Case study: changing the trajectory of a life

When a young man in his early 20s was the driver of a car involved in a fatal accident, he faced possible prosecution, and arrived at the Coroner’s Court without representation.

He had a bit of a temper and a minor criminal record. Simon Michael, the duty lawyer at the court, who had previously set up the Pro Bono Coroner’s Court Representation Scheme, took on the case. 

The young man had no memory of the road traffic accident, and as Simon worked on the case it became apparent that not only was he not responsible for it, but that he had also suffered a severe head injury that had never been diagnosed, which had also had a negative effect on his behaviour before the accident. A civil claim was made, which meant that the young man could receive the care he needed.

Simon continued to represent the young man even after these events as the young man’s mother, his principal carer, began to misspend her son’s compensation. After another legal battle, a new deputy was appointed by the Court of Protection. 

The situation was so complex,” says Simon, that it was like “an exam question – but we eventually found the means to disentangle it.”

The client had been facing possible prison, and was lacking the medical diagnosis and care that he needed. By acting pro bono, Simon helped change the trajectory of his client’s life.