Hudgell Solicitors has recruited civil liberties solicitor Cyrilia Davies Knight to join the firm’s growing London team.
Davies Knight joins after nine years with Birnberg Peirce, where she has specialised in handling cases of breaches of human rights, civil actions against the police, inquests and judicial reviews.
She was part of a nine-strong team that acted for 77 families in the inquests into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool football fans as a result of the Hillsborough disaster and has also represented the family of Mark Duggan, who was killed when shot by a Metropolitan Police firearms officer in 2011.
Her appointment comes on the back of rapid growth in the specialised area of civil liberties work for the firm over the past 18 months.
“When the opportunity came to join Hudgell Solicitors’ civil liberties team I carried out my own research and spoke to a number of barristers who were aware of their work, and who had worked with them on cases, and they all had great things to say,” said Davies Knight.
“It was in doing my own due diligence that it became clear that this was a great opportunity for me to be a part of the growth of this progressive firm. Hudgells is among the leading national firms in terms of the high-value, good, solid clinical negligence work it is doing, and it has rightly won recognition for its civil liberties work.”
Hudgell Solicitors’ growth of civil liberties cases has been led by Hull-based lawyer Andrew Petherbridge over the past 18 months.
The department now handles a significant number of active cases at any one time, including many of national significance in terms of holding police forces to account for their actions and investigations. Davies Knight is highly experienced in the area.
“You have to be fearless in many ways and it can be a daily uphill struggle when you are dealing with cases against major police forces, the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and handling matters which are also politically sensitive in their nature,” she said.
“A good civil liberties lawyer though is someone who can handle all of that and keep the client’s best interests at the heart of all they do. You need to be a good listener and you must have empathy. Many of the people we represent are very vulnerable and have been through some of the most difficult of times.”
Managing director Neil Hudgell, who himself is actively involved in the firm’s civil liberties work, said: “We have established a very successful civil liberties arm to the firm over the past two years, and it is an area of the business we feel we can further grow given the nature and seriousness of cases we are now handling, the expertise we already have within the business, and the further expertise we will be looking to add in the future.
“The appointment of Cyrilia is an indication of our ambition and intention to continue to grow this area of work and support the many people who find their human rights violated, and are victims of police misconduct and failings.”