McMillan Williams is a leading specialist in bringing civil actions against the Police and protecting the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.

If you feel you have been wrongfully arrested, falsely detained, or have received mistreatment at the hands of the police of other authorities, our committed, fearless and highly experienced team of Civil Liberties Lawyers can assist you in pursuing your claim.

Protecting Your Civil Liberties 

Bellamy Forde
Bellamy Forde
Partner & Head of Civil & Commercial Litigation

We represent individuals who have been mistreated by the justice system whether by the Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, in a  prison, mental health or other detention facilities. 

We offer a high-quality service tailored to each individual client, supporting you all the way through what is often an intimidating process.  Our Civil Liberties specialists work closely with our large Criminal Defence team to give your case the best possible chance of success.

We can represent you in pursuing a complaint, disciplinary proceedings or any of the full range of civil claims against the Police or other detaining authorities. 

Civil actions we are able to pursue include:

  • Assault and battery
  • False imprisonment
  • Malicious prosecutions
  • Misfeasance in public office
  • Human Rights Act claims
  • Miscarriage of Justice applications
  • Data Protection Act claims

We Can help

At McMillan Williams, our mission is to "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" and can offer a range of alternative funding options including Legal Aid and conditional fee agreements (no win no fee) to ensure that you get the justice you need. 

If you are in any doubt and would like to seek legal advice in pursuing an action against the police or other authority, please call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at

Abuse is a criminal offence and in recent years a number of high profile cases spanning many decades have brought the plight of victims of abuse into sharp focus and have seen convictions of many famous and powerful individuals.  

Sensitive and Caring Professionals

Fiona McNelis
Fiona McNelis
Senior Associate Solicitor & Head of Public Law, Civil

Our team of experienced specialist abuse lawyers understand how you feel and will be able to discuss your needs.  We recognise that claims of this nature involve reliving the abuse and we understand how difficult this can be for you.  We promise to assist you with this process in a way which is most comfortable for you. 

Uncovering the Truth

We will help you investigate matters surrounding the abuse that you have suffered and if you wish to involve the police, we will assist and support you throughout that process. 

We will pursue your claim for damages against the person or organisation responsible for your abuse and we have considerable experience of bringing claims against children homes, schools, Social Services/Local Authorities, hospital authorities and other public bodies, as well as individuals and private bodies.  We have advised clients on matters relating to the Jimmy Saville litigation and many other cases.

Our Service

We can support you throughout the whole process.  Every case is different but they are all made up of a number of different stages:

  1. Initial Meeting - We will meet with you to discuss what has happened to you so we can understand your case and what you would like us to do.

  2. Police – We can assist you in reporting the matter to the Police.  We will assist in all liaison with the Police, if that is what you would like to do.

  3. Medical Evidence – We will help you to obtain evidence from a medical expert to confirm the extent of the trauma you suffered as a result of the abuse and to deal with any physical injuries you may have sustained as a result.  We will also help you deal with the difficult and emotional aspects of what happened to you.   In most, if not all cases, expert medical evidence will be required.

  4. Contact with the Defendant – We will deal with all contact with the perpetrator on your behalf so that you no longer need to see them or deal with them.

  5. Prepare the Case for Court - Following a full investigation of your case, we can assist you to prepare and issue a claim at Court and guide you throughout this process. 


We have over 20 Offices in the South East of England and can arrange appointments to see you at your nearest office closest to your home.  Alternatively and subject to your agreement, we can travel to meet with you.  Please advise us of your preferred location whenever we arrange to meet with you. 


We are able to offer a number of different funding options and we will discuss the best funding option for you when we meet to discuss your case.

  1. Legal Aid – this is available in some cases.  There is a means (financial) and merits test which both need to be passed before funding is granted.

  2. Conditional (no win no fee) Fee Agreements.

  3. Private funding.

We Can Help

MW is a top 200 firm with dedicated specialist teams in the fields of abuse, personal injury and actions against the Police and other public bodies.  This means that we are fully aware of the issues involved in dealing with these large organisations and are well placed to equip you with the tools needed to succeed in your aims. 

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including victims of abuse.  If you wish to talk to one of our Abuse Lawyers call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

However a death arises, we know that coupled with the sense of loss and grief that you will be suffering, you will need a number of questions to be answered.

Clare Evans
Clare Evans
Solicitor - Civil Litigation

We are expert in exploring the issues that arise from deaths that occur while in police custody and some while being detained within the mental health system.  We feel privileged to have been instructed to receive instructions on behalf of bereaved families who seek reasons and explanations for the deaths of loved ones.

Ultimately, our work is directed by you, the family.

Sensitive and Caring Professionals

We understand that this will be a troubling time for you and your family and we are fortunate that our team of Lawyers have a great deal of experience working on behalf of bereaved families.  We will tailor our approach to be sympathetic to your needs and to ensure that no stone is left un-turned in the search for the answers that you seek.

Support at Inquest Hearings

We provide advice and assistance necessary representing you at appearances or attendance at a Coroner’s Court Hearing or at an Inquest.  If appropriate we can also assist you with preparing a claim for monetary compensation if you decide that is what you would like to explore.

We support the work of the charity INQUEST and our lawyers are members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group (ILG).


We can offer a variety of funding options including Legal Aid and deferred funding to suit your circumstances and the needs of the case.  We are in good standing with a number of Chambers and can instruct like minded, expert and experienced barristers to assist you.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including bereaved families who deserve to know the circumstances of their loved ones death.

If you have a family member or loved one who died whilst in custody and wish to talk to one of our specialist Lawyers, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

Despite equality legislation existing, discrimination by the state and other organisations happens far too regularly.  Our specialist team of Discrimination Lawyers have the expertise and passion to help you and are committed to fighting against discrimination wherever it exists.

We have particular expertise and experience in dealing with the unique problems faced by victims of discrimination, including dealing with the ongoing psychiatric symptoms arising from unlawful discrimination.

Sensitive and Caring Professionals

Bellamy Forde
Bellamy Forde
Partner & Head of Civil & Commercial Litigation

We are able to accommodate people from all walks of life, including those with disabilities. We are sensitive to the unique circumstances faced by every one of our clients.  We believe that every individual has the right to equal treatment regardless of such personal characteristics.

We can arrange home appointments where required, to ensure that all clients have access to justice regardless of their abilities.

Grounds for Discrimination Claims

Every discrimination claim is unique but they must all be brought very quickly to ensure they are not ‘out of time’.  We can represent you in a claim for discrimination on any of the following grounds:

  • Age
  • Sex and related grounds (including discrimination on the basis of gender reassignment)
  • Disability
  • Race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion and belief
  • Combined discrimination

Examples of Discrimination

There are 5 different types of discrimination, as follows:

  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Victimisation
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination arising from disability / duty to make reasonable adjustments

We recently represented a deaf lady who was arrested by the police, in front of her very distressed children.  She could not hear the police officers instructions, and they did not make reasonable adjustments to compensate for that fact, such as speaking more slowly and face-on so that she could lip-read.  With our help, she was successful in bringing a claim for direct and indirect discrimination and received compensation of just short of a 5-figure sum.

Act Quickly to Avoid being "Out of Time"

You only have 6 months within which to bring a discrimination claim for damages.  If the act complained of is in fact a series of related acts constituting a ‘continuing act’, then the time starts running from the last of those acts.  It is worth noting that the court has a broad discretion to extend time in the interests of ensuring a just outcome.  However, we recommend that you act quickly to ensure that your claim has the best possible chance of succeeding.


We can offer advice on a legal aid basis, as well as being able to offer conditional fee agreements and deferred fee funding arrangements.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who are suffering discrimination.  We urge you to contact us as soon as you realise that you may be being discriminated against so that we can advise you on your options for redress without delay.

If you think you have a claim for discrimination or wish to speak to one of our team about a possible claim call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

Every Year, more and more claims are brought under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Bellamy Forde
Bellamy Forde
Partner & Head of Civil & Commercial Litigation

Every Year, more and more claims are brought under the Human Rights Act 1998. The Act brought into law a number of protections afforded to individuals by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The rights contained with ECHR are called ‘Articles’ and cover what we consider today be fundamental protections.

Human Rights Act claims are very fact specific and our specialist Human Rights Act team are expert at assessing whether or not you may have a viable claim.

Rights and Freedoms under The Act

The Human Rights Act covers a broad range of rights and freedoms including:

  • Article 2 – Right to life
  • Article 3 -  Prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment
  • Article 4 – Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  • Article 5 – Right to liberty and security
  • Article 6 – Right to a fair trial
  • Article 7 – No punishment without law
  • Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
  • Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination
  • Article 17 – Prohibition of abuse of rights

Real World Examples of Claims

A human rights claim can arise in a number of different ways and just a few examples of the types of cases we are presently dealing with under the Human Rights Act 1998 include:

  • claims against the police for falling to investigate properly, or at all
  • an individual’s complaint of harassment from a neighbour
  • claims against local authorities for not looking after vulnerable children and children in need
  • claims against public authorities for releasing false information to other organisations resulting in a breach of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life)
  • claims against public authorities for not ensuring access to relevant medical treatment (for physical or mental injuries).

Act Quickly To Avoid The 1 Year Time Limit 

A one year deadline exists in which to bring a claim to Court and individuals must act quickly if they believe that their human rights have been breached.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including victims of Human Rights abuse.

If you believe that your Human Rights have been breached and you wish to discuss your case with one of our Human Rights Team, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

Have you ever been on the wrong side of a decision of the State?

Bellamy Forde
Bellamy Forde
Partner & Head of Civil & Commercial Litigation

If the answer is "Yes" then seeking a judicial review is a way to challenge that decision. 

Who makes Decisions of State

A decision of the State includes a decision made by any organisation exercising a public law function and so would include organisations such as the police, prisons, local authorities, hospitals and Coroners.

The purpose of any judicial review is usually to seek to undo the decision of the organisation concerned. 

On What Grounds Can a Judicial Review be Sought?

There are three grounds upon which you can base a judicial review challenge.  To bring a claim for judicial review, you need to establish one of the following:

  1. Illegality - you must show that the organisation concerned acted illegally, ie. they have  committed an error of law, when reaching the decision you wish to challenge.

  2. Irrationality - means that the decision made by the organisation was so perverse that no organisation could reasonably have made that decision in those particular circumstances.

  3. Procedural Impropriety - occurs when the organisation fails to comply with an express procedural requirement within legislation when reaching their decision.  The nature of any such procedural impropriety will depend on the specific facts of each case.

Examples of Judicial Review

We are presently advising clients on a number of cases including:

  • whether the police correctly issued a caution
  • whether the decision of a local authority to issue a caution was reasonable and necessary in the circumstances. 

Such claims can involve the relevant Ombudsman for that particular area.  We also challenge decisions made by:

  • challenging decisions made by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) 
  • challenging police decisions made whilst people were dispersing after a formal protest
  • judicial reviews of decisions made by Coroners at inquests. 

Act Quickly to Avoid Time Limits

There are very strict time limits for bringing such a challenge.  The time limit for such claims is: “ as soon as possible or at the very latest within 3 months of the date of the decision being challenged.” 

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who feel that they have fallen foul of a mistake or an error of judgement by a state organisation.

If you wish to challenge a decision made by a public authority or wish to talk to our team of specialist Lawyers about your circumstances do not hesitate, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

Cases of mistaken identity have increased dramatically in recent years despite the advances made in technology and the widespread use of CCTV footage. 

Fiona McNelis
Fiona McNelis
Senior Associate Solicitor & Head of Public Law, Civil

Mistaken identity can cover a broad range of issues. 

An individual can be wrongly identified as the perpetrator of a crime and the police can progress their investigation to a criminal prosecution and criminal trial when it is clear that they have arrested the wrong person.  This will then result in the person being falsely arrested, detained and prosecuted for an offence they did not commit.  It could give rise to a malicious prosecution claim especially if the police officers dealing with an individual have acted maliciously. 

Example Cases

We presently act for an individual who has been mistakenly been identified by the police as the perpetrator of a crime when it is clear from the CCTV footage that they have arrested the wrong person. 

Such mistakes by the police can cost the individual concerned a loss of liberty as well as, in certain cases, their job.  This can have serious repercussions for the individual concerned.  We also act for people who have been arrested as perpetrators of a crime where the victim of the crime has specifically informed the police that this person was not responsible for the crime and the CCTV confirms this.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have been arrested as a result of mistaken identity.

If you or a family member have been falsely arrested and wish to talk to one of our specialist Lawyers, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

Searches by police

“Stop and search” has been and remains one of the most controversial aspects of police conduct. People often feel with justification that their right not to have their liberty infringed has been ignored when a search happens.

Clare Evans
Clare Evans
Solicitor - Civil Litigation

We are often called upon to advise people who have been searched by the police, whether this is by way of a stop and search on the side of a road or by way of a police raid on their home.  Our team have considerable experience of challenging the police as to their stop and search policies and how they conduct police searches and raids on people’s homes and in obtaining compensation as well..

We are presently dealing with a number of cases where clients have been stopped by the police and searched on a pavement in full view of the public.  This can cause embarrassment and humiliation and it is often the case that police can stop an individual for one reason and then change their mind as to the reason for the stop once they speak to the individual and search them.

Such stops can sometimes result in an assault of an individual by police and we can assist in bringing a claim for assault. 

We Can Help

At MW, our missions is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have had their liberty infringed or humiliated by the police when carrying out a "Stop and Search".

If you want to discuss a potential claim arising from police conduct, you can talk to one of our expert Civil Liberties Lawyers.  Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

Contact Us

Translate this page