Clare Jennings

Clare Jennings

Director and Head of Public Law and Community Care

E: Clare@matthewgold.co.uk

Heading up the firm’s Public Law and Community Care practice, Clare has over 8 years of experience representing individuals and NGOs in public law challenges. She has a broad practice encompassing judicial review and human rights, community care, discrimination and information law.

Clare was the winner of the 2016 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in the Children’s Right category for her work acting for migrant children in public law challenges. She is a recommended lawyer in the 2017 Legal 500 where she is described as “a fearsome fighter”. She is also recognised as “a very committed and able lawyer” in the 2018 Chambers & Partners.

Clare has a wide breadth of experience in challenging state decisions, and in particular, strategic challenges aimed at bringing about policy changes. Clare has acted in claims against local authorities, central government departments, local authorities, the NHS and the Ombudsman.

Clare has particular expertise in judicial review challenges concerning migrant rights, especially in matters concerning local authority support to migrant children whose parents are excluded from claiming welfare benefits. Clare also specialises in acting for migrant adults, including survivors of domestic violence and those with serious mental health conditions in relation to support from local authorities under the Care Act 2014. She also had experience of challenging NHS service provision and charging decisions, student fees and loans and asylum support decisions.

Clare also specialises in judicial review challenges against the police, in particular, challenges concerning data retention, disclosure and data protection issues. She has considerable experience of advising and representing clients in relation to DBS (formally CRB) disclosure decisions and police retention of personal and biometric information, as well as decisions to arrest and administer police cautions.

Clare is also experienced in a wide range of other public law cases including challenging funding cuts decisions, closure of services and welfare benefits decisions.

Clare joined MG & Co in July 2013 from the Public Law Project (“PLP”), a leading legal charity and the Guardian Charity Award winner 2012. At PLP, she spent just under 2 years acting for disadvantaged individuals and groups in judicial review and human rights test cases.

Prior to this Clare spent three years in the Public Law and Human Rights team at Bindmans LLP where she qualified as a solicitor and assisted Partners on numerous high profile public law challenges.

Clare also spent just under 3 years at the NSPCC as their Data Protection Officer, advising on all aspects of information law compliance.

Clare completed a MSc. in Political Science (International Relations) with distinction in 2005 and before that studied Law with American Studies as the University of Sussex and UC Berkeley.

Clare is currently a Trustee and founding member of Project 17, a charity that works to end destitution among migrant children by providing advice and assistance on accessing support from social services.

Experience

Clare has significant experience of conducting judicial review and human rights litigation against a wide variety of state-actors. She has particular expertise in the following areas:

Migrant Rights issues

Clare has particular expertise in acting for Claimants in judicial review challenges concerning migrant rights issues. Cases include:

  • The Queen (on the application of OK and others) v LB Barking and Dagenham [2017] EWHC (Admin) 2092 – a successful challenge to LB Barking and Dagenham’s decision that the children were not “in need”, and the consequential refusal to provide accommodation leaving the family homeless. The local authority’s assessments were held to be unlawful and irrational and the Claimants were subsequently provided with accommodation and financial assistance.
  • The Queen (on the application of Project Seventeen) v LB Lewisham [2015] – a challenge to the Mayor of Lewisham’s decision to extend its pilot scheme which had introduced an eligibility criteria for s.17 assessments of the families with No Recourse to Public Funds. Following notice of the claim LB Lewisham introduced new guidance which substantially altered the criteria applied in the assessments and addressed Project 17’s concerns. The claim was settled pre-trial.
  • Challenges to the suitability of accommodation provided by local authorities resulting in the provision of alternative accommodation.
  • Successful challenges to refusals to assess on the basis that another local authority was responsible.
  • Acting for families challenging the lawfulness of local authority policies in relation to the level of subsistence provided to families with NRPF, resulting in a review of policy and an increase in subsistence.
  • Successful challenges to local authority findings that children were not in need for the purposes of s.17 of the Children Act 1989.
  • Successful challenges to decisions to charge migrants for NHS services, resulting in charges being cancelled.
  • Challenging regulations excluding Zambrano carers from claiming welfare benefits and housing assistance.
  • Successful challenges to findings that migrant adults did not have eligible needs under the Care Act, resulting in the provision of accommodation and support.
  • Challenge to dispersal of asylum seeker

 

Information and privacy law

Clare’s background as a Data Protect Officer, combined with her public law expertise means that she has acquired experience in privacy and information law cases including;

  • Advising and representing clients in relation to DBS disclosure decisions
  • Representing clients in relation to security vetting and barring decisions
  • Clare currently represents Project 17 in an Information Tribunal case in relation to LB Lewisham’s refusal to disclose complete copies of its internal guidance on s.17 assessments of families with NRPF
  • Challenging the obtaining and retention of personal data by state actors, including the police.

 

Criminal justice challenges

Clare also specialises in challenges arising out of criminal justice issues including:

  • Judicial review challenges to the administration of police cautions
  • Challenges in respect of police and IPCC complaints findings and processes
  • Advising on the lawfulness of the administration of community resolution disposals and police information notices

Clare has also experience of advising clients on civil claims against the police for damages

 

General public law experience

Clare’s other recent cases include

  • A proposed claim for judicial review of the Prime Minister’s failure to appoint additional panel members to the Grenfell Inquiry. In response to pre-action correspondence the Prime Minister confirmed that she would be considering appointing additional panel members and that when she did so she would ensure that due regard was had to her Public Sector Equality Duty
  • A challenge to DWP’s interpretation of “fraud” in a debt context and the decision to recover over-payments following the Claimant obtaining a Debt Relief Order. The case concluded with the DWP agreeing to waive the debt.
  • A challenge to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in relation to failings by Ofqual;
  • Challenging failures by local authority to provide adequate community care services to meet disability needs
Clare Jennings

Clare Jennings

Director and Head of Public Law and Community Care

E: Clare@matthewgold.co.uk

Heading up the firm’s Public Law and Community Care practice, Clare represents individuals and non-governmental organisations in public law challenges. She has a broad practice encompassing judicial review and human rights, community care, discrimination and human rights.

Clare has a particular interest and expertise in cases concerning the rights of migrant children and adults. Clare regularly acts in judicial review and human rights challenges concerning access to community care service, NHS service provision and charging decisions, student fees and loans and asylum support.

Clare has acted for Claimants challenging the regulations excluding Zambrano carers from claiming welfare benefits; judicial reviews of local authorities’ policies on child-in-need assessments and support for families with No Recourse to Public Funds, and NHS charging decisions in relation to Zambrano carers.

Clare also has specialist knowledge of acting for Claimants in judicial reviews arising out of criminal justice and policing issues, and in particular, advising clients on privacy and information rights issues in this context. Clare has acted for Claimants challenging their arrest and retention of their DNA, finger prints and personal information; security vetting and barring scheme decisions; DBS disclosure; protest cases; cautions and IPCC findings. Clare’s data protection experience, combined with her public law expertise, makes her well placed to advocate for Claimants in cases of this nature.

Clare is currently a Trustee and founding member of Project 17, a charity that works to end destitution among migrant children by providing advice and assistance on accessing support from social services.

Clare is the winner of the Children’s Rights awards in the 2016 Legal Aid Lawyers of the Year awards. She is also a recommended lawyer in the Legal 500 2016, where she is described as “extraordinary”.

Clare joined MG & Co in July 2013 from the Public Law Project (“PLP”), a leading legal charity and the Guardian Charity Award winner 2012. At PLP, she spent just under 2 years acting for disadvantaged individuals and groups in judicial review and human rights test cases.

Prior to this Clare spent three years in the Public Law and Human Rights team at Bindmans LLP where she qualified as a solicitor and assisted Partners on numerous high profile public law challenges.

Clare also spent just under 3 years at the NSPCC as their Data Protection Officer, advising on all aspects of information law compliance.

Clare completed a MSc. in Political Science (International Relations) with distinction in 2005.

Clare also has a more general public law practice and has acted for clients in cases against a number of different public bodies including central government departments; the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; HMRC; local authorities; police; NHS Trusts and regulatory bodies, challenging a variety of decisions such as funding cuts decisions, closure of services and findings by the Ombudsman.