Saunders Law > London, England > Firm Profile

Saunders Law
Temple Chambers 3-7
Temple Avenue

Public sector > Civil liberties and human rights Tier 3

Saunders Law regularly handles complex and high-profile claims against police forces, prisons and other detaining authorities, including public sector departments such as the Home Office, CPS and Ministry of Justice. Nia Williams heads the firm’s human rights department, supported by deputy head Clare Evans; the group has a proven track record representing clients in cases against the police and prisons for abuse of power, discrimination and deaths in custody, with particularly knowledge of privacy breaches under Article 8 of the HRA. Cyrilia Knight leads the public inquiries team and is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Nia Williams; Cyrilia Knight; Clare Evans


‘I believe that what made this firm unique was that it was a specialist law firm in cases against the police and that it was recommended to me by different sources.’

‘An excellent team, who work closely together on a range of high-profile cases. Outstanding client care.’

‘Nia Williams is a fantastic solicitor. She works incredibly hard, is highly knowledgeable and truly cares about her clients.’

‘Cyrilia Knight has a significant practice in civil liberties and human rights and has worked on some of the most high-profile and important cases of our times. She is highly skilled, far beyond her years of experience. Clare Evans is a fairly recent but brilliant addition to the team.’

‘Saunders Law consistently demonstrates an unwavering commitment to defending civil liberties and promoting human rights. Their profound understanding of the complexities within this field, combined with their strategic approach, allows them to provide effective representation for their clients.’

‘I highly recommend Saunders Law for their exceptional expertise, passion, and tireless dedication to upholding justice in the realm of civil liberties and human rights.’

‘Cyrilia Knight is an extraordinary figure in civil liberties, known for her exceptional communication skills and relentless pursuit of equality. Her articulate arguments and commitment to social justice make her a standout solicitor.’

‘They are hard working and committed to ensuring that the client understands the full details and import of the evidence. They provide highly professional support to both clients and counsel, ensuring a first-class service. The clients’ interests are at the centre of all that they do.’

Key clients



Family of Terry Smith

Family of Kevin Clarke

Plymouth shooting inquest

Family of Kyle Maher

Family of Andrew Brown

HMP New Hall strip searches

Public sector > Administrative and public law Tier 4

Saunders Law is regularly involved in high-profile and cutting edge work in the field of public and administrative law, including major public inquiries, inquests, judicial reviews and other HRA-related claims. Heading the public inquiries team is Cyrilia Knight, who brings extensive expertise handling civil claims against the police and other public authorities to the group. Human rights specialists Nia Williams and Clare Evans are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Nia Williams; Cyrilia Knight; Clare Evans


‘The firm provides a high-level service concerning public law claims and actions against the state. They are true experts in inquests, judicial review claims and actions against the police.’

‘Saunders Law really delivers for its clients and explores every avenue to find the right and best outcome for clients.’

‘Very committed and passionate lawyers at every level.’

‘I have had the privilege of working closely with Saunders Law over the years, specifically in public inquiry work involving administrative law. Their dedicated and exceptional legal team consistently delivers outstanding results.’

‘The team provides a wraparound standard of care for clients while handling cases of the utmost severity and sensitivity.’

‘Clare Evans is a fabulous lawyer – nuanced, insightful and meticulous in her approach. She trains and leads her team to uphold the highest standards of client care and case progression.’

‘Very committed and passionate lawyers at every level.’

Key clients

Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Infected Blood Inquiry

Covid Inquiry

Family of Kyle Maher (Judicial review)



Family of AK

Family of KC

The firm: Saunders Law is a prominent litigation and media firm, tracing its history back to 1974. Known for advising on cutting-edge and high-profile litigation, the firm punches above its weight and is trusted by global organisations, media outlets and artists, public figures and private individuals, to protect their interests without compromise.   An unshakeable commitment to justice – both for its clients and society – underpins the firm’s ethos.

Types of work undertaken

Commercial litigation and international arbitration: Matthew Purcell’s team advises a diverse client group, from medium-sized businesses, to global PLCs, individuals and charitable organisations. The team has a particular presence in the Middle East and Asia, advising sovereign wealth funds, global holding companies and manufacturers, in £100m+ disputes and arbitrations. The team works closely with the firm’s media lawyers, protecting the rights of artists, media and entertainment companies and those in the creative and entertainment industries.

Media, entertainment and copyright: Media and entertainment experts James Ware and Joanna Stephenson offer a complete service to those in the creative industries. With decades of experience and a deep understanding of the entertainment world, their team provides a full commercial and contentious service to global media organisations, artists, creatives and anyone connected to the sector.   David Gore leads a team specialising in contentious media and IP litigation.

Human rights and police misconduct: Nia Williams leads a team representing clients whose rights have been infringed by the state. They have an outstanding reputation in cases against the police and prisons for abuse of power, discrimination, and breaches of human rights, with particular knowledge surrounding data protection and privacy issues. The team is renowned for its work representing families involving major deaths in custody, such as those relating to police restraint, shootings and deaths in prisons. The firm is regularly instructed in high-profile litigation and are the lead solicitors for civil claims arising out of the Hillsborough tragedy.

Public inquiries: As one of the largest and most respected, dedicated public inquiry teams in the country, partner Cyrilia Davies Knight leads a team that has advised clients before every major public inquiry.  The team currently represents BAME medical organisations before the COVID-19 inquiry and has advised clients before the Infected Blood Inquiry, The Undercover Policing Inquiry and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The firm’s experts have also appeared before Parliamentary Committees and the Leveson Inquiry.

Fraud: The firm’s fraud practice deals with allegations of many complexions, from defending businesses in trouble with HMRC to legally complex allegations such as in the Wickes Plc trial, and alleged City money laundering, market abuse, and insider trading in the successful Rimmington defence.  The team’s work often has an international element, including extraditions, European arrest warrants, international evidence collection, and foreign asset forfeiture proceedings.

Regulation and professional discipline: Led by Alistair Parker, the firm acts for regulated professionals,  particularly in proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, General Medical Council, CILEX and the Bar Standards Board.   Matthew Purcell achieved one of only a handful of sanctions from the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal involving dishonesty, which did not result in strike-off.  The firm is a longstanding member of the Solicitors’ Assistance Scheme, giving initial advice to other solicitors, free of charge. The specialist team has represented  clients at the High Court, Court of Appeal and Privy Council – as well as before Select Committees and the Leveson Inquiry.

Crime: Since 1974, the firm has offered an outstanding private criminal defence service, headed by expert criminal litigator, Alistair Parker. Notable cases have included persuading the Court of Appeal to overturn the murder conviction of Norfolk farmer Tony Martin for shooting a burglar, and the Privy Council to clear Isle of Man solicitor Jenny Holt of money laundering. The firm also acts in many miscarriage of justice cases such as for Kevin Nunn at the Supreme Court and Criminal Cases Review Commission with fresh DNA profiling evidence and arguments on his murder conviction. The team was also responsible for the quashing of a rape conviction in 2017 following fresh psychiatric evidence. Renowned criminal strategist, James Saunders, remains a consultant with the firm.

Public law: the firm regularly challenges unlawful or controversial administrative decisions by public bodies by judicial review in the High Court. The proliferation of public bodies leads to instructions in all manner of decisions, such as in police disciplinary matters, the criminal justice system, the regulation of universities and schools, and against professional regulatory bodies.

Department Name Email Telephone
Commercial litigation and International Arbitration Matthew Purcell
Human Rights, Public Law and Police Misconduct Nia Williams
Civil liberties, public law, inquests and inquiries Cyrilia Knight
Commercial litigation and International Arbitration Vikesh Navsaria
Human Rights and Police Misconduct Clare Evans
Media and Entertainment James Ware
Media and Entertainment Joanna Stephenson
Crime, Regulation and Professional Discipline Ali Parker
Number of UK partners : 3
Number of other UK fee-earners : 24