DEPARTMENT PROFILE

5 Essex Court

Police Law: Mainly Defendant

20 ranked barristersBand 1All CircuitsUK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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Offers extraordinary depth of expertise in the defence of police forces in the full gamut of civil claims, including misfeasance in public office, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and assault. The barristers are sought out to represent the police at inquests and in other sensitive matters involving the death of members of the public. Counsel have been instructed in matters including the fresh inquests into the Stephen Port murders, and a civil claim concerning the death of Henry Hicks, a moped rider who was killed during a police chase. They have also acted for forces in key public law cases – such as Edward Bridges' judicial review on the use of facial recognition technology – and in major public inquiries.

Client service:

"The clerking team at 5 Essex is head and shoulders above any other we come across, and they could not be more accommodating and helpful. The whole chambers exemplifies the concept of working as a team with the lawyers with whom they interact." Mark Waller is the senior clerk.

Strengths:

Alan Payne QC
Known for defending police forces against civil claims of false imprisonment, misfeasance and breaches of the Human Rights Act, in addition to public law challenges.
"He is fantastic in judicial reviews."
Recent work: Acted for the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police and the National Police Chiefs Council in a challenge concerning the national guidance on the sharing of information between the police and the Home Office as it relates to potential victims of trafficking.

Strengths:

Alice Meredith
Acts for police officers and the IOPC in relation to various civil claims brought by members of the public, as well as a host of other issues such as officers' working conditions.
"Exceptional all round. She gets to the issues straight away and offers clear advice on strategy. She is an outstanding advocate and deals with challenging matters incredibly well."
Recent work: Acted for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in various matters relating to a Notification Order made against Simon Halabi, in respect of a historical conviction for rape in France.

Strengths:

Amy Clarke
Known for her deft handling of litigation brought under the Human Rights Act concerning the police's failure to investigate, in addition to claims of false imprisonment and misfeasance.
"She is all over both the facts and the law. She provides highly attractive advocacy and really knows how to pitch things in the right way to a tribunal."
Recent work: Defended the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police in a claim for false imprisonment.

Strengths:

Andrew Waters
Acts for the police in civil claims including wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution, as well as claims arising from deaths in custody. He also advises on judicial review proceedings concerning the scope of police powers.
"Thorough, approachable and well liked by clients." "He is highly persuasive."

Strengths:

Anne Studd QC
Represents the police and the IOPC in sensitive police inquiries, disciplinary hearings and civil claims, with a focus on death by police contact. She is noted for her effectiveness in inquests.
"She comes across as very intelligent and committed." "She has shown incredible insight and good tactical prowess."
Recent work: Represented the Metropolitan Police in a claim brought by a man who had been arrested on the grounds of evidence provided by an unreliable witness.

Strengths:

Barnabas Branston
Known for representing police forces in misconduct hearings, as well as defending against civil claims arising from unlawful arrest, Taser assaults and misfeasance in public office. He is also highlighted for his skills in police-related inquests.
"He is great with clients, great with witnesses and also very good with coroners." "He is a charming advocate." "Precise and targeted in his approach."
Recent work: Acted for the West Midlands Police in a mass claim concerning the alleged police cover-up in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

Strengths:

Beatrice Collier
Defends in civil claims pertaining to unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Her practice focuses on representing the police against claims driven by alleged breaches of the ECHR. She is also noted for utilising her public law knowledge to advise in police-focused judicial reviews.
"She is responsive and collaborative."
Recent work: Advised the Chief Constable for Northamptonshire Police in relation to claims for false imprisonment and assault, brought by a claimant who was strip-searched in custody. Advised the force to make a drop-hands offer, which was accepted by the claimant.

Strengths:

Charlotte Ventham
Well respected for high-value police claims with a focus on malicious prosecution, misfeasance in public office, and false imprisonment. She also represents the police in judicial reviews and matters concerning alleged breaches of the ECHR.
"She is very conscientious and she really does think of all the possible angles of a case, ensuring you've gone down every line of investigation with clients and officers. She gives it her all in any advocacy situation." "She has a very sharp brain and is hard-working. Provides detailed and well-reasoned advice and has excellent advocacy skills." "She is dependable, robust, tactically shrewd and a good communicator."
Recent work: Instructed by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to appeal a judgment in favour of a claim for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment, brought by a man who was arrested following allegations of harassment.

Strengths:

Cicely Hayward
Represents the police in civil claims concerning false imprisonment and other torts, including those arising from the use of Tasers. Her practice also covers judicial reviews and defamation claims.
"She has got objectivity and is a very good lawyer. She is calm and she sees through to the important matters quickly."
Recent work: Acted as counsel to the inquiry at the fresh inquests into the deaths of victims of the serial killer Stephen Port.

Strengths:

Fiona Barton QC
A highly regarded police defence lawyer with a focus on complex civil claims of all kinds, including those stemming from the collapse of criminal trials due to non-disclosure, and those alleging the failure to investigate crime. She is particulary adept in inquests and public inquiries work.
"She is a phenomenon: she has an amazing wealth of knowledge and is tenacious. She is an amazingly good advocate and is well liked by clients. One of the finest police law barristers in the country." "She is a very effective operator."
Recent work: Acted for the Chief Constable of Sussex in a judicial review which arose from the resumption of an inquest into the killing of Susan Nicholson by Robert Trigg. Defended a claim that the force's failure to properly investigate an earlier death constituted a breach of Ms Nicholson's Article 2 right.

Strengths:

Francesca Whitelaw
Specialises in inquests in relation to death during police contact, and also represents the police and the IOPC in a range of civil claims and in judicial review.
"She has very good attention to detail and is all over the documents." "She is very clever and works exceptionally hard." "She is really good in legal arguments – she is persuasive and to the point."
Recent work: Represented the Chief Constable of South Wales Police in an appeal arising from the Bridges challenge to the roll-out of facial recognition technology.

Strengths:

Georgina Wolfe
Well-regarded advocate with a focus on high-profile civil claims arising from unlawful arrests and false imprisonment. She is noted for her skill in inquests and public inquiries, and her practice also includes representing police forces in judicial reviews.
A "fantastic barrister" who is "superb with clients" and "extremely personable."
Recent work: Represented Surrey Police and Sussex Police at the Undercover Policing Inquiry, including at closed anonymity hearings.

Strengths:

Jason Beer QC
An outstanding silk who is regularly instructed in high-profile civil claims concerning police shootings and a host of other issues, including data protection breaches. He represents police forces in claims brought under the Human Rights Act, and in public inquiries, an area in which he is arguably the leading expert at the Bar.
"He is very assured and measured, and is one of the leading police barristers. He provides exceptional legal analysis and is a persuasive advocate in this specialist area. He is involved in several high-value and demanding cases." "He is great in complex cases – a brilliant advocate who is incredibly astute and client-friendly." "A superb barrister who excels in complex and technical claims. He is an excellent tactician."
Recent work: Represented the Chief Constable of South Wales Police in an appeal arising from the Bridges challenge to the roll-out of facial recognition technology.

Strengths:

John-Paul Waite
Acts for the police in tort claims, inquests and other matters, and has defended civil actions arising from the undercover policing scandal. He also undertakes judicial review work.
"Super clever."
Recent work: Acted for the City of London Police in a judicial review challenging the powers of English and Welsh police forces to apply for and execute search warrants in Northern Ireland.

Strengths:

Jonathan Dixey
Assists the police with a range of high-profile cases and hearings, including civil claims, group litigation orders and public inquiries. He also acts for police forces in misconduct proceedings and employment tribunals.
"He frequently goes the extra mile and offers clear and practical advice. He takes charge of difficult issues and looks ahead."
Recent work: Acted for over 30 police forces in relation to over 1,000 claims of unpaid overtime by current and former police officers.

Strengths:

Kate Cornell
Acts for the police in claims based on Human Rights Act breaches, including those arising from investigative failures, negligence and the management of police information. She also handles claims for false imprisonment.
"Very approachable, pragmatic and practical." "What I love about working with her is her attention to detail and her ability to summarise the issues succinctly and set out a strategy. She is always enthusiastic and is very easy to work with."
Recent work: Defended Thames Valley Police in claims for false imprisonment, wrongful arrest, negligence, and personal injury sustained while the claimant was under arrest in a police car which was involved in a collision. Successfully applied to strike out the proceedings.

Strengths:

Robert Cohen
A practitioner with a growing reputation for successfully defending the police against civil claims stemming from false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and the use and disclosure of sensitive information. He is also particularly well regarded for his work in police-related inquests.
"He is good with officers and very solid on the paperwork as well." "He presents very well in front of tribunals and the High Court. He is very good at fighting his client's corner."
Recent work: Represented the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in a judical review claim brought by an officer who argued he ought to receive full pay during time off as a result of suffering from mental illness after he was criticised by a judge in a criminal trial.

Strengths:

Robert Talalay
Respected barrister who is experienced in civil claims concerning false imprisonment and the retention of information. His practice also covers inquests concerning the police's failure to prevent deaths, as well as advising the Home Office on redrafting police legislation.
"He is an absolutely exceptional junior; he exceeds the abilities of many far more experienced barristers. He is extremely astute technically and very well researched; I can't think of an occasion where his advice wasn't absolutely spot on." "One of the most capable and impressive juniors in the field. Technically and tactically superb."
Recent work: Acted for the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary in a successful appeal against a High Court judgment which had blocked the extension of a General Civil Restraint Order, on the grounds that the fees regime interfered with the respondent's access to justice.

Strengths:

Russell Fortt
Defends the police against civil claims in relation to deaths in custody, the retention of information, and false imprisonment.
"He was very well prepared and displayed good attention to detail. He was also highly skilled in court, and very good in his interactions with the judge and the claimant on the other side." "Very collaborative – he treats it as a team effort."
Recent work: Acted for the Chief Constable of Northumbria in a judicial review challenging the PAT's decision to reinstate an officer who was dismissed for using racist language.

Strengths:

Samantha Leek QC
Highly respected for her representation of police forces in inquests and inquiries. She has a particular focus on police shootings and deaths in custody, and is also experienced in criminal and disciplinary proceedings. 
"She is very well liked by police forces. Her reputation is very good and she is in demand." "Highly impressive."
Recent work: Instructed by the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester to determine whether the inquest into the death of Jalal Uddin should be resumed.

Police Law: Mainly Defendant Department

5 Essex Court

firm
Department location

5 Essex Court

London

Greater London

UK

EC4Y 9AH

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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

All Circuits

Police Law: Mainly Defendant


Alan Payne QC
Band 3
Anne Studd QC
Band 2
Fiona Barton QC
Band 1
Jason Beer QC
Star Individuals
Samantha Leek QC
Band 1

Juniors

All Circuits

Police Law: Mainly Defendant


Alice Meredith
Up and Coming