Una Morris is a leading civil liberties, human rights and public law practitioner with a diverse practice including civil claims for damages, inquests and inquiries and judicial review. Una co-convenes the Civil Liberties Team. She is Public Access qualified.
Una’s significant expertise extends across a range of different areas, including claims against the police and public authorities, inquests, inquiries, public law, abuse claims, data and privacy, protest rights, youth justice and child rights, prisoners’ rights and discrimination.
Una has wide-ranging experience in advising and representing claimants in civil claims for damages. She has expertise across the full spectrum of torts, claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 and breaches of other statutory duties. Una has a substantial paperwork practice, regularly negotiates or advises on settlements on behalf of claimants and she has appeared for claimants in cases tried by judge alone, in civil jury trials and in a number of appeals. Her experience in this area includes claims against the police, claims against other detaining authorities, including prisons and immigration authorities, claims involving probation, claims against local authorities, claims involving healthcare and other state bodies. For example, Una was instructed for the claimant in Crook v Chief Constable of Essex Police  EWHC 988 (QB), in which the claimant succeeded in establishing breach of confidence, breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and breach of Article 8 ECHR and was awarded damages of over £67,000 in connection with a ‘most wanted’ press release. In Gerber v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 3549 (QB), Una represented the claimant at trial and on appeal in a false imprisonment and assault and battery claim which involved the deployment of firearms officers, reasonable grounds to suspect and racial bias. In TPKN v Ministry of Defence  EWHC 1488 (QB), Una represented the claimant in successfully appealing a decision to grant summary judgment and strike out to the defendant. The appeal concerned the application of principles of vicarious liability to the claimant’s case that she was raped by a soldier on a base in Gibraltar and consideration of whether the conduct as alleged could constitute misfeasance in public office, as well as assault and battery.
Una has considerable experience of acting for bereaved families at all stages of inquest proceedings, including in concurrent and post-inquest civil claims and related judicial reviews. Una has represented bereaved families in inquests involving police restraint and other uses of force, including police shootings, deaths following or during police contact and deaths in prison custody, in immigration detention and involving psychiatric detention. Una has also been instructed for families in inquests involving deaths where a person should have been protected and cared for in the community. She has represented families in a number of homicide cases in which a person convicted was on licence and subject to the supervision of probation at the time of the killing. Una has been involved in inquests involving highly complex medical and scientific evidence, as well as those involving deaths abroad. Una has been instructed in a number of high profile inquests, typically where Article 2 ECHR is engaged, including Arsema Dawit, a girl who was killed by a man who had assaulted her, harassed her and threatened to kill her; Rubel Ahmed, who died in immigration detention; Dean Joseph, who was shot and killed by a firearms officer of the Metropolitan Police Service; Terry Smith, who died following excessive restraint by Surrey Police officers; the first inquest into the death of Dexter Bristol, a Windrush Migrant who died whilst experiencing the impact of the Hostile Environment; and Nuno Cardoso, a student, who died following uses of force by Thames Valley Police.
Una also acts for core participants and others involved in public inquiries concerning a range of issues. Una is currently instructed for a number of core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry and for a number of core participants in the Brook House Inquiry.
Una is an experienced public law practitioner, whose judicial reviews typically involve complex civil liberties and human rights issues. Una is often instructed to advise in public law cases from the pre-action stage onwards. Una’s cases in this area have included a range of issues such as police complaints, criminal investigation and prosecutorial decisions, decisions of coroners and decisions involving prisons and probation. For example, Una appeared in R (Birks) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 3041 (Admin);  ICR 204 and in R (Hewson) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 471 (Admin),  4 WLR 69. Una was instructed for Sentina D’Artanyan-Bristol, the mother of Dexter Bristol, a Windrush migrant who died whilst experiencing the impact of the Hostile Environment, in successfully seeking to have the conclusion of the first inquest into his death quashed.
Una has significant experience in acting for claimants, primarily in claims against public authorities, in cases involving abuse. Her work includes advising and representing claimants in cases involving rape and other sexual assaults, sexual exploitation and grooming, harassment and stalking, domestic abuse and coercive control. Una is also experienced in cases involving failures to protect, investigate or prosecute in such matters, utilising Articles 3 and/or 8 ECHR. Una’s work in this area extends to both private law and public law claims. For example, Una represented the family of Arsema Dawit, a girl who was killed by a man who had assaulted her, harassed her and threatened to kill her, in civil claims against the police arising from her death. In TPKN v Ministry of Defence  EWHC 1488 (QB), Una represented the claimant in successfully appealing a decision to grant summary judgment and strike out to the defendant. The appeal concerned the application of principles of vicarious liability to the claimant’s case that she was raped by a soldier on a base in Gibraltar and consideration of whether the conduct as alleged could constitute misfeasance in public office, as well as assault and battery.
Una regularly acts for claimants in cases involving breaches of data protection legislation, Article 8 ECHR, misuse of private information and breach of confidence. She is also experienced in claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and involving the tort of intentionally causing harm. Una’s work in this area includes both private law and public law matters and includes issues of publication, disclosure, storage, security and retention of data and information. Her cases have involved press releases and traditional media, social media, photographs and video footage, sexual and other intimate images, criminal convictions, intelligence and information, healthcare and other sensitive records and biometric data. Una’s cases in this area include Crook v Chief Constable of Essex Police  EWHC 988 (QB), in which the claimant succeeded in establishing breach of confidence, breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and breach of Article 8 ECHR and was awarded damages of over £67,000 in connection with a ‘most wanted’ press release and R (Hewson) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 471 (Admin),  4 WLR 69, a judicial review concerning Articles 8 and 10 ECHR.
Una advises and represents claimants in a number of cases involving freedom of expression, including protests and other campaigning. For example, Una advised and represented a claimant in a claim involving photojournalism and Article 10 ECHR, advised in a claim involving music and Article 10 ECHR and has advised in relation to a number of claims against the police arising out of arrests and uses of force at protests. Una is currently instructed for a number of core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
Una is regularly instructed to advise and represent children in the areas in which she has expertise. For example, Una has represented children and young people in various claims against the police and other public authorities, including post-inquest civil claims following the death of a parent or other family member. Una is experienced in advising in relation to and appearing at infant approval hearings following settlement on behalf of a child. She has also represented families in inquests involving the death of a minor.
Una is experienced in acting for prisoners and former prisoners, in a range of different cases engaging their rights. Una advises and represents claimants in relation to issues such as assault and battery, abuse, failures to protect, data and privacy, strip searches, the use of segregation and prison conditions. Una also has significant expertise in representing the families of prisoners who have died in custody.
Una is regularly instructed in cases involving issues of discrimination, in its various forms and against various protected characteristics, and has experience of pursuing claims under the Equality Act 2010, for breach of Article 14 ECHR and other cases in which discrimination and inequality is a feature, whether civil claims, inquests, inquiries or judicial review.
"Una is a go-to junior counsel on police action matters, particularly in relation to restraint inquests and civil claims." "She is proactive and helpful, good with clients, and a very good advocate who will fight hard for her clients.” Chambers UK, 2023 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)
"Her analysis and written work are first-class. She is very easy to work with and she doesn't give up." "She is very strong in her drafting and strategy. She has great attention to detail and produces strong advocacy.” Chambers UK, 2023 (Inquests & Public Inquiries)
"An outstanding junior." "She inspires confidence in her clients.” Chambers UK, 2023 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)
‘Una’s tactical judgement is outstanding and one of her most impressive qualities. Coupled with the clarity of her refreshingly candid, yet nuanced, approach to advising, this makes her a formidable counsel – highly skilled and knowledgeable." Legal 500 2023 (Inquests and Inquiries)
‘Una is fiercely intelligent, is able to think creatively and has excellent drafting.’ Legal 500 2023 (Police Law (Claimant))
‘Very approachable, thoughtful, and good at lateral thinking.’ Legal 500 2023 (Administrative Law and Human Rights)
"Una is truly exceptional. She is unbelievably intelligent, and her drafting is excellent, as is her attention to detail." Legal 500, 2022 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)
"Dedicated advocate who provides comprehensive advice, grasping the issues and fighting for results for her clients." Legal 500, 2022 (Inquests and Inquiries)
"Her drafting is excellent." "Clients really like her and she is very sympathetic." "She is an outstanding barrister who is thorough, immensely talented and fearless." Chambers UK, 2022 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)
"She is fantastic on her feet." "Una is an outstanding junior; she is thorough, immensely talented and fearless." Chambers UK, 2022 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)
"She is a calm and extremely effective advocate. She is committed to her clients, passionate and always selects the good points to focus on." Chambers UK, 2022 (Inquests & Public Inquiries)
“Exceptional”. "Combines sharp tactical analysis with a down-to-earth, hands-on approach. Una has a wealth of experience litigating against the police, which makes her a welcome and reassuring presence on any such case." Legal 500, 2021 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)
"My top junior in this area, particularly in relation to restraint-related inquests and any claims against the police. Her cross-examination of witnesses is excellent." Legal 500, 2021 (Inquests & Inquiries)
"She's extremely bright, approachable and completely engages with her cases.” "She is great in negotiations, fearless both on paper and on her feet. Her work is very detailed and she always has the goal in sight." Chambers UK, 2021 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)
"She's a tenacious advocate who's also good on paper." "She's got good knowledge of litigation procedure and clients always feel impressed and assured by her." Chambers UK, 2021 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)
"Brave and prepared to take on difficult cases. Punches above her weight." Legal 500, 2020 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)
"Her judgement is very good and way beyond her level of experience. She's also a very good cross-examiner and knows when, and when not, to push a point." Chambers UK, 2020 (Civil Liberties & Human Rights)
"Families really like her and she works really well with them. She is very personable, and an excellent advocate who gets to the grips with issues very quickly and gets very good results for her clients." Chambers UK, 2020 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)
“Very approachable, excellent in negotiations and innovative in tackling challenges.” “She holds her own in cases where you would normally instruct a more senior barrister.” Chambers UK, 2019 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)
"She is super-thorough and proactive, and has good attention to detail…She is an outstanding junior: thorough, immensely talented and fearless.” Chambers UK, 2018 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)
"A no-holds-barred cross-examiner, who is fearless…She has excellent attention to detail and great technical knowledge…She is tenacious and a real fighter." Chambers UK, 2017 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)