Charlotte Ventham

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YEAR OF CALL: 2001

“She is very approachable and no question is too small. She will drop anything to help her clients.” - (Police Law) Chambers UK 2014

‘Charlotte Ventham is “always thoroughly prepared” and “offers an excellent service” with “a quick turnaround time” for her paperwork. She represented the Chief Constable of Hampshire in an inquest arising from the high-profile police shooting that occurred in Chandler’s Ford in Hampshire 2007′ – (Police Law) Chambers UK 2013

‘Charlotte Ventham … is recommended for her excellent judicial review practice and for her strong analytical skills.’ Chambers and Partners 2011

Police law

Charlotte’s practice embraces all areas of civil and public law relevant to policing. She acts for chief officers, PCCs and the IPCC in all cases involving the police including judicial review, malfeasance claims, inquests, discrimination, personal injury and employment. Her practice has encompassed diverse areas of law from human rights (in particular, cases involving alleged breaches of Articles 2, 3, 5 and 8) to data protection, conversion, defamation, licensing and police pensions.

Charlotte has particular expertise in handling judicial review claims for the police and the IPCC. Cases have included challenges to ECRC disclosures, police cautions, changes to promotion policies, police disciplinary outcomes and the handling of complaints against the police. She also has extensive experience defending civil actions for false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution, negligence and misfeasance in both jury and non-jury actions. She is regularly asked to advise the police on non-contentious matters including policy, procedure, police powers and operational issues.

Charlotte is currently advising the Metropolitan Police (led by Jeremy Johnson QC) in certain claims and other matters arising out of the high profile murder of Daniel Morgan. Mr Morgan was a private investigator who was found with an axe embedded in his head in a pub car park in 1987, a crime for which no-one has ever been convicted. The Home Secretary has commissioned a review of the case by an independent panel whose terms of reference include consideration of the role played by police corruption in the handling of the case since 1987.

Charlotte has acted for the police in a number of sensitive inquests engaging Public Interest Immunity issues and necessitating the careful handling of allegations of police failings. These have included firearms incidents, unlawful killing following domestic violence and deaths in custody.

Charlotte has substantial experience of police disciplinary matters having acted as presenting counsel and legal advisor at numerous misconduct hearings and on appeal to the Police Appeals Tribunal. Charlotte was instrumental in developing and delivering NPIA-approved training to police forces on all aspects of the 2008 Conduct and Performance Regulations. She has also dealt with a number of judicial review claims relating to the application of the Conduct Regulations and the Police Reform Act 2002.

Charlotte is also an employment law practitioner who is regularly instructed by the police to deal, in particular, with discrimination claims.

Charlotte edits the 5 Essex Court Police Law Update which publishes articles and case law bulletins on topical legal issues affecting Chambers’ police law clients.

Recent cases:

R (Simpson & ors) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police [2013] EWHC 1858 (Admin): judicial review concerning the application of the Chief Constable’s promotion selection policy in light of an ongoing promotion freeze. The Court held that the Claimants’ legitimate expectation had been breached by the decision not to treat the results they had achieved at the final stage of the promotion selection process as an entitlement to promotion as and when the freeze was lifted.

Reynolds v (1) Chief Constable of Sussex Police (2) Reliance Secure Task Management Ltd (High Court, QBD, 2013): led by Samantha Leek QC in a very high value personal injury claim arising out of a catastrophic brain injury suffered by the Claimant whilst in police custody. Acted for D2 who were the providers of civilian custody staff responsible for carrying out cell checks.

R (Stratton) v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police [2013] EWHC 1561 (Admin): judicial review claim in which the Court considered the lawfulness of a caution issued in 2008, in particular whether the police had demonstrated on the evidence that the Claimant was properly informed as to the consequences of accepting a caution and had thereby given informed consent.

R (L) v Chief Constable of Cumbria Police [2013] EWHC 869 (Admin): judicial review challenging the police decision to disclose on a teacher’s enhanced criminal records certificate, an allegation of inappropriate sexual advances made towards a pupil.

Banks v Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police (2013): defended the Constabulary in a civil claim for false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution heard by judge and jury.

R (Monger) v Chief Constable of Cumbria Police [2013] EWHC 455 (Admin): judicial review considering the applicability of regulation 3 of the Special Constables Regulations 1965 to the dismissal of a special constable for misconduct.

R (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis) v Central Criminal Court & (1) Michael Guilfoyle (2) Crown Prosecution Service (Interested parties) [2013] EWHC 179 (Admin): judicial review of an unlawful court order purporting to lift a sexual offender’s notification requirements in which public interest considerations in upholding the rule of law and in ensuring that reviews of notification requirements are dealt with in accordance with the new statutory procedures overrode the considerable delay in challenging the order.

C v (1) Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (2) Dr A (3) Dr G (Central London County Court, 2013): claim in negligence, under the DDA 1995 and HRA 1998 by a severely disabled man in respect of the conditions of his detention in police custody.

Shepherd v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (High Court, QBD, 2013): high value claim for conversion arising out of seizure and retention by the police of a large quantity of firearms and ammunition from a firearms dealer.

R (Montgomery) v 1) Police Appeals Tribunal, 2) Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 936 (Admin): judicial review concerned with the meaning and scope of the grounds of appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal under the 2008 PAT Rules and the admissibility before the PAT of evidence not before the original misconduct hearing.

Inquest touching the deaths of Paul Nunes and Andrew Markland (2011): inquest arising out of a high-profile police shooting incident in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire in 2007 in which members of the MPS “flying squad” intercepted an armed robbery on a cash in transit vehicle.

R (Game) v Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset [2011] EWHC 3567 Admin: judicial review challenging the decision not to expunge a caution from police records on the basis the Claimant had been induced into accepting the caution at the time.

R (Boyle) v Haverhill Pub Watch [2009] EWHC 2441 (Admin): appeared on behalf of Suffolk Constabulary as an interested party in a case concerning the reviewability of a decision by a pub watch scheme to ban the Claimant from licensed premises. The Claimant argued that the pub watch should be subject to review by virtue, in part, of the role played by the police in its operation. As such the case had far-reaching implications for pub watch schemes across the country.

Inquests

Charlotte has acted for the police in a number of sensitive and document-heavy inquests engaging Public Interest Immunity issues and necessitating the careful handling of allegations of police failings. These have included firearms incidents, unlawful killing following domestic violence and deaths in custody.

Recent cases:

Inquest touching the death of Daniel McMahon (2013): Article 2 jury inquest into the death of a man who was hit by a train whilst on day release from a psychiatric unit where he had been “sectioned”. In the 8 minutes prior to the collision, a witness had been relaying events to a 999 call handler.

Inquest touching the death of Lucinda Port (2012): Article 2 jury inquest into the fatal stabbing of the deceased following a history of domestic violence. Her boyfriend’s body had been found in a different location, apparently as a result of suicide.

Inquest touching the deaths of Paul Nunes and Andrew Markland (2011): inquest arising out of a high-profile police shooting incident in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire in 2007 in which members of the MPS “flying squad” intercepted an armed robbery on a cash in transit vehicle.

Inquest into the London Bombings of 7 July 2005 (2010): junior Counsel for City of London police in the inquests into the deaths of the 52 victims.

Employment Law

Charlotte regularly appears in Employment Tribunals primarily on behalf of Respondents. She has considerable experience in cases involving discrimination (in particular, sex, race, sexual orientation and disability), “whistleblowing”, equal pay, maternity and parental leave, temporary workers, TUPE and unfair dismissal (including redundancy, misconduct and constructive dismissal).

Recent cases:

RB v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (2013): claim for constructive dismissal and various forms of sex and disability discrimination, harassment and victimisation by former civilian staff member arising out of an alleged bullying/intimidating working environment.

P v Chief Constable of Kent Police (2013): disability discrimination claim by former Police Community Support Officer following his dismissal for unacceptable attendance.

S v Chief Constable of Kent Police (2013): claim for unfair dismissal and under s48(1A) ERA 1996 (protected disclosure/“whistleblowing”) by former civilian staff member following his dismissal for gross misconduct.

Anderson v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police (2013): dispute as to the amount of redundancy payment paid to the Claimant following a period of secondment on an enhanced salary.

C v L Ltd (2012): high value constructive dismissal claim brought by an accountant with counterclaim for breach of contract.

H v Chief Constable of Kent Police (2012): claim under s48(1A) ERA 1996 (protected disclosure/“whistleblowing”) and disability discrimination (successfully struck out in its entirety).

Grant v Leeds Castle (2012): claim for unfair dismissal arising out of an employee’s dismissal for gross misconduct despite a long and exemplary service.

Lectures/training

Charlotte regularly provides CPD lectures to solicitors on all aspects of her practice. Recent topics include:

Data retention and disclosure: Article 8, PII, non-party disclosure and Norwich Pharmacal orders

Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates

Discrimination law and its impact on the IPCC

Inquests

Police misconduct proceedings

Education

Bar Vocational Course, ICSL (2000-2001)

CPE/Diploma in Law, City University (1999/2000)

MA Hons in French and Spanish, University of Edinburgh (1991-1995)

Millfield School (1988-1990)

Malvern Girls’ College (1984-1988)

Interests

Skiing, tennis