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The set: Over 40 years ago, Garden Court Chambers was founded on a commitment to hold state agents to account and promote fundamental human rights and freedoms. These principles are reflected through the set’s work and embodied in chambers’ motto, ‘Do right, fear no-one’.

Garden Court is one of the largest and most high-profile barristers’ chambers in the UK with over 180 barristers, including 20 QCs. The heads of chambers are Leslie Thomas QC, Marc Willers QC and Judy Khan QC.

Garden Court Chambers is recognised as a leader in civil liberties and human rights, criminal defence, family law, housing law, immigration law, inquest law, public law and social welfare law. The barristers at Garden Court have shaped the development of law in these areas over the last 40 years.

Throughout its history, Garden Court has worked with campaigning organisations and individuals to fight injustice and inequality. It has advised and worked alongside organisations targeting a diverse range of issues, from asylum rights, to disability rights, women’s rights, racial equality, human trafficking and access to justice.

Awards in 2016 and 2015 included: Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year (Chambers UK Bar Awards); Outstanding Achievement Award (Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2016); Outstanding Achievement Award (Modern Law Awards 2016); Crime Set of the Year 2015 (The Legal 500 Awards); Public Law Set of the Year 2017 Finalist (The Legal 500 Awards).

Types of work undertaken: Primary areas of practice include: administrative and public law, civil liberties and human rights, Court of Protection, community care, criminal defence, criminal appeals, education, employment, discrimination and professional regulation law, environmental law, extradition law, family law (children law, financial remedies and international family law), fraud, housing law, immigration law (asylum and human rights, business and private), inquests and inquiries, mental health law, planning law, prison law, property law, Romani Gypsy and Traveller rights, social welfare, welfare benefits.

Garden Court International (GCI) provides advice, representation and training to clients worldwide. It advises governments, international organisations and NGOs on best practice in criminal law and procedure, and provides expertise in international human rights and humanitarian law. GCI members work on special United Nations inquiries (eg violations of international law examined by UN Commissions of Inquiry on Libya and on Syria), and on Council of Europe projects (eg reforming the criminal appeals system in Russia).

Garden Court Mediation provides an alternative dispute resolution service in all types of civil disputes. Find out more at

Recent cases include: Administrative and public law: Supreme Court challenge against the Department of Work and Pensions upholding the right of transgender persons to have their gender history kept private. Successful High Court test case concerning systematic delays in the provision of bail accommodation to immigration detainees. Home Office to review detention of pregnant women after ground-breaking challenge by pregnant asylum seeker who was unlawfully detained at Yarl’s Wood. Judicial review resulting in the Ministry of Justice agreeing to review civil legal aid provision for victims of trafficking.

Civil liberties: Garden Court’s civil liberties and human rights practice includes: claims against the police and public authorities, inquests and inquiries, prisoner rights and immigration detention civil claims. Inquests into the deaths of 96 people at the Hillsborough stadium, in which 17 Garden Court barristers represented family members of 77 of those who died. The fans were found to have been unlawfully killed after the longest-running inquest in British legal history. Successful test case before the ECtHR relating to 42 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers who were shot at by farmers when they protested the withholding of wages. Representing whistleblower Peter Francis and a group of politicians in the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing. Representing Marina Carter (aka Marina Litvinenko) in her claim for breaches of Articles 2 and 3 ECHR before the ECtHR. Representing the family of Anthony Grainger at the public inquiry into his death. Anthony was unarmed when he was shot by police. Representing the families of the victims of the serial killer Stephen Port. The families will be claiming under the Human Rights Act (HRA) against the Metropolitan Police Service for a series of operational failures during the investigation. Represented Irish travellers who were found to have been discriminated against when they were excluded from a Wetherspoons pub.

Criminal defence: landmark Supreme Court case which changed the way judges must interpret law of joint enterprise (R v Ameen Jogee and Ruddock v Jamaica). Defended in the Hatton Garden burglary, the ‘biggest burglary in English legal history’. Defended the only suspect in the Omagh bombing: the prosecution collapsed after cross-examination of the prosecution’s key witness. Secured the acquittal of footballer Ched Evans. ISIS-related terrorist cases include representing the father of ‘Jihadi Jack’, accused of funding terrorism after allegedly sending money to his son who travelled to Syria.

Family law: the team has been involved in some of the most high-profile and complex ‘radicalisation’ cases where perceived religious beliefs among family members have resulted in the state seeking to restrict family life. Members are also instructed in highly sensitive cases where parents have been wrongly accused of harming their child. Garden Court has dedicated financial remedies and international family law teams, drawing on barristers’ unique expertise in cases involving family and immigration law issues.

Social housing: a number of precedent-setting cases at the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal including the leading case on the definition of ‘vulnerable’ and ‘significant’ (Panayiotou v Waltham Forest). Other cases include a landmark Supreme Court decision which widened the definition of ‘vulnerable’ in homelessness law (Johnson v Solihull MBC). Supreme Court case on out-of-borough placements, highlighting concern for children’s welfare (Nzolameso v Westminster Council).

Immigration and asylum: a landmark decision in which a judge in Vienna refused to order the extradition of Ukrainian ‘oligarch’ Dmytro Firtash on the basis of insufficient evidence, and also because the US request was politically motivated. Supreme Court victory for families separated by the ‘minimum income requirement’ immigration rules (MM (Lebanon) and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department). Suspension of detained fast-track asylum processes as a result of test litigation. Litigation arising out of the refugee crisis, including 35 child asylum seekers from the Calais ‘Jungle’ who were refused entry to the UK in a challenge to the ‘Dubs amendment’ eligibility criteria. Represented all three appellants in a lead test case before the Supreme Court, an important step towards the settlement of fundamental issues concerning deprivation of nullity under British nationality law.

Above material supplied by Garden Court Chambers.

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