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Cyrilia Davies Knight

Specialism

Civil Liberties

Human Rights Law

Public Law

Complaints Against the Police

Civil Claims

Expertise and key strengths

I have a long-standing and proven commitment to protecting civil liberties, equality and access to justice for the everyday person seeking to challenge the decisions of public bodies, representing the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of society.

A large part of my work has involved representing bereaved families in inquests arising from deaths in custody and bringing challenges to coronial conclusions by way of judicial review.

My career

Prior to working at Hudgells, I worked at Birnberg Peirce solicitors for 9 years, where I trained and qualified. Throughout this time I assisted with several high profile cases, often with complex legal issues of significant wider public interest.

Between March 2014 and April 2016, I was lead solicitor for the Pathology team whilst representing 77 Hillsborough families in what turned out to be the longest-running inquests in British legal history.

The jury concluded that the 96 men, women and children who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster on April 15, 1989, were unlawfully killed.  Following the conclusion of the Inquests, I joined a team of four solicitors instructed to represent 70 individual Hillsborough claimants in a claim for misfeasance in public office.

I was also one of two solicitors instructed to represent the family of Mark Duggan during the inquest and subsequent litigation arising from his death.

Proudest professional achievement

Working on Hillsborough inquest was an absolute privilege and extremely humbling to be part of a team which achieved the unlawful killing verdict, subsequently leading to the prosecution of six people, including two senior officers

I was also extremely proud to receive outstanding achievement awards at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards and The Modern Law Awards in 2016.

Notable cases

Actions against the Police and Public Authorities

  • Claire McGlone and Others v South Yorkshire Police
    Representing 70 family members of 35 Liverpool football fans who died at Hillsborough in 1989 in a claim for misfeasance in public office.
  • Pamela Duggan v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis
    Representing Mark Duggan’s mother and children in an action for assault and battery, breaches of Human Rights Act 1998, Fatal Accidents Act 1976, Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and misfeasance in public office arising from his death.
  • Jake Smith v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis
    Representing Mr Smith in a civil action for damages for unlawful detention, assault and battery arising from the conduct of members of MPS who kettled and assaulted protesters during a demonstration in London.
  • Ignatius Umeadi v The Home Office
    Representing Mr Umeadi, a Nigerian born EU citizen who was unlawfully detained for a month pending deportation to Nigeria.

Inquests 

  • Hillsborough Inquests into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool football fans who died in 1989. Lead solicitor for the Pathology team representing 77 families.
  • Inquest into the death of Mark Duggan.
  • Inquest into the death of the six who died at Lakanal House (Southwark Council housing estate)- one of three solicitors instructed on behalf of Mark Bailey, fiancé of Catherine Hickman (deceased).

Administrative and Public Law

  • R (Duggan) v Association of Chief Police Officers [2014] EWCA Civ 1635
    Representing Mark Duggan’s mother in judicial review proceedings arguing that the national law should be changed to enable the IPCC to compel officers to attend interviews, and to ensure officers are separated before they give their first accounts, following a death in custody.
  • R (Duggan) v HM Coroner [2014] EWHC 3343 (Admin)
    Representing Mark Duggan’s mother in a challenge to the Coroner’s direction on conclusions left to the inquest jury.

Prison Law and Criminal Justice

  • R (Hallam) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2016] EWCA CIV 355
    Representing Mr Hallam, a young man who was wrongfully convicted at 17 for a murder he did not commit.  Mr Hallam served seven years imprisonment.

Pro Bono work

  • Stop and Search – Member of the Mayor of London Office for Policing Crime (MOPAC) stop and search community monitoring group.
  • Mentoring – Training, supervising and coaching aspiring lawyers, paralegals and trainees often from diverse backgrounds promoting social mobility.

Qualifications and professional memberships

Awards

As part of the team of lawyers representing families at the Hillsborough Inquests, I received Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2016 and the Modern Law Awards 2016.

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