Kirsten Heaven

Year of Call: 2007

"A hugely experienced inquest practitioner who strikes fear into the hearts of state bodies."

Legal 500, 2019

"She is very knowledgeable and able to cut through to the key points very quickly."

Chambers UK 2018 (Inquests and Public Inquiries)

"She combines robust advocacy with compassionate client skills."

Legal 500 2017 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"An incredible jury advocate. She has a really good style which gets the jury on board." "Really creative in her approach and a thoughtful tactician."

Chambers UK 2017 (Inquests and Public Inquiries)

"A phenomenal lawyer with expertise in cases concerning deaths in state care."

Legal 500 2016 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

Contact Kirsten

If you would like to get in touch with Kirsten please contact the clerking team:

+44 (0)20 7993 7600

You can also contact Kirsten directly:

+44 (0)20 7993 7687

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Kirsten specialises in police actions, claims against public authorities and public and administrative law, with an emphasis on civil liberties. She also has a specific interest in deprivation of liberty matters and represents vulnerable individuals in a range of proceedings before the Court of Protection.

Inquests and Inquiries

Overview

Kirsten is passionate about fighting for truth and justice on behalf of bereaved families in inquest proceedings. Kirsten has extensive experience representing bereaved families in complex inquest proceedings and specialises in prison and police related deaths, deaths involving the emergency services, restraint deaths and police shootings, deaths of persons detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (including by restraint), deaths of children in the care of the state, deaths of foreign nationals both detained and non-detained, clinical negligence related hospital deaths and controversial military deaths.

Kirsten frequently acts in public law challenges arising in coronial proceedings and in post-inquest civil actions.

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Administrative and Public Law

Kirsten specialises in human rights and equality law-related judicial review challenges across her practice areas.

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Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities

Overview

Kirsten advises on causes of action against the police and police-related litigation, including, claims for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, trespass to property/person, misfeasance in public office, claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 and judicial review challenges to the IPCC. Kirsten advises extensively on post-inquest civil actions under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, Human Rights Act 1998 and Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.

Kirsten has a particular interest in protester-related civil actions, claims arising from unlawful immigration detention and injuries sustained during removal from the UK and post-inquest civil actions.

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Court of Protection

Kirsten provides advice and representation before mental health review tribunals and advises on appeals to the Upper Tribunal. She also provides advice and representation to vulnerable adults and their families and local authorities on matters before the Court of Protection. Kirsten has a specific interest in refusal of medical treatment cases and capacity issues around personal welfare, care and the deprivation of liberty but she also advises on financial applications and deputies.

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Mental Health Law

Kirsten provides advice and representation before mental health review tribunals and advises on appeals to the Upper Tribunal. She also provides advice and representation to vulnerable adults and their families and local authorities on matters before the Court of Protection. Kirsten has a specific interest in refusal of medical treatment cases and capacity issues around personal welfare, care and the deprivation of liberty but she also advises on financial applications and deputies.

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IMMIGRATION: ASYLUM AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Kirsten has experience of advising and representing applicants in the Tribunal and the Administrative Court in a wide range of immigration, asylum and deportation cases involving victims of trafficking, unaccompanied children, spouses and other family members and of advising on appeals to the Court of Appeal.

She also acts for clients in civil claims for unlawful detention in the Administrative Court and claims arising from assaults during the course of removal from the UK. She also specialises in inquests into deaths of foreign nationals both detained and non-detained. Kirsten focused on UK asylum law and practice in her LLM.

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Pro Bono Work

Kirsten undertakes pro bono work for the Bar Pro Bono unit, FRU and the College of Law and has helped set up a school for street children in Guatemala City.

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Background

Kirsten qualified as a solicitor at Slaughter and May in 2001 having trained in commercial, employment and EU law in London and Brussels.

She has an interest in domestic and international refugee protection and international human rights law. After leaving private practice, Kirsten spent a year running a refugee legal aid programme in Cairo, providing legal assistance to refugees seeking protection from UNHCR, working specifically with former child soldiers from Liberia and Sierra Leone, survivors of the Rwandan Genocide and victims of torture.

In 2003/4 Kirsten was seconded to the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro rule of law/human rights department for one year and worked on war and organised crime trials, minority rights, legal reform, the Serbian draft law on asylum and training Serbian lawyers on ECHR litigation.

Kirsten subsequently worked as a government legal adviser for three years in public and administrative law, international law (including public international law), war crimes, extradition law and EU law. This included frequently advising / briefing cabinet ministers, drafting and taking legislation through Parliament and advising on Court of Appeal and House of Lords litigation.

Prior to coming to the bar Kirsten completed an LLM in International Human Rights Law at Essex University with a particular research focus on the extra-territorialisation of asylum procedures in international, European and UK law. Kirsten was awarded the SNELS Human Rights Prize by Anne Owers for the highest distinction.

Publications

'Neglect and multiple failures contributed to death of a 19-year-old in HMYOI Aylesbury', Inquest Law, September 2013

'HMP Leeds bullying related self-inflicted death could have been prevented', Inquest Law, September 2013

'Heathrow death preventable?', Institute of Race Relations News, 28 April 2011

'Darfuri asylum seeker failed by the system', Institute of Race Relations, June 2010

'Inadequate inquiry into natural causes death in Oakington immigration detention centre', Inquest Law, October 2010

'Death of patient detained under mental health act from postural asphyxia, airway obstruction and acute alcohol intoxication contributed to by neglect', Inquest Law, October 2010

'Jury highlight failings by East Midlands ambulance service and Derbyshire constabulary that contributed to the death of a vulnerable male in their custody', Inquest Law, October 2010

'Suicide of recalled prisoner in HMP Leeds', Inquest Law June 2010

'Suicide of care leaver', Inquest Law June 2010

'"Excited delirium" related death in police custody: failures by MET Police and a FME', Inquest Law June 2010

'Part 6 of the Counter-terrorism Bill: Inquests', Leslie Thomas, Adam Straw, Kirsten Heaven, Legal Action Group Magazine, May 2008

'PPO fails to adequately investigate natural causes death', Inquest Law, June 2008

'Restraint death in mental health hospital', Kirsten Heaven and Leslie Thomas, Inquest Law, November 2008

'Suicide at HMP Foston Hall: contributed to by neglect', Inquest Law, December 2009

Training and Seminars

Kirsten is well versed in international refugee law and practice, after having taught international refugee law in Cairo and run a refugee legal aid project and advised on EU asylum law in Serbia.

Latest News

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

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield to go on trial for manslaughter by gross negligence

The trial of Mr Duckenfield is currently listed to start on 10 September.

29 June 2018

Jury find neglect in healthcare contributed to the death of Michalla Sweeting at HMP Eastwood Park

Michalla’s family were represented by Fiona McGhie of Irwin Mitchell and Kirsten Heaven of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties and Inquest Teams. 

21 May 2018

Sussex health trust apologises "unreservedly" for failings before the death of Janet Müller

Kirsten Heaven represented the family at the inquest last year.

16 May 2018

Hillsborough Review backs ‘Hillsborough Law’

Seventeen barristers from Garden Court Chambers were involved in the Hillsborough inquests, representing 80 families of those who died.

1 November 2017

Hillsborough disaster: criminal charges against six people

Seventeen barristers from Garden Court Chambers represented 80 families at the Hillsborough inquest.

29 June 2017

Jury concludes failings contributed to death of secure patient Janet Müller who absconded from Mill View Hospital

Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers represented the family at the inquest.

19 June 2017

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

Garden Court Chambers recognised for “outstanding achievement” following Hillsborough inquests

Garden Court Chambers Hillsborough inquest team wins Outstanding Achievement Award at Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2016.

8 July 2016

Hillsborough inquest concludes 96 fans were unlawfully killed

Garden Court Chambers represented 77 families at the inquests.

26 April 2016

Coroner rules that changes must be made to the Welsh Ambulance Service to protect life in remote areas

Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers represented the family of Jasmine Lapsley in the inquest into her death.

15 January 2016

Jury returns damning conclusions at inquest into death of Imran Douglas

Imran’s mother was represented by Kirsten Heaven. Imran’s father, sister and step-mother were represented by Richard Reynolds.

5 November 2015

Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks Garden Court in Band 1

Garden Court Chambers recognised as a leading set for immigration, social housing, civil liberties, police law, Court of Protection, crime and inquests and public inquiries.

30 October 2015

Two men charged with rape of Anne-Marie Ellement

Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers represented the family of Anne-Marie at the inquest into her death.

30 October 2015

Inquest finds army bullying and alleged rape contributed to death of Anne-Marie Ellement

A coroner has found that army bullying and alleged rape contributed to the self-inflicted death of Anne-Marie Ellement, a Royal Military Police soldier. Kirsten Heaven represented Anne-Marie’s sisters.

5 March 2014

Garden Court Chambers ranked Band 1 in Chambers UK 2014

We are once again delighted to have been ranked as a leading set by Chambers and Partners in the Chambers UK 2014 directory.

31 October 2013

18 Garden Court barristers instructed on Hillsborough Inquest

Garden Court Chambers are pleased to announce that 18 Garden Court barristers have been instructed on the Hillsborough inquest.

18 October 2013

Neglect contributed to death of 19-year-old Nicholas Wheller at HMYOI Aylesbury

A jury at the inquest into the death of Nicholas Wheller at HMYOI Aylesbury has found that neglect contributed to his death. His family was represented by Kirsten Heaven.

1 July 2013

Kirsten Heaven secures damning narrative verdict in HMP Leeds bullying case

Kirsten Heaven has secured a damning narrative verdict at the inquest into the death of a man in prison in 2010.

28 May 2013

System failure in prison healthcare at HMP Moorland results in death of seriously ill prisoner

A jury sitting at Doncaster Coroners Court has found that defective care and system failure in prison healthcare at HMP Moorlands contributed to the death of Mr Robert Proctor in December 2008.

20 March 2013

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Education

  • MA (Oxon)
  • LLM International Human Rights Law (University of Essex)

Professional Membership

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