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, he 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 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).

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.

Martin lives and works in London but travels all over the Country – particularly to Sussex. 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.

Public Law Employment & Equality Local Government & Police Law Inquests
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