5 Essex Court

Professional Discipline Department

London (Bar)
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A particularly strong set of chambers for police disciplinary matters. Members are selected by over half of all police forces in the country, as well as the IOPC, to present disciplinary proceedings. Their work takes in the prosecution of serious allegations relating to interactions between the police and public, inappropriate behaviour between colleagues, or substandard conduct while off duty. A market source describes 5 Essex Court as a "pre-eminent police law set."

Client service: Mark Waller is the senior clerk.


Barnabas Branston

Recognised as an expert in disciplinary procedures involving police officers. He routinely acts on behalf of police forces in cases involving the use of excessive force and gross misconduct. He also acts for the police in inquests.
Strengths: "He has a very good court presence." "He makes very elegant and classy submissions. He has a lovely way with the tribunal and a nice demeanour."
Recent work: Acted for Gwent Constabulary in the case of a supervisor who was disciplined for skipping shifts to meet his partner. The officer was dismissed but reinstated on appeal, where the Police Appeals Tribunal found that the original panel had failed to follow College of Policing guidance on outcomes.


Fiona Barton QC

Renowned silk who possesses a wealth of experience in police discipline matters. She is particularly capable in defending allegations of gross misconduct. She is also called upon to handle significant inquests and judicial reviews.
Strengths: "No-nonsense, matter-of-fact and very reliable."


Francesca Whitelaw

A dedicated representative of police forces across the country. She handles all aspects of civil law relating to the police and frequently appears in misconduct hearings before the Police Appeals Tribunal. She is also experienced in complex judicial reviews arising out of disciplinary proceedings.
Strengths: "She provides great analysis. She is likeable in court and very intelligent." "She is very hard-working and has a fantastic eye for detail. An absolute pleasure to work with, and good at handling clients."


Jason Beer QC

Sought out for his skilful representation of police officers facing serious allegations of misconduct. He is also extremely adept in judicial reviews and inquests scrutinising police conduct.
Strengths: "He is an academic lawyer who is very well trusted by judges, and you can rely on his word being right."