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Carolin Ott


Carolin Ott is a solicitor in the human rights department.

Carolin is a solicitor in the human rights department, working with Tessa Gregory. Carolin is a dual qualified lawyer, admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales and as an attorney to the New York State Bar. She has experience working on domestic and international human rights law cases.

Legal expertise

Her work currently focuses on judicial review challenges and claims under the Human Rights Act 1998, with a particular emphasis on discrimination. Her cases include a broad range of challenges to public bodies, including in the context of social welfare, immigration and national security.

Prior to joining Leigh Day, Carolin worked in the public law department of a large legal aid firm, where she worked primarily on asylum and human rights claims in an immigration context, acting frequently for vulnerable individuals including victims of human trafficking. She also worked for the Law Centres Network as an immigration advisor.

Carolin graduated from the London School of Economics with a first class degree in Law. Following her undergraduate degree she worked for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on the trial of Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic. She subsequently completed a Master of Laws at Harvard Law School.

Carolin has worked with a number of humanitarian organisations including PAX and the Public International Law Policy Group researching and advising on breaches of human rights and humanitarian law in the context of armed conflict as part of her work for the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic. She has also been involved in researching and writing on both public international law and public law issues, including as a Research Assistant to Harvard Professor Alex Whiting and Professors Maurice Sunkin and Andrew Le Sueur, as well as on the Executive Board of the Harvard International Law Journal. In the past she has worked on issues concerning children’s rights in particular in the context of UN Treaty Bodies in her role at the Child Rights International Network.

Significant cases she has worked on include:

  • R (SXC & ors) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – the Court of Appeal unanimously found for our clients holding that the Secretary of State’s implementation of Universal Credit and failure to provide adequate transitional protection to severely disabled claimants was unlawful.
  • RR (AP) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – a successful appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of RR relating to the application of the bedroom tax in which the Supreme Court confirmed that social welfare tribunals and local authorities have the power and duty to dis-apply regulations where applying them would result in a breach of human rights.
  • Rights Watch (UK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department – a challenge to the appointment of Lord Carlile of Berriew as independent reviewer of the controversial Prevent strategy and the terms of reference set for the review brought on behalf of Rights Watch (UK). The Home Secretary conceded the case, withdrew the appointment of Lord Carlile and reconsidered the terms of reference for the review.
  • R (Nichola Salvato) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – representing a single mother challenging the rule requiring proof of payment from working parents before they can receive childcare costs support through UC, which put families in hardship and debt. The High Court held that the rule was discriminatory and irrational, and found that it had disproportionately prejudicial effects on women.
  • R (Coughlan) v Minister for the Cabinet Office - representing Essex resident Neil Coughlan in his ongoing challenge that tests the legality of the government’s intention to run pilots in local elections, as part of a broader plan to introduce a requirement to show identification to vote.
  • Representing John’s Campaign and others in relation to unlawful refusals to allow visiting in care homes in circumstances where the suspension of visits has had and continues to have a catastrophic effect on residents, particularly those with dementia. Shortly after John’s Campaign issued judicial proceedings challenging the Department for Health and Social Care’s Guidance imposing blanket bans on visits to care homes on the basis that it misstated the law and created an unacceptable risk of illegality by not reflecting the legal requirements for individualised risk assessments, the Department for Health and Social Care revised its Guidance on care home visits.

See Carolin as Lawyer of the Week in The Times, Thursday February 4 2021. Click to download.


News and blogs

News Article
High Court London
benefits Universal Credit Human rights

Severely disabled benefits claimants win legal challenge over loss of income caused by move on to Universal Credit

Two severely disabled men known as TP and AR have won yet another legal challenge over the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) failure to provide adequate transitional payments to protect them and others from a cliff-edge loss of income following their move on to Universal Credit (UC).

News Article
Microsoftteams Image (1) (1)
Freedom from Torture home office Human rights Refugees

Freedom from Torture issues legal challenge to Home Office refugee boats ‘pushback’ policy

Freedom from Torture has filed its legal challenge against the Home Office policy of turning back migrant boats in the English Channel.

News Article
Cameron Mitchell (1)
Human rights Judicial review benefits Personal Independence Payment

Severely disabled man challenges halt to Personal Independence Benefit payments after 28 days in hospital

A severely disabled man is challenging a rule which halted payment of his welfare benefit after he had been in hospital for more than four weeks.

News Article
Supreme Court pale

Man wins Supreme Court bedroom tax case

The Supreme Court has today ruled in favour of a man, known as RR, who brought a legal case regarding whether social security tribunals and local authorities have the power to provide effective remedy to benefits claimants where the application of the bedroom tax breaches their rights under the Human Rights Act.

News Article
Nichola Salvato
Human rights Universal Credit

Working mum wins claim challenging rule for Universal Credit parents to pay childcare costs upfront

Single mum Nichola Salvato has won her legal case regarding the requirement to provide proof of payment to obtain Universal Credit childcare payments.

Blog Post
Woman counting money in purse benefits
Discrimination Human rights Universal Credit

It's going to take more than a PR campaign to fix universal credit!

As the DWP launches a PR campaign around Universal Credit, Carolin Ott highlights why it will take more than a few adverts to fix a broken system.