Sarah Ricca

Sarah Ricca

Background

Sarah Ricca is one of the founding partners of Deighton Pierce Glynn.  She trained and qualified as a solicitor at Simons Muirhead & Burton in 1995. She later joined Hickman and Rose where she specialised in actions against the police and became a partner. She moved to Deighton Guedalla as a partner in 2008.

Expertise

In the Chambers legal directory Sarah is ranked in category one in police law. She is described as “an absolutely fantastic solicitor. She’s completely committed and really on the ball, and she’s also fantastic with clients”.

Sarah has significant expertise in all areas of litigation relating to the criminal justice system and issues of civil rights and liberties and in representing victims of crime as well as prisoners and victims of police misconduct.

Sarah represents victims of crime in cases concerning the right to equal protection from the law. She represented the family of Colette Lynch, in what is believed to be the first inquest to consider the state’s article 2 obligations to protect women facing domestic violence. The jury found that a series of failings by the police, social services and mental health services contributed to the death of this young woman at the hands of her violent partner. Prior to the inquest, two police officers were disciplined in the first ever public police misconduct hearing.

She has represented victims of disability hate crime and their families who are failed by the police, social services and other authorities. She has brought public and private law claims for women subjected to sexual violence who have been failed by the criminal justice system.

One of Sarah’s areas of interest is representing prisoners, who are vulnerable because of their age or because of a mental impairment, in claims for discrimination and for failure to protect them from physical and sexual abuse by other inmates.

Sarah has acted for a number of families whose loved ones have died in prison or in police custody.  These cases involve assisting the family through the investigative stage, the decision whether to bring disciplinary and/or criminal charges, the inquest process and civil proceedings seeking damages and/or a declaration for any wrong doing.  She is especially sought after to represent the families of young people and women who have died in prison.

Sarah has acted for protestors in successful civil claims against the police for assault, false imprisonment, misfeasance, malicious prosecution and human rights and Equality Act breaches. She has brought successful claims against the Ministry of Justice on behalf of prisoners for various abuses by prison officers, including assaults, breaches of human rights and disability and race discrimination. Sarah also has expertise in cases concerning immigration detention, bringing a number of successful claims for assault, false imprisonment and human rights breaches.

Sarah receives referrals from a number of charities and campaigning organisations, including those campaigning for abused women, vulnerable young people in prison and immigration detainees.

She is a longstanding member of the Police Action Lawyers Group which she chaired from 1998 to 2012. She is also a member of Inquest Lawyers’ Group.

Sample Cases

Inquest into the death of Rachael and Auden Slack – represented the family of Rachael and her two year old son Auden who were killed by Auden’s partner Andrew Cairns; the jury found failings by the police contributed to the killings.

M v Chief Constable Gwent Police and Chief Constable South Wales police – represented Refuge and Liberty as intervenors in the Supreme Court in a challenge inter alia to the police immunity from suit in negligence.

J v Home Office – successful claim by prisoner in relation to a rape in prison. The claimant secured compensation, a detailed apology and a meeting with senior prison staff to see that lessons had been learned.

R(NXT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department – represented the Children’s Commissioner as intervenor in a successful judicial review concerning the duty to safeguard the welfare of children in immigration detention.

J v Home Office – successful claim by prisoner in relation to a rape in prison. The claimant secured compensation, a detailed apology and a meeting with senior prison staff to see that lessons had been learned.

A v Home Office – successful claim by Muslim prisoner for race discrimination. The claim concerned sustained discriminatory treatment and victimisation for an articulate inmate who fought for the rights of other Muslim prisoners. He secured compensation, an apology and meetings with prison officials to air his grievances and see that lessons were learned.