Laura leads the Healthcare Team in advising providers of adult care homes, nursing homes, supported living facilities, independent hospitals, children’s homes and schools, throughout England and Wales, on a range of issues. Laura regularly represents clients in challenging inspection reports and defending enforcement action by regulators such as CQC, CIW or Ofsted. This includes action by the regulator to refuse or vary registration, impose conditions of registration or cancel registration, including appeals to the Care Standards Tribunal and urgent actions before a magistrate.
Laura also has defended clients in criminal investigations and prosecutions, by either CQC, HSE, Fire Authority, Environmental Health or the Police. She is experienced in the field of criminal law and is able to represent providers from PACE interviews under caution, through to prosecution. In addition, Laura regularly represents healthcare providers, GPs and others in Coroner’s Inquests, throughout England. Her work, also, includes local authority or CCG contractual disputes, disputes with residents, Court of Protection cases and safeguarding investigations. Laura also has experience representing clients in relation to professional misconduct hearings or disputing their inclusion on the barred lists; as well as public law judicial review proceedings within the care sector.
Laura has a strong reputation for her regulatory due diligence work which she frequently undertakes for purchasers, vendors or funders, dealing with acquisitions, sales or refinancing of all types of care facilities, including care homes, day schools, children’s homes, independent special schools, fostering agencies, acute medical units and fertility clinics.
As a result of her expertise in these niche areas and her excellent reputation as a legal advisor in the sector, Laura is often asked to speak at conferences nationally and regularly writes for sector publications, including Caring Times.
Laura initially joined Lester Aldridge in 2004 for a yearlong work placement as part of her law degree. Following the completion of her degree, Laura returned to Lester Aldridge and has continued to progress her career, becoming a partner of the firm in 2017.
Recent examples of work or case studies
- Representing a family-run care provider in Kent in defending an action by CQC to cancel the registration of its care home. This included providing support and advice on both strategy and how to achieve compliance, providing representation through Tribunal appeal proceedings and successfully negotiating with CQC to dispose of the appeal without the need for a Tribunal hearing.
- Representing a large national care provider in defending a prosecution by CQC.
- Representing a large corporate children’s home operator in respect of a lengthy inquest, after a young person took his own life in their children’s home.
- Undertaking regulatory due diligence in respect of the sales and acquisitions of many of the largest national groups in the sector over recent years.
- Representing a Registered Provider and Registered Manager of a small family-run care home in successfully avoiding prosecution by CQC regarding circumstances where a resident was injured.
- Representing a regional care association in challenging fees set by the local authority.