Nicholas Bowen QC > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Doughty Street Chambers
Doughty Street Chambers

Work Department


Nicholas Bowen QC specialises in damages claims in tort and under the Human Rights Act against the police and a range of other public authorities.  He is also very well known for his administrative and public law work, particularly in the fields of education, community care and the legal rights of children, the family and vulnerable adults; He public authority liability practice focuses on preventable homicide, serious wrongdoing by public bodies; negligence and misfeasance by the police, psychiatric and health services and social workers.

His private law work has helped to establish many principles in education and tort law which though controversial at the time are now widely accepted.  He is one of the few barristers with a genuine expertise in the crossover between private and public law duties on statutory bodies and has numerous reported cases in the specialist and official law reports. He acts mainly for Claimants but is frequently instructed by Defendants.  Nicholas joined Doughty Street Chambers in 2005 and took silk in 2009. He is committed to pushing the boundaries of the law in the interests of his clients and his empathy with family battles against public authorities has been informed by his own family’s fight to ensure a suitable education for his blind sister and niece who has multiple disabilities; this makes him a very popular choice with parents.  His earlier career was in family and general common law work and has conducted many complex child care cases.  He is acknowledged as a powerful, effective and confident advocate.


Called 1984; Gray’s Inn; QC 2009. Current directorships: National Federation for Children with Visually Impaired Children (‘LOOK’)


ALBA; HRLA; Liberty; Committee member of the Law Society Mental Health & Disability Committee, 2001-08; member of the Editorial Board, Community Care Law Reports.


Cardiff High School; Sussex University (1983 BA Law); Council for Legal Education (1984).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Education

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 2

Nicholas Bowen QCDoughty Street ChambersHe is excellent with clients and his advice is spot on.

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

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 3

Nicholas Bowen QCDoughty Street ChambersA serious thinker on the emerging law on Human Rights, statutory duties and negligence of statutory authorities. He is a highly skilful advocate advancing irresistible arguments.

Doughty Street Chambers is the ‘foremost set for civil liberties, public and international law‘ and ‘boasts astonishing strength in depth‘. The set has a growing claimant side police law practice, which has been bolstered by the arrival of Maya Sikand QC and the appointment of new silks, Adam Straw QC and Jamie Burton QC. Nicholas Bowen QC is ‘highly capable and not afraid to challenge the status quo‘, and regularly acts in appellate cases in actions against the police and public authorities. In Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police v. Dyer, Straw represented the family of Andrew Hall, a man who died after being restrained by police in custody, in a successful High Court judicial review challenge to the Coroner’s decision that all police officers giving evidence in the case would be hidden from the public by screens. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC is representing the Equality and Human Rights Commission in R (AB) v Secretary of State for Justice and the Youth Justice Board, a case concerning the compliance of solitary confinement of children in Young Offender Institutions with Article 3 ECHR’s ban on inhuman and degrading treatment. Elsewhere, Edward Fitzgerald QC is representing the claimants in Day v The Government of the Cayman Islands, a challenge to the unavailability of same-sex marriage in the British Overseas Territory under its constitution. In March 2021 Graham Denholm joined from Landmark Chambers.