Edward Fitzgerald QC


Year of Silk


Year of Call

Edward Fitzgerald QC

Edward Fitzgerald QC has been named as Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year (Chambers Bar Awards 2013). Previous commendations include Legal Aid Lawyer of the year in 2009, the winner of the Silk of the Year award in 2005 and Times Justice Human Rights Award in 1998. He specialises in criminal law, public law, judicial review and international human rights law. In June 2008 he was awarded the CBE for services to human rights.


He is ranked 1st in Extradition in Chambers and Partners and has been described as “a true intellectual giant – a top-class extradition and appellate lawyer”.


As a criminal practitioner he has featured in many of the leading cases involving high profile defendants, extradition, appeals against miscarriages of justice, and international law. Amongst others he has defended Silvio Berlusconi, Boris Berezovsky, Akhmed Zakayev (the Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya), Michael Missick (the Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands) and the Chief Justice of Gibraltar, Derek Schofield.


His practice extends to Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. He successfully led the campaign to save the life of Yong Vi Kong, who had been sentenced to death in Singapore. He conducted the defence of Michael Wong in Hong Kong at first instance and successfully represented him and Shum Chiu in their successive appeals against their convictions in the Hong Kong Court of Appeal. He successfully represented Lai Kan Lai in her appeal to the Hong Kong Court of Appeal. And, more recently, he won the appeal of Sam Tak Lee in the Final Court of Appeal on a point of law concerning legal professional privilege. Finally, he represented Nancy Kissel in her re-trial and will be representing her in her review against the Long Term Prison Sentences Review Board in Hong Kong in 2017.


He has extensive experience of jury trials including the defence of the Winchester Three, the Canary Wharf Bomber, Abu Hamza, Chetan Popat, Sarah Thornton (in her retrial) and has won a name as a skilful cross examiner in a number of high profile inquests and inquiries. He also frequently appears in the Privy Council in cases involving the constitutions of the Commonwealth Caribbean, death penalty appeals and extradition.


In the field of public law he has argued many of the leading cases on inquest law, prisoners' rights, mental health law and refugee law, detail further below.


His clients have included Gary McKinnon in his fight against extradition, the Gurkhas in their fight for residence, the Hillsborough victims' families, the family of Derek Bentley in his successful posthumous appeal, the family of Private Farr in his battle for a posthumous pardon. He is representing Janan Harb (former wife of the King of Saudi Arabia), in her claim against the Saudi Royal Family, and has successfully defeated the claim of sovereign immunity in the High Court.


He has a wide ranging practice in international law. He has won many leading cases in the European Court against the United Kingdom, Greece and Spain, including, Abu Qatada v UK, Venables v UK, Steele and Others v UK,  Stafford v UK, Scott v Spain and Portington v Greece. He has appeared in the Privy Council in numerous cases involving criminal appeals and constitutional challenges, including the cases of R v Reyes, R v Hughes and R v Fox, which struck down the mandatory death penalty in the Eastern Caribbean and Belize.


Edward has been called to the Bar in numerous jurisdictions including Belize, Grenada and St Vincent and has been granted rights of audience to appear in cases in Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.


He has appeared for the Fortis Energy Inc. at the Caribbean Court of Justice and has appeared for Michael Ashcroft in the Belize Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice. He represented Steve Ferguson in the Trinidadian Court of Appeal in a case vindicating the appellant’s right to be tried in Trinidad rather than extradited to the US and appeared for the Grenada 17 in the case of R v Coard and Others, both in the Privy Council and on their re-sentencing in Grenada. He also argued the case of R v Bowe and Davis in the Bahamian Court of Appeal and the Privy Council. This led to the end of the mandatory death penalty in the Bahamas.


Some of Edward’s recent cases have included Pitman and Hernandez on the application of the Jogee decision in the Caribbean; and the constitutionality of sentencing to death those suffering from intellectual impairment. Judgment is awaited. On 22 June 2015, he represented the Chagos Islanders in their bid to reopen the appeal. The Supreme Court narrowly ruled against it by 3 votes to 2. On 20 July 2016, he won the appeal of two defendants against the extradition to Greece on the grounds that prison conditions were inhuman. This has effectively put extradition to Greece on hold. On 27 July 2016, Edward represented Shavargo McPhee in the Privy Council in a successful appeal against conviction on the grounds that he was subjected to prolonged periods of questioning without any legal advice or presence of a suitable adult and unexplained extended periods of time outside of his cell, rendering the confession unreliable.  In December 2015, Edward successfully defeated the Rwandan government’s request for extradition against the alleged genocidaire, Celestin Ugirashebuja on Article 6 grounds. The appeal by the government to the High Court was heard in December 2016 and judgment is awaited.


Edward is currently representing Philip Harkins in the Grand Chamber on 11 January 2017 in challenging the decision ordering the Claimant’s extradition to USA where on conviction he would serve a sentence of life without parole (‘LWOP’). The Claimant is contending that the Florida’s system of LWOP violates Article 3 and that extradition to face it is therefore prohibited by the ECHR. Edward is also representing Lauri Love in the High Court in challenging the extradition to the USA on federal charges of cyber crime and in particular hacking. Lauri is vulnerable and has serious mental health issues which would put him at high risk of suicide if he were to be extradited.


Edward has given many lectures and seminars throughout the world, including Hungary, Russia, France, Hong Kong, Barbados and Belize. He is the author with Keir Starmer QC of “A Guide To Sentencing In Capital Cases”. He is also author of the chapter on sentencing in “Taylor on Appeals”. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Law in 2013.


Edward’s Practice Manager, Harriet Massie, can be contacted on h.massie@doughtystreet.co.uk

Professional Discipline and Regulation

Edward Fitzgerald QC has wide experience in representing professionals in disciplinary proceedings. He has frequently represented doctors before the GMC, pharmacists before the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and lawyers before the Bar Disciplinary Committee and the Legal Executive Appeals Tribunal.

He has appeared for judges and public servants in constitutional proceedings in the Caribbean and Gibraltar, including the Chief Justice of Gibraltar, the Director of Audit in Grenada and he has taken a number of challenges to dismissal of public servants in constitutional appeals from Trinidad in the Privy Council.

In the field of sports he has successfully represented the Olympic Athlete Arthur Lanegan O’Keefe and the Irish Pentathlon Association before the Court of Arbitration for sport to vindicate his selection for the 2012 Olympic Games; and has represented Willy Mullens before the  Appeals Board of the Jockey Club in England.

His cases include  Colman v GMC  [2010] EWHC 1608 (QB)GMC v Quinn [2010]; NT v GMC [2013]; Lawrence v AG for Grenada [2007] UKPC 18; Jhagroo v Teaching Service Commission Privy Council (Trinidad and Tobago) 4/12/2002;  the case of Chief Justice Schofield from Gibraltar in 2008; Mullens v Appeals Board of Jockey Club; and the case of Henry Gow before the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal in July 2013.

Criminal Appeals

Edward Fitzgerald QC has a specialist practice in criminal appeals. He has appeared in a number of high profile jury trials, including R v Sarah Thornton, R v Popat, R v Abu Hamza and the recent “milkshake murder” case of HKSAR v Nancy Kissel in Hong Kong; and in a number of cases involving guilty pleas and mitigation such as R v Venables.

He has been involved in numerous important and difficult cases involving miscarriages of justice, issues of provocation and diminished responsibility, and difficult or complex points of law in the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and the Supreme Court. These include:

  • R v Erskine [2010] 1 WLR 183
  • R v Coutts [2006] 1WLR 3154
  • The Michael Stone appeal [2005] EWCA Crim 105
  • The Bridgewater Three appeal
  • The Derek Bentley appeal [2001] 1 Cr.App.R. 21
  • R v Cullen and Shanahan (The Winchester Three appeal) [1991] 92 Cr.App. R. 239
  • R v Sarah Thornton [1993] 96 Cr.App. R. 112 - This case involved provocation and diminished responsibility.

Privy Council Appeals

He has a special expertise in Privy Council appeals and has argued many of the leading appeals from Commonwealth Caribbean including a series of breakthrough cases involving the death penalty. His criminal appeal cases before the Privy Council include:

  • Shavargo McPhee (Appellant) v The Queen (Respondent) (Bahamas) [2016] UKPC 29
  • Lester Pitman & Neil Hernandez v The State
  • Ramdeen v The State [2014] 3 WLR 1523
  • Hamilton and Lewis v The Queen [2012] UKPC 31
  • R v Pippesbourgh and Robateau [2008] UKPC 11
  • R v Trimmingham [2009] UKPC 25
  • R v Benedetto and Labrador [2003] 1 WLR 1545
  • R v Matthew [2005] 1 AC 433
  • Reyes v The Queen [2002] 2 AC 235
  • R v Greene Browne [2000] 1 AC 45
  • State v Sankar [1995] 1 WLR 194

Sentencing Appeals

Edward Fitzgerald has a special expertise in sentencing appeals and has conducted many of the leading sentencing appeals before the English Court of Appeal. These cases include some of the leading cases on discretionary life sentences, sentences of imprisonment for public protection and guideline cases involving minimum periods for mandatory lifers, drug importation and sexual offences. Some of the important sentencing cases he has argued are listed below:

  • R v Coonan [2011] EWCA Crim 5
  • R v Erskine [2010] 1 WLR 183
  • R v Orobator [2010] EWHC 58 (Admin)
  • R v Pedley and Martin [2009] 1WLR 2517. On the level of risk required to justify a sentence of imprisonment for public protection.
  • R v Pyrah and Lichniak [2003] 1 AC 903
  • R v Offen [2001] 1 WLR 253
  • R v Mitchell [1997] 1 Cr.App.R. (S) 90. On the choice between hospital orders and life sentences.
  • R v Richardson [1994] 15 Cr.App. R. (S) 876. Sentencing for large scale supply of drugs.

Mitigation cases

Edward Fitzgerald has extensive experience in sentencing at first instance. He has presented the mitigation in a number difficult and sensitive cases. These include:

  • R v Venables [2012] EWCA Crim 1653
  • R v Reyes [2002] 2 AC 235


Edward Fitzgerald has been a leading extradition practitioner for the last twenty years. He is ranked 1st in Extradition in Chambers and Partners and has been described as “a true intellectual giant – a top-class extradition and appellate lawyer”.

He has represented many high profile defendants in successful extradition battles. These include Mr Akmed Zakayev in his successful contest of extradition to Russia; Boris Berezovsky; Stanley Tollman; Lotfi Raissi; Roisin McAliskey; Ejup Ganic and Gary McKinnon. He has won numerous extradition cases against the United States, in the UK, Trinidad and the British Virgin Islands. He has also successfully acted for numerous Russian defendants, and particularly a number of defendants involved in the Yukos cases. Moreover, he has been at the forefront of the development of human rights challenges to extradition including a number of recent Supreme Court cases involving Article 6 (1); Article 5 (4) (Pomiechowski and Lukaszewski v Poland); and the case of F-K v Poland establishing new protections under Article 8 for mothers and children facing separation as a result of extradition.Some of the leading cases in the field of extradition include:

Marku v Nafplion Court of Appeal Greece and Murphy v Public Prosecutor’s Office to the Athens Court [2016] EWHC 1801 (Admin). He represented two appellants in an important extradition case against the Greek government. Edward represented both Marku and Murphy. The court held that the extradition could not take place because of the dangerous conditions in Korydallos Men’s Prison and Nafplio Prison. This is an important decision because it is based on the risk of inter-prisoner violence and in that respect brings a new dimension to the directive of Article 3. This halted all extraditions to Greece.

Harkins v UK, Application no. 71537/14. Edward is representing Philip Harkins in the Grand Chamber on 11th January 2017 in challenging the decision ordering the Claimant’s extradition to USA where on conviction he would serve a sentence of life without parole (‘LWOP’). The Claimant is contending that the Florida’s system of LWOP violates Article 3 and that extradition to face it is therefore prohibited by the ECHR.

The case of Gary McKinnon. Edward Fitzgerald represented Gary McKinnon over many years in this judicial review proceedings and drafted the representations to the Secretary of State which resulted in her withdrawing the order for extradition.

Poland v F-K [2013] 1 A.C. 338. Successful challenge to the decision to extradite Mrs F-K. This is a historic win and is now one of the very few cases in which extradition has been halted on Article 8 grounds.

Poland v Lukaszewski and Pomiechowski [2012] 1 W.L.R. 1604. Supreme Court case dealing with Article 8 issues. Mr Fitzgerald successfully represented the Appellants in a Supreme Court case which established the new approach to time limits for appeal in extradition cases. It was held that the appellants had complied with the time limits by faxing the front sheet of their application to the CPS.

USA v Ferguson CV2010- 04144. Successful challenge to the decision to extradite Mr Ferguson. The judge accepted Mr Fitzgerald's arguments that the Forum Conveniens for the trial of Mr Ferguson on charges of conspiracy to defraud was Trinidad and not the US.

Fuller v A-G of Belize [2011] UKPC 23. One of the last appeals to the Privy Council from Belize, vindicated the right of person sought for extradition to argue abuse of process in the courts.

Serbia v Ganic  DJ Workman, 27th July 2010. Extradition case of a former member of Bosnian presidency, who successfully contested extradition to Serbia.

Rwanda v Ugirashebuja and Ors [2009] EWHC 770 (Admin). The successful appeal of Mr Ugirashebuja who is wanted in Rwanda for genocide.

Government of Rwanda v Celestin Ugirashebuja CO/314/2016. Edward is representing Celestin Ugirashebuja in revisiting the Rwandan government’s appeal to the High Court to secure extradition of the men, who are alleged to have participated in the genocide. The case has centred around the political regime in Rwanda, the provisions of Rwanda's Transfer Law, and the ability of the Rwandan criminal justice system to provide fair trial rights in genocide cases.

United States of America v Stanley Tollman [2008] EWHC 184 (Admin). Successful ruling against the extradition of Stanley Tollman on grounds of oppression before the District Judge following the remittal of the case from the High Court.

Federal Republic of Germany v Roisin McAliskey Recorder of  Belfast, 27th Nov 2007. The successful appeal against extradition to Germany on terrorist charges of Roisin McAliskey, the daughter of Bernadette McAliskey, a case heard in Belfast.

R (On behalf of Lotfi Raissi) v SSHD [2008] EWCA Civ 72. Successful challenge to the Secretary of State's decision to refuse compensation to Lotfi Raissi, the Algerian pilot wrongly accused of participation in 9/11 plot and sought by the United States of America for extradition.

Russian Federation v Chernysheva and Maruev, DJ Workman, 18th March 2005  Russian Federation v Temerko  DJ Workman, 23rd December 2005. In this series of cases Edward successfully represented a number of defendants sought by the Russian Federation for their alleged involvement in the crimes of the Yukos company.

Russian Federation v Izmaylov  DJ Workman, 22nd December 2008. He also successfully represented Mr Izmaylov in his fight against extradition to Russia.

International Law

Edward Fitzgerald has an extensive International Law practice, involving public international law and international human rights law. He has represented the Belize government in its case against Guatemala; and advised governments of  Kazakhstan, Ecuador and Qatar on matters of international law and human rights law. He has challenged governmental decisions in numerous cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the African Commission of Human Rights. He has also appeared for individuals challenging conduct of states in the European Court of Human Rights, the Privy Council and the domestic courts of the Eastern Caribbean, Belize, Bahamas and Trinidad.

  • Steve Ferguson (Appellant) v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago (Respondent) [2016] UKPC 2
  • Abu Qatada v UK [2012] 55 EHRR 1
  • Venables and Thompson v UK [2000] EHRR 121
  • Stafford v UK [2002] 35 EHRR 32
  • Johnson v UK [1999] 27 EHRR 296
  • Singh & Hussain v UK [1996] 22 EHRR 1
  • Scott v Spain [1997] 24 EHRR 391
  • Portington v Greece App. No. 28523/95
  • Steel and Others v UK [1999] 28 EHRR 603
  • Edward represented the applicants Mitchell and Jones in the case of Jones and Others v Saudi Arabia in the House of Lords and conducted their appeal to the European Court of Human Rights
  • Mangouras v Spain [2012] 54 EHRR 25
  • A-G of Belize v Zuniga and Others – Civil appeal Nos 7, 9 and 10 of 2011 in Belize Court of Appeal

He has also been involved in the case of Young Vui Kong v DPP in Singapore challenging the mandatory death penalty.

Prison Law and Crime Related Public Law

Edward Fitzgerald has thirty years of experience in the field of prisoners’ rights. Since the 1980s he has argued many of the landmark cases in the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal which established prisoners’ rights of access to the courts; access to lawyers and access to journalists. He also argued the leading cases that established the right to judicial review of disciplinary adjudications, including the case of ex parte Leach. Finally, he has taken many of the leading cases that established the rights of prisoners to parole review, and to fairness at parole reviews. His important cases have included:

  • ex parte Smith [2006] 1 AC 159
  • SSHD ex p Anderson [2003] AC 837
  • ex parte Hindley [2001] 1 AC 410
  • ex parte Pierson [1998] AC 539
  • ex parte Venables and Thompson [1998] AC
  • ex parte Leech [1994] QB 201
  • ex parte Wilson [1992] QB 740
  • ex parte Findlay [1985] AC 318

He has also successfully argued many important cases establishing the rights of prisoners in the European Court. These cases include:

  • Venables and Thompson v UK [2000] EHRR 121
  • Stafford v UK [2002] 35 EHRR 32
  • Johnson v UK [1999] 27 EHRR 296
  • Singh & Hussain v UK [1996] 22 EHRR 1
  • Benjamin and Wilson v UK [2003] 36 EHRR 1
  • Thynne, Gunnel and Wilson v UK [1991] 13 EHRR 666

Administrative and Public Law

Edward Fitzgerald QC was named Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the year 2013. He has life long experience in a wide ranging number of Public Law fields. He has particular expertise in areas of Public Law relating to the criminal justice system and prisoners’ rights; asylum and deportation; mental health; coroners’ law; and the review of the decisions of the disciplinary bodies - including the GMC and public service bodies in Commonwealth jurisdictions.

Some of Edward’s recent notable cases in the public law include:

R (on the application of Bancoult (No 2)) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Respondent). Edward represented Louis O’ Bancoult in his fight to reopen his case against his removal from the Chagos Islands. In June 2016 the Supreme Court found (by a majority of 3 to 2) that the ruling by the House of Lords that upheld a UK Government ban on the islanders returning to their homeland should not be re-opened, despite a failure by the Government to disclose relevant material during the course of the original case. However, the Supreme Court sent a signal to the Government that, in light of current knowledge that the islands could be resettled, the ban needed to be reconsidered.

R (Gary Vinter and An Xiang Du) v Secretary of State for Justice. This case involves Applicants who are serving whole life sentences or very lengthy sentences for murder that will almost inevitably mean that such prisoners will die in prison before having any opportunity for their sentence to be reviewed. This pending application seeks permission to appeal the decisions of the Administrative Court in refusing permission for judicial review and refusing to stay the Appellants’ claims for judicial review. Edward submits that the lack of review criteria fails to meet the standards required by Article 3 of the ECHR and is incompatible with the developing case law.

Al-Sirri v SSHD [2012] 3 WLR 1263. In this case the Supreme Court ruled that individuals accused of involvement in acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN are disqualified from refugee status only if it can be shown that there are serious reasons for considering that actions for which they are responsible have a serious  effect on international peace and security.

Othman v SSHD [2013] EWCA Civ 277. The successful challenge of Mr Othman to the decision of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to order his deportation to Jordan. SIAC announced its decision on 12th November 2012. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

R(on the application of Gujra) v CPS [2012] 3 WLR 1227. This case involved a challenge to the policy of the DPP to take over and discontinue any private prosecution where he would not himself have initiated a prosecution. The Supreme Court ruled against the Appellant by the narrow margin of three votes to two and upheld the DPP’s policy.

Ashcroft and Others v Attorney General of Belize [2014] CCJ 2 (AJ). This case involved a successful challenge to the constitutionality of legislation passed by the Belize government that targeted Mr Ashcroft and his companies and sought to mandate disproportionate penalties if they sought international arbitration in breach of anti arbitration injunctions imposed by Belize courts. The Court of Appeal ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional and violated the principle of separation of powers.

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