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Doughty Street Chambers

Work 020 7404 1313
Fax 020 7404 2283
Bristol, London, Manchester

Caoilfhionn Gallagher

Work 020 7404 1313
Doughty Street Chambers (Doughty Street Chambers)


Caoilfhionn Gallagher is a public law specialist, with particular expertise in children’s rights, inquests, community care, actions against the police and prisons, and media law.  Much of Caoilfhionn’s work is high profile and sensitive, often raising national security issues – for example, she acted for bereaved families in the 7/7 (London Bombings) inquests and related judicial review proceedings, and in the Hillsborough inquests; and she has acted for media organisations to challenge reporting restrictions in many sensitive cases in the coroners’, family and criminal courts, including in relation to the unexplained death of baby Poppi Worthington, and in the Gareth Williams, Alexander Litvinenko and Jordan Lee Begley inquests. 

Caoilfhionn undertakes many ‘test cases’ which secure results for her clients but also achieve wider change in the law.  For example, her recent cases include acting in a number of successful challenges to the Department of Work and Pensions’ benefit changes, R (Hurley and others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] PTSR 636 (benefit cap unlawfully discriminates against the severely disabled), R (A and Rutherford) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] HLR 8 (social sector size criteria, ‘bedroom tax,’ unlawfully discriminate against women) and R (MA) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] PTSR 1521 (Regulations required to correct discriminatory impact of the bedroom tax on severely disabled children). 

Caoilfhionn has acted in many of the leading cases on children’s rights, including HH v Italy [2013] 1 AC 338 (acting for the Official Solicitor, litigation friend to children whose parents both faced extradition, in this landmark case on Article 8 and the UNCRC);  R (HC) v SSHD[2014] 1 WLR 1234 (acted for Hughes Chang, instructed by Just for Kids Law, in this test case on treatment of 17-year-olds in police custody as adults rather than children; it has resulted in a change to the law, affecting 70,000 17-year-olds in custody every year); and R (T and JB) v SSJ and SSHD [2014] UKSC 35 (blanket disclosure of childhood cautions breached Article 8; acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission).


BCL (University College Dublin)

BL (Honorable Society of the King’s Inns, Dublin)

LLM (Cambridge, Gonville & Caius College)

London Bar

Administrative and public law (including local government)

Within: Administrative and public law (including local government) – 2017 silks

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC - Doughty Street ChambersAn exceptional barrister – it is no wonder she is instructed in leading public interest cases.

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

Within: Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police) – 2017 silks

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC - Doughty Street ChambersA brilliant advocate, she has the most amazing energy and creativity.

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

Doughty Street Chambers has ‘a genuine commitment to civil liberties and human rights work’ in diverse fields such as mental health, actions against the police and media law. Members regularly appear before the European Court of Human Rights and in various international tribunals. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC appeared in the Supreme Court in an appeal concerning whether the revised ‘benefit cap’ unlawfully discriminated against lone parents and their children. She was also instructed in a challenge to the legality of the government’s criminal records disclosure scheme and whether it breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Court of Protection and community care

Within: Court of Protection and community care – 2017 silks

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC - Doughty Street ChambersA highly regarded new silk.

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Defamation and privacy

Within: Defamation and privacy – 2017 silks

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC - Doughty Street ChambersAn excellent silk; expertise in freedom of expression and "open justice" issues.

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Inquests and inquiries

Within: Inquests and inquiries – 2017 silks

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC - Doughty Street ChambersA go-to silk for complex inquests involving Article 2.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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