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Helen Mountfield QC

Work 020 7404 3447
Matrix Chambers (Matrix Chambers)


Helen is a versatile silk with a strong leading practice in public law, human rights and equality, information, EU and employment law. Recent/notable public law cases include: R(Susan Smith) v Ministry of Defence (Supreme Court; article 1 ECHR jurisdiction); R(London Borough of Lewisham & Ors) v Ofqual & Ors (Div Court; successful rebuttal of challenge to GCSE English results); CN v United Kingdom (ECtHR; first finding of breach of Article 4 ECHR against UK); Czop & Punakova v SSWP (CJEU: rights under Citizens’ Directive; distinction between self-employed persons and workers); R(G) v Governing Body of X School (Supreme Court; article 6 ECHR, education); Burnip v Department for Work & Pensions (Court of Appeal; relevance of UN Conventions in national law); Watkins v Woolas (the Oldham East and Saddleworth election petition); and R (Woolas) v Parliamentary Election Court (Div Court; reviewability of decision of Parliamentary Election Court); R(Hurley & Moore) v SSBERR (Div Court; partly successful challenge to introduction of university tuition fees); R(E) v Governing Body of JFS (Supreme Court; race discrimination and schools); R(Green) v Gloucestershire & Somerset CC (successful library closure challenges); R (Harris) v LB Haringey; R(Hajrula) v London Councils, Secretary of State v Elias, R(Cordant Group plc) v BERR; Brown v DWP & BERR; R(Kaur & Shah) v LB Ealing (all major cases on public sector equality duties); RB & OO (Jordan) v SSHD and AH v SSHD (CA and House of Lords terrorism, Article 6); YL v Birmingham CC (House of Lords, public authorities and HRA); Re B (House of Lords – burden of proof and human rights); Ladele v London Borough of Islington (CA); Catholic Care v Charity Commission; R(Watkins-Singh) v Aberdare Girls’ High School; Ghai v Newcastle CC (human rights & religion); Pedro v DWP (CA; EU Citizens’ Directive); Stec v UK (Grand Chamber ECtHR). Other notable cases on


Called 1991 Gray’s Inn; recorder 2009; silk 2010; Deputy High Court Judge (Administrative Court) 2013. Treasury A Panel (until 2010); special advocate; member of Equality and Human Rights Commission panel. Publications include ‘Blackstone Guide to the Human Rights Act 1998’ (6th ed 2011), and edits ‘White Book’ on human rights. Lectures widely in UK and abroad, including at Harvard, NYU, Cambridge and for the Judicial Studies Board.


Administrative Law Bar Association; Employment Law Bar Association; Employment Law Association; Bar European Group; Human Rights Lawyers’ Association; Bar Pro Bono Unit Panel.


Magdalen College Oxford (BA Hons History 1st class); City University (Diploma in Law); King’s College London (Postgraduate Diploma in EU Law); Holker Scholar and Reid Scholar of Gray’s Inn.

London Bar

Administrative and public law (including local government)

Within: Administrative and public law (including local government) – Leading silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix ChambersAbsolutely the first choice for public law claims raising equality issues.

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Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police)

Within: Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police) – Leading silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix ChambersGreat attention to detail and ability to identify issues that others may have missed.

Within: Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police)

Barristers at Matrix Chambers act for NGO’s, individuals and companies in a range of specialist areas including unlawful detention and miscarriages of justice. Standout cases over the last year include Helen Mountfield QC acting for the claimant in Denise Brewster v (1) NILGOSC, (2) DENI and AG for Northern Ireland, which established that a denial of ‘survivors’ pensions’ to unmarried people constituted unlawful discrimination. Meanwhile, Phillippa Kaufmann QC was instructed on behalf of the non-state core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

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Court of Protection and community care

Within: Court of Protection and community care – Leading silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix ChambersShe is experienced in community care cases.

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EU law

Within: EU law – Leading silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix ChambersAn outstanding advocate, who is able to turn complex and confusing ideas into attractive submissions, she is also an exceptionally supportive leader.

Within: EU law

Excellent setMatrix Chambers has ‘a wide range of outstanding barristers’ with ‘considerable experience and expertise in EU law’. Members of chambers appeared in the headline-grabbing Brexit litigation, R (Miller). Some more recent highlights of note include Rhodri Thompson QC acting on a challenge to the office of road and rail concerning charges for access to the Heathrow Spur; Jessica Simor QC acting in R (McKeown, Duggan & others) v HMRC, which concerned excise smuggling; and the Court of Appeal case of Guebeladze v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, where Helen Mountfield QC successfully resisted an appeal against a finding that an extension of the UK’s ‘worker registration scheme’ for the nationals of Accession State countries constituted a disproportionate infringement of EU law.

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Within: Education – Leading silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix ChambersAn outstanding advocate who can turn complex and confusing ideas into attractive submissions.

Within: Education

Matrix Chambers is ‘a leader in the field of education law and offers real strength in depth’. Members act for parents, pupils, schools, universities, local authorities and statutory bodies. Helen Mountfield QC and Sarah Hannett acted for the regulator in R v Ofsted in a successful appeal which established that gender segregation in schools without express statutory authority constitutes direct sex discrimination. Sarah Hannett also acted for parents in R (AA) v Governing Body of St Olave’s Grammar where children were excluded from school because they were not on track to get three grade Bs in their A levels. The case settled and led to the Secretary of State for Education issuing a statement making it clear the practice was unlawful.

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