Dr Christina Lienen

Call: 2019

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Christina is a Court of Protection and public law practitioner with a PhD in law (constitutional law and human rights). She advises and represents public authorities and individuals, including through direct access. Her secondment to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Adult Social Care Team 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 public sector clients and private clients.

Court experience & advocacy

Christina has a busy Court of Protection practice. She regularly advises on and represents clients in section 21A and section 16 proceedings concerning adults and children 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. She has represented and advised many local authorities, the OPG, CCGs/ICBs as well as a family member.

Outside the Court of Protection, Christina has a growing public law practice. For example, she has been led in the High Court in judicial review proceedings (which settled in favour of her client) and at a two-week planning inquiry (which upheld her client’s refusal of planning permission). She has also represented clients unled at a planning enforcement appeal and at an inquest.

Christina regularly appears in the County Court, including at CMCs, 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, especially in matters under the Equality Act 2010. Christina has also been instructed as prosecutor as well as defence counsel in magistrates’ court proceedings, and she assists clients with – and attends as counsel at – mediations.

She is also currently instructed in a case before the European Court of Human Rights (Asmeta v France) which involves the right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of religion, the right to freedom of expression and the right not to be discriminated against.

Advisory work & drafting

Christina’s advisory work encompasses a wide range of matters, spanning from environmental law & planning law to social care & mental health law (especially regarding obligations under the Care Act 2014), 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 orders.

Mediation/ADR

Christina represents clients at mediations and can be instructed as a mediator to help resolve disputes, both within and outside the litigation context.

Christina is an accredited mediator, having trained with the Society of Mediators in 2020. She is currently a volunteer mediator at Calm Mediation, where she mediates on the charity’s Neighbourhood Mediation scheme. Christina is also a Teaching Fellow for mediation at SOAS University of London, on the Alternative Dispute Resolution module.

Pro bono work & civic engagement

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.

Christina regularly provides pro bono advice and representation through Advocate, the Bar’s pro bono charity. She previously volunteered at the Muslim Lawyers Action 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.

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 Philip Coppel KC, Estelle Dehon KC 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

    As part of her public law and judicial review practice, Christina has, amongst other things, been led in judicial review proceedings, has advised on judicial review proceedings, has prepared a practical summary on protest rights/how to bring a claim against the police for harm or injury caused for Extinction Rebellion, 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.

    Christina is an expert in constitutional law, having obtained a PhD from University College London 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, access 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. Christina has taught public law at university level at UCL and the University 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 2023.

    In addition to her upcoming book, Christina has published on constitutional and administrative law jurisprudence, including in peer-reviewed law journals and on blogs. She has presented papers on public law issues at international 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).

    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.
  • 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 a strong and growing Court of Protection practice, typically appearing in the Court of Protection on a weekly basis, remotely and in person. She principally acts in section 21A and section 16 MCA 2005 proceedings concerning adults as well as children transitioning into adult social care, including at final contested hearings (including live evidence, cross-examination, legal submissions), at directions hearings, and at RTMs & advocates’ meetings.

    Christina predominantly represents local authorities and health bodies but has also appeared on behalf of the Office of Public Guardian and has advised a family member.

    She tries to take a proactive and constructive approach to her Court of Protection work with the client’s long-term interests in mind.

    Christina draws on her secondment to the Adult Social Care legal department of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, 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:

    • Representing clients in the COP in section 21A and section 16 proceedings, including LPA/deputyship matters
    • Representing clients on the property and affairs pathway
    • Reviewing COP application documents and witness statements
    • Advising on the need to commence COP proceeding
    • Advising on appeals
    • Advising on and drafting main interim and final orders, third party disclosure orders, and section 49 orders.

    Christina is a member of the Court of Protection Bar Association and is mentored by a KC with extensive COP experience under the Bar Association’s mentoring scheme.

  • 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 advises clients on the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 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 and responses to pre-action letters 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 topic at Chambers’ webinar on the topic, and over the past couple of years, successfully represented and advised a local authority client from the very beginning of a claim against them all the way to settlement with most of their costs recovered.

    Christina has published on recent information law developments on Chambers’ website and contributed to webinars and is currently co-authoring three chapters in Philip Coppel KC’s forthcoming sixth edition of Information Rights (Hart Publishing, 2023).

  • 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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