Sophie Naftalin is a solicitor in our police law department specialising in civil actions against the police and other bodies within the criminal justice system. Sophie has achieved successful outcomes in claims against the police and other statutory agencies arising out of assaults, detentions and prosecutions, unlawful raids and the retention of inaccurate data, in addition to discrimination claims and damages claims arising out of deaths in custody. Sophie also has extensive experience in the police complaints process and a number of officers in her clients’ cases have gone on to face disciplinary proceedings.
In recent years Sophie has developed a significant caseload of clients seeking accountability as victims of hate crime and domestic violence who have been failed by the investigative process. She has developed a particular expertise in racially aggravated assaults and discrimination and she regularly delivers training in this field.
Sophie also has a longstanding interest in the criminalisation of immigration. She regularly represents refugees and victims of trafficking who have been wrongfully prosecuted. She has brought successful criminal appeals on behalf of those who have been wrongfully convicted of document offences following incorrect legal advice. She also works to achieve accountability through the civil courts for these wrongs, including by way of professional negligence claims or private law claims against state agencies.
Prior to qualifying as a solicitor, Sophie was an accredited police station representative and she continues to draws on her criminal defence experience in her civil work.
Sophie is on the executive committee of Newham Monitoring Project and StopWatch. She is also an active member of Police Action Lawyers Group and Inquest Lawyers Group.
Some of Sophie's notable cases include:
H v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis 
A civil claim leading to substantial award of damages to protester at a trade union demonstration in November 2013.
Mohamud v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis 
A civil claim and complaint on behalf of a young victim of a racially motivated attack, where police failed to treat him as a victim of crime. These officers went on to face disciplinary proceedings and the case settled with an apology and damages. The case has been used by the IPCC to develop their new guidance on dealing with allegations of discriminations and an article
was published in Vice magazine about Omar’s experience of the complaint’s process.
Taiwo v Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset 
Secured an admission that the failure by police to investigate a racist attack had been discriminatory and breached the HRA, and substantial damages. The police are making a training film about the events which will be viewed by every officer in the Constabulary as part of their training to ensure that lessons are learned. The Observer published a feature on the case which can be read here
Inquest into the death of OL
Ongoing proceedings concerning a young man who was fatally restrained by police officers whilst an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital in 2010.
S and others v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2013)
Settlement of £40,000 awarded to a family following an unlawful raid on their property arising out of information provided to the police following the London riots in August 2011.
B v Home Office and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2013)
Civil claim settled for damages, for discrimination on the basis of the Claimant’s accent during an immigration ‘spot-check’ in South London.
Inquest into death of David Emmanuel (2013)
Represented the daughter of David Emmanuel (also known as ‘Smiley Culture’) in the inquest into his death following police contact. The jury found that police failings had contributed to Mr Emmanuel’s death.
B v A Firm; R v B 
Sophie acted for a refugee who had been wrongfully advised by her criminal firm to plead guilty to illegal entry. Her client’s conviction was successfully overturned. Subsequently Sophie sued the criminal firm for professional negligence and her client’s received a sum of damages.
R (Hicks) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2012)
Court of Appeal case challenging the lawfulness of the arrests of a number of people on the day of the Royal Wedding on the basis that those arrests were in breach of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal rejected the challenge and leave has been granted to appeal to the Supreme Court.
R v LZ  EWCA Crim 1867
Successful criminal appeal on behalf a victim of trafficking following a guilty plea for possession of false documents.
TO v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2012)
Settlement and apology awarded in claim for assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, race discrimination and breaches of the investigative Article 3 duty.
PA v Chief Constable of Nottingham Police (2011)
£20,250 damages and an apology to man who claimed that he had been a victim of race discrimination, assault and false imprisonment.
DG and others v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2011)
Settlement and apology achieved on behalf of two children and their mothers. The mothers achieved a settlement for race discrimination on the basis that they were denied their right to act as appropriate adults simply because they did not speak English as a first language.
R v Mohamed  EWCA Crim 2400
Landmark Court of Appeal judgment overturning the convictions of refugees who had been wrongly advised of their defence under s31 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Sophie acted for one of the appellants.
Why is the IPCC not doing its jobs on deaths in custody?
Guardian 28 November 2012