Who? Louise Whitfield, partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn.
Why is she in the news? Represented a heterosexual couple who took a legal challenge to the High Court, seeking the right to enter into a civil partnership.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan claim that a ban on members of the opposite sex entering into civil partnerships is discriminatory and breaches their right to a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
But the judge dismissed the judicial review application. He said straight couples are not disadvantaged by the law because they can get the same recognition, rights and protections through marriage. He did however give the couple permission to appeal, as he said the case raised issues of ‘wider importance’.
Thoughts on the case: ‘The ruling was disappointing as it is clear that the ban does impinge legally on their rights to family life. It is also disappointing that the government can use cost as a legitimate claim to justify the ongoing discrimination.
‘Overall it has been fascinating to see such depth of public support for something that the government has tried to portray as a minority issue and not important to thousands of people.’
Dealing with the media: ‘The media have been very interested and engaged. The case has been reported fairly, with a genuine level of understanding of both my client’s views and the complexity of the case.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I am very committed to social justice and have always wanted to work on behalf of people facing significant disadvantage.’
Career high: ‘Winning in the Court of Appeal for a group of disabled people fighting the closure of the Independent Living Fund.’
Career low: ‘The government then making a fresh decision to close that fund.’