Who? Mathieu Culverhouse, 40, associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell and specialist Court of Protection lawyer.
Why is he in the news? Acted for a 68-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis in the first case in which the Court of Protection has authorised the withdrawal of treatment for a patient in a minimally conscious state.
The court was asked by the woman’s daughter to allow doctors to stop providing treatment after she said it would be against her mother’s wishes. Mr Justice Hayden granted the application, saying his decision was ‘an evolution in case law’.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Because this is the first time [such a decision has been made] there is the potential that people in a similar position to my client might now consider making an application to the court where they would not have done so before. There was a perception that if someone was in a minimally conscious state, it would be very unlikely that the court would make an order to withdraw treatment.
‘In a previous case the emphasis was on the sanctity of life, but since then the Supreme Court’s judgment in Aintree v James emphasised the need to put the person at the centre of best-interests decision-making.’
Dealing with the media: ‘It was a very sensitive case and generally the media coverage has been quite balanced.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘Some of my friends became lawyers. Whereas before I didn’t have a concept of what it meant to be a lawyer, I saw that they were able to make a real difference to people’s lives. That inspired me.’
Career high: ‘Being involved in the Cheshire West case about deprivation of liberty. It was another Court of Protection case that went to the Supreme Court and it had wide-ranging implications.’
Career low: ‘It has been dispiriting to deal with the changes to the legal aid regime.’