Civil Liberties & Human Rights - London (Bar)
Doughty Street Chambers is held in the highest regard as a set offering an outstanding quality of representation to claimants. Its accomplished members have acted in a significant number of landmark cases in the civil liberties field over the past decade, and are unafraid of pursuing actions of the greatest importance and political sensitivity. Claimants benefit from deep expertise and prowess in such areas as discrimination, freedom of sexual orientation, religious rights, mental health, immigration and prison detention, freedom of information and actions against the police.
Client service: "Their clerking is reliable and helpful, and they get back to me very quickly."
Edward Fitzgerald QC
A human rights advocate of significant renown, who has acted in a large number of landmark and pioneering cases over the past three decades. His exceptional reputation is founded particularly in the areas of extradition, prisoners' rights and international challenges to the death penalty.
Expertise: "In cases with a strong moral argument, he'll give you one of the best, most passionate submissions you could hope for." "A charming and delightful person, he has an intellect that is second to none."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in an application to the ECHR that contended state immunity afforded to Saudi Arabia against civil actions alleging torture was in violation of Article 6 ECHR.
Heather Williams QC
Commands considerable respect for her work in the field of civil liberties. She focuses in particular on judicial review challenges to the conduct of the police, discrimination cases and employment matters.
Expertise: "She combines an exceptional intellect with a down-to-earth approach, and is involved with every aspect of the case down to the smallest detail." "She is so skilled as an advocate at trial - her advocacy is masterful, and she is brilliant to watch."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a landmark case in which the Metropolitan Police were found liable for the first time for unlawful disability discrimination and a breach of Article 3 ECHR in respect of their treatment of a member of the public. The prolonged restraint of a severely autistic boy who had become fixated by the water at a swimming pool was found to constitute inhuman or degrading treatment.
Judith Farbey QC
Focuses on human rights matters relating to immigration, asylum and nationality status. She also has experience of challenging decisions affecting the rights of prisoners.
Expertise: "She is a very clever and competent lawyer." "Judith is very good at working out what is worth arguing. She is extremely sensible and reliable."
Recent work: Acted in a judicial review challenge to the scope of the Home Office Destitution Domestic Violence Concession, a welfare benefit available to migrant victims of domestic violence.
Martin Westgate QC
Offers expertise in a wide range of human rights issues, including right to life, freedom from arbitrary detention and disability rights. He is also experienced in matters arising from protest rights and the conduct of the police.
Expertise: "He has taken well to silk. I was impressed by the way he selected the right points and ran with them in a tremendously complicated case." "He is a very clever and thorough man."
Recent work: Represented Liberty as an intervener in an important case addressing the retention of data by the police on unproven allegations against an elderly protestor, in which it was found that such a practice was in contravention of his rights under Article 8 ECHR.
Stephen Cragg QC
Centres his human rights practice on challenging the actions of the police, notably in terms of the retention and disclosure of information on members of the public. He is also noted for his expertise in prison law and mental health.
Expertise: "He is very good with clients, and has good attention to detail in terms of the paperwork. Everything in his oral advocacy is well argued, too."
Recent work: Acted for a Northern Irish teenager and her mother as litigation friend in a High Court case challenging the decision of the NHS not to provide free abortion services in England, after they had been denied those services under the stricter laws of Northern Ireland.
Geoffrey Robertson QC
A significant figure in the field of domestic and international human rights, who has acted in many important cases in the area over the course of his career. He is particularly expert in issues of freedom of expression, torture and national security.
Expertise: "He is an inspiration as a lawyer, and a figurehead in international law." "He thinks about the law in a novel and ingenious way."
Recent work: Acted successfully on behalf of five students of the University of Sussex at a disciplinary hearing at which they were threatened with expulsion for taking part in a peaceful protest.
Enjoys a growing reputation for her work in the areas of protest law, and the rights of children and vulnerable adults. She is also experienced in representing bereaved families in inquests arising out of deaths in custody.
Expertise: "She is brilliant - her written work is incredibly clear, and she is very good on her feet." "She is very down to earth, very experienced, and a legal expert on protest cases."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a judicial review challenging the process by which the Metropolitan Police retain information on individuals who are charged but not prosecuted for an offence.
Acts in a number of areas in the field of civil liberties and human rights. She is particularly expert in prison law and data protection, and in representing bereaved families at inquests.
Expertise: "She has a phenomenal grasp of the law, is remarkably intelligent, and her preparation is extremely detailed." "She was excellent - she knew all the facts of the case, presented it very well and was very articulate."
Recent work: Successfully challenged the policy of the Home Secretary to treat 17-year-olds in custody as adults in a landmark judicial review in the Divisional Court. Following a ruling that this approach was incompatible with Article 8 ECHR, the Home Secretary amended her policy.
Focuses her human rights practice on bringing actions against the police and the prison service by way of judicial review and in civil proceedings. She also often acts in cases with a prominent mental health element, particularly on behalf of those detained under the Mental Health Act.
Expertise: "She's brilliant with clients, since she's very good at explaining what are often complex legal matters in a way that puts them at ease." "She's approachable and has good instincts. She is noted for her fine drafting skills and for being good on her feet."
Recent work: Acted for a claimant who had been kept as a domestic servant against her will in a case contending that the police had failed to meet their positive obligation to protect against slavery under Article 4 ECHR. As a result of the case, the investigation into the perpetrators was reopened, and they were convicted.
Frequently instructed in cases brought against the police and prison service, and has a particular specialism in matters arising from deaths in police shootings. She also has notable experience of acting on behalf of those who have suffered sexual orientation or race discrimination.
Expertise: "She is very persuasive, and while being firm and strong in her arguments, she also manages to win over everyone's confidence." "She's not one to flinch from a battle - a real fighter."
Recent work: Acted for the claimants in a high-profile case concerning a gay couple who had been turned away from a Christian-run hotel, which considered the tension between the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of sexual orientation.
Specialises in representing bereaved families at inquests and public inquiries, and in bringing actions against the police. He is also experienced in issues arising in the contexts of freedom of information and national security.
Expertise: "He's excellent at sniffing out new arguments, and finding a path through a case - he has an incredible legal brain." "He always delivers fantastic written work that is very forensic and expresses the key points succinctly."
Recent work: Represented the claimants in a judicial review into the failure of the Secretary of State for Justice to establish an inquiry into the high rate of deaths of people in custody aged 18–24.
Offers representation in actions against the police and prison service, and in relation to the prohibition of torture. She is an exceptionally accomplished junior in the field of immigration law.
Expertise: "She is innovative in the way she approaches the law, and leaves no stone unturned." "She is really cutting-edge - a class act."
Recent work: Brought a judicial review challenge on behalf of the claimant to the Ministry of Justice's policy concerning Home Detention Curfews for prisoners and their compatibility with the ECHR.
Focuses on pursuing actions arising from issues in the prison service and from the conduct of the police. He is also experienced in handling discrimination matters, and those arising from privacy and national security.
Expertise: "He is very bright and very enthusiastic, and is creative in finding a way of arguing cases." "He writes beautifully and is brilliant on his feet for someone so young - he has an infectious enthusiasm that whips up the whole court."
Recent work: Represented the claimants in a Supreme Court case that is the leading authority on the correct interpretation of the offence of aggravated trespass.
Specialises in handling cases relating to immigration, asylum and trafficking. She is also well versed in bringing human rights actions against the police and in connection with the security services.
Expertise: "Her attention to detail is second to none." "She is excellent on the immigration side of civil liberties."
Recent work: Acted for the appellants in a case addressing whether their Convention rights had been breached by officers engaging in sexual relationships with them for the purposes of gathering covert intelligence.
Maintains a diverse practice that includes immigration, prison law and actions for unlawful detention. She is also accomplished in broader public law actions with human rights implications.
Expertise: "She's firm but very pleasant to work with, and has a meticulous attention to detail."
Recent work: Acted as junior counsel on a challenge to the proposed residence test for eligibility to civil legal aid. The challenge is founded on arguments of rights to equality of treatment and access to justice.
Centres her human rights practice on questions of mental capacity and mental health, particularly in the context of the deprivation of liberty. She also has an interest in matters relating to torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
Enjoys a growing reputation for his human rights practice, which focuses on public law challenges to the police and the prison service, and on behalf of vulnerable people. He also has noted experience in pursuing damages claims for historic abuse.
Expertise: "Very bright and talented, he is easy to work with and spot-on in his analysis of legal issues." "He is a really hard-working, bright and incisive junior who is a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: Acted for four claimants in the Mau Mau civil litigation against the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for torture and abuse suffered during an uprising in Kenya in the 1950s. The case resulted in compensation, and an apology being read in the House of Commons for the first time.