Liam qualified as a solicitor in June 2021 having trained in community care, mental health and Court of Protection work in a North London firm. He joined TV Edwards as a Court of Protection solicitor in September 2023.
Liam first became interested in Court of Protection issues when he prepared his Masters dissertation in 2018 on the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and their proposed replacement – Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS). Liam was concerned that many vulnerable people were being unlawfully deprived of their liberty and wanted to support as many people as possible to exercise their rights.
With extensive experience in dealing with complex Court of Protection welfare cases under section 16 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Liam has acted in a range of cases covering a person’s capacity to make decisions about the following:
- Where they should live.
- Their care and support needs.
- Their ability to enter into sexual relations and marriage.
- Accessing the internet and social media.
- Contact with family members or other parties.
- How to manage their property and finances.
- Whether and where to travel.
- Receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
He is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent clients who have been found not to have the capacity to make various decisions for themselves.
Professional advocates have also instructed Liam to bring challenges under section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 on behalf of clients who want to challenge their living or care arrangements, which amount to a deprivation of their liberty.
Liam has also acted for family members of protected parties (known as “P”) in Court of Protection proceedings to help them put forward their views on how P should be cared for and so on.
Liam has achieved many positive outcomes for his clients including:
- successfully challenging decisions on a client’s capacity;
- increasing a client’s level of care;
- removing or reducing restrictions placed on a client’s living arrangements to allow them to regain some level of control and independence;
- improving a client’s access to education to help them develop more skills;
- helping older clients transition to more appropriate placements to ensure their religious and cultural needs are met.
Liam also helped a mother regain regular contact with her son after many years of no contact.
Areas of expertise
Liam has developed a practice in assisting younger people in the Court of Protection, and currently has a caseload of younger clients (aged 16-25) where a local authority has sought to authorise their deprivation of liberty using the Court’s streamlined process. In these cases, Liam successfully argued that the Court should not approve the deprivation of liberty on the papers as there was insufficient information contained within the application. Instead, the Court has ordered that further information should be provided by the local authority to set out why the young person requires the level of care and support they have asked for and has sought additional evidence from independent experts regarding therapeutic work for the young person to assist them in addressing any challenging behaviours. This evidence will help the Court consider whether the care plan is in the best interests of the young person, whether it is the least restrictive it can be and therefore whether it should be authorised for a further period.
In his work, Liam acts to ensure that his clients’ voices are heard and that everyone is aware of their wishes and feelings within the Court of Protection proceedings.
- Liam is recommended as “a key lawyer” by the Legal 500 – “Liam Cunningham is exceptionally dedicated and has judgement well beyond his years.”
- DP v Hillingdon  EWCOP 45 – As a paralegal / trainee solicitor, Liam worked with DP’s Accredited Legal Representative, helping him to prepare the application to challenge his standard authorisation.
- E (vaccine) v LB Hammersmith and Fulham and W  EWCOP 7 – This was the first covid-19 vaccine case considered by the Court of Protection. Liam assisted the solicitor with conduct.
- Liam is currently working towards gaining the Law Society’s Mental Capacity (Welfare) Accreditation.
- Liam acts as a lay panel member for an academy trust to sit on school admission and exclusion hearings.
- Liam has been asked to sit on the board of trustees for a national charity and is currently waiting on the final board approval. Liam is keen to take part in charitable events. Liam has previously helped organise a local football team which was set up to assist people who could not afford access to football.