil liberties and social housing work in both the Chambers and Legal 500 directories in which he is described as: “hugely impressive, really hard-working, very bright and very good at spotting the issues”; “his attention to detail and level of analysis is just amazing”, “incredibly thorough and hard-working”; “leaves no stone unturned’; “extremely thorough and organised and a pleasure to work with”; “very well respected”; “bright, efficient”; “quiet, soft-spoken and cool”; and “genuinely cares about his clients”.

Gareth has been a Lawyer of the Week in The Times. He has been shortlisted for the Solicitor’s Journal Legal Personality of the Year Award. In 2017 he was shortlisted for a Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award.

Gareth is a part-time judge sitting in the Social Entitlement Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal.

Judicial review & public law

Gareth has many years’ experience in conducting judicial reviews and other public law challenges for individuals and organisations. He has a track record of success at all levels to and including the Supreme Court. This has included successful challenges in areas as diverse as public sector procurement, community care, further education, environmental law, social security, housing, planning, criminal justice, immigration, social security, pensions, and cuts of services by both central and local government. For several years Gareth was the author of the Solicitors’ Journal judicial review updates.

Detention & deprivation of liberty

Gareth is an expert in false imprisonment and/or deprivation of liberty claims, including related claims for assault. Much of his work has been in the context of immigration detention, securing orders for release and damages for unlawful Home Office detention. In addition, Gareth has particular expertise in claims concerned with the use of force by the Home Office and its contactors. Separate to this, Gareth acts for children and vulnerable adults who have been unlawfully deprived of their liberty, for example in hospitals or residential care settings. In doing so, Gareth is able to draw on his substantial mental health and community care expertise.

Failures to protect

Gareth is experienced in conducting claims for damages for failures to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect. Gareth is able not only to provide representation in claims for compensation – securing funds that go some way to enabling his clients to move forward positively with their lives – but also to ensure that their community, housing and other essential support needs are met on an on-going basis through the use of judicial review proceedings. Whilst most of Gareth’s work is for children and vulnerable adults in the community, he has also brought successful claims for failures to protect in custodial settings.

Discrimination & equality

Gareth is an expert in discrimination and equality law. He has successfully conducted a wide range of claims securing compensation and injunctions to remedy breaches of the Equality Act, both against private companies and local and central government. For example, he represented a Community Interest Company in a successful equality duty challenge to a decision to terminate a £2 million grant, he has used the Equality Act to secure the discontinuance of a prosecution by the CPS, and he has brought numerous successful reasonable adjustments claims for disabled people. Gareth also has significant expertise in discrimination claims based on article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and on EU law. He acted for Denise Brewster in her ground-breaking appeal to the Supreme Court where for the first time the Court upheld a complaint of unlawful discrimination on grounds of marital status. He has also used article 14 to challenge successfully the way reparations to Holocaust survivors are treated under for social security purposes.

Housing, destitution & social services

Gareth has conducted housing, community care and social security cases throughout his career. Previously he was on the executive committee of Housing Law Practitioners’ Association (HLPA). Gareth now focuses on claims of particular complexity, which benefit from his substantial litigation experience and meticulous approach. This includes more serious unlawful eviction and claims concerns with serious building defects, in particular those which benefit from his experience in bringing personal injury claims. He also acts in test cases challenging decisions to cut or restructure housing-related services. He has for many years been ranked as one of the leading housing lawyers in the UK.

Information and privacy rights

Gareth has experience of bringing successful defamation claims and claims for breaches of the Data Protection Act. In particular, Gareth is experienced in claims concerned with the retention and dissemination of false information by public bodies. He is also experienced in securing orders for the deletion or rectification of such information, as well as compensation for the damage that has been caused.

Other information

Gareth is an experienced trainer who provides training on all his main areas of practice. Gareth has written articles for the New Law Journal, Judicial Review, Legal Action, The Adviser and The Independent Lawyer on a variety of judicial review, social welfare law, and legal aid issues. Gareth is a member of the Administrative Law Bar Association, the Human Rights Lawyers’ Association, the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Courts Advocates and Amnesty.

Sample Cases

Significant cases in which Gareth has been the lead solicitor include:

Felix Wamala v Tascor Services Limited (QBD, High Court) – successful assault claim following 8 day trial against Capita subsidiary; torture survivor awarded £48,000 including aggravated and exemplary (i.e. punitive) damages

Denise Brewster v Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (UK Supreme Court) – successful human rights claim; establishing that cohabiting partners are entitled to survivor pensions on same terms as widows/widowers

Jones v Southwark Council (Chancery Division, High Court) – successful utilities overcharging claim; recovered £28.6 million for 48,000 current and former social housing tenants

N’Inwtaza v Home Office (County Court) – successful claim for Equality Act damages for mentally ill Rwandan refugee

C v Home Office (QBD, High Court) – substantial damages for false imprisonment of vulnerable young person

Guy Ngassa v Tascor Services Limited & Home Office (County Court) – damages for unlawful detention by Home Office; damages for injuries due to use of force against by Tascor officers

Cooper v Rochord District Council & Essex County Council (County Court) – substantial damages for failing to meet housing needs of wheelchair-using teenager

A parent v a local authority (QBD, High Court) – substantial damages for defamatory comments during child protection assessments

R (Kaya) v Director of Public Prosecutions (Admin Court) – judicial review using Equality Act to secure discontinuance of criminal prosecution

R (Project Salus) v Kent County Council (Admin Court) – securing for a community interest company the reversal of a decision to cut a £2m grant

R (Ofogba) v SSECC (Admin Court) – securing UK government’s agreement to consult on transposition of EU directive on energy efficiency

Sheridan v SSCLG (Admin Court) –overturning rejection of application for planning permission for alternative site for Dale Farm travellers

R (Wamala) v SSHD (Admin Court) – release of immigration detainee and agreement not to remove from UK pending determination of damages claim

R (Siwak) v London Borough of Newham (Admin Court) – public sector equality duty challenge to advice services cuts

Ofogba v London Borough of Southwark (QBD, High Court) – correct route of appeal in possession proceedings

R (Adams) v Commission for Local Administration (Admin Court) – successful judicial review relating to Local Government Ombudsman’s duty to report

MD (Angola) & othrs v SSHD (Court of Appeal) – important linked test cases on use of immigration detention for those who are HIV+

LS v LB Lambeth (AAC, Upper Tribunal) – judicial review where three judge panel allowed challenge of First-Tier Tribunal strike-out decision

HMRC v Ruas (Court of Appeal) – case concerning EU social security co-ordination rules; acting for the successful respondent

R (Coe) v Hastings Borough Council (Admin Court) – successful judicial review of unlawful planning decision for seafront art gallery

R (Brown) v SSDWP, SSBERR and Royal Mail Group (Admin Court) – judicial review of closure of 2,500 post offices; a leading case on what the public sector equality duty requires

R (Gargett) v LB Lambeth (Court of Appeal) – successful judicial review concerning discretionary housing payments

Tanya Barrett v LB Southwark (QBD, High Court) – successful appeal establishing the correct test for determining out-of-time homelessness appeals

R (Lin) v LB Barnet (Court of Appeal) – successful challenge to unlawful policy for allocating social housing to homeless families