Catherine Oborne

Year of Call: 2011

“She works really hard and is a pleasure to deal with. She’s incredibly impressive, really dedicated and extremely bright.”

Chambers UK, 2020

"A powerhouse: clever, committed and a fighter who leaves no stone unturned."

Legal 500, 2020

"A great young barrister with a bright future who works amazingly hard."

Legal 500, 2019


To get in touch:​ Or you can contact the relevant​ Practice Team Clerks directly and they will be happy to assist with your enquiry.

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Catherine Oborne practises in criminal defence and inquests, as well as associated public law challenges.

Criminal Defence


Catherine defends in a wide range of high-profile criminal cases including:

  • serious violence
  • serious drug supply
  • public disorder
  • protest
  • fraud

As a led junior, she is regularly instructed in complex cases involving homicide, terrorism and offences against public justice. Recent significant cases have included complex legal issues involving anonymous witnesses, closed proceedings due to national security considerations, and witnesses from MI5 giving evidence.

Notable Cases

R v C - CCC - March 2016: Led by James Scobie QC. Instructed to defend a 17-year-old boy charged with murder. This incident arose from a stabbing in a park in Islington. C accepted driving the stabber to the scene and knowing that he had the knife with him. This was one of the first joint enterprise cases following the Supreme Court judgment of Jogee. C was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.

R v Bhadresh Gohil - Southwark CC - January 2016: Led by Stephen Kamlish QC. Instructed to defend a man accused of perverting the course of public justice by making allegations of police corruption to the press. The defence in this case was that allegations of police corruption were, in fact, true. Following service of an abuse of process argument and repeated requests for disclosure and review, the Crown offered no evidence on 21st January 2016. This case has received substantial media coverage.

R v TH - Woolwich CC - July 2015: Instructed to defend a carer of good character charged with assaulting her co-worker with a knife. Her defence was self-defence. During the trial, a juror overheard one of the witnesses discussing her evidence over the phone. The jury were discharged and at the fresh trial, called the juror as a witness for the defence. The defendant was found not guilty.

R v WF - Sheffield CC - May 2015: Led by Stephen Kamlish QC. Instructed to defend a man accused of possession of 1kg heroin and five firearms found by police in an allotment. The defendant alleged possible plant by South Yorkshire Police possibly involving a criminal gang in that area. The Crown adjourned the trial and discharged the jury mid-way through the case in order to investigate. The Crown offered no evidence against the defendant in February 2016.

R v TA - Canterbury CC - June 2015: Instructed to defend a teacher charged with breaching the Data Protection Act by seeking to blow the whistle regarding concerns about the safeguarding of children at a school in which she worked. Following legal submissions, the Crown offered no evidence.

R v AN - Hammersmith Magistrates' Court - June 2015: Instructed to defend a refugee charged with criminal damage to the Iranian embassy. The Crown could not provide the required evidence to prove identification and yet still proceeded to trial. The Magistrates refused a submission of no case to answer and convicted the defendant. Following an application to state the case to the High Court, the Magistrates subsequently accepted that their conviction had been unsafe and reopened the conviction under s.142 Magistrates' Court Act 1980. The Crown then offered no evidence and the defendant was found not guilty.

R v FT - Chelmsford CC - February 2015: Represented man charged with 49kg cocaine importation. Following guilty plea and mitigation, achieved sentence of 10 years and four months.

R v DG and others - Exeter CC - January 2015: Instructed to defend second on an indictment of seven charged with a drug supply operation from London to Devon. The case revolved around telephone evidence. Following legal arguments raised regarding the use of that telephone material during the course of the evidence, the Crown offered no evidence against all defendants in the second week of the trial.

R v AW - Brighton Magistrates' Court - July 2015: Instructed to defend a young man with Asperger's' syndrome charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. This resulted from a conversation which took place at a protest concerning the Israel/Palestine conflict. A submission of no case to answer was successful regarding the racially aggravated element of the offence. The defendant was acquitted at the close of all the evidence of the public order offence.

R v DJ and others - Westminster Magistrates' Court - April 2014: Instructed to defend a member of the Anti-Fascist Movement charged with public order offences arising from a demonstration. Defendant acquitted.

R v RC - CCC - December 2014: Led by Tyrone Smith QC. Instructed to defend a man charged with murder resulting from a fight in an alley in Brixton. Defendant found not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter.

R v CD - Woolwich CC - January 2014: Defendant 14-year-old boy of good character charged with knifepoint robbery. Defendant acquitted.

R v KB - Stratford MC - November 2013: Successful abuse of process argument to stay proceedings in the Magistrates Court on the basis of the Crown's repeated failures to comply with Court orders for the service of CCTV evidence which could have potentially exonerated the defendant.

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Criminal Appeals


Catherine appears in the Court of Appeal on appeals against conviction and sentence as well as advising on references to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Notable Cases

R v HJ - August 2013: Successful appeal against a burglary conviction to the Court of Appeal based on the trial judge's wrongful approach to footmark evidence at trial.

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Inquests and Inquiries


Catherine represents bereaved families at inquests, particularly those involving deaths in custody and those with mental health issues.

Notable Cases

Inquest touching on the death of LM: Liverpool Coroners' Court - July 2015: Instructed to represent the family of LM, who died at HMP Liverpool by hanging. Jury found that his death had been contributed to by the fact that the prison had miscalculated his sentence date, informing him that he had far longer to serve in prison than he actually had. The Coroner made a Regulation 28 Preventing Future Deaths Report on the issue of prison sentence calculation and first aid.

Inquest touching on the death of Eleanor De Freitas: West London Coroners' Court - March 2015: Instructed to represent the De Freitas family with Leslie Thomas QC in relation to the death of their daughter, Eleanor de Freitas, who died shortly before her trial for perverting the course of justice, based upon a rape allegation which she had made. Represented the family in judicial review proceedings seeking to explore the role of the CPS prosecution in the events leading to Ms de Freitas' death. The inquest received significant media coverage.

Inquest touching on the death of CA: Southwark Coroners' Court - September 2014: Instructed to represent the family of CA who died after having been discharged from psychiatric hospital without any adequate treatment or management for his diabetes. Catherine successfully argued the engagement of Article 2 and achieved a neglect conclusion identifying multiple gross failures in his care. A Regulation 28 Prevention of Future Deaths Report was made into the role of the care co-ordinator when looking after vulnerable adults leaving psychiatric hospital.

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Catherine worked in Zimbabwe as a Pegasus Scholar for the Inner Temple in 2015. During this time, she also assisted with death penalty cases. In 2013, Catherine conducted an observation of the trial of political dissidents in the UAE, focusing on the use of torture. In 2009, she worked for the Ministry of Justice in a team developed to set up and support a panel to advise the Lord Chancellor on judicial diversity.


Catherine assisted with the writing and editing of The Struggle Continues, a book about the history of human rights and political freedom in Zimbabwe over the last 60 years by David Coltart, a prominent human rights lawyer there.

Training and Seminars

Catherine taught criminal law to undergraduate level at City University from 2010-2011.


Catherine has won a number of scholarships and prizes:

Pegasus Scholar, Inner Temple (2015)
Major Scholar, Inner Temple (2010)
Princess Royal Scholar, Inner Temple (2009)
Inner Temple Internship Award (2011)
Inner Temple Wig and Gown Prize (2011)
Purvis Scholarship, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2006 and 2008)

Latest News

Catherine Oborne and Ifeanyi Odogwu shortlisted for Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2018

We're delighted to announce that Catherine Oborne and Ifeanyi Odogwu have both been shortlisted in the Newcomer category of the LALYs. 

2 May 2018

Jury identified systematic failures in relation to suicide and self harm management in a G4S run prison

INQUEST has been working with Jagjeet Samra's family since July 2016. The family is represented by Catherine Oborne...

27 October 2017

Garden Court hosts book launch for Zimbabwean human rights lawyer David Coltart

Catherine Oborne of Garden Court worked on the legal aspects of the book in 2015.

7 November 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

17-year-old boy not guilty of murder

James Scobie QC and Catherine Oborne of Garden Court Chambers represented the defendant.

4 April 2016

Trial collapses after CPS accused of covering up Metropolitan Police corruption

Stephen Kamlish QC and Catherine Oborne defended Mr Gohil, who was charged with making false allegations of police corruption.

25 January 2016

Garden Court wins Legal 500 crime set of the year award

The winners in these awards are chosen by the Legal 500 as a result of thousands of interviews with firms, sets and counsel.

8 October 2015

Voting Yes in the Criminal Bar Association Ballot

Sam Parham, Jo Cecil and Catherine Oborne of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team urge the undecided to vote yes in the Criminal Bar Association ballot.

14 July 2015

Inquest into the death of Eleanor de Freitas

The family was represented by Leslie Thomas QC and Catherine Oborne, both of Garden Court Chambers.

18 March 2015

Young man cleared of murder whilst his co-defendant girlfriend is cleared of perverting the course of justice

The defendants were represented by Catherine Oborne, Nerida Harford-Bell and Sam Parham.

7 January 2015

Inquest finds neglect contributed to death of highly vulnerable man with mental illness

Catherine Oborne, representing the family, also secured a Preventing Future Deaths report.

13 October 2014

Defendant with Asperger syndrome acquitted of all charges

Catherine Oborne represents defendant in racially aggravated harassment case.

12 September 2014

Defendant acquitted for calling police officer a Taff

Mr Davis, represented by Sam Parham and Catherine Oborne, cleared of racially aggravated harassment.

8 September 2014

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  • MA, Theology and Religious Studies, Cambridge University - Double First
  • GDL, City University - Distinction
  • BPTC, City University - Outstanding

Professional Membership

  • Criminal Bar Association (CBA)
  • Liberty
  • Bar Human Rights Committee

We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards

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