LAPG co-chair Nicola Mackintosh recognised for trailblazing work on behalf of vulnerable clients

Nicola Mackintosh, a leading community care lawyer and sole practitioner in south London has been appointed Honorary Queen’s Counsel, a rare honour which recognises lawyers making a major contribution to the development of the law.

Nicola has been a legal aid lawyer for her entire career, in particular acting and campaigning on behalf of those in mental distress, the elderly and disabled, and those unable to act on their own behalf. In recent years, her practice has focussed on community care, health and mental capacity case work for vulnerable clients from a public law and human rights perspective.

Carol Storer, LAPG director, says: ‘Nicola is the epitome of everything a legal aid lawyer should be. She is as fearless as she is tireless on behalf of her clients, who are intensely vulnerable, and never gives less than 100%. Nicola really is one of the unsung heroes of legal aid, so we are delighted that her immense contribution in this challenging field has been recognised by her peers in this way.’


Key career achievements include:

– A string of cases stopping care home and mental health hospital closures over the last 20 years;

– Acting to prevent abuse and neglect of people with learning disabilities, and residents in care homes;

-Bringing the leading case on payment by the NHS for specialist health care for people in nursing homes and in the community (the ‘Coughlan’ case)

– Winning specialist treatment and care for people with autism and other severe conditions;

– Recognised by the judiciary as national expert in community care and mental capacity law

– A leading role in LAPG’s lobbying over the recent Legal Aid, Punishment & Sentencing of Offenders Act 2012, resulting in significant improvements to the legislation;

– Co-chair of LAPG since 2012:

-Took a judicial review of the decision to deliver community care legal advice only by the telephone through the legal aid ‘Telephone Gateway’, resulting in a significant concession by Government

– Set up Community Care Practitioners Group in 1994; fought to have community care recognised as specialist area of legal practice;

– Member of Law Society Council, Access to Justice Committee and Mental Health & Disability Committee;

– Brought judicial review of Legal Services Commission’s nascent plans for contracting in 1999, winning significant improvements in the scheme.