Quincy Whitaker


Year of Call

Quincy Whitaker

Quincy Whitaker has a practice encompassing all aspects of domestic and international criminal justice human rights law. She has experience across the range of the domestic criminal justice process from criminal trials and appellate proceedings, challenges to the compatibility of criminal law with human rights law through to representing victims of state misconduct, obtaining compensation and redress and her practice has a particular emphasis on prisoner’s rights law. She also has practical experience and detailed academic knowledge of international criminal law and international human rights law and has taught & lectured widely on the subject as well as appearing at a variety of international tribunals.


She has a first class masters degree in International Human Rights Law and has taught undergraduate and graduate degree courses at the LSE, SOAS and the University of North London on Human Rights Law, Administrative Law and Criminal Law.

Prison Law and Criminal Justice

Quincy has appeared in many High Court challenges concerning the compatibility of criminal law and procedure with Human Rights Law and most recently successfully challenged the legality of an amendment to the Wildlife & Countryside Act which was conceded to be unlawful in R(Dodsworth) v DEFRA & CPS in February 2012.

She has substantial experience of Prison Law and has acted for prisoners in a wide range of judicial review proceedings involving issues such as challenges to parole proceedings, security classification, oral hearings for Category A prisoners, eligibility for temporary release on licence, disability, racial and other discrimination, denial of medical treatment, challenges to conditions & facilities and access to visits and lawyers and in civil cases involving assault, negligence, misfeasance in public office and under the Human Rights Act.

Recent successful cases include R (MP) v Secretary of State for Justice [2012] EWHC 214  holding that the Secretary of State’s interpretation of his policy on eligibility for Childcare Resettlement Leave for prisoners who are sole carers of children was unlawful, that Article 8 was engaged by the decision and that the interests of the children must be taken into account, R (Longmire) v Secretary of State for Justice [2011] EWHC 1488 directing an oral hearing for the categorisation review of a Category A prisoner, R (Kebilene) v Secretary of State for Justice where the Secretary of State conceded the challenge to the legality of holding an administrative detainee at HMP Belmarsh rather than at the HMP Long Lartin Detainees Unit, R (Khan) v Secretary of State for Justice where the unlawfulness of the existing policy on calculation of eligibility for release on temporary licence for prisoners serving a default term was conceded and R v Pitchfork [2009] EWCA Crim 1231 concerning  tariff reduction for exceptional progress.

Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities

Quincy has an extensive civil practice in all aspects of prisoner’s rights, police misconduct and public law policing issues (in particular involving civil liberties and the right to protest). She has also successfully acted for Claimants in actions against the police and prison authorities for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, assault, negligence, misfeasance in public office, discrimination, legality of public order policing and other human rights issues including claims under the Human Rights Act.

Other Serious Criminal Offences

Experience in a wide range of criminal cases from fraud, drugs importation, confiscation proceedings, to murder, public order and public protest with a particular interest in cases involving human rights issues. She has successfully acted in many cases involving political protest, including the Greenpeace activists who were acquitted of causing criminal damage to Kingsnorth power station (R v Hall & Others) and those acquitted of public nuisance for boarding a tanker laden with GM animal feed (R v Ayliffe & Others) and anti-war protesters acquitted of causing criminal damage to B52 bombers at RAF Fairford (R v Olditch & others).

She has appeared in many High Court challenges concerning the compatibility of criminal law and procedure with Human Rights Law and most recently successfully challenged the legality of an amendment to the Wildlife & Countryside Act which was conceded to be unlawful in R(Dodsworth) v DEFRA & CPS in February 2012.

International Crime

Appeared as Defence Counsel before the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, where she was also briefed to act as an amicus to the court. She has a particular interest in transitional justice in post-conflict societies and has worked as a criminal justice consultant in Kosovo as well as conducting Human Rights Law training and seminars for government departments and senior police officers in the UK  and judges, lawyers and prison officials in Sierra Leone, Botswana, Cameroon and Turkey.

She has an in-depth knowledge and working experience of Caribbean constitutional law with a particular emphasis on the death penalty and has appeared in many of the leading cases in this area at the Privy Council (Thomas & Hilaire v AG Trinidad & Tobago [2000] 2 A.C. 1  - unconstitutional to execute prisoner while he has an outstanding application to an International Human Rights body , Neville Lewis v AG Jamaica [2001] 2 A.C. 50  - prerogative of mercy subject to natural justice - allegations of unconstitutional mistreatment must be determined with oral evidence; all proceedings to be concluded within 5 years or else execution violates constitutional prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment) as well as having worked in the Caribbean on behalf of death row inmates.

Freedom of Information and Data Protection

Quincy has advised in numerous cases involving  data protection, principally within the Criminal Justice context but also in relation to cases arising from Operation Elveden (sale of private information by corrupt police officers to newspapers) and misuse of private information by other state and private bodies. Within the criminal justice context Quincy has acted in judicial review and private law proceedings  concerning liability of the police, judicial and prison authorities for inaccurate data  held on the PNC, court and prison records;  inaccurate disclosure by police to Social Services and liability of Local Authorities for disclosure of a juvenile’s criminal convictions within their care raising the interplay of the DPA and duties under the Children’s Act. She has also acted in numerous judicial review proceedings for prisoners concerning issues of security categorisation and involving subject access disclosure and in many cases involving Enhanced CRC disclosure to employers.

In related  areas of judicial review in which she practises, information obtained through use of the Freedom of Information Act has been decisive; in one case tailored FOI requests demonstrated that a criminal offence created by secondary legislation had been enacted in error leading to the Regulations being quashed. She co-authored (with Keir Starmer QC) ‘Criminal Justice, Police Powers & Human Rights’ and was responsible for writing the chapters on the collection and retention of personal data, surveillance, the investigation of electronic data and the interception of communications.

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