Laura Paton

Laura is a Senior Associate at Ridouts and is dual-qualified as a Solicitor in both England & Wales and in Scotland. She initially qualified in Scotland in May 2009 where she practiced civil court work, appearing regularly in the Sheriff Court in a range of contentious matters. Laura joined Ridouts in January 2016 from the Fitness to Practise directorate of the General Dental Council where she had gained a wealth of experience in professional disciplinary cases. Laura successfully completed the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme in November 2016.

Since joining Ridouts Laura has assisted numerous providers to prepare compelling responses to draft inspection reports challenging factual inaccuracies, alleged regulatory breaches and seeking improved ratings as a result.

Laura regularly drafts effective representations to enforcement notices and assists Providers with appeals to the First-tier (Care Standards) Tribunal.

Laura’s advocacy and hearings background leaves her well placed to provide legal and practical support to providers who find themselves in a courtroom setting be that at Coroners Inquests or at the First-tier (Care Standards) Tribunal. Laura also acts for Providers in contractual matters including fee disputes and safeguarding cases.

Laura has an LLM in Human Rights Law and is a member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers.

Recent cases:

  • Laura acted for a provider of Learning Disability services in successfully obtaining permission to appeal a decision of the First-Tier Tribunal (Care Standards) to the Upper Tribunal. The First-Tier Tribunal had not allowed an appeal to increase the number of beds at the service. The case could have a significant impact on the sector, beyond LD services, in terms of the interpretation of the Regulated Activities Regulations in Registration cases.
  • Laura acted for a provider of Learning Disability services, who sought to add a new 6 bedded residential unit adjacent to an existing 6 bedded unit at one of its sites. The CQC issued a Notice of Decision refusing the application on the basis that it would not be compliant with the principles of its guidance ‘Registering the Right Support’. Laura assisted our Client to appeal that decision to the First-tier (Care Standards) Tribunal who allowed the appeal, set aside the decision of the CQC and the registration was subsequently granted.
  • Laura represented a provider of residential and nursing care who had been rated as ‘Inadequate’ and issued by the CQC with a Notice of Decision to cancel their registration. Laura lodged an appeal with the First-tier (Care Standards) Tribunal and participated in the Case Management Process. After negotiations with the CQC, which included obtaining time for improvements and a re-inspection, the appeal was allowed without the need for a full hearing. The home remained open with an improved CQC rating.
  • Laura acted for a residential care service which had been issued with a draft inspection report that alleged multiple regulatory breaches. The Service had been rated ‘Requires Improvement’ as a result. Laura drafted a factual accuracy challenge that resulted in the reference to the breaches being removed from the final report and the rating uplifted to ‘Good’.
  • Laura acted for a care home provider in relation to a fee dispute with a local authority about underpaid fees. Through negotiations, Laura secured a satisfactory settlement at the pre-action stage, avoiding the need for the provider to go to Court.