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Courtney Smith, Duncan Lewis

Courtney Smith

Solicitor

Contact Information

Profile / Experience

I am a Solicitor in the Actions Against Public Authorities Department. I joined the firm in 2015 and specialise in claims against public authorities as well as in handling inquests.

As a member of the Police Action Lawyers Group, my aim is always to hold public authorities to account when they abuse their powers, fail to observe their professional obligations, or otherwise act unlawfully.

I have a wide variety of experience in handling cases of misconduct, assault and battery, false imprisonment, misfeasance, malicious prosecution, negligence, and harassment. I also advise clients in relation to the mishandling of personal information, discrimination, and breaches of human rights legislation. I assist in making complaints and bringing civil claims against the police, prison and probation service, the Home Office, local councils and various other government departments.

I am a member of INQUEST, a national group of lawyers who provide preparation and legal representation for bereaved families. When a family member dies and an inquest is opened to investigate that death, I represent the families interests throughout the proceedings, providing advice and support through what are always traumatic and confusing times for the family. I assist families in inquests regarding deaths in custody, hospital or other medical settings and in the wider community.

I also have considerable experience in criminal defence matters. My previous criminal practice allowed me to represent those who the State had charged with a criminal offence and to provide robust defence from the initial police interview, throughout the investigation, to the conclusion of the case at either the Magistrates or Crown Court.

I also have experience in representing individuals in public law matters where my clients included those requiring representation for a range of judicial reviews, asylum claims, immigration and citizenship applications and appeals in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals.

I often work alongside my colleagues in the criminal defence and public law departments where a client’s matter merges into the claims against public authorities area of work. I assist a wide variety of clients, many of whom are vulnerable and have experience in dealing with both legally aided and privately funded clients.

Education

  • Legal Practice Course (Commendation) – BBP University Law School, London
  • LLB Law (First class honours) – The University of Sunderland
  • Awarded the Sunderland University Professional Award – 2014
  • Honour Roll Student, 2013-2014

Career

  • Duncan Lewis Solicitors, 2015-present
  • Sunderland University Law Clinic, 2013-2014

Notable Cases

High Court
  • R v Dzuga and others - A high profile case of human trafficking spanning a number of years which received notable media attention. This case involved two co-defendants and eight complainants claiming to have been trafficking into the UK and forced to work and live in squalid conditions over a period of 7 years. The client was eventually convicted of only 1 out of 4 counts of human trafficking and forced labour of which they were charged.

  • R v Burges and others - This case involved a number of defendants who were city businessmen charged with conspiracy to defraud following the establishment of a boiler room in central London to allegedly sell scam investments in art and diamonds to unwitting members of the public and targeting vulnerable people to make sales. The result of the five week trial which took place in the Central Criminal Court was that the defendant represented by Duncan Lewis was found not guilty of the charges.

Civil Court
  • Giordano v London Borough of Camden - Judicial review in the High Court challenging the interpretation of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010, specifically reg. 40(7)(ii) and whether ‘capable to be carried on lawfully and permanently’ means that a building is capable physically to be used for its intended purpose or not.

Membership & Accreditations

  • Member of INQUEST
  • Member of the Police Action Lawyers Group
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