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Bhatt Murphy Solicitors

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Nogah Ofer

Nogah Ofer specialises in civil claims and public law challenges against the police and other bodies within the criminal justice system. She has particular expertise in obtaining remedies for victims of miscarriages of justice both by suing the police and through the statutory scheme operated by the Ministry of Justice, and has represented many clients who have spent years in prison before their convictions were quashed.

Nogah has over 17 years’ experience of bringing successful claims for assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, misfeasance, negligence, discrimination and breaches of the Human Rights Act against the police, Prison Service and companies providing privatised detention services. She also acts for those detained under immigration powers in compensation claims for false imprisonment and judicial review challenges to unlawful detention.

Nogah’s practice includes representing bereaved families at inquests into deaths in custody, in prisons, police stations, during arrest and as a result of police shootings. She strives to help families uncover the truth and obtain accountability through the inquest process and through civil claims.

Nogah also has particular interest in representing women in claims arising from sexual exploitation by police and prison officers and failure to properly investigate allegations of rape and sexual assault. She has been a rape crisis counsellor and a member of the Management Committee of Women Against Sexual Harassment.

Nogah provides training to lawyers and voluntary groups on her areas of practice.

Nogah’s ongoing significant cases include:

R (Delezuch) v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police
A judicial review challenge to police procedures following a death involving restraint by police officers, seeking a requirement that officers be separated before and whilst providing their first account of the events.

McGartland and Asher v Attorney General
Claim by a former Security Services agent who infiltrated the IRA arising from failures by British state bodies in providing aftercare following his injury in an IRA shooting, including issues in relation to the use of closed material procedures under the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Shooting of Mark Duggan by Metropolitan Police
Representing Precious Douaihy, girlfriend of the deceased, in relation to the inquest and claim against the police on behalf of her daughter.

Concluded cases include:

Inquest into death of Andrjez Rymarzk (2013)
An inquest jury at Westminster Coroner's Court found that the death of Mr Rymarzak in Chelsea Police Station was contributed to by neglect. Mr Rymarzak was intoxicated and not fit to be detained but was placed in a cell where he lost consciousness and died. The jury found nine gross failures in the way in which he was treated by ambulance staff, police station custody staff and a police doctor.

R (C) v Commissioner of Police (2013)
A new legal basis for quashing police cautions was established by the High Court in a judicial review brought by a survivor of domestic violence. This is believed to be the first occasion on which a caution has been quashed on the basis that it is was not in the public interest.

RM v Commissioner of Police and London Borough of Hackney (2013)
A child trafficking victim received £45,000 in an out of court settlement utilising the Human Rights Act. Police officers and social workers failed to uncover the fact that she was living in domestic servitude in East London despite investigating three times over a period of two and a half years. There is no legal precedent in the UK for a claim based upon inadequate investigation into trafficking.

CS v Police Force (2012)
A police force paid £35,000 after a police officer had sex in the police station with a vulnerable victim of childhood sexual abuse. The officer abused his position as investigating officer after Ms S reported childhood sexual abuse to the police and engaged in sexual contact with her over many months. Despite dismissing the officer for gross misconduct, for over a year and a half the force denied that it had any legal responsibility towards her for his actions. In addition to compensation the force provided an apology and agreed to consider how she may contribute to training of officers investigating child sex abuse.

Apology from The Sun newspaper obtained through Press Complaints Commission (2012)
The Sun newspaper published an apology for an inappropriate and intrusive article and photograph of Precious Douaihy, girlfriend of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed by police.

JS v Home Office (2011)
A female prisoner who suffered serious sexual harassment and sexual assault at the hands of two male staff members at Holloway Prison received £30,000 compensation and formal assurances from the Governor on how allegations of sexual harassment at the prison would be dealt with in future.

R (X and Y) v Secretary of State for Justice (2011)

A judicial review was brought by two women who had been trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude challenging the Ministry of Justice tender for support services to all victims of trafficking. The tender proposed a new funding model which contravened the Council of Europe Convention on human trafficking, was introduced without consultation and without equality impact assessments being carried out. Following the lodging of the application for judicial review the Ministry of Justice issued a new Service Specification which correctly reflected the entitlement of victims under the Convention and addressed equality considerations.

SW v Chief Constable of Essex Police (2011)
A substantial confidential settlement was obtained for a woman who was raped a second time after her first report of rape was dismissed by police officers purely on the grounds of her mental health condition. The Chief Constable admitted liability for disability discrimination and breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As part of the settlement the Chief Constable agreed to amend his policy on investigation of rape and serious sexual offences, to include this amendment in officer training and to develop training material based upon the client’s experience on an anonymised basis which could be made available to other organisations for use in their training exercises.

ES – award by Assessor under the statutory scheme (2010)
In a claim on behalf of a young man who spent 11 years in custody before his conviction was quashed and suffered catastrophic injury as a result, an award from the Assessor of over £1.6 million was obtained.

“Cardiff 3” (2009)

A confidential sum of damages was paid by South Wales Police in this high profile miscarriage of justice in which a group of black men were charged with the brutal murder of the prostitute Lynette White, despite initial accounts of a single white perpetrator. DNA evidence eventually led to the conviction of the real killer and police misconduct uncovered which led to 13 officers being charged with perverting the course of justice.

Inquests into the deaths of Michael Bailey and Wayne Reid (2008-2009)
Two inquests into deaths at private prison HMP Rye Hill uncovered appalling failures connected to privatisation. Both resulted in jury verdicts which were highly critical and civil claims were settled by GSL, the private company running the prison. A judicial review of the Coroner established a duty upon the Coroner to obtain relevant expert evidence R (Warren) v Assistant Coroner for Northamptonshire [2008] EWHC 966 (Admin).

O’Brien v South Wales Police [2005] UKHL 26
The House of Lords clarified the test for similar fact evidence in civil claims and opened the door to disclosure of similar complaints by previous complainants in civil actions against the police. Damages of £300,000 were paid by the police in a civil claim for malicious prosecution arising from prosecution for the murder of Cardiff newsagent Philip Saunders which resulted in Michael O’Brien serving over 11 years of a life sentence before his conviction was quashed. Over £500,000 was paid in addition by the Independent Assessor under the statutory scheme for victims of miscarriage of justice.

R (O’Brien) v Independent Assessor [2004] EWCA Civ 1035

The Court of Appeal laid down guidelines for the first time on the legal principles to be applied by the Assessor in making awards of compensation to victims of miscarriages of justice.

R (Hirst) v SSHD [2002] EWHC 602 (Admin)

A successful challenge was brought by a prisoner based on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Righs, the right to freedom of expression, which overturned the Prison Service policy forbidding prisoners from having telephone contact with journalists.

R v Stipendiary Magistrate and CPS ex parte Adimi (1999)
(reported [1999] 4 All E.R. 520, [2000] WLR 434)

A successful challenge to the lawfulness of the CPS practice of prosecuting asylum seekers for possession of false travel documents, based on the 1951 Refugee Convention. As a result a statutory defence was introduced in Section 31 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Biography

Nogah obtained an undergraduate degree in international relations in 1990 at London School of Economics and completed a law conversion course in 1992. She worked for two years for human rights organisations in Israel working with Palestinians in the occupied territories, before doing the Legal Practice Course in 1995. She completed her training with Christian Khan (then Christian Fisher) qualifying in 1997 and continued as an assistant solicitor there acting in civil claims against the police, inquests and immigration law. In 2000 she joined Hickman and Rose where she conducted private and public law claims against the police and Prison Service until 2009. She joined Bhatt Murphy in June 2010.

Nogah is a member of the Police Actions Lawyers Group and Inquest Lawyers Group.
Photo
Ofer, Nogah
Read Nogah's article for the Solicitor's Journal:
"Securing redress for sex crime victims" here.
Read Nogah’s paper for Justice and Sweet and Maxwell conference Nov 2011 on positive obligations under European Convention on Human Rights here.
Read the Law Society Gazette piece featuring Nogah as 'Lawyer in the News' here.