Garden Court Chambers is pleased to announce that Stephanie Harrison QC and Liz Davies have been newly elected as Joint Heads of Chambers. They join Judy Khan QC who continues as Joint Head of Chambers.
Marc Willers QC and Leslie Thomas QC have stepped down as Joint Heads of Chambers following the end of their terms. Both Marc and Leslie continue to practice at Garden Court. We are hugely grateful for their outstanding contribution to the stewardship of chambers in recent years.
With the appointment of three of our leading female barristers, our new Heads of Chambers reflect our commitment to diversity, human rights, access to justice and the highest standards of advocacy.
We are delighted that Judy Khan QC, Stephanie Harrison QC and Liz Davies will be taking on the leadership of Garden Court Chambers. Their expertise spans our leading practice areas including civil liberties, criminal defence, immigration, public law and social housing.
Stephanie Harrison QC said:
“Only in 1919 - on the back of the suffrage movement - were women first permitted to practice in the legal profession. It was not until 1974 that Barbara Calvert QC was appointed the first woman Head of Chambers. She underwrote the loan that allowed Garden Court Chambers to be established in the same year. We will continue to repay the debt owed to those who made it possible for women to practice at the Bar, by seeking to ensure that our chambers remains at the forefront of challenging inequality and discrimination in and before the law. This will continue to be at the heart of Garden Court’s purpose and ethos.
"We remain strongly committed to breaking down barriers for those who wish to work in the legal profession through initiatives such as our pioneering mentoring scheme for students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds. These barriers, both structural and cultural within the profession, remain very real particularly for those from working class backgrounds. Many of the gains made have been threatened and undermined by education policies, the savage cuts to publically funded legal representation and to the gross underfunding of the legal system.”
Liz Davies said:
“It is a huge honour and privilege to be elected as Joint Head of Chambers. Over 40 years ago, Garden Court Chambers was founded on a commitment to hold the powerful to account and promote fundamental human rights and freedoms. These principles are reflected throughout our work and embodied in our motto, ‘Do right, fear no-one’. We remain steadfastly committed to upholding these protections at a time when human rights, diversity and the rule of law face unprecedented attacks both at home and abroad”.
Judy Khan QC
Judy Khan QC is one of the leading criminal law silks in the UK. She won Crime Silk of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2019. Judy’s practice crosses a spectrum of serious crime. She is predominantly briefed in murder cases, often involving gang-related killings committed by young defendants. She also specialises in cases involving serious sexual allegations.
Judy also spent two years representing a number of families at the landmark Hillsborough Inquests that concluded 96 people had been unlawfully killed. Judy led a team of barristers at the inquests who dealt with the medical and pathology evidence.
Stephanie Harrison QC
Stephanie Harrison QC is a leading public law and civil liberties practitioner with over twenty five years' experience representing claimants in complex and pioneering legal challenges in areas affecting fundamental rights and freedoms. Stephanie’s cases include those arising from all areas of immigration and asylum law, unlawful detention, national security, official misconduct, abuse of power, trafficking, child sexual exploitation, equality and discrimination, minority rights, civil rights, protest and injunctions particularly defending environmental and peace protestors.
Stephanie is regularly involved in test case litigation working closely with others practitioners and groups in her specialist fields and has been instrumental in winning some of the most important cases within her areas of specialism in recent times. She was shortlisted for Civil Liberties & Human Rights Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2020 and shortlisted for Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year by the Chambers Bar Awards 2019. She won the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award 2013. She is appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's preferred Panel of Counsel (Panel A).
Liz is ranked as a "Star Individual" in social housing by the Chambers UK Bar Guide. She is widely recognised as a leading authority in homelessness law and the allocation of social housing. She is the co-author of ‘Housing Allocation and Homelessness, Law & Practice’ (5th ed, 2018). She was instructed as the housing specialist as part of a team of counsel representing survivors and bereaved families in the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry. Liz is also appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's preferred Panel of Counsel (Panel A). She also practises in areas of community care and Children Act cases, particularly where accommodation might be an issue.
Liz regularly speaks at conferences and comments in the media on housing law. She writes and speaks on issues involving civil liberties, social justice, anti-war and anti-racism campaigns.