Emma is an associate in our Public Law and Human Rights team. She acts in a wide range of public law matters, including cases in the Court of Protection.
Emma has a particular interest in Education Law, and frequently represents children and young people in education-related judicial review challenges of decisions by local authorities and educational institutions, as well as in civil claims for compensation; many of her cases touch upon human rights issues and discrimination.
As well as being instructed by family members in disputes in the Court of Protection, Emma is also frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent ‘P’. Emma’s practice encompasses all aspects of health and welfare, including complex issues relating to care, residence, contact, and deprivations of liberty.
During her training contract, Emma also gained experience in the Employment & Professional Discipline and Clinical Negligence & Personal Injury teams at Bindmans LLP.
Education and career
- Emma graduated with a Philosophy BA, First-Class Honours, from University College London
- She then completed the Graduate Diploma in Law, with Distinction, from the University of Law. She also completed the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law, gaining a distinction
- Emma worked as a paralegal for two years prior to joining Bindmans LLP, gaining experience in Court of Protection, community care, and education law
- She qualified as a solicitor in 2019
- Makaton Levels 1 and 2
Emma’s cases include:
- Acted for the Claimant in these judicial review proceedings concerning a scheme operated by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, under which deductions are made from claimants’ benefits in respect of utility charges which are paid directly to third party companies: R (Timson) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  EWHC 2392 (Admin). The Court of Appeal heard the Government’s appeal in April 2023, and judgment is awaited
- A proposed judicial review challenge to the Government’s failure to take into account the needs of those with particular health conditions and disabilities when drawing up the guidance relating to the restrictions on leaving our homes during the first COVID-19 national ‘lockdown’. Following pre-action correspondence, the guidance was amended
- During her training contract, Emma worked on R. (on the application of RD (A Child) and ors) v Worcestershire CC  EWHC 449 (Admin) (28 February 2019), in which the firm represented four children in this successful judicial review challenge against the removal of SEND provision for children in Worcestershire
Court of Protection
- Instructed by the Official Solicitor to act for Mr Tony Hickmott in Court of Protection proceedings concerning his welfare, including in an application made by BBC and Sky to disapply anonymity provisions given the considerable public interest in the case: PH & Anor v Brighton And Hove City Council  EWCOP 63 (23 November 2021)
- Instructed by the second respondent father in Court of Protection proceedings concerning his son, including in a successful application for declaratory relief and costs: ND (Court of Protection: Costs and Declarations)  EWCOP 42 (28 August 2020)
Chambers and Partners 2023
- Emma is recognised as an ‘Associate to Watch’ for Education: individuals
- “Emma Varley of Bindmans LLP regularly advises students, parents and educational establishments on safeguarding, breach of contract and disability discrimination matters”
- Feedback describes her as a “strong, confident solicitor with a very sharp intellect and excellent drafting skills”
- “Emma is rapidly developing her education reputation with strong analytical skills”
Legal 500 2023
- Emma is recognised as a ‘Rising Star’ for Administrative and Public Law.
- “Emma Varley has really impressed me this year. She has a good understanding of wider public law and housing issues with impeccable attention to detail”
Legal 500 2022
- “Emma Varley: Rapidly developing a reputation in the education and public law sector. She has excellent analytical skills and quickly spots the best points”
- “Emma is an ‘up-and-coming’ solicitor who works hard and readily takes on advice. She is a pleasure to with work”
Emma is a member of the Education Law Association and the Young Public Lawyers’ Group.