Paul Heron is a lawyer, socialist and activist. He is the senior solicitor and founding member of the Public Interest Law Centre after many years of working in the law centres movement.
Paul specialises in domestic public law work. Outlined below are some of his cases that have not only helped affect real change for his clients, but have had a wider impact, with many more people benefiting from his strategic approach to litigation.
He has a real passion for using the law as a tool to help affect progressive social change for working class people.
He is an executive committee member of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.
Notable cases include:
R (Ambrose) v Westminster Council( CO/7671/2010) – Representing the Claimant in a judicial review to determine what duties were owed to her and her step son following their being placed in temporary accommodation within another borough, whilst the child still attended a school within Westminster. Case revisited Stewart v Wandsworth, considering the provision of accommodation to those with children of school age outside the Housing Act 1996.
R (on the application of (1) Yonas Admasu Kebede (2) Abiy Admasu Kebede) v Newcastle City Council EWCA 960 Civ – Paul successfully represented the claimants arguing that s23C (4) (b) and the related provision s24B (2) does in fact cover tuition fees and the local authority had to reconsider its decision and fund them through higher education. For those students in care under the Children Act, who had limited or discretionary leave to remain in the UK and therefore prevented them from securing student financial support, it provided allowed them to obtain this from their local authority. This case helped hundreds of students, who had been excluded, to go to University.
Hounga v Allen (Anti Slavery International intervening)  UKSC 47 – Paul successfully represented the interveners in this case. Whilst the case hung narrow points regarding illegality and discrimination on the grounds of nationality, the interveners brought in wider issues on a number of points concerning immigration, contract, employment law and that a defence of illegality does not necessarily defeat a claim for discrimination.
Draper v Lincolnshire County Council  EWHC 2388 Paul successfully represented the Claimant in this case. The Court agreed that the County Council had conducted a flawed consultation exercise and had failed to consider alternative proposals when cutting the library service. The planned cuts in library services proposed by the council were ruled unlawful saving 15+ libraries across the county.
R (oao Sehwerert) v Entry Clearance Officer & others  EWCA Civ 1141m Paul acted on behalf of the interveners a group of Labour MP’s from the Campaign Group of Socialist MP’s. They intervened in the case known as the Cuban Five. They had been convicted in the United States of America in June 2001 on charges relating to their activities as intelligence agents for the Cuban government. Serious concerns have been expressed over many years by international human rights organisations about the convictions, sentences and fairness of the trials. In 2014 a group of UK parliamentarians invited the appellant to meet with them in the Palace of Westminster. The client’s application to enter the UK was refused. The issue in the proceedings is whether the refusal of entry clearance is lawful particularly given Art.10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court overturned the refusal to grant a visa. The applicant was granted entry clearance to speak at a number of Labour and trade Union movement events.
R (on the application of Tigere) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills  UKSC 57– Paul successfully represented the Claimant in this case. The client had discretionary leave to remain in the United Kingdom, but was ineligible for a student loan as a result of her immigration status. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appeal and found that the defendant Secretary of State had adopted a lawful bright line rule in formulating the ‘basic category’ of eligible students. The case progressed to the Supreme Court where the Judges found in our clients favour. this was a significant decison with very wide implications – thus many, particularly young people, previoulsy held to be ineligible simply because they have the wrong type of lawful residence benefitted from the overturning of the government policy. It is of wider legal interest in holding that the right to education is special
Gunars Gureckis and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3298 (Admin) Paul successfully represented the three claimants in this case. The High Court quashed policy guidance from the Home Office finding that ‘rough sleeping was not an ‘abuse of rights; that the policy discriminated unlawfully against EEA nationals and rough sleepers and the application of the policy involved unlawful ‘systematic verification’ in breach of the express terms of Article 14(2) of the Directive. Paul instructed counsel Stephen Knight, One Pump Court; Shanthi Sivakumaran, Lamb Building; Natalie Csengari of One Pump Court and Marie Demetriou QC, of Brick Court
Mohinder Pal v London Borough of Ealing  EWHC 2154 (Admin) – Paul successfully represented a Claimant to stop the sale of a community asset. The High Court ruled that Ealing Council acted unlawfully and unreasonably in their decision to sell the Southall Town Hall, an iconic public building in West London and used by community group and charities as their base. The Court found there was no evidence that Ealing Council’s Cabinet had even discussed or considered the social value of the Town Hall, and had failed to consider the potential to sell the asset to the community itself – ignoring government guidance. Although the Court did not formally rule whether the Council had complied with a legal duty to conduct a proper Equality Impact Assessment – the Court held it would not hesitate to rule in the Claimant’s favour.
Majuran Sathananthan v Brigadier Primyanka Fernando (Westminster Magistrates Court) (Case no: 1801273043) – 6th December 2019 – Paul represented a private prosecutor in bringing a prosecution against a Sri Lankan Diplomat Brigadier Fernando – this culminated in a verdict on the 6th December 2019. The Brigadier was found guilty contrary to s4(1) and (4) Public Order Act 1986 of making throat cutting gestures that caused alarm and distress. As the Judge commented, “I have no doubt he intended to cause at the least alarm. They were purposeful gestures, made as the Brigadier was staring at these protesters. The Brigadier was a senior officer in uniform wearing medals. Unlike the other senior officer there, his body language appeared to be arrogant and intimidating. There were three gestures and not just one. In the context of the relationship between Sri Lanka and Tamil Elam protesters he must have known that it would have been alarming at the very least to the protesters who saw him do this…The next issue for the court is whether I can be sure the complainants were caused harassment, alarm or distress. I have no doubt that alarm was caused to all three and that Mr Perera was distressed by what he saw.”
Paul is solely instructed by Dave Nellist – former Labour MP, Hannah Sell and Lois Austin two socialist activists spied on by undercover political police. He represents them at the Undercover Policing Inquiry – (UCPI)
He also represents the national anti racist organisation Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE) at the UCPI. The YRE was targeted and infiltrated by undercover police because of its anti-racist / anti-fascist political campaigns.
Paul has recently been instructed to act for Richard Chessum who was an activist in the Troops Out Movement in the 1970’s and was subject of surveillance and political policing.
Executive Committee – Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
He writes regularly for The Socialist newspaper and Socialist Lawyer.
He is a co author of the book Ahed Tamimi: a girl that fought back