Clair Hilder

Clair Hilder

Background

Clair specialises in civil claims against the State involving breaches of the European Convention of Human Rights and representing bereaved families at Inquests following deaths in detention or otherwise involving the state. She qualified as a solicitor specialising in Civil Liberties in September 2011. Clair joined the AAP team at DPG in May 2018.

Clair was shortlisted for the ‘Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year: Newcomer’ award at the 2014 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards.

Expertise

Inquests and Associated Civil Claims

Clair was instructed by a number of families following self-inflicted deaths at HMP Winchester;
The Inquest into the death of Haydn Burton who died in July 2015 concluded in September 2016 and the Jury found that his death had been caused by inadequate implementation of self-harm and suicide prevention procedures and insufficient communication within the prison system. The Coroner issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report raising concern about staff not implementing policy and inadequate observations being conducted on those at risk of suicide and self-harm. View article at BBC News

The Jury at the Inquest into the death of Daryl Hargrave in July 2015 found he died as a result of suicide whilst suffering from psychosis and his death was contributed to by neglect. A Consultant Psychiatrist gave evidence at the inquest that the conditions of Daryl’s detention contributed to a further deterioration in his mental health problems. The Coroner indicated that she remained ‘gravely concerned’ and issued a lengthy Prevention of Future Deaths report. View article at BBC news.

The inquest into the death of Sean Plumstead in September 2016 exposed a lacuna in government outsourcing contacts. No provision was made for the provision of mandatary training in self-harm and suicide prevention to outsourced staff working with prisoners. Sean in the days prior to his death asked an employee of Carillion what the best way to commit suicide would be. At the inquest the member of staff accepted had he had the training he’d since been provided with he would have started self-harm and suicide prevention procedures for Sean. View article at Corporate Watch.

Clair has also represented the following families at inquests;

The Inquest into the death of Darren McConnell in December 2014. The inquest into Darren’s death in March 2016 examined a number of failings in the care provided to him as he was being stabilised on Methadone upon his reception into prison. CCTV showed that 2 Healthcare Assistants failed to carry out ½ hourly vital signs checks and falsified records to state they had carried out basic welfare checks. The Jury concluded the overall quality of care during the brief time Darren was in prison fell significantly below acceptable practice and his death was contributed to by neglect. View article at News Shopper.

The inquest into the death of Derek Richards at Bethlem Hospital on 19th May 2012. The jury found that Derek’s death as a result of a methadone and diazepam overdose followed multiple failures by the hospital including inadequate training, lack of communication, poor record keeping and incorrect prescribing of medication. View article at The Guardian.

The second inquest into the death of Private Jason Smith which occurred whilst he was on active service in Iraq in 2003. Following the Inquest I helped to secure an apology and compensation from the Ministry of Defence as a result of the failings in the care given to Private Smith. View article at BBC News and The Guardian.

Police Actions/ Unlawful Detention

Represented a woman subjected to a strip search without adequate justification by male police officer and helped her to secure £37,000 in damages from the Metropolitan Police. View article at The Guardian

Represented a man who had been falsely accused of sexual assault by a police officer and helped him to obtain compensation for false imprisonment, assault and misfeasance in public office.

Represented a man who was briefly detained unlawfully and left with permanent facial scarring after his face was it on a wall in the process of being restrained by Police. Secured damages for false imprisonment and assault.

Represented a man unlawfully detained in an Immigration Removal Detention after the Home Office mistakenly thought he had not appealed against his deportation.

Memberships & Appointments

Clair is a member of the INQUEST Lawyers Group Steering Group and has a particular interest in public funding for bereaved families at inquests. She is involved in monitoring problems encountered and liaising with the Legal Aid Agency. She has also provided training on inquest funding to other practitioners. She is also a member of the Police Action Lawyers Group (PALG) and INQUEST Lawyers Group (ILG).