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Matrix Chambers

Civil Liberties & Human Rights

29 ranked barristersBand 1London (Bar)UK Bar 2022 View ranking table
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Ranked Barristers
chambers review
Ranked Barristers

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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 ECtHR and the Supreme Court. Recent work includes members representing Abu Zubaydah, a victim of the CIA’s unlawful extraordinary rendition and torture programme, in a landmark claim for damages against the UK Government concerning MI5 and MI6’s complicity in his abduction, rendition and torture by the CIA.

Client service:

"The clerking team is the best in London - you can tell that they really understand their barristers' practice and they are always willing to go above and beyond." "The clerking is always very responsive, quick, organised and efficient." Rachel Holmes is the chief executive; Elizabeth Bousher is the practice management lead for civil liberties.

Strengths:

Aidan O'Neill QC
Aidan O'Neill QC 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.
"Aidan O'Neill QC is demanding and exacting, but what he produces is extraordinary." "He gets a fantastic range of interesting work."
Recent work: Continued to act for more than 250 core participants from Scotland in the Infected Blood Inquiry.

Strengths:

Alex Bailin QC
Alex Bailin QC 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 ECtHR.
"He has a lot of strings to his bow, but he really understands international law and civil liberties."
Recent work: Acted in Nevzlin v Russia, an ECtHR appeal regarding the multiple murder convictions of a Yukos Oil executive.

Strengths:

Ayesha Christie
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.
"Ayesha really makes a difference helping with strategic decisions, perfecting evidence and ensuring cases make it to final hearing." "She is really great to work with and I highly recommend her."
Recent work: Appeared in AB v Secretary of State for Justice, concerning the treatment of a 15-year-old boy detained at Feltham Young Offenders Institution. AB claimed he was held in solitary confinement for 55 days in breach of his Article 3 rights.

Strengths:

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
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 a real doyenne of protest work; no one can come anywhere close to her on protests." "She is really intelligent, hard-working and compassionate." "She is really tenacious, intellectually gifted and fights hard for her client."
Recent work: Appeared in R (Turani) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a case challenging the government’s refugee resettlement scheme on grounds that it was irrational and discriminatory, because of its de facto exclusion of Palestinian refugees from Syria on nationality grounds.

Strengths:

Chris Buttler QC
Chris Buttler QC frequently handles judicial reviews concerning fundamental rights and claims for damages under the HRA. 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 Buttler is a phenomenal barrister who is incredibly generous with his time." "He is very robust. He is very good at fighting his clients’ corner and he does it effectively."
Recent work: Appeared in R (Salvato) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a successful challenge that established the legislative rules for claiming the childcare costs element of Universal Credit were irrational and indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex.

Strengths:

Clare Montgomery QC
Clare Montgomery QC 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.
"She can turn her hand to anything and she is absolutely fantastic." "Her advocacy is phenomenal."
Recent work: Successfully overturned the convictions of the 'Stansted 15' at the Court of Appeal in R v Thacker and Others.

Strengths:

Daniel Squires QC
Daniel Squires QC 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.
"His creative and innovative approach to cases marks him out as superb counsel." "I find him very straightforward, very persuasive and charming." "Dan Squires is a great strategic thinker; he works collaboratively and he has an instinctive sense of where the court will be on difficult issues."
Recent work: Appeared in a successful challenge to the use of automated facial technology (AFR) by South Wales Police. The Court of Appeal ruled that the police’s use of AFR breached the right to privacy and breached discrimination legislation.

Strengths:

Danny Friedman QC
Danny Friedman QC 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.
"I can’t speak highly enough of his meticulous preparation." "Danny thinks of the big picture, gets into the detail and is incredibly creative." "One of his USPs is his imaginative ideas; he always has initiatives up his sleeves."
Recent work: Acted as co-lead counsel for more than 300 survivors and bereaved families in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Strengths:

David Wolfe QC
David Wolfe QC 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.
"David is a fantastic advocate with a razor-sharp brain. He is incredibly clever, very pleasant to work with and very collaborative in his approach." "He cuts to the point very quickly and he thinks of some of the most interesting legal points."
Recent work: Acted for QXH, a man with mental health difficulties, in a claim that challenged the legality of UK Research & Innovation’s methods of allocating funding for medical research. He argued this led to more funding of research into physical than mental health issues.

Strengths:

Edward Craven
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. He has been instructed in matters related to discrimination, terrorism and military actions of the state abroad. He is regularly seen at the Supreme Court.
"He is very clever and on the ball." "Eddie's drafting skills are immaculate; he is my favourite junior. He has a very good legal brain and is a complete pleasure to work with." "He is supremely charming."
Recent work: Acted in ‘Monica’ v UK, a challenge of the CPS’ refusal to prosecute an undercover officer for deception-based sexual offences.

Strengths:

Helen Law
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, ECtHR and ICJ.
"Helen has a knack for getting to the heart of the issues." "She is incredibly generous with her time, she is a very, very good strategic thinker and she is passionate about the issues affecting clients."
Recent work: Represented the former wives of several undercover officers as Core Participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

Strengths:

Helen Mountfield QC
Helen Mountfield QC 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.
"Still doing groundbreaking work and very much a leading public lawyer."
Recent work: Appeared for the EHRC as intervener in a Supreme Court challenge to the ‘two child limit’ on welfare benefits.

Strengths:

Hugh Southey QC
Hugh Southey QC 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 a very creative and fearless lawyer who fights relentlessly for his clients." "Hugh is very sharp, always on top of his brief and is very responsive."
Recent work: Appeared in a challenge to the role of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the investigation of a killing in 1972. It was argued that the PSNI lacked the necessary independence to comply with Article 2 of the ECHR.

Strengths:

Jesse Nicholls
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 has a first-rate mind, he is incredibly quick and he is a strategic thinker." "He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law." "He is a very careful barrister and is thorough in his advice."
Recent work: Acted for over 170 bereaved family members and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire in their claims for damages arising from the deaths and serious injuries suffered.

Strengths:

Jessica Jones
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 Jones is a superb opponent to have; she is tough, reasonable and easy to deal with." "She is a very astute, clever and ambitious barrister."
Recent work: Appeared in R (Salvato) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a successful challenge that established the legislative rules for claiming the childcare costs element of Universal Credit were irrational and indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex.

Strengths:

Jessica Simor QC
Jessica Simor QC 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 ECtHR, fielding additional expertise in climate change, education and tax matters.
"She has a very strong reputation in human rights law."
Recent work: Represented Friends of the Earth in a challenge to the legality of a decision to grant UK export finance to Total Mozambique for the exploitation of LNG reserves in an area of high conservation value, with serious human rights implications and allegedly in breach of the UK’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Strengths:

Karon Monaghan QC
Karon Monaghan QC 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, significant matters 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.
"Karon is phenomenal on equality law." "Karon is very clever, concise and gets to the point. She is brilliant on her feet and able to present cases in a compelling way."
Recent work: Continued to act in the UK Infected Blood Inquiry for four men who contracted HIV and HCV through contaminated blood products used in the treatment of their haemophilia.

Strengths:

Matthew Ryder QC
Matthew Ryder QC has developed a respected niche 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.
"Matthew Ryder is so calm, so clear, so erudite and so persuasive." "For tech surveillance work, he is a go-to."
Recent work: Instructed to intervene in the Supreme Court appeal ofCoughlan v Minster for the Cabinet Office on behalf of Operation Black Vote and others. The case concerned whether new voter ID requirements imposed by the government were unlawful or would result in unfair discrimination against ethnic minority voters and others.

Strengths:

Nicholas Armstrong
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.
"He is very assertive and down to earth." "Nick Armstrong is a direct and forceful advocate, whose passion for the work and detailed knowledge puts him at the top end of our list of go-to counsel."
Recent work: Represented the family of Jack Merritt in the Fishmongers' Hall Inquest.

Strengths:

Phillippa Kaufmann QC
Phillippa Kaufmann QC 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.
"Phillippa Kaufmann QC is the full package as she has phenomenal advocacy, but is also incisive at cross-examining." "She has an incredibly forensic mind, she is powerful in court and is a very impressive advocate." "Phillippa is intellectually and strategically quick, thorough and passionate, and she possesses equanimity where others would falter."
Recent work: Acted in Howard v Secretary of State for the Home Department. The case challenged legislation governing naturalisation on the ground that it discriminates against the Windrush generation by failing to disapply the good character requirement in their cases.

Strengths:

Raj Desai
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 ECtHR.
"Raj is organised, passionate and is incredibly supportive."
Recent work: Acted in Goodenough v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, a civil claim arising from a death following a police pursuit and use of fatal force.

Strengths:

Raza Husain QC
Raza Husain QC 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 a huge amount of knowledge, he is an amazing advocate and is a real delight to be led by." "Raza is the expert on refugee law in the UK."
Recent work: Appeared in G v G for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This was the first appeal to be heard by e Supreme Court on the issue of interaction between the Refugee Convention and the Hague Convention.

Strengths:

Richard Hermer QC
Richard Hermer QC 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.
"He will go above and beyond in his work for a case and he is extraordinarily knowledgeable." "Richard has an exceptional intellect and a humongous strategic brain." "His strongest quality is his ability to boil down the most complicated legal and factual issues to their bare bones and communicate them to the court."
Recent work: Represented thousands of citizens of the Niger Delta in a claim against Shell regarding environmental damage. The Supreme Court established the liability of a parent company for acts of overseas subsidiaries.

Strengths:

Samantha Knights QC
Samantha Knights QC 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.
"Samantha is a very good advocate and a very nice opponent."
Recent work: Appeared in ZV v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a Court of Appeal case which concerned a Lithuanian national trafficked into prostitution in the UK. The issues raised included whether the declaration of inadmissibility of an EU asylum claim was lawful.

Strengths:

Sarah Hannett QC
Sarah Hannett QC 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.
"Sarah Hannett is a really fantastic barrister. She is really hard-working and robust in her approach to challenging injustice."
Recent work: Appeared in R (Fair Play for Women) v Office of National Statistics, where the claimant maintained that sex recorded in the census had to correspond to a birth certificate or gender recognition certificate, and could not be how one self-defined.

Strengths:

Tim Owen QC
Tim Owen QC is a hugely respected advocate with a wide-ranging practice covering the full gamut of human rights issues. He is particularly well 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.
"He is extremely efficient and a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: Appeared in ZXC v Bloomberg, a Court of Appeal case on the Article 8 right to privacy in relation to being a suspect in a criminal investigation.

Strengths:

Zoe Leventhal
Zoe Leventhal 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 in appearing before the Supreme Court and regularly acts for both claimants and the government.
"Zoe is a talented and erudite advocate. She is ferocious when she needs to be and restrained when necessary." "She is a smart and thoughtful barrister." "She is very hard-working and really good to talk to and bounce ideas off."
Recent work: Appeared in Dolan v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, a challenge to ‘lockdown’ measures on human rights and vires grounds.

Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Matrix Chambers

firm
Location

Griffin Building

Gray's Inn

London

Greater London

UK

WC1R 5LN

View Set Profile

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)

London (Bar)

Civil Liberties & Human Rights


Aidan O'Neill QC
Band 4
Alex Bailin QC
Band 2
Chris Buttler QC
New Silks
Clare Montgomery QC
Band 2
Daniel Squires QC
Band 1
Danny Friedman QC
Band 1

6 of 29 results