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Duncan Burtwell



Duncan Burtwell

I joined MK Law in March 2020, taking cases against the police and other public bodies within the sphere of the criminal justice system. Typically cases will involve allegations of wrongful arrest / false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution and will often include claims brought under the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.

I qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and worked for eight years as a criminal defence solicitor (and remain a practising duty solicitor), before switching to civil litigation in 2012.

I have developed a particular specialism in pursuing disability discrimination cases, where police forces have failed to make reasonable adjustments to their standard practices in order to take into account a person’s disabilities.

I also provide legal representation at inquest proceedings and in civil actions arising from deaths in custody and/or in circumstances involving the state.

I featured as “lawyer in the news” in the Law Society Gazette in January 2015 following a religious discrimination case brought against HMP Belmarsh on behalf of a criminal defence solicitor refused entry to the prison.

I am a member of the Police Action Lawyers Group and I’m on the Pro Bono Panel for the Travellers Movement Equality and Social Justice Unit. I am also recommended in the Legal 500 Directory

Recent case outcomes include:

  • Case brought against Essex Police for an assault involving a young woman taking place in her own home and in front of her eight year old daughter, with her 2-year-old son sleeping upstairs. In the course of the assault she was molested, punched in the face and sustained head injuries, a broken hand and a broken wrist. The claim settled with an agreement for the Essex police to pay £20,000 damages plus her legal costs.
  • Disability discrimination claim brought against the Metropolitan Police by a 23-year-old male with mild learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorder and a history of mental illness. At the time of the incident, he was resident in supported accommodation provided by Social Services. The police attended at 5.30 am in order to execute an arrest for breach of a bail condition. The arrest quickly and needlessly escalated into the police use of force, including the use of riot equipment. The man was charged with assault and prosecuted. The case was discontinued by the CPS on the basis of a lack of public interest. He then sued for assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and disability discrimination. His claim settled with the Metropolitan Police agreeing to pay damages of £10,000.
  • A claim against the Metropolitan Police arising from a client being arrested at Stansted airport on her return to Britain from holiday. The police had added the personal details of another individual onto the Police National Computer against her name, with the result that it was wrongly believed that there was a warrant for her arrest. The claim settled with damages paid to my client, without the need to issue court proceedings.