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Inquests and Inquiries

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

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


Contact team

The Team

Henry Blaxland QC

Year of Call: 1978

Year of Silk: 2002

Dexter Dias QC

Year of Call: 1988

Year of Silk: 2009

Ali Naseem Bajwa QC

Year of Call: 1993

Year of Silk: 2011

Rajiv Menon QC

Year of Call: 1993

Year of Silk: 2011

Peter Wilcock QC

Year of Call: 1988

Year of Silk: 2012

Stephanie Harrison QC

Year of Call: 1991

Year of Silk: 2013

Leslie Thomas QC

Year of Call: 1988

Year of Silk: 2014

Amanda Weston QC

Year of Call: 1995

Year of Silk: 2018

Brenda Campbell QC

Year of Call: 2002

Year of Silk: 2018

Patrick Roche

Year of Call: 1977

Christopher Williams

Year of Call: 1988

Stephen Simblet

Year of Call: 1991

Allison Munroe

Year of Call: 1992

Rajeev Thacker

Year of Call: 1993

Sean Horstead

Year of Call: 1996

Maya Sikand

Year of Call: 1997

Emma Favata

Year of Call: 1999

Marina Sergides

Year of Call: 2000

Tim Baldwin

Year of Call: 2001

Joanne Cecil

Year of Call: 2005

Sarah Hemingway

Year of Call: 2006

Anna Morris

Year of Call: 2006

Kirsten Heaven

Year of Call: 2007

Richard Reynolds

Year of Call: 2007

James Mehigan

Year of Call: 2008

Thalia Maragh

Year of Call: 2009

Paul Clark

Year of Call: 2010

Owen Greenhall

Year of Call: 2010

Taimour Lay

Year of Call: 2011

Catherine Oborne

Year of Call: 2011

Ifeanyi Odogwu

Year of Call: 2011

Tom Stoate

Year of Call: 2011

Una Morris

Year of Call: 2012

Stephen Clark

Year of Call: 2013

Laura Profumo

Year of Call: 2016

Tihomir Mak

Year of Call: 2016

Franck Magennis

Year of Call: 2016

Associate Members

Mark George QC

Year of Call: 1976

Year of Silk: 2009

Terry McGuinness

Year of Call: 2009

Latest News

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

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

Inquest into death of Michael Hoolickin, young father stabbed by repeat offender, to resume on Monday

Anna Morris, instructed by Kelly Darlington of Farleys Solicitors LLP, is representing the family.

19 July 2019

Family express concern as inquest concludes into death of Nuno Cardoso following arrest by Thames Valley Police

Una Morris and Laura Profumo of Garden Court are instructed by Ruth Mellor of Saunders Law for the family. Una, Laura and Ruth are members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.

18 July 2019

Family statement following inquest conclusion into death of former Welsh Government Minster, Carl Sargeant

Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court was instructed by Neil Hudgell of Hudgell Solicitors for the Sargeant family.

11 July 2019

Family statement on Anthony Grainger police shooting: Public Inquiry finds police operation breached Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court represented the family, instructed by Farleys Solicitors.

11 July 2019

Jury finds failure to adequately assess risk of self harm and suicide contributed to death of Rocky Stenning at HMP Chelmsford

Maya Sikand of Garden Court represented the family, instructed by Christina Juman of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

3 July 2019

Critical conclusion at inquest of Leroy Junior Medford

Sean Horstead of Garden Court represented the family.

28 June 2019

Jury returns damning conclusion at inquest of Andrew Brown at HMP Nottingham

Tom Stoate of Garden Court represented the family, instructed by Jo Eggleton of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors. Tom and Jo are members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.

27 June 2019

Failures of West Midlands Police and National Probation Service contributed to homicide of Lisa Skidmore inquest finds

Sarah Hemingway of Garden Court Chambers represented the family at the inquest, instructed by Sarah Kellas of Birnberg Peirce and INQUEST Lawyers Group members.

21 June 2019

Inquest identifies missed opportunity by Kent Police to seek medical treatment for Carl Maynard after suspected drug swallowing

Stephen Simblet of Garden Court was instructed by Sophie Naftalin and Anastasia Solopova of Bhatt Murphy for the family.

12 June 2019

Inquest into death of Leroy Junior Medford in Thames Valley police custody, opens Monday

Sean Horstead of Garden Court is instructed by Rachel Harger of Bindmans LLP for Marilyn Medford-Hawkins, the sister of Leroy Junior Medford.

7 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

Coroner finds neglect contributed to suicide of University of Bristol student Natasha Abrahart

Tom Stoate of Garden Court represented the family, instructed by Irwin Mitchell.

16 May 2019

Jury concludes neglect contributed to death of Norman Dunwell in mental health unit after observation records falsified

Maya Sikand of Garden Court was instructed for the family by Fleur Hallett of MW Solicitors.

13 May 2019

Inquest into death of University of Bristol student Natasha Abrahart set to start

The family is represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court, instructed by Irwin Mitchell.

7 May 2019

Man murdered by convicted killer let down catastrophically, family says

Anna Morris of Garden Court was instructed by Kim Harrison of Slater and Gordon Solicitors to represent John Gogarty's family.

26 April 2019

Family of murdered school girl Elsie Frost win High Court bid for new inquest into her death

Garden Court’s Anna Morris is representing Colin Frost, brother of Elsie Frost, instructed by Gemma Vine at Minton Morrill.

17 April 2019

Former First Minister of Wales acted unlawfully in setting up inquiry into Carl Sargeant’s death, High Court rules

Mrs Sargeant is represented by Leslie Thomas QC instructed by Neil Hudgell of Hudgell Solicitors.

27 March 2019

High Court quashes conclusion in Carl Bibby inquest following successful challenge by family

Ifeanyi Odogwu was instructed by Leanne Devine of Broudie Jackson Canter for the family.

13 March 2019

Fresh inquest concludes finding actions of Metropolitan Police contributed to the 1997 death of Onese Power

Sean Horstead of Garden Court was instructed by Daniel Machover of Hickman and Rose solicitors for the family. The family are also represented by INQUEST.

13 March 2019

South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust failings found causative of self-inflicted death of Charlotte Ball

The family of Charlotte Ball was represented by Maya Sikand of Garden Court, instructed by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Gemma Vine and Anya Campbell of Minton Morrill.

8 March 2019

The Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest into the deaths of 21 victims resumes this week

Leslie Thomas QC and Tom Stoate are representing families of victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 in the resumed inquests into the deaths of their loved ones. They are instructed by KRW Law LLP along with Kevin Morgan and Malachy McGowan of the Bar

1 March 2019

Inquest jury find that neglect contributed to death of a prisoner in privately run HMP Peterborough

Sean McCann’s family were represented by Stephen Simblet of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Cormac McDonough of Hodge Jones and Allen solicitors.

14 February 2019

The Guildford Pub Bombings 1974: decision to resume the inquest

Brenda Campbell QC of Garden Court Chambers instructed by Christopher Stanley of KRW LAW LLP represent the family of Ann Hamilton, one of the victims of the Guildford Pub Bombings 1974, and they also represent Yvonne Tagg, a survivor of the bombings.

31 January 2019

Tom Stoate appointed as Assistant Coroner for Luton and Bedfordshire

We are delighted to announce that Tom Stoate has been appointed Assistant Coroner for Luton and Bedfordshire.

30 January 2019

Lisa Skidmore Inquest and the role of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements in protecting the public

Sarah Hemingway is representing the family, instructed by Sarah Kellas and Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors.

29 January 2019

High Court orders new inquest into Home Office role in Windrush citizen Dexter Bristol's death

Una Morris represented Sentina D’Artanyan-Bristol, instructed by Irène Nembhard of Birnberg Peirce.

28 January 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

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