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Felicity Williams

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Felicity Williams
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner

“She has an outstanding and impressive range of public law knowledge. She is emerging as a key barrister for clients with disabilities.”

“Meticulous attention to detail and impressive drive.”

Chambers UK Bar Guide and Legal 500 UK


Felicity specialises in public law and human rights. She has particular expertise in representing young and vulnerable people, in both the criminal justice system and in the community, through judicial review. Felicity is also an established criminal practitioner. She is admitted to the List of Counsel for the International Criminal Court.

Felicity was named Young Legal Aid Barrister of the Year at the 2008 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards.

Felicity is ranked for Civil Liberties and Human Rights in the Legal 500 2016.

“She produces outstanding work and displays impressive advocacy skills.”
Legal 500 2016

“Meticulous attention to detail and impressive drive.”
Legal 500 2015

“She has an outstanding and impressive range of public law knowledge. She is emerging as a key barrister for clients with disabilities.” “Approachable and a pleasure to work with, she responds speedily, is extremely passionate and is fully committed to the clients.”
Chambers UK 2015 (Community Care and Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

“Able to grasp complex legal issues and formulate cogent and powerful arguments in writing.”
Legal 500 2014

Public Law and Human Rights

Felicity frequently acts in judicial review proceedings for individuals contesting the acts of public authorities. With established practices covering criminal and civil work, she is strongly placed to advise and represent those challenging their treatment in the criminal justice system. She also has extensive experience of representing vulnerable adults and children in the community. Recent public law work has included human rights claims, prison law, community care, healthcare, discrimination, police conduct and public protest issues.

Prison Law

Felicity undertakes wide-ranging prison law work. She regularly appears in judicial review proceedings representing prisoners and has acted in High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings challenging the treatment of individuals within the secure estate. Felicity also represents individuals before the Parole Board. She advises on all matters of prison law including re-settlement, discrimination, re-categorisation, segregation, adjudications, licence conditions, medical treatment, mental health and prison discipline.

Community Care

Felicity is experienced in community care work concerning children and vulnerable adults. She often acts in cases seeking urgent accommodation and support under the Children Act 1989. She advises and represents young and vulnerable adults in need of assessment, support and accommodation. Felicity has particular experience in cases where local authorities refuse support that an individual is entitled to or where there is a dispute between public bodies as to who holds that responsibility for providing assistance.

Crime and International Criminal Law

Felicity’s jury trial work has included offences of grievous bodily harm, firearms, Class A drug supply and sexual offences. Felicity’s domestic criminal work now consists of appellate cases. She is experienced in advising in appeals against conviction and sentence with particular expertise in representing young and vulnerable defendants. Felicity was admitted to the International Criminal Court list of Counsel in 2013 and is now eligible to represent accused and victims before the court. This builds on her previous international criminal casework, including AG of Jersey v Bhojwani, concerning allegations of laundering US$43.9 million through Jersey.

Public International Law

Felicity has extensive knowledge of international case work. Prior to pupillage, she worked on a range of international litigation based at Public Interest Lawyers in Birmingham, including Al Skeini, the Baha Mousa case, the Gurkha discrimination cases and environmental cases such as R (Friends of the Earth) v the Environment Agency (the “Ghost ships” case). She was then junior counsel at all stages of R (Al Jedda) v SOS for Defence [2008] 1 A.C. 332, HL. Felicity has been involved in the legal challenge to the exploitation of tar sands in Canada.

Notable Cases

R (D) v Cardiff City Council [2015] EWHC 3146 (Admin)
Successful judicial review claim against a local authority for delayed care assessment and planning for a vulnerable care leaver.

R (Taylor) v SSJ [2015] EWHC 3245 (Admin), [2016] PTSR 446, [2016] ACD 10
Challenge to delayed release of an elderly and disabled prisoner under Offender Management Act 2007, Care Act 2014 and Equality Act 2010.

D v Chief Constable of Merseyside [2015] EWCA Civ 114, [2015] Crim LR 539
The Court of Appeal held that the safeguards of PACE Code A apply to strip-searching children in custody. Felicity acted for both interveners Just for Kids Law and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England.

R (TH) v National Health Service Commissioning Board, Leeds City Council and Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 56 (Admin)
Challenge on statutory assessment duties, articles 5, 8 and 14 relating to resettlement of a disabled prisoner.

R (OP) v Secretary of State for Justice [2014] EWHC 1944 (Admin)
The court held a registered intermediary was required to ensure a fair trial for a vulnerable defendant.

Wensley, Cuadrilla Bowland Limited v Persons Unknown [2014] EWHC 3702 (Ch)
Representing a protester in a fracking injunction case; decision challenging costs.

R (R) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2013] EWHC 2802 (Admin)
Resettlement case for vulnerable young adult seeking release before the Parole Board.

R v Nutting (2013), Court of Appeal, 11 July 2013
Case on remand time calculation. 187 days on remand credited on appeal.

R v J (2013), 28 June 2013, Court of Appeal
Appeal against sentence of detention for public protection imposed on a 15 year old.

R v P [2013] EWCA Crim 67, Court of Appeal
Quashing of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed when appellant was a child.

R (HC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 982 (Admin)
PACE Code C unlawful in failing to distinguish between 17 year olds and adults in breach of Article 8 interpreted in light of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Felicity acted for the interveners, the Howard League for Penal Reform.

R (NM) v Secretary of State for Justice [2012] EWCA Civ 1182, [2012] MHLR 390 Court of Appeal
Article 3 challenge to the investigative procedure following a sexual assault against a vulnerable prisoner.

R (NM) v Islington [2012] EWHC 414 (Admin): [2012] P.T.S.R. 1582; [2012] 2 All ER 1245; [2012] BLGR 435; (2012) 15 CCLR 563; Times, April 25, 2012
Judicial review of the failure to provide an assessment of the claimant’s community care needs.

City of London Corp v Samede (“Occupy London”), [2012] EWCA Civ 160: [2012] P.T.S.R. 1624; [2012] 2 All ER 1039; [2012] HRLR 14; [2012] BLGR 372; (2012) 109(10) L.SG 19
Challenge to the eviction of the Occupy London protesters from the St Paul’s site.

R (Hassan) v Secretary of State for Justice [2011] EWHC 1359 (Admin)
Judicial review challenge to prolonged segregation of a prisoner under Articles 3 and 8.

R (Calero) v Secretary of State for Justice [2011] EWHC 863 (Admin)
Judicial review challenge to the refusal of an oral hearing for a prisoner.

R v Beesley (Ricky Liam) [2011] EWCA Crim 1021
Guideline case on the use of fresh evidence in the assessment of dangerousness.

R v D [2010] EWCA Crim 1357
Appeal against a custodial sentence imposed on a child during pregnancy.

R (M) v Chief Magistrate [2010] EWHC 433 (Admin)
The High Court quashed additional days in custody imposed by an independent adjudicator on a young offender.

R v M [2010] EWCA Crim 592
The Court of Appeal reduced a sentence of imprisonment on a young offender for three counts of rape to five years where fresh evidence showed that the offender suffered from Asperger’s syndrome.

R v L (Emil) [2009] EWCA Crim 1933:
The Court of Appeal substituted a two-year detention and training order imposed on a young offender for robbery with a community order in light of his learning difficulties.

R v Lewis Anthony Mitchell [2008] EWCA Crim 3340
Appeal against a sentence of Detention for Public Protection.

R (Al Jedda) v Secretary of State for Defence [2007] UKHL 58; [2008] 1 A.C. 332; [2008] 2 W.L.R. 31 (Junior Counsel)
Mr Al Jedda’s detention by British forces in Iraq was not attributable to the UN. Where necessary for imperative reasons of security, British forces could lawfully detain under UN Resolutions, but had to ensure that Article 5 was not infringed to any greater extent than was inherent in such detention.


‘The Public Sector Equality Duty,’ Legal Action 2013, Jan, 45-49 (co-authored with Catherine Rayner)

‘Defendants and the Use of Registered Intermediaries,’ Crimeline Article 2012 (co-authored with Shauneen Lambe, Just for Kids Law)

‘European Arrest Warrants – Immunities and Amnesties’, The European Arrest Warrant in Practice, (Nico Keijzer and Elies van Sliedregt Ed. 2009, TMC Asser Press) reviewed European Constitutional Law Review 2012, 8 (3), 523-533

‘The Application of the European Arrest Warrant in the UK, Legislative Background and Human Rights Challenges’, Still not resolved? Constitutional Issues of the European Arrest Warrant, (Elspeth Guild and Luisa Marin Ed. 2009, Wolf Legal Publishers)


Felicity completed pupillage at Doughty Street Chambers in public law and crime before taking tenancy at 6 King’s Bench Walk, where she won Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2008. She joined Tooks chambers in 2010 before moving to Garden Court Chambers in 2013.