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5 Essex Court

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Head of Chambers: Jason Beer QC
Senior Clerk: Mark Waller
Chambers Director: Joanna Colton
Tenants: 41

THE CHAMBERS 5 Essex Court is a top-tier civil law set of chambers recognised for exemplary client service, depth and breadth of experience in its specialist areas and outstanding quality of counsel. Chambers has a formidable reputation in its core areas of practice – police law, public/administrative law, human rights, public inquiries, inquests, professional disciplinary/regulatory, information law, employment and personal injury.
Members, many of whom are recognised as leaders in their field, have appeared in many of the most significant civil law cases, inquests and inquiries over the last decade. Chambers represents a broad range of clients in both the public and private sectors and across the United Kingdom. The public accountability of many of the set’s clients is always a key consideration and members deploy measured, forensic advocacy coupled with an accessible, efficient and practical approach. A number of members accept direct public access work.


Police Law: Pre-eminent in this field, Chambers is consistently recommended as a leading set for police law. The strength in depth of the police law team is highlighted by the large number of members ranked at all levels of call in this area of expertise. 5 Essex Court’s highly regarded specialists are instructed by every police force in England and Wales and by Police Scotland on all aspects of police law. They have a formidable and unrivalled record of appearances in almost every case, inquest or inquiry of substance concerning police law to Supreme Court level.

Public/Administrative Law: Legal challenges to public bodies have been at the core of 5 Essex Court’s work for more than half a century. Members are often involved in public law cases that break new legal ground. They regularly advise and act in a wide range of public law cases for individuals, ministers and government departments, local authorities, regulatory authorities and other public bodies. The team includes members of each of the Attorney General’s panels of counsel. Members are particularly known for their work in cases that have a civil liberties, human rights or criminal justice dimension.

Public Inquiries: 5 Essex Court continues to lead in this area with members instructed in major inquiries including the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the Renewable Heat Inquiry, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the Undercover Policing Inquiry. The public inquiries team represents a broad range of clients and members are also regularly instructed as counsel to the inquiry. Public inquiries are inherently high profile and members are consistently praised for their effective handling of the sensitivities and challenges facing clients who are often in the spotlight for an extended period.

Inquests: Recognised as a leading set, 5 Essex Court offers a comprehensive service covering all stages of an inquest. The team comprises a large number of recommended specialists including a senior coroner. In addition to renowned expertise involving the police, members have extensive experience of representing clients from a range of sectors including other emergency services, healthcare providers, government departments, local authorities, prison services, security firms, publicly listed and private companies. Members of the inquest team have appeared in the most high-profile inquests of recent years, both as counsel to interested persons and as counsel to the inquest, including: Deepcut, London Bridge Attack, Westminster Terror Attack, Birmingham Pub Bombings, Perepilchnyy, Poppi Worthington.

Human Rights: 5 Essex Court barristers appear in some of the most ground-breaking human rights challenges in the courts today. Chambers’ caseload includes challenges to the actions of the police, government departments, prisons and other public bodies in the full range of courts from county level up to the Supreme Court. The team is skilled, robust and creative in dealing with claims which push the boundaries of human rights jurisprudence. The experience of members of the team includes international law and Commonwealth human rights litigation.

Disciplinary/Regulatory: Building on its widely recognised expertise in police misconduct, 5 Essex Court has a strong presence in the wider regulatory context. Members of the team represent regulators, companies and individuals across a range of sectors, including healthcare, energy and professional services, and in all manner of proceedings concerning regulatory law issues. These include professional discipline, civil claims, public inquiries and inquests.

Employment: Chambers has a talented team of employment law specialists providing advice and representation across the full scope of employment law issues. Members are renowned for their expertise representing government departments, public bodies and Chief Constables in employment law. Applying their vast experience in some of the most contentious and complex employment cases relating to public bodies, members work across all industry sectors, from national retailers and service providers to blue-chip financial institutions.

Personal Injury: 5 Essex Court’s personal injury team acts for a broad range of private and public sector clients including insurers, corporates, the police, prisons, government departments, and local authorities, as well as direct access clients. Members’ expertise covers the full spectrum of personal injury cases, from the most serious and complex multi-track claims to the simplest small track claims. Clients benefit from the team’s ability to draw on their expertise in other overlapping core areas of practice including employment, regulatory and human rights law.

Information Law: From national security to cyber security, 5 Essex Court’s information law team regularly provides advice and advocacy in matters relating to information and data protection law, with extensive experience acting for government, police forces, businesses and regulators. Members provide practical advice and advocacy at all stages, from time-sensitive crisis management through to complex and high-value litigation. Many members are security cleared up to and including developed vetting, and regularly work with highly sensitive material throughout the public and private sectors.


Jason Beer QC (1992) (QC-2011)

Fiona Barton QC (1986) (QC-2011)

Jeremy Johnson QC (1994) (QC-2011)

Anne Studd QC (1988) (QC-2012)

Samantha Leek QC (1993) (QC-2012)

John Bassett (1975)

Nicholas Wilcox (1977)

Charles Apthorp (1983) A

Alison Hewitt (1984)

Andrew Waters (1987)

Simon Walsh (1987)

Richard Oulton (1995) A

John-Paul Waite (1995)

Alan Payne (1996) A

Melvyn Harris (1997) A

Alastair Hodge (1997)

Victoria von Wachter (1997) A

Daniel Hobbs (1998) A

Barnabas Branston (1999)

Russell Fortt (1999)

Charlotte Ventham (2001)

Francesca Whitelaw (2003)

Kate Cornell (2003)

Claire Palmer (2003) A

Beatrice Collier (2004)

Mark Thomas (2006) A

Georgina Wolfe (2006)

Jonathan Dixey (2007)

Peter Taheri (2007)

Cicely Harward (2009)

Robert Talalay (2010)

Alex Ustych (2010) A

Robert Cohen (2009)

Amy Clarke (2010)

Catriona Hodge (2012)

Alice Meredith (2013)

Aaron Moss (2013) A

John Goss (2015)

Remi Reichhold (2016)

Peter Laverack (2015)

Molly Joyce (2016)

A Direct/Public Access