Ruth Mellor

Ruth Mellor

Background

Ruth is a solicitor in our Actions Against the Police team in Bristol. She qualified in 2016, having trained at Bindmans, and went on to work at Saunders Law and Irwin Mitchell specialising in cases against state agencies before joining DPG in May 2024.

Expertise

Ruth specialises in civil liberties, including advising on civil claims for damages and complaints, and advising family members of those who have died in custody on the inquest process.

Her work tends to carry a focus on police misconduct, but she also represents clients in cases involving actions or failures of other state agencies, such as the Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service, and healthcare providers. Her clients have often been the victim of an unlawful arrest, and she regularly acts in claims for false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution, discrimination, and under the Human Rights Act.

When representing families in inquests, Ruth is motivated by the need to ensure that clients can fully engage with the investigation and have their concerns addressed. She understands that the process is an incredibly difficult and personal one and adapts to ensure that she meets each family’s needs.

Ruth has a particular interest in representing the rights of those who are vulnerable to abuse. She has experience in challenging decisions not to prosecute perpetrators of rape and sexual violence, including through Victims’ Right to Review schemes operated by police forces and the CPS, and in pursuing civil claims following failures to effectively investigate and/or prosecute a suspect.

Sample cases

Civil claims & challenging state decisions

Successful claim for false imprisonment, assault, and discrimination for a young man who was unlawfully arrested and assaulted by police officers, including the use of incapacitant spray (‘pepper spray’).

Successful claims for false imprisonment on behalf of clients who were arrested due to mistaken identity, one of which included a claim for psychiatric injury.

A police complaint and claim arising from a stop and search, arrest, and the use of significant force including the deployment of a Taser.

A claim arising from the wrongful and unnecessary arrest and detention of a disabled man and his treatment in custody.

Successful claim on behalf of a parent following their child’s death during a police missing person search. The inquest had examined issues relating to the police assessment of the risk that the child posed to themselves and the nature of the police response.

Advised clients in various claims for malicious prosecution on the basis that they were prosecuted for offences not because officers considered that they were guilty, but for reasons such as an attempt to discredit the clients’ complaints or to cover up the officers’ own wrongdoing.

A claim on behalf of a vulnerable victim of crime after a police officer, who was meant to support her through the police investigation, pursued an inappropriate relationship with her.

Supported a survivor of rape and coercive control in a challenge to the decision not to take further action against the perpetrator, and advised on a related civil claim arising from the failure to investigate those offences properly.

Successful claim on behalf of a survivor of domestic abuse arising from the disclosure by police of her address to her ex-partner.

Advised on a claim under the Human Rights Act against an NHS Trust for a breach of the client’s right to private and family life arising from the circumstances in which she gave birth.

Inquests

Acted for the family of Andrzej Kusper, who died in police custody. The jury concluded that police failings, including the inadequacy of police searches, contributed to his death. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/met-police-custody-man-choked-drugs-andrzej-kusper-b1133889.html

Acted for the family of Nuno Cardoso, who died following his arrest by police officers. The jury considered issues such as whether he should have been taken straight to hospital following his arrest. https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/17782544.family-nuno-cardoso-say-inquest-decision-did-not-match-evidence-given-police/

Representation of a family of a young man who died following police contact, involving consideration of issues around the police officers’ assessment of the risk that he posed to himself.

Ruth has also advised on inquests involving consideration of issues such as the police use of firearms, police restraint, and the nature of a police pursuit.

Acted in an inquest concerning the self-inflicted death of a man in HMP Bullingdon, including consideration of issues around assessment of his mental health and the steps to be taken in view of the risk that he posed to himself.

Acted in an inquest concerning the death of a woman who was under the care of an eating disorder service.

Memberships

Ruth is a member of Police Action Lawyer’s Group and Inquest Lawyers’ Group. She is on the Legal Reference Panel for the Centre for Women’s Justice.

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