Management Committee profiles

Melanie Carter
Melanie is a public law solicitor.  She is Head of Public & Regulatory Law at Bates, Wells & Braithwaite.  She is also a Tribunal Judge in the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) and an Independent Adjudicator for the Marine Stewardship Council (fisheries sustainability).  She specialises in public law and judicial review for a broad range of clients in particular from the third sector and public authorities.  She started her career working for welfare rights advice centres, moved in-house in Government and then into the private sector.

Stephen Cragg QC
Stephen is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. He specialises in public law cases especially in the criminal justice system and social welfare areas. He usually acts for individuals but often acts for NGOs or public authorities. He is also a Special Advocate. Before coming to the Bar in 1996, Stephen was a solicitor in law centres (and Vice-Chair of the Law Centres Federation), and was the first project solicitor employed by PLP. He has been a member of the Management Committee since 2006.

James Darbyshire
James is the General Counsel at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the UK’s statutory compensation fund of last resort for customers of authorised financial services firms.  James is responsible for the provision of all legal services at FSCS, including matters of public law. In particular James was involved in the UK’s response to the financial crisis of 2008/9.  Prior to his role at FSCS James worked in private practice, specialising in fraud and insolvency litigation, at the law firms Hogan Lovells LLP and, subsequently, Eversheds LLP.  James is also a non-executive director at London Capital Credit Union.

Angela Hogan
After working in local government in London for a number of years and heading the legal service at Bexley Council, in 2008 Angela moved to head the legal service at the University of Bedfordshire and is a Director of its trading body, Bedfordshire Enterprises. She is also Vice Chair of the Association of Women Solicitors.

Jason Housden
Jason is Senior Practice Manager at Matrix Chambers,  he manages a large team of practice assistants and managers, and contributes to the business strategy and development through meeting clients and promoting Matrix’s members.  Jason has been working in barristers' chambers since 1986, he commenced his career at Hardwicke, and more recently from 1999 at Tooks Chambers with Michael Mansfield QC before joining Matrix in 2007. Jason is also trustee of a local football club.

Ruthann Hughes
Ruthann is a consultant at the civil society strategy consulting firm Firetail. Her background is in research, evaluation and public engagement, supporting organisations and programmes that seek ambitious social change. She has over 15 years of experience delivering complex qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation programmes for NGOs, foundations, government bodies and universities. Her recent clients include Migration Observatory (at the University of Oxford), the Strategic Legal Fund, Fixers and the Royal Society of Chemistry. In her previous role at SOVA (a national criminal justice charity) she coordinated a European network of NGOs supporting marginalised women.

Ben Jaffey QC (Chair)
Ben is a barrister at Blackstone Chambers in London and Chair of PLP's board. He has a wide-ranging public law practice. He appears for and advises claimants and defendants, including companies, central government, local authorities, public interest groups, individuals and regulators. He was appointed to the Attorney General’s A Panel of counsel in March 2013, and received the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award in 2015.  Ben has a particular interest in access to justice issues and has acted for individuals in a number of the leading cases obtaining protection against adverse costs orders. He has been a member of PLP's Management Committee since 2008.

Fiona McGhie
Fiona is an Associate Solicitor in the Public Law and Human Rights Department at Irwin Mitchell's Bristol office. She specialises in a variety of public law challenges, with particular emphasis on those relating to health and welfare and in relation to police complaints. She pursues civil actions against the police and other detaining authorities and represents adults in health and welfare proceedings in the Court of Protection and has a particular interest in representing vulnerable and disabled adults to challenge local authority decisions and in claims arising out of contact with the police.

Savita Narain
Savita is Deputy Director of AVA (Against Violence and Abuse). She has worked for nearly 20 years in the voluntary and community sector, mostly in advice and information services. She has worked for both local advice centres and national advice organisations including the Law Centres Federation and AdviceUK.  Before working at AVA she was Head of Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management from Cass Business School's Centre for Charity Effectiveness.

Bryan Nott
Bryan is Director of Personal Legal Services at Simpson Millar LLP and his work covers a range of areas including education law, community care, Court of Protection, public law, employment and litigation. His work as a solicitor has covered both legally aided casework and representation and also representation for trade union members. Bryan has studied at Ruskin College on the International Labour and Trade Union studies course with a particular interest in labour rights and human rights in Colombia and the UK. He is a member of the National Committee of Justice for Colombia. Bryan was previously a member of Birmingham City Council and also chaired Birmingham District Citizens Advice Bureau.

Hollie Whyman
Hollie has a wealth of experience managing finance and operations, with a particular interest in compliance and good governance.   Hollie is now training to be a solicitor and will qualify in early March 2018.  She is currently seconded to Fletcher Day’s employment department from city firm, Rosenblatt, where she advises on both contentious and non-contentious employment issues for a variety of clients including individuals, companies and charities.  Hollie previously worked at PLP as its Practice Manager, where she was instrumental in developing financial and operational processes to support the organisation's expansion. 

 

Fiona is an Associate Solicitor in the Public Law and Human Rights Department at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office. She specialises in a variety of public law challenges, with particular emphasis on those relating to health and welfare and in relation to police complaints.  She pursues civil actions against the police and other detaining authorities and represents families at inquests. She also represents vulnerable adults in health and welfare proceedings in the Court of Protection and has a particular interest in representing vulnerable and disabled adults to challenge local authority decisions and in claims arising out of contact with the police.

PLP has transformed the way we engage with public sector organisations. After years of powerlessness in the face of appalling decisions made without thought as to their impact, we can now fight back.

Kester Dean, manager, Rossendale CAB