“She’s got a brain the size of a planet, and she’s an extremely smooth and persuasive advocate.”
Chambers & Partners
Experience & Expertise
Amy’s practice focuses on novel and complex points of law. She is recognised as a leading public and human rights lawyer (as well as in other subject areas) and brings the rigour of this approach to all her work. She is used to applying her expertise in new contexts and her incisive legal skills are applicable to all areas of chambers’ practice.
Amy acts in appellate cases on points of law, as well as at first instance where complex or novel legal issues have been identified. She has significant experience in the appellate courts, having appeared repeatedly in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords / Supreme Court. She enjoys working as part of a team on substantial litigation. She is known in particular for her skills in legal research, legal analysis, and developing, drafting and presenting legal argument.
Amy has a particular reputation for high profile and legally complex public & administrative law (including human rights and constitutional law), medical/welfare law (including Court of Protection, mental health and clinical negligence), and professional discipline / regulatory law (including police law). She also had an early background in crime and inquests.
A large proportion of Amy’s practice is in the context of judicial review or public law more broadly, and regularly involves human rights.
She also has particular expertise in constitutional law, as set out in more detail in her public and administrative law profile.
Amy has been at the forefront of developing case law in the Court of Protection under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Her medical treatment cases often involve life and death issues. Her welfare cases include those about the deprivation of liberty of vulnerable people in social care settings, such as Cheshire West (Supreme Court).
Amy has particular expertise in mental health law. This is set out in more detail in her clinical negligence and healthcare profile, and is also related to her Court of Protection work.
Amy’s broader medical law practice encompasses varied issues such as fertility treatment, DNA and end of life matters, in diverse types of proceedings or on an advisory basis. She is brought in to act on clinical negligence cases or other claims such as contract where legal or other complex issues have arisen.
In the police field Amy has acted in landmark appellate litigation on public order and human rights (Articles 5, 10 & 11 ECHR) up to the House of Lords: Austin, the first ‘kettling’ or ‘containment’ case; and Laporte, about the forced return of anti-war protestors on a coach to London and the common law of breach of the peace. She has extensive experience in a range of work including judicial review, human rights, civil claims, policy advice and guidance, producing ‘plain English’ explanations of complex provisions, and civil orders such as ASBOs etc. She has also acted as legal adviser to police misconduct panels.
Other Aspects of practice
Amy has provided research and writing assistance in relation to competition law.
Since 2009, Amy has been legal advisor to ‘Unreliable Evidence’, BBC Radio 4’s legal discussion programme with Clive Anderson.
reported cases and selected unreported work
Amy has acted in leading cases in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords / Supreme Court, as well as at first instance. In 2016 Amy represented the Welsh Ministers in the Court of Appeal in a human rights / mental health case, and is due to appear in the Court of Appeal in 2017 in a case about DNA paternity testing.
- Conway v Ministry of Justice (case ongoing; Amy was instructed before starting parental leave)
Instructed in relation to High Court judicial review seeking to change the law to permit assisted dying. Led by Richard Gordon QC. Central role in co-ordinating the preparation of the claim. Potentially groundbreaking human rights / medical ethics case which has attracted widespread media attention.
See here for more information
- Welsh Ministers v PJ  EWCA (Civ)… [judgment awaited]
Court of Appeal case (on appeal from the Upper Tribunal) on whether a community treatment order under the Mental Health Act 1983 can authorise a deprivation of liberty under Article 5 ECHR. Heard with case of MM which considered the same question in relation to conditional discharge. Instructed at Court of Appeal stage on behalf of the Welsh Ministers, led by Richard Gordon QC, in particular to carry out legal research, legal analysis and develop legal argument. The outcome will affect the ability of the most vulnerable mental health patients to transition from hospital care to the community.
- Spencer v Spencer, Hall & Anderson  EWHC 851 (Fam)
High Court case on whether posthumous paternity testing on a DNA sample given during medical treatment can be ordered under the inherent jurisdiction. Practical significance for patients giving – and hospitals taking – DNA samples. Legal significance on whether the inherent jurisdiction can unpredictably grant new remedies which interfere with human rights. Led by Michael Mylonas QC. Primary responsibility for drafting skeleton arguments and developing legal argument, including human rights points. Instructed on behalf of the deceased’s mother who opposed testing. Permission to appeal granted by Court of Appeal, to be heard October 2017.
- Re JM and others (Incapacitated Persons) (Deprivation of Liberty: Appointment of Representatives)  EWCOP 15;  4 WLR 64.
Significant Court of Protection (High Court level) case addressing the implications of Cheshire West: how people lacking capacity are to be represented in applications to authorise their deprivation of liberty. Co-instructed with Bridget Dolan QC, responsible for drafting skeleton argument on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
- Confidential [2015-2016 and ongoing]
Instructed in a High Court contract claim against a fertility clinic about the use of an embryo and birth of a child without the father’s consent. Led by Michael Mylonas QC, instructed on behalf of the claimant father.
- Confidential :
Instructed on behalf of an NHS Trust to advise on the legality of using electronic forms under the Mental Health Act 1983.
- Confidential : Instructed on behalf of the NHSLA in clinical negligence proceedings, led by Angus Moon QC. Amy was brought in specifically in relation to a complex issue which had arisen in the case, to carry out legal research and draft an application.
- Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v ML  EWCOP 2;  COPLR 439.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case on deprivation of liberty and the interaction between the Mental Capacity Act 2005 / Mental Health Act 1983. Context was whether it was in the best interests of a young adult with severe learning disabilities and autism to move from his parents’ home to a psychiatric hospital. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor (alternative counsel took over final stage of hearing when it overran). Role included the development and drafting of legal argument on complex statutory provisions.
- Norfolk CC v PB Court of Protection  EWCOP 14;  COPLR 118.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case on legal issues relating to the test for capacity and the relevance of influence under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Context was whether it was in the best interests of a 79 year old woman with psychiatric illness to be deprived of her liberty in a care home away from her husband. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor. Role included devising a plan to ensure that the woman’s wishes and feelings were put across properly, and developing and presenting legal argument.
- Cheshire West and Chester Council v P  UKSC 19;  AC 896.
Part of the winning team in this landmark Supreme Court human rights case, which clarified the test for deprivation of liberty, establishing that people lacking capacity in social care settings are entitled to the same protection as those with capacity. Extensive analysis of European Court of Human Rights case law. Instructed at Supreme Court stage on behalf of the Official Solicitor, led by Richard Gordon QC, in particular to carry out legal research, legal analysis and develop / draft legal argument.
- Confidential :
Acting for a high profile politician in relation to a dispute with a political party.
- Confidential :
Advising an individual who had been called to give evidence before a select committee.
- An NHS Trust v A  EWHC 2442 (COP);  Fam 161.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case about whether a delusional, hunger-striking asylum seeker should be force-fed and deprived of liberty. Led by Angus Moon QC, instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor. Brought in to develop / draft legal argument when issues arose about the interaction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 / Mental Health Act 1983.
- A Local Authority v K  EWHC 242 (COP);  1 FCR 209.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case, as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor, successfully resisting an application for a young woman with Down’s syndrome to be sterilised. The court gave important guidance on how non-therapeutic sterilisation cases should be managed.
- Confidential :
Instructed on behalf of police officers bringing a judicial review against a force. Led by John Beggs QC. Responsibility for developing legal argument and drafting skeleton argument based on fundamental rights which led to successful settlement.
- R (on the application of Chief Constable of British Transport Police) v Police Appeals Tribunal  EWHC 539 (Admin)
Police misconduct / discipline judicial review. Judicial review of the Police Appeals Tribunal’s decision to allow an appeal by a police officer against dismissal. Instructed as junior to John Beggs QC on behalf of the force in the early stages of the proceedings.
- An NHS Trust v DE  EWHC 2562 (Fam);  3 FCR 343.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case: the first time the courts had authorised the non-therapeutic sterilisation of a man without the capacity to decide for himself, as being in his best interests. Amy was specifically instructed by the Official Solicitor who was safeguarding the man’s interests, to assist Angus Moon QC by carrying out legal research on similar cases in foreign jurisdictions and to draft relevant parts of the skeleton argument.
- An NHS Trust v K  EWHC 2922 (COP);  1 FCR 190.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case on whether a woman with schizophrenia and cancer should undergo a potentially life-saving, but itself high risk, operation against her wishes. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel in this high pressure litigation.
- G v E (Costs)  EWCA Civ 939;  2 FLR 1297.
Successful appearance as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Official Solicitor, upholding the judge’s award of costs (contrary to the general rule that there be no order for costs) on the indemnity basis. Significant in the developing case law on costs in the Court of Protection.
- PH v A Local Authority  EWHC 1704 (Fam).
Court of Protection (High Court level) case where the court gave guidance on the principles to be applied when addressing questions of capacity. Context was whether a man with Huntingdon’s disease should return to his partner or remain deprived of liberty in a care home under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Capacity was tried as a preliminary issue. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the partner.
- C v A Local Authority  EWHC 1539 (Admin);  Med LR 415.
Judicial review and Court of Protection case (High Court level) about a ‘blue room’ at a residential special school where a young man with severe autism and learning disabilities had been secluded. The court gave guidance on human rights and the lawful use of seclusion. Instructed on behalf of the school as sole counsel.
- TTM v Hackney LBC  EWCA Civ 4;  1 WLR 2873.
Part of the successful team in Court of Appeal case confirming the right to seek damages for unlawful detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. Amy was instructed at Court of Appeal stage on behalf of the patient, led by Richard Gordon QC, on the complex legal point whether the local authority, which had unlawfully applied for the admission, could escape liability because the hospital had detained the patient lawfully under s6(3) MHA.
- Confidential 
Successfully defended a police force in a four-week civil trial relating to false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution. Led by John Beggs QC.
- G v E (Costs)  EWHC 3385 (Fam);  1 FLR 1566.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which the judge awarded Amy’s client costs (contrary to the general rule that there be no order for costs) on the indemnity basis. (See Court of Appeal entry above)
- A Council v X (2010, unreported).
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which the court made the exceptional decision that it was not in the best interests of a 94 year old dementia sufferer to have contact with her daughter. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel.
- G v E  EWHC 2512 (Fam);  1 FLR 1652.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case where the court gave guidance on the circumstances in which a deputy should be appointed: of significance in the developing case law of the Court of Protection and of practical importance in relation to the care of vulnerable people. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel.
- G v E  EWHC 2042 (Fam);  MHLR 407.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which the court authorised the naming of a local authority which had breached the human rights of a person lacking capacity. Instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor as sole counsel. Significant in terms of increasing the transparency of the Court of Protection and holding public bodies who have acted unlawfully to account.
- G v E  EWCA Civ 822;  Fam 78.
Part of successful team in Court of Appeal case, instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor, led by Richard Gordon QC, on the legal question whether Article 5 ECHR imposed threshold conditions before the court could consider whether it was in a person’s best interests to be deprived of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Of significance to the growing body of case law relating to the Court of Protection and deprivation of liberty.
- Re A  EWHC 978 (Fam);  2 FLR 1363.
Court of Protection and High Court case on deprivation of liberty in the family home. Parents locked their (adult and minor) children, who suffered from a genetic condition causing severe challenging behaviour, in their bedrooms at night to manage the behaviour. Significant case in the developing case law on deprivation of liberty, in particular the duties of local authorities in relation to ‘private’ deprivations of liberty. Led by Alison Ball QC on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
- G v E  EWHC 621 (Fam);  2 FLR 294.
Court of Protection (High Court level) case in which Amy obtained the first declarations under the Human Rights Act 1998 in the Court of Protection on behalf of a vulnerable adult who had been unlawfully deprived of liberty by a local authority. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
- Austin v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  UKHL 5;  1 AC 564. House of Lords test case about whether police ‘kettling’ or ‘containment’ of a crowd amounted to a deprivation of liberty under Article 5 ECHR. The first case to consider this police strategy. Instructed as part of the winning team on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, led by David Pannick QC. Huge significance for police public order operations, the rights of the public and protestors, and human rights law. The case subsequently reached the European Court of Human Rights.
- R (on the application of Ferriday) v Chief Constable of Gwent  EWHC 2083 (Admin);  Po LR 194.
Police misconduct / discipline judicial review. Successfully defended a judicial review of a chief constable’s decision to dispense with the services of a probationer police constable under the Police Regulations 2003 reg 13. Led by John Beggs QC.
- D v Hospital Managers of the Edgware Community Hospital  EWHC 3572 (Admin).
High Court habeas corpus application in relation to consultation of the nearest relative under the Mental Health Act 1983. Instructed as sole counsel on behalf of the hospital and local authority.
- Austin v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWCA Civ 989;  QB 660.
Part of winning team in Court of Appeal case about whether police kettling or containment of a crowd amounted to a deprivation of liberty under Article 5 ECHR. Instructed on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, led by David Pannick QC. (See House of Lords entry above)
- R (on the application of Laporte) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire  UKHL 55;  2 AC 105.
House of Lords test case judicial review about whether the forced return by the police of protestors on a coach was unlawful. Huge significance for police public order operations, the rights of the public and protestors, human rights law (Article 5 ECHR deprivation of liberty, Article 10 freedom of expression, Article 11 freedom of assembly) and the common law (breach of the peace). Instructed on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, led by David Pannick QC.
- Austin v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 480 (QB);  HRLR 20.
Part of winning team in High Court judicial review / civil claim trial in relation to police kettling / containment and human rights. Led by John Beggs QC. Amy was brought in specifically to focus on the law. (See House of Lords and Court of Appeal entries above)
- R (on the application of Laporte) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire  EWCA Civ 1639;  QB 678.
Court of Appeal case test case judicial review about whether the forced return by the police of protestors on a coach was lawful. Instructed on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, led by John Beggs QC. (See House of Lords entry above)
- Re B (A Child) (Medical Treatment)  EWHC 1996 (Fam);  1 FLR 1264. High Court case about the circumstances in which it would be in a child’s best interests not to receive intensive resuscitation. Sole counsel on behalf of an NHS Trust.
- Confidential [2006-2008]:
Instructed on behalf of a doctor as junior counsel to Adrian Whitfield QC in long-running GMC proceedings
- An NHS Trust v D  EWHC 2439 (Fam);  1 FLR 638.
Amy was instructed as sole counsel on behalf of a family which vigorously opposed a hospital’s application that it would be in the best interests of a 32 year old woman with a terminal condition to withhold life-prolonging treatment.
The directories recommend Amy as a leading junior for public & administrative law; Court of Protection work; and professional discipline and regulatory law (including police law). Her Court of Protection ranking is the highest available (Band 1).
Clients cited by the directories note that she is ‘phenomenal on paper and in court’, ‘an exceptionally bright barrister who is able to cut through complex issues’ and ‘just so approachable with a good understanding of clients’ needs’.
Other directory editorial has included the following:
- intellectually powerful;
- goes above and beyond for clients;
- excellent analytic skills;
- a clear and incisive lawyer;
- very energetic;
- works very hard;
- outstandingly clear;
- a great analytical mind;
- a formidable junior;
- perhaps the most thorough of all the advocates I have led;
- very committed;
- has all the facts at her fingertips;
- is prepared in great detail;
- an extremely helpful and co-operative opponent;
- really clever and understatedly so;
- her drafting is brilliant;
- her advice, both written and oral, is really thorough;
- appropriately persistent in court;
- very competent and thorough;
- extremely good analytically;
- particularly good with intricate legal complexities;
- as a negotiator she comes up with straightforward solutions which everyone else wishes they had thought of;
- her advocacy is authoritative and persuasive;
- establishes a good rapport with judges;
- incredibly bright, measured, thorough and pragmatic;
- a very diligent and focused practitioner;
- very credible and exceptionally bright;
- an exceptionally calm advocate;
- bright, keen and extremely user-friendly;
- a straight down the line, no-nonsense advocate, who is building a highly impressive practice;
- unflappable under pressure;
- expertise in high-profile administrative and public law;
- has a broad public law background;
- junior of choice for public law work from a healthcare regulatory perspective;
- she has very good knowledge of all of the elements of Court of Protection cases;
- her knowledge of human rights law brings an added dimension to her Court of protection work;
- popular with the Official Solicitor;
- a leading Court of Protection practitioner who has acted in a string of landmark cases;
- marked strength in deprivation of liberty matters and human rights issues;
- a recognised leader on Court of Protection matters concerning health and welfare;
- frequently instructed in medical treatment and deprivation of liberty cases;
- a recognised expert on deprivation of liberty;
- very much “on the ascendant” in the Court of Protection world;
- a practised barrister with much experience in often heart-rending medical cases;
- demonstrates a particular aptitude for cases concerning the police;
- singled out for her expertise in human rights cases relating to police law;
- a recognised figure rising to prominence in the field [of police law];
- particular expertise in human rights law as it applies to police law, civil actions, judicial review and disciplinary cases; and
- sought after for police misconduct proceedings.
Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, Bloomsbury Professional, 3rd Edition (2016), co-author
Judicial review and the Rule of Law: Who is in control?, The Constitution Society, 2013 (sole author)
Select Committees and Coercive Powers – Clarity or Confusion?, The Constitution Society, 2012, co-author with Richard Gordon QC
Amy has recently reported on the following cases for the Medical Law Reports:
- R (Speck) v HM Coroner for District of York and Ors  EWHC 6 (Admin)  Med LR 103 Judicial review – Inquests – Scope of inquest – Article 2 ECHR – Right to life – State’s procedural obligation to investigate death – Policy and resources – Causative link with death – Coroner’s duty to investigate – Coroner’s discretion to investigate – Mental Health Act 1983 – Place of safety.
- Staffordshire CC v SRK  EWCOP 27 Med LR 398Human rights – Mental capacity – Personal injury – Deprivation of liberty – Attribution of responsibility to state – Whether state responsible for deprivation of liberty – Whether authorisation of deprivation of liberty by Court of Protection required.
- Re G (An Adult)  EWCA Civ 446  Med LR 249Costs – Mental Capacity – Mental Capacity Act 2005 – Court of Protection Rules 2007 – Personal welfare proceedings – Departure from general rule of no costs order – Proportionate costs order.
- St George’s HC NHS Trust v P  EWCOP 42 Med LR 463 Mental capacity – Best interests – Withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment – Minimally conscious state – Assessment of disorder of consciousness – SMART assessment – Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- Notts Healthcare NHS Trust v RC  EWCOP 1317  Med LR 260 Mental capacity – Mental health – Human rights – Refusal of life-saving treatment on religious grounds – Advance decision – Right to life – Lawfulness of clinician’s decision not to treat.
- Aintree V James  UKSC 67  Med LR 1 Mental Capacity Act 2005 – Adult – Best interests – Withholding of life sustaining medical treatment – Futility of medical treatment.
I’m excited by the process of working out what a case is really about, weaving human narrative with legal argument to drive it home.
It’s so important to find out what my client really wants. However interesting the legal points, I’m not doing my job properly unless I’m arguing my client’s case.
I really enjoy working in a team where everyone’s individual skills can be pooled and put to best use.
“Law is about creativity. At first it seems to be all about fixed rules. But in fact these just provide the framework for making (or responding to) arguments about how things could be different.”
I take pride in clear, elegant writing using everyday language rather than convoluted legal jargon.
I’ve learnt from the best, having worked with leaders on all sorts of cases up to the Supreme Court. I’ve had satisfying moments realising that I have emulated aspects of their work which I have so admired.
Law is about creativity. At first it seems to be all about fixed rules. But in fact these just provide the framework for making (or responding to) arguments about how things could be different.
I try to apply what I learn in different subject areas to all my work.
The rigour of a public law approach is particularly important to me. It’s critical not to skip over the fundamental question of whether there is a legal basis for whatever is proposed.
I’m most proud of cases where, from an unpromising set of facts, I’ve developed compelling legal argument which has led to a much better result than was predicted at the outset.
For further details of Amy’s practice please click on the links to the left or contact a member of the clerking or client service team.
Bar Council Membership No: 44430
Registered Name: Amy Caroline Street
VAT Registration No: 848549377