Dr Christina Lienen

Call: 2019

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Christina advises and represents public authorities and private clients, including through direct access. Her part-time secondment to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Adult Social Care Team (July 2021 to December 2021) has provided her with valuable insights into the workings and priorities of local authorities, which she can now leverage beyond her social care practice, to the benefit of both public sector clients and private clients.

In constitutional and administrative law matters, Christina can draw on her academic expertise.

Court experience & advocacy

Christina has a busy Court of Protection practice. She regularly advises on and appears in proceedings, predominantly section 21A proceedings, concerning adults, children and those transitioning into adult social care. Christina appears in final contested hearings, directions hearings, at RTMs & advocates’ meetings, and assists with in-proceedings applications. She has also appeared in hearings on the property and affairs pathway.

Christina was led in the High Court in judicial review proceedings (which settled in favour of her client), she was led at a two-week planning inquiry, and she has represented clients unled at a planning enforcement appeal and at an inquest.

She also appears in the County Court, including at CMCs/CCMSs, at injunction hearings and at procedural application hearings (set aside applications, relief from sanctions etc.), and has been instructed in complex matters, including multi-party matters, which have been listed for multi-day trials.
Christina also regularly appears as prosecutor as well as defence counsel in magistrates’ court proceedings, and she assists clients with – and attends as counsel at – mediations.

Advisory work & drafting

Christina’s advisory work encompasses in a wide range of matters, spanning from environmental law & planning law to social care & mental health law, information & data protection law and judicial review (including for claimants). Christina also has a growing practice in discrimination & equality law (especially in the housing context) and property law (especially leasehold law).

Christina aims to offer clear, practical advice in all of her legal opinions, both as to the applicable substantive law and as to potential settlement options, which she is particularly well suited to advise on given her qualification as a mediator.

She also regularly drafts pleadings and other documents, including particulars of claim, defences, replies, applications, position statements and settlement offers.

Mediation/ADR

Christina is an accredited mediator, having trained with the Society of Mediators (2020, 40-hours qualification).

Christina is currently training to become a mediator on Calm Mediation’s Neighbourhood Mediation scheme. She will be able to bring her experience in housing law, anti-social behaviour matters and property/boundary disputes to this role.

Christina can be instructed as a mediator and is also available to represent clients at mediations.

Pro bono work & civic engagement

Christina regularly provides pro bono advice and representation through Advocate. She previously chaired the Muslim Lawyers Action Group’s Human Rights Projects Group, provided pro bono advice through the Brixton Advice Centre (BAC), an online legal advice clinic which was awarded the 2020 Law Works Award in the “Best Contribution by a Pro Bono Clinic” category, and volunteered as a telephone advisor with Citizen’s Advice.

Christina welcomes pro bono enquiries by organisations, solicitors and individuals, in particular for matters concerned with human and constitutional rights, ethnic inequality/religious discrimination, and the protection of the environment.

Pupillage

Christina joined Chambers as a tenant in October 2020 following the successful completion of her pupillage.

During her pupillage, Christina benefitted from the supervision of Estelle Dehon QC, Philip Coppel QC and Dean Underwood, principally in the areas of planning and environmental Law, commercial law, freedom of information and data protection law, housing law, judicial review and public law more broadly.

Expertise

  • Public Law and Judicial Review

    Christina is an expert in constitutional law, having obtained a PhD from University College London (which she passed without corrections) in which she analysed recent developments in public law adjudication, and offered her views on the nature of the UK constitution and the role and strength of common law rights (e.g. freedom of expression, acess to court/justice, the right to vote etc.). Her PhD was supported by scholarships awarded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), the Modern Law Review and the UCL Faculty of Law.

    Her book, “Shaped by the Nuanced Constitution: A Critique of Common Law Constitutional Rights”, which is based on her PhD thesis, is due to be published by Hart Publishing/Bloomsbury in 2022. In addition to her upcoming book, Christina has published on costitutional and adminstrative law jurisprudence, including in peer-reviewed law journals and in blogs (see, for example, here). She has presented papers on public law issues at conferences and symposiums in the UK and other common law jurisdictions, including Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong), Australia (University of Melbourne) and Canada (University of Ottawa).

    Christina has taught public law at university level. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Law (Bristol/Bloomsbury), where she has taught on the “Public Law” module of the GDL and LL.B as well as the “Civil Litigation” module as part of the university’s Bar Training Course programme.

    She also chairs the Human Rights Projects Group of MLAG (Muslim Lawyers Action Group), where she is part of the management team.

    Christina welcomes requests for led work in public law cases.

    She is able to advise clients on – and represent clients in – legal challenges (and defences to challenges) involving the following:

    • Challenging the lawfulness of decisions by public authorities by judicial review or statutory appeal
    • The Human Rights Act 1998 and common law constitutional/fundamental rights
    • Separation of powers, the rule of law and Parliamentary Sovereignty
    • Constitutional conventions
    • Royal prerogative
    • Equality law legislation, including the Equality Act 2010

    As part of her public law and judicial review practice, Christinas has prepared a practical summary on protest rights/how to bring a claim against the police for harm or injury caused for XR, contributed to an advice to the Equality and Human Rights Commission on their draft submissions to the UN Human Rights Committee concerning the UK’s compliance with the rights to privacy, freedom of expression and association under the ICCPR, and drafted objections for a private client concerning the issuing of a tree protection order (TPO), and has drafted and assisted with statements of case and skeleton arguments in judicial review proceedings (both for claimants and respondents) that concerned, for example, the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), climate change and environmental protections under EU law, and the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

  • Health and Social Care

    Christina has experience with a wide range of health and social care matters.

    Christina was recently seconded to the legal department of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for five months, where she specialised in adult social care and safeguarding. Through this role, and her practice in Chambers, she has gained experience in particular with the following:

    • Ordinary residence disputes, including referrals to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
    • Legal obligations towards individuals with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)
    • Local authorities’ obligations under the Care Act 2014, including the lawfulness of assessments
    • Inherent jurisdiction powers of the High Court
    • Interrelation with the NHS and disputes with the NHS over continuing health care
    • Best interest decisions
    • After-care disputes, including advising on the extent of financial obligations
    • Deprivation of liberty, including in hospital settings
    • Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCA)
    • Safeguarding of vulnerable adults in complex family contexts
    • Judicial review proceedings, including concerning the lawfulness of needs assessments
    • Direct Payments

    Christina has also advised on children social care related matters, and has gained experience with age assessments in cases with immigration law elements, local authorities’ obligations as to children’s education, and the National Referral Mechanism in cases of suspected child victims of trafficking.

    Her secondment to the Council gave her an insight into the workings of local authorities, such that she is in a good position to understand and take into account when advising and representing any prospective local authority clients the pressures, objectives and concerns local councils have, both from a legal and non-legal perspective.

  • Court of Protection

    Christina has appeared in front of the Court of Protection to represent local authorities as well as the Office of the Public Guardian. She is a member of the Court of Protection Bar Association.

    Christina was recently seconded to the legal department of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for five months, where she specialised in adult social care and safeguarding, including Court of Protection work and mental capacity law. Through this role, and her practice in Chambers, she has gained experience in particular with the following:

    • Appearing before the COP in section 21A challenges and LPA/deputyship matters
    • Reviewing Court of Protection application documents and witness statements
    • Advising on the need to and/or possibility of commencing COP proceeding
    • Advising on the benefits and disadvantages of being joined as a party to section 21A proceedings
    • Deprivations of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), including the prospective change to the Liberty Protection Safeguards, which are planned to come into force in April 2022.

    Christina’s secondment to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets gave her an insight into the workings of local authorities, such that she is in a good position to understand and take into account when advising and representing any prospective local authority clients the pressures, objectives and concerns local councils have, both from a legal and non-legal perspective.

  • Planning and Environment

    Christina has a growing planning and environmental law practice. She has appeared in inquiries as a junior (2-week planning inquiry involving heritage, noise and transport evidence, led by Michael Bedford QC), and on her own (enforcement appeal, acting for the appellant, involving grounds (g) and (d)). She has further assisted with a range of planning matters, including the following:

    • Drafted a rebuttal to the alleged shortcomings of a sustainability appraisal by a local authority in the context of the adoption of a local plan
    • Drafted a judicial review pre-action protocol letter, statement of facts and grounds and a reply in a judicial review application challenging the grant of planning permission on EU law, Green Belt, reasons and climate change grounds
    • Drafted a skeleton argument for a without notice planning enforcement injunction hearing
    • Assisted with a 1-week planning appeal during pupillage, for which she drafted part of the closing statement, focusing on heritage aspects
    • Advised a local authority on the recoverability of a section 106 contribution

    Christina marshalled Mr Justice Holgate at a statutory appeal and a judicial review at the High Court in 2020.

    She has also written for Lexis PSL’s Environment Newsletter, she has spoken at a Chambers’ webinar on compulsory purchase powers, and she has contributed to a note for the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) together with colleagues at Chambers, focusing on climate change challenges and Net Zero, in the run-up to COP26.

  • Information and data protection law

    Christina regularly advises clients on the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000, breach of confidence and misuse of private information, and Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). She is able to advise on the intersection between information/data protection law and other areas of law, such as social care and/or housing law, and whether different local government departments can or should share private information between themselves, or with members of the public.

    As part of her information law practice, Christina has, amongst other things,

    • drafted pleadings in the context of data protection breaches and exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act,
    • advised local authorities on common law rights to privacy,
    • advised on and drafted website privacy notices for different organisations,
    • advised local authorities on quantum and settlement options following data protection breach allegations,
    • advised on inter-jurisdictional processor/controller responsibilities,
    • advised a local authority on their data protection obligations in the context of a selective licensing scheme consultation.

    Christina has a particular interest in defending low value data breach claims. She shared her insights on this at Chambers’ webinar on the topic on 27 January 2021. Christina is keeping herself updated on data protection law, and has published on recent information law developments on Chambers’ website.

    Due to her PhD, which entailed a detailed analysis of common law rights, including in the privacy sphere, and the significance of the Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v Information Commissioner [2014] UKSC 20, Christina is well placed to advise on the interface of common law rights and rights protected by the ECHR/HRA 1998.

  • Housing

    As part of her housing law practice, Christina has a particular interest in financial penalties and prosecutions under the Housing Act 2004, appeals to the FTT against financial penalties, and offences in the context of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and selective licensing schemes. She has prosecuted on behalf of local authorities in the context of environmental offences and failures to respond to requests for information and documents.

    Christina is also experienced in, and is available to advise on and represent clients in:

    • Possession proceedings (substantive proceedings and enforcement)
    • Statutory succession
    • Housing allocation scheme policies
    • Disrepair claims
    • Tenancy deposit protections
    • Anti-social behaviour measures, including injunctions, ABCs, mediations, possession claims and closure orders

    She regularly contributes to Cornerstone’s webinars on housing law developments (see webinars on the new Breathing Space scheme and possession proceedings during the pandemic), and has contributed to Chambers’ housing law newsletter.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Christina has a keen interest in alternative dispute resolution, particularly mediation and community conflict resolution. She is a qualified mediator, having trained with the Society of Mediators (full-time, 40 hours, Mediation Foundation 500) in January 2020. This involved multiple mock mediations led by experienced mediators as well as written and practical mediation exams in the civil and commercial context, including contractual disputes and medical negligence.

    Since completing her accredited training, Christina has attended and observed a full-day mediation in the sphere of child maintenance obligations as well as a full-day mediation concerning NHS clinical negligence/compensation.

    Christina is signed up to be part of Calm Mediation‘s Spring 2022 intake for volunteer mediators, specifically to mediate on Calm’s Neighbourhood Mediation scheme on a voluntary basis. Christina will be able to bring her experience in housing law, anti-social behaviour matters and property/boundary disputes to this role.

    Christina is available to be instructed to mediate and co-mediate disputes as well as being available to advise on, and represent clients (including local authorities and other entities) at, mediations.

  • Local Government

    Christina regularly advises local authorities on matters ranging from licensing schemes to council tax appeals, and from Equality Act 2010 obligations and challenges to anti-social behaviour measures to building regulations partnership schemes.

    Christina is gaining increasing experience in advising and representing local authorities on prosecuting individuals and companies.

    Naturally, there is a cross-over between this practice area and other practice areas, so please consult the other practice area tabs for further details.

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