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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.

 

Notable cases and news

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

Jury highlights failures at the inquest into death of Chris Carpenter at HMP Woodhill

Maya Sikand of Garden Court was instructed for the family by Jo Eggleton of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

11 December 2019

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

Inquest concludes serious failures contributed to self-inflicted death of Beth Tenquist

Allison Munroe of Garden Court represented the family of Beth Tenquist, instructed by Basmah Sahib of Bindmans Solicitors.

27 November 2019

Archie Spriggs Inquest concludes

Archie Spriggs' family were represented by Stephen Clark of Garden Court.

26 November 2019

Inquest finds St Leonards hospice patients were unlawfully killed in fire

Patrick Roche of Garden Court represented the family of Jill Moon, instructed by Shakiratu Sanusi of Birnberg Peirce and Partners.

21 November 2019

Coroner rules Elsie Frost was unlawfully killed

Anna Morris of Garden Court represented the family, instructed by Gemma Vine of Minton Morrill Solicitors.

19 November 2019

Jury highlight Morton Hall multiple staff failures as inquest concludes on death of immigration detainee Carlington Spencer

Carlington's family are represented by Sean Horstead of Garden Court.

14 November 2019

Ifeanyi Odogwu nominated for British Nigeria Law Forum Awards

We are delighted to announce that Ifeanyi Odogwu of Garden Court Chambers has been nominated for the British Nigeria Law Forum Awards which take place in London on 22 November 2019.

11 November 2019

High court quash coroner’s anonymity ruling and allows family of Andrew Hall to see inquest evidence of police officers

The family is represented by Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court Chambers and Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers in the Judicial Review, instructed by Alice Stevens of Broudie Jackson Canter Solicitors. Leslie Thomas QC and Ifeanyi Odogwu of Garden Court

8 November 2019

“Severe failures” in care led to the death of vulnerable pensioner Leocardo Loney

Tom Stoate represented the family of Leocardo Loney, instructed by Fiona McGhie of Irwin Mitchell.

7 November 2019

Douglas Oak inquest: Coroner calls for improved police and ambulance training on handling persons suffering from Acute Behavioural Disturbance

Patrick Roche of Garden Court Chambers represented the family instructed by Gus Silverman of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, and supported by INQUEST.

23 October 2019

Garden Court Chambers ranked in Band 1 in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2020

We are delighted to have once again been ranked in Band 1 by Chambers and Partners in the Chambers UK Bar Guide 2020.

17 October 2019

Ceara Thacker Inquest: Family calls on universities to improve mental health care following student’s suicide

Ceara’s family were represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court, instructed by Gus Silverman of Irwin Mitchell.

20 September 2019

Death of immigration detainee Bai Bai Ahmed Kabia could have been prevented, inquest concludes

Owen Greenhall of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests and Inquiries Team represented the family.

10 September 2019

Garden Court barristers appointed to advise JUSTICE on reform of institutional responses to deaths or other serious incidents

Leslie Thomas QC, Thalia Maragh and Una Morris of the Garden Court Inquests and Public Inquiries Team have been appointed to the JUSTICE Working Party, 'When Things Go Wrong'.

7 August 2019

All notable cases and news

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