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Called to the Bar in March 2015, Sophy qualified as a solicitor in 1989. She was a founding partner at award-winning firm Miles and Partners LLP where she led the mental health and capacity team for 16 years, before becoming a consultant in 2012.  As a solicitor she has been involved in significant human rights cases brought under the inherent jurisdiction and in the Court of Protection (JE v DE and others,[2006] EWHC 3459 (Fam); Hillingdon v Neary [2011] EWHC 3522 (COP)).

Sophy has a busy and varied Court of Protection practice which includes personal welfare, international adult protection, medical treatment and property cases, as well as challenges against deprivation of liberty authorisations.  She advises in all areas of mental health law, where her long experience as a mental health solicitor gives her a practical understanding of the issues.  She acts in displacement of nearest relative applications; complex Tribunals; and disputes over entitlement to after-care.   She is frequently instructed on behalf of vulnerable adults and their families, and increasingly by statutory bodies as well. Sophy appeared in N v ACCG [2017] UKSC 22 (led by Doughty Street’s Aswini Weereratne QC), where the Supreme Court considered the role and powers of the Court of Protection.

Sophy regularly advises on public law challenges.  In R (C ) v (1) First Tier Tribunal, (2) Tribunal Procedure Committee and (3) The Lord Chancellor [2016] EWHC 707 (Admin) Sophy established that the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum) had the power to appoint a litigation friend for C, who lacked capacity to conduct his case before the Tribunal as a result of severe mental illness.  She regularly advises on challenges to decision-making under the Care Act, particularly in cases concerning vulnerable prisoners. 

Sophy undertakes civil actions under the Human Rights Act, usually concerning unlawful detentions in hospitals or care homes.  She has acted for NGOs in interventions in Strasbourg applications in relation to Article 5.

Sophy is instructed in Article 2 inquests which arise from deaths in psychiatric or social care settings, as well as in Parole Board cases. 

She is an accredited mediator (Regent’s University London).

Sophy is an active member of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee.  She regularly writes and trains on the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capacity Act and on the Court of Protection.

Recommended in Legal 500 2015 (Court of Protection): ‘fearsomely intelligent, but also wonderfully down to earth, and her quiet comments carry far more weight than any amount of bombast from other lawyers'.

Chambers and Partners 2017: "She is extremely thorough, very responsive and very good with clients. Her cases are often reported, so she is at the cutting edge of legal developments." "She's incredibly knowledgeable and respected."

Publications

Sophy writes regularly for our Legal Insights series - click here to read her posts; topics considered by other authors can be found by clicking here.

Co-author: Court of Protection Handbook, published by Legal Action Group in April 2014, 2nd edition forthcoming in late 2016.

Co-author: Mental Health Tribunal Handbook, published by Legal Action Group in April 2015.

Regular writer for Legal Action magazine.

Contributed to Deprivation of Liberty- A Practical Guide, issued by the Law Society, April 2015.

Appointments

Fee-paid Judge of the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) (appointed 2005).

Court of Protection / Inherent Jurisdiction cases
  • N v ACCG [2017] UKSC 22 

  • JE v DE and others [2006] EWHC 3459 (Fam): Sophy was the solicitor for the applicant in this seminal case about the article 5 rights of an incapacitated man in a nursing home.

  • Hillingdon v Neary [2011] EWHC 1377(COP).  Sophy was the solicitor for the Official Solicitor who successfully argued for findings that Steven Neary’s Article 5 and 8 rights were violated by the local authority.

Mediation

Called to the Bar in March 2015, Sophy qualified as a solicitor in 1989. She was a founding partner at award-winning firm Miles and Partners LLP where she led the mental health and capacity team for 16 years, before becoming a consultant in 2012. As a solicitor she has been involved in significant human rights cases brought under the inherent jurisdiction and in the Court of Protection.

Sophy became an accredited mediator with Regents University, London, in 2014. She finds her mediation skills invaluable in many aspects of her work. Sophy has a busy practice in the Court of Protection where she is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor as litigation friend of “P”, the individual lacking capacity.  Because cases being brought under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 can concern decisions in any areas of life, cases in the Court of Protection can concern accommodation, contact with others, medical treatment, and property and affairs.  

Mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution are increasingly encouraged in the Court of Protection where a case may come to court after relationships between, perhaps, the family of a disabled person and the statutory bodies, have deteriorated over many years. In other cases, there may be conflicts within families about who is best placed to care for a vulnerable relative. Sophy is frequently instructed in cases where the dynamics between the parties have become complex. By the time the case reaches court, participants in the litigation may feel undervalued and mistrustful of each other. Sophy’s approach to ADR is to ensure that all participants are truly listened to, rather than commented upon or judged. She finds that there is often a possibility of finding common ground in the most intractable cases.

As a member of the mediation team at DSC Sophy is keen to use her mediation and ADR skills in other areas of litigation. As a former managing partner in a legal aid firm, she is particularly interested in expanding her practice into workplace disputes.

To discuss instructing Sophy in a mediation please contact Neil Goodwright at n.goodwright@doughtystreet.co.uk or 020 7400 9070.