Elizabeth is a solicitor in our Public Law and Human Rights team. Her areas of practice include mental health, Court of Protection and inquests.
Elizabeth is a leading healthcare solicitor with extensive experience of representing mental health patients and their families. Clients value her experience and sensitivity when dealing with cases involving complex mental health issues and disabilities. Elizabeth has represented clients in Court of Protection proceedings and before the Mental Health Tribunal for over a decade.
She also has an important public law and healthcare practice, and seeks to use the law to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and mental health issues.
Elizabeth represents families in inquest proceedings involving deaths in psychiatric detention, as well as associated Human Rights Act claims. She is also regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor in complex welfare cases before the Court of Protection. Elizabeth prides herself in being able to advise and represent clients within a broad spectrum of related practice areas.
Elizabeth was involved in key litigation during the pandemic, representing individuals with learning disabilities in judicial review proceedings related to Covid-19 vaccine prioritisation, and advising on visiting restrictions in supported living settings. She also successfully settled a civil claim related to the lack of access to Covid-19 testing within care homes at the start of the pandemic.
Most recently, Elizabeth has acted for a claimant with visual impairment, in a judicial review challenge to the Secretary of State for Transport’s tactile paving guidance.
Elizabeth has in-depth experience of representing those detained under the Mental Health Act at all levels of security. She has a particular interest in forensic cases, and is regularly instructed by those detained under forensic sections, including in high profile matters.
Elizabeth seeks to develop long term relationships with clients and is known for her attention to detail and her persistence in obtaining evidence in support of her clients’ discharge.
She obtained Higher-Rights of audience in 2016 and regularly conducts her own advocacy before the Court of Protection and the Mental Health Tribunal.
Elizabeth regularly delivers training to colleagues, mental health trusts and other lawyers on the Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act.
Prior to qualifying as a solicitor in the UK in 2013, Elizabeth began her legal career in Europe, where she completed placements at the European Ombudsman, Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights. She was awarded the Peter Duffy Human Rights award by Lincoln’s Inn in 2010.
Education and career
- Elizabeth graduated from the Universities of Leicester and Strasbourg with an LLB/Maitrise degree in English and French law in 2008
- She completed the Bar Vocational Course at BPP in 2010 and the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test in 2012, qualifying as a solicitor in 2013
Elizabeth’s reported cases include:
- R on the application of Samson Bello  EWHC 950 Admin – successfully secured Mr Bello’s release from immigration detention at the start of the pandemic.
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust v MK (by her litigation friend the Official Solicitor) –  EWHC 3476 – medical treatment case involving a decision that it was in a child’s best interests to undergo open heart surgery, in circumstances where her mother lacked capacity to give consent for the surgery under parental responsibility.
- R on the application of Sarah Leadbetter v Secretary of State for Transport  EWHC 210 (Admin) – legal challenge to the minimum kerb heights contained within government guidance on the use of tactile paving – the Administrative Court found that the consultation period for the new guidance, which lasted 12 days, was unlawful.
Chambers and Partners 2023
- Elizabeth is ranked Band 1 in Mental Health: Patients.
- “Elizabeth is one of the top mental health lawyers in the country. Her ability to marshall the facts and law, and then construct a strong and persuasive case from it, never fails to impress.”
- “Elizabeth Cleaver is a healthcare solicitor with significant experience in mental health law. She primarily assists vulnerable individuals with Court of Protection proceedings and inquests concerning treatment, placement and detention.”
- Elizabeth is described as “very impressive, organised, and great with clients. She’s reasonable and firm with her advice, and is a really good team player.
- “She communicates well and isn’t shaken in the face of difficulty. I have immense respect for her, and she has made a genuine difference to disabled people made vulnerable during the pandemic.”
Legal 500 2023
- Elizabeth is recognised as a ‘Rising Star’ in Court of Protection.
- Elizabeth is also recognised as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ in Healthcare. Feedback describes her as “an excellent solicitor. She is dedicated to her clients and has very good judgement.”
- “Elizabeth Cleaver is a stand-out solicitor. She is dedicated, driven, organised and empathetic.”
What clients say
Excellent professional service, managing our case with expertise and compassion.
Elizabeth Cleaver and her team have gone over and above the job, helping us to understand mental health issues from both a legal perspective and seeking help from mental health services. She always had our perspective at the heart of her work. Elizabeth enabled us to get legal aid so that we can have the advice and support we need for the inquest.
Elizabeth made things very easy to understand from a layman’s perspective.
- Elizabeth has been a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health panel since 2013, and obtained Higher-Rights of audience in 2016. She became an Accredited Legal Representative (Mental Capacity Act) in 2018
More about Elizabeth
- Elizabeth speaks fluent French