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Michael Oswald

Michael is a solicitor working with clients who have been subject to misconduct at the hands of the state, with a particular focus on acting for victims of police misconduct.

The legal means Michael uses to assist his clients obtain redress are determined by the individual client and their priorities, and include civil claims, judicial review, the police complaints system, as well as inquests and other investigative processes. Michael’s work in this field was recognised in 2012 when he was shortlisted for the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year award for his "outstanding work in the field of civil actions against the police".

Michael regularly carries out training on the police complaints system including to individuals and youth workers as well as to other lawyers as a trainer on the Legal Action Group’s Policing the Police course. Michael is also a member of the Police Action Lawyers Group and is on the coordinating group of Stopwatch, a campaign group concerned with police stop and search.

Michael’s ongoing significant cases include

R(Demetrio) v IPCC and R(CPM) v IPCC [2015] EWHC 593 (Admin)
In this case, in which Michael acted for the successful claimant Mr Demetrio, the High Court provided important clarification of the IPCC’s power to reopen investigations and to revisit previous decisions with regard to disciplinary action. It also provided clarification of the approach that a court should take when analysing an IPCC report for public law error.

R (Roberts) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2014] EWCA Civ 69
Court of Appeal case challenging the lawfulness of the powers of stop and search under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Permission has been sought to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Demetrio v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis
Acting for Mr Demetrio in civil proceedings and a police complaint. The complaint has already resulted in Alex MacFarlane, formerly an officer of the Metropolitan Police, being dismissed without notice on 3 July 2013 after he was found to have racially abused Mr Demetrio, including by telling him “you’ll always be a nigger.” Mr MacFarlane was also prosecuted in relation to that incident after the Director of Public Prosecutions was threatened with judicial review proceedings in respect of an initial decision not to prosecute.

R (Hicks and others) v CPM [2014] EWCA Civ 3

Court of Appeal case challenging the lawfulness of the arrests of a number of people on the day of the Royal Wedding on the basis that those arrests were in breach of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal rejected the challenge and permission has been sought to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Bijan Ebrahimi, deceased
Michael acts with Tony Murphy for the family of Bijan Ebrahimi. Mr Ebrahmi was murdered and his body was set on fire after he was wrongly accused of being a paedophile. The IPCC is investigating whether failings on the part of Avon and Somerset Police contributed to Mr Ebrahimi’s murder.

Anti-fascist arrests on 7 September 2013

Acting for a number of the 286 people arrested in London on 7 September 2013 in the course of a demonstration against the fascist organisation the English Defence League.

Michael's recent notable cases include:

Mohidin & Khan v CPM [2015] EWHC 2740 (QB)
The High Court in this case upheld claims against the MPS brought by Omar Mohidin and Basil Khan finding that they were assaulted, falsely imprisoned and racially abused.
More detail can be found in the press release here.The full judgment is here.

Kelly, Sutcliffe and Travis v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (2013)
Dane Kelly, Paul Sutcliffe, and Jason Travis in relation to their treatment by police officers on 20 March 2010 in the course of a protest against the English Defence League. They included claims for false imprisonment, assault, and breaches of the Human Rights Act, as well as for malicious prosecution in the case of Mr Kelly and Mr Sutcliffe. GMP settled the claims: Mr Kelly received £15,000 while Mr Sutcliffe and Mr Travis each received £12,000.

McIntyre v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2013)

Mr McIntyre was assaulted by police officers in the course of the student fees protest on 9 December 2010, including being struck by a baton and pulled out of his wheelchair on two separate occasions. Mr McIntyre brought claims against the Metropolitan Police for assault, disability discrimination and for breaches of the Human Rights Act and was awarded damages of £15,000.

R (RXJ) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2013)
Successful judicial review challenge to the unlawful administration of a simple caution.

Murphy v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2012) EWHC 4123 (QB)

Successful High Court challenge clarifying the obligations on Defendant police forces to search for and disclose previous unsubstantiated complaints against police officers. The civil claims settled with payment of damages of almost £50,000.

MS v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (2011)

Successful settlement of claim against the MPS for racial discrimination, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office. In satisfaction of their claims, the MPS agreed to pay damages of £27,000 to MS and £5,000 to her daughter.

Sabir v Nottinghamshire Police (2011)
Settlement of £20,000 obtained for a wrongful arrest under the Terrorism Act 200. Read coverage of this case in the Guardian here.


Michael came to Bhatt Murphy in 2007 as a paralegal in the prison law team before completing a training contract with the firm, in the course of which he experienced all areas of the firm’s practice. He qualified as a solicitor in September 2009.

He has previously worked with the Youth Justice Department at Lawrence and Co Solicitors and in a voluntary capacity with the Prisoners’ Advice Service as well as various legal advice centres.

Michael has an MA in Philosophy from Glasgow University and later completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course.