Sam Jacobs

Year of Call

Sam Jacobs

Sam specialises in public law, civil actions against public authorities, and inquests.  He has been instructed as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and in a major Public Inquiry.


Sam's civil actions and inquest work arises primarily in cases involving police and prisons.   He is a contributor to the forthcoming Police Misconduct (Legal Action Group).


In public law, Sam is regularly instructed in community care and Children Act matters.  He has acted in high profile cases of SG v SSWP concerning the lawfulness of the so-called 'benefit cap', and Moseley v Haringey LBC on the law of consultation, both in the Supreme Court.

Administrative and Public Law

Sam has significant experience in public law.  His particular expertise cross general public law, community care, and issues arising under Parts 6 and 7 Housing Act 1996.  He frequently acts in urgent cases, including out of hours applications.  He has also acted in judicial reviews concerning the lawfulness of both IPCC and local investigations into police complaints.

His recent and ongoing work includes:

  • R (Hurley) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - challenge to impact of the 'benefit cap' upon carers in receipt of Carers Allowance (junior counsel)
  • R (SG) v Secretary of State for Work Pensions [2015] UKSC 16 - in the Supreme Court: lawfulness of the  'benefit cap' (junior counsel)
  • R (Moseley) v Haringey Borough Council [2014] UKSC 56  - in the Supreme Court: lawfulness of the public consultation regarding Haringey's council tax reduction scheme (junior counsel)
  • Buck v Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council [2013] EWCA Civ 1190 (junior Counsel) - in the Court of Appeal concerning a decision by an elected Mayor to overrule the Full Council and close libraries (junior counsel)
  • David James v Aintree University Hospitals NHS Trust [2013] UKSC 67 - in the Supreme Court: guiding principles in decisions regarding the withdrawal of life prolonging medical treatment (junior counsel)

Community Care and Health

Sam regularly acts in both child and adult social care matters.  He has a particular interest in issues arising under the Children Act 1989 and often acts in cases concerning the assessment of and services provided to Children in Need, the accommodation of children under section 20, and also of the services provided to care leavers. 

His work in adult social care frequently concerns the lawfulness of decisions as to meeting eligible needs.  He has acted in cases concerning those with autism and failures by local authorities to act consistently with the strategy made under the Autism Act 2009. He played a central role in Doughty Street's seminar series concerning the Care Act 2014. 

Sam's community care work is frequently complemented by having acted in a number of cases concerning Parts 6 and 7 Housing Act 1996, and thus his familiarity with the local authority housing duties.

Sam was junior Counsel in James v Aintree NHS Trust [2013] UKSC 67, a Supreme Court case concerning decisions to withdraw life prolonging treatment.

Inquiries and Inquests

Sam regularly acts in inquests, particularly concerning deaths in custody.  Recent inquests include Sermuksnis in which the Jury returned numerous findings of failures by a privately run prison relating to a prison suicide.  He also successfully opposed the police applications for anonymity in the inquest concerning the police shooting of Dean Joseph. He was instructed as junior Counsel for the Iraqi Core Participants in the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry chaired by Sir Thayne Forbes and had the role of cross-examining a large number of the military witnesses.   He often acts in associated private law claims made under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and Article 2.

Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities

A significant part of Sam's practise is private law actions against public authorities.  He is regularly instructed in police work, and is familiar with claims in false imprisonment, assault, misfeasance, malicious prosecution, negligence, and breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998.  He has expertise regarding claims arising out of the police use of search and seizure powers.  He is a contributor to the forthcoming Police Misconduct (Legal Action Group).

Sam also acts in a number of private law claims concerning prisons. He is familiar with Fatal Accident Act claims, particularly in the context of deaths in custody and Rabone type cases.

His recent and ongoing work includes:

  • T v Metropolitan Police (2015) - unlawful use of taser by police officers
  • W v Ministry of Justice (2015) - systemic failings in control and restraint by Young Offenders Institute resulting in two fractures to 16 year old
  • L v Ministry of Justice (2014) - prison failings to protect prisoner who suffered severe burns and cuts in an attack by his cellmate
  • C v Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2014) - liability of hospital relating to patient who absconded from mental health ward and committed suicide
  • S v Serco Ltd (2015)- prison failings relating to prisoner who committed suicide
  • E v Chief Constable of South Wales Police (2014) - misfeasance in public office of police officer and malicious prosecution
  • M v E (2014) - misfeasance in public office in police investigation of rape allegation
  • C v MOD (2011) - liability of MOD arising out of a 'friendly fire' incident between two British tanks on operations in Iraq
  • R v CC (2015) - breach of confidence by police in revealing details of informant to violent defendant in criminal proceedings
  • K v CC of Northumbria Police (2015) - breaches of Articles 5 and 6  ECHR relating to failures to afford a vulnerable person the protection of an appropriate adult

Equality and Discrimination

Sam has expertise in the area of equality and discrimination law.  He was junior Counsel in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in R(SG) v SSWP concerning the alleged discriminatory and unlawful effect upon women of the Coalition Government's so-called 'benefit cap'.

Freedom of Information and Data Protection

Sam has experience of Freedom of Information Act work in the Information Tribunal, of issues arising under the Data Protection Act 1998, and of claims in breach of confidence.

Recent and ongoing work includes:

  • Cole v Information Commissioner and Ministry of Defence EA/2013/0042 - relating to information concerning use of armed drones in Afghanistan, including the first public questioning of a British drones pilot
  • Jones v Information Commissioner EA/2014/0259 - relating to FCO correspondence in 1970s regarding the Bahrain ruling family
  • R v CC (2015) - breach of confidence by police in revealing details of informant to violent defendant in criminal proceedings
  • H v Gloucestershire County Council (2014) - breaches of Data Protection Act and breach of confidence in disclosure of sensitive report to a third party
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