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about the Court of Protection
The Court of Protection department specialises in both the health and social care aspects of the Court of Protection as well as the financial aspects.
Switalskis Court of Protection team combine a wide range of expertise and experience to deliver high quality legal advice and representation on behalf of individuals with limited mental capacity across the Yorkshire region and beyond. The team deals with a variety of matters, including serious medical treatment, Court of Protection applications, deprivation of liberty challenges and community care matters.
As one of the North’s leading Court of Protection teams, they have also forged strong links with local and national charities and not-for-profit groups working in mental health and social care advocacy, as well as continuing to develop the team’s reputation as one of the top providers of legal services for mental capacity and social care matters.
Switalskis specialist team boasts legal professionals who are ranked in the Legal 500 UK guide to the legal profession for their excellence in healthcare law and are rated as having a “national footprint for COP matters”. Members of the experienced and dedicated team include Solicitor Advocate & Director, Alison Kaye, and Barrister & Director, Michael Kennedy, who is nationally recognised for his contribution in the field and leads the Health and Welfare team. The Property & Affairs arm of the department is led by highly regarded Solicitor & Director Alex Guy.
The legal professionals in the Switalskis Court of Protection team are:
- Michael Kennedy, Barrister & Director
- Alex Guy, Solicitor & Director
- Alison Kaye, Solicitor Advocate & Director
- Lindsey Rhodes, Solicitor
- Danielle Smithurst, Solicitor
- Caroline Hurst, Chartered Legal Executive
- Samantha Spain, Solicitor
- Stephen Williams, Solicitor
- Natalie Coates, Trainee Solicitor
- Emily Park, Paralegal
Michael Kennedy, Barrister & Director
Michael has been accredited by the Law Society, as a mental health law specialist, for approaching 20 years. Prior to practice, he was an Hon. Member of the Institute of Psychiatry (Forensic). He is a member of the Mental Health Lawyers Association Committee and a former Vice Chair.
Michael is also an experienced trainer and lecturer in his specialist field. He has provided training to a number of advocacy and support groups whose work requires up-to-date knowledge of mental health and mental capacity law. He is a Senior Associate Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, where he regularly contributes to courses for Best Interests Assessors and Approved Mental Health Professionals. He teaches at the Andrew Sims Centre, which involves the provision of legal training to Approved Clinicians.Michael has appeared for several years as one of the UK’s “Leaders in the Field” for mental health law in Chambers UK guide to the legal profession. In 2007 he was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the mental health category.
Alison Kaye, Solicitor Advocate & Director
Alison is both a Solicitor and a Higher Rights Advocate (Civil Courts), which means she can provide representation for clients before Courts at all levels.
Alison handles a range of cases dealt with at the Court of Protection and has particular interest in representing clients in Health and Welfare cases, including best interest decisions. Alison also represents clients dealing with challenges to Deprivation of Liberty.
As a member of the Law Society's Children Panel with considerable experience in child care law, Alison has a particular interest in the transition for young adults from children's social care into adult social care. This is often a critical time, when the package of support for that young adult needs to be properly assessed and put in place.
Lindsey Rhodes, Solicitor
Lindsey is a specialist in Community Care and Mental Capacity Law with a wide range of experience working in the public and not-for-profit sector in community care and welfare rights. She has been a trainer in community care law for public sector employees and social work students.
Lindsey re-trained as solicitor in particular because of her interest in furthering the legal rights of people with disabilities.
Lindsey regularly receives referrals from the Official Solicitor to act in Court of Protection matters, particularly in cases where there are welfare issues.
Lindsey was shortlisted for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards Health & Social Care category in 2006.
Danielle Smithurst, Solicitor
Danielle Smithurst qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2002, later qualifying as a Solicitor in 2012. Danielle joined the Switalskis West Yorkshire Court of Protection Team at the start of 2015.
As a member of the Court of Protection team, Danielle deals with a range of cases at the Court of Protection and has a particular interest in representing clients in Health and Welfare cases, including best interests decisions. Danielle also represents clients in relation to challenges to Deprivation of Liberty.
Caroline Hurst, Chartered Legal Executive
Caroline is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to act on behalf of clients who lack capacity to make decisions about their care, residence, sexual relations and contact. She has been successful in challenging deprivation of liberty in the Court of Protection, resulting in damages awarded to her clients. Caroline has also been involved in a number of reported Judgments in this practice area.
Caroline has a particular interest in representing the elderly, with conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Huntingdon’s and other medical conditions. Due to this interest, Caroline became a Dementia Champion through the Alzheimer’s initiative and provides Dementia Friends training to various group including charities and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Samantha Spain, Solicitor
Samantha Spain joined Switalskis in June 2015 and has over 8 years' legal experience, 4 of which have been spent specialising in Court of Protection work.
Samantha provides legal advice on matters in the Court of Protection relating to property and affairs, with a particular niche in assisting her clients with the management of compensation received from Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury claims. She also has expertise in Statutory Will applications, personal injury trusts and applications to appoint Lay Deputies.
As a Solicitor in both the Court of Protection and Clinical Negligence teams, Samantha works alongside the Clinical Negligence litigators to support clients who are often suffering the effects of serious brain injury and their families. She ensures that settlement funds are used to provide the best quality of life possible for her clients.
Stephen Williams, Solicitor
Stephen joined Switalskis Court of Protection team in 2015 and specialises in community care, health and welfare and mental capacity law. Originally based in the North East, Stephen has developed a strong reputation for this commitment and expertise in this complex area of law.
Stephen has previously acted on behalf of the Official Solicitor, as well as regularly working with Independent Mental Capacity Advocates and the families of vulnerable adults in cases in the Court of Protection under the Mental Capacity Act relating to their mental capacity, deprivation of liberty, health and welfare.
Stephen often acts for clients who have ongoing difficulties with Social Services and the NHS and other public bodies, advising clients on their rights in relation to healthcare and medical treatment, as well as other clinical disputes, with particular focus on cases involving issues around medical ethics.
Natalie Coates, Trainee Solicitor
Natalie joined the team in 2013 following the completion of her Legal Practice Course. Friendly and approachable, she frequently works with advocates acting as litigation friends.Natalie has a particular interest in cases with a deprivation of liberty angle, assisting clients who have learning disabilities or are on the autistic spectrum.Natalie has been shortlisted for the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards, Trainee Solicitor of the Year 2015. She has been involved with recent leading cases in the Court of Protection challenging best interests decisions and unlawful deprivation of liberty.
Emily Park, Paralegal
Emily is the CoP team’s “go to” for legal aid. She has vast experience of working in the area of legal aid and with vulnerable clients.
For expert legal advice on Mental Capacity Law and Health and Social Care Law, or to find out about our training services, contact the Court of Protection team on 0800 138 0458 or visit our contact page.