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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."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

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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


  • Grenfell Inquiry
  • Hillsborough stadium inquests
  • Ballymurphy Inquest
  • Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry
  • Undercover Policing Inquiry
  • Mark Duggan inquest
  • Alice Gross inquest
  • Zahid Mubarek inquiry
  • Christi and Bobby Shepherd inquest
  • Alexander Litvinenko inquest
  • Jimmy Mubenga inquest
  • McCaughey and Grew inquest (Northern Ireland)
  • Sean Rigg inquest
  • Azelle Rodney inquiry
  • Paul Coker inquest
  • Mikey Powell inquest
  • Gareth Myatt inquest
  • Stephen Lawrence inquiry
  • New Cross Fire inquest
  • Clapham Rail crash inquiry
  • The Marchioness inquest

Contact team

The Team

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Latest News

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

Adjourned inquest into death of Michael Hoolickin resumes on 9 January

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

8 January 2019

The Guildford pub bombings 1974: hearing to resume the inquest

Brenda Campbell QC of Garden Court Chambers is representing the family of Ann Hamilton, one of the victims of The Guildford Pub Bombings 1974.

20 December 2018

Inquest finds neglect contributed to the death of Catherine Horton at London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital

Catherine’s family were represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers Inquest and Inquiries team.

18 December 2018

Inquest Concludes into death of Ryan McGrath

The family is represented by Patrick Roche of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests and Inquiries Team.

14 December 2018

Rajiv Menon QC delivers closing statement to Grenfell Inquiry

Rajiv Menon QC is representing Behailu Kebede and is instructed by Rubin Italia of Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

12 December 2018

Leslie Thomas QC delivers closing statement at Grenfell Inquiry on behalf of survivors and bereaved families

Leslie Thomas QC and Thalia Maragh are representing 23 clients including survivors, bereaved family members and loved ones.

11 December 2018

Gross failures at Leicester’s Bradgate Mental Health Unit led to death of 20 year old Amanda Briley

Maya Sikand of the Garden Court Chambers Inquest Team represented the family, instructed by Megan Phillips of Bhatt Murphy solicitors.

11 December 2018

Coroner agrees to resume suspended inquest into the deaths of three patients killed by a fire at St Michael's Hospice, St Leonards

Patrick Roche of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests and Inquiries Team is representing the family of Jill Moon who died in the fire.

30 November 2018

Inquest jury criticises Dartmoor prison in death of young prisoner

Stephen Simblet, instructed by Cormac McDonough of Hodge Jones and Allen, represented Oliver's family at the inquest, which was held in Exeter.

20 November 2018

Ballymurphy killings inquest opens in Belfast

Brenda Campbell QC is representing the families of Father Hugh Mullan and Francis Quinn.

14 November 2018

Garden Court Chambers ranked in Band 1 in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2019

We are delighted to have once again been ranked in Band 1 by Chambers and Partners in the Chambers UK Bar Guide 2019.

5 November 2018

Inquest jury concludes that multiple failures by NHS Trust contributed to death of detained psychiatric patient

Tom Stoate represented the family, instructed by Clair Hilder of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors.

30 October 2018

Inquest opens into self-inflicted death of man with autism, Billie Lord, who absconded whilst an inpatient

The family is represented by Paul Clark of Garden Court Chambers, INQUEST Lawyers Group members and Fleur Hallett of McMillan Solicitors.

26 October 2018

Jury concludes systemic Met Police failings contributed to pedestrian's death

Sean Horstead represented the family at the inquest, instructed by Andre Clovis and Lucinda Hawthorn of Tuckers Solicitors. 

18 October 2018

Murder of Birmingham woman Jacqueline Oakes: Inquest concludes unlawful killing

Kirsten Heaven represented Jacqueline's family at the inquest, instructed by Andrew Petherbridge of Hudgell Solicitors.

12 October 2018

Family of murdered school girl Elsie Frost apply to the Attorney General for a new inquest into her death

Anna Morris is representing Colin Frost, brother of Elsie Frost, and is instructed by Gemma Vine at Minton Morrill Solicitors.

10 October 2018

Inquest finds that hospital death was in part contributed to by systemic neglect

The family was represented by Ifeanyi Odogwu of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests and Inquiries Team.

17 September 2018

Inquest into death of Windrush citizen Dexter Bristol concluded after family walk out of hearing

Una Morris represented the family, instructed by Irène Nembhard of Birnberg Peirce. 

28 August 2018

Parents of Bristol University student hope inquest will provide answers following her sudden death

Tom Stoate is instructed by Gus Silverman of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors for the family, supported by INQUEST. 

23 August 2018

Carl Sargeant's widow mounts legal challenge over inquiry into the death of late Welsh Government Minister

Leslie Thomas QC is instructed by Neil Hudgell of Hudgell Solicitors on behalf of Carl Sargeant's family, alongside Sheryn Omeri of Cloisters Chambers.

22 August 2018

Inquest jury finds neglect and a series of failings contributed to death of Deirdre Harvey on mental health ward

Sean Horstead represented the family of Deirdre Harvey at the inquest instructed by Gus Silverman of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.

31 July 2018

Inquest concludes death of Leon Evans contributed to by failings of community mental health services

The family of Leon Evans were represented at the inquest by Taimour Lay of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests & Inquiries Team.

20 July 2018

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