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UK Bar Guide 2023
London (Bar) Civil Liberties & Human Rights
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Band 1

29 Ranked Lawyers

Chambers Review

Provided by Chambers
Civil Liberties & Human Rights - London (Bar)
1
Band 1

Matrix Chambers maintains an outstanding reputation for its civil liberties and human rights work. Members of the set represent both defendants and claimants across criminal and civil claims, and frequently appear in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Supreme Court. In a recent highlight, Raza Husain KC and Chris Buttler KC represented the successful claimants in their application to the ECtHR, to halt the first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda. Sarah Hannett KC appeared for the Home Secretary in the Supreme Court case of R (Elan-Cane), concerning non-gendered passports, whilst Hugh Southey KC and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh achieved success in the 'hooded men' judicial reviews.

Client service

"The clerking team are a real class act. They get everything done on time and are always at the top of their game. Simon Gardner is a particular standout."

"One of the best clerking teams around."

"Elizabeth Bousher and Simon Gardner are among the best clerks in the country. They stayed late to make sure we had what we needed and were the last to leave. They don't just see themselves as clerks - they are part of the team."

Notable Practitioners

Provided by Chambers
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Phillippa Kaufmann KC
Star Individuals

Phillippa Kaufmann KC is a highly regarded human rights specialist who regularly attracts instructions in high-profile, significant judicial review proceedings. She demonstrates notably deep knowledge in prisoners' rights matters and human rights cases arising out of the Iraq war. She is a familiar face in inquiries as well as at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

"A fierce advocate, who is incredibly intelligent and always a calming presence. Clients absolutely love her."

"A fantastic advocate - a true star."

N
Nicholas Armstrong
1
Band 1

Nicholas Armstrong is a skilled barrister with a respected civil liberties practice. He regularly handles public law disputes, inquests and private law actions. He has significant expertise in cases concerning equality, immigration and prison law. He appears before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

"Nicholas does amazing work in the area of human rights. He does it by making creative arguments and bringing a personal touch to his advocacy."

"A leading junior in the area who is operating with silk quality."

"He has a relaxed style of advocacy that is pin-point accurate - it is something to be in awe of."

Edward Craven
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Edward Craven
1
Band 1

Edward Craven is a highly rated barrister with a wide-ranging domestic and international civil liberties and human rights practice. He often appears in high-profile cases that garner significant media attention. He is recognised for his impressive knowledge of the Refugee Convention. Craven has been instructed in matters related to discrimination, terrorism and military actions of the state abroad. He is regularly seen at the Supreme Court.

"One of the most eloquent drafters you can get at the junior Bar."

"A super bright senior junior."

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Danny Friedman KC
1
Band 1

Danny Friedman KC is a respected barrister with a broad-based practice spanning public law, human rights and criminal law. He has a particular focus on matters concerning terrorism, national security and armed conflicts, and has been active in legacy cases involving human rights abuses in Northern Ireland. He has notable experience acting for individuals and interested groups in inquests and public inquiries, and has in recent years been heavily involved in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

"The go-to barrister for when human rights, public law and criminal law overlap."

"He is real talent, with good judgement that you can trust."

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Richard Hermer KC
1
Band 1

Richard Hermer KC is a renowned practitioner in the field of public law who is regularly called upon to handle the most significant, high-profile human rights and civil liberties cases in the UK. His practice has a particularly strong international focus and he is noted for his experience of group litigation brought against both public and private bodies.

"Richard is an excellent strategist and a dream advocate."

"If you need an advocate for a complex case in which you want to change the law, Richard is the go-to."

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Raza Husain KC
1
Band 1

Raza Husain KC is a renowned public law barrister who specialises in immigration and civil liberties work. He routinely appears before the Supreme Court and is called upon by high net worth individuals and publicly funded claimant clients. His practice also includes an international dimension with appearances in European courts, as well as in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. He has recently garnered attention for his work challenging the Home Office's policy of deporting some migrants to Rwanda.

"Raza is an attractive, heavyweight advocate."

"He is the best silk-level advocate for difficult cases involving Article 8 issues."

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Karon Monaghan KC
1
Band 1

Karon Monaghan KC is a skilled practitioner with far-reaching expertise in human rights, discrimination and equality, employment and EU law. She regularly attracts instructions in high-profile cases from a diverse range of clients, including charities, trade unions and private claimants. She is an expert in the Equality Act and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

"An encyclopedia on equality law with a stellar reputation."

"She knows the Equality Act inside out."

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Helen Mountfield KC
1
Band 1

Helen Mountfield KC is a high-profile barrister in the field of civil liberties and human rights, who serves as a deputy High Court judge in the Administrative Court. She remains a popular choice for major public law cases and is a recognised specialist in complex EU law issues. She regularly appears in the Supreme Court in high-profile test cases as well as in European courts and those in other international jurisdictions.

"A brilliant advocate who is at the top of her game."

"Helen has led a number of leading human rights cases; she is brilliant in court."

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Hugh Southey KC
1
Band 1

Hugh Southey KC is a recognised expert in the fields of immigration, human rights and prison law, who demonstrates notable skill in cases concerning mental health, extradition and discrimination. He frequently represents clients before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. Further areas of expertise include TPIM, work before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, and Court of Protection matters.

"He is the go-to barrister for complex multi-party human rights claims."

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Daniel Squires KC
1
Band 1

Daniel Squires KC is a popular silk with a strong civil liberties and human rights practice, known for leading high-profile cases in the Supreme Court. He receives instructions from both claimants and respondents on matters covering a range of areas, including prison and police law, terrorism and discrimination.

"Daniel is a clear-sighted lawyer with very strong judgement. He makes novel arguments sound ordinary."

"He is a very sharp-minded advocate, whom judges love - he is faultless as an opponent."

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Clare Montgomery KC
1
Band 1

Clare Montgomery KC is particularly highly regarded for her adroit handling of public law and due process matters. She regularly acts both for and against the government in significant, high-profile cases. She is active at the intersection of human rights and criminal regulatory and fraud law. She is admitted in Northern Ireland and a number of international jurisdictions including Hong Kong.

"An absolutely first-rate practitioner."

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Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
2
Band 2

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh is a dedicated human rights barrister noted for her focus on national security, prohibition on torture and freedom of speech cases. She has recently been involved in several matters before the Belfast Court of Appeal pertaining to the retroactivity of the Human Rights Act 1998.

"Blinne is utterly committed to human rights values, to which she brings fearless and brilliant strategy and advocacy."

"A top character who is difficult to rival."

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Jesse Nicholls
2
Band 2

Jesse Nicholls comes highly recommended in the civil liberties and human rights sphere, given his deft handling of complex inquests and deep knowledge of police law. Further aspects of his practice include expertise in immigration detention matters, claims against the CPS and his work representing prisoners.

"Jesse is a complete all-rounder who continues to go from strength to strength."

"He does very deep dives into human rights arguments. He leaves no stone unturned and is effective and methodical."

Tim Owen KC
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Tim Owen KC
2
Band 2

Tim Owen KC is a hugely respected advocate with a wide-ranging practice covering the full gamut of human rights issues. He is particularly well known for his aptitude in complex judicial review proceedings and for his expert grasp of criminal and police law. He also has expertise in cases concerning data retention, disclosure and national security matters.

"Tim is a real heavyweight, particularly when it comes to matters of national security. He is a powerhouse with a presence that makes people sit up and listen."

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David Wolfe KC
2
Band 2

David Wolfe KC is an esteemed civil liberties and human rights silk who is widely respected for his adept handling of complex judicial review proceedings. He has notable expertise in discrimination, community care and EU law. He regularly appears on behalf of individuals and organisations, including NGOs, frequently opposing the State.

"A phenomenal barrister who covers a lot of cutting-edge cases concerning environmental rights."

"David has a super intellect, matched with a very refreshing and down-to-earth personality."

Alex Bailin KC
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Alex Bailin KC
2
Band 2

Alex Bailin KC is hugely respected for his civil liberties and human rights work. His very busy practice has a strong criminal law slant and he routinely receives instructions in significant matters concerning police power, data retention and torture issues, representing affected and interested parties at the Supreme Court, Administrative Court and European Court of Human Rights.

"An excellent individual with a very strong human rights practice."

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Chris Buttler KC
3
Band 3

Chris Buttler KC frequently handles judicial reviews concerning fundamental rights and claims for damages under the Human Rights Act. He regularly assists claimant clients with challenges against government bodies, demonstrating particular skill in matters concerning human trafficking. He has further expertise in mental health, immigration and child detention.

"Chris is a truly exceptional advocate, delivering outstanding work and outcomes for clients."

"He is a force of nature."

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Helen Law
2
Band 2

Helen Law is a talented barrister with a varied caseload consisting of public, civil and criminal law. Her flourishing human rights practice sees her regularly handling claims against the government concerning failures of the criminal justice system as well as national security cases. She has appeared before the Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights, and International Court of Justice.

"Helen is unafraid to take really creative approaches to complex legal cases. She is just an incredibly precise legal thinker who is empathetic with clients, yet perfectly pragmatic as well."

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Jessica Simor KC
3
Band 3

Jessica Simor KC is an established silk with a diverse client base composed of individuals, large corporations, NGOs, government departments and regulatory bodies. She regularly tackles significant cases before the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, fielding additional expertise in climate change, education and tax matters.

"She has the ear of the court."

"Her advocacy is unbelievably good and her ability to get up to speed with unfamiliar areas of law is outstanding."

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Raj Desai
4
Band 4

Raj Desai is an accomplished barrister who has experience across a range of civil liberties litigation matters including cases related to healthcare, discrimination and police law. He appears before all levels of court including the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

"Raj is an absolutely brilliant advocate who is appropriately cautious with his cases."

"He is outstandingly bright and a pleasure to work with."

Sarah Hannett KC
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Sarah Hannett KC
4
Band 4

Sarah Hannett KC is a leading public law barrister who has expertise in civil liberties and human rights cases with a focus on equality, routinely acting for government defendants and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She draws on her significant experience in education, local government and community care matters.

"She adds a huge amount of value to incredibly complex cases."

"She is always impressive, whether acting for or against you."

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Jessica Jones
4
Band 4

Jessica Jones has a sophisticated human rights practice covering a bewildering array of issues ranging from social care to armed conflict and genocide. She has appeared in a number of landmark appeals including the series of cases arising from Shamima Begum's deprivation of citizenship.

"Jessica is wise beyond her years."

"She is very collaborative: she takes a genuine team approach to her work."

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Samantha Knights KC
4
Band 4

Samantha Knights KC is a respected silk and recognised expert on the ECHR, who regularly tackles cases against the MoD concerning British action in armed conflicts. She has worked on complex matters covering issues such as deprivation of nationality, exclusion from refugee protection and the scope of closed material proceedings. She is notable for her experience in human trafficking cases.

"Her dedication to clients is unwavering and her holistic approach to a case means that all of the client’s needs are addressed."

"She has a brain the size of a planet."

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Aidan O'Neill KC
4
Band 4

Aidan O'Neill KC is dual-qualified in both Scotland and England and concentrates his practice on constitutional, EU and human rights law. He offers particular insight into the domestic effects of the EU Charter, and is noted for his deft handling of matters involving complex elements of criminal and employment law. He makes regular appearances before the Supreme Court.

"A huge intellect with a huge capacity for work. If you are looking for counsel who will give it their all, that is Aidan O'Neill KC."

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Matthew Ryder KC
4
Band 4

Matthew Ryder KC has developed a respected practice in human rights matters concerning media, police, surveillance and privacy law. He is frequently instructed in significant police misconduct, state surveillance and journalists' rights work, and has handled several major undercover policing cases.

"A fantastic practitioner - one of my go-to KCs."

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Ayesha Christie
U
Up and Coming

Ayesha Christie is a human rights-focused barrister whose impressive practice centres on issues relating to asylum, unlawful detention and human trafficking. She has made multiple appearances before the Supreme Court, including one unled.

"A junior of choice in matters of age assessment, trafficking and other policy challenges."

"One to watch."

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Zoe Leventhal KC
New Silks

Zoe Leventhal KC is regularly instructed in high-profile matters in the human rights field. She displays a particular flair for environmental, planning, social security and EU law, and has additional expertise in welfare benefits law, as well as health and community care matters. She has experience appearing before the Supreme Court, and regularly acts both for claimants and the government.

"Zoe is highly forensic and incredibly inventive - she is very well respected."

"She is incredibly strong on the law."

N
Ben Silverstone
2
Band 2

Ben Silverstone has a strong human rights practice. Alongside his notable specialism in privacy and surveillance, he has acted in a number of group claims concerning human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by natural resources companies operating in African countries.

"Ben is a great barrister who does an incredible amount of international work concerning freedom of expression."

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Jonathan Glasson KC
4
Band 4

Jonathan Glasson KC has a strong human rights practice, generally acting for data controlling companies or public bodies such as the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. His key focus is on the use of data by state agents in relation to intelligence, policing and immigration.

"His command of relevant law and facts, and the quality of his strategic judgement, are both particularly impressive."

"A super clever individual who covers an enormous amount of cases concerning national security."

Ranked Barristers at
Matrix Chambers

Provided by Chambers
Filter by
Band

Silks (KC)

London (Bar)

Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Phillippa Kaufmann KC
Star Individuals
1
Clare Montgomery KC
1
Band 1
1
Daniel Squires KC
1
Band 1
1
Danny Friedman KC
1
Band 1
1
Helen Mountfield KC
1
Band 1
1
Hugh Southey KC
1
Band 1
1
Karon Monaghan KC
1
Band 1
1
Raza Husain KC
1
Band 1
1
Richard Hermer KC
1
Band 1
Alex Bailin KC
2
Alex Bailin KC
2
Band 2
2
David Wolfe KC
2
Band 2
Tim Owen KC
2
Tim Owen KC
2
Band 2
3
Chris Buttler KC
3
Band 3
3
Jessica Simor KC
3
Band 3
4
Aidan O'Neill KC
4
Band 4
4
Jonathan Glasson KC
4
Band 4
4
Matthew Ryder KC
4
Band 4
4
Samantha Knights KC
4
Band 4
Sarah Hannett KC
4
Sarah Hannett KC
4
Band 4
Zoe Leventhal KC
New Silks
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