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Rachel Harger

Solicitor

Actions against Police and State

Rachel is a solicitor in our Actions against Police and State team.

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.

Rachel has expertise in bringing urgent judicial review challenges on behalf of individuals who are being detained under immigration powers and facing removal from the UK and she often represents vulnerable adults who are victims of torture and trafficking.

Rachel also has a particular interest in asserting individuals’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Education and career
  • Rachel joined Bindmans in 2014 and qualified as a solicitor in March 2017.
Experience

Rachel’s cases include:

Julian Cole –v- Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police
  • Julian, a university student, was left brain damaged and paralyzed for life following an incident in which Bedfordshire police officers restrained him outside a nightclub in 2013. Rachel represented Julian’s family in disciplinary proceedings which resulted in the dismissal of three police officers in 2018 for gross misconduct and she is now part of a small team representing the family in civil claims against the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire.
Inquest into the death of Sophie Bennett
  • Sophie Bennett died having applied a ligature whilst in the care of Lancaster Lodge, a therapeutic community ran by RPFI. Rachel represented the family in inquest proceedings, which concluded in the jury finding that neglect contributed to Sophie’s death and that there had been 16 points of failure in her care. Following the inquest the CQC successfully prosecuted RPFI and the former registered manager of the care home. The former clinical lead, who failed to provide crucial evidence to the inquest, was also prosecuted and handed down a custodial sentence.
Inquest into the death of Leroy Junior Medford
  • Junior Medford died whilst in the care of Thames Valley Police officers. Rachel represented the bereaved family in the IOPC investigation and inquest proceedings which resulted in the jury returning a highly critical narrative conclusion identifying individual and systemic failures. Rachel now represents the family in civil proceedings against Thames Valley Police.
R (on the application of Zalys) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] 4 WLUK 86
  • Zalys was a vulnerable adult detained in an immigration removal centre during the initial outbreak of Covid-19. Rachel brought an urgent application for judicial review which resulted in the Home Office immediately releasing Zalys. She then represented a number of other individuals in similar proceedings who were also released.  
Napier Barracks litigation
  • Rachel was part of a small team instructed by residents detained in Napier Barracks and secured the release of 22 asylum seekers within 14 days.
  • Rachel also represented Andy Aitchison, a freelance journalist, who was issued a Fixed Penalty Notice whilst he reported on Napier Barracks. The FPN was withdrawn following written representations made by Rachel.
Judicial review of Department of Education guidance on anti-capitalist teaching material
  • Rachel represented the Coalition of Anti-Racist Educators (CARE) and Black Educators Alliance (BEA) in their proposed judicial review challenge of curriculum guidance introduced by the Department of Education, which sought to prevent teachers from using material from groups associated with anti-capitalism. The Department of Education agreed to review its guidance.
Extinction Rebellion activists
  • Rachel represents a number of XR activists in ongoing civil claims against the Met Police arising from their unlawful arrests during an unlawful ban on protests in London in 2019.
Judicial review of Dubs Amendment Scheme (unaccompanied minors)
  • Rachel assisted with a judicial review brought by Dunkirk Legal Support Team, which sought to challenge the Home Office’s failure to consider the refugee children of Dunkirk for transfer under the Dubs Amendment Scheme. 
Hillsborough Inquests
  • Rachel was part of the Bindmans Hillsborough team during the Hillsborough inquests which resulted in the jury returning a conclusion that all 96 football fans had been unlawfully killed.
     

Cases in the news

Recognition

What clients say 

Rachel has provided us with amazing support, advice and representation for the last two years. 

– Bereaved family

Rachel is an incredibly talented person. She took on full responsibility for our extremely complex and distressing case after Charlotte went on maternity leave. Her ability to collate, understand and process the huge volume of evidence, prepare submissions, guide us through the legal complexities and support two barristers shows what an outstanding lawyer she is.

What the family has really appreciated, and feels hugely personally grateful to Rachel for, has been her sensitivity, understanding and empathy towards us all. She continues to support us and it is hard to imagine how we would cope without her ability to combine her legal work with her clearly sincere human interest in our case.

– Bereaved family
Chambers and Partners 2023
  • Rachel is recognised as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in Civil Liberties & Human Rights. She is well versed in representing clients in civil and public law challenges, particularly in contentious inquests and claims relating to immigration detention.
  • “Rachel is recommended and trusted by many because she is outstanding in every way.”
  • “Rachel is a fantastic up-and-coming solicitor in the field.”
  • Rachel is also ranked as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in Police Law: Mainly Claimant. She is described as having “a really good eye for detail.”
  • She is ranked as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in Protest Law.
  • “Rachel has always shown exceptional insight and understanding into the sensitivities involved and the communities affected.”
  • She is dedicated to protecting the rights of protesters, often representing activists in multi-claimant civil litigation against the police.
Chambers and Partners 2022
  • Rachel is ranked as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in Civil Liberties and Human Rights. 
  • Feedback describes her as a “real star of the future” and “brilliant technically.”
  • “Rachel is extremely engaged and brings a lot of political nous; she is able to bring forth and reach different client groups.”
  • Rachel is also ranked as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in Police Law: Mainly Claimant. Feedback says she “goes above and beyond what is required.”
  • “She is phenomenal; she’s a committed solicitor who is very good with clients.”

Awards 

  • In 2016 Rachel and her Bindmans’ Hillsborough Team colleagues jointly with other Hillsborough Family Legal Teams won an Outstanding Achievement Award at LALY Awards.
Professional memberships
  • Law Society 
  • Police Action Lawyers Group 
  • NETPOL Lawyers 
  • Stonewall Litigation Advisory Group
  • Inquest Lawyers Group
Publications