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Louise Whitfield portrait Louise Whitfield
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Louise Whitfield qualified in 1997, she joined Pierce Glynn in 2009, and is now a partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn. Previously she worked at the Public Law Project (PLP), the leading public law NGO, where she was Head of Casework. Louise trained and qualified at Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors where she remained for a further six years before joining PLP in 2003.


Louise is a public law specialist, with 14 years’ post-qualifying experience of conducting high-profile judicial review claims across a wide range of subject areas including discrimination and equality duties, public sector funding and procurement, medical services and community care, claims based on breaches of the Human Rights Act, and claims relating to inquests and prisoners’ rights. Louise is highly recommended in administrative and public law in Legal 500 and is recognised in the next edition of the chambers directory (2012) as a leader in the field of administrative and public law, as well as civil liberties and human rights.

Louise’s recent casework has focused on public law discrimination challenges arising from the public sector equality duties. She represented the claimants in leading cases on s71 of the Race Relations Act (the race equality duty) and s49A of the Disability Discrimination Act (the disability equality duty). She has advised on a number of gender equality duty cases and regularly represents women’s organizations on a wide range of public law issues.  In 2007 she represented the claimants in the first cuts case to rely on the disability equality duty.  In 2011, she represented the claimants in a successful challenge to London Councils’ proposals to cut their grants budget by £10 million.  She regularly advises and represents the claimants in a wide range of issues arising from the reductions in public sector funding and services, including most recently cuts to transport services, closure of day centres, support groups for people with learning disabilities and women’s refuges.

During her time at the Public Law Project (PLP), Louise developed a particular specialism in representing voluntary sector organizations and their service-users in challenging funding cuts or other unfair public body decisions. For example, she brought a successful claim against Leicester City Council resulting in the overhaul of their funding of the voluntary sector and she acted in proceedings which established that health authorities could fund advice agencies targeting those with mental health problems.  Louise is a member of the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector, set up and funded by the Baring Foundation to consider and comment on voluntary sector independence; Louise was asked to join the Panel because of her expertise in public law and her wide experience of representing voluntary sector organisations. 

Louise was also heavily involved in PLP’s work to extend the availability of protective costs orders (PCOs) – a crucial development in enabling NGOs to challenge unlawful government decisions; she led on the intervention by PLP in the case of The Corner House, the leading decision on PCOs.

Louise has also represented the claimants in a number of successful judicial review challenges arising from the unlawful detention of vulnerable individuals with a particular focus on policy challenges arising from the conditions of detention.

Louise has extensive experience of delivering public law training to lawyers and non-lawyers, having designed, developed and delivered a wide range of courses ranging from conference workshops on public law basics and the equality duties, to one-day events on judicial review pre-action tactics and strategy for claimants’ representatives.

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  Sample cases

Significant cases in which Louise has acted include:
Blue square R (Hajrula & Hamza) v London Councils (High Court) – quashing of decision to cut London Councils’ grants budget by £10m
Blue square R (Razai & Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (High Court) – successful challenge to the Home Office’s unlawful approach to providing bail addresses to immigration detainees
Blue square R (MA & TT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (High Court) – unlawful detention claim raising significant issues of public interest disclosure on removals to Iran
Blue square R (Kaur & Shah) v London Borough of Ealing (High Court) – domestic violence funding cuts; no race impact assessment
Blue square R (Chavda & Others) v London Borough of Harrow (High Court) - restriction of adult care service to people with critical needs
Blue square Kehoe v UK (European Court of Human Rights) – CSA delays and Articles 6 and 13 of the Human Rights Convention
Blue square R (Cornerhouse Research) v Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, PLP intervening (Court of Appeal) - principles and practice of making protective costs orders in public law cases
Blue square R (Keating & Others) v Cardiff Local Health Board (Court of Appeal) – health authority powers to fund advice for mental health service users
Blue square R (Capenhurst & Others) v Leicester City Council (High Court) - decision to cease funding six voluntary organisations without adequate consultation quashed
Blue square R (Williams) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Court of Appeal) - disclosure of reports and right to oral hearing for discretionary life prisoner

Copyright Deighton Pierce Glynn 2012