Activist Lawyer, Featuring Owen Beattie, Launches
The latest podcast episode of Activist Lawyer features Owen Beattie, Founder and Principal at Owen Beattie & Co Solicitors, a law firm specialising in the full spectrum of personal injury litigation, criminal defence and judicial review.
Owen Beattie’s interview on Activist Lawyer is available to listen to now at https://open.spotify.com/episode/1u6NuSgjuJlyzioOY74pFM?si=rH_QWZx_QOCTyPJIRnA7gA and across all major streaming platforms or via www.ActivistLawyer.com
Here, we speak to Beattie to find out what activism means to him.
How important is activism?
B: Activism is vitally important. Lawyers from whichever branch of the profession should be live to the checks and balances that must in place to regulate and hold the organs of the state to account. That in itself is activism in the law.
Can we use the law effectively as a tool for activism?
B: Activism in the law can take many forms. In my view, activism can be the able deployment of the variety of legal mechanisms available to lawyers to hold the state to account, may that be via judicial review proceedings, litigation or engagement with the coronial process or other inquiries.
Tell us about a case that will stay with you forever.
B: I have been very fortunate and grateful for the opportunities to represent and act in many high-profile and interesting cases. I have represented clients in a wide portfolio of cases from inactions against social media giants to challenges against the state.
It is very difficult to identify any case over another. It has however been a privilege to represent hundreds of victims and survivors of historical abuse over the last number of years in both litigations and in judicial review proceedings. This work has been hugely rewarding both from a legal standpoint and personally to have been given the opportunity to represent these clients very often in a difficult and arduous legal process.
Equally, there are many cases that go unseen may that be the representation of clients under criminal investigation or in personal injury claims. Those cases have been equally rewarding in achieving a satisfactory and welcome outcome come for your client.
In terms of a career milestone, it would be remiss of me not to refer to the fact that we have now established our own law firm. This has been a hugely rewarding challenge, a difficult one, but one that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and I look forward to what the years hold ahead.
Does your current practice specialise in campaigning/representing clients in a specific area, and if so, how did you get involved in this area?
B: Our practice covers the full spectrum of personal injury litigation. We also represent clients who are subject to the criminal investigation may that be by the police service of Northern Ireland or other investigatory agencies. This portfolio of work is complemented by our experience in the deployment of judicial review to challenge the decisions of government departments.
Our involvement in these areas was a natural evolution from initially practising predominantly in criminal defence work and that incrementally grew to the representation of prisoner rights together with an extensive expansion into litigation with the various forms may that be from personal injury claims, medical negligence and judicial review.
We represent clients from all walks of life in a variety of both legally and factually complex cases. Our firm is committed to the consistent delivery of a client-centred caring approach to each and every case that we have the privilege to be instructed in.
What is the most important change to the law that you feel needs to be addressed now?
B: There has been much discussion in recent years, both in relation to the proposed scrapping of the Human Rights Act 1988, together with the proposed imposition of the legacy bill which effectively will bring a shutdown to various legal mechanisms available presently to investigate, litigate and challenge the circumstances surrounding the complex conflict to which many people were affected by in this jurisdiction.
These proposals in our view present a damning indictment of the steps that the government may take to curtail activism and challenges against their decisions. It is important that these proposals are addressed and challenged using the variety of legal arenas and platforms available.
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