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Joanna Bennett

Solicitor

Actions against Police and State

Joanna is a solicitor in our Actions against Police and State team, specialising in bringing civil, public law and other regulatory and disciplinary actions against the police and other public authorities.

She works on a wide range of claims including false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution, misfeasance in public office, discrimination, misuse of private information and breaches of the Human Rights Act and Data Protection Act.

She regularly represents bereaved families during inquests and other related proceedings where individuals have died whilst in police custody, or under the care of mental health services. She also previously acted on the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire on behalf of residents and bereaved family members.

Joanna has particular expertise in representing young and vulnerable clients in claims arising from unlawful stop and searches, and unlawful arrests that include elements of discrimination. She is also often instructed by the Official Solicitor, and frequently acts for individuals requiring a litigation friend.

Joanna was recently invited to speak at UNISON’s black members event, ‘From Anguish to Action.’ The event was held on the second anniversay of George Floyd’s death, and explored what Mr Floyd has come to represent in the years following his death, and how sadness can lead to progress. 

Joanna is billingual in German and English.

Experience

Joanna’s cases include:

JB v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
  • JB was assaulted by a Sergeant during a stop and search, and then unlawfully arrested and prosecuted for obstruction after informing the officers of his intention to file a police complaint. J received substantial damages.
ZH v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
  • ZH, a youth worker, was unlawfully stopped and searched and subsequently unlawfully arrested after officers fabricated that he had assaulted officers in the course of his detainment. Z received substantial damages.
JM v Chief Constable of South Wales Police
  • JM was forcefully detained by a number of male plain clothed officers and conveyed to a police station for the purpose of a strip search. The officers purported to justify their conduct based on alleged intelligence which suggested that she matched the description of a female suspected of carrying a large quantity of drugs. She was awarded damages.  
FO v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
  • FO was present in an estate when officers searched a vehicle not linked to him. F spoke to officers whilst waiting for the search to conclude so that officers would move their vehicles from blocking the car park exit, so he could leave in his vehicle. When F went to throw a juice carton in the bin he was forcefully detained by an officer who claimed he could smell cannabis on his person. He was then unlawfully arrested for allegedly obstructing a search and subjected to a strip search at the station. He was awarded damages.
JS v Commissioner
  • JS was assaulted with a baton sustaining serious injuries to his head. He was subsequently unlawfully arrested for affray, and assault PC. The officers were charged and convicted of assault.
Inquest into the death of Stephen Dymond
  • Stephen Dymond died following his appearance on the Jeremy Kyle Show.
Inquest of Roberto Bottello
  • Roberto died after jumping / falling out of a window at St Mary’s hospital whilst detained under S136 MHA by the MPS.
Recognition

Legal Directories

Chambers and Partners 2023
  • Joanna is ranked as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in Police Law: Mainly Claimant. She is noted for her expertise in discrimination, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims, against police. She also works with a range of bereaved families and vulnerable clients in the context of inquests.
  • Feedback describes her “as the full package. She has the full combination of strength, intelligence and client care. She will just go from strength to strength.”
  • “Joanna is unbelievably committed and passionate about each case and client.”

Awards

  • Joanna was shortlisted as a finalist for the Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the year award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards in 2018.
Professional memberships
  • The Law Society
  • Police Action Lawyers Group
  • Inquest Lawyers Group
  • Liberty