Maria O’Connell

Maria O’Connell

Director and Joint Head of Civil Actions Against Public Authorities

E: Maria@matthewgold.co.uk

Maria is a Chartered Legal Executive and one of the firm’s Directors. Maria qualified in August 2005 and joined MG & Co in March 2010, taking directorship in November 2011. She brings to the firm considerable litigation experience. Maria is based in our Brighton office, covering the Sussex, Surrey and Kent regions.

Maria is a respected specialist litigator advising individuals in their civil claims and complaints against police forces, the prison service and other public bodies.

She presently acts in various claims for false imprisonment, assault and battery, malicious prosecution, misfeasance, discrimination and breaches of human rights and data protection legislation.

Maria has experience of successfully bringing associated claims in judicial review, challenging the basis of police investigations, their outcomes and disciplinary decision-making in respect of officers facing misconduct proceedings.

Maria acts for families in inquest proceedings, predominantly those involving deaths in police and prison detention or the involvement of mental health services.

Maria advises on claims in historic childhood abuse in this jurisdiction and previously those in Southern Ireland, with a view to obtaining acknowledgments of past wrong-doing and compensation for the now adult victims.

Maria has a specialist interest in mental health issues and their interplay with the criminal justice system.

Maria is recognised as a leading lawyer in Legal 500 2015 where she is described as “experienced and thorough”.

Maria started her legal career at British Airways Limited, spending three years resolving consumer litigation on behalf of the company. She went on to lead their Dispute Resolution team, alongside advising the various in-house departments.

Maria spent a further three years as a litigator in private practice in a well-known firm in Sussex, where she advised predominantly on housing, property litigation with a personal injury, contentious probate and contract dispute practice, before joining the Legal Services Commission.

Over a six year period at the Legal Services Commission (now Legal Aid Agency) Maria was involved in the public funding of high profile and high cost civil litigation. Maria specialised in claims against the police and those concerning protest and prisoner rights.

Maria joined Matthew in practice in March 2010 and joined him in partnership in November 2011. Together they have expanded and developed the practice to include the office in Brighton where Maria is now based, covering the South East region along with her ever expanding team.

OM v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] unreported. Injunctive relief secured to delay the removal of client and a claim in damages  against the Metropolitan Police in negligence following disclosure of his identity as a covet intelligence source assisting police in combating gun crime in South London.

PC and minors [2011] – Maria acted in the inquest and subsequent civil claim arising from the death in custody of the father of the children whilst in custody. Issues included the failure to implement earlier recommendations following earlier deaths to improve access to defibrillators on the prison wing.

C v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2011] – judicial review and associated civil claim for damages for violations of Article 3 and 8 of the ECHR in connection with the treatment of a female client left in a state of undress in police custody in a CCTV cell whilst experiencing a serious mental health crisis leading to attempts upon her life. The settlement outcome included an apology and scheme of retraining of the officers on the needs of the public experiencing mental health crisis

A Child v A London School [2014] unreported. Maria was successful at trial in a claim under the Data Protection Act 1998 against a school following the insecure transfer of sensitive data leading to wider disclosure of sensitive data to others concerning a  report of child abuse.

SA and 2 others v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2016] Maria brought a successful police complaint in which several officers were dismissed and others subject to disciplinary action following a managed IPCC investigation into the violent assault of the clients whom included a teenager and male with learning disabilities. A civil action was thereafter successful recovering significant damages for the numerous injuries sustained by the clients.

BN and 4 minors v Hertfordshire Police [2016] Maria successfully brought a claim in damages for the father and 4 children in false imprisonment, negligence and battery arising from the tazering of the father in the children’s homes in the mistaken belief that he was in breach of a restraining order. Significant damages secured and by negotiation local arrangements for the officers to re-build trust in the police on behalf of minor children.

HB v Sussex Partnership NHS Trust [2016] unreported. Maria acted for a vulnerable patient in a claim in false imprisonment and claim in damages under Human Rights Act 1998 for violation of Article 3 , 5 and 8 following enforced treatment when restrained and detention against his will whilst a voluntary patient.

WN v Liverpool City Council and 2 others [2016] unreported. Maria brought a successful claim in damages for historic child abuse on behalf of WN following physical and sexual abuse whilst in statutory care in Liverpool during the 1980s.

Maria O’Connell

Maria O’Connell

Director and Joint Head of Civil Actions Against Public Authorities

E: Maria@matthewgold.co.uk

Maria is a Chartered Legal Executive and one of the firm’s Directors. Maria qualified in August 2005 and joined MG & Co in March 2010, taking directorship in November 2011. She brings to the firm considerable litigation experience. Maria is based in our Brighton office, covering the Sussex, Surrey and Kent regions.

Maria is a respected specialist litigator advising individuals in their civil claims and complaints against police forces, the prison service and other public bodies.

She presently acts in various claims for false imprisonment, assault and battery, malicious prosecution, misfeasance, discrimination and breaches of human rights and data protection legislation.

Maria has experience of successfully bringing associated claims in judicial review, challenging the basis of police investigations, their outcomes and disciplinary decision-making in respect of officers facing misconduct proceedings.

Maria acts for families in inquest proceedings, predominantly those involving deaths in police and prison detention or the involvement of mental health services.

Maria advises on claims in historic childhood abuse in this jurisdiction and previously those in Southern Ireland, with a view to obtaining acknowledgments of past wrong-doing and compensation for the now adult victims.

Maria has a specialist interest in mental health issues and their interplay with the criminal justice system.

Maria is recognised as a leading lawyer in Legal 500 2015 where she is described as “experienced and thorough”.

Maria started her legal career at British Airways Limited, spending three years resolving consumer litigation on behalf of the company. She went on to lead their Dispute Resolution team, alongside advising the various in-house departments.

Maria spent a further three years as a litigator in private practice in a well-known firm in Sussex, where she advised predominantly on housing, property litigation with a personal injury, contentious probate and contract dispute practice, before joining the Legal Services Commission.

Over a six year period at the Legal Services Commission (now Legal Aid Agency) Maria was involved in the public funding of high profile and high cost civil litigation. Maria specialised in claims against the police and those concerning protest and prisoner rights.

Maria joined Matthew in practice in March 2010 and joined him in partnership in November 2011. Together they have expanded and developed the practice to include the office in Brighton where Maria is now based, covering the South East region along with her ever expanding team.

OM v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] unreported. Injunctive relief secured to delay the removal of client and a claim in damages  against the Metropolitan Police in negligence following disclosure of his identity as a covet intelligence source assisting police in combating gun crime in South London.

PC and minors [2011] – Maria acted in the inquest and subsequent civil claim arising from the death in custody of the father of the children whilst in custody. Issues included the failure to implement earlier recommendations following earlier deaths to improve access to defibrillators on the prison wing.

C v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2011] – judicial review and associated civil claim for damages for violations of Article 3 and 8 of the ECHR in connection with the treatment of a female client left in a state of undress in police custody in a CCTV cell whilst experiencing a serious mental health crisis leading to attempts upon her life. The settlement outcome included an apology and scheme of retraining of the officers on the needs of the public experiencing mental health crisis

A Child v A London School [2014] unreported. Maria was successful at trial in a claim under the Data Protection Act 1998 against a school following the insecure transfer of sensitive data leading to wider disclosure of sensitive data to others concerning a  report of child abuse.

SA and 2 others v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2016] Maria brought a successful police complaint in which several officers were dismissed and others subject to disciplinary action following a managed IPCC investigation into the violent assault of the clients whom included a teenager and male with learning disabilities. A civil action was thereafter successful recovering significant damages for the numerous injuries sustained by the clients.

BN and 4 minors v Hertfordshire Police [2016] Maria successfully brought a claim in damages for the father and 4 children in false imprisonment, negligence and battery arising from the tazering of the father in the children’s homes in the mistaken belief that he was in breach of a restraining order. Significant damages secured and by negotiation local arrangements for the officers to re-build trust in the police on behalf of minor children.

HB v Sussex Partnership NHS Trust [2016] unreported. Maria acted for a vulnerable patient in a claim in false imprisonment and claim in damages under Human Rights Act 1998 for violation of Article 3 , 5 and 8 following enforced treatment when restrained and detention against his will whilst a voluntary patient.

WN v Liverpool City Council and 2 others [2016] unreported. Maria brought a successful claim in damages for historic child abuse on behalf of WN following physical and sexual abuse whilst in statutory care in Liverpool during the 1980s.