DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Garden Court Chambers

Police Law: Mainly Claimant

7 ranked barristersBand 2All CircuitsUK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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Ranked Barristers

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A renowned civil liberties-focused chambers with strength in civil claims and inquests centred on police shootings and deaths in custody. The barristers are lauded for their tenacious advocacy in claims against the police, including those concerning malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and assault, as well as investigative or operational failures. The set's members attract instruction in highly significant matters including the Undercover Police Inquiry and the new Birmingham Pub Bombings inquests.

Client service:

"The clerks always get back to me quickly; they're always happy to help, and they're good at allocating cases to appropriate counsel." Colin Cook is the director of clerking.

Strengths:

Kirsten Heaven
Recognised for providing skilful advocacy in civil claims involving deaths in police custody. She is also experienced in sensitive cases including false imprisonment claims, which often have a mental health aspect.
"She's a fierce cross-examiner who is able to cut through to the key issues and save the waffle." "She is hard-working, dedicated, intelligent and enthusiastic."
Recent work: Instructed in Marcia James v Chief Constable of South Wales, a claim concerning failure to protect and investigate allegations against a man who subsequently raped and assaulted a young girl.

Strengths:

Leslie Thomas QC
A formidable trial advocate who is renowned for acting in high-profile claims against the police, and for representing families at inquests. He is picked out for his considerable expertise in cases concerning deaths in custody or following police shootings, and his broad practice also includes claims pertaining to the police's failure to investigate.
"Leslie is well respected for his calm, methodical case preparation, sound legal knowledge and judgement, but most impressively for his fearless and at times devastating cross-examination." "He's a go-to as a leader for difficult and controversial death in custody cases."
Recent work: Appeared at the inquest into the death of Mohammed Yassar Yaqub, who was fatally shot by police on the M62. The case particularly concerned the appropriateness of the hard stop procedure.

Strengths:

Patrick Roche
Widely known for his prominent role throughout the continuing legal fallout of the Hillsborough disaster, including at the fresh inquests and in the misfeasance claims.
"He has a solid grasp of inquest law and tactics, and knows the best approach to take with coroners and difficult witnesses. He works hard and is all over the evidence." "He brings a fresh and well-rounded approach to claims and is helped by his criminal law experience."
Recent work: Represented the family of Douglas Oak at the inquest into his death. He died after being restrained by Dorset police officers, who also failed to call an ambulance in time for him to be given appropriate medical help.

Strengths:

Rajeev Thacker
Acclaimed for his expertise in claims brought by vulnerable individuals against the police. In addition to tort actions, he focuses on human rights-grounded claims arising from the police's failure to protect.
"He cares about the issues and is lovely with clients. If he thinks there is an injustice, he will fight that client's corner in a confident, sensible way. He is committed to justice for women and for victims and survivors of domestic violence." "He's an excellent advocate who has a good insight into complex legal issues arising during the course of a hearing, and has a considerate approach to clients."
Recent work: Acted in a claim against the Metropolitan Police, where the force attempted to strike out the claim by challenging the identity of the claimant.

Strengths:

Sarah Hemingway
Acts in civil claims against the police concerning false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution. She is active in claims centring on race discrimination.
"She has a detailed level of knowledge of inquest law and the intricacies within it." "She discusses the case and works out novel solutions. She will give you a deadline and stick to it."
Recent work: Represented the claimant in Reynolds v Chief Constable of Kent Police, a claim for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution arising from the claimant's arrest.

Strengths:

Stephen Simblet QC
Regularly instructed in high-profile claims, he often acts for the victims of malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office. He is also well regarded for his work at inquests and is known as a barrister who enjoys addressing complex points of law.
"He's fearless – there's no question he won't ask and he doesn’t get intimidated by opponents. He's completely at ease with himself during questioning." "He's knowledgeable, approachable and always willing to help."
Recent work: Represented the claimant in a successful claim for damages against Leicestershire Police and a children's home, for putting the claimant at risk of being abused by a predatory paedophile.

Strengths:

Una Morris
Well-respected advocate in police claims concerning false imprisonment, assault and investigative failures, who is also noted for representing bereaved families at inquests arising from death during police contact. She garners praise for her representation of clients in racial discrimination and harassment claims.
"She's a tenacious advocate who's also good on paper." "She's got good knowledge of litigation procedure and clients always feel impressed and assured by her."
Recent work: Instructed by the family of Nuno Cardoso at the inquest into his death, which occurred after being restrained by police.

Police Law: Mainly Claimant Department

Garden Court Chambers

firm
Department location

57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields

London

Greater London

UK

WC2A 3LJ

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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 Claimant


Leslie Thomas QC
Band 1
Stephen Simblet QC
New Silks

Juniors

All Circuits

Police Law: Mainly Claimant


Kirsten Heaven
Band 2
Patrick Roche
Band 2
Rajeev Thacker
Band 1
Sarah Hemingway
Band 2