Matrix Chambers

Civil Liberties & Human Rights Department

London (Bar)
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One of the UK's foremost human rights sets, Matrix Chambers is home to a deep bench of "well-organised and well-resourced" human rights specialists. Its members are regularly instructed at the highest level in many of the most prominent human rights and civil liberties cases. Matrix barristers have seen recent success in the Supreme Court on the high-profile DSD and NBV v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

Client service: "The clerking team is really a cut above in terms of accommodating your needs. They are extremely capable." Jason Housden is the practice director.

Aidan O'Neill QC
Dual-qualified in both Scotland and England, he 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.
Strengths: "Aidan is extremely user-friendly and supremely swift at getting to the heart of matters." "Experienced and capable of putting together ground-breaking arguments as well as incredibly approachable and helpful."
Recent work: Acted in Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, a judicial review concerning whether and when, as a matter of EU law, the UK could unilateral revoke its Article 50 TEU notification of intention to leave the EU and whether any such revocation would result in its continued membership on its existing terms.

Alex Bailin QC
Hugely respected for his civil liberties and human rights work, his very busy practice has a strong criminal law slant. 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 the ECtHR.
Strengths: "Personable and fierce in the protection of his clients."
Recent work: Advised various interested and affected parties following the Alan Turing pardon and the pardons granted by Parliament to thousands of other deceased in a similar position.

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
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.
Strengths: "Dedicated, thorough and tireless."
Recent work: Acted in R (McGuigan) and Others v Police Service of Northern Ireland, an appeal brought by the PSNI, the Department of Justice and the Secretary of State, challenging the High Court’s judgment that the failure to investigate allegations of historic torture, following the discovery of new materials indicating that torture was authorised and sanctioned at the highest levels of government, was unlawful.

Chris Buttler
He 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.
Strengths: "Chris is incredibly targeted in his drafting and has a very direct style in court, he pares a case down to its bare essentials, which judges like." "Even as a junior he can stand toe to toe with leading silks. He's brilliant on difficult and obstructive cases, ensuring the client gets outstanding advocacy."
Recent work: Acted for the lead claimants against an iron ore mine in Sierra Leone, in a claim that the mine was complicit in the police shooting of employees and protestors in 2010 and 2012.

Clare Montgomery QC
She 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.
Strengths: "Clare Montgomery is legendary in terms of extradition work."
Recent work: Acted in Guzelyurtlu and Others v Cyprus and Turkey, a hearing in the ECtHR Grand Chamber on Article 2 obligations to co-operate.

Daniel Squires QC
A popular silk with a strong civil liberties and human rights practice, known for taking the lead in the Supreme Court in high-profile cases. He receives instructions from both claimants and respondents on matters covering a range of areas, including prison and police law, terrorism and discrimination.
Strengths: "Dan Squires is bright, proactive, good to work with and his drafting is excellent." "Dan is an energetic, hard-working silk with an encyclopedic knowledge of human rights practice."
Recent work: Instructed as lead counsel in (B) v Secretary of State for Justice, representing AB, a child who was placed in solitary confinement for over two months with no educational provision or other purposeful activity. A leading authority on the legality of the solitary confinement of children.

Danny Friedman QC
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 recently been highly active in legacy cases involving human rights abuses in Northern Ireland. He has notable experience acting for individuals and interested groups, especially when it comes to cases concerning unlawful and controversial death.
Strengths: "Danny is a very effective advocate. He's incredibly hard-working, understanding and empathises with his clients." "A fantastic person to work with in terms of his energy, commitment and enthusiasm. He's very good at collating astonishing amounts of information and incredible in terms of the quality of his output."
Recent work: Appeared in Chong v United Kingdom, an important case concerning whether the temporal jurisdiction of ECHR applies to a 1948 massacre in Malaya and subsequent failed inquiries.

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.
Strengths: "Eminently reasonable." "Collegiate and clear thinking."
Recent work: Acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in EHRC v NHS England, a major challenge to the failure of NHS England to provide fertility preservation treatment as part of its services for people with a gender identity disorder.

Edward Craven
A highly regarded junior with a wide-ranging civil liberties and human rights practice who 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.
Strengths: "Edward Craven is excellent." "Consistently in many of the big cases, he is a junior of choice at Matrix."
Recent work: Represented the claimant, the mother of a suspected terrorist currently detained in Syria, in Maha Elgizouli v Home Secretary, a challenge to the lawfulness of the Home Secretary’s decision to facilitate the imposition of the death penalty against her son by authorities in the United States.

Helen Law
A fine junior 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 regularly appears in the Supreme Court, ECHR and ICJ.
Strengths: "She has exceptional judgement and she works very hard."
Recent work: Acted in Aihie v Chief Constable of British Transport Police, a civil claim for assault, false imprisonment, race discrimination, breach of Article 8 ECtHR and misuse of private information.

Helen Mountfield QC
A high-profile advocate in the field of civil liberties and human rights, she 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.
Strengths: "One of the leading lights in equality law and human rights. She's very nice to work with, very bright, and good at knowing what will and won't fly with the courts." "She's reliable, clear thinking and collegiate."
Recent work: Acted in R (Miller & Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, a high-profile case considering whether Parliament or the Crown had constitutional authority to trigger Article 50.

Hugh Southey QC
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.
Strengths: "Hugh is very knowledgeable, persuasive and sticks to his guns." "An extremely clever and charming advocate."
Recent work: Acted in R (AR) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and another, a challenge to a police decision to disclose details of a rape acquittal.

Jessica Simor QC
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.
Strengths: "Jessica Simor is very good and thorough."
Recent work: Represented the second claimant, Deir Tozetti Dos Santos, in R (Gina Miller) v. Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Karon Monaghan QC
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.
Strengths: "She fights very hard for her clients and has good strategic sense of how a case will pan out." "Karon is phenomenal to work with and her written and oral advocacy are wonderful to observe."
Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the appellants in R (Steinfeld and Keidan) v Secretary of State for International Development, a case concerning whether the prohibition on opposite sex couples entering a civil partnership breaches Article 14 of the ECHR taken with Article 8.

Matthew Ryder QC
Has developed a respected niche in human rights matters concerning media, police, surveillance and privacy elements. He is frequently instructed in significant police misconduct, state surveillance and journalists' rights work, and has handled several major undercover policing cases.
Strengths: "He's a very accomplished silk. A really effective, low-key advocate who gets important points across in a very understated manner."
Recent work: Instructed as lead counsel by Liberty in Big Brother Watch & Others v United Kingdom, one of a series of challenges against the UK government’s mass telecommunications interception programme and intelligence sharing regime.

Nicholas Armstrong
A skilled junior 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.
Strengths: "Very smart and effective." "Nick is an excellent jury advocate, he's incredibly clear and very good at breaking down and conveying complex material with great simplicity."
Recent work: Appeared in VW v MOJ, a challenge to the decision to roll out the use of pepper spray in prisons. The case raised issues under Article 3 and the extent to which the Government considered the impact on those with protected characteristics.

Phillippa Kaufmann QC
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.
Strengths: "A compelling advocate and very easy to work with." "Very intelligent and forceful, Phillippa's a really strong advocate."
Recent work: Appeared for the respondents in Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v DSD and Another, a Supreme Court appeal stemming from a complaint against the police under Article 3 ECHR. The appeal, brought with the support of the intervening Home Secretary, was dismissed.

Raj Desai
An up-and-coming junior 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.
Strengths: "Raj Desai is quite the genius. He's one to watch."
Recent work: Appeared in the Supreme Court for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in DA and DS and Others v SSWP, a challenge to the politically controversial flagship benefit cap to families comprising single parents with young children.

Raza Husain QC
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.
Strengths: "He's extremely easy to work with, very good with clients and has a relaxed advocacy style." "He's really enthusiastic and knows his stuff. He can take a creative approach; he definitely thinks outside of the box."
Recent work: Continued to represent the claimants in a high-profile judicial review challenge to the Home Secretary’s refusal to permit a group of refugees to enter mainland UK from the UK’s Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, where they have lived in limbo for almost 20 years.

Richard Hermer QC
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. Strengths: "Richard Hermer is the leading light for civil claims against corporations. He's respected by the court, very pleasant to work with and his advocacy and strategic senses are brilliant." "Richard has a huge amount of appellate advocacy experience. He's fantastic at managing the judges."
Recent work: Acted in Belhaj v Jack Straw & Others, a case brought against the former foreign secretary and MI6 for complicity in extraordinary rendition and torture. The case settled on terms that included a personal apology from the Prime Minister and a statement to the House of Commons from the Attorney General.

Samantha Knights QC
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.
Strengths: "Samantha is a fluent advocate, meticulous on paper and with a good reputation in asylum and refugee work." "Very thorough and great to work with."
Recent work: Instructed in ZV v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a case concerning the interface between EU refugee law and trafficking.

Sarah Hannett
A well thought-of public law junior who has expertise in civil liberties and human rights cases with a focus on equality. She draws on her significant experience in education, local government and community care matters.
Strengths: "An excellent barrister; very thorough."
Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the appellants in R (Steinfeld and Keidan) v Secretary of State for International Development, in which the Supreme Court held that the prohibition on opposite sex couples entering into civil partnerships breached Article 14 of the ECHR.

Tim Owen QC
A hugely respected advocate with a wide-ranging practice covering the full gamut of human rights issues. He is particularly recognised 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.
Strengths: "Tim is well respected by the court. He has an easy manner and a real trial lawyer's sense of how to run a case; he's very good in cases against the government."
Recent work: Acted in R (K, A & B) v Secretary of State for Defence, a judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse to extend protection and assistance to three Afghan claimants who asserted that they had worked as undercover agents for the UK for many years in Helmand province.

Zoe Leventhal
Routinely instructed in high-profile matters in the human rights field, she displays a particular flair for environmental, planning, social security and EU law. She 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.
Strengths: "She's good at cutting through technicalities, making it easy for the judges." "Zoe is brilliant. She's an all-rounder, really clever, really hard-working and a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: Acted for the claimants in DS & Others v SSWP, a challenge to the Government’s benefit cap of £350 per week. The Supreme Court considered whether the cap discriminates against lone parents and their children, and whether it is a breach of their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.