Civil liberties and human rights in London
Bhatt Murphy is renowned in the civil liberties space for its niche practice in immigration detention work, actions against the police and state accountability mandates. The group has extensive expertise across migrant worker rights, obtaining redress for clients, and public law issues. Overseen by a team of highly-rated practitioners including Raju Bhatt and Tony Murphy, the group is skilled in undertaking complex inquests and inquiry work for a wide client base. Shamik Dutta specialises in civil claims against the police and handles immigration detention and deportation matters, while Carolynn Gallwey is recommended for her police law expertise. Further core team members also include Janet Farrell, Jane Ryan and Hamish Arnott. Mark Scott is a key name for mandates involving individuals who have died in police custody.
‘The team is slick in the way they do things, completely engaged and so talented. It’s a dream to work with them.’
‘Simon Creighton is the Godfather of prison law.‘
The heavyweight civil liberties and human rights team at Bindmans LLP is renowned for its international and national work, overseen by a group of preeminent practitioners including Jules Carey and John Halford. The practice has a proven track record of undertaking cutting edge human rights work relating to extradition and torture, prisoner rights, religious freedom and anti-terror legislation. Public law expert Jamie Potter is recommended for judicial review matters, while Kate Goold is the key contact for criminal defence and extradition matters, having amassed two decades of expertise in this space. Actions against the police and contentious inquests are handled by Anna Thwaites, and associate Salima Budhani focuses on the intersection between public law and human rights and is praised as an 'excellent lawyer'. Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) is now a judge of the Mental Health Tribunal and the Court of Protection but remains a senior consultant at the firm. The team has also experienced several internal changes; protest lawyer Mike Schwarz left to join Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, whilst the international law offering was strengthened with the recruitment of Tayab Ali from ITN Solicitors.
Other key lawyers:
‘This is a consistently high-quality and reliable team.’
‘Fantastically passionate team. Able to draw on a number of related and relevant expert teams across crime, civil claims, and public law.’
‘Jules Carey – a real leader in the field. Charlotte Haworth-Hird – brilliant lawyer. She really gets the confidence of her clients. Excellent team player, but also challenges those around her.’
- Acting for various individuals across a wide range of Extinction Rebellion protest cases, including acting in judicial review proceedings challenging the Metropolitan Police’s implementation of conditions under s.14 Public Order Act.
- Representing around 120 core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, including activists/protesters, women deceived into sexual relations with undercover officers, victims of miscarriages of justice arising from undercover policing, and justice campaigners.
- Acting in the high-profile case of Ebenezer Azamati, a blind black student at the University of Oxford, after he was assaulted in an attempt to forcibly remove him from an event at the Oxford Union Society – the claim covering multiple areas including breaches of the Equality Act.
Deighton Pierce Glynn
At Deighton Pierce Glynn, the 'excellent' civil liberties practice is well known for handling complex inquest matters pertaining to abuse of police power and immigration detention. The team is jointly led by Sarah Ricca and Jo Eggleton and has a focus on representing the most vulnerable in society including advising on detainee and migrant rights, and working with victims of trafficking. Daniel Carey in the Bristol office is a recommended contact for international human rights work, while Polly Glynn is a preeminent practitioner in the team and is engaged in the high-profile Good Law Project v Electoral Commission, which has reached the Supreme Court. Specialist immigration and asylum solicitor Christina Juman was recently promoted to the partnership, and Sue Willman 'well deserves her enviable reputation in public law'. Public law head Louise Whitfield departed the firm to take up a position with Liberty.
Other key lawyers:
‘This is a very tenacious, hard-working, and committed team. They are excellent in the fields of inquests and public law.‘
‘Sue Willman – well deserves her enviable reputation in public law. She works absolutely tirelessly for her clients and is great at thinking outside the box.’
‘A hardworking and fully committed human rights law team.’
‘Team members that really stand out are Sue Willman for her tenacity and clarity of thought. Connie Sozi for her engagement and commitment on human rights issues.’
‘This team is involved in cutting edge challenges and has a good nose for where the real human rights problems in practice are. They are very client focused whilst remaining practical and pragmatic.’
Human Rights Watch
Rights Watch UK
Bristol City Football Fans
- Acted in the inquest into the death of Tarek Chowdhury at Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre in December 2016. The Jury found in March 2019 that failings in the immigration detention system contributed to his death as his killer was inappropriately placed in the immigration detention estate as he had extremely violent behaviour and posed a serious danger to others.
- Handled the inquest into the deaths of Christine and Lucy Lee which found failures by the Surrey police firearms licensing department, which led to their murder.
- Acting for the relatives of individuals who died while detained at HMP Nottingham between 13 September and 12 October 2017.
Described as 'synonymous with human rights', the practice at Leigh Day stands at the forefront of civil liberties and acts in landmark cases pertaining to international human rights, sexual violence issues, actions against the state, and immigration mandates. Jamie Beagent oversees the group, which is skilled in undertaking a range of domestic human rights work and representing NGO's. Core members of the group include Daniel Leader. who is experienced in complex multi-party actions; privacy law expert Sean Humber, and Rosa Curling. On the international side, co-head Richard Meeran and Sapna Malik are the key contacts for cross-border human rights matters; the team has a specialism in acting in international abuse cases that cut across the fields of personal injury and human rights issues. Founder and senior partner Martyn Day is also a recommended contact.
- Acting for Campaign Against the Arms Trade in its challenge to BIS’ decision to continue to licence the sale of arms from UK companies to Saudi Arabia.
- Acted for six refugee families who had been in legal limbo on the British Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus since 1998, all of whom were granted indefinite leave to remain prior to a final hearing in the Supreme Court.
- Represented almost 2,000 Malawian tobacco tenant farmers including hundreds of children against British American Tobacco, accusing it of forced and child labour.
Birnberg Peirce & Partners
Birnberg Peirce & Partners houses a team of preeminent human rights practitioners who are skilled in matters related to rendition issues, terror offenses, immigration law, and actions against the police. Gareth Peirce is a key name in the team, as is Marcia Willis Stewart QC (Hon), and handles an assortment of civil actions and criminal defence work. Described as a 'pioneer', Harriet Wistrich is noted for her extensive expertise in women's rights issues and acting in cases pertaining to violence against women.
‘There’ll never be another Gareth Pierce, shes totally unique.’
‘Harriet Wistrich is a pioneer in this field.‘
‘Gareth and Harriet are two solicitors you do not want on the other side because they’re that good! Harriet is the go-to for women’s rights case, she is the leading person in that field. Gareth is the name for the really difficult cases. Both on top of their game.’
The 'formidable' civil liberties practice at Hickman & Rose is skilled in the full gamut of human rights work with a particular focus on actions against the police and authorities, and public inquiries. Overseen by Daniel Machover, who clients describe as having a 'great mastery of detail', and Kate Maynard, the team is highly experienced in representing bereaved families in inquests and immigration death matters. Stefano Ruis is the key name to note for police negligence cases and prison law matters, while Eva Whittall's practice is focused on vulnerable people, especially women and children. The group has strengthened its offering with the arrival of Ellie Cornish from Saunders Law.
UCPI category M
Grenfell Tower Inquiry
- Acting in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry for 13 survivors, leaseholders, residents and bereaved from the Grenfell Tower fire, and a portion of the bereaved survivors and residents.
- Representing Prince Charles Obeng in relation to the death of his son Prince Kwabena Fosu in an immigration centre.
- Instructed by the brother of Sean Fitzgerald (deceased) into the fatal shooting of Sean Fitzgerald by a police firearms officer.
At Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, the 'consistently impressive' civil liberties team has a reputable practice with expertise in actions against the authorities including the police. Made up of 'skilled litigators', the team is overseen by Susie Labinjoh and handles a range of complex inquests matters, death in custody issues, and mental health detention work. Preeminent practitioner Jocelyn Cockburn specialises in military claims, Alice Hardy is the contact for police law mandates, and Nancy Collins is the key name for public law challenges; Collins is currently engaged in the Grenfell Tower inquiry. The team has also expanded its offering with protest and human rights lawyer Mike Schwarz joining from Bindmans LLP.
‘Jocelyn Cockburn is a top tier solicitor, at the forefront of human rights law. She has been pivotal in several key cases. Her attention to detail is amazing.’
Anti EDL/King’s College
- Representing a client in a unique case using the European Convention on Human Rights to highlight the impact of UK Government failures in relation to air pollution.
- Representing 161 core participants at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.
- Representing a man who was known to have mental health issues who sustained significant injuries at the hands of the police whilst he was detained in police custody.
Howard Kennedy LLP has an 'excellent' reputation and undertakes a range of high-profile international human rights matters for governmental bodies and charities. Practice head and experienced litigator Mark Stephens CBE has experience representing victims of sexual harassment as related to the #MeToo movement, as well as defending issues involving freedom of speech. The team also handles business and human rights matters for corporate clients. Elizabeth Morley specialises in privacy matters and has extensive expertise in the media sector, while Antonia Torr leads the firm's immigration practice.
Media Legal Defence Initiative
Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
Human Dignity Trust
Zelda Perkins (former personal assistant of Harvey Weinstein)
Described as 'always on the ball and well-prepared', the civil liberties practice at Irwin Mitchell handles a range of human rights matters with an emphasis on claims against the police, prison law, and immigration mandates. Led by Yogi Amin, the team blends public law expertise with its focus on handling complex inquests cases; experienced practitioner Oliver Carter is a key name for the latter. Senior associates Fiona McGhie and Gus Silverman both have experience in bringing claims against the authorities. The team also handles referrals from NGO's including Inquest and The Public Law Project.
- Acted in a claim for false imprisonment and alleged breach of the Human Rights Act 1998.
- Instructed by the Official Solicitor on behalf of two minors (siblings) to bring claims under the Human Rights Act for breach of Article 8 (right to family life) for the delay of the local authority in issuing care proceedings.
- Acted for a deaf prisoner in a claim arising from a failure by the prison service to make reasonable adjustments for a deaf prisoner.
ITN Solicitors's civil liberties practice has extensive experience across the national security, prison law and privacy spaces. Led by Lochlinn Parker, who is noted for his protest work and undertaking actions against the state, the team represents an array of clients related to police law and immigration detention matters. Shirin Marker has experience in international law and data protection issues, and William Kenyon now leads the prison law department. Ravi Naik left the partnership in 2020 to found his own specialist data rights and privacy firm, and Tayab Ali joined Bindmans LLP.
‘I have a lot of time for Lochlinn, who is a serious player. A force in his own right for some time now.’
Simons Muirhead & Burton has an excellent reputation and is distinguished for its practice in international human rights work, which includes the Death Penalty Project, a legal charity founded by preeminent practitioners Saul Lehrfreund MBE and Parvais Jabbar MBE. The team has vast experience in prisoner rights issues and undertaking lengthy cross-border litigation matters for clients. Anthony Burton CBE is also a key member of the group, noted for his expertise in domestic and international criminal law.
‘This legendary firm deserves its reputation for handling cutting edge cases nationally and internationally.’
‘Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar are outstanding. Committed and knowledgeable they deliver an exceptional legal product.’
‘The firm has a profound and inspiring commitment to Human Rights, with an international focus on the rights of prisoners sentenced to death.’
‘Parvais Jabbar and Saul Lehrfreund need to be specially mentioned. They have unrivalled connections in the Caribbean, the Far East, and English Speaking Africa. They are supported by Anthony Burton, Razi Mireskandari (himself an outstanding media lawyer) and Simon Goldberg.’
‘I have worked with the team specifically in the Death Penalty Project within Simons Muirhead and Burton – led by Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar. The team is truly outstanding – their work on the death penalty has saved, and continues to save, countless lives and is an outstanding example of effective human rights work.’
‘Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar are truly outstanding – dedicated and knowledgeable.‘
The 'tenacious' human rights team at Tuckers Solicitors has a focus on police law, prisoner’s rights, and handles inquest work. Overseen by 'complete star' Hind Ibrahim, the practice is skilled in bringing judicial review challenges against the state in relation to freedom of expression and assembly. Zareena Mustafa leads the public law practice group and is a key name for criminal defence matters; she is particularly noted for her expertise handling terrorism offences. Andrew Sperling is also a core member of the group and is experienced in judicial reviews and test cases.
‘Competent and diligent in everything that they do.’
‘Passion, they listen to what I say no matter what time of the day out of normal office hours gave me valuable information/advice. Nothing was too much trouble for them.’
‘Andrew Sperling is the ultimate professional, incredibly knowledgeable, very experienced and enormously supportive. He has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to achieve the best possible outcome for his client. I cannot recommend him highly enough in my opinion he is one of the best in his profession and likely to succeed where many others have failed.’
‘A tenacious team.’
- Represented a Chinese asylum seeker who had come to the UK to escape persecution in China.
- Represented the family of an individual, whose inquest will be examining the systems which should have been in place to mitigate the risk of the murder of a prisoner at HMP Coldingley.
- Represented a client in a civil claim for damages for breaches of the Data Protection Act and misuse of private information against the DBS.
Duncan Lewis Solicitors' civil liberties practice has a broad range of expertise across the immigration and public law space, headed by a Harrow-based team which includes the well-regarded Toufique Hossain and Zofia Duszynska. The team is skilled at undertaking judicial reviews and has a notable cross-practice inquests group. Rohena Wallace is the key name for immigration law matters, particularly those with a national security element, while Jamie Bell handles asylum seeker rights work.
- Acted in an appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) against the decision to deprive the appellant of his British Citizenship on grounds of national security.
- Handled a successful landmark challenge against the Home Secretary’s failure to institute an effective Article 3 ECHR-compliant investigation into abuse of detainees at Brook House IRC.
- Challenged the detention of clients to be contrary to Articles 28 and 2(n) of Dublin III Regulations.
The niche practice at Hausfeld & Co LLP handles claimant civil liberties matters that exist at the intersection with human rights and environmental litigation. Housed in London with further offices in Brussels and the Netherlands, the team is led by experienced litigator Ingrid Gubbay and undertakes environmental, climate change, and commercial litigation matters against corporations for a client roster, which includes activist Greta Thunberg. Wessen Jazrawi is particularly noted for her experience representing vulnerable individuals and acting in personal injury claims. The group also has a thriving pro-bono practice.
Other key lawyers:
- Acting for Greta Thunberg’s father, who sought legal avenues to fight against climate change including taking an action to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child – the first time ever for climate change.
- Recently settled a case in Kodaikanal, India, on behalf of 500 former workers of a thermometer factory, who had been living with the adverse health effects of mercury contamination.
McCue & Partners LLP is a boutique firm specialising in international human rights matters with an emphasis on representing victims of terrorism and handling prisoner rights work. Overseen by Jason McCue, the practice is skilled in domestic and international litigation and investigations, and frequently advises NGO's on civil liberties issues. Matthew Jury is an international law expert and has represented political prisoners and those on death row in the US.
At Saunders Law, the civil liberties team has experience acting across a broad range of matters with a focus on claims against the police and inquest work. Practice head Nia Williams is the key contact for police law and prisoner rights work, and is currently representing claimants in the Hillsborough Victims’ Misfeasance Litigation matter. The group is also active in undertaking inquiries and historical sexual abuse matters. Ceri Lloyd-Hughes acts in claims against the authorities including the probation services and the Home Office.
Other key lawyers:
Grenfell Tower Inquiry
Infected Blood Inquiry
200+ clients as part of the Hillsborough Victims’ Misfeasance Litigation
- Acting for victims in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, Undercover Policing Inquiry, and Infected Blood Inquiry.
- Acting for 200+ Claimants (survivors and families of the deceased) in a group misfeasance claim against two police forces arising out of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in 1989.
- Acted for the family of an individual, who died after being arrested and restrained by Surrey Police in 2013.
Simpson Millar LLP's human rights practice combines expertise in the specialist areas of education and community care work to provide clients with a niche offering. Overseen by Angela Jackman, the team handles Court of Protection matters and represents vulnerable clients in access to care cases. Dan Rosenberg is highly rated by peers and is the key name for education-related human rights matters, while Oliver Studdert is a public law expert, who focuses on children's rights and mental capacity work.
‘The superstar is Dan Rosenberg. He really is the best, completely tenacious, excellent with his clients; some of whom have complicated matters- he’s really good with them.’
‘A great team who have specialised in the social components of human rights like the right to health and the right to education.‘
Child Redress International
Howard League for Penal Reform
Alone in London
British Red Cross
Equality and Human Rights Commission
- Acted for a mother and daughter in a challenge against the policy of the Secretary of State for Health in England which refused NHS funding for abortion services for women from Northern Ireland.
- Represented children’s charity Article 39 in a judicial review of the Department for Education.
- Represented a vulnerable young trafficked child to establish duties owed by the government to protect individuals in a similar position.
Howells fields a reputable human rights practice and is experienced in bringing civil claims against authorities including the police, handling judicial reviews, and advising on immigration issues. The team is led Peter Mahy and also includes key contact Kulvinder Gill, who handles inquests and death in detention matters. The group also acts for victims of sexual offences and trafficking.
Other key lawyers:
- Represented a client in claim at all stages through to the appeal hearing in the Supreme Court concerning a residence test and right to Pension Credit issues.
Matthew Gold & Company Limited, solicitors
Matthew Gold & Company Limited, solicitors is a 'niche outfit' with a 'compassionate and friendly' human rights team, which handles an assortment of matters relating to police law, inquests and inquiries. The team has expertise in migrant rights work and represents victims of trafficking. Practice head Matthew Gold focuses on civil actions against public authorities, while public law expert Clare Jennings heads up the community care team. Rachel Etheridge has a background in public law and also brings criminal justice expertise to handling matters related to domestic abuse.
- Handled a successful test case challenge to the Regulations determining which two-year-olds are eligible for a free nursery place.
- Acted in a challenge to the police force’s policies and practices around sharing sensitive personal data of vulnerable minors to private crime prevention companies.
- Acted in the inquest, police complaint and potential civil claim arising out of the death of an individual who was attacked by his son shortly after the son was released from police custody after a mental health episode.
Sinclairslaw's human rights practice is strong in the areas of community care and education, and also handles discrimination matters. Senior associate Helen Gill leads the civil liberties team and is experienced in bringing judicial review claims. Marian Shaughnessy represents clients against public authorities and has a specialism in Court of Protection matters.
Slater and Gordon handles a wide variety of human rights matters, which range from community care and education issues to discrimination and mental capacity work. Led by Manchester-based personal injury lawyer Kim Harrison, the team is also experienced in undertaking claims against public authorities and is particularly skilled in acting for victims of abuse.
Swain & Co Solicitors
Swain & Co Solicitors excels in the area of prison law and actions against the police, and its human rights team is overseen by experienced practitioner Dean Kingham. The practice is at the forefront of public prison law matters and regularly represents prisoners. Further expertise also includes undertaking complex judicial review claims, sentencing reviews, and criminal appeals. Sarah Blake is based in the firm's Liverpool office.
Other key lawyers:
- Acting in a Judicial Review challenging the fact Parole Board Rules only permit applications to be conducted in private.
- Acting in R (Bamber) v Secretary of State for Justice in a potential claim against a whole life order.
The civil liberties practice at Wilson Solicitors LLP has vast expertise across the human rights spectrum with a specialist focus on immigration detention issues and public law. James Elliott oversees the practice, which handles community care work, inquests and actions against the police. Katy Robinson is the key name for migrant rights issues, while Nusrat Uddin and Nina Rathbone Pullen regularly represent victims of trafficking.
‘Katy Robinson and Nusrat Uddin are the standouts. Really know their stuff and give it their all for their clients.’
- Representing a victim of trafficking in a claim for damages in the Employment Tribunal and, more recently, in the Supreme Court. This is now the leading authority on diplomatic immunity for diplomats while in office, and the first EAT case to be granted permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
- Represented a client in a challenge to the system and criteria for determining eligibility for accommodation under schedule 10 of the Immigration Act 2016.
- Represented a client in an application for Judicial Review challenging their removal from the UK and detention in a claim which raised a wider policy challenge.