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Helen Mountfield QC

Work 020 7404 3447
Matrix Chambers (Matrix Chambers)


Helen is a versatile silk with a strong leading practice in public law, human rights and equality, information, EU and employment law. Recent/notable public law cases include: R(Susan Smith) v Ministry of Defence (Supreme Court; article 1 ECHR jurisdiction); R(London Borough of Lewisham & Ors) v Ofqual & Ors (Div Court; successful rebuttal of challenge to GCSE English results); CN v United Kingdom (ECtHR; first finding of breach of Article 4 ECHR against UK); Czop & Punakova v SSWP (CJEU: rights under Citizens’ Directive; distinction between self-employed persons and workers); R(G) v Governing Body of X School (Supreme Court; article 6 ECHR, education); Burnip v Department for Work & Pensions (Court of Appeal; relevance of UN Conventions in national law); Watkins v Woolas (the Oldham East and Saddleworth election petition); and R (Woolas) v Parliamentary Election Court (Div Court; reviewability of decision of Parliamentary Election Court); R(Hurley & Moore) v SSBERR (Div Court; partly successful challenge to introduction of university tuition fees); R(E) v Governing Body of JFS (Supreme Court; race discrimination and schools); R(Green) v Gloucestershire & Somerset CC (successful library closure challenges); R (Harris) v LB Haringey; R(Hajrula) v London Councils, Secretary of State v Elias, R(Cordant Group plc) v BERR; Brown v DWP & BERR; R(Kaur & Shah) v LB Ealing (all major cases on public sector equality duties); RB & OO (Jordan) v SSHD and AH v SSHD (CA and House of Lords terrorism, Article 6); YL v Birmingham CC (House of Lords, public authorities and HRA); Re B (House of Lords – burden of proof and human rights); Ladele v London Borough of Islington (CA); Catholic Care v Charity Commission; R(Watkins-Singh) v Aberdare Girls’ High School; Ghai v Newcastle CC (human rights & religion); Pedro v DWP (CA; EU Citizens’ Directive); Stec v UK (Grand Chamber ECtHR). Other notable cases on


Called 1991 Gray’s Inn; recorder 2009; silk 2010; Deputy High Court Judge (Administrative Court) 2013. Treasury A Panel (until 2010); special advocate; member of Equality and Human Rights Commission panel. Publications include ‘Blackstone Guide to the Human Rights Act 1998’ (6th ed 2011), and edits ‘White Book’ on human rights. Lectures widely in UK and abroad, including at Harvard, NYU, Cambridge and for the Judicial Studies Board.


Administrative Law Bar Association; Employment Law Bar Association; Employment Law Association; Bar European Group; Human Rights Lawyers’ Association; Bar Pro Bono Unit Panel.


Magdalen College Oxford (BA Hons History 1st class); City University (Diploma in Law); King’s College London (Postgraduate Diploma in EU Law); Holker Scholar and Reid Scholar of Gray’s Inn.

London Bar

Administrative and public law (including local government)

Within: Leading Silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix Chambers ‘ Intellectually rigorous, with clarity of expression. ’

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

Within: Leading Silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix Chambers ‘ Unflappable silk with exceptional knowledge of the area. ’

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Court of Protection and community care

Within: Leading Silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix Chambers ‘ A highly experienced silk. ’

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EU Law

Within: Leading Juniors

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix Chambers ‘ Excellent on EU law issues, she is willing to pitch in. ’

Within: EU Law

Matrix Chambers handles a number of EU law matters, many of which cross over with its traditional public law strengths. Helen Mountfield QC represented a Latvian citizen in both the Court of Appeal and subsequently the Supreme Court in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Gubeladze; the court found the UK's 2009-11 extension of the Workers' Registration Scheme for citizens of the eight member states that joined the EU in 2004 was a disproportionate violation of EU free movement rights. Aidan O’Neill QC represented an Italian resident in R (Simonis) v Arts Council England, a judicial review of the Arts Council's refusal of an export licence for Giotto's "Madonna con Bambino", which raised issues of free movement of goods. More commercially, Nicholas Gibson is advising a Jersey company on a potential Francovich damages claim concerning the UK's application of VAT on products imported from Jersey after the termination of low-value consignment relief.

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Within: Leading Silks

Helen Mountfield QC - Matrix Chambers ‘ The range of her practice is incredible – but not at the expense of her grasp of detail. ’

Within: Education

'Excellent for public law and education law', Matrix Chambers has 'a good roster of experienced counsel who are expert in their fields'. Its members have wide-ranging experience in education cases, ranging from First Tier Tribunal hearings through to Supreme Court appeals. Significant recent cases include R (Interim Executive Board of Al Hijrah School) v Ofsted, which established that gender segregation in schools without express statutory authority constitutes direct sex discrimination; Helen Mountfield QC acted for Ofsted in its successful appeal. Elsewhere, Mathew Purchase represented a professor of chemical biology in Edwards v University of Oxford (University Appeal Court), which concerned the university's compulsory retirement age.

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