Tom Stoate

Year of Call: 2011

"He is bright, committed, tenacious and wonderful with clients. A rising star. Easy to work with and spot on in his analysis of legal issues."

Chambers UK, 2019 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)

"He is one to look out for. He has the criminal background so he's good on his feet and also very good with clients as well."

Chambers UK, 2016

"Enjoys a growing reputation for his inquests practice, and has acted as a junior in a number of high profile proceedings."

Chambers UK, 2015

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Tom Stoate specialises in public and human rights law, civil liberties, media and criminal justice. Alongside his work at the Bar, Tom is an Assistant Coroner and an Associate Lecturer at the University of London.

Inquests and Inquiries

Overview

Tom is regularly instructed to represent bereaved families at Article 2 inquests, with a particular focus on deaths in state custody, mental health and psychiatric detention, and following police contact. Tom has acted in a number of high profile cases including the Hillsborough inquests and Birmingham Pub Bombings (1974) inquests.

Tom also specialises in civil claims and public law proceedings arising out inquests and inquiries, and regularly settles Human Rights Act, Fatal Accidents Act and other claims.

In 2019 Tom was appointed as H.M. Assistant Coroner for the Luton and Bedfordshire area.

Tom is ranked as a leading barrister in this area of work, is an active member of the INQUEST Lawyers Group, a frequent contributor to Inquest Law and Legal Action, and undertakes training on coronial law.

Notable Cases

Hillsborough Inquests
Instructed as junior counsel to ten of the bereaved families in the fresh inquests arising out of the Hillsborough stadium disaster. Following the longest-running inquests in British legal history, the jury concluded that the ninety-six men, women and children who lost their lives on 15 April 1989 were unlawfully killed.

Birmingham Pub Bombings (1974) Inquests
Acted as junior counsel to a number of the families who lost loved ones in the 1974 IRA bombing of two pubs in Birmingham which killed 21 people and injured 220.  

Sean Rigg Inquest
As junior counsel to Leslie Thomas QC, represented the family of Sean Rigg in an eight-week death in custody inquest before a jury at Southwark Coroners Court, which gave rise to a verdict which was highly critical of the care, treatment and restraint of a mentally ill man by the Metropolitan Police and NHS. The case led to the first independent inquiry by the (then) IPCC into one of its own investigations, and has been called “a watershed moment for the police service and the IPCC”. The case has since informed the government’s Independent Review into Deaths in Custody, the introduction of CCTV cameras in police vans, and led to the prosecution of a police officer for perjury in relation to evidence given during the inquest.

 

The Undercover Policing Inquiry
Represented a group of current and former Labour party elected representatives, including senior Parliamentarians and a former London Mayor, in the public inquiry into undercover policing operations which targeted political and social justice campaigns.

Natasha Abrahart Inquest
Represented the family of a vulnerable young woman who took her own life while a student at Bristol University, leading to a conclusion of neglect regarding her mental health care and treatment. The case was the subject of a BBC documentary.

Sheldon Woodford Inquest
Represented the family of a young man who took his own life in prison, in which the inquest jury returned a highly critical narrative conclusion, finding that lack of staff, training and consistent care had led to a failure to spot obvious patterns of risk and contributed to his death.

Ondrej Suha Inquest
Acted for the family of a 19 year-old man who took his own life in prison after being told, just before being locked into his cell, that he would be deported – despite having lived in the UK since he was four years old. 

Catherine Horton Inquest
Represented the family of a woman who took her own life after being allowed to abscond from psychiatric detention, leading to a jury returning a damning conclusion – finding that neglect and gross failures in care contributed to her death.

Sam Alexander MC Inquest
Acted pro bono for the father of a young, decorated Royal Marine killed in controversial circumstances in the war in Afghanistan – a case in which important lessons were learned regarding training and equipment.

 

 

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Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities

 

Tom is regularly instructed to represent claimants in the full spectrum of civil actions against the police, prisons and other public authorities, including tort and personal injury claims, human rights and data privacy.

Tom is ranked as a leading barrister in this area of work, is an active member of the Police Action Lawyers Group, and has acted pro bono for Bail for Immigration Detainees.

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Court of Protection

Tom has a busy practice acting and advising in the Court of Protection. He regularly accepts instructions from the Official Solicitor, family members and Local Authorities in respect of property and affairs, health and welfare and deprivation of liberty matters, in which Tom has experience in complex cases.

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Media and Information

Tom is an Associate Lecturer in the postgraduate Media Law and Ethics course at Goldsmiths College, University of London at the Department of Media and Communications.

Tom regularly gives pre-publication legal advice at the Guardian and Observer newspapers, and is developing a practice in the areas of libel, data protection, privacy and breach of confidence, as well as in reporting restrictions and anonymity orders.

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Prisoners’ Rights

Tom represents prisoners in human rights claims and judicial review proceedings against the Parole Board and Ministry of Justice – including a recently successful claim against a Prison Governor’s failure to organise releases on temporary licence.

Tom has also represented prisoners in adjudication and other hearings and before the Parole Board.

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Protest Rights

Tom has a particular interest in protest and civil liberties. Tom has defended a wide range of individuals and groups in criminal proceedings following in public demonstrations, including a group of the Dale Farm protesters and legal observers – helping to ensure their prosecutions were dropped – and in high-profile protests against G4S. Tom also regularly acts in civil proceedings involving protesters. 

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International Human Rights

Tom is passionately committed to ending the death penalty wherever it exists, and has written for The Guardian on the subject. During the summer of 2011, Tom spent three months with Malawi’s Legal Aid Department (supported by the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies), helping to defend people accused of capital crimes. Tom also co-founded a project training and supporting Malawian law students to prepare bail applications and mitigation for prisoners on death row – many of whom have spent years in pre-trial detention.

Tom was in Malawi during the widespread 2011 political protest against the government there, and worked with the Bar Human Rights Committee in legal and human rights observations there.

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Criminal Defence

Tom has defended in trials (and a wide range of other hearings) in the Crown Court, as well as the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts (where Tom has dealt with complex issues involving capacity and fair participation).

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Extradition

Tom has defended and advised requested persons at all stages of the extradition process, from first appearances through to final hearings and appeals in the High Court, in cases involving a wide range of human rights and public law issues.

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Pro Bono Work

Tom is passionate about access to justice, and is a Trustee at Hackney Community Law Centre.

He was a legal adviser at Toynbee Hall's Free Legal Advice Centre in London's East End for a number of years, giving free legal advice regarding police complaints, claims before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and other social welfare law. Between 2009-10 Tom was a residential volunteer, living at the Toynbee Hall settlement and working in free legal advice and services for young people, for which he was Highly Commended in the Attorney-General's Pro Bono Awards 2010.

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Background

Prior to coming to the Bar, Tom worked for a number of years as a political adviser and speechwriter in Westminster, and on the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign. Tom has also worked as a volunteer caseworker at the Free Representation Unit.

Training and Seminars

Tom regularly provides training in relation to coronial law and various civil liberties issues.

Tom has also delivered Practitioner Seminars for the University College London LLM Access to Justice Course, focusing in particular on law in the public interest.

Latest News

Ceara Thacker Inquest: Family calls on universities to improve mental health care following student’s suicide

Ceara’s family were represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court, instructed by Gus Silverman of Irwin Mitchell.

20 September 2019

Jury returns damning conclusion at inquest of Andrew Brown at HMP Nottingham

Tom Stoate of Garden Court represented the family, instructed by Jo Eggleton of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors. Tom and Jo are members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.

27 June 2019

Coroner finds neglect contributed to suicide of University of Bristol student Natasha Abrahart

Tom Stoate of Garden Court represented the family, instructed by Irwin Mitchell.

16 May 2019

Inquest finds neglect contributed to the death of Catherine Horton at London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital

Catherine’s family were represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers Inquest and Inquiries team.

18 December 2018

Inquest jury concludes that multiple failures by NHS Trust contributed to death of detained psychiatric patient

Tom Stoate represented the family, instructed by Clair Hilder of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors.

30 October 2018

Parents of Bristol University student hope inquest will provide answers following her sudden death

Tom Stoate is instructed by Gus Silverman of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors for the family, supported by INQUEST. 

23 August 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

Failures in care contributed to the death of Steven Edwards, a high risk detained patient

Steven’s family were represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court’s Civil Liberties and Human Rights Team.

15 March 2018

Inquest jury highlight failings at HMP Peterborough following the 2015 homicide of Terry Ojuederie by a prisoner on 'Spice'

Tom Stoate, Garden Court Chambers represented the family, instructed by Shamik Dutta and Manveer Bullar, Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

20 December 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

Jury finds gross failures in care contributed to a vulnerable detained patient

Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers represented Sabrina Walsh's mother at the inquest.

6 July 2017

Hillsborough disaster: criminal charges against six people

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

29 June 2017

Inquest into the death of vulnerable 16-year-old boy in care finds failings in safeguarding procedures contributed to his death

Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers represented the mother at the inquest.

8 June 2017

Family call for lessons to be learned after inquest into teenager’s death at young offenders’ institute finds series of failings

Tom Stoate represented the family of Ondrej Suha, who was 19 when he died.

29 March 2017

Police use of pepper spray and “strong physical contact” contributed to death of Darran Hunt

Darran Hunt's family was represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court's Inquests Team.

6 February 2017

Inquest jury finds risk assessment and communication failures contributed to death of Christopher Cousins

Chris's family were represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court's Inquest Team.

15 December 2016

Naomi Wiseman and Tom Stoate working with Pennsylvania Voter Protection Team as polling day approaches

On polling day, they'll act as legal observers resolving legal issues, reporting intimidation and working to protect the integrity of the democratic process.

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

Coroner orders Edgware Community Hospital to take action following death of 35-year-old Barnet musician

Tom Stoate and Tim Baldwin are members of Garden Court Chambers.

6 October 2016

Street Worker forced to perform sex act on officer awarded £23,000 settlement

The claimant was represented by Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Broudie Jackson Canter.

9 September 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

Sonali Naik and Tom Stoate shortlisted at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards

Sonali has been shortlisted for the Legal Aid Barrister Award Tom, for the Legal Aid Newcomer Award.

24 May 2016

Hillsborough inquest concludes 96 fans were unlawfully killed

Garden Court Chambers represented 77 families at the inquests.

26 April 2016

Jury returns highly critical findings in the inquest into the death of 24-year-old Sheldon Woodford

Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers represented Sheldon's partner.

24 February 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

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

Officer charged with perjury following death of Sean Rigg suspended from Metropolitan Police Service

Leslie Thomas QC and Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers represented Sean Rigg's family at the 2012 inquest.

17 July 2015

CPS to prosecute officer for perjury after evidence given at Sean Rigg inquest

Leslie Thomas QC and Tom Stoate represented Sean Rigg's family at the 2012 inquest into his death.

9 July 2015

Judge tells prosecutors to review case of Julian Webster’s death

Rajiv Menon QC and Tom Stoate successfully challenge CPS decision not to prosecute

13 May 2014

IPCC re-opens investigation into death of Sean Rigg

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has today announced that it has re-opened the investigation into the death of Sean Rigg, who died in police custody in 2008. Following his inquest in 2012, in which his family were represented by Leslie Thomas

9 December 2013

Inquest jury finds systemic neglect contributed to death at private psychiatric hospital

The inquest into the death of Peter Barnes at Cygnet Hospital in Wkye concluded on 6 November 2013, with a jury finding that Peter took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed, contributed to by neglect and inadequate systems.

7 November 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

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Education

  • BA (Hons), History - Emmanuel College, Cambridge University
  • LLM (Distinction) - University College London
  • Eastham, Lord Denning and Hardwicke Scholar - Lincolns Inn

Professional Membership

  • Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • Inquest Lawyers Group
  • Police Action Lawyers Group
  • Bar Human Rights Committee
  • Liberty

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