Emma Norton

Emma Norton
Liberty
Head of Legal Casework

Emma manages our legal casework and undertakes a variety of human rights test cases across a range of areas.

She's one of our leading voices on soldiers’ rights, acting for three of the Deepcut families and the family of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement. Emma also conducts much of Liberty’s surveillance litigation and represents a number of women who have been the victim of sexual crime and let down by the criminal justice system.

Emma is a qualified solicitor and has a background in prison law, mental health law and immigration detention work. She also sits on the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society.

Articles by Emma Norton

Cheryl James: Deepcut update

It's been announced that the fresh inquest into Cheryl James' death at Deepcut in Surrey will be headed up by the most senior judge at the Old Bailey, His Honour Judge Brian Barker QC, the Recorder of London.

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Skewed priorities

Today Northumbria Police has had to announce that 11 rape allegations previously recorded as “no crimes” are going to be reinvestigated. Only last year Liberty wrote to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the IPCC and Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary to express our grave concerns about “no criming” in rape and sexual assault cases.

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A perfect example of inhumanity and injustice

Today our client, mother-of-three Eileen Clark, will be put on a plane by police officers at London Heathrow and extradited to the US – where the husband she fled almost 20 years ago waits to face her in court.

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Restraint in detention

A terminally ill 84-year-old has died in handcuffs in a hospital bed. He was cuffed and restrained while being taken from an immigration detention centre to an outside hospital. A second elderly man was held in similar circumstances and died shortly after restraints were removed. We still don’t know what these men were doing in detention in the first place. Almost certainly they shouldn’t have been there at all.

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Conflicting reports

Last week a Policy Exchange report dramatically declared that the law is increasingly impeding our military's ability to operate effectively on the battlefield. This poses a “mortal threat” to the “culture and ethos” of our Armed Forces, it argued – risking “paralysing” service personnel. The report suggested young officers have a tough enough job without worrying about judges one day measuring their actions against human rights ideals. The message was simple – don't tell us how to do our jobs and don't ask questions when things go wrong. A familiar one for Sue Smith, whose son Private Phillip Hewett was killed when a bomb tore through his Snatch Land Rover in Iraq. During her fight for justice she was told "better people" than her were making decisions and to "leave it to the professionals".

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Undercover cops: the final straw

When they should have been arresting suspects, seizing bloody clothes and looking for a knife, it turns out the Met Police's priority was to send in Special Demonstration Squad officers to infiltrate supporters of Stephen Lawrence’s family. Even the Lawrences’ Family Liaison Officer was told to record and report back to HQ with the names of every person that visited this devastated, grieving family. “It makes me really, really angry that all of this has been going on all the time, trying to undermine us as a family,” Doreen Lawrence told Channel 4’s Dispatches programme last night. “Out of all the things I’ve found out over the years, this certainly has topped it”.

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"Never let the truth get in a way of a good story"

As the old adage goes, “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”. Regrettably it’s a mantra closely followed by certain parts of the press when it comes to human rights. Relevant facts and legal nuances are conveniently omitted to fuel angry tirades against the European Convention or Human Rights Act on a regular basis. Remember “Catgate”? Such skewed attacks on proud principles of dignity, equal treatment and fairness are predictable. But the simultaneous reluctance to champion human rights when they protect ordinary people is particularly galling.

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My HRA: Richard and Gillian Rabone

Given the most recent attacks on our post-war human rights framework, it’s fitting that this week marks the final instalment in our Common Values blog series showcasing the importance of the Human Rights Act. Today we focus on Richard and Gillian Rabone, who turned to the legislation after daughter Melanie committed suicide after being negligently allowed to leave hospital.

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My HRA: Verna Bryant

Today’s entry in our Common Values blog series on our new short films, showcasing the importance of the Human Rights Act, focuses on Liberty client Verna Bryant. Her daughter, mother-of-one Naomi, was killed by convicted sex offender Anthony Rice while he was on licence from prison in 2005.

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State sanctioned abuse

Yesterday in the High Court some extraordinarily brave women were told that their human rights claims against the Metropolitan Police will have to be heard in the secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal. These women were all the subject of undercover policing that involved sexual encounters with police officers - in many cases these encounters became long term intimate relationships. The exposure of this police tactic has caused enormous embarrassment to the Met - hence their eagerness to have the claims heard in secret, without the women being allowed to hear the evidence and without a right of appeal. Thankfully the High Court yesterday ordered that other important parts of the claims could remain in the open High Court.

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