“Garden Court Chambers boasts an impressive selection of silks and juniors offering broad-ranging expertise in the field of civil liberties and human rights."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

To contact the Civil Liberties Clerks, please email civillibertiesclerks@gclaw.co.uk or phone

+44 (0)20 7993 7600

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C&P 2022 Top Ranked
Legal 500 2022: Top Tier Set
Winner UK Bar Awards 2016 Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year

Our prison law barristers have a reputation for tenaciously pursuing justice for those held in detention, especially those whose rights are particularly at risk, including children, young people and adults with mental health issues or disabilities.

We have long been involved in challenging infringements to prisoners’ rights, through first instance representation at Parole Boards and adjudication hearings, as well as judicial review challenges in the Administrative Court.

Our prison law barristers have also undertaken a series of cutting edge challenges before the Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights seeking justice for those held in detention. Our criminal appeals team also regularly advise on statutory compensation claims for miscarriages of justice, as well as out of time appeals against conviction and sentence.

Areas of Expertise

  • Human Rights Act challenges
  • Security categorisation and re-categorisation decisions
  • Prison conditions, treatment and policy
  • Access to prison Mother & Baby Units
  • Representation before the Parole Board and Independent Adjudicator
  • Release and recall
  • Licence conditions
  • Sentence (mis)calculation
  • Statutory compensation following miscarriages of justice
  • Conviction and sentence appeals, including out of time appeals and appeals following CCRC referrals
  • Damages claims against the Ministry of Justice for unlawful detention and discrimination

our expertise

Garden Court prison law barristers provide the highest quality representation to those detained in prison and those released into the community post-sentence. Our strength lies in our inter-disciplinary expertise. As the largest chambers in London with over 180 barristers, we can offer an unrivalled breadth and depth of related expertise from our core practice teams.

The work of our prison law barristers inevitably crosses over with that of our Public Law team and post-release, with that of our Community Care team.

In cases where individuals have been unlawfully detained or suffered discrimination, our barristers who specialise in claims against the police and public authorities can assist you.

Garden Court Chambers won the Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year Award at the Chambers and Partners UK Bar Awards 2016.


Recent notable cases and news

OUT TODAY - Leslie Thomas QC's autobiography 'Do Right and Fear No One' hits shelves

Inspired from a young age to help the marginalised and voiceless, Leslie Thomas QC has dedicated his career to fighting for the underdog and holding the State to account.

14 April 2022

Garden Court secures number one rankings in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2022

21 October 2021

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 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

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

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

Supreme Court finds unlawful sex discrimination in provision of approved premises for women

Sally Ireland of Garden Court Chambers acted for the intervener, The Howard League for Penal Reform.

24 May 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

Successful habeas corpus application against Governor of HMP Peterborough for unlawful detention of a civil prisoner

Tim Baldwin of Garden Court Chambers represented the claimant.

26 April 2017

“Our higher courts have recognised that there are few interventions more serious than separating a mother from her baby”

Women's rights trailblazer Maya Sikand launches new report on access to prison mother & baby units.

9 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

Supreme Court to rule on insufficient provision of probation hostels for former female prisoners

Sally Ireland of Garden Court Chambers is representing The Howard League, who are intervening in the case.

20 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

Garden Court wins Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year Award

We would like to thank Chambers and Partners for drawing attention to human rights at this crucial time.

28 October 2016

Garden Court and Stephanie Harrison QC shortlisted for Human Rights and Public Law awards

Garden Court has been shortlisted at the Chambers Bar Awards, whilst Stephanie and our Public Law Team are shortlisted at the Legal 500 Awards.

21 October 2016

High Court quashes Parole Board refusal to recommend open conditions

The claimant was represented by James Mehigan, a member of the Garden Court Public and Prison Law Teams.

21 October 2016

Court of Appeal quashes indeterminate prison sentence and makes hospital order under the Mental Health Act

Tim Baldwin of Garden Court Chambers represented the appellant.

4 February 2016

All 2014 Occupy Democracy protestors cleared

All Defendants were represented by Tom Wainwright and Owen Greenhall of Garden Court Chambers' Crime Team.

20 November 2015

Past Notable Cases


Significant prison law cases from the higher courts:

R (Joanna Dennehy) v SSJ and Sodexo Ltd [2016] EWHC 1219 (Admin)
A challenge to the prolonged segregation of Joanna Dennehy (only the third woman ever to receive a whole life tariff) on statutory and ECHR grounds.

R (on the application of Whiston) v Secretary of State Justice [2014] UKSC 39
The question raised on this appeal was whether a person released from prison on HDC, and then recalled to prison under section 255 of the CJA 2003 has rights pursuant to Article 5(4) of the ECHR . More broadly, the appeal raises the issue of how far it is open to a person who is still serving a sentence imposed by a court to invoke article 5(4).

R (Gilbert) v Secretary of State for Justice & The Parole Board (Interested Party) [2015] EWHC 927 (Admin)
A successful challenge on behalf of an indeterminate prisoner to the Secretary of State’s ‘absconder’ policy which was at odds with the statutory Directions to the Parole Board and published Prison Service Instructions. The Court declared the operative part of the policy to be unlawful.

R (on the application of WB) (2) W (A Child By His Litigation Friend the OS) v SSJ [2014] EWHC  1696 (Admin)
Successful judicial review of a prison’s refusal of a place in a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) to a pregnant prisoner. The baby was taken from her at birth. Her challenge was brought on three bases, the main one being that her procedural rights under Article 8 ECHR had been breached.

R (Chester) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] 3 W.L.R. 1076
Supreme Court followed ECtHR that blanket ban on prisoners voting is incompatible with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 ECHR.

R (McIntyre) v Parole Board [2013] EWHC 1969 (Admin)
A challenge to the Parole Board’s policy and procedure in relation to oral hearings. The case sets out for the first time the Parole Board’s duty to keep records of parole hearings and to rectify factual mistakes which may hinder prisoners’ progression.

R (Cox) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] EWHC 2753 (Admin)
Prisoner’s finding of guilt and additional days quashed where CCTV evidence that could have assisted his case was not made available to him.

R (JM) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] EWHC 2465 (Admin)
Challenge to the discriminatory impact of the closure of Ashfield YOI for children in the South West being moved away from their parents.

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