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Stephen Simblet QC

Year of Call: 1991 | Year of Silk: 2020

"A strategic thinker, incredibly compassionate and tirelessly committed to the client's objectives."

Chambers UK, 2020 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"Extremely bright and motivated by complex legal points." "He has a wealth of experience and his knowledge of the law is excellent."

Chambers UK, 2020 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)

"He is approachable, razor sharp on the issues and papers and an extremely persuasive advocate to boot."

Legal 500, 2020 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

"Fearless, composed and an inspired cross examination of witnesses."

Legal 500, 2020 (Inquests and Inquiries)

"Effective advocate and a pleasure to work with." "Hugely clever."

Chambers UK 2019 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)


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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Stephen's practice focuses on individual rights in four discrete areas. These are civil claims against the police and public authorities, inquests, mental health, public law and judicial review. He was one of the lead advocates representing bereaved families in the Hillsborough Inquests.

Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities


Stephen specialises in claims for false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office against the police, prison authorities and psychiatric hospitals. Stephen is highly experienced in trials in this area, and conducts many High Court and County Court trials in these types of claim every year, as well as advising in many others that settle.

He is probably one of the most experienced lawyers in the country in this sort of litigation and is ranked highly in the Chambers UK Bar Guide in this area. He conducts several trials in the High Court and County Court each year.

Stephen was involved in some of the first damages claims under the Human Rights Act 1998. He was the lead advocate in a case before the European Court of Human Rights concerning forcible entry by the police, in a decision important enough to be reported in the European Human Rights Reports.

Stephen’s legal knowledge and skill at pleading means he is writing the section on Malicious Prosecution for Atkin’s Court Forms.

Notable Cases

Keegan v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2003] 1 WLR 2187 (appeal raising ambit of tort of malicious procurement of search warrant in circumstances where no human rights claim could be brought. Resulted in successful Strasbourg claim)

R (application of Wilkinson) v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2004] 1 Pol LR 189 (quashing a police force's refusal to conduct an investigation into a complaint)

R (application of Clare) v Independent Police Complaints Commission [2005] 1 Pol LR 185 (upholding the complainant's right to have an investigation by establishing that IPCC is permitted to withdraw a dispensation from requirement to investigate complaint)

Chief Constable of Merseyside v Ali Daar [2005] EWCA 1774, [2005] 1 Pol LR 376 (preventing police striking out claim against police on basis that claimant had received an ASBO)

Paul v Chief Constable of Humberside Police [2004] EWCA Civ 308, [2004] 1 Pol LR 179 (successful appeal establishing that claims for damages against the police will often depend on inferences being drawn against police evidence)

Scott v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [2006] 1 Pol LR 86 (failing to obtain a re-trial on basis of non-disclosure of police non-compliance with PCA complaints investigation)

Keegan v United Kingdom [2007] 44 EHRR 33 (obtaining compensation from European Court of Human Rights for breach of ECHR Article 8 and Article 13 following police search)

Shields v Chief of Merseyside [2010] EWCA (Civ) 1281 (failing to invalidate ruling that arrest of a child had been lawful when the detaining officer had not been aware of the original reason for arrest)

Minio-Paluello v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] EWHC 3411 (QB)(not an appeal, but a successful claim for damages heard in the High Court for assault upon a demonstrator whose arm was broken by a police officer)

Daniels and Gillard v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2015] EWCA Civ 680 (successfully fending off an appeal to the Court of Appeal in an important case about immunity from suit and claims for misfeasance in public office. A three-month trial in the High Court took place later that year.)

Mouncher & Ors v South Wales Police [2016] EWHC 1367 (QB) (A complex claim in the High Court involving several claimants, all former police officers, who allege false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office.)

Vian & Ors v Commissioner of Police [2017] EWHC 273 (QB) (High Court claim for malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office damages arising out of the prosecution of people alleged to be involved in the killing of Daniel Morgan in 1987. There have been a number of criminal trials and allegations of police corruption.)

Rees & Ors v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2018] EWCA Civ 1587 (Successful appeal of Vian & Ors v Commissioner of Police [2017] EWHC 273. Three men win malicious prosecution claim against police over Daniel Morgan murder)

Rees & Ors v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2019] EWHC 2339 (QB) (Damages awarded following the judgment in Rees & Ors v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2018] EWCA Civ 1587.  Leading case on damages for malicious prosecution)

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Inquests and Inquiries


Stephen is a specialist in inquests into deaths in police and prison custody and into deaths in hospital, having represented families at inquests for many years. He represents families in several inquests each year and has represented in many controversial inquests, including several deaths involving police restraint.

His questioning of police officers about the inadequate emergency police response to the unfolding disaster at Hillsborough was regularly reported in national media, as was his questioning of Kenny Dalglish. He, along with the other family legal teams from the Hillsborough Inquests, was a recipient of Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2016.

Stephen is also instructed on behalf of survivors of child sexual abuse in two phases of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and has appeared in the Nottinghamshire phase and the Accountability and Reparations phase.

Stephen has sat as an Assistant Coroner.

Notable Cases

Judicial review involving inquests

R v HM Coroner for Swansea ex parte Chief Constable of South Wales [2000] 164 JP 191 (judicial review where an inquest jury's verdict of neglect following death in custody was challenged. The new inquest returned a verdict incorporating neglect)

R v HM Coroner for Coventry ex parte Chief Constable of Staffordshire [2000] 164 JP 665 (successfully upholding an inquest jury's verdict of neglect following death in custody)

R (Dawson) v HM Coroner for Kingston-u-Hull [2001] 1 WLR 132 (appearing for deceased's family successfully upholding unlawful killing verdict)

R (on application of Scott) v HM Coroner for Inner West London [2001] 165 JP 417, (2001) 61 BMLR 222 (obtaining a new inquest where a psychiatric patient detained in prison had been allowed to hang himself and the issue of "neglect" had not been considered. The new inquest ordered returned a verdict incorporating "neglect")

R (on application of Cash) v HM Coroner for Northamptonshire [2007] 4 All ER 903 (successful application for judicial review of coroner's failure to leave verdict of unlawful killing and failure to leave narrative verdict, resulting in a fresh inquest being ordered)

R (Humberstone) v Legal Services Commission [2010] EWCA Civ 1479, [2010] 1 Inquest LR 221 (Successful judicial review of the Legal Services Commission's refusal to fund the mother of the deceased at an inquest, succeeding both at first instance and on appeal. This case also deals with systems duties under Article 2 ECHR).

R (Mack) v HM Coroner for Birmingham [2011] EWCA Civ 712 (Succeeding before Court of Appeal in obtaining an order for a fresh inquest where a coroner had not called sufficient witnesses properly to inquire into a death in hospital from clostridium difficile)

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Mental Health Law


Stephen conducts complex hearings before what used to be called the Mental Health Review Tribunal, along with associated judicial review and habeas corpus. These hearings involve restricted patients and those with so-called "dangerous severe personality disorder" in Rampton, Broadmoor and other special hospitals. He is also an expert in damages claims arising out of psychiatric detention.

His interest and expertise in mental health law has also led him into difficult Court of Protection cases.

Notable Cases

Re Briscoe [1998] COD 402 (successful habeas corpus application in relation to improperly detained psychiatric patient)

R (on application of C) v Mental Health Review Tribunal [2002] 1 WLR 176 (overturning a practice by which patients had to wait excessive times for a Mental Health Review Tribunal hearing)

R (application of T) v Mental Health Review Tribunal [2002] 1 MHLR 275 (upholding the right of a victim of an offence to receive some information about the discharge plans of a patient. This case later became the basis for a statutory right to receive such information)

R (application of CS) v Mental Health Review Tribunal [2004] 1 MHLR 355 (concerning the powers of the Mental Health Review Tribunal in relation to discharge of patients on long-term leave of absence)

R (application SSG) v Liverpool City Council [2002] 5 Community Care LR 639 (successfully brought proceedings enabling same sex cohabitants to be treated the same as heterosexual couples for the purposes of being recognized as nearest relative under the Mental Health Act)

R (X) v Mental Health Review Tribunal [2003] 1 MHLR 299 (failing to establish unlawful unfairness in Mental Health Review Tribunal proceedings where the Tribunal called further evidence after closing submissions)

R (application of MM) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] 1 MHLR 304 (failure in Court of Appeal case concerning Home Secretary's powers to recall conditionally-discharged patients to hospital. Soon afterwards, the patient was absolutely discharged and removed from the Home Secretary's control)

BB v Cygnet Health Care [2008] EWHC 1259 (Admin) (successful habeas corpus application where social worker not completed necessary consultation before compulsory admission of patient to hospital)

GD v Managers of Edgware Hospital [2008] 1 MHLR 282 (successful habeas corpus application where social worker not completed necessary consultation before compulsory admission of patient to hospital)

M v Managers of Queen Mary's Hospital [2008] 1 MHLR 303 (failing to establish that a patient had not been lawfully examined - subsequently (unsuccessfully) appealed with Roger Pezzani as advocate)

R (application IT) v Secretary of State for Justice [2008] EWHC 1717 (Admin) [2008] 1 MHLR 290 (successful challenge to Secretary of State's powers to recall a conditionally discharged patient, with subsequent damages hearing - compensation amount settled)

BB (Upper Tribunal, Administrative Appeals)[2009] UKUT 157 (AAC) (successful appeal from Mental Health Review Tribunal based on inadequacy of reasons for refusing discharge, overturning the inadequate tribunal decision)

LC v DHIC and Secretary of State for Justice [2010] UKUT 319 (AAC), [2010] 1 MHLR 337 (successful appeal against decision of Tribunal to reverse decision to discharge patient when there had been no change in his condition)

RM v St Andrew's Healthcare [2010] UKUT 119, (Upper Tribunal, Administrative Appeals) [2010] 1 MHLR 176 (obtaining disclosure to a detained patient of the fact that he was being covertly medicated while in hospital, as part of the obligations of procedural fairness in Mental Health Review Tribunal hearings. This case featured in the preface to Jones as the most significant recent mental health case of that year)

RN v CC (2011, Upper Tribunal) (Successful appeal against Tribunal's decision where it announced at the start that it would not make a CTO recommendation, in breach of right to a fair hearing)

re MS [2013] UKUT 92 (AAC),Upper Tribunal (successful appeal against a decision by tribunal that had set out wrong statutory test in application for patient's discharge from section 3 admission)

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Administrative and Public Law


Stephen's judicial review work is primarily within the substantive areas of mental health, prisoners' rights, coroners' inquests, police claims and proceedings involving ASBOs. He also has wide experience in judicial review arising out of criminal proceedings, education law and community care problems, as well as cases involving the rights of gypsies and travellers. Stephen has pursued a number of successful applications for habeas corpus.

Notable Cases

Judicial review, including in criminal proceedings and ASBOs

R v Crown Court at Maidstone ex parte Schulz [1993] COD 182 (while still a pupil, successfully obtaining judicial review of custody time limits extension)

R v Highgate Justices ex parte Riley [1996] COD 12 (quashing a summary trial due to a magistrate's intervention displaying bias)

R (application of P) v Barking Youth Court [2002] 2 Cr. App. R 19 (overturning a finding that a young defendant was fit to plead and stand trial)

R (application D) v Camberwell Green Youth Court [2005] 1 WLR 393 (House of Lords case involving challenge to the special measures directions and use of video evidence in trials of young defendants)

R (application D) v Sheffield Youth Court [2003] 167 JP 159 (successfully challenging committal decisions by youth courts of committal of children for crown court trial)

R (application of C) v Sunderland Youth Court [2004] 1 Cr App R (S) 76 (successfully quashing ASBO made against a child)

R (application of Mills) v Birmingham Magistrates' Court [2005] EWHC Admin 2732 (successfully quashing an ASBO made following a shoplifting conviction and in which also costs ordered against the CPS)

Gibson, Kelly and Bailey v Secretary of State for Justice [2008] 3 WLR 1044 (failing to procure release of prisoner affected by the drafting errors in the legislation relating to early release from prison)

R (V) v Redbridge Magistrates' Court & DPP (2009) (quashing the conviction of a mentally vulnerable man who had been convicted and imprisoned despite being unfit to plead)

R (Hussein and Rahman ) v Secretary of State [2018] EWHC 213 (Admin) (assisting in successful judicial review of conditions of detention in Immigration Detention Centres).

Other significant cases

Malik v Selfridges [1998] ICR 268 (appeal where employer had refused to comply with an order for reinstatement and tribunal ordered additional compensation)

Farah v Home Office [Times LR 26/1/2000] (successfully appealed the striking out of a claim against Home Office relating to Somali family being detained and stranded abroad due to incorrect information about their immigration status being given by Home Office to airline)

M (a child) v Ministry of Justice [2009] EWCA (Civ) 419 (getting stuck with one of the first cases on the consequences of bringing a claim for breach of Convention rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 and failing to persuade the court that section 7 (5) ought to be interpreted flexibly in favour of claimants)

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Court of Protection


Stephen's interest and expertise in mental health law has led him into difficult Court of Protection cases.

Notable Cases

PB v RB and Another [2013] EWCOP B41 (appellate point about meaning of "prohibit" in context of Court of Protection).

Re M [2018] EWCOP 4 (Successful High Court appeal where a circuit judge had unfairly determined issues relating to residence for a person without capacity)

AB v HT & Others [2018] EWCOP 2 (High Court case in which obtained recognition of the relationship of an Islamic spouse in complex proceedings about the best interests of a woman without capacity)

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Protest Rights


Stephen represented protestors in several cases involving court injunctions taken out by commercial organisations against protestors. He has been involved in several High Court cases involving such injunctions, including cases where the injunction proceedings were dropped, or injunctions refused as a result of the defendant's opposition. He is at the centre of some of the cases involving opposition to fracking.

Notable Cases

Injunctions against protesters

EDO MBM Technology and others v Axworthy and others [2005] EWHC 837 (QB) (establishing that it is necessary for someone seeking injunction against unincorporated association to identify those whom it proceeds against)

Heathrow Airport and others v Garman and others[2007] EWHC 1957 (QB) (preventing wide-ranging injunction that would have allowed arrest of anyone opposed to airport expansion)

University of Oxford v Broughton [2008] EWHC 75 (successfully resisting use of harassment injunction to prevent peaceful protest at university ceremonies)

INEOS Upstream v Persons Unknown [2017] EWHC 2945 (Ch) ( arguing against an injunction being granted against protestors against fracking: expected in the Court of Appeal later)

UKCOG v Persons Unknown [2018] EWHC 2252 (Ch) (proceedings in the High Court against fracking protestors)

Boyd and others v INEOS [2019] EWCA Civ 515 (successful appeal in Court of Appeal overturning draconian injunctions preventing protests against INEOS fracking activities)

Contact Stephen


Stephen qualified for the Bar after completing a postgraduate degree in European Community and employment law in Italy, where he lived for over a year. He has reasonably fluent conversational Italian.

In addition to conducting training in mental health law, police actions and inquests, Stephen is a frequent contributor to Legal Action, Solicitors' Journal and other periodicals. Stephen has also made programmes for Legal Network Television and has appeared as a legal expert on inquests on Sunrise TV.

Stephen is interested in alternative energy projects, such as solar and wind power applications. His belief in hope over experience results in his active support of Nottingham Forest FC. He also plays the violin (badly) in an amateur classical orchestra and plays mandolin in the London Gypsy Orchestra, which plays Balkan gypsy music. Stephen has overcome his prejudice that skiing is for posh people and is now a regular skier.


Stephen is a frequent contributor to Legal Action, Solicitors' Journal and other periodicals. Past articles include principles for obtaining compensation for police negligence, the role of the nearest relative under the Mental Health Act 1983, and developments on the case-law relating to neglect verdicts at coroners' inquests.

He also had an article on police anonymity at inquests published in the Mail on Sunday. He is an editor of the Community Care Law Reports, specialising in mental health cases.

In June 2019 he published a comment piece on GN and CN v Poole Borough Council [2019] UKSC 25, 'For once, a bad case does not make bad law'.

Latest News

Covid 19 - Family contact for care home resident - ECHR rights

Stephen Simblet QC of the Garden Court Chambers Court of Protection Team discusses the case of BP v Surrey County Council and RP [2020] EWCOP 17, 25 March 2020.

20 April 2020

Tribunal’s refusal of hearing overturned by Upper Tribunal - Detained patients entitled to hearing when detention circumstances change

Stephen Simblet QC and Roger Pezzani of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team represented the appellant.

9 April 2020

Coronavirus Act 2020 - Implications for detained psychiatric patients

Stephen Simblet QC of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team.

27 March 2020

Coronavirus Act 2020 - Implications for detained psychiatric patients

Stephen Simblet QC of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team.

27 March 2020

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse publishes damning report on sexual abuse of children in the care of Nottinghamshire councils

Stephen Simblet and Laura Profumo, instructed by Chris Ratcliffe of Uppal Taylor Solicitors, Nottingham, represented 34 victims/survivors of sexual abuse.

31 July 2019

'For once, a bad case does not make bad law'

Stephen Simblet of Garden Court Chambers comments on GN and CN v Poole Borough Council [2019] UKSC 25.

24 June 2019

Inquest identifies missed opportunity by Kent Police to seek medical treatment for Carl Maynard after suspected drug swallowing

Stephen Simblet of Garden Court was instructed by Sophie Naftalin and Anastasia Solopova of Bhatt Murphy for the family.

12 June 2019

Court of Appeal overturns draconian injunctions preventing protests against INEOS fracking activities

Stephanie Harrison QC and Stephen Simblet represented Joe Corré. Henry Blaxland QC & Stephen Clark represented Friends of the Earth.

3 April 2019

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

High Court orders police force and local authority to pay damages to man who was sexually abused while in residential care

Stephen Simblet appeared for the successful claimant, W. He was instructed by Bill Uppal of Uppal Taylor Solicitors, Nottingham.

2 August 2018

Three men win malicious prosecution claim against police over Daniel Morgan murder

Stephen Simblet was instructed by Guile Nicholas Solicitors to represent Garry Vian.

5 July 2018

Six environmental campaigners appear in High Court this week to challenge broad injunction sought by UK Oil and Gas (UKOG)

Garden Court's Stephanie Harrison QC, Tim Baldwin, Stephen Simblet and Owen Greenhall are instructed in the case by Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. 

4 July 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

Permission granted to seek public inquiry into systematic abuse at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre

Garden Court's Stephanie Harrison QC was instructed with Alex Goodman of Landmark Chambers, by Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

23 May 2018

High Court legal challenge secures delay to wide-ranging injunction against environmental protestors

The campaigners are represented by Stephanie Harrison QC leading Timothy Baldwin and Stephen Simblet leading Anna Morris of Garden Court Chambers.

21 March 2018

High Court rules on “discriminatory and unlawful practices” at Brook House. Muslim immigration detainees forced to worship in degrading conditions.

The claimants were represented by Stephanie Harrison QC, Raza Halim and Stephen Simblet and instructed by Duncan Lewis Public Law.

2 February 2018

Jury find failings in care of detained patient leading to her death in hospital

Ms Simpson was represented by Stephen Simblet, who is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests Team and Civil Liberties Team.

28 November 2017

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

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

Inquest jury finds failures in the care and treatment of a vulnerable prisoner contributed to his likelihood of suicide

The family were represented by Stephen Simblet of Garden Court, instructed by Karen Rogers of Tuckers Solicitors.

12 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

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

Jury rules that police used police dog to assault young man

A jury has ruled that the police used unreasonable force when they set a police dog on a 17-year-old man. The man was represented by Stephen Simblet.

13 December 2013

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

Garden Court Chambers recommended as Top Tier Set in Legal 500 2013

Garden Court Chambers is once again delighted to have been recommended as a Top Tier Set in this year's Legal 500. We are recommended in six areas of law as a set, with 11 silks and 27 junior barristers recognised individually.

25 September 2013

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  • MA (Cantab)
  • LLM (European University Institute, Florence)

Professional Membership

  • INQUEST Lawyers' Group
  • Police Actions Lawyers' Group
  • Administrative Law Bar Association


  • Italian

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