Free Hybrid Event - A new frontier in police negligence claims? Bell v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis: Implications for civil liberties and family practitioners

Tuesday 30 April 2024, 6-7:30pm, followed by networking

Chambers & Online

This hybrid seminar was brought to you by the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties & Human Rights Team.

Date: Tuesday 30 April 2024
Time: 6pm-7:30pm, followed by drinks & networking
Venue: Chambers & Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Civil Liberties and Human Rights , Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities , Family Law , Children Law

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The High Court handed down judgment in the case of Bell in February, finding that the Metropolitan Police had breached their duties in negligence and Article 8 by enabling Mr Bell's wife to abduct their child to Brazil. The case was the culmination of 10 years of litigation by Mr Bell's representatives, doing innovative crossover work between their Family and Civil Liberties teams.

This event heard from Mr Bell's expert legal team on their reflections on the judgment and their thoughts on the future implications of the judgment for practitioners bringing negligence claims against state bodies as well as for family practitioners dealing with child abduction on the frontline and dealing with the police and courts responses.


Stephen Simblet KC, Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Stephen's practice focuses on individual rights in four discrete areas. These are civil claims against the police and public authorities; inquests; mental health and Court of Protection; public law/judicial review. 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 countless others that settle on favourable terms. He has appeared in many of the leading appellate decisions in this area. Stephen was lead counsel in Bell v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2024] EWHC 379. 

Stephen Clark, Garden Court Chambers
Stephen specialises in complex, multi-disciplinary work which draws on the full range of his flourishing practice and with recent successes in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights. He works across a broad spectrum of practice areas from judicial review, immigration and asylum, inquests, actions against state authorities, prison law and community care. Stephen acts in the full range of civil work against public authorities – ranging from claims against the Police and Home Office for false imprisonment and Human Rights Act breaches to post-inquest civil claims against prison and healthcare authorities. Stephen was junior counsel in Bell v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2024] EWHC 379, led by Stephen Simblet KC.

James Holmes, Garden Court Chambers
James's practice covers all aspects of Children's Law. He has a particular interest in public law proceedings including care, supervision and adoption. He regularly appears in the High Court and Family Court on behalf parents, guardians and local authorities. James has experience in dealing with cases involving the most serious allegations including; death of/catastrophic injuries to a child, shaken baby, sexual assaults on both adults and children; non-accidental injuries; fabricated induced illness cases; female genital mutilation; and serious allegations of domestic violence. James has been instructed in cases involving international abduction; threats of abduction; the transfer of jurisdictions; permanent and temporary relocation; and recognition of orders from other jurisdictions.

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