High Court Judgment on conflict with parents about hospital care and discharge of a child with a rare genetic condition - Nov 2022
Martin Downs has a practice which covers Public Law involving Human Rights and Equality (including Children’s and Mental Capacity) law, Local Government (including Police and Education), Inquests and Professional Regulation. He has particular expertise as an appeal advocate (frequently when not having appeared at first instance).
As concerns children’s rights, Martin has a High Court practice covering a wide area. He devised (with Natasha Watson of Orbis Law) the strategy of using the inherent jurisdiction to tackle radicalisation and prevent young people being persuaded to fight in the Syrian civil war. He has appeared in leading cases on modern slavery, forced marriage and contested adoptions, both domestically and on an international scale.
In Employment and Professional Regulatory Law, many of Martin’s cases involve the GMC, Ofsted and Cafcass and concern safeguarding issues (e.g. Head teachers, Psychiatrists and Social Workers). He has some restrictions on where he can appear as Counsel as he has sat as an Employment Judge since 2012. He has significant experience in the EAT, High Court and Court of Appeal – particularly with injunctions.
His extensive experience in Police and Local Government includes judicial review of Local Authority decisions and Search Warrants (with section 59 applications if required) and also cases concerning safeguarding, disclosure, publicity and injunctions to protect children and vulnerable people. This ties into his inquests work, which includes cases concerning the Police, Local Government and the Police – particularly where Art 5 is involved.
He appears regularly in the Court of Protection in both welfare and property and affairs cases.
Martin also has particular expertise in Equality Law including in the provision of goods, facilities and services especially as concerns disability and sexual orientation discrimination.
He is also concerned with the provision of training and often lectures and gives seminars. Martin spoke on Radicalisation and the Prevent strategy at the 2017 Public Law Conference; Radicalisation, Schools and the Law at the Local Government and Education Law Conference 2017; and Costs, Public funding and Human Rights claims at the Court of Protection Conference 2017.
He has appeared on Newsnight and Panorama and has written for the Guardian as well as in law journals discussing such subjects as radicalisation, same-sex marriage and civil partnerships. He is regularly called upon to give his lecture, “Do you speak colloquial MHPS?” about problems with employment rights in the NHS.
With Nicola McGeown he co-founded a Quality Circle in 2017 in Sussex dedicated to disseminating the latest research amongst practitioners.
Since its launch, Martin has been on the editorial team for UK Human Rights blog.Local Government & Public Law
Martin Downs has a distinct practice covering judicial review (frequently involving issues of social care) and children’s and mental capacity proceedings (frequently at appellate level) concerning such subjects as radicalisation, international placement and re-location, modern slavery, forced marriage, Human Rights and damages.
He has a distinct practice in care proceedings and radicalization prevention cases. Further able to take on cases with significant family law element. He uses this knowledge to handle inquests, including those concerning the deaths of children in care. Recently, he has acted in a series of judgments concerning the Prevent strategy in regards to prohibiting children from going to Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Martin’s extensive experience in this local government work includes safeguarding, disclosure, publicity and injunctions to protect children and Human Rights law concerning children. This ties into his inquests work which includes the deaths of children in care.
- YLA v PM & Another  EWHC 4020 (COP)  COPLR 114: Forced Marriage.
- Re UF (Secretary of State intervening)  COPLR 93 Charles VP Costs in the Court of Protection
- A v B  EWHC 328 (Fam) (06 February 2018): Successful appeal – removal to Poland
- Re E (Brussels II Revised: Vienna Convention: Reporting Restrictions)  2 FLR 151 Munby P.
- P (A Child)  EWCA Civ 1174: Article 8 and the placement of children outside the jurisdiction.
- Leicester City Council v Chhatbar  2 FLR 1365: Return of a child from Northern Cyprus.
- A Council v M & Others (No. 4)  1 FLR 881: Foreign Adoption: Refusal of Recognition.
- West Sussex County Council v Jade Alma  1 FLR 1383:  EWHC 2009 (Modern Slavery)
- In Re TG (Placement in The Gambia)  EWFC 85 Theis J.
The use of Wardship in atypical cases
- Re K Wardship Order (No. 2)  2 FLR 310: Publicity.
- Re E Wardship Order  2 FLR 63: Child in Voluntary Accommodation.
Human Rights and contested adoptions
- Re T (A Child) (Early Permanence Placement)  EWCA Civ 983  1 FLR 330. Re C  2 FLR 131: Appeal from Care and Placement Orders.
- Re H (A Child) (Appeal)  EWCA Civ 1284,  2 FLR 1173
- Re W (A Child) (Adoption)  EWHC 829 (Fam);  2 FLR 1628: Munby P said, “This is a very complex and worrying case. It is, I think, by some margin the most difficult and concerning case of its type I have ever been involved in.”
- Re W (A Child) (No 2)  EWHC 917: certification of leap-frog appeal to the Supreme Court.
- Re W (A child) (No. 3)  EWHC 1032 (Fam)  1 FLR 1714: dating of an Adoption Order.
- Re W (A Child) (No 4)  EWHC 1760; 167 NLJ 7755 (10 July 2017): Court dismissed applications to set aside an adoption/prevent the removal of a child from the jurisdiction and an application for post-adoption contact after an extraordinary evening hearing of the High Court.
Freedom of Expression/confidentiality
- Re K Wardship Order  1 FLR 548: Publicity.
- A Council v M & Others (No. 3)  EWHC 4241 (Fam): Reporting Restriction Order: Adoptive Child; Artificial Insemination.
Serious child abuse or medical issues
- AB (Childhood Vaccination)  EWHC 158 1: Childhood vaccination injunction challenge.
- CN & GN v Poole BC  UKSC 25: landmark case on duty of care to protect children from harm.
- CL (Fact Finding : Coercive Control)  EWFC 109: Case of serious abuse and coercive control.
- A Council v M & Others (No. 1)  2 FLR 1229: Fact-Finding: Artificial Insemination.
- Re Y (Risk of Young Person Travelling to Join IS) (No 1)  EWHC 2098  2 FLR 225: Article 2 and obtaining injunctions to prevent travel abroad.
- Re Y (Risk of Young Person Travelling to Join IS) (No 2)  EWHC 2099  2 FLR 229: Use of wardship to provide protection against radicalisation.
- A Local Authority v Y  EWHC 968;  1 WLR 66 Hayden: Article 2.
- Sussex Police v Secretary of State for Transport & Anor  EWHC 2280 (QB) (28 September 2016): Determined the circumstances in which the Police may seek material held by the AAIB after an air crash pursuant to the Chicago Convention.
- Mills & Anor, R (on the application of) v Sussex Police & Anor  EWHC 2523 (Admin)  2 All ER 956,  1 WLR 2199,  2 Cr App Rep 535,  Crim LR 306,: Judicial Review of Search Warrants in serious fraud.
- Re H (Children)  EWCA Civ 704: disclosure to the Police.
- Re P (2017): representing the Police in an Inquest which examined alleged Police failures to protect the deceased from child sexual abuse.
- Re M (2016): death of a child in care – alleged failings by Police to keep young person safe from threats to life.
- Re G (2015): representing Local Authority in cases concerning alleged defects in social care.
- Various (2012 – 2017): series of Inquests of young people from overdoses.
- Re C (2007): representing the Police in an Inquest considering defects to Police Vehicles (where Police car ran over a deaf woman on a designated crossing.
In Employment and Professional Regulatory Law, many of Martin’s cases involve Ofsted and Cafcass and concern safeguarding issues (e.g. Head teachers, Psychiatrists and SWs).
Martin also has particular expertise in discrimination law, including in the provision of goods, facilities and services especially as concerns disability and sexual orientation discrimination.
- Kerslake v. North West London Hospitals NHS Trust  EWHC 1999 (QB);  Med LR 568, QB.
- King v Health Professions Council  UKEAT 0169_11_1307 (2012): Race Discrimination : Discrimination by other bodies.
- Negotiated settlement of £160,000 in age discrimination case (2007).
- Re: A (2006): reasonable adjustment in case under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 concerning the ability of a hearing impaired person to participate in Council meetings.
- Siegler v Worthing Borough Council : successfully represented the leader of the Council and the Council defending a claim of sex discrimination by the Chief Executive which involved new law concerning: Article 10 (Freedom of Expression), the Status of Council's Monitoring Officers, the liability of Councillors and the Leader of the Council.
As concerns children’s rights, Martin has a High Court practice covering a wide area. He devised (with Natasha Watson of Orbis Law) the strategy of using the inherent jurisdiction to tackle radicalisation and prevent young people being persuaded to fight in the Syrian civil war.
He has appeared in leading cases on modern slavery, forced marriage and contested adoptions. Much if his work has an international element including child abduction and the placement of children outside the jurisdiction by Local Authorities (his experience would cover virtually every country of the EEA and also many states in the US, Russia, South Asia and Israel.) He has a particular expertise in Media Law in this field and on restrictions on disclosure.
Recently he has appeared in a leading case concerning coercive control, a childhood vaccination injunction challenge and a series of cases representing Polish families in Appellate cases in England and Wales. He has also appeared in a series of cases where one parent has murdered another or there is alleged NAI (especially if treating physicians face allegations as well).
Martin Downs in case concerning serious abuse and coercive control - Jun 2021
Mr Justice Williams has just released a summary of his Judgment in a case of serious abuse and coercive control in CL (Fact Finding : Coercive Control)  EWFC 109 This case concerned the...
Martin Downs and Luisa Morelli appear in childhood vaccination injunction challenge - Jun 2021
The parents of a 2 ½ year old boy (who had lived some time abroad) sought an injunction to prevent a local authority arranging for their child to receive the schedule of vaccinations recommended by...
Quality Circle Ponders adopting Charter of Respectful Working - Jan 2020
The Quality Circle (more formally the Sussex Family Justice Quality Circle – details below) organised a meeting at Brighton Town Hall in January 2020 to discuss the Charter of Mutual Expectations...
Martins Downs in significant child repatriation case from North Africa - May 2019
Martin Downs in case where children were repatriated from North Africa to protect them from “punishment” and threats of forced marriage. Judgment has been released in Re CQ, DQ & EQ...
Goodman Ray and 1COR presenting seminar on Developments in International Children Law - Mar 2019
An opportunity to catch up on the latest developments in international children law. 1 Crown Office Row have collaborated with international specialists, Goodman Ray solicitors. The seminar will be...
Nuffield Observatory publish Insight Piece on Quality Circle - Feb 2019
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory have produced a document about the work of a Quality Circle established in Sussex by Nicola McGeown, the Principal Social Worker of East Sussex and Barrister,...
1COR & Orbis Law present ‘Mental Capacity Act 2005 Training for Local Government Lawyers’ - Nov 2018
Orbis Law and 1COR are presenting a seminar aimed at providing an update on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in relation to local government cases with talks on different topics from Martin Downs, Abha...
Martin Downs and Anita Mehta speak at East Sussex Resolution AGM - Oct 2018
On Thursday 18th October 1COR’s Anita Mehta and Martin Downs were invited to speak at the East Sussex Resolution AGM on 18th October 2018, a well organised event at the beautiful Buxted Park Hotel. ...
Seven 1COR members in landmark Supreme Court case - Aug 2018
The Supreme Court will today begin hearing the appeal in CN & GN v Poole Borough Council. The case will consider the extent to which local authorities owe a common law duty to protect from harm...
West Sussex County Council hosts Quality Circle meeting on the Voice of the Child - May 2018
Sophie Carter of West Sussex County Council led a discussion on 22nd May 2018 at Century House in Durrington about the voice of the child in legal proceedings concerning children. She was joined by...
Martin Downs successful in international relocation appeal - Feb 2018
Mrs Justice Theis has given Judgment in A v B (International Relocation)  EWHC 328 in which she allowed an appeal in an international relocation case. This is one of a series of cases where...
Martin Downs and Clare Ciborowska in case concerning placement of a child in The Gambia - Feb 2018
The Judgment has just been released of the first case in which the High Court has authorised the placement of a child in The Gambia. Mrs Justice Theis made the child the subject of a Special...
Martin Downs in new Radicalisation Judgment about protecting older children and vulnerable adults - Apr 2017
Mr Justice Hayden has just handed down a new Judgment concerning safeguarding those at risk of radicalisation: A Local Authority v Y  EWHC 968 (Fam) (27 April 2017). The Judgment focuses on...
Martin Downs joins judges at the second LSE Featherstone Sexual Orientation and Identity Moot - Mar 2017
Martin Downs is pleased to be joining the LSE Featherstone Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Moot 2017. 1 Crown Office Row barrister Martin Downs, will be one of the team of judges at the second...
Adam Smith and Martin Downs speak at screening of film on Radicalisation - Nov 2016
Adam Smith gave the opening address at a special showing of the documentary, Jihad: A British Story by film maker, Deeyah Khan in the Old Courthouse in Brighton. The event was organised by Rehna...
Martin Downs in case on first anniversary of Modern Slavery Act - Aug 2016
Mr Justice Hayden has given Judgment in open Court in a case concerning the Modern Slavery Act on the first anniversary of the Act coming into force. The case concerned a young child who had been...
Martin Downs speaks on the future of employment law at SJ Live 2016 - Mar 2016
Martin Downs spoke about Tribunal reform, Brexit, the British Bill of Rights and Artificial Intelligence and the future of the labour market at the first day of the Solicitor's Journal Conference Live...
Martin Downs in Second Court of Appeal challenge on Adoption - Dec 2015
Martin Downs acted in Re H (A Child) (No. 2)  EWCA Civ 1284 where the Court of Appeal have overturned the Judgment of Ms Justice Russell in Re W (Adoption application: Reunification with Family...
Martin Downs on Newsnight on the subject of radicalisation - Oct 2015
Martin Downs appeared on Newsnight on BBC on Friday 9 October speaking about radicalisation and the advantages and potential problems with obtaining injunctions to prevent young people fighting in...
Martin Downs acts in internet vilification case - Apr 2015
Martin Downs acted as a Junior for June Venters QC in the case of Re: P & Q to assist with the Human Rights implications - and in particular the meaning and import of current statutory...
Martin Downs successful in Syrian Civil War Case - Mar 2015
Martin Downs successfully represented Brighton and Hove City Council in an application to make a 16 year old boy a ward of Court and obtain orders to prevent him fighting in Syria's civil war. The...
Martin Downs in case about infant bone density - Mar 2015
Judgment has been handed down in a new case concerning bone density and fractures in young children where Martin Downs had been instructed. Having considered international research on this subject,...
Martin Downs in Court of Appeal win on Positive Duties of Local Authorities under Article 8 - Jul 2014
With the ever increasing stress on robust case management, the Court of Appeal has issued a timely corrective in the case of Re P  EWCA Civ 888. The case had its origin in allegations that...
Seminar: The Court of Protection, A gilded cage is still a cage - Apr 2014
Crown Office Row Brighton is hosting a Seminar on the Court of Protection on Wednesday 7th May. On 19 March, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Cheshire West concerning the issue of...
New Magistrate Court Appeals Guide incorporating upcoming rule changes - Mar 2014
Martin Downs and Richard Ager and pupil, Sophie Evans, have previously drafted two guides on how to appeal against care and placement orders. In anticipation of rule changes which come into effect...
Martin Downs in Court of Protection case setting out a new approach to deprivation of liberty cases - Jan 2014
Martin Downs represented the Local Authority, responding to an application by an elderly person (UF) who was in a care home and subject to a Deprivation of Liberty regime. UF's daughter AF was her...
Martin Downs and Jacqueline Roach in the case of E where it was held that English Courts cannot prevent foreign media reporting on a Slovakian boy placed into care in the UK - Jan 2014
Martin Downs represented the Local Authority and Jacqueline Roach the child before the President of the Family Division in the case of E  EWHC 6. Martin Downs and Jacqueline Roach appeared in...
Martin Downs in Court of Protection Forced Marriage case - Jan 2014
Martin Downs represented Y Local Authority before Mrs Justice Parker in the Court of Protection. The case concerned a learning disabled woman who was encouraged by her family to marry a student...
Martin Downs and Richard Ager and 1COR pupil Sophie Evans have drafted two guides on how to appeal against care and placement orders - Jan 2014
Following the Supreme Court decision of Re B and the Court of Appeal decisions in Re B-S and Re W, appeals against care and placement orders have increased. Members Martin Downs and Richard Ager...
Martin Downs and Aviva Le Prevost successful in Court of Appeal challenge on Wardship - Jan 2013