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Mark Scott

Mark Scott specialises in private and public law claims against the state as well as assisting families whose loved ones have died in custody.

Mark has been involved in conducting a substantial caseload of private and public law claims against the police and other detaining authorities such as the Home Office as well as companies such as Group 4 running prisons and detention centres for the Home Office under contract. He has concluded major clinical negligence litigation against a police doctor (initially involving the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police as co-Defendant) resulting in a settlement at a record level of agreed damages. He has developed a particular and unique expertise in claims on behalf of those detained under the immigration rules and regulations in particular. Mark has established that the detention of children in immigration detention centres where their age was disputed by the authorities was unlawful (the ‘disputed minors litigation’) and acted in litigation for a group of claimants in subsequent compensation claims.

He has conducted work on behalf of bereaved families at inquests into deaths in prison, police and immigration custody. Mark has represented the families of Joseph Scoles, Gareth Myatt, presently the only child to have died as a result of restraint in custody and Adam Rickwood the youngest child to have died in custody. He represented the families at the inquests, in judicial reviews of the Coroners’ rulings on the law and in civil claims for breaches of the Human Rights Act.

Mark also provides training for the ILPA, JCWI and the Refugee Council on the rights of those in immigration detention.

His notable cases include:

Second inquest into the death of Adam Rickwood January 2011 Following the death of Adam in 2004, a flawed first inquest, two judicial reviews, a successful civil action and a decision of the Court of Appeal in C that Amendment Rules that allowed for restraint for Good Order and Discipline breached articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the second inquest into Adam’s death concluded in January 2011. Its findings were that Adam had been unlawfully restrained, the restraint had more than minimally contributed to his death and that there were serious failings leading to an unlawful regime at Hassockfield STC.

R (Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE)) v Secretary of State for Justice after obtaining a Protective Costs Order for CRAE acted in judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State for failing to notify children and former children in Secure Training Centres that they had been subjected to assaults and human rights breaches by staff whilst they were in custody.

Suppiah v Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2011, in which the Court found that the detention of two families pending removal was unlawful and in breach of articles 5 and 8 ECHR. The Court found that there was significant evidence that the Secretary of State was failing to apply its policy that families should only be detained exceptionally with the rigour that it deserved.

HXA v The Home Office, 2010, in which the Court found that HXA had been unlawfully detained pending deportation for a period of 11 months. The Court found that immigration detention could only be used for the purpose of removing an individual from the UK, and not in order to investigate whether he could be transferred to detention in his country of origin.

MXL v Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2010, in which it was found that a foreign national prisoner mother separated from her children had been unlawfully detained, and in breach of articles 5 and 8 ECHR, due to the failure to have adequate regard to the best interests of her children.

R (Pounder No 2) v HM Coroner for North & South Districts of Durham & Darlington, 2010
Acted for Adam Rickwood’s mother in a second successful judicial review of the Coroner’s failure to recluse himself from the second inquest into Adam’s death. The Court held that the Coroner had appeared to predetermine central contested issues in the case and so the second inquest needed to be dealt with by a different Coroner.

K v Home Office & R(K) v SSHD
High Court proceedings where liability was admitted and substantial compensation was awarded for two periods of unlawful detention where an Iraqi asylum seeker was threatened with unlawful removals to the Kurdish controlled region in Iraq.

R (London Secure Services Ltd and others) v Youth Justice Board, 2009
Acted for a child detained in a Local Authority Secure Children’s Home [LASCH] who challenged the decision of the Youth Justice Board (“YJB”) not to award a criminal justice contract for provision of placements at the LASCH. The claim was with unsuccessful at first instance but the child has been granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

R (Pounder) v HM Coroner for North & South Districts of Durham & Darlington, 2009
Acted for Adam Rickwood’s mother in judicial review proceedings of the inquest into her son’s death in custody. The Court affirmed that the power to use force on children in STCs was restricted to the limited circumstances set out in the STC Rules not as contended at the inquest by Serco as generally when necessary to support staff orders. It was also held that Adam had been subjected to at least degrading treatment contrary to article 3 ECHR and a fresh inquest was necessary as the jury’s conclusions were infected by a failure of the Coroner to rule on the legality of the restraint.

R v (D & K) v SSHD & others, 2006
Acted for the Claimant D in a successful challenge to the systemic and long standing failure of the SSHD and to provide at Oakington medical assessments as required by the Detention Centre Rules which were designed to protect those who had been tortured from detention. The failure was declared unlawful and that the Claimants were entitled to damages for their detention.

Group Action - Opiate Dependant Prisoner Litigation, HC 2006
Mark led a team of lawyers at Bhatt Murphy in a group action brought by approximately 200 prisoners for inappropriate healthcare in prisons for those with drug dependency issues. Prior to trial the home office admitted liability for negligence, assault and breaches of the Human Rights Act and damages of £750,000 were subsequently negotiated for the 200 prisoners.

ID and others v Home Office, CA 2005
which declared that an immigrant detained under immigration legislation had an entitlement to bring a private law action for false imprisonment on the basis that the detention was unreasonable and/or in breach of policy.

Re Sarah Campbell, Cheshire Coroner’s Court 2005
acted for Pauline Campbell the mother of Sarah who had died at HMP Styal, the jury in their verdict expressed concerns about the treatment of Sarah who was one of a number of women who had died at the prison.

N and others v Group 4, HC 2005
settlement, the terms of which are confidential, of claims by a number of detainees regarding their treatment and the conditions of their detention following the fire at Yarl’s Wood in 2002.

M v Home Office, HC 2005
settlement of a damages action by a refugee involving a challenge to the Home Office policy of detention of Zimbabwean asylum seekers following the suspension of removals to Zimbabwe in January 2002.

LM v Home Office, HC 2005
settlement of a damages action by a refugee whose detention was continued after a significant change in the strength of his asylum claim.

Bark and others v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, HC 2004
settlement of a damages action in a claim in false imprisonment and under the Human Rights Act for a group of protestors on the jubilee weekend.

Mark has practised as a solicitor since 1993, initially with the well known and respected firm of Winstanley-Burgess until 1997, then with Stephens-Innocent and BM Birnberg & Co before becoming one of the founders of Bhatt Murphy in October 1998.
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See the article Mark has written for the Legal Action magazine on the following:

ID and Others and unlawful detention: the issues explained