Susan is a dual qualified American lawyer whose public law practice focuses on the overlapping areas of mental capacity and mental health. She is particularly skilled in the cross-examination of expert witnesses.
Susan is ranked in the 2024 edition of the Legal 500 directory as a ‘Leading Junior’ in the field of Court of Protection and Community Care.
Susan is registered with the Bar Council to accept Public Access work.
Susan is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor, ALRs, family members, and Local Authorities in s.21A challenges and s.16 matters. She specialises in cases with complex medical evidence and has a particular interest in cases which fall under the inherent jurisdiction.
Susan appeared as junior counsel in the first case to come before the Court of Appeal on the meaning of s 44 Mental Capacity Act 2005 (ill-treatment or neglect of a person lacking mental capacity) Kurtz v R  EWCA Crim 274.
Her current COP caseload includes:
Representing P who is recovering from stroke with complex presentation, communication barriers, and fluctuating capacity. Matters complicated by the disputed legal basis for the initial and ongoing use of a percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy (PEG) feeding tube through which food, water and medication have at times been administered;
- Several cases involving representation in proceedings which followed attendance at A&E and protracted placement in a hospital setting where the parties agree it is detrimental for P to continue to reside;
- Representing P where there is shared and disputed responsibility among multiple local authorities and hospital trusts;
- Representing P with repeated detentions under the Mental Health Act in the context of a s.21A challenge, with medical evidence that is complex and almost entirely contradictory;
- Representing parent with Deputy status in circumstances where the Local Authority fail to recognise the status but decline to invite the Court to remove;
- Representing P in care home whose return home was being considered by the court but whose LPA was proceeding with the sale of P’s property, requiring an emergency injunction to stop the sale;
- Representing parent of P, who was detained under the Mental Health Act and became the subject of urgent hearings ahead of 18th birthday in anticipation of her discharge.
Susan accepts instructions in education cases, particularly challenging decisions to permanently exclude students and opposing transfers to Pupil Referral Units. She is a member of the School Inclusion Project and as a direct access barrister she can be instructed directly, without the need for a solicitor, and she often acts on a pro bono basis.
Skilled in all aspects of mental health law, Susan is particularly skilled at cross-examining experts.
She has established working relationships with a range of medical experts and contributed to the Sentencing Council’s “Sentencing offenders with mental disorders, developmental disorders, or neurological impairments” as well as the CPS guidance “Suspects and Defendants with Mental Health Conditions or Disorders.”
SH v R, Court of Appeal (2022): Appellant’s Section 37 Hospital Order quashed and absolute discharge substituted
R v EE, Basildon Crown Court (2021): Defendant acquitted following submissions highlighting evidence of psychosis.
R v TO, Inner London Crown Court (2021): Defendant acquitted following submissions highlighting history of complex mental health needs.
R v EK, Oxford Crown Court (2019): Led by Clare Wade QC, represented the first defendant charged with violating 44(1)(b) of Mental Capacity Act, following the death of her mother. There were complex issues of capacity which were the subject of repeated submissions during trial. The Court of Appeal ultimately reversed the conviction, accepting those submissions. The case received national news coverage including the BBC, Metro and Gazette. R v Emma Jane Kurtz  1 Cr.App.R 19