Prior to qualification as a solicitor, my background was in the public and voluntary sectors, including local authority, mental health and women’s aid. I joined Stephensons upon completion of my law degree in 2006 and have specialised in community care, Court of Protection and Public Law issues arising from these areas ever since. I have also spent time in the housing, public law and criminal litigation teams.
I currently represent vulnerable adults and children with mental health problems, physical disabilities and behavioural problems, in obtaining lawful assessments, service provision, treatment and suitable accommodation from both social services and the NHS. In addition to challenging decisions to remove or reduce care packages and refusals to fund treatment, I also frequently represent clients lacking capacity who are in the midst of possession proceedings
I have developed a particular interest in representing vulnerable children in disputes with social services and have issued many successful Judicial Review claims with satisfactory outcomes, most of which have settled quickly by consent and without the need for a trial.
I also specialise in Court of Protection welfare matters and represent both “P” by a litigation friend (including the Official Solicitor) and family members in Mental Capacity Act disputes before the Court.
Court of Protection cases often address complex and sensitive issues including residence, sexual relations and contact, medical treatment decisions and deprivation of liberty and families are often unaware of their legal position in these types of cases. I am experienced in advising and representing parties in respect of best interests, capacity disputes and section 21A appeals against Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).
I also advise in respect of referrals to both the Local Government and Health Services Ombudsman.
I strive to provide information and knowledge to carers of vulnerable adults and children and currently assist advocates at OCD Action, Mencap and MIND charities.
Stephensons have the benefit of a Legal Aid contract for community care (including Court of Protection welfare matters) in both London and the Northwest.
Areas of specialism
- Community Care
- Judicial Review
- Court of Protection
What our clients think
“From the outset Melanie handled our daughter’s case in an expert but understanding way. She put her at ease and gave us the support and reassurance that we needed. We couldn’t have asked for better.”
“Good, quick, friendly and helpful service with good communication”.
“Reliable, friendly, very understanding, fair and professional”.
Cases of interest