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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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C&P 2022 Top Ranked
Legal 500 2022: Top Tier Set

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

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

Undercover Policing Inquiry - Garden Court counsel instructed

Garden Court Chambers counsel instructed to represent clients at the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

18 February 2021

Dexter Dias QC delivers talk at TEDxExeter: 'Racism wants your silence: it’s time to speak out'

Dexter Dias QC's talk went live on 18 June 2020.

21 June 2020

Leslie Thomas QC appointed Gresham Professor of Law

Leslie Thomas QC of the Garden Court Civil Liberties Team to give first year of lectures on Death, The State, and Human Rights. He will be the first black Gresham Law Professor.

4 June 2020

Doctors to file legal challenge to PPE guidance

Marc Willers QC of Garden Court Chambers and Estelle Dehon of Cornerstone Barristers represent Dr Viz and Dr Joshi, instructed by Jamie Potter and Basmah Sahib of Bindmans LLP.

22 May 2020

High Court rules Home Office 'No recourse to public funds’ policy for migrants en route to settlement is unlawful

Amanda Weston QC of Garden Court Chambers instructed by the intervenor, Project 17.

7 May 2020

High Court legal challenge to No Recourse to Public Funds policy

Amanda Weston QC of Garden Court Chambers leading Bijan Hoshi and Ollie Persey of the Public Law Project instructed by Project 17.

6 May 2020

Coronavirus Act 2020 - Implications for detained psychiatric patients

Stephen Simblet QC of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team.

27 March 2020

Maya Sikand shortlisted for Civil Liberties and Human Rights Junior of the Year by Legal 500 UK Awards 2020

We are delighted to announce that Maya Sikand has been shortlisted for Civil Liberties and Human Rights Junior of the Year by the Legal 500 UK Awards 2020.

29 November 2019

Six figure damages award in malicious prosecution claim against Metropolitan Police

Stephen Simblet of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties team represented Gary Vian, one of the claimants.

31 July 2019

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse publishes damning report on sexual abuse of children in the care of Nottinghamshire councils

Stephen Simblet and Laura Profumo, instructed by Chris Ratcliffe of Uppal Taylor Solicitors, Nottingham, represented 34 victims/survivors of sexual abuse.

31 July 2019

Ministry of Defence can be vicariously liable for rape committed on base

Una Morris and Camila Zapata Besso successfully acted for the Claimant in TPKN v Ministry of Defence [2019]. Read about the legal implications of the recent judgment.

26 July 2019

'For once, a bad case does not make bad law'

Stephen Simblet of Garden Court Chambers comments on GN and CN v Poole Borough Council [2019] UKSC 25.

24 June 2019

Politicians to bring a claim against Metropolitan Police over June 2016 Brexit Referendum campaign expenses

Joanne Cecil of Garden Court Chambers is instructed by Saimo Chahal QC of Bindmans LLP.

19 June 2019

Leslie Thomas QC appointed as Board member by Bar Standards Board

We are delighted to announce that Leslie Thomas QC, Chair and Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers, has been appointed as a new Board member by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

23 May 2019

Police officers found guilty of gross misconduct for failing to protect victim of domestic homicide

Rajeev Thacker was instructed by Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy to represent the family of Linah Keza.

13 March 2019

Jury finds that excessive restraint resulted in the death of Meirion James in Dyfed-Powys Police custody

Garden Court’s Rajiv Menon QC is representing the family instructed by Clare Richardson of Deighton Pierce Glynn, who are both INQUEST Lawyers Group members.

28 January 2019

Claimant awarded damages by jury for his false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution by the Metropolitan Police

Sarah Hemingway represented Mr O'Connor and was instructed by Elaine MacDonald of Tuckers Solicitors.

29 November 2018

'Licensed to Kill' - Granada Reports exclusive on those killed by offenders under the supervision of the probation service

Una Morris instructed by Kelly Darlington at Farleys LLP to act for Michael Hoolickin and Matthew McKenzie's families.

10 September 2018

High Court orders police force and local authority to pay damages to man who was sexually abused while in residential care

Stephen Simblet appeared for the successful claimant, W. He was instructed by Bill Uppal of Uppal Taylor Solicitors, Nottingham.

2 August 2018

Inquest jury concludes that Christopher Tyler, a prisoner at HMP Thameside, “died in part because of serious failures in medical care”

Richard Reynolds represented Mr Tyler’s sister and was instructed by Jocelyn Cockburn and Claire Brigham of Hodge, Jones and Allen Solicitors.

13 July 2018

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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