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Inquests and Inquiries

"Renowned for its sensitive but robust representation of bereaved families, Garden Court Chambers has retained its strong reputation in the inquests and public inquiries space."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

"All the people there have such a strong ethos. It feels like a 'grass roots' chambers and everyone is incredibly approachable."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

"Garden Court Chambers is widely respected for its representation of bereaved families and victims in inquests and public inquiries."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

"The barristers have notable experience of representing the bereaved in matters examining the actions or inactions of the police and other public authorities."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

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Top Ranked Chambers UK Bar 2021
Legal 500 Top Tier Set 2021
Winner UK Bar Awards 2016 Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year

Garden Court is one of the leading barristers’ chambers in the UK representing bereaved families in inquests and core participants in public inquiries.

Our inquest barristers have been involved in most of the landmark and far-reaching inquests including the Hillsborough inquests, the Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest, the Mark Duggan inquest, the Litvinenko inquest and inquests into historic political deaths in Northern Ireland such as the Ballymurphy Inquest.

Garden Court has also been involved in ground-breaking inquiries such as the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry, the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and the Mubarek Inquiry.

Members of the team have acted as counsel to the Coroner in several notable inquests and we are active members and supporters of INQUEST, the campaign group supporting families of those who have died in state custody.

Areas of Expertise

  • Actions by state agencies including surveillance
  • Police contact, such as detention, police shooting, pursuit and restraint
  • Investigations and prosecutions of crimes
  • Prison and immigration detention
  • Company negligence under health and safety legislation
  • Local authority services and social services
  • Hospital failings
  • Military service
  • Emergency service response or failings

The work we do

Our inquest and inquiries barristers specialise in representing properly interested persons and core participants throughout every stage of the inquest and inquiry process. We also advise on potential civil claims for damages and judicial review challenges to inquest and inquiry rulings or conclusions.

Garden Court Chambers is instructed in all types of inquests and inquiries, but we have particular expertise in complex cases (with or without a jury) where an individual dies in State custody or where the State may be responsible for the death, such as cases where Article 2 ECHR is engaged. In such cases we have significant expertise pursuing and winning private law claims for damages against public bodies such as the police and emergency services, the CPS, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, local authorities, NHS Trusts and other healthcare providers.

 

Recent notable cases and news

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse makes damning findings of decades-long failures to protect children in the care of Lambeth Council

Stephen Simblet QC, of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests & Inquiries Team, represented LA-A131 in the Inquiry, instructed by Uppal Taylor Solicitors.

27 July 2021

Inquest finds serious failures by Elysium Healthcare contributed to death of 19 year old Brooke Martin

Stephen Clark of the Garden Court Chambers Inquest Team represented the family. Stephen was instructed by Catherine Shannon of Bhatt Murphy solicitors.

2 July 2021

Brenda Campbell QC calls on police to investigate fresh claim that Noah Donohoe was murdered

Brenda Campbell QC of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests & Inquiries Team is representing the family of Noah Donohoe instructed by Niall Murphy of KRW Law.

30 June 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

Inquest to Resume into Death of Joe Pooley Following Life Imprisonment for His Killers

Joe's mother, Sam Nicholls, is represented in calling for an inquest by Una Morris, assisted by Danielle Manson, both of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties and Human Rights Team, instructed by Sarah Flanagan, from Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors.

4 June 2021

Joe Pooley’s murderers sentenced for the death of the vulnerable 22-year-old

Joe's mother, Sam Nicholls, is represented in calling for an inquest by Una Morris, assisted by Danielle Manson, instructed by Sarah Flanagan, from Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors.

25 May 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

Inquest finds defective decisions by Devon mental health services contributed to the death of Keiron O'Sullivan

Kieron’s family are represented by Catherine Oborne of the Garden Court Chambers Inquest Team, instructed by Jenny Fraser and Niall Robinson of Broudie Jackson Canter.

14 April 2021

Inquest finds that neglect and a series of omissions and failures by police and ambulance services contributed to the death of Leon Briggs

Our Dexter Dias QC of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests and Inquiries Team represented the family.

15 March 2021

Undercover Policing Inquiry - Garden Court counsel instructed

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

18 February 2021

Sean Horstead appointed Area Coroner for Essex

18 February 2021

Inquest finds inadequate communication by Oxleas staff was factor in death of Claire Lilley

Our Kirsten Heaven of the Garden Court Chambers Inquest team represented the family, instructed by fellow INQUEST Lawyers Group members, Chris Callender and Amy O'Shea of Simpson Millar Solicitors.

9 December 2020

Jury concludes serious failures amounting to neglect contributed to death of Kimberley Smith

The family is represented by Tom Stoate of the Garden Court Chambers Inquest Team, instructed by fellow INQUEST Lawyers Group member Elaine Macdonald of Tuckers Solicitors. They are working with INQUEST Caseworker Bola Awogboro.

23 November 2020

Undercover Policing Inquiry - James Scobie QC opening statement

James Scobie QC of Garden Court Chambers leads Piers Marquis of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Paul Heron of Public Interest Law Centre, representing Lois Austin, Richard Chessum, 'Mary', Dave Nellist, Hannah Sell & Youth against Racism in Europe.

6 November 2020

Undercover Policing Inquiry - Rajiv Menon QC opening statement

Rajiv Menon QC is instructed by Richard Parry of Saunders Law & Jane Deighton of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

4 November 2020

Inquest finds failings at HMP Durham possibly contributed the death of Garry Beadle

Garry’s mother Karen Beadle is represented by Stephen Clark of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests Team, instructed by Tara Mulcair of Birnberg Peirce, both of whom are INQUEST's Lawyers Group members.

28 October 2020

Inappropriate police restraint contributed to the death of Kevin Clarke inquest concludes

Professor Leslie Thomas QC and Ifeanyi Odogwu of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests & Inquiries Team represented the family of Kevin Clarke. Instructed by Cyrilia Davies Knight and Ben Curtis of Saunders Law.

9 October 2020

Inquest concludes that fatal stabbing of Bathsheba Shepherd could have been prevented

The family was represented by Sarah Hemingway of the Garden Court Chambers Inquest and Inquiries Team, instructed by Claire MacMaster and Aimee Brackfield of Simpson Millar.

5 October 2020

Garden Court Chambers welcomes Abigail Holt as a new tenant

7 September 2020

"We can't breathe" - Oral statement by Professor Leslie Thomas QC to the Grenfell Inquiry on behalf of bereaved, residents and survivors

Submission made by Professor Leslie Thomas QC on behalf of bereaved, residents and survivors represented by Allison Munroe QC & Thalia Maragh of Garden Court Chambers and Birnberg Peirce, Saunders Law, Duncan Lewis, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Russell Cooke an

7 July 2020

Grenfell Tower Inquiry - Written submission on behalf of bereaved, residents and survivors

Written submission on behalf of bereaved, residents and survivors represented by Leslie Thomas QC, Allison Munroe QC & Thalia Maragh of Garden Court Chambers and Birnberg Peirce, Saunders Law, Duncan Lewis, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Russell Cooke an

7 July 2020

Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse - children in the care of Lambeth Council - Opening Statement

Stephen Simblet QC of the Garden Court Civil Liberties Team is representing a survivor of abuse from a Lambeth Children’s Home.

30 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

Multiple failures contributed to death of Dean George at HMP Swansea

The family was represented by Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team instructed by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Clare Richardson and Rosa Potter of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors.

17 March 2020

Inquest jury concludes multiple failures at HMP Nottingham contributed to self-inflicted death of Ben Ireson

Ben’s family is represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers' Inquests and Inquiries team, instructed by Jocelyn Cockburn, Claire Brigham and Aston Luff of Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors

9 March 2020

Jury find series of failures in safeguarding at HMP Swansea as inquest into death of Oliver Jones concludes

The family was represented by Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team instructed by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Jenny Fraser of Broudie Jackson Canter Solicitors.

13 February 2020

Inquest finds use of Taser by Devon and Cornwall Police contributed to death of Marc Cole when experiencing paranoia

Marc’s mother and sister are represented by Emma Favata of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Leanne Devine and Emily Comer of Broudie Jackson Canter.

30 January 2020

Jury finds serious failures at HMP Coldingley contributed to self-inflicted death of David Dunnings on IPP sentence

The family is represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court, instructed by Shelley Peynado-Clarke of Tuckers Solicitors. They are all members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.

27 January 2020

All notable cases and news

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