Garden Court Chambers ranked in Band 1 in Chambers UK 2015

Friday 31 October 2014

We are once again delighted to have been ranked as a leading set by Chambers and Partners in the Chambers UK 2015 directory. We are now recommended in 13 areas of law, with 99 individual practitioner rankings.

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Immigration – Band 1

We remain the only set in London ranked in Band 1 in Immigration.

This impressively sized set leads the way at the London Immigration Bar, and offers an unrivalled range of capabilities across all types of work. Specialist areas of expertise include national security, family and child immigration and asylum matters. Sources say: "Their approachability and depth of knowledge are impressive, and they provide high-quality work often at short notice." "The clerking has always been excellent - you can always get hold of the right person. They do a weekly immigration bulletin and Colin Yeo writes a blog called Free Movement which is wonderful. Their conference facilities are in a really nice location, and they are spacious and professional - you are treated really well."


Laurie Fransman QC draws effusive praise for his dedication to nationality and asylum work, and has produced major textbooks on these topics. In terms of asylum work, he focuses on complex protection and exclusion matters, often concerning several parties and different countries. He is described as "one of the greatest minds in the immigration law field - he is particularly good on nationality matters and is the go-to person for this. He does lots of general ground refusals and his technical knowledge is second to none."

Stephen Knafler QC has a solid grounding in immigration, human rights, social welfare and community care law. He is regularly instructed to represent local authorities and claimants in ground-breaking cases, and regularly appears in the higher courts in the land. "He is a very nice person to work with and is very hands-on from an early stage." "He is very clear-headed, determined and always very collaborative, whilst also knowing that it's up to him to run the case."

Ian Macdonald QC is an incredibly accomplished silk who has a long history of working at the forefront of immigration law, having practised since the 1960s. His workload sees him advising students, assisting those using the points-based system via the Tier 1 (Investor) route, and providing counsel to non-EEA nationals, among other matters.

Stephanie Harrison QC is a pioneering human rights and public/administrative law silk who has more than 20 years' experience under her belt. She is known in the market for having helped develop key precedents in relation to unlawful detention and deportation appeals based on national security policies. "Her background is very much immigration-based, and she is an expert in actions against the state. She is a really feisty operator and her advocacy skills are second to none - she brings a sharpness and determination to the case, and she has excellent client care skills." "The judges love her - she explains things really clearly."


Navtej Ahluwalia devotes a significant portion of his practice to EU free movement law and deportation work. He is often asked to advise business immigration firms and is a familiar face in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. "He is able to provide sound advice with a fast turnaround." "Very approachable – he's always willing to take a call and talk through problems without turning the meter on."

Adrian Berry has an excellent reputation for his work on British nationality, international protection and asylum matters. He is often called upon to advise the UNHCR on statelessness, and he provides businesses, schools and individuals with information on Tier 1 and Tier 4 applications. "Incredibly knowledgeable across all areas of UK immigration law and always willing to take the time to have something run by him." "Very impressive on nationality issues and statelessness, and a very good advocate and communicator."

Rebecca Chapman is a dynamic and professional immigration junior with significant experience of handling complex and sensitive immigration claims where vulnerable women or children are seeking assistance. She is frequently instructed to conduct ground-breaking judicial reviews. "She brings a wealth of experience, and is excellent with clients, meticulous in her approach, and great at finding solutions. She is incredibly hard-working and prepares to a very high standard." 

Kathryn Cronin is an incredibly active dual-qualified (UK/Australian) barrister whose work centres on the movement of children and families. Her broad immigration practice includes handling complex asylum and employment issues, often involving detention, deportation and removal. "She is amazing, and provides a unique service on the crossover between children's law/adoption and immigration. She is very busy but her work is of a really high standard." "She's tenacious; she never gives up and is a fearless advocate."

Ronan Toal is an erudite immigration/asylum practitioner who specialises in human trafficking, and who continues to contribute to the most celebrated texts on the law. He routinely goes to the High Court and Court of Appeal to fight on behalf of his clients on crucial immigration points. "He's extremely bright and writes beautifully." "He has done a mix of asylum work and detention work and is very knowledgeable."

Peter Jorro is recognised for his ability to effectively manage an interesting mix of business and family immigration work, including matters that concern well-known people in the political and business worlds. Can be seen regularly at the Supreme Court and High Court, acting on sophisticated judicial reviews and appeals. "His diligence and high standard of written and oral work are highly valued." "A real lover of the law, he will explain the issue to you and what the law says in a clear and comprehensive way. He's really good on technical stuff."

Patrick Lewis is admired by the market for his astute immigration advice regarding individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses applying to reside in the UK under the points-based system. With over 22 years of expertise at the Immigration Bar, he is a confident advocate when it comes to representing his clients before UK or international courts. "Very approachable and willing to take calls at all hours." "He gets good results at court and tribunal, and clients love him."

Having previously worked at various refugee law centres, Sonali Naik brings invaluable immigration and asylum experience to the team. She regularly takes on difficult appeals and review cases before tribunals and higher courts. "She is very good on unlawful detention cases, has lots of experience and gets good results." "Very knowledgeable - she is very good on her feet, and is not fazed by what is thrown at her."

Sadat Sayeed is a very successful junior with a wide-ranging practice that deals with various types of inter-country transfer from countries such as India, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. He advises a host of individuals, ranging from those who seek protection for political reasons to those in the top echelons of international sport. "He will not rest until an appeal is prepared as best as it can be. He has an excellent legal mind, and is pragmatic, approachable and able to explain things in a very understandable way."

Abigail Smith is particularly active handling all aspects of public law, including prison law, asylum and immigration. She previously worked as a solicitor and in various NGOs, and has been involved in some incredibly high-profile immigration matters over the years. "Tenacious and practical in her approach, she takes the difficult cases and achieves results that would elude many other representatives."

Mark Symes specialises in human rights and asylum work, and also has extensive experience in international protection. "He has encyclopaedic knowledge and takes an innovative approach to legal issues." "He is a real cut above - he pushes the areas we are trying to develop in the law and comes out with new arguments. He will introduce things you haven't thought of."

Amanda Weston has a broad practice and is particularly proficient in handling human rights and children's rights-related immigration matters. She is often instructed to act for senior political or business figures and other very well-known individuals in the music industry. "Thoughtful, tactical and really good at seeing the overall strategic picture. Excellent." "She has top creative skills - she never misses a point and is well loved by the judiciary."

Michelle Brewer is a true specialist in the illegal inter-country transfer of persons who has been selected by the Council of Europe to provide evidence and training on these issues. She is also well versed in the global protection of vulnerable groups such as children and those targeted because of their gender. "She is good on sensitive cases re women/trafficking and she does a lot of pro bono work." "She is very nice, open and easy-going."

Nadine Finch is a pioneering family immigration practitioner who has an active practice in civil liberties, asylum and judicial review matters in relation to the rights of migrant children. She also sits as an immigration judge and provides recommendations on the development of government policy. "She stands out because she is well versed in the crossover between family and immigration law. She is extremely nice with clients and sensitive when necessary."

David Jones, an effective immigration and public/administrative law advocate, has built a formidable reputation for himself over his 16 years at the Bar. His areas of interest include the transfer of individuals with criminal convictions. "He is really good at taking on board what you say and being collaborative with solicitors."

Colin Yeo is a sought-after immigration junior who displays exceptional talent when representing refugees, high-profile individuals and businesses at court. He also edits the acclaimed Free Movement blog and 'Butterworths Immigration Law Service'. "He has good knowledge of the broader palette of immigration and can always place the issue in the wider context." "He has a solid understanding of immigration law, including the very complex matters, and is able to deal with things promptly."

Leonie Hirst has a thriving appellant practice in which she confronts some of the most complex policy issues affecting immigration and public law. She is applauded for her excellent management of matters concerning the confinement and deportation of migrants, and for her assistance to individuals seeking refuge in the UK. "She is very thorough, prepared, and always looking at cases in a realistic way." "A calming influence on clients, and very sensitive towards them."

Bryony Poynor is a leading immigration junior with an active caseload of refugee, free movement and human rights-related matters. She is routinely instructed to act in judicial review and ECHR cases due to her background in civil liberties work. "Very hard-working and a safe pair of hands. Clients are comfortable and confident in her abilities," and "she is very good at fighting to win." 

Social Housing – Band 1

Garden Court Chambers has a long-standing reputation for social housing work and its members have regularly appeared in major housing cases over the years, many of which have made it to the House of Lords/Supreme Court. It acts for tenants, other occupiers and the homeless, with most of its work being legal aid-funded. An approachable set, it is home to a deep bench of committed practitioners who remain the first port of call for a host of instructing solicitors throughout the UK. "The clerks are excellent. You always get through to someone and they are extremely reliable." "The set has friendly clerks who are on the ball, and barristers who are ready to step in and deal with urgent work." Phil Bampfylde leads the clerking team.


Jan Luba QC is one of the biggest names in the field and someone who receives effusive praise. One interviewee summed up the situation by saying: "Not only is Garden Court Chambers lucky to have him, but so is the sector as a whole." Luba has handled countless cases against government authorities and public bodies. "Jan Luba is without doubt the foremost silk working within social housing." "An advocate in the true sense of the word."

Stephen Knafler QC maintains an impressive reputation for handling housing cases involving community care, immigration and welfare benefit issues. He notably advises housing authorities on their allocation schemes and policies. "Judges listen to him as he is a real authority with a background in social housing." "He's a serious player on cases at the interface between community care and housing."


Liz Davies is a former solicitor, who is praised by clients for her impressive knowledge of the sector and her tactically astute approach. She is especially noted for her advice on homelessness and allocation cases, and is regularly cited by instructing solicitors as a leading authority for complex matters in this area. "She goes that little bit further in her advice, reminding you what you need to do. She does not miss a thing and keeps you informed."

John Beckley widely endorsed by instructing solicitors for his effective representation of vulnerable and distressed clients. His practice takes in homelessness, antisocial behaviour possession claims and disrepair cases."Excellent in court." "From the moment he was on board I felt like he was really working for us," said one solicitor.

Adrian Berry is an acknowledged expert on EU law in the context of social housing, who is involved in many of the leading cases in the area. He is considered to be the best source of advice on migrant rights issues. "There would be a large number of homeless children if it was not for his persistence." "What he does not know is not worth knowing."

Edward Fitzpatrick maintains a wide social housing practice that encompasses homelessness, antisocial behaviour and possession proceedings. "He will fight the client's corner until we are blown out of the water," note impressed sources. "He is a robust advocate for vulnerable clients." "Meticulous with his case preparation, he offers excellent advocacy and great client care skills."

Bethan Harris is excellent with clients and thoroughly prepares her cases. Her practice is wide and she is particularly adept at handling vulnerability and mental health issues.

Beatrice Prevatt proves particularly strong on disrepair cases, but is also praised for handling antisocial behaviour possession matters and homelessness appeals. "Authoritative and knowledgeable, with huge command of her cases." "You can have the utmost confidence in her advice on quantum and in her assessment of the merits of the case."

Timothy Baldwin is described as a "real asset" by instructing solicitors, he is known primarily for his expertise on welfare benefit and community care cases. He also advises on possession claims and disrepair. "Extremely well attuned to the law." "He is clever, knowledgeable and up-to-date on the latest changes."

James Bowen is a highly experienced barrister with an excellent reputation for social housing cases, especially those dealing with possession and homelessness. "Down-to-earth, very approachable and good on complex legal issues." "He is excellent on his feet; judges like him and he comes across effectively."

Stephen Cottle tackles a range of social housing matters but is particularly highlighted for his work challenging the eviction of Travellers. "His advocacy is excellent, and he does not falter." "Has impressive all-round knowledge of many areas."

Maya Naidoo specialises in advising vulnerable clients and families, including those with mental health and capacity issues. Her practice takes in antisocial behaviour, homelessness and disrepair cases. "Excellent with vulnerable clients." "She gets results in very difficult situations."

Marina Sergides is well versed in possession proceedings, homelessness appeals, disrepair claims and unlawful eviction cases, she is often instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent vulnerable tenants with mental health problems, where capacity is in issue. "Excellent with clients and very sympathetic." "She is impressive on her feet and gets to grips with arguments quickly."

Instructing solicitors highlight this relative newcomer, Connor Johnston, as an "excellent example of the standard of the barristers at Garden Court." He can typically be found in the County Court advising on housing and community care cases. "He worked well under pressure, got to the issues and inspired real trust." "He represented the interests of the client well in court."

Civil Liberties and Human Rights – Band 2

Garden Court Chambers continues to command respect for the skilful, knowledgeable and energetic manner in which it pursues actions on behalf of vulnerable clients seeking redress for ill-treatment suffered at the hands of public bodies. Members are notably accomplished in matters relating to immigration, community and social care, police misconduct and mental health. They are especially well regarded for their work in inquests into deaths in custody and from police shootings. "The standard there is very high, and its members are very knowledgeable. The clerking is very good and very prompt."


Stephen Knafler QC specialises in representing a diverse range of clients, from individuals to regulators and local authorities, in matters relating to community care and immigration. He has further expertise in the fields of social housing and healthcare. "His written work is outstanding. His arguments are always to the point and succinctly drafted." "Proves very comfortable on his feet in the Supreme Court."

Stephanie Harrison QC maintains a broad human rights practice, offering expertise in such diverse areas as immigration detention, freedom of expression and the right to protest, and discrimination. Her recent work also includes national security and terrorism-related matters. "She's incredible on paper, and her arguments are flawless. Her advice is brilliant and really easy to digest."

Leslie Thomas QC takes silk this year against a background of a well-regarded practice in civil liberties as a junior characterised by actions against the police and appearances in inquests and inquiries on behalf of bereaved families. He has particular expertise in cases concerning deaths in custody, and fatalities as a result of police shootings. "He is well respected for his calm, methodical case preparation, sound legal knowledge and good judgement. Best of all is his fearless and at times devastating cross-examination." "He obviously holds the importance of understanding the client very dear."


Nadine Finch focuses on matters relating to immigration, family law and community care. She is a respected authority on the rights of child victims of human trafficking.

Stephen Simblet centres his civil liberties practice on claims for false imprisonment, misfeasance, assault and malicious prosecution brought against the police and detaining authorities. He is also expert in acting in inquests concerning deaths involving those bodies. "He's fantastic - very committed, very bright, helpful and approachable." "He is a fine tactician and has really good instincts."

Amanda Weston specialises in human rights issues arising from the fields of community care, mental health and immigration. Her expertise also includes bringing actions against the police and security services. "She is very tenacious and known to be a fighter on behalf of her client."

Edward Grieves focuses on representing claimants in challenges to the imposition of control orders, and in appearances before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. He is also experienced in challenging terrorist designations on asset freezing lists.

Anna Morris focuses her human rights practice on issues arising from the right to protest, and in challenging the actions of the police. She also has experience of appearing in inquests touching on deaths as a result of police contact. "Very passionate about her cases, she will always go the extra mile, will plan her work well and will come up with creative arguments." "She is forensically analytical in her approach, and is a very human lawyer who is not pompous."

Leonie Hirst handles civil and public law challenges to detention in the context of immigration and prisons. She has a particular interest in protecting the rights of disabled prisoners. "She gives competent, comprehensive advice and is a very client-focused barrister." "She is hard-working, much in demand and extremely effective both on her feet and on paper."

Sarah Hemingway offers representation in matters relating to mental health, the right to protest and data retention by public bodies. She is also experienced in inquests and public law challenges to detention in various contexts. "She is a thoughtful barrister with a human touch."

Police Law – Band 2

Garden Court has an accomplished actions against the police team that provides comprehensive coverage of the full range of civil proceedings against the police, including actions for the torts of negligence, misfeasance in public office, assault and false imprisonment. The practitioners are also experts in human rights law, and have significant experience of judicial review proceedings. This set is "easy to deal with, committed to upholding civil liberties and preserving fundamental rights." "Phil Bampfylde is one of the best clerks around. He's just fantastic and everyone likes him for his professionalism, efficiency and helpfulness." He leads clerks who are "flexible on fees and happy to talk, whatever the problem is."


Leslie Thomas QC is a celebrated police law expert, highly valued for his human rights law expertise and his experience of handling inquests. His police practice sees him receiving high-profile instructions in civil claims launched in response to police negligence and misuse of power. Market commentators praise his cross-examination skills. "He is very much a leading figure in this area." "I don't think anyone can doubt he has been in the most significant inquests for the last 25 years."


Stephen Simblet displays excellent ability in cases of wrongful detention, particularly where the claimant suffers from mental health issues. His wider work includes challenges on human rights grounds and inquests resulting from police-related deaths. "He is a superb trial advocate, who has inside-out knowledge of the process. He is one of the first names that comes to mind for difficult and hard-fought police trials." "He is very bright and very good at building relationships with clients."

Maya Sikand has a broad practice encompassing areas including malicious prosecution, trespass to person and property, and false imprisonment claims. She also has strong judicial review experience.
"She is a good advocate, and is able to stand her ground and respond effectively to unexpected questions." "She is obviously passionate about the client's best interests and that shines through in her advocacy."

Sarah Hemingway is highly regarded for her handling of civil claims brought against the police and public organisations, many of which relate to negligence and assault. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal. "I am really impressed by the level of detail and care that goes into her advice." "She does not seem fazed when a hearing is not going the right way, and she has the ability to turn things around."

Colin Hutchinson exhibits strong expertise in the area of inquests, particularly where the police have used unlawful or excessive force. He also has prison law expertise. "He is someone who knows his stuff, particularly on inquests."

Anna Morris has considerable understanding of police law and human rights-related claims. She is particularly good at handling cases resulting from the police treatment of protesters or those concerning mass arrests. "She is brilliant. She is on the ball and positive but realistic in managing client expectations." "She is forensically analytical in her approach."

Patrick Roche enjoys a strong reputation in the field, and receives high-profile instructions in judicial reviews, inquests and wrongful arrest cases. He has previously undertaken work including failures to protect. "He is totally calm at all times, and patient and courteous where others would lose their temper." "He is very knowledgeable and his advocacy is very good."

Rajeev Thacker impresses market commentators with his strong civil liberties practice and discrimination law background. He is regularly engaged in challenges to police and public authority actions through the use of the Human Rights Act. "He's immensely likeable, really easy to work with and constructive in his approach." "He is determined to utilise his knowledge to ensure that his clients get the right result."

Kirsten Heaven handles all aspects of public and private law proceedings that may arise from police mistreatment and malfeasance. She is well known for her ability in inquests and has taken on cases where police officers are accused of using excessive force in the execution of their duties. "She is relentless and completely comprehensive in her approach to matters that need to be examined." "She is a fantastic advocate for bereaved families, who absolutely love her."

Crime – Band 3

Garden Court Chambers is known for being "a significant set, which regularly conducts cases at the highest levels." It is a good choice for instructing solicitors seeking well-clerked, quality counsel for heavyweight criminal matters, including those relating to sexual offences, terrorism and gang murder. The set also has a notable international crime practice and has been involved in a number of significant cases at the Hague. Instructing solicitors highlight the "excellent clerking of Colin Cook and his team." Senior crime clerk Keith Poynter is also singled out for praise, with one source commenting: "He's such a good clerk, and so responsive to what we need and what we are like as a client. He makes sure we're well looked after."

Henry Blaxland QC is praised for his erudition and unflappability when handling complex criminal cases. He focuses on defending clients accused of fraud and terrorism offences, and is also a strong appellate lawyer. "He is just fantastic. Calm, measured and knowledgeable, he's someone judges listen to."

Stephen Kamlish QC has a good reputation for defending clients accused of terrorism offences and gang-related murder. He is also instructed in significant inquiries arising out of criminal cases. "He is a brilliant advocate, who is exceptionally hard-working and has strong client care." "He is generally recognised as one of the best cross-examiners in practice. He is very easy to work with, super bright and a fantastic tactician."

Called upon to act for the defence in heavyweight cases, including homicide and sex trials, Judy Khan QC has considerable experience of representing vulnerable offenders. "She is a ferocious advocate, who is totally dedicated to clients."

Michael Turner QC has particular expertise in shaken-baby cases and significant murder trials. He has a highly regarded appellate practice. "He is a tenacious lawyer, who is dedicated and incredibly hard-working."

Ali Naseem Bajwa QC is recognised for his expertise in representing defendants in high-profile homicide and terrorism cases. "He is a very polished silk; a sound advocate who is much sought after."

Also ranked for crime are:

Kieran Vaughan QC

James Scobie QC

Icah Peart QC

Rajiv Menon QC

Peter Wilcock QC

Terry Munyard

Peter Rowlands

Alex Rose

Brenda Campbell

Anya Lewis

Dafna Spiro

Hossein Zahir

Crime: International Criminal Law

Sareta Ashraph is regularly instructed by the United Nations to monitor potential breaches of international law as conflicts unfold.

Richard Harvey focuses his practice on international crime and human rights issues. He handles cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity and ECHR matters as they apply to individuals accused of criminal conduct.

Well placed to act on international criminal matters involving human rights and public law considerations, Richard Reynolds has notable experience of cases before overseas tribunals. "He's a very bright lawyer and a future star."

Inquests and Inquiries – Band 3

The strong reputation of Garden Court Chambers for inquest work is rooted in the quality of its representation of bereaved families in investigations into deaths in custody, and instances where the State may have been responsible for the death. Members are noted experts in cases concerning deaths in the context of mental health, immigration detention, following police contact and in hospital. They are also accomplished at pursuing civil claims for damages for their clients following inquisitorial proceedings. One client says: "They have an exceptionally good nose for public interest inquests. The clerking there is extremely good, too. The clerks are very approachable both in terms of fees and in administering advocate appearances in court."


Dexter Dias QC enters the listings this year on the back of his highly regarded work in inquests. He has special expertise in proceedings arising from the deaths of young people in custody. "He is fantastic, is a real team player and has a great advocacy style that's great to watch. He asks all the appropriate questions to the appropriate people." "He worked relentlessly for us, achieving a fantastic outcome."

Leslie Thomas QC has taken silk this year following over two decades of experience of handling inquests. He has particular expertise in acting for bereaved families in inquests arising from police shootings and restraint deaths. "He is a fantastic advocate with a great jury style. When necessary, he takes witnesses apart forensically." "He is a fantastic jury advocate and tactician, whose cross-examination is brilliant. He is also superb at handling clients."


Sean Horstead represents the families of people who have died in custody, in prison or in circumstances involving police pursuits. He specialises in coronial proceedings. "He is a fearless advocate, who is not shy of asking difficult questions to people in a position of authority. He demands answers and through his technical expertise will often achieve them in situations where others would fall away."

Kirsten Heaven has experience of representing bereaved families in a broad range of inquests. She has particular expertise in prison and police-related deaths, especially those that have occurred in custody or during detention under the Mental Health Act. "She is relentless and completely comprehensive in her approach to matters. A fantastic and fearless advocate, she is appreciated by the bereaved families for whom she acts." "A brilliant inquest advocate who is exceptionally good with clients and at advancing the concerns of the family."

Tom Stoate enjoys a growing reputation for his inquests practice, and has acted as a junior in a number of high-profile proceedings. He specialises in representing bereaved families in investigations into deaths in custody. "He is really personable, easy to work with, has some fantastic ideas and produces great written work." "He's very good with families and at engaging with the jury."

Administrative and Public Law – Band 4

Garden Court Chambers is very well respected for its work in public law on behalf of claimants seeking to challenge the decisions of central government and local authorities. Its members are highly accomplished in pursuing actions in the context of immigration, national security and social housing. They are also renowned for their prowess in appearing in inquests, particularly those touching on deaths following police contact. The clerks are endorsed by sources, one of which said "I have always found them really helpful and approachable."


Jan Luba QC centres his public law practice on matters relating to social housing and community care. He is also interested in questions of welfare benefits and human rights. "He is very much a specialist in housing matters, and knows everything there is to know in that area." "He is a leading housing silk, but can turn his hand to anything."

Stephen Knafler QC has a broad and diverse public law practice, encompassing community care, immigration and social housing matters. He is also experienced in pursuing judicial reviews challenging the decisions of local authorities. "He gives composed and thoughtful addresses to the court, and has good tactical sense. Our first choice for social welfare judicial reviews." "Hard-working, intelligent and a good opponent."

Well respected for her work on behalf of claimants in bringing judicial review challenges to the policies and decisions of public bodies. Stephanie Harrison QC is especially proficient in the areas of unlawful detention, discrimination and the rights of minority groups. "She is really on top of the issues, and is a great tactician." "A brilliant and personable barrister."


Shu Shin Luh focuses on pursuing public law actions seeking to protect the rights of children and vulnerable adults, particularly in the context of immigration. She is noted for her experience in matters relating to human trafficking. "She really cares about the cases she does and always turns round work of a very high standard." "She is industrious and intelligent, and will only get better and better."

Stephen Simblet specialises in bringing actions against the police and other detaining authorities. He is well regarded for his expertise in inquests concerning deaths in custody. "He is really on the ball with the law, really up to date, and knows answers off the top of his head." "His advocacy is superb, and I wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of his cross-examination."

Community Care

Although the directory does not rank sets of chambers for community care work, five of our team are recommended:

Ranked in Band 1, Stephen Knafler QC is an outstanding community care silk and the general editor of the community care law reports. He acts for both defendants and claimants, and has a particular focus on migrant issues. "An exceptionally bright and intuitive lawyer who comes out with new points nobody's seen before." "An excellent, first-rate barrister who's almost single-handedly pushed the boundaries of Section 21."

A rising junior with a broad community care practice, who receives praise for her tenacious approach, Shu Shin Luh specialises in the overlap between children's law and complex immigration matters. "A highly intelligent barrister with a really impressive approach to finding new ways to push the boundaries of the law." "Very knowledgeable and approachable, she gets good results and really cares about the outcome for the client."

Tim Baldwin is an experienced junior noted for his expertise in relation to mental health, whose community care practice dovetails with his social housing expertise. He is an editor of the community care law reports. "Highly regarded for his mental health work." "One of the most industrious members of the successful Garden Court community care team."

Leonie Hirst is a well-regarded community care barrister noted for her parallel strengths in Court of Protection and immigration work. She has a particular focus on mental health and those cases involving support for those leaving either hospital or detention. "She's passionate and very hard-working, and gives very, very clear advice. She gets her point across in court very succinctly, and is also very good in negotiation." "She's excellent, hard-working and committed."

Felicity Williams is a noted community care junior with a focus on judicial review. She has a particular interest in handling cases relating to aftercare for those leaving prison. "She has an outstanding and impressive range of public law knowledge. She is emerging as a key barrister for clients with disabilities." "Approachable and a pleasure to work with, she responds speedily, is extremely passionate and is fully committed to the clients."

Court of Protection

Bethan Harris, Leonie Hirst and Amanda Weston are all ranked for their Court of Protection work.

Bethan Harris is frequently chosen to represent the Official Solicitor and family members, and able to draw from parallel social housing expertise when handling Court of Protection cases. Her recent work includes leading on sensitive matters relating to medical treatment and best interests determinations. "Very organised and highly responsive. She has a particularly good style when dealing with matters that are very sensitive."

Leonie Hirst wins plaudits for her deft handling of complex cases, and for her strong client relationship skills. She has corresponding expertise in immigration law and substantial experience of deprivation of liberty matters. "She gives incredible advice on tricky cases, and is very supportive and very bright." "Packages her cases very effectively. She's tough but nice, and a very disarming opponent."

Amanda Weston is highly experienced in handling cases that involve the interplay between the Court of Protection and judicial review. Her powerful advocacy is singled out for praise. "One of the world's street fighters. If you were backed into a corner and wanted somebody to fight for you, Amanda would be the best one. She fights and she's clever."


Shu Shin Luh is experienced in education matters relating to public and community care law. She is particularly strong on cases concerning disabled children and SEN. "Very committed and hard-working, she is always approachable and gives good practical advice."


Maggie Jones has a broad children law practice dealing with public and private law matters, and regularly handles matters concerning significant emotional harm, serious physical injury and neglect. She is also good on contact disputes. "Her client care is outstanding."

Malek Wan Daud is particularly noted for his handling of public law care cases that contain allegations of serious physical and sexual abuse, international abduction and child abandonment. "He's very enthusiastic about his work and has a delightful personality."

Local Government

Stephen Knafler QC is a much sought-after silk with a solid grounding in public and administrative law. Much of his work involves local authorities, and he regularly advises on immigration, social housing and community care issues. "Very solid and experienced, he has been practising in the area for a long time."


A new silk in 2014, Marc Willers QC has long been recognised as an expert on planning issues for the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities. He regularly appears on High Court challenges to local planning authority decisions. "He's the first point of call for any Gypsy or Traveller planning matters – he's extremely knowledgeable and an exceptional advocate." "Marc Willers is superb at dealing with Traveller families; he has a breadth of knowledge and understands minutely the cultural issues that face this client group."


Garden Court would like to thank all of our clients and peers for recognising the quality of the legal services we provide and for recommending us. Similarly we would like to thank the editors and researchers at Chambers and Partners for the hundreds of hours of work that went into the new edition.

Chambers UK publishes rankings of the leading barristers, sets of chambers, solicitors and law firms in the UK, based on extensive research and from taking up references with solicitors and clients.

We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards.

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