Hannah Slarks

Hannah Slarks

Professional Summary

Called 2011

Contact Details

E T +44 (0)20 7632 8500 Clerk Michael Smith Clerk Hannah Rayner E

Hannah Slarks practices in public, regulatory, commercial and employment law.

She is ranked as a leading junior in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 across her main areas of practice, being described as “exceptionally bright”, “a determined advocate”, “very easy to work with” and “the epitome of the modern junior counsel”.

She has been instructed for both claimants and defendants in some of the most high profile cases of the year, on issues such as whether the Government must call an immediate public inquiry into the handling of PPE during the pandemic; the appointment of Dido Harding and others without open recruitment processes; and antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Before coming to the Bar, Hannah worked with a number of charities and public bodies, including the Public Law Project, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, INQUEST and the Care Quality Commission.

Specialisms

Commercial

Hannah has acted in a landmark multi-billion pound tax case, and litigation concerning commercial agency. She has also acted as a conciliator in shareholders’ disputes.

She also has considerable experience of commercial disputes with public bodies. She has acted in arbitration proceedings concerning NHS contracts, and High Court litigation arising from contractual disputes with local authorities.

Court of Protection

Hannah regularly acts in Court of Protection proceedings concerning deprivation of liberty and the best interests of vulnerable adults. In particular, Hannah appeared for the Ministry of Defence in a complex case concerning whether it was in the best interests of an injured ex- serviceman to return to Fiji with his family or receive superior medical care in the UK. She has worked on some of the leading cases defining how the courts should protect those lacking capacity.

Recent examples of her work include:

R (NT) v Caerphilly CBC and others
UKSC 2019/0188
Acted for the Secretary of State for Education in this landmark Supreme Court case concerning the circumstances in which the High Court can use its inherent jurisdiction to deprive children of their liberty. Led by Joanne Clement.

R (EG) v Parole Board and Secretary of State for Justice
[2020] EWHC 1457 (Admin)
Defended the Parole Board in a judicial review challenging the system in place to enable the effective participation of prisoners lacking capacity. Led by Jonathan Auburn.

Education

Hannah has a strong specialism in education law.  She appears in the High Court and County  Court on disputes between students and Universities. She regularly acts in the High Court and First Tier Tribunals in discrimination claims and on matters arising  from  EHC  plans.  She works on  exclusions  and admissions appeals. She regularly conducts independent investigations  concerning  complaints made by parents and by teachers. She has undertaken a series of sensitive investigations concerning universities’ handling of allegations of sexual assault. Hannah recently acted for the Department of Education in the Care Standards Tribunal, when an independent faith school had refused to educate its pupils on LGBTQ issues.

Employment

Hannah has a busy practice in both the Employment Tribunal and the High Court, as well as the appellate courts.  She practices across the breadth of statutory employment law, with a particular experience of multi-party discrimination claims and complex whistleblowing matters. In the High Court, she is instructed in matters involving misuse of confidential information, breaches of contract, bonus disputes and injunctions to prevent disciplinary proceedings. She regularly undertakes internal investigations on behalf of major employers. Her clients range from investment banks, tech firms and elite private schools to individuals and charities.

Examples of her work include:

Sigismund v Financial Conduct Agency, Bank of England and others
2020
Acted for the Bank of England at each stage of the litigation, from the Employment Tribunal through to the ongoing proceedings in the Court of Appeal. In this whistleblowing claim, a former adviser to the FCA brought a case on the basis that he had predicted the financial crisis and no one had listened to him.  Instructed by Travers Smith.

HJ v Investment Firm (anonymised)
2020
Acted for this financial services firm, in a sensitive case concerning alleged serious sexual harassment of a personal assistant.  With Hannah’s assistance, it was settled out of Tribunal on favourable terms. Instructed by Weil Gotshal.

Harrison v Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust QB
[2021] IRLR 62, [2020] IRLR 62, [2019] EWHC 3507 QB, QBD, December 19 2019
Acted for the NHS Trust resisting this urgent injunction in the High Court. The case concerned when the Court may intervene when employers restrict an employee’s duties during an ongoing disciplinary investigation.  Instructed by Bevan Brittan.

AC v CR (anonymised)
2020
Acted for an office services firm in this potential claim for injunctive relief.  The case concerned an exiting employee’s misuse of client information.  Litigation was avoided at the pre-action stage, with the assistance of Hannah’s advice and draft particulars of claim. Instructed by Allen and Overy.

Drake International Systems Ltd v Blue Arrow Ltd
UKEAT/282/15, [2016] ICR 445, EAT, January 27 2016.
Acted for the appellant company in the EAT in this leading case on the interaction between early conciliation obligations and applications to add new respondents to a claim. Instructed by Charles Russell Speechlys.

Health & Community Care

In community care, Hannah acts both for and against local authorities. She acted for the claimants in the high profile challenge to Central Government’s funding of the deprivation of liberty regime. She has appeared in important litigation about the duties owed to families with no recourse to public funds. She has acted in major challenges to the closure and privatisation of services. She also regularly acts as sole counsel in claims concerning the duties owed to children and vulnerable adults. This year, she appeared in the Supreme Court in a landmark challenge concerning when the Courts can use the inherent jurisdiction to deprive children of their Liberty.

Hannah has wide-ranging experience in claims concerning healthcare provision. She appeared for the claimant in the Court of Appeal hearing on the reconfiguration of emergency healthcare services in Dorset. She is currently instructed for the Government, defending a judicial review challenge to the establishment of a state indemnity scheme for GPs. She acted in the complex judicial review concerning the reconfiguration of Manchester’s general surgical services. She was instructed in the challenge to the compensation scheme for those who contracted Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products in the 1980s.

She has extensive experience appearing before Continuing Healthcare review panels on behalf of families. She also appears in commercial disputes arising in a health context, including in arbitration.

Examples of her work include:

R (Lancashire County Council) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
[2021] EWHC 268 (Admin)  (2021) 24 CCLR 57
Acted successfully for the Defendant in this ordinary residence dispute. The case decided the difficult question of where responsibility should lie when a Deputy had been paying for the individual’s care out of that individual’s own money, when he would otherwise have been entitled to public funding.  Led by Jonathan Auburn QC.

R (Medical Defence Union) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
CO/2273/2019
Currently defending the Government in this high level challenge to the creation of a State indemnity scheme for the liabilities of GPs. Led by Clive Sheldon QC.

R (NT) v Caerphilly CBC and others
UKSC 2019/0188
Acted for the Secretary of State for Education in this landmark Supreme Court case concerning the circumstances in which the High Court can use its inherent jurisdiction to deprive children of their liberty. Led by Joanne Clement.

R (EG) v Parole Board and Secretary of State for Justice
[2020] EWHC 1457 (Admin)
Defended the Parole Board in a judicial review challenging the system in place to enable the effective participation of prisoners lacking capacity. Led by Jonathan Auburn.

R (Hinsull) v Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group
CO/5867/2017
Acted for the Claimant before the Court of Appeal in this challenge to the reconfiguration of emergency healthcare in Dorset. Led by Jason Coppel QC.

R (Juttla) v Hertfordshire Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group
[2018] EWHC 267, (2018) 21 CCL Rep 325, QBD (Admin Ct), February 21 2018
Appeared for local authority. A respite care service for children with complex medical needs was a ‘health service’ and the local authority should have been consulted before funding was withdrawn from it. Led by Clive Sheldon QC.

R (Smith) v SS for Health
[2016] CO/5208/2016
Defended the Secretary of State for Health in response to this public law discrimination claim. The claimants challenge the compensation scheme for those who contracted Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products in the 1980s. Led by Charles Bourne QC.

R (Liverpool and others) v SS for Health
[2017] EWHC 986 (Admin), (2017) 20 CCL Rep 391; [2017] COPLR 295; [2017] ACD 80,
[2016] CO/2780/2017,
Acted for a group of local authorities challenging the Government’s failure to fund adequately the implementation of the deprivation of liberty regime, led by James Goudie QC.

R (Keep Wythenshawe Special) v NHS Central Manchester CCG
[2016] EWHC 17 (Admin), (2016) 19 CCL Rep 19
Represented Stockport NHS Foundation Trust in complex judicial review proceedings challenging the reconfiguration of general surgical services across Manchester, led by Jason Coppel QC, instructed by Bevan Brittan.

R (Project Seventeen) v Lewisham LBC
[2015] CO/3536/201
Acted for LB Lewisham in a landmark case concerning how local authorities assess families’ eligibility for support when they have no recourse to public funds, led by Clive Sheldon QC.

R (D) v Brent LBC
[2015] EWHC 3224 (Admin).
Successfully defended a local authority as sole counsel in a judicial review concerning delays during the transition of a vulnerable adult between young person’s and adult’s services.

R (Taylor and Wilson) v Sutton LBC
CO/1817/2015.
Acted as sole counsel for a local authority defending a challenge to a change of the opening hours of respite services.

R (Jackson) v Devon
CC CO/4296/2014.
Successfully defended a local authority in a judicial review challenging a decision to close all the Council-run care homes for older people, led by Karen Steyn QC.

Inquests

Hannah has acted in Inquests, representing both public authorities and families of the bereaved. She has also appeared in judicial reviews relating to Inquests. She appeared in the challenge concerning the decision to withdraw public funding for the representation of the senior police officers in the Hillsborough inquests. Before coming to the Bar, she worked with the charity INQUEST.

Professional Discipline

Hannah appears in a range of professional discipline contexts, from health and social care to political party conduct.  She regularly acts for and against teachers accused of misconduct. This year, she acted successfully defending the Leader of a Labour Council, who faced expulsion from the Party following false allegations of sexual assault.

Public, Regulatory & Human Rights

Hannah’s broad public law practice encompasses areas such as: constitutional law; unlawful detention; human rights; education; electoral law; community care; healthcare, emergency services and inquests. She also deals with matters relating to the conduct and decisions of political parties. She acts for claimants and defendants. She is consistently instructed in policy cases of major public importance, as well as sensitive matters concerning the rights of individuals.

In the past year, she has been instructed in some of the most important cases arising from the pandemic, concerning: the discharge of individuals from hospitals into care homes; the failure to call an immediate public inquiry into the handling of PPE; and the appointment of Dido Harding and others without open selection processes. She also acted successfully on behalf of the lead complainants to the Equality and Commission Rights Commission inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Hannah’s public law specialisms in community care, healthcare and education are dealt with in separate sections below.

Examples of her work include:

R (Good Law Project) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Currently acting for the Claimants in this challenge to the rules of the Government’s multi-billion pound Levelling Up Fund. Led by Shaheed Fatima QC, with Joseph Barrett.

R (Good Law Project and Runnymede Trust) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Currently acting for the Claimants in this challenge to the appointment of Dido Harding and others to key pandemic roles, without open recruitment processes. Led by Jason Coppel QC.

R (Gardner) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
CO/2123/2020
Currently defending the Government in this judicial review concerning the handling of the discharge of hospital patients into care homes early in the pandemic. Led by Jonathan Auburn and James Eadie QC, with Yaaser Vanderman and Charles Bishop.

R (Mitchell) v Secretary of State for Justice
[2021] EWHC 2248 (Admin)
Acted successfully as sole counsel challenging the Government’s failure to consult on changes to the criminal injuries compensation scheme, which would prevent the disproportionate exclusion of victims of child sexual abuse. Instructed by the Centre for Women’s Justice.

R (Doctors Association UK and others) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
CO/2074/2020
Acted for the Government in this (and other parallel judicial reviews) seeking to force the Government to call a public inquiry into handling of the pandemic, and particularly provision of PPE. Led by Clive Sheldon QC and James Eadie QC. Hannah has since been advising the Government on the procedure and terms of reference for the Inquiry.

Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party
Acted successfully as sole counsel on behalf of the Jewish Labour Movement, the lead complainants to the Commission’s statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party. Instructed by Mishcon de Reya.

R (Inclusion Housing) v the Regulator for Social Housing
[2020] EWHC 346 (Admin)
Acted for a leading provider of specialist social housing in a judicial review of a regulatory judgment based on the provider’s novel economic model. Led by Daniel Stilitz QC.

Sally Gimson’s challenge to selection decision of the Labour Party’s NEC
Acted as sole counsel on behalf of Sally Gimson, whom members of the Constituency Labour Party of Bassetlaw selected as their candidate for the 2019 election, after the NEC refused to endorse her candidacy. Instructed by Mishcon de Reya.

Vote Leave v Electoral Commission and Grassroots Out/Murphy v Electoral Commission
[2019] EWHC 2762 (QB)
Acted on behalf of the Electoral Commission, resisting parallel claims brought by Brexiteer participants in the 2016 referendum. The groups sought to prevent the Commission from continuing to retain and publish their financial information. The Vote Leave claim was withdrawn. The Grassroots Out claim was defeated in the High Court. Led by Tim Pitt-Payne QC.

R (Juttla) v Hertfordshire Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group
[2018] EWHC 267, (2018) 21 CCL Rep 325, QBD (Admin Ct), February 21 2018
A respite care service for children with complex medical needs was a ‘health service’ and the local authority should have been consulted before funding was withdrawn from it. Led by Clive Sheldon QC.

DSD & NBV v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis
[2018] UKSC 11
Intervened on behalf of Liberty in this Supreme Court appeal, arising from the case of the Black Cab Rapist. The case redefined the scope of an Article 3 obligation on the police when investigating crimes involving torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

R (Gulf Centre for Human Rights) v Prime Minister
[2016] EWHC 1323 (Admin)
Represented the claimant challenging amendments to the Ministerial Code, which removed the obligation upon ministers to comply with international law and uphold the administration of justice. Led by Jason Coppel QC.

R (Moore) v Secretary of State for Local Government
[2015] ACD 44
Successfully represented the Save Farm Terrace Association in a judicial review challenging the Secretary of State’s grant of permission for the sale of allotments, instructed by Deighton Pierce Glynn. Led by Jason Coppel QC.

R (Mohammadi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
CO/10119/2013.
Successfully represented an unlawfully detained Iranian prisoner, instructed by Leigh Day.

R (Islington LBC) v Mayor of London
[2013] EWHC 4142 (Admin)
Acted for a group of London Boroughs in a complex judicial review challenging a decision to close 10 Inner London fire stations, led by Dan Stilitz QC.

Recommendations

“The epitome of the modern junior counsel. She is highly talented, hard-working and a public law specialist. Her communication skills are excellent.” Chambers and Partners

“She does an absolutely brilliant job; she’s a determined advocate and very easy to work with.” Chambers and Partners

“Sharp, accessible and has a ‘we’re in this together’ attitude.” Chambers and Partners

“She is perceptive, thorough and calm” Legal 500

“Exceptionally bright, with the ability to simplify the most complex of matters, and her written work is outstanding.”  Legal 500

Appointments

Attorney General’s C panel

News, Articles & Publications

The Claimant’s Pre-permission Checklist, co-authored with Clive Sheldon QC (Judicial Review, Vol. 21, 2016 – issue 2).

Tolley’s Employment Handbook (2013-16 editions, Tolley).

Public Law and Judicial Review and Representing yourself in court: on the day in A guide to representing yourself in Court, co-authored (2013, guidance published by the Bar Council).

Positive obligations to provide access to information under the European Convention on Human Rights, co-authored with Karen Steyn (2012, journal article published in Judicial Review).

The Forum for Preventing Deaths in Custody: UK experiences with cross-sector cooperation in Police involved deaths – the Need for Reform (MacAlister Ed.) (2011, book published by the British Canadian Civil Liberties Association).

Service User Experience of the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) (2011, report published jointly by the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and the Care Quality Commission).

Where Human Rights and Development Meet (or fail to do so): The Constitutional Right to Housing in South Africa (2010, journal article published in the UCL Human Rights Review).

Analytical Overview of the 4th Session the Human Rights Council (2007, report published in the Council Monitor by the International Service for Human Rights).

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – India 70th Session (2007, report published in the Treaty Body Monitor, by the International Service for Human Rights).

Education

Hannah has two Double First Class degrees. She was rated ‘outstanding’ on the Bar Professional Training Course.

Other

Working French.

While studying, Hannah won a number of high profile advocacy competitions, including the National Debating Championships and the Times Advocacy Competition.

Lord Megarry Scholarship – Lincolns Inn 2011 Lord Mansfield Scholarship – Lincolns Inn 2010 Advocacy Scholarship – Kaplan Law School 2010

Burnett Award – Hughes Hall, Cambridge 2009 and 2010 Lord Bowen Scholarship – Lincolns Inn 2008

Hardwicke Entrance Scholarship – Lincolns Inn 2008

Mary Morrison Prize – Bristol University French Department 2008 Convocation Award – Bristol University 2007

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Professional title: Barrister

Full name (as registered with Bar Standards Board of England and Wales): Hannah Slarks

VAT Number: GB 165696562

Legal Status: Sole Practitioner

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