Barrister Helen Compton

Helen Compton

Year of call: 2011  

spacer

“Analytical skills are remarkable – she is able to identify the nuances that are sometimes overlooked by more experienced barristers.”

spacer

Overview


Helen has developed a broad mixed common law practice which reflects the multidisciplinary ethos of chambers. Clients have described Helen as ‘calm, collected and focussed’, she ‘quickly gets to grips with complex facts’ and is a ‘fierce and tenacious advocate’. Helen has successfully appeared in the High Court, Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.

In all areas of Helen’s practice she advises in the most legally complex and challenging cases. She provides strategic insight at all stages and gives clear and tactical advice. She is frequently asked to consider novel points of law. Helen applies the same conscientious and thorough approach to all her cases.

Helen’s considerable experience in the criminal and family courts has honed her advocacy skills. She is a formidable cross-examiner and her submissions are persuasive and realistic. Her written advocacy is regularly praised by judges as being ‘clear and concise’.

Helen represents both individual and corporate clients. She tailors her approach to best suit the needs of each client and the particular case. In her employment, clinical negligence and family work she often represents very vulnerable clients and is sensitive and re-assuring.

Before joining chambers, Helen travelled to East Africa and contributed to the development of a Criminal Defence Manual for the region. She was awarded a Sir Joseph Priestley scholarship by Inner Temple to complete this voluntary work. Helen also received a Major Inner Temple Scholarship to support her studies for the Bar. During her legal training she worked as a research assistant to the Professor of European Studies; assisting with a chapter of the monograph, Solidarity in EU Law.

Helen read Law with Politics at the University of Sussex and graduated with the top first in Law. Whilst at University she won both the mooting and negotiation competitions.

Helen is public access qualified and can accept instructions directly from the public without a solicitor.

Child & Family Clinical Negligence Commercial Crime Employment Personal Injury Product Liability Public Law

Child & Family


Helen undertakes private and public Children Act work.

Helen is an extremely approachable advocate who builds a good rapport with those she represents. She is aware that all proceedings involving children are distressing for the parties and require great sensitivity. She is able to provide robust advice whilst being sympathetic to the issues raised.

Helen represents clients at both interim and final hearings in cases involving domestic violence, neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

In her private work Helen acts for parents in all types of cases involving Section 8 and Child Arrangement Applications. Most recently she succeeded in ensuring that a father succeeded in his contact application despite allegations of violence and drug use.

In her public Children Act work Helen has frequently represented parents in cases where the Local Authority is seeking adoption and placement orders. Helen most recently represented a father in a five day case in which she successfully demonstrated that the independent assessment of the father was inadequate.

Helen has also appeared on behalf of grandparents and other extended family members in applications for special guardianship orders.

Helen has represented the local authority on a number of occasions and has appeared on behalf of the guardian.

Clinical Negligence


Helen has acted in a number of cases concerning birth injuries, failure to diagnose and failure to perform competent surgical procedures. She has also been involved in unusual cases; such as a surgeon leaving medical equipment in a patient’s womb. She has advised as to the appropriate level of quantum in complicated cases concerning vulnerable Claimants with on-going medical complaints.

Helen has experience of working with the bereaved. She has advised on liability and quantum in a number of claims pursuant to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. She has also represented families at Pre-Inquest Reviews. Most recently this involved arguing that Article 2 applied to an inquest on the basis of the dependency and vulnerability of the deceased at the time of his death.

Commercial


Helen has experience of cases involving personal and corporate insolvency. She has acted in cases seeking injunctive relief in respect of winding up petitions and opposed such petitions in the High Court. She has advised on the registration of companies. Helen has also appeared in the Royal Courts of Justice in a two day trial raising issues of illegality of contracts, transfer of title and bankruptcy.

She also undertakes advisory work in contractual cases. This includes a broad range of work from disputes over the existence and terms of oral or conduct based-contracts to actions for breaches of implied terms under the Sale of Goods Act and Supply of Goods and Services Act. Helen also has experience of trusts and probate.

Crime


Helen prosecutes and defends in the Crown Court. She appears in all types of cases involving violence, drugs, sexual offences, and offences of dishonesty. She is a Grade 2 Prosecutor and was recently led for the Prosecution in a murder trial. She has defended in a number of trials involving allegations of serious sexual offences. She has also appeared successfully in the Court of Appeal.

Further, she has acted in a number of appeals from the Magistrates’ Court. Her most recent cases include successfully appealing four convictions for fraud in Nottingham Crown Court.

Helen has completed research and drafted advices in FSA litigation; particularly focussed on the interpretation of the Payment Services Regulations. She has also undertaken research concerning the actions of the Jersey Financial Services Commission and has interpreted aspects of Jersey Financial Law.

Employment


Helen is very experienced in Employment Law. She has acted in many lengthy Tribunal hearings on behalf of Claimants and Respondents. Helen has been instructed to appear in the EAT on a number of occasions.

Helen has considerable experience representing local authorities. She recently represented Nottingham Council in a five day reasonable adjustments and unfair dismissal claim. Helen succeeded in the EAT for Leicester City Council and also recently worked for the council for two days a week. This role involved advising and managing a wide range of cases from the earliest stages, affording her practical experience in case preparation and negotiation. She was frequently required to review and draft settlement agreements and contracts.

Recent cases include:

  • Representing a teaching assistant in a five day case alleging direct disability discrimination;
  • appearing on behalf of the Respondent in a sex discrimination claim and securing costs due to the Claimant’s unreasonable conduct;
  • representing a Claimant in a six day unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction of wages claim;
  • appearing on behalf of the Respondent in a case which involved consideration of the involvement of human Resources in a dismissal;
  • acting in a nine day direct race discrimination and protected disclosure case against a major hotel chain. The Claimant secured over £55,000 in respect of injury to feelings, personal injury and aggravated damages.

 

 

Discrimination

Discrimination


Helen successfully represented a Claimant in a nine-day race discrimination trial. She secured damages in excess of £55,000, a large proportion represented the Claimant’s injury to feelings and psychiatric harm following his treatment at work.

She recently appeared for a Claimant in a five-day disability discrimination claim. The issue was whether the employer, a London Borough Council, had made reasonable adjustments to accommodate the Claimant’s serious health condition.

Helen successfully represented a Claimant in a six day automatically unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction of wages claim.

Personal Injury


Helen has substantial expertise in personal injury litigation. Her practice covers the full range of accidents from slipping and tripping, to workplace incidents resulting in serious injury. She is regularly instructed to advise on issues of liability and quantum. She appears in many Fast Track trials and is frequently instructed in Multi-Track cases.

Defendant Abuse

Defendant Abuse


Helen has a particular interest in developing a practice acting for defendants in cases involving historic sexual abuse and ‘failure to remove’ cases. Her experience in care proceedings affords her a valuable insight in the area to do so. Similarly her criminal practice has honed her skills in cross-examining complainants in relation to allegations of sexual abuse, providing a strong platform to advance quickly in defendant abuse cases.

Defendant Abuse

 

Helen has a particular interest in developing a practice acting for defendants in cases involving historic sexual abuse and ‘failure to remove’ cases. She has been instructed by local authorities in a number of such cases. She has succeeded in strike out applications and defending applications for pre-action disclosure. Helen has completed research and assisted leading silks in cases where a breach of duty has been alleged in novel circumstances.
Her experience in care proceedings affords her a valuable insight in the area. Similarly her criminal practice has honed her skills in cross-examining complainants in relation to allegations of sexual abuse, providing a strong platform to advance quickly in defendant abuse cases.

Product Liability


Helen frequently advises on the Consumer Protection Act 1987. She has been involved in a number of cases, including defective vacuum cleaners and work equipment.

During pupillage Helen assisted in a wide variety of product liability matters. She completed research in on-going multi-party action relating to ruptured breast implants (‘PiP’) and the DePuy ASR hip implant litigation.

Public Law


Helen has particular experience in relation to inquest proceedings; representing bereaved families, including for clinical negligence and claims under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Helen is regularly instructed by the Metropolitan Police in a wide range of matters; including civil actions against the police. She has also acted as independent counsel on searches to consider potentially legally privileged material.

 

Inquests and Judicial Review

Inquests and Judicial Review


Helen is regularly instructed by interested persons to appear in Coroner’s Courts throughout the country, including Inquests involving allegations of errors by hospitals. Helen was most recently instructed in a case involving a young woman who took her own life despite being recently assessed as not a risk of suicide.

Show footer