Who? Solicitor Catrin Blake, 29, head of Court of Protection at Butler & Co Solicitors in Taunton.
Why is she in the news? Acted for the mother in a case against Somerset County Council, which had unlawfully taken and held her daughter in residential care for over a year. Blake and her team argued that the council had acted unreasonably in its conduct of proceedings.
They succeeded in obtaining an order for costs on an indemnity basis, something which rarely happens in Court of Protection proceedings.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Our client fought tirelessly to have her daughter returned to her care and had to refute multiple unfounded allegations against her and her family. Since her return home, MK is reported to be much happier and settled. [This case] highlights the terrible impact that poor decisions made by a local authority can have on a person and their family. It also demonstrates the importance of adequate training for social workers. I hope that this is an isolated case.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Court of Protection cases are rarely reported, but this one has significant financial consequences for local authorities so it has attracted a lot of attention.’
Why become a lawyer: ‘I have always been enthusiastic about representing vulnerable clients. What is more important than a person’s liberty, health and welfare? There is never a dull moment, and the combination of cutting-edge law and close relationships with clients makes the job so rewarding.’
Career high: ‘Succeeding in the MK v Somerset case has been a big highlight. It coincided with another successful case before the Court of Appeal, which has made 2015 a very good year.
Career low: ‘The ever decreasing budget for legal aid really does make a difference to vulnerable clients who need advice and representation. It can be disheartening to have to break the news to them.’