Henrietta Hill QC


Year of Silk


Year of Call

Henrietta Hill QC

Henrietta Hill specialises in inquests, inquiries, discrimination law, claims against the police and related public law work. 


She is ranked as a leading silk in Chambers and Partners 2018, which describes her as “phenomenally well organised, bright and very, very engaging”.


Previous comments include that "She goes the extra mile and gives you practical, very good advice", “very easy to get along with” and “recommended for her ability to act for clients in high-profile cases which are subject to intense media scrutiny”.


Henrietta is described as “having an exceptional legal mind” in this year’s Legal 500, which rates her as a leading silk in Inquests and Inquiries law.  


Henrietta is on the EHRC’s panel of preferred counsel.


She is very experienced in mediations and round table meetings. 


Henrietta regularly writes and lectures in her specialist areas. She has co-authored Promoting Equality and Diversity: A Practitioner's Guide and three editions of The Study Guide to The Human Rights Act, and recently wrote the Right to Equality section of Halsbury’s Laws: Rights and Freedoms.  She also has a wide international experience including work with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and teaching/research in Colombia, Montenegro and Hong Kong. Henrietta is a former recipient of the Liberty/JUSTICE Peter Duffy Award (previously the Young Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award).


She also sits as a part-time Assistant Coroner for Inner South London and has recently been appointed as a Deputy Master of the High Court Queen’s Bench Division.

Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities

Henrietta is frequently instructed in complex or high value cases of assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and other causes of action against the police and other public authorities, often on behalf of the dependants after an inquest.  She played a key role in settling the civil claim on behalf of the family of Jean Charles de Menezes [link], and more recently in several cases on behalf of protected witnesses and informants. 

She has particular expertise in bringing discrimination claims against the police, prisons and other public authorities, having authored Blackstone's Guide to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the Act which was the starting point for such claims.  Henrietta is currently instructed in several novel claims of disability and sexual orientation discrimination against the police and prisons.

She is also currently junior counsel for Martin McGartland, a former Special Branch agent within the RUC during the Northern Ireland troubles, in his civil claim, which is one of the first in which a closed material declaration under the Justice and Security Act 2013 has been made [2014] EWHC 2248 (QB).

She recently represented the original police complainant in R (West Yorkshire Police) v IPCC [2014] EWCA Civ 1367, an important test case about the powers of the IPCC in a ‘special requirements’ investigation.

Employment Law and Industrial Relations

Henrietta’s employment law work focuses on discrimination, whistleblowing and human rights-related cases. 

She has particular expertise in discrimination cases from the public sector, especially those involving allegations of discrimination within the police service.  This fits with her wider practice which regularly involves discrimination and other civil claims against the police brought by members of the public.  Henrietta represented the Claimant in Lynford v Chief Constable of Sussex, a widely publicised sex discrimination claim brought by the only female officer in the Gatwick Airport firearms squad (details), in which the Claimant was awarded over £350,000 in damages (believed to be one of the largest awards made in a public sector discrimination case); and two Gurkhas who successfully sued the Army for race discrimination (Thapa v MoD and Budha v MoD).

As well as employment litigation Henrietta has experience of leading and advising on internal employment investigations for organisations, including on sensitive discrimination issues.  She is also very experienced in round table settlement days and mediations. 

In 2015 Henrietta took silk, and was appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel.   In that capacity she has been instructed as counsel to their formal investigation into the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of grievances raising discrimination issues (see here).

Henrietta is ranked as a new silk in the Employment section of Chambers and Partners, which describes her as “Excellent and very experienced in employment work”.  

Equality and Discrimination

Henrietta has extensive experience in workplace discrimination cases as described in the Employment Law section of this page.  She also has particular expertise in bringing discrimination claims against the police, prisons and other public authorities and service providers, having authored Blackstone's Guide to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the Act which was the starting point for such claims.  She represented the Claimants in the landmark case of Morgan and Black v Wilkinson, in which a homosexual couple challenged their denial of access to bed and breakfast accommodation run by a Christian owner.  The Claimants succeeded in their claims of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation before the County Court [2012] Eq LR 1090 and the Court of Appeal [2013] 1 WLR 2490.  Henrietta also represented Liberty in the related claim of Hall v Bull [2013] 1 WLR 3741 before the Supreme Court in November 2013. She also has experience of leading and advising on internal investigations for organisations, including on sensitive discrimination issues. Chambers and Partners 2015 notes that Henrietta is "...particularly strong on discrimination law, and is equally at home running points in that area in both public and private law contexts."

Inquiries and Inquests

Henrietta has many years' experience representing the families of those who have died at the hands of state agents, in custody, or in other suspicious circumstances, and has appeared in several of the most high-profile inquests in recent years.  These include the inquests into the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes (details), Diana, Princess of Wales/Dodi Al Fayed, Ian Tomlinson (who died after being struck by a Metropolitan Police officer at the G20 demonstrations in 2009) (details), Alexander Litvinenko (who died of polonium poisoning in 2006) (details) (details) (details), Mikey Powell (details) (who died after being run over and restrained by West Midlands Police officers), Harry Stanley (who was shot by Metropolitan Police officers when carrying home a table leg) and Ruddock and others (the second New Cross fire inquest).  She has a particular expertise in police shooting cases and has represented the families in several so-called "suicide-by-cop" cases.  She has also appeared in many prison cases where it is alleged that the state has failed adequately to protect a vulnerable prisoner from the risk of self-harm.  Henrietta is experienced in challenging decisions of Coroners by way of judicial review and in bringing civil claims for damages on behalf of bereaved families.  Most recently she represented 22 of the families of those who died in the Hillsborough tragedy (details).  Henrietta has recently been appointed as Deputy Counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and  is lead counsel on the Inquiry's Case Study into the Child Migration Programmes.  She is also instructed in the inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy (who is suspected of having died from gelsemium poisoning).  Henrietta sits as an Assistant Coroner in Inner London (South).

Administrative and Public Law

Henrietta's public law work general arises out of her police and coronial cases.  Recent examples include R (Coll) v The Secretary of State for Justice (on behalf of the Howard league, Intervening) (challenging the discriminatory provision of Approved Premises for female offenders leaving prison); Secretary of State for the Home Department v HM Senior Coroner for Surrey and others [2016] EWHC 3001 (Admin) (an important case on the determination of public interest immunity claims in inquests);  R (Litvinenko) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others [2014] EWHC 194 (Admin);[2014] HRLR 6 (successfully challenging the refusal of the Home Secretary to establish a public inquiry into Mr Litvinenko’s death) and R (West Yorkshire Police) v IPCC [2014] EWCA Civ 1367 (a test case about the powers of the IPCC in a ‘special requirements’ investigation).

Henrietta was also instructed on behalf of families/complainants in R (De Menezes) v Inner South London Coroner (the de Menezes family's challenge to the Coroner's refusal to leave an unlawful killing verdict to the jury) and R (Mendys) v IPCC and others (successfully challenging the failure of the Independent Police Complaint Commission to ensure that officers involved in allegedly assaulting and abusing a father and son faced disciplinary proceedings).


Henrietta is a mediator with many years’ experience of participating in mediations and round table settlement days in her capacity as a barrister.  Over the years, she has assisted in negotiating favourable outcomes for the parties in a range of civil law disputes.  Often these have included complicated non-financial elements as well as damages.  She has been noted by other participants for her creative and sensitive approach to settlement discussions. 


Henrietta has a particular understanding of the issues that arise in workplace and discrimination disputes, or those involving the police and other criminal justice agencies, but has considerable competence to enable her to mediate across a range of subject matters. 

Recent Mediations include:

  • a civil claim for assault by a man whose back was seriously injured during an arrest
  • a high value disability discrimination claim for a senior IT professional from the healthcare sector
  • a widely publicised false imprisonment claim involving private individuals.
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