Garden Court Chambers has once again been placed in Band 1 in the prestigious Chambers UK 2012 rankings. The set is now recommended in nine areas of practice, together with 49 barristers being individually recommended.
Administrative & Public Law (Band 3)
"Garden Court Chambers is a trusted set, with a proven commitment to tackling public law cases relating to such areas as immigration, prison law, inquests and claims against public authorities. Many solicitors name this set as their first port of call because the barristers "have great efficiency, are able to pinpoint legal arguments and can process the paperwork straight away." It is also extremely well clerked, according to those that instruct it. "
SILKS: The "amazing" Jan Luba QC has a niche administrative and public law practice relating to social housing, Gypsies and squatter cases. He was recently instructed in the Supreme Court case of Pinnock, the leading case on the impact of Article 8 of the Convention upon housing possession cases made by social landlords. Stephen Knafler QC is an "attractive advocate" with a "very calm and questioning approach." His deft handling of public cases concerning community care, mental health, immigration, housing and social security law is always welcome, according to interviewees.
JUNIORS: Stephanie Harrison is a respected human rights and public law specialist with "a flourishing reputation for achieving impressive results in demanding cases," including those concerning immigration, asylum and anti-discrimination issues. She shares the limelight with Stephen Simblet, a "fantastic advocate with a good brain," who is well regarded for his work handling claims against the police and public authorities. He recently undertook a successful judicial review of the Legal Service Commission's refusal to fund the mother of the deceased at an inquest.
Click here to read more about the Public and Administrative Law Team.
Civil Liberties (Band 2)
"Garden Court Chambers has a long track record of providing dedicated human rights barristers, who are committed to fighting the cause of claimants. The set houses an impressive roster of talent, of whom instructing solicitors comment: "We value their expertise and trust their advice."
SILKS: "Attractive advocate" Stephen Knafler QC presents very clearly in his advocacy, and simplifies the most complicated of cases." Mental health, community care, discrimination, immigration, prisons and education law are all areas in which he has an interest. Effective advocate Dexter Dias QC attracts considerable praise for his commitment to the development of human rights law. Main areas of focus for him include civil liberties cases with a criminal or terrorist theme. He was also leading counsel in the landmark inquest into the death of Gareth Myatt, who, at the time of his death, was the youngest child to die in custody. The "bright and hard-working" Ali Naseem Bajwa QC is "acutely aware of the fundamentally important issues to be determined in a case." Tribunals like him because "he has a clear and articulate way of presenting arguments."
JUNIORS: Stephanie Harrison receives widespread acclaim for her "fantastic skills and great drive." She is at the forefront of immigration detention work, with one interviewee commenting that "her knowledge of immigration is in a class of its own." This all-rounder is also praised for her tactical good sense. "Fantastic advocate" Stephen Simblet has "a very fine brain." His civil liberties practice focuses on claims against the police and public authorities, inquests, mental health, public law and judicial review. Sources say: "He grasps the point immediately and displays outstanding dedication to his work." The "extremely resolute and determined" Nadine Finch is "very attentive to case management and alert to the needs of the client and the solicitor's agenda." Observers comment that "she is encouraging of solicitors who want to push the boundaries and challenge the law in new ways, and yet very realistic in assessing the avenues available." Edward Grieves has a strong reputation for his work in immigration detention and representation of those detained as suspected terrorists. He is a regular before the ECJ and has represented a number of groups and individuals challenging their terrorist designations on EU asset-freezing lists. Also of note, Leslie Thomas is a specialist in civil rights claims against the police and in police-related litigation generally. He also has a strong focus on inquest work.
Crime (Band 3)
"Garden Court Chambers is a very large set that handles criminal work in tandem with matters in many other areas, such as immigration, family and housing law. Over the years, it has handled a torrent of criminal work and has individuals skilled and seasoned enough to impress the market. Its myriad members have a strong work ethos and are "responsive and supportive to solicitors." Recent cases handled include numerous baby-shaking and homicide matters."
SILKS: The "exceptional" Courtenay Griffiths QC, is involved in police law and international work, but really shines in general criminal defence matters. Sources laud the consistently high level of his performance. His recent highlights include the defence of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in The Hague for alleged war crimes. Michael Turner QC's reputation shows that he has what it takes to perform effectively in criminal matters, both at first instance and in appellate matters. He is rapidly becoming counsel of choice in cases involving the murder of infants by 'baby-shaking', with recent highlights in that area including advising on the case of ambulance driver Gavin Gibbs. Turner is described by sources as "terrific, punchy and clever." Henry Blaxland QC.is applauded for his "ability to get to grips with complicated issues." The success of his practice, which involves a significant amount of appellate work, emanates from the fact that he is "understated but very effective," according to sources. He acted on the Court of Appeal case of R v LM and Others, concerning human trafficking.
JUNIORS: Adrian Eissa is a frequent choice of junior for the more difficult criminal cases, and mixes complex fraud and POCA matters with his general criminal cases. He advised on R v Twomey, the first judge-only trial. Rebecca Hill gained valuable experience undertaking a secondment at the CPS extradition unit. She joined the set from Great James Street Chambers in the summer and is seen as a valuable addition to Garden Court. Her recent cases include Herdman & Others v Greece, a case involving the extradition of six British men charged with manslaughter in Greece.
Click here to read more about the Crime Team.
Rebecca Hill mentioned as up and coming
"Maggie Jones of Garden Court Chambers comes highly recommended for her impressive handling of the most complex children matters. "She is enthusiastic and dedicated to children law, and just a great barrister to work with in complex and challenging cases."
Click here to read more about the Family Team.
Immigration (Band 1)
We remain the only set ranked in Band 1 for Immigration, and Laurie Fransman QC remains the only Star Individual.
"History marks out Garden Court as the true leader in immigration law. A set that is considered "a master of all trades" immigration wise. All aspects of the subject are covered, including business and asylum law, by barristers with a wide range of talents."
SILKS: Laurie Fransman QC, earned a torrent of praise from interviewees. "He is an all-rounder who can advise on very complex matters in an innovative and creative way that no one else would think of," said one source, whilst another commented: "He is second to none and shows unparalleled ability in steering big ships through troubled water." This "walking nationality law textbook" also has extensive knowledge of asylum and EU-related law, and is noted for being "sensitive to clients' needs." In common with Fransman, Ian Macdonald QC has extraordinary immigration law expertise. He is marked out from the crowd as the author of the leading practitioners' textbook, Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice. His practice covers the whole field of immigration law, and he also advises various football clubs and other sporting bodies as to overseas professional staff. Stephen Knafler QC has handled some of the most high-profile cases in the sector. He appeared in UE (Nigeria), handled a country guidance case on returns to Iraq and was instructed in a test case on whether children can be removed to other European countries under Dublin II. Sources note his exceptional cross-examination skills and describe him as "approachable, calm and reassuring."
JUNIORS: Duran Seddon's practice predominantly covers all aspects of immigration, asylum and nationality law. Sources comment on his "ability to analyse the law in a logical way," and further note that he is "user-friendly, bright, hard-working and responsive." Solicitors favour him as he "is formidable in court and has an incredible eye for detail." Also widely respected, Adrian Berry, has a "first-class brain" and near matchless knowledge of EU law. Amongst other things, he stands out for his expertise in British nationality matters.
David Jones is highly lauded by all. Commentators respect his courage, saying "he will consider all aspects of a case and not be afraid to run with the more unusual cases and investigate unexplored aspects of the law." This "creative, confident and knowledgeable advocate" is also a favourite among instructing solicitors: "He is a very good mentor, who understands the pressures solicitors are under. He develops their arguments and cases without making them feel small." Kathryn Cronin is a leading light amongst juniors at the set and is an expert in immigration cases which involve issues of family law and children and child care issues. Hailed as a "real gift to solicitors," she is admired for her "meticulous preparation" and for her talent explaining complex legal concepts in a simple way.
Stephanie Harrison is also hugely popular and has built up a fine reputation as an expert in detention work. She also handles SIAC, national security and social welfare and housing-related immigration cases. Commentators say that "she is measured, thoughtful and caring of her clients." Peter Jorro is "unbelievably knowledgeable about asylum law and is an asset to any team in this field." An "effective operator," he has a wealth of experience in all aspects of immigration law and was recently instructed in the high-profile HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) cases relating to gay claimants and their protection under the Refugee Convention. "Diplomat"
Patrick Lewis is "fantastic with clients and judges alike," according to sources, who highlight his way of winning people's trust through putting them at ease. He practises exclusively in human rights and immigration law, and was recently led by Stephen Knafler QC in the high-profile UE (Nigeria) case concerning Article 8 of the Convention. "Street fighter" Navtej Singh Ahluwalia is a popular choice as he has "a certain energy about him" and shows "indefatigable passion" when fighting a case. This charming and highly popular figure is particularly strong on cases involving EU free movement law, deportation and the points-based system. Sadat Sayeed is considered "a go-to man if you're after a tenacious advocate for a tough case." He undertakes a significant amount of asylum and human rights-related immigration work, but also has a flourishing business immigration practice.
Ronan Toal is singled out for his specialist knowledge of Somali litigation and his involvement in the country guidance cases. He is widely regarded as a "fantastic advocate" and regularly appears in the higher and European Courts. Louise Hooper is a "creative counsel who is good at thinking outside the box." She is also known to be a "real fighter who shows doggedness and enthusiasm when handling her cases." Her practice focuses on Human Rights Act claims to enter or leave the UK, and she also has considerable experience in all aspects of the law involving human trafficking.
Navita Atreya receives much praise for her client manner. "She displays great empathy and has the ability to take a complicated point and distil it in a way that can be passed on to the client easily." Like Atreya, Michelle Brewer proves particularly strong in trafficking cases. She "epitomises the word 'fighter'," according to sources, due to her relentless battling spirit when taking on clients' problems. As testament to her expertise, Brewer has been instructed in several high-profile challenges to the UK government's implementation of the Council of Europe Convention Against the Trafficking in Human Beings. Solicitors admire her as "she takes a realistic approach and offers pragmatic solutions." Also favoured, is Nadine Finch widely recognised for her work involving victims of trafficking as well as for her focus on cases involving children. She also sits as an immigration judge. Finally at the set, "team player" Sonali Naik fills her instructing solicitors with confidence due to her in-depth immigration knowledge. The main focus of her work is publicly funded litigation, and she undertakes a significant amount of emergency judicial review work seeking to prevent removals on an urgent basis.
Click here to read more about the Immigration Team.
Marc Willers of Garden Court Chambers is pre-eminent in the area of gypsy and traveller-related planning law. One peer found that "he fights cases which seem difficult in ways that make them look easy."
Police Law: Mainly Claimant (Band 2)
"Garden Court Chambers is credited for its commitment to fighting injustice and inequality. A major force in civil liberties and human rights work, it has a superb police law team that advises on assault, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and claims for wrongful deprivation of liberty. Other matters handled include cases relating to psychiatric detention and mistreatment in prison. Sources agree that the set is supported by great clerks who are always extremely helpful."
JUNIORS: Colin Hutchinson impresses sources with the high quality of his advice. He is best known for his work for the families of people who have died in custody under the authority of the police or prison. Recently, he was instructed in an inquest and civil action involving the failure of the police to obtain medical treatment for Peter Kirkwood and to record and pass on relevant information. His expertise also extends to claims for wrongful arrest and assault. Interviewees agree praise is due to Stephen Simblet, who has "an extensive knowledge of police law" and is complimented for "running novel points and tricky legal arguments." Claims against the police form the bulk of his practice, and he is an expert in inquests into death in custody. Leslie Thomas Leslie Thomas is undoubtedly a first-choice junior for instructing solicitors in claimant police law cases. "A formidable opponent," he is strong on cross-examination, and is someone who is "fearless and takes no prisoners." His recent portfolio of high-profile cases includes the inquiry into the police shooting of Azelle Rodney, as well as Rutherford v IPCC, the judicial review of police powers of stop and search. Sarah Hemingway has handled a raft of civil claims against the police and other public bodies. She displayed considerable prowess in the case of Marper before the ECHR, which was a seminal case concerning DNA retention. She also recently appeared in Erinle v CC Merseyside Police. In this matter, she secured damages for a man assaulted by police in the course of an arrest, who was then maliciously prosecuted for assaulting a police officer.
Click here to read more about the Police Actions Team.
Social Housing (Band 1)
We remain one of three sets ranked in Band 1 for Social Housing, and Jan Luba QC is one of only two Star Individuals.
"The members of this highly lauded set act for those who avail themselves of social housing. Praised for their intelligence, efficiency and dedication to their work, they are at the forefront of areas such as tenants' rights. The individuals at the set "are all approachable and friendly, and you get the sense that they are doing it for more than the money." This sense of dedication and professionalism is seen to permeate the set in its entirety: "Everyone here is very good. The chambers as a whole is well run, and the clerks and barristers are a pleasure to work with."
SILKS: Jan Luba QC "is pretty much in his own league" and is noted for his tireless dedication to even the most arduous of tasks. An "extremely intelligent and hard-working QC," he "has the ear of the Bench, and rightly so." Sources praise his ability to hold sway in a courtroom, and acknowledge his continuing involvement in leading social housing cases in the higher courts. Fellow silk Stephen Knafler QC "is tremendously intelligent, and has the ability to get on top of complex cases really quickly." A lawyer who "grasps the essential elements and puts them across to the Bench in simple terms, he is loved by judges." Sources also praise him for his ability to devour briefs and his particular skill in matters concerning housing benefit and asylum seekers. .
JUNIORS: Liz Davies is "superb, polite and decent" and "very committed to assisting vulnerable clients." She is praised for her "comprehensive legal knowledge, particularly in relation to homelessness" and also for her strong advocacy skills. Beatrice Prevatt is noted for her work on technically difficult issues of disrepair, antisocial behaviour cases and matters involving vulnerable clients with mental health issues. She is praised for her "ability to establish a rapport with clients," and is seen as being "a delight to work with" and someone who is "very good at explaining complex ideas to clients." Sources also note her ability as an advocate and her flair for cross-examination.
Edward Fitzpatrick is "cool and collected and very good with clients, who always like him." He is popular in the market as is David Watkinson, who specialises in defending social housing tenants. Dubbed "the man who knows everything" by one impressed source, he was further reported to be "a decent, kind and proper opponent" by those that have been against him. Stephen Cottle receives praise for his "exceptional commitment" and willingness to fight for his clients. Instructing solicitors value his ability to get on with clients, as well as the fact that "he is very intellectual, understands very difficult areas of law and is very good at getting his arguments across." Sources note the volume and quality of social housing work undertaken by Bethan Harris and praise her as "very committed and very diligent." She sits in the rankings along with Adrian Berry, who is new to the tables this year. He "has made a name for himself through his ability to understand the European law dimension of housing" and is praised for his ability in matters relating to community care and immigration. Shu Shin Luh "has been involved in some quite significant cases at an early stage in her career" and is recognised for her involvement in homelessness cases on behalf of children. "She is willing to take urgent cases and prioritise them - she'll work long hours to make sure things happen." Also recommended, John Beckley is "excellent with vulnerable clients" and "a very good trial barrister" who is praised for his pragmatism and efficiency.
Click here to read more about the Housing Team.
To read the rankings in full, please visit the Chambers UK 2012 online directory.