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1 Crown Office Row is singled out as "undoubtedly a market leader" by sources for its presence and expertise in inquests and inquiries. Members are frequently instructed as counsel to the largest public inquiries and brought in to represent coroners in the most sensitive and high-profile inquests, as well as related litigation. They also represent bereaved families and the full range of interested parties, including NHS trusts, government departments, police forces and local authorities. The barristers have attracted major instructions in the Birmingham and Guildford pub bombing inquests, the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the Alexander Perepilichnyy inquest, and the Westminster Bridge inquests, among others. According to a solicitor, "their barristers are all absolutely top-notch."
Client service: "The clerking is always brilliant, smooth and responsive." "They are approachable and understand the work we do and the client demands we face." Matthew Phipps is the senior clerk.
Sought-after junior for major public inquiries involving the police. She also handles judicial review challenges to the decisions of inquiry chairs.
Strengths: "She has a sound analytical mind, is excellent on strategy and is very popular with the client. She has the respect of the Inquiry." "She was extremely hard-working and very knowledgeable. She's also someone with a lovely style of advocacy."
Recent work: Instructed as first junior counsel to the Metropolitan Police Service in the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
Outstanding track record of instructions in very high-profile public inquiries and inquests. He is a go-to junior for coroners and inquiry chairs and also advises medical professionals, bereaved families and other core participants. His expertise includes clinical negligence and professional discipline matters.
Strengths: "Top-drawer: up there with the most intelligent counsel of his generation. He's incredibly hard-working and comes up with incredibly creative solutions to any problem." "His academic background feeding into his approach to legal work is a real strength. He'd be my go-to junior at the Bar for big complex inquests." "He's got fantastic judgement and a wonderful ability to absorb a huge amount of material."
Recent work: Acted as lead junior counsel to the Infected Blood Inquiry, an investigation into the widespread use by the NHS of blood products infected with HIV, hepatitis C and other pathogens.
Neil Sheldon QC
Represents NHS trusts, healthcare professionals and other participants in complex inquests. His wide-ranging experience includes cases concerning the armed services, national security, healthcare and historic child abuse.
Strengths: "He's really good at dealing with his clients and has played an important role in helping to deal with really challenging material."
Recent work: Appeared for the Home Secretary at the Westminster Bridge Inquests.
Oliver Sanders QC
Experienced in representing coroners and interested persons at well-publicised inquests, and has appeared in some of the most high-profile public inquiries of recent years.
Strengths:"He makes the whole intellectual exercise look very easy." "A devastating cross-examiner," who is "calm, controlled and always well prepared."
Recent work: Acted for around 110 former members of key Metropolitan Police undercover units, as a core participant group in the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
Peter Skelton QC
Frequently instructed as counsel to large inquests and inquiries which are often under considerable media scrutiny. He also routinely represents parties in inquests involving clinical negligence, and is instructed to defend coronial decisions in judicial review proceedings.
Strengths: "He has a real mastery of the factual detail and is superb at assimilating material and evidence and getting on top of it all." "He's the most relaxed advocate I've ever seen; he's very gentle with witnesses but always gets his point across even when it's very difficult." "He's almost flawless in court: completely fluid and sensible. He doesn't take bad points and when he has a good one he puts it across efficiently and persuasively."
Recent work: Instructed as counsel to the high-profile inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, a Russian businessman and whistle-blower who died unexpectedly in 2012, sparking allegations of poisoning.