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Bethan Harris

Year of Call: 1990

"Thoughtful and considered in her submissions - the court really trusts her judgement."

Chambers UK, 2021 (Community Care)

"The quality of her work and performance are impressive."

Chambers UK, 2021 (Social Housing)

"Her drafting is exceptional; her written advice and skeleton arguments are really thorough and really concise."

Chambers UK, 2021 (Court of Protection)

"She is particularly active in cases involving capacity/mental health issues, community care, and cases that need to be heard at the Court of Protection."

Legal 500, 2021 (Social Housing)

"Always exceptional, even with the most challenging of clients. She is tenacious and spots the subtle points that are sometimes overlooked."

Chambers UK, 2019 (Social Housing)

Contact

To get in touch:​ Or you can contact the relevant​ Practice Team Clerks directly and they will be happy to assist with your enquiry.

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Bethan Harris is an experienced practitioner specialising in housing law, community care law and Court of Protection. She brings her wealth of expertise in all these areas to complex cases which often include consideration of public law principles, equality and discrimination and capacity issues.

Bethan appears in the courts at all levels. She is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's panel of counsel.

Bethan currently writes regularly for the Garden Court Chambers Social Welfare Updates Blog.

Housing Law

Overview

Bethan's housing work includes homelessness appeals, judicial review, Children Act 1989, housing benefit, Equality Act 2010 issues, mental capacity and housing, and cases involving both housing and community care law. She recently appeared for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to obtain and injunction against a landlord's unlawful lettings policy (EHRC v Wilson).

Notable Cases

Equality and Human Rights Commission v Wilson, HHJ Polden 8 November 2017 represented the Commission to obtain an injunction to restrain a landlord from having a policy not to let to certain racial groups.

Hillsden v Epping Forest District Council [2015] EWHC 98 (Admin): whether local authorities have a residual discretion to allocate social housing outside their normal rules

Toynbee Housing Association v Choudhury, Clerkenwell County Court, 2 February 2011, Legal Action, May 2011, 35: successful appeal against a court order for eviction of a disabled tenant and her family due to the drug related behaviour of her son

Stephens v Kerr [2006] HLR 21 CA: tenant with Rent Act 1977 security retained her protected status despite prolonged absence from dwelling

Southwark LBC v Long [2002] HLR 56 CA: council's obligations to maintain common parts of council estate

Lambeth LBC v Howard [2001] 33 HLR 58 CA: case on the relevance of Art 8 in possession proceedings brought by local authority on grounds of anti-social behaviour

Hammersmith & Fulham v Clarke [2001] 33 HLR 77 CA: elderly tenant retained security of her council tenancy after moving into residential care

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Community Care Law

Overview

Bethan's work in community care includes assessments and service delivery issues such as direct payments; personal budgets, and eligibility criteria; accommodation issues; delivery of services to people who lack mental capacity; charging; children in need; carers' assessments; Equality Act issues, disability adaptations, safeguarding and human rights duties of public bodies to vulnerable adults.

She wrote and appears in the webinar, Care Act 2014 Part 1: What practitioners need to know, produced by Practical Law. She is an editor of the Community Care Law Reports.

Notable Cases

Re AM (Residence) [2020]represented family member in Court of Protection proceedings seeking the return of a brain-injured man to live at home after 10 years' in nursing care; case considers resource limitations on health and social services in the community;  sets out the principles on weight to be attached to her person's wishes, feelings, beliefs and values when considering ​best interests.

Re W [2019]: acted for the litigation friend of a person suffering from Alzheimers placed in residential care; claim for damages under Human Rights Act - alleging lack of Art 5 safeguards meant failures in assessment and care planning were left unaddressed.

R (E) v Walsall Council, Administrative Court, 10 December 2013 (HHJ Plunkett): she represented a child, E, in a claim for judicial review which established that E's placement with her grandparents, following child protection concerns, was under s 20 Children Act 1989; the grandparents were therefore entitled to the foster care allowance

R (G) v LB Barnet [2001] EWHC Admin 5: availability of assistance under s 17 Children Act 1989 for child in need and its mother who was not habitually resident in the UK)

CIS 3325/00 [2001] UKSSCSC CIS_3325_2000 (3 August 2001): social security commissioner appeal on entitlement of people with severe learning disabilities to income support after transfer from hospital care to nursing home care

De Silva v Social Security Commissioner [2001] EWCA Civ 539: Social Security Appeal Tribunal's duty to make accurate record of proceedings

R (Patrick) v Newham LBC (2000) 4 CCLR 48: local authority's duty to conduct community care assessment for person with mental illness living rough: when duty triggered and requirements of a lawful assessment

LB Haringey v Jowett [2000] 32 HLR 308: Environmental Protection Act 1990 and noise nuisance caused by traffic

Bate v Chief Adjudication Officer [1996] 1 WLR 814 HL: anti-test case rules in social security law

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Court of Protection

Overview

Bethan appears frequently in the Court of Protection. Her work includes emergency applications, deprivation of liberty issues, local authority safeguarding duties, personal welfare applications, contested appointments of financial/health and welfare deputies, complex care packages. She covers some property and financial affairs matters. Bethan acts for litigation friends, local authorities and family members.

Notable Cases

Re AM (Residence) [2020]: represented family member in Court of Protection proceedings seeking the return of a brain-injured man to live at home after 10 years' in nursing care; case considers resource limitations on health and social services in the community;  sets out the principles on weight to be attached to her person's wishes, feelings, beliefs and values when considering ​best interests.

Re W [2019]: acted for the litigation friend of a person suffering from Alzheimers placed in residential care; claim for damages under Human Rights Act - alleging lack of Art 5 safeguards meant failures in assessment and care planning were left unaddressed.

Re X and others (Deprivation of Liberty) [2014] EWCOP 25; and [2014] EWCOP 37: represented one of the local authorities in this Court of Protection litigation which determined the procedure for court-authorised deprivation of liberty following the expansion of the concept following the UKSC ruling in Cheshire West.

Islington LBC v QR [2014] EWCOP 26: represented a person challenging an assessment that she lacked capacity and whether in her best interests to move to supported living; establishing that the person retained litigation capacity despite not having subject-matter capacity. Judgment contains detailed guidance on capacity to make decisions to enter a supported living tenancy.

ACCG and ACC v MN [2013] EWHC 3859 (COP) (Mrs Justice King): acted for the Official Solicitor in relation to the care and residence of a young man with autism and severe epilepsy; a central issue was whether there was a choice between "available options" when the local authority refused to provide them. (This is the first instance decision in ACCG v MN, UKSC.)

An NHS Trust v Mrs P and Ms P [2013] EWHC 50 COP (Hedley J): represented the mother of a young woman with learning difficulties in an application to determine capacity and best interests in relation to whether the young woman, who was at risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, should have a termination or continue with her pregnancy.

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Notable Cases & News

Adult social care in the health crisis ​- Webinar on 3 April 2020

28 April 2020

Garden Court Housing Team responds to Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government consultation on 'A new deal for renters'

The Garden Court Housing Team welcomes the government’s proposal to abolish no fault evictions (based on s.21 Housing Act 1988).

15 October 2019

15 members of Garden Court Chambers appointed to Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel

Stephanie Harrison QC, Amanda Weston QC, Bethan Harris, Liz Davies, Grace Brown, Timothy Baldwin, Mark Symes, Joanne Cecil, Stephen Marsh, Anthony Vaughan, Shu Shin Luh, Connor Johnston, Gráinne Mellon, Tessa Buchanan and Miranda Butler.

16 May 2019

High Court’s inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults (Southend-on-Sea Borough Council v Meyers)

20 March 2019

Court rules landlord's ban of 'coloured' tenants is unlawful

Bethan Harris represented the Equality and Human Rights Commission in its case against private landlord Fergus Wilson.

10 November 2017

The Garden Court Chambers Housing Team respond to the consultation of Terms of Reference of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has called for responses to the consultation of Terms of Reference.

3 August 2017

Garden Court and Stephanie Harrison QC shortlisted for Human Rights and Public Law awards

Garden Court has been shortlisted at the Chambers Bar Awards, whilst Stephanie and our Public Law Team are shortlisted at the Legal 500 Awards.

21 October 2016

Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks Garden Court in Band 1

Garden Court Chambers recognised as a leading set for immigration, social housing, civil liberties, police law, Court of Protection, crime and inquests and public inquiries.

30 October 2015

Garden Court barristers appointed as panel counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

4 March 2015

Garden Court Chambers ranked Band 1 in Chambers UK 2014

We are once again delighted to have been ranked as a leading set by Chambers and Partners in the Chambers UK 2014 directory.

31 October 2013

Bethan Harris appeared in a serious medical treatment case in the Court of Protection

Bethan Harris appeared in a serious medical treatment case in the Court of Protection on 10 January 2013, representing the family of a young woman with learning difficulties.

15 January 2013

All related news

Social Welfare Updates

Social Welfare Update: Making arrangements for paid for sexual services for a person who lacked capacity to make those arrangements was not an offence under s 39 Sexual Offences Act 2003

Blog post by Bethan Harris of the Garden Court Chambers Court of Protection Team. A Local Authority -and- C (by his litigation friend, AB), A Clinical Commissioning Group and Secretary of State for Justice [2021] EWCOP 25, Hayden J, 26 April 2021

30 April 2021

Social Welfare Update: Court of Appeal decision on capacity to use social media, consent to sexual relations and residence warns against “silos” when analysing capacity

B (by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) v A Local Authority [2019] EWCA Civ 913, 11 June 2019

31 October 2019

Social Welfare Update: Court of Protection: Personal health budget with third-party brokerage; lack of alternative options

Harrow CCG v IPJ, IJJ and AJ (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor)[2018] EWCOP 44, HHJ Hilder, 20 April 2019

28 May 2019

Social Welfare Update: High Court's inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults - permission to appeal refused against interim order requiring a person to reside in a care home

A Local Authority v BF [2018] EWCA Civ 2962, Baker LJ, 1 December 2018

23 April 2019

Social Welfare Update: Assessing capacity to make decisions on use of internet and social media

Re A (Capacity: Social Media and Internet Use: Best Interests) [2019] EWCOP 2, 21 February 2019, Cobb J Re B (Capacity: Social Media: Care and Contact) [2019] EWCOP 3, 21 February 2019, Cobb J

23 April 2019

Social Welfare Update: High Court's inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults used to prevent a person from returning home to a life-threatening situation

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council v Mr Meyers [2019] EWHC 399 (Fam), Hayden J, 20 February 2019

23 April 2019

Social Welfare Update: Court of Protection - Best interests decisions in respect of a person suffering from end stage dementia

Hounslow CCG v RW (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) and Others [2019] EWCOP 12, Hayden J, Vice President of the Court of Protection, 29 March 2019 PW v (1) Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and (2) RW (by his litigati

23 April 2019

Care Act 2014: reduction in care package for woman with multiple sclerosis upheld

R (on the application of) VI v London Borough of Lewisham [2018] EWHC 2180 (Admin), Andrew Henshaw QC (sitting as a Judge of the High Court), 15 August 2018

11 September 2018

Deprivation of liberty and local authority care arrangements for children

Re A-F (Children) (No. 2) [2018] EWHC 2129 (Fam), Sir James Munby, 8 August 2018

11 September 2018

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill starts its journey through Parliament: the replacement of DoLS

The Bill introduces a new administrative scheme for authorisation of deprivation of liberty arising from arrangements for care or treatment of persons lacking capacity to consent to those arrangements.

20 July 2018

Housing and disabled people - Britain's hidden crisis: an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission

“I have not been outside since 2011 except for essential hospital stays. My flat is on the second floor with no lift; it is not wheelchair accessible, and although I have and need a power wheelchair, I cannot even use it indoors as the flat is not adapted

22 June 2018

Court of Protection: Costs order against local authority for delay in applying for review required under Re X order

LB Harrow v (1) AT (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) (2) DT [2017] EWCOP 37, HHJ Hilder, 14 May 2018

30 May 2018

Court of Protection authorised the taking of blood samples to be passed to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

SSHD v Skripal [2018] EWCOP 6, 22 March 2018, Williams J

9 April 2018

Care Act 2014 personal budgets must be transparent; family care not to be assumed; Unjust enrichment claim was “against public policy”

CP v North East Lincolnshire Council [2018] EWHC 220 (Admin), 9 February 2018 HHJ Graham Wood QC

27 March 2018

Court of Protection Visitors’ reports can provide the necessary procedural safeguards for the incapacitated person in the streamlined procedure for authorisation of deprivation of liberty; increase in government funding for such reports

Re KT, DR, KH and DC [2018] EWCOP 1, 15 January 2018, Charles J

17 January 2018

NICE consultation on draft guidance on decision-making and mental capacity

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is consulting on its draft guideline until 5th February 2018, with an expected publication date for the guideline of 16 May 2018.

15 January 2018

New Court of Protection Rules coming into force on 1 December 2017

The Court of Protection Rules 2017 have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 1 December. They revoke the current rules and replace ...

10 November 2017

Out of hours order under High Court’s jurisdiction in relation to vulnerable adults for removal from home and detention in hospital – no claim under HRA 1998 in respect of judicial act

Aamir Mazhar v The Lord Chancellor [2017] EWHC 2536 (Fam), Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals, 12 October 2017 

10 November 2017

Court of Appeal overturns Birmingham CC v D: 16-17 year olds who lack capacity not deprived of their liberty within Art 5 where parents consent to their confinement

Re D (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 1695, Sir James Munby, President of the Court of Protection, David Richards and Irwin LJJ, 31 October 2017

10 November 2017

Deprivation of liberty in family home - family member as Rule 3A representative

SCC v (1) MSA (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) JA (2) and (3) SCCG [2017] EWCOP 18, 20 September 2017, Bellamy DJ

5 October 2017

Withdrawal of Clinically Assisted Artificial Nutrition and Hydration (CANH): Need for proceedings – family member litigation friends

M (by her litigation friend, Mrs B) v A Hospital [2017] EWCOP 19, 20 September 2017, Peter Jackson J

3 October 2017

Best interests and serious medical treatment where the person lacking capacity has delusional beliefs

NHS Foundation Trust v QZ (by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) [2017] EWCOP 11, 6 June 2017, Hayden J

8 September 2017

Extension of the Transparency, Case Management and s 49 pilots

The pilots have been extended (by amendment to each of the relevant pilot practice directions). 

8 September 2017

Best interests: preventing person with Korsakoff's Syndrome from drinking alcohol

DM v Y City Council [2017] EWCOP 13, Bodey J, 15 June 2017

8 September 2017

Company discharged as deputy for breach of fiduciary duty

The Public Guardian v Matrix Deputies Limited (1) LB Enfield (2) [2017] EWCOP 14, HHJ Hilder, 19 July 2017

8 September 2017

Damages under HRA 1998 for loss of conjugal relations during delay in implementing proposed sex education

CH (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) v A Metropolitan Council [2017] EWCOP 12, Sir Mark Hedley sitting as  Judge of the Court of Protection, 28 July 2017

8 September 2017

S21A MCA 2005 not appropriate where the central issue was whether CANH life-sustaining treatment was in a person’s best interests

Director of Legal Aid Casework (1) Secretaries of State for Health and for Justice (2) The Official Solicitor (3) v Briggs [2017] EWCA Civ 1169, 31 July 2017, President of the Queen’s Bench Division (Sir Brian Leveson), Lady Justice King and Lord Justice

31 July 2017

A judicial review brought by local authorities challenging the government for failing to fund them to meet the extra costs of the deprivation of liberty safeguards after the UKSC decision in the Cheshire West case was dismissed.

R on the application of Liverpool CC (1) Nottinghamshire CC (2) LB of Richmond-upon-Thames (3) Shropshire Council -and- Secretary of State for Health, and Secretary for Communities and Local Government (Interested Party)[2017] EWHC 986 (Admin), Garnham J,

31 May 2017

Deprivation of liberty safeguards: the supervisory body is responsible for monitoring compliance with conditions

W [2016] EWCOP 58, DJ Ralton, 14 April 2016

31 May 2017

Teresa Kirk appeal: order set aside as futile in the face of Ms Kirk’s refusal to comply

Teresa Kirk v Devon County Council [2017] EWCA Civ 34, Sir James Munby P, 30 January 2017 The court approved a consent order compromising the appeal of Teresa Kirk against the order requiring her to secure the return of MM from Portugal. For the facts

8 February 2017

A person who died in an intensive care unit, who had lacked capacity to consent to their treatment there, was not in “state detention” at the time of their death

Ferreira, R (On the Application Of) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London [2017] EWCA Civ 31, Arden and McFarlane LJJ and Cranston J, 26 January 2017 Maria Ferreira (Maria), who had Down’s syndrome and learning difficulties, died in an intensive c

7 February 2017

Court orders further consideration of the realistic options for P before proceeding with a full hearing

A Local Authority v X [2016] EWCOP 44, Holman J, 25 October 2016

4 November 2016

All social welfare updates

Background

Bethan has briefed MPs and drafted amendments for pressure groups on housing and social security legislation. She has worked in Kosovo and Macedonia, documenting human rights violations for Physicians for Human Rights, and visited Montenegro to speak to lawyers on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee. She contributed to submissions to the Law Commission and Parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights on reform of the law on deprivation of liberty in care settings of people lacking mental capacity.

Bethan comes from South Wales and speaks Welsh. She has appeared on Welsh language TV and radio on many occasions, commenting on current legal affairs.

Publications

Bethan is an editor of the Community Care Law Reports. She co-authors the regular Housing Benefit Update in the Legal Action Magazine. She regularly contributes to the Garden Court Chambers Social Welfare Updates Blog.

Training and Seminars

Bethan frequently speaks at seminars for practitioners for relevant practitioner organisations or at Garden Court Chambers.

In January 2015 she provided a webinar, Care Act 2014 Part 1: What practitioners need to know (January 2015), produced by Practical Law.

Education

  • BA (Oxon), LLM (LSE)

Professional Membership

  • Housing Law Practitioners' Association
  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Founding member of the Social Security Law Practitioners' Association
  • Liberty
  • Court of Protection Practitioners' Association

Languages

  • Welsh

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