Sophia Roper

Call 1990

Sophia Roper | Call 1990

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Overview

The Court of Protection is at the heart of Sophia’s practice. Most of her cases are highly complex, covering matters such as the interface between mental health and mental capacity law, and linked claims for judicial review and breach of human rights. She has a detailed knowledge of the law and practice in this area and regularly advises on urgent and emergency applications in both the Court of Protection and the High Court.

Court of Protection

“Sophia has in-depth knowledge of practice and procedure in the Court of Protection. She has a sharp legal brain and is very good with clients”
Instructing Solicitor, Court of Protection case

Best interests declaration in Charlie Gard case
Sophia and Pravin Fernando were instructed by Bindmans for Connie Yates and Chris Gard, Charlie’s parents, all acting on a pro bono basis.
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expertise & Experience

Sophia is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor, Trusts, CCGs and local authorities, as well as RPRs and family members.

Cases include issues as diverse as whether an anorexic and alcoholic young woman should be forcibly fed under MHA 1983, whether and how P can participate and give evidence at a fact finding hearing, and the diverse obligations of local authority and RPR when a standard authorisation is in place.

Sophia’s work at the Official Solicitor’s office has given her a comprehensive knowledge of the issues arising in serious medical treatment cases and she regularly advises applicant Trusts as to the evidence and preparation necessary to bring a case to court.

Sophia has been involved in medical and welfare cases involving a wide range of issues. She has experience of complex capacity issues including capacity to marry or consent to sexual relations, in some cases involving groups of young learning disabled women who have been targeted and exploited by male gangs. She has also advised on cases where an individual has capacity but is vulnerable and the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court has been invoked to allow them to make decisions free from influence.

Sophia is very experienced in deprivation of liberty cases and has provided advice in relation to both adult and children who may potentially be deprived of their liberty in both care homes and community settings. She also has considerable expertise in Human Rights Act claims arising out of Court of Protection cases and the problems in such claims, especially in relation to funding and the legal aid agency statutory charge.

Cases and work of note

Cheshire & Wirral NHS Trust v Z: Sophia was instructed by the Official Solicitor on behalf of a woman with chronic and severe anorexia (‘Z’), on an application by the Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Z had suffered from anorexia since she was 15, and was now in her 40s.

Sophia was instructed on an emergency application to carry out an operation on a woman who had made a dramatic suicide attempt and urgently required surgery: Re HN (Out of Hours Application) [2016] EWCOP 43.

Whilst at the Official Solicitor’s office, Sophia had conduct of several cases of lasting significance including:

  • A NHS Trust v Dr A [2013] EWCOP 2442: an application to force feed an Iranian asylum seeker who had gone on hunger strike in an attempt to force the UKBA to return his passport. This is a critical case on the interface between the MHA 1983 and MCA 2005, identifying the new ‘gap’ between MCA Sch 1A and the MHA in the case of patients detained under s3 MHA who require a further deprivation of their residual liberty in order to receive treatment for a physical disorder. The case is an authority for use of inherent jurisdiction for patients who fall into this gap.
  • Milton Keynes Council v RR & Ors [2014] EWCOP B19: this was a welfare case where the Official Solicitor successfully sought declarations that MKC had breached the article 5 and 8 rights of an elderly lady by removing her from home without the authorisation of the court and then keeping her in a nursing home without telling her family where she was.
  • A NHS Foundation Trust v Ms X [2014] EWCOP 35: a tragic case arising out of an application that it was no longer in the interests of a young woman with severe anorexia and alcoholism to be force fed under the MHA 1983. Complex issues arose about her capacity to make decisions about eating and drinking.