Call: 1998

Alison Meacher

“Gets to the heart of the matter and gets on really well with clients and opponents alike” Chambers UK

Practice overview

Alison’s practice is focussed on vulnerable and elderly clients and she has tailored her practice to meet the wide-ranging needs of her clients and those who provide them with services. She is an accredited Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) with the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Her practice includes validity of wills, intestacy, inheritance act claims, removal/appointment of executors, deputies or attorneys, trusts of land claims (TLATA), administration of trusts and estates, prevention and recovery after financial abuse, Statutory Wills, care home charges, NHS CHC funding, adult community care, mental capacity law, mental health law, forced marriages, cross-border disputes, social housing, healthcare law, human rights, safeguarding, social welfare entitlement, discrimination, consumer rights and general public law.

Alison is frequently instructed in complex and or hybrid cases in the Court of Protection, the Business and Property Court and Family Division.  She is also happy to represent clients in all forms of ADR setting, formal and informal.

She has a passion for and detailed understanding of the law, guidance and policy that affects her clients and is able to provide specialist advice and representation. She is a robust advocate when in the courtroom and negotiating outside court, yet possesses the patience and compassion needed to discuss difficult subject areas with family members and litigants in persons with sensitivity.

Alison’s expertise in her fields of practice is reflected by her recommendations as a leading junior in the latest editions of both the Legal 500 (Court of Protection & Community Care, Civil Liberties & Human Rights and Social Housing) and Chambers UK (Court of Protection: Health and Welfare, Court of Protection; Property and Affairs as well as social housing).

She is Chair of the Court of Protection Practitioner’s Association (CoPPA) London Region, and sits as a Recorder (Family) and Deputy District Judge.  Alison is an ADR-ODR International accredited mediator.

Areas of expertise

  • Private client
    • Community care

      Community care

      Alison is regularly instructed in matters of adult community care, appearing frequently in the Court of Protection and in the High Court in cases where there is a dispute as to whether a person should live in a care home or whether they should return to live in the community and what package of care the person is entitled to.

      She has been instructed in cases that include issues relating to (but not limited to) entitlement to services under the Care Act 2014, eligibility for deferred payment agreements, lawfulness of financial assessments, deprivation of assets, safeguarding, forced marriage, entitlement to NHS Continuing Healthcare funding (including retrospective applications), access to adaptations for a property or disabilities facilities grants and entitlement to social housing.

      She also advises on the recovery of unpaid domiciliary care and care home fees and as to the legalities, fairness and lawfulness of contracts with local authorities and or care providers.

      Alison is instructed by local authorities, care providers, registered providers of social housing, claimants or their family members, all of whom benefit greatly from her wealth of knowledge and experience in community care and the related fields which may have an impact on entitlement to and funding, including property ownership and value, habitual or ordinary residence, mental capacity, mental health (such as entitlement to s.117 after care services), healthcare law.

      Recent work

      • Advising whether terms of an agreement with a care home are fair pursuant to the Consumer Rights Act 2015
      • Advising whether a local authority was entitled to recover direct payments
      • Advising whether a local authority is liable to indemnity a resident for care home fees incurred when the local authority failed to assess whether resident’s capital was below the maximum financial threshold and representing at mediation
      • Successfully challenging the value of jointly owned property
      • Advising whether a person was ordinary resident in a particular local authority
      • Advising whether to seek judicial review of a decision not to offer a person accommodation in the community rather than in a care home
      • Advising whether a care home provider can enter into a deferred payment agreement with a resident and whether this an FCA regulated activity
    • Contentious Probate & Inheritance Act claims

      Contentious Probate & Inheritance Act claims

      Alison’s chancery practice incorporates a wide range of contentious and non-contentious probate work.    She is an accredited Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) with the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners.  She is also a member of the Chancery Bar Association and Contra.

      Her non-contentious work focuses on advising as to how to provide for beneficiaries who are entitled to welfare benefits, charges for care home fees and entitlement to CHC funding.

      Reported cases:

      • James v James [2018] EWCA Civ 1982 – appeal against six months sentence for contempt of court for personal representative of estate who refused to disclose whereabouts of estate funds;
      • A v D [2017] EWCOP 18 – statutory will, settlement of probate dispute, undue influence, capacity. An appeal against decision that settlement agreement in Chancery did not imposing a binding contract on P/her deputy to make a statutory will sharing her estate 50:50, and the granting of statutory will dividing the estate 75:25.

      Recent work:

      • Application to appointment a new trustee of a Will Trust;
      • Application to remove executor;
      • Settlement of 1975 Act claims at mediation (in person and online);
      • Resisting a challenge to the validity of a will on grounds of undue influence, lack of capacity and sham documentation produced in India;
      • Defending an intestacy and inheritance act claim from the purported wife of the deceased, pursuant to a traditional marriage in Ghana;
      • Advising as to nature and extent of beneficial interest in property purchased by unmarried partners;
      • Recovery of funds paid into Court Funds Office further to compulsory purchase of deceased’s property;
      • Advising as to whether the settlement of a 1975 Act claim for a client entitled to means tested benefit was negligent as the settlement failed to provide for a discretionary trust;
      • Post mortem variation of a Will and disclaimer of pecuniary legacy to preserve entitlement to means tested welfare benefits;
      • Recovery of care home fees where deprivation of assets by placing property in a family trust;
      • Statutory will where beneficiary was perpetrating financial abuse
      • Validity of lifetime gift;
      • Validity of pecuniary legacy to charity that no longer exists;
      • Whether the deceased made a gift mortis causa;
    • Court of Protection

      Court of Protection

      Alison’s Court of Protection practice includes property, welfare and hybrid cases.   She has experience of advising in disputes that involve cross-border issues, forced marriage, travel out of the jurisdiction and whether a person who lacks capacity should have the Covid vaccination.  Alison also undertakes inherent jurisdiction applications in the High Court.

      Alison’s knowledge of the law relating to adult social care, social housing and property ownership provide an invaluable resource for the amicable resolution of most disputes without the need for a final hearing.

      To this end, Alison is often instructed to provide an initial assessment and strategic advice as to whether there has been compliance with statutory obligations.

      Alison is well placed to advise local authorities, vulnerable adults, family members, personal representatives, deputies, attorneys, charities and commercial organisations who provide services in the health and social care sector

      Recent work:

      Property

      • A v D [2017] EWCOP 18 – statutory will, settlement of probate dispute, undue influence, capacity. An appeal against decision that settlement agreement in Chancery did not imposing a binding contract on P/her deputy to make a statutory will sharing her estate 50:50, and the granting of statutory will dividing the estate 75:25.
      • Challenging financial abuse by attorney;
      • Application by attorney for retrospective approval of a gift;
      • Revocation of LPA where not acting in best interest of P;
      • Entering into a tenancy agreement or care home contract on behalf of individuals who lack capacity;
      • Settlement of claim by mother against son for the provision of gratuitous care, where son lacked capacity to manage his finances;
      • Financial settlement between husband and wife, where the wife lacked capacity to divorce her husband and needed to release funds from a jointly owned property to meet her care home fees;
      • Appointment of a deputy;
      • Grant of a Statutory Will where P’s will made when she had capacity provided for a person who had previously defrauded P.

      Welfare

      • Whether a person lacks capacity to have the Covid vaccination;
      • Challenge to DOLS standard authorisation;
      • Authorisation of deprivation of liberty in supported living setting;
      • Determination of issues of capacity (to marry; to consent to sex; contact with family members; provision of care; residence);
      • Determination of best interest decision (where to reside; contact with others; provision of care; administration of Covid vaccination);
      • Drafting contact agreements for a person who lacks capacity to make decisions as to contact;
      • Whether P sexually abused;
      • Jurisdiction to make decisions if P subject to detention pursuant to the Mental Health Act 1983;
      • Whether family member should be permitted contact with P in care home.
    • Social welfare & benefits

      Social welfare & benefits

      Alison has expertise in both challenging and defending public law decisions, including welfare benefit decisions.  She is well-known for advising and representing local authorities in complex multi-claimant appeals and is frequency instructed in test cases.  Alison was involved in many of the significant decisions relating to exempt accommodation and recently represented the local authority in the leading bedroom tax case of SSWP v Hockley and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council [2019] EWCA Civ 1080.

      She also acts for individual claimants, landlords and support providers.

      Alison is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of preferred Counsel.

      Reported cases:

      • SSWP v Hockley and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council [2019] EWCA Civ 1080, Court of Appeal decision concerning the definition of a ‘bedroom’ for the purposes of HB regulation B13(5)
      • Reigate and Banstead BC v GB (HB) [2018] UKUT 225 (AAC) – valuation of jointly owned property and effect on entitlement to HB
      • JB v Oxford City Council and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (FtT) – (related to [2011] UKUT 136 (AAC)) – the meaning of sheltered accommodation and claimant’s entitlement to HB to meet communal utility charges
      • Daventry District Council v Daventry & District Housing Ltd [2010] EWHC 1935 (Ch), [2011] EWCA 1153 – whether a large stock transfer of housing could be rectified for mistake (led by Nigel Jones QC)
      • CH/1246/2007 (Interim decision, UT) – whether supported living accommodation is exempt accommodation for the purpose of HB
      • CH/4085/2007 (UT) – whether failure to attend an interview as a precursor to the provision of a national insurance number justified refusal of HB
      • CH/136/2007 (UT) – whether supported living accommodation is exempt accommodation and whether the agreement creating the supported living scheme was on a commercial basis (reg 9(1)(a) and (l)
      • CH/3282/2006 (UT) – whether an agreement to provide accommodation was on a commercial basis (reg 9(1)(a) and (l))
      • CH/705/2005 (UT) – whether the doctrine of res judicata applies in the Tribunal Service (linked to Mayor and Burgesses of LB Waltham Forest v Roberts [2004] EWCA 940, [2005] HLR 21, CA)
      • CH/2124/2004 (UT) – whether a property in Scotland held by two individuals as tenants in common should be regarded as capital

      Other work:

      • Advising local authority whether a supported living setting was to be treated as exempt accommodation and or whether a commercial agreement
      • Advising the court whether a wife would be entitled to welfare benefits after proposed financial settlement upon divorce
      • Successfully challenged DWP decision to refuse mobility component of PIP
      • Successfully challenged decision that landlord liable to repay overpayment of HB

Recognition

“Gets to the heart of the matter and gets on really well with clients and opponents alike”Chambers UK
“Very personable and approachable”Legal 500
“Her advocacy skills are excellent and she is exceptionally good at negotiation”Legal 500
“Thorough, hard-working, very accessible, knowledgeable and tenacious”Legal 500

Directory recommendations

Alison is recommended for Court of Protection & Community Care, Civil Liberties & Human Rights as well as Social Housing in Legal 500. She is also recommended for Social Housing, Court of Protection: Property & Affairs and Court of Protection: Health and Welfare in Chambers UK. The directories state:

  • Very personable and approachable. She has the ability to absorb vast amounts of complex information in a very short period of time, and to quickly identify the main issues of a particular matter, the key strengths and weaknesses and how to mitigate those weaknesses. Willingness to accommodate client demands and to work within tight timescales is also a strength.’ (Legal 500)
  • Is a confident litigator, who strives to achieve the best result for the client. Her advocacy skills are excellent and she is exceptionally good at negotiation. Alison has vast experience in Court of Protection work, both welfare and finances.” (Legal 500)
  • “Thorough, hard-working, very accessible, knowledgeable, and tenacious.” (Legal 500)
  • She’s very easy to deal with and is very responsive.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Alison is an extremely intelligent and skilled advocate. She’s able to pick apart the issues and deal with them in a logical manner.” (Chambers UK) 
  • “She provides very detailed and knowledgeable advice and is a very good and thorough advocate.” (Chambers UK) 
  • ‘Well regarded by instructing local authorities.’ (Legal 500)
  • ‘Excellent at being able to analyse large volumes of information and present a concise argument.’ (Legal 500)
  • ‘Has an impressive ability to assimilate a large amount of information in a short space of time and to identify the core issues.’ (Legal 500)
  • ‘Her housing work is interlinked with welfare assistance issues, and also those concerning vulnerable adults.’ (Legal 500)
  • “Robust and clear-thinking, she’s great for Court of Protection housing work” (Chambers UK)
  • ‘Her drafting is thorough and she is a firm advocate in court and in negotiations.’ (Legal 500)
  • Innovative, very knowledgeable and very competent in Court of Protection cases.’ (Legal 500)
  • Very skilled on mental capacity and mental health law.’(Legal 500)
  • Pairs well-researched briefs with clear, confident and straightforward advocacy.’ (Legal 500)
  • “Extremely thorough and picks up on issues others miss” (Chambers UK) 
  • “She is patient and helpful with litigants in person” (Legal 500)
  • “Extremely personable and has a thorough grasp of the law surrounding her cases” (Legal 500)
  • “A firm advocate in court and in negotiations outside of court” (Legal 500)
  • “She’s very knowledgeable and is always well prepared. Her drafting is really thorough and her advocacy is very good. She’s tenacious in court and always argues points thoroughly and enthusiastically.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Quick and efficient. Her written advice and articles are very good and she’s very easy to work with.” (Chambers UK)
  • “She is excellent with clients and really compassionate and pragmatic.” (Chambers UK)

Judicial appointments

Deputy District Judge
Recorder (Family)

Professional associations

  • Court of Protection Practitioners Association (CoPPA, Chair of London Region),
  • Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) – full member and TEP
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission (Panel member)
  • Chancery Bar Association (ChBA, Wellbeing committee)
  • Court of Protection Bar Association
  • Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
  • Bar European Group (BEG)
  • Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn (Euro Group committee member)

Publications

Author of chapter on Housing and Relationship Breakdown, in Social Housing Law in Practice (LexisNexis, 2015).

Qualifications

  • College of Cardiff University of Wales (1997 LLB Joint Hons Law/Politics);
  • JP Warner Scholar (2000 Lincoln’s Inn);
  • Sarah Wadham Bursary (1999 Lincoln’s Inn).

Career history

  • Research assistant – Messrs Taylor Wessing, Corporate Department, Brussels
  • Trainee – European Court of Justice, Luxembourg (JP Warner Scholar);
  • Trainee – Council of the European Union, Brussels.
  • Volunteer – AIRE Centre (providing advisory work in areas of European Law and the European Convention of Human Rights);
  • Judicial assistant – The International Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), The Hague, Netherlands.

News

Hardwicke celebrates the appointment of 5 new Recorders

07/10/2020

Hardwicke achieves 6 new judicial appointments

20/05/2020

Alison Meacher involved in significant bedroom tax decision: SSWP v Hockley & Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council

24/06/2019

Alison Meacher appointed to Equality & Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel

16/05/2019

Alison Meacher appointed Chair of CoPPa London

11/02/2019

Articles

Housing Law – The Right to Buy lives on… or does it?

01/09/2003

Past events

Where? What? Who? An update on the law of domicile; the distribution of worldwide assets and the removal of troublesome executors

06/11/2018