Melanie Varey

Senior Associate Solicitor


Melanie is a senior associate solicitor and the manager of the Court of Protection and community care department.

Prior to qualification as a solicitor, Melanie's background was in the public and voluntary sectors, including local authority, mental health and women’s aid. She joined Stephensons upon completion of her law degree in 2006 and has specialised in community care, Court of Protection and public law issues arising from these areas ever since. She has also spent time in the housing, public law and criminal litigation teams.

Melanie currently represents 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, she also frequently represent clients lacking capacity who are in the midst of possession proceedings

Melanie has developed a particular interest in representing vulnerable children in disputes with social services and has issued many successful judicial review claims with satisfactory outcomes, most of which have settled quickly by consent and without the need for a trial.

Melanie also specialises 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. Melanie is experienced in advising and representing parties in respect of best interests, capacity disputes and section 21A appeals against Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

Melanie also advises in respect of referrals to both the local government and health services ombudsman.

Melanie strives to provide information and knowledge to carers of vulnerable adults and children and currently assists advocates at OCD Action, Mencap and MIND charities.

Melanie is certified by The Law Society as an accredited legal representative in the area of mental capacity (welfare).

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

Memberships and accreditations

  • Mental Capacity Accredited Legal Representative
  • National Committee of the Court of Protection Practitioners Association

What other say

"Stephensons Solicitors LLP's ‘background knowledge and experience in public law and social care is invaluable’. Melanie Varey is a ‘fantastic lawyer who has immense client empathy’. Varey specialises in advising parties on best interests, capacity disputes, deprivation of liberty and appeals against deprivation of liberty safeguards." - Legal 500, 2018

"Associate Melanie Varey has developed a niche practice representing clients in relation to decisions over the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment." - Legal 500, 2017.

"Key figures at Stephensons Solicitors LLP include ‘tenacious’ associate Melanie Varey, who provides ‘clear advice" - Legal 500, 2016.

What clients say

“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

Manchester City Council Legal Services v LC & Anor [2018] EWCOP 30

In the matter of Miss V, Court of Protection [2017] EWCOP 20

Staffordshire County Council v SKR - Where does care regime stop and deprivation of liberty begin?

Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Y and MH [2015] EWHC 1966 (Fam)

Staffordshire County Council v SRK & Anor [2016] EWCOP 27 (24 May 2016)

The Queen on the application of DM v Wigan BC [2011] EWHC 2175 

Melanie is a senior associate solicitor and manages the Court of Protection and community care department at Stephensons. 

The focus of community care law is on the welfare of children in need and the wellbeing of vulnerable adults and their carers to ensure that their needs are properly assessed and supported. 

Melanie has specialised in this complex, and often sensitive, area of law since 2006 and has developed a particular interest in representing vulnerable children in disputes with social services. She also specialises in Court of Protection welfare matters and represents both “P” by a litigation friend and family members in Mental Capacity Act disputes before the court.

She is also on the committee of CoPPA. CoPPA provide education and training with the aim to develop good practice in the Court of Protection and in the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.