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Martin Searle Solicitors

Cate Searle

Director & Head of Community Care Law

Cate Searle - martin searle solicitors Community Care expert

“I lead the Community Care Team; I also manage the firm’s community engagement. I was involved in the Law Commission’s consultation on the Adult Health & Social Care Bill.”



Based primarily in our Brighton office, I lead the community care law team. As one of a very small number of solicitors specialising in NHS continuing healthcare law, I have built an expanding practice in this area which has given our firm a nationwide profile far and above its relative size. I also provide expert opinion on community care law issues for the specialist press, speak as a guest lecturer and train other legal professionals. In 2011 I was asked by the Law Commission to give my views as part of the consultation on proposals for inclusion in the Adult Health & Social Care Bill.

I am also the director responsible for practice management and financial and regulatory matters and I manage the firm’s community engagement strategy.


I have particular expertise in:

  • NHS Continuing Healthcare
  • Planning and Paying for Care
  • Funding disputes with Social Services (including financial assessments and deprivation of capital)
  • Mental Capacity Law, including:
    • Lasting Power of Attorney and Deputy applications (contested and non-contested)
    • Safeguarding issues including Court of Protection Applications
    • Best Interest decisions
    • Safeguarding


A lot of my work is for elderly clients. I may be instructed by the person receiving care or who wants to plan ahead, or by their family members. I also help other solicitors, charities and voluntary organisations with complicated casework, particularly NHS Continuing Healthcare funding appeals. In addition, I work with a wide range of clients of all ages, many of whom have disabilities or caring responsibilities.


have a degree in developmental psychology from the University of Sussex. While managing a local mental health service, I studied part-time for the law conversion course at the University of Brighton where I met my co-director Fiona Martin. I completed the solicitors’ law finals course at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Other experience

Having worked for several years in health and Social Services before training as a solicitor, I have skills and experience that directly benefit my Community Care clients. This is reflected in the outcomes I achieve for them.

In addition, having worked in the voluntary sector as an advisor before qualifying as a solicitor, I understand the challenges voluntary sector organisations face. This really helps focus the firm’s community engagement work and the training and support that we offer.

In addition to the bespoke training programmes, I deliver seminars for MBL – a leading learning and development provider for professional services firms.

I have a life too

I enjoy long cycle rides in the countryside with friends and family, usually followed by a hearty pub lunch. Otherwise I relax by reading or listening to music. I love to travel and am fortunate to have a number of friends and relatives living abroad to provide an interesting range of holiday destinations. I enjoy debating about something or nothing with friends over a good meal.

Get in touch with Cate

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