In 2012 Laura was described by the Guardian as a lawyer to watch. She is the founder member of national campaign group the Young Legal Aid Lawyers and she received both the 2010 Liberty Human Rights Young Person of the Year award and the 2009 Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the year award on behalf of the group. In 2006 she was named Young Legal Aid Solicitor of the year. Laura is a visiting fellow at South Bank University where she teaches courses on Crime and Human Rights. She was awarded a professional doctorate in youth justice at the University of Bedfordshire in August 2014. Laura is also a trustee of the Legal Action Group and is the legal director for the Howard League for Penal Reform.
Practice area: Public Law
Laura is a solicitor with higher rights specialising in prison law, criminal appeals and public law. She has an expanding civil practice which encompasses damages claims for clients who have suffered unlawful treatment within the criminal justice system. She has particular expertise in representing vulnerable young people and those serving life sentences.
Laura was awarded her higher rights (civil) in 2009 and has a strong public law practice. Her detailed and comprehensive letters before action often result in resolution without the need to resort to litigation.
Laura has a particular expertise in the cross-over between community care needs and the criminal justice system. She has acted in many cases concerning the rights and entitlements of young people under the Children Act 1989, especially where they are leaving custody and lack a safe place to live or require accommodation and support in order to have a meaningful parole review. She also regularly acts for vulnerable adults who require support under community care legislation, in particular, those who need support to assist their rehabilitation and ensure their compliance with licence conditions.
Laura frequently represents clients who are subject to MAPPA, and is often involved in challenges to unnecessary or disproportionate conditions that impact on the individual's liberty or private life.
- R (M) v Chief Magistrate  EWHC 433
- Regina v S  EWCA Crim 1462
- R (S) v Halton Borough Council, The Parole Board  EWHC 1982 (Admin)
Regina v M.J.  EWCA Crim 1999
- Grounds of Appeal Against Sentence, with Edward Fitzgerald and Sheryn Omeri, Taylor on Appeals (Oxford, 2012)
- "Child appeals, wrongly accused: who is responsible for investigating miscarriages of justice?" (Jures/Solicitors Journal, March 2012)
- "Children Convicted of Sexual Offences: Do Lifelong Labels Really Help?" The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice (2011) 50(2), 137-152.
- After the riots: children, young adults and the law, Legal Action, October 2011
- "What are legal aid lawyers for?" Closing the Justice Gap: new thinking on an old problem (Jures/Solicitors Journal, May 2010)
- Treating children in trouble with dignity, Spring 2010, Outlook, Children England
- Children and young people: seeking fair access to justice, Legal Action, October 2009
- Children and the parole process, Legal Action, September 2008
- Rights of children and young people in prison to housing and care on discharge, Legal Action, February 2008
- "Children Who Commit Sexual Offences: Some Legal Anomalies and Practical Approaches to the Law", The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice (2007) 46(5), 493-499.
- Legal aid: what future for the "fourth emergency service"? Legal Action February 2007
- Young Lawyers in the "brave new world of legal aid", Legal Action September 2006
Co-author, with Edward Fitzgerald QC, of the chapter on appeals against sentence in the latest edition of Taylor on Appeals (Oxford, 2012).