Edward Fitzgerald QC > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile
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Doughty Street Chambers
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Edward Fitzgerald QC
Edward Fitzgerald QC has been named Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year (Chambers Bar Awards 2013). Previous commendations include Legal Aid Lawyer of the year 2009, winner of the Silk of the Year award 2005 and Times Justice Human Rights Award 1998. He specialises in criminal law, public law, judicial review and international human rights law. In June 2008 he was awarded the CBE for services to human rights.
Edward is ranked 1st in Extradition in Chambers and Partners 2017, as a ‘starred individual’ in the area of Crime in 2018, and has been described as “a true intellectual giant – a top-class extradition and appellate lawyer”, a “king of the field” and “a Rolls Royce in the cab-rank of barristers”.
Edward has represented a number of high profile, public figures. In late 2017, Edward represented former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the European Court and Lauri Love in his successful fight against extradition to the United States. He continues to represent the mother of El Shafee El Sheikh in her challenge to the Home Secretary’s refusal to obtain death penalty assurances from the United States for her son. Edward is also currently acting for the former President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan in the Supreme Court of Armenia and the European Court of Human Rights.
During 2018, Edward also represented Earl Hodge in his successful challenge to extradition from the BVI to the US. Mr Justice Smith ruled in favour of Hodge on the basis that the renewed request for his extradition after an earlier grant of habeas corpus amounted to an abuse of process; and that, in any event, he would face a disproportionate sentence and the risk of racial discrimination in the sentencing process in the US. It is believed that this is the first time that extradition has been refused on grounds of racial discrimination in the sentencing process in the US. The case was based on reports from Human Rights Watch and the US Sentencing Commission.
In July 2018, Edward successfully challenged a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas in the Privy Council in the case of Stephen Stubbs on the grounds of apparent bias on the part of the court. Judgement was given in September 2018. In the subsequent appeal in the Court of Appeal in the Bahamas, Mr Stubb’s conviction was upheld but his sentence was reduced. The case is being further appealed to the Privy Council.
In December 2018, Edward represented Olivier Bancoult and the Chagos Islanders in the High Court. Their challenge was dismissed in February 2019. But permission to appeal has been sought on human rights grounds – particularly in the light of the recent decision of the ICJ in the case of Mauritius v United Kingdom in February 2019.
Called 1978; resides Inner Temple; QC 1995.
Oxford and Cambridge (BA (Hons) Congratulatory First, MPhil Criminology, qualified in New York and American Law).
Lawyer Rankings(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 2
Edward Fitzgerald QC –Doughty Street Chambers ‘He is peerless in this field. His unparalleled experience and advocacy skills as well as his commitment to his work place him ahead of all his competitors.’
‘In terms of admin and public law‘ Doughty Street Chambers ‘has a wealth of talent‘. ‘The set is very strong, especially at junior level‘, with members primarily focusing on work representing individuals. Edward Fitzgerald QC represented a number of Chagossians, the community displaced in the 1960s and ’70s by the construction of the military base on Diego Garcia, in prolonged litigation concerning their potential return; Martin Westgate QC represented the defendant in RB Kingston v Moss, a High Court case concerning the local authority’s selling on of watering and sewerage service at a profit. Unled, Jude Bunting represented the British Pregnancy Advisory Service in a Court of Appeal case concerning the meaning of the “exceeded” in the Abortion Act 1967. In the political space, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC advised Stella Creasy MP on clearing with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority the appointment of a “locum” to cover constituency casework during her maternity leave from the house.
Edward Fitzgerald QC –Doughty Street Chambers ‘An impressive advocate who combines passion with intellectual rigour. His knowledge of the law of extradition is unbeatable and no Counsel can compare to him. The opposition always fear when he is instructed by the defence.’
Doughty Street Chambers ‘has an excellent, in-depth extradition team‘, with particular strength in human rights cases, and is also ‘pre-eminent in international criminal law‘, according to clients. In a recent highlight, ‘impressive advocate‘ Edward Fitzgerald QC represented the appellant before the Supreme Court in Elgizouli v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to provide mutual legal assistance to the USA for a capital trial, without seeking assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed; the Supreme Court upheld the challenge. In other recent news of note, the ‘fearless‘ Ben Cooper QC took silk in March 2020 further strengthening the set at the senior end. Elsewhere in chambers, the ‘meticulous‘ Amal Clooney is ‘tactically first class and a natural lead advocate in cases‘; Australia- and English-qualified Megan Hirst has developed ‘a preeminent role in acting for victims in international courts‘; and Amelia Nice‘s experience of family law is ‘an added bonus and places her ahead of many of her peers when there is an overlap of family law in extradition cases‘.
Doughty Street Chambers is considered the ‘preeminent set when it comes to the assertion and advancement of human rights‘ and has an ‘excellent‘ reputation in civil liberties and human rights; particularly in the area of extradition, international law and actions against the state, and is, according to some, ‘an impressive chambers with highly intelligent, and politically savvy barristers‘. Recent instructions include Edward Fitzgerald QC and Jennifer Robinson representing Julian Assange in his fight against extradition to the United States, whilst Heather Williams QC continues to be engaged in the Undercover Policing Inquiry. ‘Fantastic junior‘ Jude Bunting has an extensive public and police law interface to civil liberties work and acted in a Supreme Court test case pertaining to bail conditions and whether it requires a person to stay indoors throughout the night. Other members of note include Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC who is one of three silks acting in The Hillsborough Victims Litigation. In recent news that has further strengthened the set, Leonie Hirst has joined chambers, along with Maya Sikand and Shu Shin Luh from Garden Court Chambers.