PLP Staff

Adrian manages the training and events, website, publications and comms at PLP.  Before joining the organisation Adrian worked as a Project Manager with Index on Censorship, the international freedom of expression organisation, where he headed their annual awards event and managed projects funded by the UNDP and the Arts Council, including first international festival of homeless arts.  Previously Adrian worked at the University of the Arts Student’s Union and as the administrator of ‘Union Chapel Project’, where he got to see loads of great music.  In his spare time he is learning to roller skate (quads not inline). He has recently discovered he is very short sighted in one eye.
Alison is a barrister, and leads PLP’s casework team. Alison heads up a number of projects including our work on addressing unlawful and unfair systems in the context of benefit sanctioning, promoting and safeguarding the rule of law during (and following) Brexit,  and the access to justice project. Alison also supervises PLP’s pupil barrister. Before joining PLP, Alison was in private practice at Doughty Street Chambers where she had a claimant-focused public law practice with a particular focus on migrants’ rights. She acted in a number of legal aid cuts cases, including representing PLP in its successful challenge to the proposal to introduce a residence for legal aid. Alison was awarded the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year in 2015 and was also recognised as Chambers and Partners UK Bar Awards’ Public Law and Human Rights Junior of the Year.

Byron is part of a team looking into the impact of Brexit on administrative Justice, within the specific context of immigration. This includes an examination of the capacity of redress systems to cope with the consequences of changes to immigration law and policy after Brexit. This research fellowship is funded by the Legal Education Foundation. Byron holds an LL.B. and an MA in Political and Legal Theory from the University of York. Byron has an interest in all aspects of public law, including institutional approaches to the subject. He has contributed to a volume of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law and regularly posts on the UK Constitutional Law Blog. Byron’s work on the Investigatory Powers Commissioner was cited by the All Parliamentary Group on the Rule of Law, and has subsequently participated in a seminar focusing on the competence of the judicial commissioners created by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. During his doctoral studies, Byron was a student visitor at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He maintains an interest in the degree of convergence and divergence between the public law of the UK and the remaining Commonwealth realms.

Chris has been a senior manager leading on charity finance and operations since 2009 when, as Assistant Director, Chris helped the Restorative Justice Council grow from two to twenty employees. Chris joins PLP from Age UK where he assisted the partnership affairs department develop a new strategic plan in a period of rapid change. At PLP he holds responsibility for finance and back office functions and is moving to focus further on developing the charity’s infrastructure. Chris read Law at University of Wales, Aberystwyth where he received subject prizes for corporate governance, information law and contract law.

Elaine joined PLP in July 2018, as their Administrative Officer. She supports the Events, Finance and Administrative teams.
Elaine read Politics and Psychology a long time ago at Aberdeen University. Before starting at PLP she started and ran several creative businesses including: Little Badger (children’s clothing mail order), Glen Scott Properties and Property Facelift (interior design). More recently she took some time out to travel and volunteer in China, Morocco and Sri Lanka. As a result of her travels she decided to work in the charity sector and is about to embark on a part-time diploma in Criminology with the OU. She lives ridiculously near the office.

Emma is a PhD student from the University of Exeter who is seconded to PLP on a work placement until March 2017. As part of her placement, Emma has been assisting the University of Exeter to set up an Exceptional Case Funding clinic for immigration matters that fall outside the scope of legal aid. She is also involved in developing other areas of social research to inform PLP’s policy work and capacity building in the advice sector. Prior to starting her PhD, Emma worked for UK-based human rights organisations, including a refugee charity where she managed the drop-in centre. Her ongoing doctoral research focuses on improving access to immigration advice in the context of proliferating legal aid deserts.
Jo Hickman was appointed PLP’s Director in 2015. She is a public law specialist with a background in both the private and voluntary sectors.  Immediately prior to her appointment Jo was Head of PLP’s Casework team where she developed and led the pioneering legal aid project, and acted in a number of seminal cases. She is widely recognised for her strategic expertise, having been historically named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year and Times Lawyer of the Week. Most recently she was shortlisted as 2017 Lawyer of the Year at both the Legal Business and Solicitor Journal awards.

She is a member of the Law Society Access to Justice Committee, a Board member of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and sits on the Civil Justice Council.

Joe is PLP’s Research Director. He is also Lecturer in Public Law at King’s College London and a member of the Wider Core Team at the UK Administrative Justice Institute. He completed an LL.B and Ph.D in law at the University of Manchester, and has held visiting positions at King’s College London and Osgoode Hall Law School. He researches widely on public law, and particularly the administrative justice system. Joe’s work has been published in leading journals and been funded by a range of organisations, including the ESRC and the Nuffield Foundation. His work has been cited by a variety of bodies, including the Ministry of Justice, the All Parliamentary Group on the Rule of Law, and the House of Commons Library. His work (with Professor Robert Thomas) on administrative review will also form the basis of a Law Commission project. Before joining the PLP, he worked in the President’s Chambers of the EFTA Court, at Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, and as Legal Assistant to Gerard McDermott QC. At PLP, he is currently leading the development of a new research strategy.
Joe is a trainee solicitor supervised by Sara Lomri, PLP’s Deputy Legal Director. He previously worked in prison law, before joining PLP to work on the Legal Aid Support Project in 2013. He has worked on strategic litigation in various fields, including in relation to prisoner re-settlement facilities, legal aid provision and welfare benefits. He is currently developing work in connection with commissioning of public services and enabling PLP’s partner organisations to develop their understanding and use of the law to achieve their aims.

Katy joined PLP in partnership with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights as part of their Summer Fellowship Scheme. She is researching the use of empirical evidence in strategic litigation during her time at PLP. Katy did her undergraduate and master’s degree in law at Oxford University where she focused on equality, human rights, and employment law. Katy is an Executive Committee member of Oxford Pro Bono Publico (OPBP) which does comparative research for use in strategic litigation worldwide. Prior to coming to PLP Katy worked as a public law paralegal at Simpson Millar LLP on a variety of education, social care, and human trafficking matters. Katy has also volunteered in the Vial Refugee Camp in Chios, assisting with asylum applications, as well as interning at Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust in Dhaka, where she researched child marriage.

Katy is a solicitor at PLP. Katy has particular expertise in advising on access to legal aid and Exceptional Case Funding (ECF), and provides training and consultancy on legal aid and ECF to legal aid providers and not-for-profit organisations.  She is also currently working on PLP’s welfare rights project, advising in relation to unfair and discriminatory practice within the welfare benefits system, and providing training on public law remedies to welfare rights organisations. Katy also represents a number of men with historic convictions for consensual gay sex, and has written for the Times and the Independent in relation to her work on this issue.

Katy joined PLP from the legal team of human rights organisation Liberty, where she managed its advice and information service. Prior to that, she ran Toynbee Hall’s Free Legal Advice Centre in London’s East End. She is a co-founder of the Phoenix Project, a community organisation aimed at reducing social isolation in refugee and asylum seeking women, and a volunteer duty scheme advocate at the Asylum Support Appeals Project.

Matthew joined PLP  as a pupil barrister in September 2017. He has a particular interest in social welfare law. After graduating with a degree in History from the University of Sheffield, Matthew completed the GDL and the BPTC at the University of Law. During his legal studies, Matthew volunteered for the Free Representation Unit, PLP, and the Bar Pro Bono Unit. He was called to the Bar by Inner Temple in November 2015.

Prior to commencing pupillage, Matthew worked as a Legal Project Manager at the AIRE Centre, where he led two projects advising clients and referrers on EU free movement law issues, focusing on homelessness, social security, and EEA women in prison. Matthew had previously gained experience in housing and welfare benefits while working as a Casework Manager at Z2K.

Ollie read law at Oxford University and New York University. Before being called to the Bar, he was a researcher in comparative media law at Oxford University, worked on criminal justice, mental health, and free speech issues at the American Civil Liberties Union, and was a research assistant to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.  Ollie set up a UK version of Yale’s Rebellious Lawyering Conference (‘RebLaw UK’),  which brings together students, activists, and practitioners to discuss how law can be used as a tool for social change.

He is a committee member of Young Legal Aid Lawyers and a tutor at the London School of Economics.

Polly Brendon is a solicitor at PLP. She specialises in public law and judicial review challenges, and has worked on high profile challenges to the cuts to legal aid arising from the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (“LASPO”). Polly represented the claimants in Ben Hoare Bell and others v The Lord Chancellor [2015] 523 (Admin) and I.S. v Director of Legal Aid Casework and the Lord Chancellor [2015] 1965 (Admin); [2016] EWCA Civ 464. Polly is regularly instructed by individuals and organisations in a range of public law and human rights matters and delivers training on PLP’s How to do Judicial Review course. Polly joined PLP in 2014 from Wilson Solicitors LLP where she advised and represented clients in immigration and asylum law, and in related public law and human rights matters.
Rakesh is a senior solicitor with 17 years’ experience who joined PLP in 2013.  His main public law areas of expertise are immigration and human rights law.  He has acted in a number of test cases in the context of deportation/exclusion and counter-terrorism concerning procedural fairness and the use of secret evidence and the use of diplomatic assurances to deport an individual to a country with a track record of human rights violations.  His current work focuses on the government’s immigration policy for removing individuals from the UK and whether it creates difficulties for those who want to bring a legal challenge to an unlawful removal decision.  He has acted for individuals who were unlawfully removed from the UK and who the government then had to bring back.  Rakesh regularly delivers PLP’s ‘How to do Judicial Review’ course.
Sara is a solicitor and Deputy Legal Director. Sara has a broad public law and human rights practice with a particular focus on disability and gender discrimination, and assisting those facing multiple disadvantages. In addition to her casework, Sara is currently leading a significant project at PLP focusing on improving and providing access to justice for frontline organisations and charities and their stakeholders or service users. Sara is also working closely with colleague Joe Vester on developing small and frontline organisations’ understanding of commissioning practices and avenues of challenge, and also developing a public law clinic with the LSE with Ollie Persey. Before Sara came to PLP she worked for ten years in private practice at Bindmans LLP, where she specialised in private and public law challenges against detaining authorities and was recommended in Chambers and Legal 500 in Civil Liberties and Healthcare categories.
Sophie joined PLP in November 2017, as their first Events Officer. She supports the Events and Resources Development Manager with training, conferences, fundraising events, the website, publications and comms, particularly as PLP’s events programme grows in 2018.

Sophie studied Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at Kings College London. Before starting at PLP she worked in the fundraising events team at the LGBT charity Stonewall. Whilst there Sophie helped deliver events that raised vital core income for the organisation, such as their annual Equality Dinner and Summer Party, as well as working on a range of stewardship events for their major donors.