News Archive: May 2018

44 Middlesbrough Fans Launch Crowdfunding Appeal to Fund Legal Action Against Police

Posted: 25th October 2018

Watson Woodhouse Solicitors are representing 44 Middlesbrough football fans who have launched an appeal to raise £100,000 through the crowdfunding site ‘Crowdjustice’ to help them pursue a claim for false imprisonment and breach of  their Human Rights under Article 5, 8 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The claim comes from an incident on 17th March 2015, when Middlesbrough football fans travelled to a Derby away game. Prior to the game officers from various police forces were involved in issuing a group of approximately 50 football supporters with dispersal notices pursuant to Section 34 and Section 35 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”). This resulted in the fans losing their liberty for over four hours and, of course, missing the game.

Head of Civil Litigation, Sarah Ann Magson said “the police can rely on Public Interest Immunity (PII) which allows documents/evidence to be with-held even if this could impact of the fair administration of justice. We therefore have no way of establishing the full reasons that the police had for dispersing the group from the area. It is suspected that the grounds, if any, were insufficient. Furthermore, the notice issued to each member of the group required dispersal within 30-45 minutes – yet they were ‘detained’ for over 4 hours. The use of dispersal notices in this manner goes on all over the country and it will continue unless there is a review of the use of such powers by the police. There is a requirement to individually assess a person before a dispersal notice is issued – the police should not be allowed to use this power to blanket disperse large groups – without adequate justification as they are hiding behind PII”

While Watson Woodhouse Solicitors are providing their services on a ‘No Win – No Fee’ basis, should the claimants lose in their action, they will have to pay the legal costs for the police which may be in excess of £100,000. However, the fans have pledged that if they win their case, which they are confident of doing so the money pledged will go to a range of very worthy charities and/or to help fight other good causes.

If anyone would like to find out more or indeed pledge a donation to the football fans their crowdfunding page can be found here:

Read more


We Are Hiring!

Posted: 15th August 2018

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  • Gain BA(Hons) Management Practice from Teesside University without the need for a student loan.
  • As a student of Teesside University, you will have FULL access to the student club and activities, library, study and sports facilities.
  • The role is based at our head office in Middlesbrough.
  • Start your career and degree this September.

For more information please email Richard Prust at

Judgment following a challenge of CICA “Same roof rule” gives hope to victims of abuse who lived with their perpetrator prior to 1979.

Posted: 24th July 2018

The Court of Appeal has handed down Judgment, following a challenge of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme, which currently prevents survivors of domestic abuse who lived under ‘the same roof’ as the abuser prior to 1979 from accessing compensation. The decision comes after a lengthy legal battle on behalf of, JT, a survivor of abuse.

JT has fought tirelessly against the CICA’s refusal to award her compensation, losing her appeals to the First-Tier and Upper-Tier tribunals she progressed her case to the Court of Appeal. Today’s Judgement sets out a declaration to prevent the CICA from defending her application based on the ‘same roof rule’.

The Judgement does not change the scheme and will not immediately affect others, however, this is a huge milestone and a step forward for many survivors of abuse. The decision follows an interim report in April when the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) recommended that the rule be scrapped. The Government need to change the scheme, and this needs to be done now, to stop the injustice and discrimination experienced by JT and many others like her.

Watson Woodhouse Solicitor Alistair Smith who has been working directly with the survivor said “ The basis of the ‘same roof rule’ was to stop people who were assaulting people living in the same house, from benefitting financially if compensation was awarded. It was never envisaged to take into account people like my client who were children at the time and had no choice as to where and with whom they lived”.

JT is delighted at the news and became extremely emotional when the decision was announced, she has stated “I cannot believe the outcome, I am in shock, after so many knock backs in my life I was expecting the worse. I am delighted at the decision, not just for myself but hopefully this will help others like me. I was only 4 years old when I was abused, I had nowhere to go at that age, I have lived with this all my life but finally feel like I have achieved something good out of such an awful situation”.

Kirsty Nelson joins Watson Woodhouse

Posted: 16th July 2018

Experienced Family Law Solicitor Kirsty Nelson has joined Watson Woodhouse and will be based at our Darlington office. Kirsty, who has over 20 years’ experience of working within law started her career working for a city firm within the field of litigation defence. In 2008 she began to specialise in child protection work and became a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel.

Kirsty has worked with parents and other family members in cases with Darlington Borough Council and surrounding authorities for the last 14 years. She has joined Watson Woodhouse to specialise in Child Protection work in Darlington and North Yorkshire.

Kirsty said “ As a committed advocate if you find yourself in difficulties with the local authority in respect of your children I am a local lawyer with local expertise who can help you and guide you through the legal process.”

Kirsty can be contacted through our Darlington Office, 3 Duke Street, Darlington, DL3 7RX or by telephoning 01325 462598.

Watson Woodhouse in the Media

Posted: 9th July 2018

Alistair Smith comments on the legal challenge against Government (CICA) policy ‘same roof rule’ which prevents victims of abuse, between 1964 and 1979, from seeking compensation where the attacker was a member of the same household.

The Mirror. 23 June 2018.

Men's mental health

Posted: 29th March 2018

On 27th March an important and powerful statement was made, 84 life size human statues were erected on top of the ITV Studios shedding light on the shocking statistics surrounding male suicide. It continues to be the biggest killer in men under the age of 45 and ITV partnered with the charity CALM have took a powerful stand in raising awareness and making people stop and look up. As a firm we deal with men and women when they are at their most vulnerable. For men it could be through suffering from domestic violence, facing longer sentences then their female counter parts, fighting for contact with their children or even finding themselves homeless. As a team we do all we can to support the men and women in our community and we commend ITV for this bold contribution to a very important cause!

Watson Woodhouse Gives Back To The Community

Posted: 13th March 2018

Watson Woodhouse Gives Back To The Community

On Monday 5th March we launched the Free Community Law Clinic at our new Stockton office at 111 High Street, right in the heart of Stockton-On -Tees.

The Free Community Clinic was opened by the Leader of Stockton Council Cllr Bob Cook and was attended by over 60 representatives from Stockton Borough Council and charities and community groups including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Stockton Recovery Service, , CGL, SWAN, My Sisters Place, Stockton Baptist Church, Arch, local Food Bank organisers and The Moses Project amongst others.

The Free Community Law Clinic is open to anyone and the drop in sessions take place on:

Mondays 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Wednesdays 1:30pm – 5:30pm

The informal setting for the sessions hopes to bring those who feel less confident when asking for legal help into a comfortable and supportive setting.

James Watson, Watson Woodhouse’s Managing Partner, said: “Expert legal advice should be available to all and not just to those who can afford it”.

“We are proud to be part of the community and are keen to support the people of Stockton”

Watson Woodhouse’s new offices are located on the historic High Street at the heart of Stockton-on-Tees, an ideal location for the community to access. Space has been dedicated by the firm to provide a meeting place for local community and support groups to use for free.

Victoria Molloy, Senior Solicitor, said: “I joined Watson Woodhouse because of the way they support the community, particularly the most vulnerable in society”.

“So when I was tasked with opening the new Stockton office, I ensured that it would do all it could to serve the community”.

Alongside the free community law clinic, there will be no charge for the use of the space, in the hope that this gesture will help community groups to maintain their presence in the community.

International Women’s Day: Interviews with senior members of Watson Woodhouse

Posted: 8th March 2018