Doughty Street Chambers

Administrative & Public Law Department

London (Bar)
Current View:

This content is provided by Chambers. Learn more about our methodology

Can boast an extraordinary record of success in some of the most significant challenges to policy and decisions on criminal justice, welfare provision, immigration and asylum, and other issues. The barristers act for individual claimants and human rights groups, appearing regularly in the Supreme Court. Recent examples of such work include the judicial reviews of Maha Elgizouli, on death penalty assurance, and Ibrahima Jalloh, in which a curfew imposed on immigrants was declared unlawful. Elsewhere, barristers from the set have been instrumental in successful efforts towards the legalisation of abortion services in Northern Ireland. Solicitors say: "The quality of the expertise, advice and representation is consistently outstanding."

Client service: "The clerking is always really helpful - they're always able to find the right person. Fee notes are always done sharpish - they make everything really easy and they always try to help." "Practice manager Rachel Finch is fantastic - very fast and impressive. Her team is excellent - you always get a reply straight away." Sian Wilkins oversees the civil clerking team.

Adam Straw

A superb advocate who is a popular choice for claimants and interveners in public law challenges arising in the context of national security, criminal law and immigration detention proceedings. He has particular expertise in public law cases that overlap with human rights law.
Strengths: "His advocacy is one of his great strengths: he has an incredible ability to relay some of the most contentious and complex points in an understated and approachable way. He has a brain the size of the UK and is extremely refined - a real class act." "A truly outstanding advocate who is authoritative and decisive. Adam has brilliant analytical skills and is lethal in court."
Recent work: Acted for the claimants in a challenge to the law which delayed the state pension age from 60 to 66, for women born in the 1950s.

Angela Patrick

Attracting attention at the public law Bar following a decade working in parliament and subsequently for JUSTICE. She has acted in a wide range of prominent judicial reviews, taking in foreign policy, criminal justice, the conduct of inquests and many other issues.
Strengths: "Truly excellent. She's often the one keeping the wheels on the case. She's enormously in demand, and the quality of her work and advocacy is often better than those leading her." "Extremely impressive in the area of human rights, as well as practical and tactical. She's realistic and she gives good advice."
Recent work: Acted for Olivier Bancoult in his challenge to the UK government's policy not to allow Chagos Islanders to return to their homeland.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC

Instructed to represent claimants in England and Northern Ireland in high-profile challenges to legislation and government policy. She is especially adept in claims concerning discrimination and human rights law, as well as children's law. 
Strengths: "An absolutely brilliant lawyer who has the most extraordinary energy. And she's not just a fantastic lawyer but is incredibly strategic in litigation and a real team leader - she will grab a case by the horns and pull it all together." "An absolute Rolls-Royce of a mind - she just gets it immediately, and applies her encyclopedic knowledge of the law."
Recent work: Represented the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign in a challenge to the Home Secretary's failure to act on the Supreme Court's judgment in the case of re NIHRC, where it decided that the Northern Irish abortion ban was unlawful. The Secretary of State conceded the challenge.

Charlotte Kilroy QC

Frequently handles judicial reviews challenging decisions and policies of the Home Secretary as part of her immigration and asylum practice. She receives instructions from individual claimants as well as campaign groups seeking to challenge government policy. She is particularly renowned for her handling of public law litigation on behalf of unaccompanied child migrants.
Strengths: "A fantastic advocate in public law, particularly in immigration and asylum claims." "Extremely clever and extremely committed."

Edward Fitzgerald QC

Pre-eminent silk with vast experience in domestic and international public law. He receives instructions from claimants and NGOs challenging controversial legislation and policy. He is recommended particularly for cases involving human rights, criminal and constitutional law. 
Strengths: "A truly excellent advocate."
Recent work: Acted for Maha Elgizouli in her successful Supreme Court challenge to the Home Office's decision to provide the USA with mutual legal assistance regarding her son Shafee El Sheikh, without obtaining death penalty assurance.

Heather Williams QC

Renowned for her representation of claimants in public law claims against the police, prisons and other public authorities, and in inquests and public inquiries. She is well versed in discrimination and other human rights challenges.
Strengths: "Destined to sit on the Supreme Court. A brilliant legal mind whose unswerving commitment to her clients is matched by her highly organised approach." "Knowledgeable, ingenious and determined but friendly."
Recent work: Acted as lead counsel to Sam Hallam in his judicial review of the Justice Secretary's new, narrower test for a miscarriage of justice. Applied to the ECtHR for confirmation that the new test breached the presumption of innocence.

Jamie Burton

Involved in significant challenges to central government and local authority decisions on the provision of public services and welfare benefits. He has particular expertise in claims involving social housing and community care. He is highly proficient in claims relying on EU and human rights law.
Strengths: "He's gone really above and beyond what he would have been required to do. His advocacy was fantastic - even the other side said they thought he was absolutely wonderful." "Tireless, thorough and compassionate. More impressive than the opponent’s QC. He is open to putting difficult arguments forward, which I find is a quality that not all barristers have."
Recent work: Acted for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in its challenge to the Home Secretary's Right to Rent scheme, which required landlords to check new tenants' immigration status.

Jude Bunting

Excellent track record of successfully challenging policy and decisions of public bodies. His expertise encompasses human rights, open justice and prison law. He is frequently involved in judicial review cases arising out of inquests and public inquiries, as well as those concerning policing and protests.
Strengths: "He has such credibility and electric energy. An extremely persuasive advocate and he genuinely cares and believes in the cases he represents. He's extremely approachable, despite his incredible intellectual firepower." "Always the best. Your heart sinks when you see him on the other side."
Recent work: Acted for Ibrahima Jalloh in a successful challenge to strict immigration bail conditions involving an overnight curfew, on the grounds that this amounted to false imprisonment.

Laura Dubinsky

Specialises in judicial review cases concerning immigration and asylum. She is especially strong in cases involving EU freedom of movement and human rights law. Her expertise in immigration detention appeals is of particular note, and she has appeared before the Supreme Court in such cases.
Strengths: "Highly knowledgeable and strategic. She's great at working with less experienced solicitors who need more guidance, particularly in the area of asylum law." "Thorough and astute, and able to see beyond a particular case to the long-term implications it may have."
Recent work: Acted for the intervener in DN (Rwanda) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a Supreme Court judicial review on immigration detention, considering sequential decision making.

Martin Westgate QC

Typically acts for individual claimants and NGOs seeking to challenge secondary legislation and public body decisions. He is particularly strong in cases involving welfare cuts, housing and social justice.
Strengths: "Very good on his feet, and very capable of dealing with interventions from the Supreme Court Bench. He can improvise on the spot and guide the justices through his argument." "One of the best silks I have worked with. He draws on a wide-ranging practice to provide a comprehensive analysis of the issues in a case. He consistently anticipates the arguments the defendant will raise, making his advice invaluable."
Recent work: Acted for Shelter in the Supreme Court case of R (DA and Others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a challenge to the revised benefit cap on the grounds that it discriminated against lone parents with children under two years of age.

Shu Shin Luh

Pursues significant public law challenges on behalf of marginalised claimants, and interveners. She is particularly committed to enforcing the rights of children and migrants. Her substantive expertise includes immigration, human rights, social welfare and education. Sources commend her considerable expertise in the law on human trafficking.
Strengths: "A real standout in her field. She is excellent to work with and has been really important in framing the law around trafficking." "Incredibly quick - she thinks five times quicker than everyone else, and is totally responsive and on the ball. Liked by judges, and can turn her hand to any case."
Recent work: Successfully represented the claimant, DS, in a judicial review of a Home Office policy which prevented victims of trafficking from making requests for reconsideration of negative decisions.

Stephen Cragg QC

A strong track record of appearing in innovative public law challenges on behalf of claimants. He is especially well known for his handling of judicial reviews which involve an overlap with community care, social welfare and human rights law, and is instructed in challenges to the actions of coroners and the police. He also appears as special advocate in cases concerning national security.
Strengths: "He has really turned a difficult case around and made a difference. He is tactically and strategically astute and I rate him extremely highly." "He used to be a solicitor, so he has a different point of view to many barristers and is far more aware of what is actually possible."
Recent work: Acted for Big Brother Watch and Baroness Jenny Jones in their challenge to the use of facial recognition technology by the Metropolitan Police.