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Shazia Akhtar
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an excellent advocate

Legal 500

Shazia practises in public and administrative law – including education law, discrimination, community care and human rights. Her practice also includes commercial work such as contractual disputes, property disputes relating to academies, advising on pensions in the context of local government, judicially reviewing decisions of the Financial Conduct Authority and procurement matters, particularly in relation to public authorities. She has a diverse practice, acting for local authorities; public bodies; NGOs; commercial organisations and individuals. She has been consistently ranked as a leading junior by the Legal 500. Shazia is also a qualified mediator (ADR Group).

Where appropriate Shazia is happy to receive instructions on a direct access basis.

From 2012-2017 Shazia was based in Geneva and has now returned to London. Shazia continues to work internationally and for UK based clients.

Education

Shazia is experienced in the various issues that arise in the context of maintained schools and academies, including admissions, exclusions, special educational needs and disability discrimination, sex and race discrimination, school transport, Academy conversions and intervention powers of the Secretary of State.

She also advises upon issues of capacity within the context of appeals to the SENDIST and Upper Tribunal and the Court of Protection.

She is experienced in claims arising in the independent school sector, including faith schools. She also works in the further and higher education sector, and regularly acts for both students and higher education institutions.

Shazia successfully represented the claimants in the High Court and Court of Appeal in Kebede v Newcastle City Council, a case which has had far-reaching effects on those care leavers with discretionary leave to remain, affording them access to higher education in circumstances where they have no entitlement to student loans. She also challenged the change to the Education (Student Support) Regulations in Kebede v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills.

She is ranked by the Legal 500 as a leading junior in education.

Examples of recent work include:

  • Challenging a local authority’s application of regulations to an organisation providing post-adoption counselling
  • Advising a leading university in relation to allegations of sexual assault on campus
  • Advising a faith school in relation to challenging an Ofsted decision
  • Advising students in relation to appealing decisions of Student Finance
  • Advising on Prevent duties and obligations
  • Advising a local authority on land transfer matters
  • Acting for individuals before internal university academic appeals and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator
  • Acting for a university in relation to student visa issues
  • Acting for a university in relation to a loss of earnings claim from a former student
  • Acting for a student in relation to claims of sex and race discrimination
  • Advising students in relation to appeals before their professional bodies such as the HCPC and the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Representing the parents of an excluded pupil in a leading independent boarding school in relation to a sex discrimination claim
  • Advising on child protection safeguarding issues and ISI inspections

Human rights & international administrative law

Shazia is an experienced practitioner in human rights and international administrative law.

Her international law practice is diverse and includes:

  • Representing private clients in relation to appeals before the United Nations Appeal Tribunal e.g. V v Secretary General of the UN UNDT/2017/004.
  • Acting for national and international NGOs in an advisory capacity and appearing before the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of an Iranian political prisoner.
  • Providing legal advice to a leading NGO in the field of violence against women.
  • Advising UN agencies in relation to commercial and contractual disputes.
  • Fact-finding and report writing in relation to whistle-blowing allegations within a major international organisation.
  • Representing and advising individuals in mediations within the framework of  the United Nations.
  • Acting as a legal consultant on behalf of the British Council (for a programme funded by the Department for International Development) across Nigeria.

Procurement

Shazia represents companies and public authorities in procurement disputes.

Examples of her work in this field include:

  • Advising company directors on their obligations under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and Article 57 of the EU Directive 2014/24/EU.
  • Advising NGO’s on the application of procurement law.
  • Advising on transparency obligations and the publication of evaluation criteria.
  • Advising clients in respect of the variation of existing public contracts.
  • Acting for a firm in relation to a challenge to a Legal Aid Agency award.

Public & administrative law

Shazia is a public law specialist. She practices in all areas of judicial review and public law, including human rights cases.

Examples of her work in this area include:

  • Advising NGO’s in relation to challenges to policies under the Equality Act and immigration matters.
  • Acting for universities and claimants in relation to judicial review claims.
  • Acting for institutions in relation to challenging CQC inspections.
  • Acting for individuals seeking to challenge ‘continuing healthcare eligibility’ decisions.
  • Acting for campaign groups in relation to challenges to local government policies.
  • A successful challenge to a local authority’s interpretation of the Children Act, which the Court of Appeal upheld in relation to the duty of local authorities to pay for tuition fees of care leavers.
  • A challenge to the Secretary of State’s policy on tuition fees under Article 2 of the First Protocol and Article 14 ECHR.
  • Cases involving Article 8 and Article 5 challenges.

Community Care

Shazia acts for individuals and authorities in relation to:

  • challenging decisions of NHS Trusts and CCGs, including eligibility to continuing healthcare funding.
  • entitlement to adult social care funding and contribution funding.

Social Welfare & Benefits

Shazia advises on all aspects of social security benefits, including cases with a human rights or EU element including universal credit, child support legislation, pensions credits, employment support allowance and other means tested and non means tested benefits.

Court of Protection

Shazia acts for and advises clients in relation to capacity and applications for deputyships in the Court of Protection, particularly in respect of issues of capacity arising in SENDIST cases.

Healthcare

Shazia undertakes advisory work on all aspects of public law litigation and litigation concerning the healthcare sector, for individuals and CCGs. This has included advisory work as to the legality of individual decisions in respect of continuing healthcare;  the relationship between health, education and social care for children and young people, including the transition to adult services; and representing families before CCG appeal panels.

Shazia acts for claimants in relation to securing specialist treatment packages, particularly in the context of children and young adults.

Commercial Litigation

Shazia’s commercial law practice is often interrelated to her public law work as well as including general commercial matters.

Recent instructions include:

  • Acting for a public authority in relation to a pensions claim.
  • Acting for a local authority in relation to a high value property matter.
  • Advising an Independent Financial Adviser in relation to a judicial review challenge of a decision of the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Advising upon arbitration clauses and proceedings in a cross-border dispute.
  • Advising upon a multi-million dollar breach of contract in a cross border dispute.
  • Advising a company on compliance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
  • Acting for individuals in the Court of Protection in relation to deputyship applications, financial abuse and health and welfare decisions.

Directory recommendations

Shazia is recommended by Legal 500 for Education. It notes she is:

  • “An excellent advocate, who is empathetic to the needs of her clients”
  • “Extremely efficient and an able advocate”

Professional associations

  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Education Law Association
  • Human Rights Lawyers Association
  • Young International Arbitration Group

Publications

  • Contributor to Lexis Nexis Q&A and Practice Notes on local government and education matters.
  • Provides training to local authorities, schools, NGO’s and lawyers in relation to the Equality Act obligations, ‘Prevent’ guidance and education matters.
  • Former contributing editor of Education Law Monitor.

Qualifications

  • Bsoc.Sc, University of Manchester
  • Dip Law
  • BVC
  • Benefactor’s Scholar of the Middle Temple
  • Mediator (ADR Group)
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