Clerking team

Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty

Senior Clerk - Family and Court of Protection

Dan Johnson

Assistant Senior Clerk (Children)

Elizabeth Fagan

Junior Family Clerk

‘Laura is a calm and authoritative voice of reason. A tremendously insightful junior.’

Legal 500, 2024

Laura specialises in all aspects of Court of Protection law, with extensive experience in both the health and welfare and property and affairs jurisdictions.

Court of Protection

Laura is regularly instructed to act on behalf of the Official Solicitor, local authorities, NHS Trusts, ICBs and family members. She has experience of many aspects of health and welfare law in the Court of Protection, including serious medical treatment, Covid vaccinations, cases involving issues of coercion and control, challenges to contact arrangements, deprivation of liberty and best interests disputes. Laura has dealt with a number of complex cases, which have included disputes surrounding the correct legal framework for detention of an individual lacking capacity and the interplay between the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.

Laura also has extensive experience from her previous practice in the practicalities of day-to-day property and affairs management. She is instructed in cases where deputies or attorneys have had their appointments revoked for misconduct, financial abuse cases, disputes surrounding P’s capacity and to advise on the appropriateness of deputyship in individual cases. Laura regularly accepts instructions in financial Court of Protection matters, including contested proceedings involving deputyship appointments and removal of attorneys and deputies.

Recent cases

NYCCG v E (Covid Vaccination) [2022] EWCOP 15

Laura represented the (then) CCG before Mr Justice Poole in an application to have P vaccinated against Covid-19 which was opposed by his sister. The case was a notable judgment in which Poole J handed down guidance as to which dispute around vaccination should (and should not) be brought to court for determination. The case was reported on BAILII.

WU v BU, NC and A Council [2021] EWCOP 54

Laura represented the local authority with safeguarding responsibility for P. The case involved expert findings around the issue of coercive control, noted to be particularly insidious where a protected party is concerned. The court was also tasked with whether the threshold was passed for a forced marriage protection order in circumstances in which P had capacity to enter into a marriage. The case was reported on BAILII.

A Local Authority v AB (by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) [2020] EWCOP 39

Laura was instructed by the local authority in this case which considered the meaning of deprivation of liberty in the context of adults, one of the few cases to tackle this question since Cheshire West and Ferreira. The court was asked to consider the interaction between the two limbs of the acid test set down in Cheshire West to determine whether a person is confined. The case was reported on BAILII.

Re SB (Capacity Assessment) [2020] EWCOP 43

The second judgment in the case in which Laura represented AB, P’s mother, in a complex case involving questions of over P’s capacity. This judgment concerned an application to conclude proceedings without the instruction of an independent expert to conduct a further assessment of P’s capacity. The application was opposed by P’s mother. The case was reported on BAILII.

A Local Authority v AB and SB [2020] EWCOP 32

Laura represented AB, P’s mother, in a complex case involving questions of over P’s capacity in which the court was required to consider the likelihood of an improvement in P’s capacity over time, where her diagnosis was stable. The case was reported on BAILII.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust v PW [2019] EWCOP 10

Laura represented the NHS Trust in a case involving a lower limb amputation. The case served as an important reminder of the obligations on treating hospitals where an application may need to be made in relation to medical treatment. The case was reported on BAILII.

Lincolnshire County Council v Mr AB [2019] EWCOP 43

Laura represented P, through his litigation friend, in one of the first reported cases to tackle the legality of whether a protected party can and should be supported to access sex workers in a jurisdiction where it is legal to do so. The case was reported on BAILII.

Children (Public and Private law)

Deprivation of Liberty and Mental Health Act

Laura accepts instructions from NHS Trusts and ICBs in cases under the Children Act 1989 which involve complex issues around deprivation of liberty under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. Many of the cases Laura has appeared in have involved an interplay with the Mental Health Act 1983.

Recent Cases

North Yorkshire County Council v C and Ors [2021] EWHC 2171 (Fam)

Laura was instructed by NHS England in this case which concerned a 15-year-old girl, M, with highly complex needs and a significant offending history. She was assessed as requiring admission to a medium secure unit in order to meet her needs, however was accommodated at a secure children’s home which was acknowledged by all involved as not capable of meeting her needs beyond the very short term. MacDonald J handed down a judgment part way through proceedings as the case is yet another example of a matter coming before the courts where there is no mental health provision available to meet a vulnerable child’s needs. The case was reported on BAILII.

Inquests & coronial

Laura has a particular interest in inquests involving residents at care homes and hospitals who are deprived of their liberty under Schedule A1 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.


  • Court of Protection Practitioners Association (CoPPA)
  • Committee Member, Court of Protection Bar Association


  • BSc Psychology (Newcastle University)
  • LLB (The University of Law)
  • Bar Professional Training Course (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Legal Practitioners Course (The University of Law)
  • Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training