Civil Liberties and Human Rights >

Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities

"A renowned civil liberties-focused chambers with strength in civil claims and inquests centred on police shootings and deaths in custody."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

“Experienced and highly regarded barristers” and “a go-to set for police actions.”

Legal 500

“The set enjoys a strong reputation for claimants challenging police misconduct and the actions of public bodies.”

Chambers UK Bar Guide

The barristers are lauded for their tenacious advocacy in claims against the police, including those concerning malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and assault, as well as investigative or operational failures.

Chambers UK Bar Guide

“The clerks always get back to me quickly; they're always happy to help”

Chambers UK Bar Guide

To contact the Civil Liberties Clerks, please email or phone

+44 (0)20 7993 7600

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We have a reputation for securing substantial damages in the most difficult cases and for pursuing innovative points of law to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. We are strongly committed to representing the vulnerable and the marginalised.

Garden Court is recognised as one of the leading chambers in the UK specialising in actions against the police and public authorities. Our barristers are highly ranked in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for police law, including Band 1 counsel. 

Our barristers have very considerable expertise in holding the State to account and bringing private law claims against a range of public bodies.

We bring claims against

  • All police forces in England and Wales
  • The Metropolitan Police Service
  • The Prison Service (via the Ministry of Justice)
  • The Probation Service
  • Private companies such as G4S and Serco
  • Local Authorities
  • Social Services
  • NHS Hospital Trusts
  • The Home Office (especially immigration detention)

our expertise

We specialise in pursuing a wide range of civil claims for our clients, including damages claims relating to:

  • Post-inquest civil claims including breaches of Article 2 ECHR
  • Breaches of Articles 3 & 4 ECHR investigative obligations on behalf of victims of trafficking and sexual offences
  • Assault and battery and breaches of Article 3 ECHR
  • False imprisonment, unlawful detention and breaches of Article 5 ECHR
  • Trespass and breaches of Article 8 ECHR
  • Protest cases and breaches of Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the ECHR
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Misfeasance in public office
  • Negligence
  • Discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010 and Article 14 ECHR claims

Given some of the very real difficulties in obtaining public funding, we do our best to provide flexible fee arrangements, including Conditional Fee Agreements.

We also bring related judicial review challenges to individual decisions made by public bodies (such as the IOPD) as well as wider public law and human rights challenges to published policy.



Recent notable cases and news

Marguerite Russell features in Channel 4 documentary 'Defiance: Fighting the Far Right'

Defiance: Fighting The Far Right, the landmark Channel 4 documentary series will examine the political and social struggles faced by Britain’s Asian community between 1976 and 1981. The series will cover the Bradford 12's extraordinary trial. Marguerite R

3 April 2024

Garden Court barristers recover six figure damages in successful High Court claim against Metropolitan Police

Stephen Simblet KC and Stephen Clark of the Garden Court Civil Liberties Team represented the claimant, instructed by Jules Carey of Bindmans.

21 February 2024

Garden Court secures top tier rankings in the Legal 500 UK 2024

Garden Court Chambers is proud to be recognised as a Top Tier set again in the Legal 500 UK 2024 rankings.

4 October 2023

Liam Cullen: Inquest finds that inappropriate mental health safety plan contributed to self-inflicted death

Stephen Clark of the Garden Court Inquests and Inquiries Team is representing Liam's family, instructed by Gemma Vine and Cara Wiltshire of Ison Harrison Solicitors. They are supported by INQUEST Caseworker Jordan Ferdinand-Sargeant.

25 August 2023

High Court rules that procedural defects should not defeat claim involving man detained by police

Stephen Simblet KC of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties and Human Rights Team acted for the Claimant, instructed by Broudie Jackson Canter.

31 July 2023

Garden Court Chambers shortlisted for record-breaking TEN awards at The Legal 500 Bar Awards

We are delighted to announce that Garden Court Chambers has been shortlisted in a record-breaking ten categories at The Legal 500 Bar Awards.

12 July 2023

Irena Sabic KC appointed Deputy King’s Bench Master

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to announce that our colleague Irena Sabic KC has been appointed by the Lord Chief Justice as a Deputy King’s Bench Master, based at the Royal Courts of Justice.

11 May 2023

Duran Seddon, Edward Grieves & Irena Sabic of Garden Court Chambers & Associate Tenant Anna Morris appointed King’s Counsel today

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to announce that Duran Seddon, Edward Grieves and Irena Sabic of Garden Court Chambers, and Associate Tenant Anna Morris, have been formally appointed King’s Counsel today.

27 March 2023

Police force settle civil claim following allegations of rape and coercive control made against an Inspector

Una Morris of Garden Court Chambers acted for 'S', instructed by Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

6 February 2023

Joshua Ball: Inquest to open into death following restraint by Staffordshire Police

Joshua's family are represented by Paul Clark of Garden Court Inquests and Inquiries Team, led by Lorna Skinner KC of Matrix Chambers.

3 February 2023

Duran Seddon, Edward Grieves, Irena Sabic and Anna Morris to be appointed King’s Counsel

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to announce that Duran Seddon, Edward Grieves, Irena Sabic and Anna Morris will be appointed King’s Counsel in 2023.

23 December 2022

Commissioner finally apologises for fist bump stop and search in February 2018

Rajeev Thacker of Garden Court Chambers represented the claimants, instructed by Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

9 December 2022

Palestine Action protestors found not guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal damage

The five defendants were represented by Owen Greenhall and Audrey Cherryl Mogan of the Garden Court Protest Team.

25 November 2022

Krystian Kilkowski: Inquest finds that serious failures by police and emergency services contributed to his death

Krystian’s family are represented by Stephen Simblet KC and Fatima Jichi of Garden Court Chambers. Counsel instructed by Eva Luna Roszykiewicz of Bhatt Murphy solicitors.

8 November 2022

Inquest concludes into death of Yassar Yaqub following police shooting

Yassar's family are represented by Paul Clark of the Garden Court Inquests and Inquiries Team, led by Michael Mansfield KC. Counsel instructed by Imran Khan KC and Daniel Lemberger Cooper of Imran Khan & Partners.

3 November 2022

Garden Court Protest Team statement regarding The Public Order Bill 2022

17 October 2022

Inquest Jury finds HMP Bullingdon failed Chegory McCarty on numerous occasions

Chegory’s family are represented by Una Morris of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Irène Nembhard, Rebecca Pelekanou and Marte Lund of Birnberg Peirce.

14 October 2022

Professor Leslie Thomas QC shortlisted for the Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion Award by Chambers UK Bar Awards 2022

2 September 2022

Metropolitan Police pays £10,000 following stop & search and handcuffing of a Black man inside his gated mews garden

Mr De La Kruz was represented by Michael Etienne of Garden Court Chambers and Sohini Mehta and Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy.

1 September 2022

Young claimant awarded damages for false imprisonment by Nottinghamshire Police

Sarah Hemingway of Garden Court Chambers acted for the claimant, instructed by Gregsons Solicitors of Nottingham.

26 May 2022

OUT TODAY - Leslie Thomas QC's autobiography 'Do Right and Fear No One' hits shelves

Inspired from a young age to help the marginalised and voiceless, Leslie Thomas QC has dedicated his career to fighting for the underdog and holding the State to account.

14 April 2022

Do Right and Fear No One - Autobiography by Leslie Thomas QC available to pre-order

An unforgettable account of some of the most significant, controversial & disturbing legal cases of the last 50 years. Do Right and Fear No One presents a blistering argument for a level playing field in the pursuit of justice.

31 January 2022

Garden Court Chambers welcomes Jodie Blackstock as a new tenant

Jodie was Legal Director of JUSTICE for five years before joining Garden Court Chambers, with a further seven years in criminal justice and EU justice roles. She was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2003.

1 November 2021

Garden Court secures number one rankings in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2022

21 October 2021

The Macpherson Report more than 20 years on - Home Affairs Committee calls for urgent action to tackle deep rooted racial disparities in policing

Professor Leslie Thomas QC, Una Morris and Michael Etienne provided evidence to the committee through the Police Action Lawyers Group.

30 July 2021

Undercover Policing Inquiry refers first suspected miscarriages of justice

Owen Greenhall represented three anti-apartheid movement campaigners whose cases were referred to the panel. Owen is led by Matthew Ryder QC of Matrix Chambers. They are instructed by Mike Schwarz of Hodge Jones & Allen.

23 June 2021

Over 600 Hillsborough victims secure compensation for one of the largest police cover-ups in history

Patrick Roche of Garden Court Chambers instructed by Birnberg Peirce and Taylor Rose MW Solicitors.

4 June 2021

£450,000 settlement for bereaved family in claim against Devon and Cornwall Police for restraint death

The Claimants were represented by Ifeanyi Odogwu of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team, instructed by Broudie Jackson Canter.

21 May 2021

Undercover Policing Inquiry - Witness statement read in full by James Scobie QC on behalf of "Mary"

James Scobie QC of Garden Court Chambers delivers witness statement at Tranche 1 (Phase 2) of the Undercover Policing Inquiry on behalf of “Mary” who was spied upon by Detective Constable Richard Clark.

4 May 2021

Undercover Policing Inquiry - Opening statement on behalf of Piers Corbyn

Rajiv Menon QC of Garden Court Chambers delivers opening statement at Tranche 1 (Phase 2). Rajiv Menon QC is leading Russell Fraser, also of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Richard Parry of Saunders Law.

23 April 2021

Undercover Policing Inquiry - Opening statement on behalf of Richard Chessum and “Mary”

James Scobie QC of Garden Court Chambers delivers opening statement at Tranche 1 (Phase 2)

23 April 2021

Undercover Policing Inquiry - Opening statement on behalf of other non-police, non-state Core Participants

Kirsten Heaven of the Garden Court Chambers Inquiries Team delivers opening statement at Tranche 1 Phase 2 of the Inquiry.

23 April 2021

Past Notable Cases


Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI)
This inquiry is tasked with investigating and reporting on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces since 1968. Instructed to act for a number of non-police, non-state core participants. 

Birmingham Pub Bombings 
Representing the families of victims killed in the 1974 pub bombings in Birmingham. Examining the conduct of the police investigations, which led to one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history, and the issue of whether the police may have missed two opportunities to take steps to prevent the bombings. This is an extremely challenging case into a historic tragedy of national significance.

Stephen Port murder victims: claim against the police on behalf of the families of his victims 
Human Rights Act claim against the police for a series of operational failures in the investigation which allowed Port to operate with impunity and continue to murder young men, despite being arrested and bailed early on by the police. This high-profile, sensitive and complex matter will test for the first time the scope of certain duties under the Human Rights Act in UK law.

Successful malicious prosecution claim against police over Daniel Morgan murder - Rees and others v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2018] EWCA Civ 1587 
This was a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal, following a lengthy (two month) High Court trial in 2017. The claimants succeeded in their claim for malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office. The original trial concerned an alleged contract killing with an axe and serious police cover-ups. 

PD (by her mother and LF, ZD) v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and Just For Kids Law & CRAE (Interveners) [2015] EWCA Civ 114: Annex A of Code C of PACE (strip searches) does apply to the (forcible or otherwise) removal of clothing of suspects in police custody pursuant to s. 54 of PACE (clothes removed for own safety). More information can be found in this post on the UK Human Rights Blog.

Michael and Others v Chief Constable of the South Wales Police and Another [2015] UKSC 2, [2015] 2 WLR 343
Acting for the Interveners (Refuge and Liberty) in the most recent Supreme Court authority on police liability in negligence for a preventable death, as well as under the Human Rights Act 1998 (i.e. whether there was a breach of Article 2 ECHR).

CLG and others v Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police [2015] EWCA Civ 836
The Court of Appeal considered whether the police could rely on judicial proceedings immunity in a claim for negligence arising out of disclosure of the addresses of eye witnesses to a shooting.

South Wales Police v Daniels and others [2015] EWCA Civ 680
Successfully responding to an interlocutory appeal by the police in relation to claims for misfeasance in public office and the extent to which such claims were caught by the absolute immunity from suit as set out in Darker v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police [2001] 1 AC 435.

Hayes v Merseyside Police [2011] EWCA Civ 911, [2012] 1 WLR 517
Test of necessity under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Muuse v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWCA Civ 453
Unlawful immigration detention and misfeasance in public office leading to substantial award of damages, including exemplary damages.

Buike v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [2009] EWCA Civ 971
The Court of Appeal considered the proper approach to section 329 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

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