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Jamie Burton is a both a public lawyer and an experienced civil litigator, with particular expertise in human rights, discrimination and social welfare.

Jamie’s main areas of practise are human rights, community and health care, housing, social security, landlord and tenant and actions against the police.  He is head of the Doughty Street Community Care and Health Team and is a leading authority on the Care Act 2014 and children’s and migrant’s rights. Jamie regularly appears in the higher courts, including the Supreme Court, and has acted in many leading cases.

In Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Jamie acted for various bereaved, survivors and residents affected by the fire.

As a civil practitioner Jamie acts in human rights claims and other claims against public bodies in addition to contract, tort and landlord & tenant disputes.

Jamie acts for Claimants and Defendants and regularly advises public authorities on their policies and procedures in relation to their statutory and human rights obligations.

Jamie is also Chair and co-founder of ‘Just Fair’, a registered charity that works exclusively on human rights issues, particularly economic, social and cultural rights. Just Fair has had a significant impact on the public debate on human rights in the UK. It has produced several landmark reports on the housing crisis, food poverty and disability rights. Jamie represents Just Fair at the UN and in 2016 he will make submissions to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights about the UK’s compliance with its human rights obligations. 

Jamie sat on the Expert Panel of ‘Housing Rights Watch’ - a pan-European think-tank that works on housing and homelessness rights across Europe and UNICEF's Expert Group on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and assisted in the drafting of its landmark 2012 report on domestic incorporation of the Convention. He regularly advises charities and other NGOs about international human rights law.

In 2014 Jamie was invited to advice Oxfam on strategic litigation in Bangladesh and in 2009 Jamie spent six months working on welfare and environmental issues in India.  He was involved in a group action concerning the largest anti-poverty scheme in the world ("the Right to Food campaign") and assisted in various claims relating to environmental damage caused by mining in south India.  

For many years Jamie has presented seminars and given lectures on human rights law and judicial review and is an experienced public speaker.  Recently he has been invited to speak at conferences organised by Reb Law, Legal Action Group, Lawyers Without Borders, The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Public Law Project, Housing Rights Watch, FEANSTA, SOAS and the International Commission of Jurists.

He has written on human rights, public and housing law. Most recently he co-authored "Children in Need", published by LAG (see here) and Butterworths’ PI Litigation Service, Division XXIV ‘Liability of Public Authorities’ (see here).

What the Directories say

Jamie is recognised by both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 in the areas of Public/Administrative law, Community Care, Actions Against the Police and Social Housing:

‘Incredible knowledge of his subject. A real joy to work with.' - Legal 500 2018

"He is brilliant – he represents the high-water mark of what a client can expect from their advocate."

 “He is razor-sharp and incredible with clients - honest and realistic but incredibly sympathetic." "Particularly skilled in public law and policy challenges." 

"Has a very good legal brain. He always makes time to talk things through and you always know exactly what you're getting. Exceptional every time."

"He is excellent and incredibly committed to clients and the development of human rights law."

"An excellent advocate who is very committed to his subject area."

"He has encyclopaedic knowledge of social care law and he's in all the big cases." 

"A passionate advocate in court, who is particularly good at complex matters that require knowledge of capacity and community care issues."  

"An absolute authority on failure to investigate claims.”

Administrative and Public Law

The breadth of Jamie's public law work is considerable. He has acted in many cases concerning the provision of support and/or accommodation to vulnerable groups in society and has a thorough understanding of central and local government's responsibilities in all areas of the welfare state. He regularly advises on NHS continuing care, clinical provision, community care (including charging), clinical provision, children services, welfare benefits, homelessness, housing allocations and asylum support. He has been acted in numerous commercial JRs and advices public and private parties about public law disputes.

R (DA/DS) v. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Equalities Human Rights Commission & Shelter & Just Fair (judgment pending)

These appeals challenge the Government’s flagship welfare reform, the “benefit cap”, which places a single cap on all benefits a recipient can receive irrespective of their level of need.

Jamie acted as lead counsel for the Second Intervenor, Just Fair. Dan Clarke is junior counsel.

R (Liberty) v. Director of Legal Aid Casework [2019] (judgment pending)

Jamie acts for Liberty in this challenge about access to legal aid for homeless persons criminalized by Public Spaces Protection Order. The case raises serious issues about access to justice, civil liberties and human rights. Angela Patrick is junior counsel.

Seepersad (A Child) v Ayers-Caesar [2019] UKPC 7

The Privy Council dismissed an appeal against the decision of the Caribbean Court of Appeal which maintained the detention of a minor in an adult’s prison. Jamie was junior counsel to Richard Clayton QC and Anand Ramlogan SC.

R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 452 (Admin); [2019] 3 WLUK 12

The Government’s scheme banning landlords from renting to undocumented migrants was declared to be incompatible with Article 14. Jamie acted for the Claimant, led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC.

R (Gullu) v. London Borough of Hillingdon & Equality and Human Rights Commission [2018] EWHC 1937

This case concerned discrimination against refugees in the provision of public housing. It raises important issues about the extent to which residency requirements can be applied to refugees who by definition cannot choose which country they live in. An appeal in the Court of Appeal is pending.

R. (on the application of Underwritten Warranty Co Ltd (t/a Insurance Backed Guarantee Co)) v FENSA Ltd [2017] EWHC 2308

Jamie acted for the successful Defendant in a commercial judicial review arising out the Defendant’s status as a Competent Persons Scheme. The Claimant maintained that the Defendant’s decision making was unlawful and motived by the commercial interests of its parent company. The Defendant argued that its decisions had been legitimately and lawfully made, and, in any event, it was not exercising public functions when it made them. The Defendant was successful on all grounds.

R. (on the application of Davey) v Oxfordshire CC & EHRC & Inclusion London Court of Appeal [2017] EWCA Civ 1308; [2018] P.T.S.R. 281

This case is one of the leading cases on the Care Act 2014. Jamie acted for the unsuccessful Claimant.

Poshteh v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2017] A.C. 624

The Supreme Court dismissed the Appellant’s appeal and found that decisions about homelessness assistance under Part VII Housing Act 1996 do not engage Article 6 ECHR

R. (on the application of SG) v Haringey LBC [2017] EWCA Civ 322

This case established that local authority social services departments must provide accommodation to asylum seekers who have accommodation related needs for care and support and is also a leading case on the Care Act 2014.

R. (on the application of GS) v Camden LBC [2016] EWHC 1762 (Admin); [2017] P.T.S.R. 140

Jamie acted for the Claimant is this landmark case that established that local authorities may be under a duty to accommodate homeless migrants who have no right to be in the UK but cannot be removed

R. (on the application of S) v Essex CC [2016] EWHC 2145 (Admin); [2016] 7 WLUK 144

Jamie acted for care leaver in a claim concerning the division of responsibility between the secretary of state and the responsible social services department.

Further cases include:

  • Moseley v. Haringey LBC [2014] UKSC 56. The first case in the highest court to consider the public law on consultation. Jamie represented the successful Claimant who won 5:0 in the Supreme Court

  • R (Bake) v. Waltham Forest LBC [2014] EWHC 1027. The Claimant successfully prevented the closure of the soup kitchen in the local authprity on the grounds that it violated the public sector equality duty.

  • R (Buckley) v. Sheffield City Council [2013] EWHC 512. This case challenged the changes to Council Tax Benefit on the basis that the new laws failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty. Permission is being sought from the Court of Appeal.

  • R (Almeida) v. LB Kensington and Chelsea [2012] EWHC 1082 (Admin) High Court. This case concerned the right of severely unwell EEA nationals to receive healthcare and accommodation under s.21 National Assistance Act 1948. One of very few community care claims to be successful on human rights grounds. (Read more here)

  • R (Disability Law Service) v SoS Justice 2012 CO/8595/2011 Court of Appeal. This challenge was against the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill and in particular the withdrawal of welfare benefits from the scope of legal aid pursuant to the s.149(1) Equality Act 2010.  Jamie was against both a leader and junior. (Read more here)

  • R (Child Poverty Action Group) v SoS Work and Pensions [2011] EWHC 2616 (Admin) High Court. Child Poverty Action Group challenged Ian Duncan Smith’s reductions to housing benefit. Jamie was led by Martin Westgate QC. (Read more here)

  • R (Dyde) v SUA Magistrates Court 2009 EWHC 3011 Divisional Court. This case concerned the licensing of hire vehicles, test purchasing and entrapment.  Jamie was against a leader and junior.

  • R (Heffernan) v The Rent Service [2008] UKHL 58 House of Lords. This landmark case established that the government agency responsible for housing benefit, the Rent Service, acted unlawfully when setting local maximum rates of housing benefit nationwide.  Jamie was led by Richard Drabble QC. (Read more here)

Housing and Social Welfare

Jamie is a housing specialist and is recognised as a ‘star individual’ in Chambers and Partners.

In Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Jamie acted for various bereaved, survivors and residents affected by the fire.

R (Liberty) v. Director of Legal Aid Casework [2019] (judgment pending)

Jamie acts for Liberty in this challenge about access to legal aid for homeless persons criminalized by Public Spaces Protection Order. The case raises serious issues about access to justice, civil liberties and human rights. Angela Patrick is junior counsel.

R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 452 (Admin); [2019] 3 WLUK 12

The Government’s scheme banning landlords from renting to undocumented migrants was declared to be incompatible with Article 14. Jamie acted for the Claimant, led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC.

R (Gullu) v. London Borough of Hillingdon & Equality and Human Rights Commission [2018] EWHC 1937

This case concerned discrimination against refugees in the provision of public housing. It raises important issues about the extent to which residency requirements can be applied to refugees who by definition cannot choose which country they live in. An appeal in the Court of Appeal is pending.

John Romans Park Homes Ltd v Hancock Upper Tribunal : [2018] UKUT 249 (LC);

The appeal raised an important issue regarding the meaning of ‘protected site’ in the Mobile Homes Act 1983 and the Caravan Sites Act 1968. The UT decided a ‘mixed use’ site could be a protected site and therefore all eligible agreements were protected under the 1983 Act.

Poshteh v Kensington and Chelsea RLBC [2017] A.C. 624

The Supreme Court dismissed the Appellant’s appeal and found that decisions about homelessness assistance under Part VII Housing Act 1996 do not engage Article 6 ECHR

R. (on the application of SG) v Haringey LBC [2017] EWCA Civ 322

This case established that local authority social services departments must provide accommodation to asylum seekers who have accommodation related needs for care and support and is also a leading case on the Care Act 2014.

R. (on the application of GS) v Camden LBC [2016] EWHC 1762 (Admin); [2017] P.T.S.R. 140

Jamie acted for the Claimant is this landmark case that established that local authorities may be under a duty to accommodate homeless migrants who have no right to be in the UK but cannot be removed

R. (on the application of S) v Essex CC [2016] EWHC 2145 (Admin); [2016] 7 WLUK 144

Jamie acted for care leaver in a claim concerning the division of responsibility between the secretary of state and the responsible social services department.

Futher cases include:

  • NJ v. Wandsworth LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 1373. This cases concerned important issues regarding the entitlements of homeless women who have been subjected to domestic violence and in particular whether they can be said to have lived in refuge accommodation “as of choice” as opposed to of necessity.

  • Carauna v. London Borough of Lambeth [2015] successful defence of claim for possession on public law and Article 8 ECHR.

  • Ceballos v, Southwark LBC [2014] EWHC 1450 Appeal against a possession order

  • R (Almeida) v LB Kensington and Chelsea [2012] EWHC 1082 (Admin) High Court. This case concerned the right of severely unwell EEA nationals to receive healthcare and accommodation under s.21 National Assistance Act 1948.  One of very few successful human rights related community care claims. (Read more here)

  • Murphy v. Wyatt 2011 [2011] EWCA 408 Court of Appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal regarding the remit of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 has a significant impact on those who live in caravans on land that does not belong to them. (Read more here)

  • R (Child Poverty Action Group) v SoS Work and Pensions [2011] EWHC 2616 (Admin) High Court. Child Poverty Action Group challenged Ian Duncan Smith’s reductions to housing benefit. Jamie was led by Martin Westgate QC. (Read more here)

  • Lambeth short life property litigation 2011-3 County Court. Lambeth Council are seeking to evict several hundred tenants who have occupied buildings originally intended for development in the 1970s but which remain undeveloped. The case is very politically controversial and follows on from the famous case of Lambeth v Kay [2006] UKHL 10 which went to Strasbourg as Kay v UK(66746/01). (Read more here)

  • Affinity Sutton Homes Ltd v (i) The Personal Representative of Ernest Cooper (ii) Colin Cooper DJ Brett, Bromley County Court 17th October 2010. The Defendants successfully resisted possession proceedings in relation to their late father’s home on two distinct basis, namely that they had a contractual right to succeed to the property and that an eviction would represent a disproportionate interference with their Article 8 rights.  This is the only case in which an occupier who didn’t have a statutory right to succeed to a property was able to persuade the court that he an eviction would breach his Article 8 rights.

  • Bv.N aka Re N [2009] EWHC 2884 (Admin) High Court. The lead case on the powers of receivers to confiscate property obtained with proceeds of crime in which innocent tenants reside.  The court found that the tenant is entitled to remain in possession. (Read more here)

  • R (Heffernan) v The Rent Service [2008] UKHL 58 House of Lords. This landmark case established that the government agency responsible for housing benefit, the Rent Service, acted unlawfully when setting local maximum rates of housing benefit nationwide.  Jamie was led by Richard Drabble QC. (Read more here)

  • R (W) v North Lincolnshire Council [2008] ALL ER (D) 34 (Admin) High Court. The council was not entitled to use s.17 Children Act support where s.20 Children Act criteria were met.

  • R (Osei) v The London Borough of Southwark [2007] EWCA Civ 787 Court of Appeal. The case concerns the principles applicable to intentional homelessness in respect of foreign nationals who come to the UK to find work.

  • Slater v Lewisham BC [2006] EWCA Civ 394 Court of Appeal (2006) HLR 37:Times, May 3, 2006. Slater is the lead case on the meaning of “reasonable to accept” in the context of decisions to discharge homelessness duties.

  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets v Rahanara Begum [2005] EWCA Civ 116 (2006) HLR 9 : (2005) BLGR 580 : (2005) NPC 23 : Times, February 22, 2005 Court of Appeal. Article 8 and homelessness: this case was one of the first to deal with the relevance of Article 8 in mandatory possession proceedings.

  • R (Ho-Sang) v. Lewisham BC [2004] Legal Action July 2004 (Admin) High Court. In these proceedings against the council the Claimant sought an order requiring the Council to purchase additional housing stock to meet homelessness demand in its area.

  • Lambeth Borough Council v Forbes: R (Forbes) v LBC [2003] EWHC 222 (Admin) High Court Times, March 10, 2003. This was the first case that considered the introductory tenancies regime and in particular the circumstances in which the landlord must serve a second notice seeking possession.

  • R (C) v Lewisham Borough Council [2003] EWCA Civ 927 Court of Appeal. Times, August 12, 2003: Independent, July 10, 2003. This case remains the lead case on the exercise of the discretion to consider out of time requests for reviews of homelessness decisions.

Land and Property
  • John Romans Park Homes Ltd v Hancock Upper Tribunal : [2018] UKUT 249 (LC). The appeal raised an important issue regarding the meaning of ‘protected site’ in the Mobile Homes Act 1983 and the Caravan Sites Act 1968. The UT decided a ‘mixed use’ site could be a protected site and therefore all eligible agreements were protected under the 1983 Act.

  • Murphy v. Wyatt 2011 [2011] EWCA 408 Court of Appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal regarding the remit of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 has a significant impact on those who live in caravans on land that does not belong to them. (Read more here)

  • Lambeth short life property litigation 2011-3 County Court. Lambeth Council are seeking to evict several hundred tenants who have occupied buildings originally intended for development in the 1970s but which remain undeveloped. The case is politically controversial and follows on from the famous case of Lambeth v Kay [2006] UKHL 10 which went to Strasbourg as Kay v UK(66746/01).  Jamie represents a large number of the occupiers. (Read more here)

  • B v N aka Re N [2009] EWHC 2884 (Admin) High Court. The lead case on the powers of receivers to confiscate property obtained with proceeds of crime in which innocent tenants reside.  The court found that the tenant is entitled to remain in possession. (Read more here)

  • Affinity Sutton Homes Ltd v (i) The Personal Representative of Ernest Cooper (ii) Colin Cooper DJ Brett, Bromley County Court 17th October 2010. The Defendants successfully resisted possession proceedings in relation to their late father’s home on two distinct basis, namely that they had a contractual right to succeed to the property and that an eviction would represent a disproportionate interference with their Article 8 rights.  This is the only case in which an occupier who didn’t have a statutory right to succeed to a property was able to persuade the court that he an eviction would breach his Article 8 rights.

Community Care and Health

R. (on the application of Davey) v Oxfordshire CC & EHRC & Inclusion London Court of Appeal [2017] EWCA Civ 1308; [2018] P.T.S.R. 281

This case is one of the leading cases on the Care Act 2014. Jamie acted for the unsuccessful Claimant.

R. (on the application of SG) v Haringey LBC [2017] EWCA Civ 322

This case established that local authority social services departments must provide accommodation to asylum seekers who have accommodation related needs for care and support and is also a leading case on the Care Act 2014.

R. (on the application of GS) v Camden LBC [2016] EWHC 1762 (Admin); [2017] P.T.S.R. 140

Jamie acted for the Claimant is this landmark case that established that local authorities may be under a duty to accommodate homeless migrants who have no right to be in the UK but cannot be removed

R. (on the application of S) v Essex CC [2016] EWHC 2145 (Admin); [2016] 7 WLUK 144

Jamie acted for care leaver in a claim concerning the division of responsibility between the secretary of state and the responsible social services department.

Further cases include:

  • R (SG) v. Haringey LBC [2015] EWHC 2579 Jamie was successful in the first case under the Care Act 2014.  Permission has been sought form the court of appeal.

  • R (Almeida) v LB Kensington and Chelsea [2012] EWHC 1082 (Admin) High Court. This case concerned the right of severely unwell EEA nationals to receive healthcare and accommodation under s.21 National Assistance Act 1948.  One of very few community care claims to be successful on human rights grounds. (Read more here)

  • R (Ali Farah) v LB Haringey [2012] C0/11262/11 (Admin) High Court. In this case Jamie argues that medical needs can amount to “care and attention” and trigger a duty on behalf of psychologically unwell applicants to receive accommodation under s.21 National Assistance Act 1948.

  • R (Carvalho) v LB Hackney 2012 (CO 7298/2012). This claim on behalf of a 17 year old Brazilian girl who seeks accommodation and support in the UK under the Children Act on the basis that she is fleeing domestic violence from her father and mother.  She does not wish to return to Brazil.

  • R (Mohomoud) v LB Newham (CO/1106/2012) BC2 Case. This case concerns the acquisition of suitable community care services, including adapted accommodation, for a severely disabled wheelchair bound man and his family.

  • R (Pinchen) v LB Croydon. Claim relating to the failure by the council to provide a disabled facilities grant to Mr Pinchen or lawfully assess his community care needs.

  • R (Cordingly) v  LB Hillingdon 2012. Claim resisting the removal of a child in need from specialist foster care into independent living

  • R (W) v North Lincolnshire Council [2008] ALL ER (D) 34 (Admin) High Court. The council was not entitled to use s.17 Children Act support where s.20 Children Act criteria were met.

Equality and Discrimination

Jamie regularly advises and acts for individuals who maintain they have been discriminate against in the field of housing, social or heath care.  He also acts for NGOs and other not-for-profit organisations in respect of cuts to public services.

R (DA/DS) v. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Equalities Human Rights Commission & Shelter & Just Fair (judgment pending)

These appeals challenge the Government’s flagship welfare reform, the “benefit cap”, which places a single cap on all benefits a recipient can receive irrespective of their level of need.

Jamie acted as lead counsel for the Second Intervenor, Just Fair. Dan Clarke is junior counsel.

R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 452 (Admin); [2019] 3 WLUK 12

The Government’s scheme banning landlords from renting to undocumented migrants was declared to be incompatible with Article 14. Jamie acted for the Claimant, led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC.

R (Gullu) v. London Borough of Hillingdon & Equality and Human Rights Commission [2018] EWHC 1937

This case concerned discrimination against refugees in the provision of public housing. It raises important issues about the extent to which residency requirements can be applied to refugees who by definition cannot choose which country they live in. An appeal in the Court of Appeal is pending.

Further cases include:

  • R (Buckley) v. Sheffield City Council [2013] EWHC 512. This case challenged the changes to Council Tax Benefit on the basis that the new laws failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty. Permission is being sought from the Court of Appeal.

  • James v LB Wandsworth: Darwish v. LB Westminster 2012 CO/ 213414 Court of Appeal. These cases were heard separately but will now be heard together in the Court of Appeal. They concern important issues regarding the entitlements of homeless women who have been subjected to domestic violence and in particular whether they can be said to have lived in refuge accommodation “as of choice” as opposed to of necessity.

  • R (Disability Law Service) v. SoS Justice 2012 CO/8595/2011 Court of Appeal. This challenge was against the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill and in particular the withdrawal of welfare benefits from the scope of legal aid pursuant to the s.149(1) Equality Act 2010. Jamie was against both a leader and junior. (Read more here)

  • R (Child Poverty Action Group) v SoS Work and Pensions [2011] EWHC 2616 (Admin) High Court. Child Poverty Action Group challenged Ian Duncan Smith’s reductions to housing benefit. Jamie was led by Martin Westgate QC (Read more here and here)

Corporate Governance & Policy

Jamie has advised local authorities and health authorities about the interrelationship between their social and health care responsibilities.

Jamie has thus far only been asked to advise public authorities and has not represented them in litigation.

International Law

In 2009 Jamie spent six months working on welfare and environmental issues in India. He was involved in a group action concerning the largest anti-poverty scheme in the world ("the Right to Food") and assisted in various claims relating to environmental damage caused by mining in south India.

Jamie is also a member of the following expert groups: for UNICEF on the EU Convention on the Rights of the Child and for Housing Rights Watch on issues pertaining to homelessness in the EU.

Jamie acted for the claimants in an international tort claim arising from the alleged mistreatment of local inhabitants of Madagascar by an international mining company.

Mental Health and Court of Protection

Jamie regularly appears in the court of protection on behalf of protected persons, local authorities and the Official Solicitor.

Prison Law and Criminal Justice

Jamie has been instructed on numerous judicial reviews relating to prison conditions, the release of prisoners and issues arising out of the criminal justice system.  He advises both victims and suspects in relation to decisions of the CPS.

Currently Jamie acts for a group of inmates at Wandsworth prison in relation to the provision of inadequate healthcare.

Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities

Jamie has acted for claimants in actions against the police since he commenced practise.  He has particular expertise in the field of damages claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 arising from defective investigations into serious allegations regarding Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Recently Jamie successfully sued Staffordshire Police on behalf of a Claimant who maintained that the Police failed to investigate an allegation of rape adequately and as a consequence breached her Article 3 right to an effective investigation.  The case is the first to be determined at trial (T v Chief Constable Staffordshire Police CO/OBMO4476).

Freedom of Information and Data Protection

Jamie acts for Claimants and Defendants in cases which concern potential breaches of the right to privacy under Article 8 ECHR in the context of publications and campaigns of harassment.  He has intervened in criminal proceedings in order to protect the privacy of third parties and appeared in several judicial reviews which involved privacy and data issues.