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Garden Court Chambers is renowned for taking instruction from claimants in high-profile challenges brought against public bodies. Its barristers are familiar faces at the Supreme Court, all other levels of court in the UK and across a variety of international forums including the ECtHR. Members of Garden Court regularly bring their human rights expertise to bear in national security, immigration and discrimination cases. Liberty recently instructed Garden Court counsel to represent the NGO as intervenors in VCL v UK and AN v UK, two test cases concerning the scope of Article 4 as regards criminal victims of trafficking.
Client service: "The clerking is sharp." "The clerks are timely with documentation and very accommodating." Colin Cook is the director of clerking.
Amanda Weston QC
A distinguished silk who is regularly called on to handle complex judicial review proceedings and significant immigration cases. She is an established presence in the sphere, regularly appearing before domestic and European courts, including the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. She has particular capability in unlawful detention claims.
Strengths: "She has a first-class legal brain, her written notes are outstanding and she provides excellent legal analysis and advocacy."
Recent work: Acted in CL v Greater Manchester Police, a case considering whether GMP were entitled to record indefinitely, as having committed a criminal offence, the personal details of a child who had admitted to sexting a fellow pupil at school.
Leslie Thomas QC
He lends his civil liberties and human rights expertise to vulnerable clients, routinely handling sensitive matters that involve claims against the police. He is an expert in Article 2 inquiries and is adept at handling public law challenges as well as judicial reviews of the powers of public bodies.
Strengths: "Leslie is a force of nature. A fantastic jury advocate and second to none as a cross-examiner, he gets the core points out and does it in style. Juries love him." "He has a forensic mind, he's great with distressed clients and he's lethal in his cross-examination of state agents."
Recent work: Acted as lead counsel for the widow of a Welsh Assembly Member, Carl Sargeant, in Sargeant v First Minister of Wales and Others,a judicial review into the decision of the First Minister to control the ambit of the inquiry into Carl Sargeant’s death.
Head of the civil liberties and human rights team, she has a strong practice covering judicial reviews, civil and statutory damages claims, inquiries and inquests. She has particular expertise in unlawful detention and trafficking issues. She routinely brings claims against public authorities and the police, regularly handling whistle-blower cases.
Strengths: "Maya has an incredible knowledge of civil procedure and her written advocacy is extremely good."
Recent work: Instructed as junior counsel in Maria Carter (aka Maria Litvinenko) v the Government of Russia, concerning Mrs Litvinenko’s claim for breaches of Article 2 and Article 3 of the ECHR before the European Court of Human Rights.
Shu Shin Luh
Admired for her growing reputation in children’s rights and trafficking, she focuses her civil liberties practice on representing vulnerable persons, including the mentally ill and incapacitated. She appears in domestic and European courts for claimants and intervenors, such as NGOs and charitable organisations.
Strengths: "She really goes above and beyond, works around the clock and is incredibly dedicated. It's astonishing how much energy she puts into cases." "Her knowledge and expertise in trafficking matters is unrivalled. She brings innovative ideas to the cases without losing sight of the client’s needs."
Recent work: Acted in R (Medical Justice) (No 2) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a challenge to the legality of the new torture definition introduced by the Home Office.
Stephanie Harrison QC
A dynamic silk with a varied practice, who demonstrates prowess in official misconduct, discrimination, minority rights and unlawful detention matters. She is noted for her work on national security and terrorism cases including those concerning deportation and TPIM. She fields additional expertise in international human rights law and is knowledgeable in all matters involving the ECHR.
Strengths: "A brilliant lawyer who fights her client's corner with everything she's got." "She's one of the go-to silks for false imprisonment and immigration matters."
Recent work: Acted in VC v Home Secretary,a successful test case regarding whether the Home Secretary had acted unlawfully and in breach of the Human Rights Act when she detained a mentally disordered offender who lacked the mental capacity to take steps to challenge the legality of his detention.
Stephen Simblet QC
Regularly called upon to provide expert assistance in claims brought against the police. He is also singled out for his adept representation of bereaved families in matters concerning psychiatric detention and custody deaths. He is noted for his strong judicial review practice and regularly appears at the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Strengths: "A strategic thinker, incredibly compassionate and tirelessly committed to the client's objectives."
Recent work: Appeared in INEOS v Persons Unknown, a High Court application brought by a fracking company, designed to deter protest against fracking.
Una Minetta Morris
An up-and-coming junior, specialising in human rights cases against the state. Known for her far-reaching expertise, she is well versed on the ECHR and the Human Rights Act, often taking on inquests and judicial reviews. She has particular experience handling claims involving prisons and other detention centres.
Strengths: "Her judgement is very good and way beyond her level of experience. She's also a very good cross-examiner and knows when, and when not, to push a point."