Police Law: Mainly Claimant - All Circuits
Doughty Street Chambers is unanimously recognised as the market leader in actions against the police and, being claimant-focused, is "one of the few sets that doesn't swing both ways on the claimant and defendant side." The 33-strong team has the strength and depth to cover a wide range of work including judicial review of police powers and death in custody inquests. Its recent work has included claims relating to the high-profile undercover police officer scandal. One client explains the appeal of the set by saying: "It provides a very high standard of barristers and has no dead wood. The breadth of knowledge and experience of the members is immense. They are great with clients and their heart is in the right place."
Client service: "The clerks offer such a range of amazing talent to cover any angle. Every barrister knows each other so there is a cross-pollination of ideas. If someone can't make a hearing there will be someone else to cover for them."
Heather Williams QC
One of the pre-eminent barristers in actions against the police, who impresses on the civil liberties front.
Expertise: "She is stealthy in court and wrong-foots a lot of opponents." "Her encyclopaedic knowledge of facts and the law is fantastic. She's an incredibly clear advocate who deals with questions in a very straightforward and helpful way."
Recent work: She acted on the landmark ruling that found the police guilty of unlawful disability discrimination in their treatment of a member of the public.
Nicholas Bowen QC
A top-rate general civil practitioner who handles numerous public law and tort claims against miscellaneous public bodies. He has a particular focus on cases involving preventable homicide.
Expertise: "He is strong on the really complex Article 2 cases and is massively persistent."
Recent work: Acted on a test case relating to the extent of police liability under the Human Rights Act. The matter concerned a negligent response to a 999 call by a victim of domestic violence.
Patrick O'Connor QC
Vastly experienced in police law as part of a broad criminal and civil practice. Other high-profile work includes inquests into deaths in custody and advising on public inquiry panels.
Expertise: "A brilliant lawyer who is fearless and independent in his thinking."
Paul Bowen QC
Specialises in actions against the police, prisons and other criminal justice agencies. Regular work includes inquests and civil actions with a particular focus on mental health and disability discrimination issues.
Expertise: "He is persistent on judicial review work and is great both on his feet and on paper." "On discrimination work he is the person to go to at a senior level."
Recent work: Advised the claimant on R (Bankole) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, a case concerning the retention by police of unproven allegations of criminal conduct.
Stephen Cragg QC
Negotiates a strong claimant practice in police and prison law and is a gifted human rights lawyer.
Expertise: "Very good on the law and develops complex legal arguments. His cross-examination is really impressive."
One solicitor said: "He is a leading expert in administrative challenges and police misconduct. He can turn things around extremely quickly."
Recent work: Acted on a Supreme Court case against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that found the policy of retention of DNA samples and fingerprints to be unlawful.
Expertise in civil actions against the police, inquests and discrimination matters. Her regular work involves cases on behalf of informants and protected witnesses and the victims of sexual misconduct by police officers.
Expertise: "She's impressive, shows great attention to detail, is exceptionally knowledgeable and is prepared to take on the difficult cases." "One of the leading experts in the country in inquests, she is go-to counsel here and is extremely bright, organised and blessed with a great attitude."
Regularly acts on police actions, inquests, public law cases and criminal appeals. She has a particular specialism in protestor cases.
Expertise: "She cuts to the chase and is able to advise clients in a way that enables them to understand the issues. A great communicator." "She is very clever and she is now the person to go to for protests work. She really puts the time in, is very easy to work with and pays attention to everything."
Recent work: She is representing 18 claimants bringing judicial review proceedings in respect of pre-emptive arrests and the execution of search warrants by the Metropolitan Police during the royal wedding.
Has a practice strong on prison work, mental health law and inquests. Public and international human rights law cases are also undertaken.
Expertise: "Incredibly industrious, very generous with her time and someone with a good instinct, who can grasp the facts in a short space of time." "She cuts away the red herrings and gets to the nub of the issue. She pursues the novel points of law in an absolutely fearless way."
Negotiates a thriving practice and takes on a broad range of civil actions against the police. Has extensive experience of inquests, immigration, criminal and public law matters.
Expertise: "He is an outstanding natural orator and has a great rapport with clients." "The fact that he also sits as a deputy coroner in Manchester really helps. Happy to give initial advice off the record, he is a junior really going places and can be trusted implicitly."
Advises on judicial reviews and inquests where individual police forces are involved. Her expertise extends to public law, prison law, children’s rights and inquests.
Expertise: "She is very quick to pick up the issues and thinks strategically. With her you get the result you wanted." "She impresses with her drafting and input into a case."
Recent work: Acted on a high-profile judicial review concerning the legality of deeming a 17-year-old retained in police custody as holding the status of an adult.
Regularly acts on civil actions against the police for claimants accused of murder, kidnapping and rape, as well as those suffering severe psychiatric injuries. Other work includes claims relating to the disclosure of confidential information.
Expertise: "Amazingly good with the families in inquests and civil rights actions. He is exceptionally detailed and not afraid to put up a fight, both very important qualities in this area." "He isn't scared of running difficult cases yet provides very realistic advice."
Recent work: He advised the de Menezes family on civil claims arising out of the Metropolitan Police shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Underground.
Works primarily for claimants in police actions and has expertise in judicial review and human rights matters. Also covers inquests and inquiries and has a strong knowledge of issues relating to vulnerable people.
Expertise: "Everyone rates him. He is a fast worker, who is extremely clever and just what you want." "Focused, to the point and an excellent communicator. He can explain very complex issues and get to the nub of the matter."
Recent work: He represented the family of Captain O’Reilly in a high-value civil damages claim, after the Captain died following an assault by a police officer.
Expert at claims against the police dealing with novel points of law. Has a particular focus on judicial review, discrimination cases and human rights claims.
Expertise: "Great at drafting, helpful and easy to contact. He is exceptionally bright and has a strong intellectual grasp of issues." "He is very comfortable in a court setting and impressive before a judge. He's a personable guy, who is good with clients and has a quick turnaround time."
Recent work: He acted on R (SM) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, which challenged a police decision to caution a young man with serious mental health difficulties.
Displays a high level of skill when advising on human rights challenges to public authorities. His work spans a wide range of practice areas, from actions against the police to prison law and children's rights.
Expertise: "He is very conscientious, approachable and good with clients. He can really think on his feet." "Advises and drafts really well. He's smart with an academic approach."
Recent work: Acted on behalf of a Lithuanian woman who was wrongly arrested for being in possession of a false passport and held on remand for two months in violation of Article 5 of the Human Rights Act.
Since publication, Paul Bowen has joined Brick Court Chambers
The Garden Court police actions group is highly regarded for its strength and breadth of practice. Members of the set are strong on criminal law, prison law, inquest work and matters relating to psychiatric units and immigration detention centres. They have been instructed on some of the leading cases in the field including the Mark Duggan police shooting inquest as well as the novel and complex case of Alanov v Chief Constable of Sussex, held at the Court of Appeal. One client says: "They are the only chambers we will work with. I know I will get top advice. They are very approachable and I feel I can pick up the phone anytime and ask for advice."
Client service: "A very accessible and friendly set."
Leslie Thomas QC
Widely heralded as a prominent legal aid lawyer in actions against the police. Has an additional strength in coronial law with a focus on deaths in police custody, police shootings and restraint-related fatalities. Has a growing practice in secret evidence, human rights and access to data cases.
Expertise: "Phenomenal advocate and cross-examiner, who is great for cases that will go all the way to trial. He runs rings around the witnesses." "He is fearless and juries like him. Also great with clients and can explain very stressful situations to people."
Recent work: Has been advising on the high-profile Mark Duggan police shooting inquest.
Specialises in actions against the police, inquests and claims arising out of psychiatric detention. Experienced in jury trial cases in the High Court with serious mental health angles.
Expertise: "His attention to detail is great and he is brilliant on technical cases." "He is extremely bright and motivated by complex legal points."
Recent work: Advised on High Court case Minio-Paluello v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis where the claimant recovered damages after having her arm broken by a police officer at a demonstration.
Specialises in civil jury trials and has experience in multi-claim cases. Day-to-day work includes false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution. Other areas of strength include discrimination claims, judicial review and mediation within the police law context.
Expertise: "A real star of police action trials and an excellent cross-examiner." "She's very friendly and approachable and this is why the clients like and trust her."
Recent work: She acted on Abdulla, Arif and Faratol v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis regarding the alleged use of excessive force in a stop and search.
Has a practice strong on Article 2 Human Rights Act inquests and subsequent civil actions. Key cases involve police shootings, self-inflicted deaths in custody and child custody deaths.
Expertise: "He's very strong on inquests and police actions. He's really down-to-earth and has a valuable trade union background."
Recent work: He provided counsel on the Peter Kirkwood inquest and subsequent civil action under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act.
Effective at handling civil and public law cases which arise from protests and the abuse of police powers. Inquests relating to prison and police custody are another key area of practice.
Expertise: "Very impressive on her feet and can battle through complex issues." "She is involved in interesting Article 8 work, is very good on protests and has a useful criminal law background."
Recent work: She worked on Mariama Gbao v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, a case involving an alleged breach of Article 8.
Represents clients in claims against the police and public authorities, with expertise in discrimination and immigration matters.
Expertise: "He has unparalleled knowledge of discrimination law in the field of police actions and can always be relied upon for thoughtful advice." "He is good on his feet and when cross-examining officers. He identifies the issues and nips them in the bud before they become a problem."
Recent work: Acted on the inquest into the death of Mavis Clift following an alleged failure by the police to properly deal with allegations of domestic violence.
Focuses on inquests and inquiries into deaths in custody on the side of the claimant. Work involves police civil actions and litigation on matters concerning immigration, mental health, and children in the care of the state.
Expertise: "She is very fast on her feet and is on top of the detail. Her drafting is great and her analysis is impressive." "She is very friendly and approachable and this is why the clients like and trust her."
Recent work: Advised on Armstrong and Burrows v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, which concerned a claim for false imprisonment, assault and racial discrimination brought by four men of British-Jamaican descent.
A leading name in police action work who regularly appears at the Court of Appeal.
Expertise: "He can weave his way through a complex web of satellite cases and can explain things to a vulnerable client in a condensed and manageable way." "A great all-rounder and an excellent advocate. His written work is detailed and straightforward, and he turns papers around quickly."
Recent work: His ongoing cases include high-profile judicial reviews of various Independent Police Complaints Commission decisions.
Matrix Chambers is praised for the high-calibre silks and juniors it houses, who are capable of tackling the most complex and novel police law cases. Members here recently represented the family of police shooting victim Azelle Rodney as well as Christopher Jefferies, who was wrongly accused of the murder of Jo Yeates. One client commenting on the barristers here made reference to their "meticulous and thorough preparation, which ensures you get the right result."
Client service: "They have a smooth operation going on with the clerks, who are very efficient and report back to you quickly with the right person."
Tim Owen QC
Expert at police, criminal, public and human rights law and regularly acts on high-profile judicial review cases. Displays prowess in the most complex and cutting-edge police claimant work.
Expertise: "He is skilled at narrowing down issues and tactical decision-making. He also has the ear of the court, which is very important, and can make significant and weighty points in an understated way."
Recent work: Acted on Christopher Jefferies v Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset on behalf of former teacher Mr Jefferies following his arrest for the murder of Jo Yeates. Has also been advising Mr Jefferies on his claim against the police for false imprisonment and trespass.
Hugh Southey QC
Police law expert who also handles immigration, prison law and mental health matters. Has led cases at the Supreme Court, ECJ and ECHR.
Expertise: "Fantastic at police law judicial review. An outstanding analyst who is fast at turning work around. He is extremely reliable and great on his feet." "He is very approachable, hands-on and stays involved during the life of the case. He has a strong strategic approach to litigation and drafts extremely well."
Recent work: He provided counsel in X v Secretary of State, a successful challenge to the child sex offender disclosure scheme arguing that the failure of police to ensure that they consulted offenders was unlawful.
Phillippa Kaufmann QC
Leader in the field of actions against the police including private law claims for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, misfeasance and negligence.
Expertise: "Fantastically articulate, extremely charismatic and good at carrying the court with her, she is amazing on her feet. She is super-bright and picks out overlooked points." "One of the premier police law silks, who has excellent judgement and can approach a case like a judge, which is very helpful."
Expertise: She represented three female claimants under the Human Rights Act in high-profile litigation which concerned the infiltration of an environmental campaigning organisation by an undercover officer.
Matthew Ryder QC
Advises on some of the most high-profile claims against the police, and proves highly effective handling criminal appeals and cases relating to deaths at the hands of the State.
Expertise: "He is fantastic at reading the court and can be devastating in cross-examination. He deals with witnesses very well and is extremely measured in how he delivers his argument. An incredibly charming and effective operator." "Extremely hard-working, very thorough and does a huge amount of preparation."
Recent work: Appeared in a civil action on behalf of the family of Ian Tomlinson, who was unlawfully killed during the G20 protests.
Hugh Tomlinson QC
Works on police law as part of a broader practice that extends to media law, data protection and human rights law.
Expertise: "An outstanding all-round silk who is at the top of his game." "He is very clever and knows his stuff inside out."
Recent work: Has been representing his client in a high-profile claim against the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police on allegations of assault and racial abuse.
Richard Hermer QC
Conducts civil claims against the police but also has a focus on counter-terrorism cases and joint operations between the forces and the security services.
Expertise: "He has this amazing and unique ability to make things simple, even very complex stuff. As an advocate he is sensible and persuasive, which is really reassuring."
Recent work: Acted on Ahmed v Greater Manchester Police and MI6 before the Queen's Bench Division. The case concerned allegations of police complicity in the mistreatment of the claimant whilst he was being held by the Pakistani authorities.
James Laddie QC
Leader in police action work who specialises in complex claims and has a particular focus on race discrimination claims. Acts for police officers who have been arrested or prosecuted.
Expertise: "His cross-examination is very strong. He is very bright and has a great instinct for how a case will run." "Takes a rigorous and detailed approach."
Recent work: Acted on Filby v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, representing a man with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from police violence and prosecution.
Extensive experience of public law challenges in the civil liberties and criminal justice context. Typical work includes high-profile judicial reviews of policing decisions and police-related inquests.
Expertise: "Her advocacy style is fantastic. She can lead judges gently through the evidence in a very well-balanced way." "She is incredibly organised, super-bright and great with clients. She's also fairly formidable, not easily rattled and won't back down."
Recent work: She is acting for Robert Tchenguiz on his civil claim arising out of his arrest by the City of London Police in connection with the investigation into the Icelandic financial collapse.
Combines a strong police practice with work in the crime, criminal fraud and human rights spheres.
Expertise: "One of the best juniors for police actions. Her written work is excellent, she is very strong in cross-examination and is excellent on her feet in front of a judge." "She goes from strength to strength. Very few barristers have sufficient criminal and civil litigation background to cross-examine police officers as well as her."
Recent work: She is working on a Queen's Bench trial against the London Metropolitan Police, on instruction from leading firm Bhatt Murphy.
Anthony Metzer QC of Goldsmith Chambers
A leading name in civil actions against the police, who has a particular focus on malicious prosecution, police negligence and human rights claims.
Expertise: "Offers phenomenal client care and wins the trust of the most vulnerable." "Is brilliant at cross-examination and gets the killer points out of witnesses. He won't leave any stone unturned and his written advice is also incredibly detailed."
Recent work: Acted in Seaford Pugh & Others v South Wales Police, a case concerning misfeasance in public office arising out of the Lynette White murder investigation.