Katherine O'Byrne > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Doughty Street Chambers

Work Department


Katie is Deputy Director at the human rights charity, Reprieve.  She is responsible for managing Reprieve’s UK litigation, engagement with international and regional human rights mechanisms, and legal publications.

As a barrister, Katie specialised in international human rights law, public law and public inquiries. She is ranked in the leading legal directories in Administrative and Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and Inquiries and Inquests.


Year of Call: 2013

Katie has acted in cases at all levels including in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, and has regularly appeared unled in the lower courts in judicial reviews on behalf of vulnerable adults and children at risk. She has served as counsel to multiple high-profile public inquiries, including several years as counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Undercover Policing Inquiry, and as an independent reviewer of sexual abuse and terrorism prosecutions in Northern Ireland.

Katie has advocated for individual clients before UN bodies, including the Human Rights Committee, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteurs.  She has reported to the European Parliament on human rights issues including Brexit. She has appeared as counsel before the European Court of Human Rights, including a successful challenge to the UK government’s ‘bedroom tax’ regime on behalf of domestic violence victims living in sanctuary scheme homes.

Katie has expertise in domestic claims with international law elements, including torture, violence against women, arbitrary detention and refugee cases.  She is experienced in complex group litigation, including over five years for claimants in the construction industry blacklisting litigation.

Katie has been a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel and is an international trial monitor with the Bar Human Rights Committee.

Prior to joining Chambers, Katie was an associate to the Hon Justice Kenneth Hayne AC of the High Court of Australia and practised as a solicitor in corporate governance and charity law at Herbert Smith Freehills.  She lectured in the Juris Doctor program at Melbourne Law School and has published widely in the areas of public law, gender, children’s rights and international refugee law.  She is a contributing author to Halsbury’s Laws on Judicial Review and Supperstone, Goudie and Walker on Judicial Review, editor of Surrogacy, Law and Human Rights, and has contributed to various law reform initiatives.


Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
Human Rights Lawyers Association


LLM (Class I), University of Cambridge, UK (2012)
Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Dist.), College of Law, Australia (2009)
BA/LLB (1st Class Honours), Monash University, Australia (2009)

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Administrative and public law (including elections)

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 4

Katherine O’ByrneDoughty Street Chambers ‘Extremely intelligent and committed. Focused and effective analysis. Very calm and authoritative advocate. Very perceptive and adaptable to judicial insight and to developments during advocacy.’