Helen Compton 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.
Helen undertakes private and public Children Act work. She is also regularly instructed in the High Court in cases involving international parental child abduction.
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.
“Helen is a measured and thorough advocate, professional throughout in her approach and impressive within the Court arena”
Simon Jones, Willsons Solicitors
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.
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.
Helen prosecutes and defends in the Crown Court in equal measure. She appears in all types of cases involving violence, drugs, sexual offences, and offences of dishonesty.
She is a Grade 2 Prosecutor and is regularly asked to advise the CPS with regard charging decisions and evidential matters. Helen was recently junior in the successful prosecution of two defendants charged with murder. Earlier this year she was led for the Prosecution in a case involving six defendants who were accused of participating in a group attack outside a nightclub. The victim was repeatedly kicked to the head while unconscious. Five of the defendants were convicted of offences ranging from section 18 to violent disorder after a three week trial.
Helen has considerable experience in financial crime. She 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. She is currently being led in a private prosecution involving allegations of fraud.
Helen has been instructed in large disclosure exercises. She was involved in the Tchenguiz litigation for a number of months. Further, she has been instructed by the Law Offices of Guernsey to provide advices on privilege and on the interpretation of The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2003.
“Helen is prepared to go the extra mile and has achieved some excellent results. She is efficient, punctual, helpful, sympathetic and understanding with clients”
Patrick Cullen, Irwin Mitchell LLP
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 is very familiar with the Equality Act 2010 and has acted for both Claimants and Respondents. She has undertaken work involving all aspects of equality legislation and is attune to equality and diversity issues. She has been involved in claims against service providers under the Equality Act and has provided advice in such matters.
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:
“Helen inspires confidence in clients and witnesses through her demonstrable mastery of the brief and her unerring accuracy in pinpointing the underlying essential points and how they are to be presented”
John Fenton, The Personnel Consultancy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.