Inquests and inquiries in London Bar
1 CROWN OFFICE ROW is for many 'the leading set for inquests and inquiries work'. Members have appeared in inquiries covering a vast array of areas such as child abuse, matters with national security elements, deaths in custody and clinical settings and transport accidents. They have also been involved in many of the most high-profile inquests, acting for both interested parties and coroners, as well as handling judicial reviews of coroners' decisions. Peter Skelton QC was counsel to the inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, a businessman who allegedly helped identify the perpetrators of a $230m fraud on the Russian treasury and was found to have suffered a fatal heart attack while jogging in Surrey. Clodagh Bradley QC represents the widow of a patient of a urological surgeon who was dismissed for gross-misconduct after offering experimental treatments rather than curative surgery for bladder cancer.
5 Essex Court has an 'impressive depth and breadth of talent' and is a 'real stand out leader in this field of work'. The set is known with is strong relationship with police forces and is frequently instructed by them; Fiona Barton QC acts for the City of London Police in the inquests into the deaths of both the victims and perpetrators of the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack in 2017. Alison Hewitt was counsel to the inquest into the death in police custody of a young man suffering drug-induced excited delirium. Jason Beer QC continues to act on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Communities and Local Government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Considered 'one of the very best' Doughty Street Chambers is an 'excellent set for inquest work', acting on behalf of bereaved families in cases including deaths in clinical and custody settings such as immigration detention, secure hospitals and prison. As an example, Alison Gerry acted at an inquest on behalf of the sister of Kirsty Walker, a prisoner at Sodexo-run HMP Bronzefield who after engaging in over two hundred acts of self harm took her own life in the prison. Heather Williams QC represents the families of three of the deceased in the resumed inquests into the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings, which killed 21 and led to six men ("The Birmingham Six") being wrongfully convicted. Members are involved in all the major ongoing public inquiries, with Henrietta Hill QC acting as deputy counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
Serjeants' Inn Chambers is a 'top-flight set' for inquests and inquiries work and is at the forefront in the police and medical sectors. John Beggs QC acted on behalf of the Metropolitan Police in the inquest into the death of Rashan Charles, who died in 2017 while being restrained by police after trying to swallow a package containing caffeine and paracetamol. Bridget Dolan QC was counsel to the inquest into the death of Geoff Gray in 2001, one of four Army privates to have died from gunshot wounds at Deepcut Barracks in a seven-year period. Members also frequently appear in judicial review proceedings arising from inquests.
Garden Court Chambers has a 'wide selection of excellent barristers for inquests' and members of chambers regularly act for the bereaved in inquests after deaths with some degree of state involvement. Leslie Thomas QC, in addition to being lead counsel representing eleven families in the Birmingham Pub Bombings inquests, represented the family of former Welsh Assembly Member Carl Sargeant in the inquest into his death . Brenda Campbell QC represents the family of Steven Colwell, who was shot and killed after failing to stop at a Police Service of Northern Ireland checkpoint in April 2016, in the inquest into his death. Other members are also instructed in IICSA and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry - Thomas QC is instructed by firms including Anthony Gold, Birnberg Peirce & Partners and Duncan Lewis Solicitors to represent the "G11 Group" of bereaved, survivors and residents.
Matrix Chambers 'continues to be a leading set' in inquests and inquiries and regularly receives instructions from leading claimant firms, the government and interveners. Hugh Southey QC represents the maternal grandfather of Ellie Butler in the inquest into her death; the 6-year-old girl died in 2013 despite a number of earlier interventions into the family by the criminal justice system and family courts (her father, who was ultimately convicted of her murder, had a 2009 conviction for shaking her as a baby overturned). Danny Friedman QC represents the "G4 Group" of survivors and bereaved represented by among others in the Grenfell Tower inquiry, instructed by firms including Bindmans LLP and Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors.
Temple Garden Chambers is 'a polished set' with 'solid knowledge of inquests and inquiries', which receives instructions from, among other, public inquiries. Keith Morton QC represents the Civil Aviation Authority at the inquest into the 2015 Shoreham Airshow crash, in which a Hawker Hunter crashed onto the A27, killing eleven (the pilot survived and was found not guilty of manslaughter in a criminal trial). David Barr QC's recent caseload includes being lead counsel to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, formerly referred to as the Pitchford Inquiry. Cathryn McGahey QC acts for the Home Secretary as a core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Three Raymond Buildings is an 'excellent set with great strength in depth', which draws on its expertise in the criminal and regulatory fields when representing bereaved families, businesses and public bodies. Patrick Gibbs QC is representing the non-commissioned officers including the sergeant in charge of training, at the inquest into the death of Sean Benton, one of four privates to die at the Deepcut barracks. The set has a strong relationship with the Police Federation; Hugh Davies OBE QC represented police officers involved in the original investigation, which lead to the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham Six, concerning an application by the family of the deceased to resume the inquest into the 1974 pub bombings in the city.