Phillippa Kaufmann QC > Matrix Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Matrix Chambers
Matrix Chambers


Predominantly public and civil law practice arising in the field of criminal justice. Other areas of her practice include international human rights law, private international law, media law, community care law, criminal appeals and appeal to the Privy Council in death row cases. Main areas of practice: human rights; police law; prison law; inquest law; private international law. Recent important cases: R (King) v SSJ [2010] U.K.H.R.R. 1245 (applicability of Article 6 to prison disciplinary proceedings involving punishment of cellular confinement. Permission to appeal granted; R (Iqbal) v Prison Officers Association [2010] QB 732 (false imprisonment claim against POA by prisoners who were confined to their cells during strike by prison officers); R (OOO and others) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (first claim in the domestic courts concerning the duty on the state under Article 4 EHCR to conduct an effective investigation into allegations of treatment by private persons contrary to article 4. In this case the claimants had all been held in domestic servitude as children. Judgment reserved; Mutua and others v Foreign and Commonwealth Office (claim brought by a number of Kenyans against the FCO in relation to allegations of torture arising in the course of their detention by the Kenyan Colonial Administration during the Emergency between 1954 and 1959. Ongoing.


Called 1991; resides Gray’s Inn; barrister Doughty Street 1992; QC 2011.


ALBA; Lawyers for Liberty; Justice.


Camden School for Girls; Bristol University (LLB First Class); Sheffield University (MA in Socio Legal Studies Distinction); Bar School (Outstanding, Second Place Scarman scholarship).

Lawyer Rankings

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

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Phillippa Kaufmann QCMatrix Chambers

Matrix Chambers is considered ‘a leader in many areas relating to civil liberties and human rights.’ In Howard v SSHDPhillippa Kaufmann QC successfully brought a challenge on behalf of a man who moved to the United Kingdom as part of the Windrush generation, which concerned the legislation governing naturalisation on the ground that it discriminates against the Windrush group by failing to disapply the good character requirement in their cases. Elsewhere, Richard Hermer QC and Edward Craven are representing the claimant in Abu Zubaydah v Home Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office, concerning a civil claim for damages brought by a Guantanamo Bay inmate against MI5 and MI6, who he alleges were complicit in him being tortured and abducted by the CIA. Aidan O’Neill QC, a dual silk in England and Scotland, garners praise for his ‘unparalleled knowledge of the area’.

London Bar > Administrative and public law (including elections)

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Phillippa Kaufmann QCMatrix ChambersShe is feared by opponents and respected by the courts. She is the pre-eminent counsel in this field.

Matrix Chambers is ‘extremely well-placed in the area of administrative and public law with great strength, especially at QC level‘, with distinguished silks such as Phillippa Kaufmann QC being sought after on human rights cases; Karon Monaghan QC, who continues to advise on the UK Infected Blood Inquiry; and Tim Owen QC, who represented three claimants in a judicial review of the Foreign Secretary’s decision to refuse to extend protection and assistance to Afghan nationals, who asserted they had worked as undercover agents for the UK for many years in the Helmand province. Helen Mountfield QC often represents claimants in judicial reviews where public policy is under scrutiny for being discriminatory, such as representing the Equality and Human Rights Commission in a Supreme Court appeal, SC, CB and 8 Children v Secretary of State for Work of Pensions, a challenge to the availability of the individual element of child tax credit for the first two children only. Leading junior Zoë Leventhal represented claimants in the first case to reach the Court of Appeal about Universal Credit, R (TP, AR & SXC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a case centered on whether the phasing of Universal Credit and the absence of transitional protection is discriminatory against severely disabled people. In other news, the set also expanded its bench strength at the senior end with the appointment of Mathew Purchase QC, Sarah Hannett QC and Christopher Buttler QC to silk in 2021.

London Bar > Inquests and inquiries

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 3

Phillippa Kaufmann QCMatrix ChambersPhillippa is a fantastic leader – incredibly bright, a great tactician, and provides excellent advocacy on behalf of her clients, as well as being a pleasure to work with.