“I founded our Community Care Law Services for Professional Deputies, which won the Law Society Excellence Award for Business Development in October 2016. In addition to my Court of Protection litigation caseload, I run training for other professionals across England in all aspects of health and social care law.”
I am a recognised expert and lead our Community Care Law team. We are one of a small number of non-legal aid solicitors specialising in Health and Social Care Law and Community Care Law.
We have built an expanding practice in this area which has given our firm a nationwide profile. I guest lecture for MBL, the Law Society and Solicitors for the Elderly and run in-house training for other legal professionals. I contribute to the Elderly Client Handbook published by the Law Society in association with SFE.
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:
Services for Professional Deputies – including:
Expert Part 35 Reports about the cost of care and health and welfare issues within Personal Injury litigation
Casework support on Community Care Law and public law issues for Professional Deputy teams, including Double Recovery
Assisting with preparation for the OPG Professional Deputy Standards Audit
In-house training for Professional Deputy teams on the Care Act paying for care rules, NHS Continuing Healthcare and Health & Welfare litigation
Lasting Power of Attorney and Deputy applications (contested and non-contested)
Best Interest decisions
NHS Continuing Healthcare
I act for the legal profession which includes Professional Deputies & Attorneys, personal injury lawyers and private client teams. I am also instructed by lay Deputies and Attorneys, particularly in safeguarding issues and care funding disputes for their vulnerable relatives.
I work with a wide range of clients of all ages and many have disabilities or caring responsibilities. As part of our community engagement strategy, I provide free legal advice at Age UK, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Carers Centre.
The 2024 Legal 500 write up for Cate and her Community Care Law Team states: ‘They have carved out a niche practice helping clients and professionals fight for the rights of individuals. They are influencers in change and a go-to for comment on any new developments. Cate Searle is unashamedly the market leader and go-to person for complex funding cases’.
I have a BA Hons 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.
Having worked for several years in Health and Social Services, including in a number of psychiatric hospitals, 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.
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 Scandinavian crime thrillers 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.