Civil Liberties and Human Rights >

Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities

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

Chambers UK Bar Guide

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

Legal 500

Share This Page

Email This Page

Top Ranked in Chambers UK Bar 2019
Legal 500 Top Tier Set 2019
Legal 500 Top Tier Set 2019

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.



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. Representing Peter Francis - former undercover police officer and whistle-blower who exposed the activities of the Special Demonstration Squad.

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.

Contact team

The Team

View full team

Latest News

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

Three men win malicious prosecution claim against police over Daniel Morgan murder

Stephen Simblet was instructed by Guile Nicholas Solicitors to represent Garry Vian.

5 July 2018

Merseyside police ordered to pay compensation to couple after police officer breached their rights under article 8 following complaint about his conduct

Una Morris was instructed on behalf of the couple by Iain Gould at DPP Law Ltd. 

2 July 2018

Leslie Thomas QC on BBC Radio 4 ‘Unreliable Evidence’

Leslie Thomas QC appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Unreliable Evidence’ programme on 'Public Inquiries' presented by Clive Anderson.

26 April 2018

High Court quashes Parole Board refusal to direct re-release

The claimant was represented by Richard Reynolds of Garden Court Chambers and Hamish Arnott of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

6 April 2018

DSD and the Article 3 investigative duty: the long road to justice

Stephen Clark discusses the recent Supreme Court judgment in DSD & NBV v. Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis.

26 February 2018

Hill immunity revisited: The beginning of the end?

Stephen Clark, Laura Profumo and Camila Zapata Besso comment on the recent Supreme Court judgment in Robinson v Chief Constable for West Yorkshire Police [2018] UKSC 4.

9 February 2018

High Court grants fresh inquest for Onese Power who was killed in 1997 following a police pursuit

Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court Chambers represented the wife of Onese Power.

6 December 2017

Leslie Thomas QC wins Lifetime Achievement Award at UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017

We are delighted to announce that Leslie Thomas QC, Chair and Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers, has won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Diversity Legal Awards 2017.

30 November 2017

The primacy of EU law: asserting the right to equal treatment v judicial immunity

Maya Sikand and Laura Profumo discuss the impact of the recent Supreme Court decision.

8 November 2017

Hillsborough Review backs ‘Hillsborough Law’

Seventeen barristers from Garden Court Chambers were involved in the Hillsborough inquests, representing 80 families of those who died.

1 November 2017

Garden Court is delighted to announce that all four of the pupils who started in October 2016 have accepted offers of tenancy at the end of their pupillage

Stephen Clark, Tihomir Mak, Laura Profumo and Franck Magennis have joined Chambers as full members and have already started developing their practices.

1 November 2017

Bach Commission report calls for Rights to Justice Act and far wider eligibility for legal aid

Garden Court Chambers contributed evidence to the Bach Commission.

22 September 2017

Garden Court Chambers responds to the Jackson review of fixed recoverable costs

Read the response of our Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Public Law and Housing teams.

4 August 2017

First successful miscarriage of justice application for a victim of trafficking under the amended Section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988

Ms Y was represented by Maya Sikand of Garden Court Chambers.

26 July 2017

Proof magazine #3: ‘Life in the Justice Gap: Why legal aid matters’ launch supported by Garden Court Chambers

Garden Court Chambers is proud to sponsor Proof magazine. The third issue of Proof was co-produced by the Justice Gap and the Justice Alliance.

20 July 2017

Garden Court Chambers extends condolences and solidarity to all those affected by Grenfell Tower tragedy

Garden Court Chambers is horrified by the fire at Grenfell Towers. We extend our condolences and our solidarity to all those bereaved, injured or rendered homeless.

16 June 2017

BBC Radio 4: Dexter Dias QC appears on the Today Programme to discuss work on FGM, terrorism and the Gareth Myatt inquest

Dexter Dias QC is a member of Garden Court Chambers’ Civil Liberties and Human Rights Team.

14 June 2017

Garden Court’s Brenda Campbell and Paul Clark shortlisted for Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2017

Brenda Campbell has been shortlisted for Legal Aid Barrister of the Year and Paul Clark has been shortlisted for Legal Aid Newcomer of the Year.

18 May 2017

Metropolitan Police Service pay compensation after arresting victim of identity fraud

Una Morris of Garden Court Chambers represented the claimant.

28 March 2017

Women compensated by the Ministry of Justice for strip-searches in prison

Una Morris was instructed to represent the women at trial and negotiated settlement of the claims.

7 March 2017

Merseyside Police settle claim for false imprisonment and disability discrimination following unlawful strip search of severely disabled young woman

The claimant was represented by Maya Sikand of Garden Court's Civil Liberties Team.

28 February 2017

Vital times for human rights lawyers as we face attacks on fundamental rights at home and abroad

In these difficult times, human rights lawyers have a vital role to play in challenging prejudice, discrimination and the unlawful exercise of power.

6 February 2017

Leslie Thomas QC, Judy Khan QC and Marc Willers QC elected as Joint Heads of Chambers

Garden Court is delighted to announce that Leslie Thomas QC, Judy Khan QC and Marc Willers QC have been elected as Joint Heads of Chambers.

31 January 2017

Public Inquiry opens into the fatal police shooting of unarmed Anthony Grainger in 2012

The parents Anthony Grainger are represented by Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court Chambers.

17 January 2017

Families of Stephen Port murder victims issue plea for information through lawyers

The families of Stephen Port's victims are represented by Leslie Thomas QC, Emma Favata and Paul Clark.

6 January 2017

Leslie Thomas QC talks to Renegade Inc about disenfranchisement, the police and Mark Duggan

In this TV interview, Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court Chambers assesses what can happen when a community faces constant disenfranchisement.

9 December 2016

All related news

Latest tweets from Garden Court Chambers

Follow us on Twitter

Tweets by gardencourtlaw

We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards

+ View more awards