Profile image
Cian has a broad practice including administrative and public law, inquests, and actions against police and public authorities. He also has experience in community care, health and education, and media law. He has extensive expertise in international human rights law.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Cian spent ten years as a legal academic, teaching public and human rights law, criminal law, and international law. He was a Fulbright-Schumann Scholar at Georgetown and NYU.

Administrative and Public Law

Cian has been instructed in challenges to decisions of public authorities, including Government departments, before the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

This has included accountability for actions taken in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In one such challenge, the Government conceded the need to make changes to its policy on charges for hotel quarantine.

Cian has also been instructed to advise on the human rights related aspects of a judicial review challenge to the decision of a professional regulator.

He has a particular interest in the rights of protesters, and has represented protesters in criminal court, as well as assisting with judicial review and civil claims in protest cases.

Cian also has an interest in international matters or those with a cross-jurisdictional dimension. He has written about the challenges that recent decisions such as AB v. Secretary of State for Justice [2021] UKSC 28 pose for human rights advocacy in the European Human Rights Law Review.

Inquests and Public Inquiries

Cian acts on behalf of bereaved families in inquests touching on deaths in settings including prisons, in hospital, mental health custody, and in the community.

His recent instructions have included in inquests on behalf of the families of:

Cian was led by Maya Sikand QC in the inquest into the death of Mark Culverhouse, who took his own life while unlawfully detained at HMP Woodhill. The jury found that a defect in the system of licence recall and release, as well as detention in the Segregation Unit, contributed to Mark's death.

He was led by Fiona Murphy in the inquest into the death of Shane Bryant, who died after a 17 minute long restraint by an off-duty police officer and members of the public. The jury found that unreasonable force, and missed opportunities, both contributed to the death.

Cian has particular expertise on the engagement of Article 2 ECHR and has given training on Article 2 and its role in inquests and related civil claims. He has also acted pro-bono under licence from Advocate, with support from INQUEST.

Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities

Cian offers advice and representation in relation to actions against public authorities, including the police, as well as prisons and local authorities. Recent instructions have included:

  • Successful claims by prisoners against unlawful-strip searches in prison;

  • Advice on a claim against a police force for violation of the Equality Act, Data Protection Act, and Human Rights Act;

  • A claim against a local authority for unlawful disclosure of sensitive personal information.

Cian is a member of the Police Action Lawyers Group, and is a contributor to the forthcoming LAG book: Police Misconduct: Legal Remedies. He was a co-author of PALG’s response to the Government’s consultation on changes to the Human Rights Act.

Community Care, Health and Education

Cian undertakes a broad range of community care work, including under instructions from the Official Solicitor on behalf of vulnerable children and adults, representation before Special Educational Needs and Disability First Tier Tribunals, and in relation to deprivation of liberty proceedings. Cian’s recent instructions include:

  • the successful appeal against a refusal by a local authority to issue an EHC Plan for a child with special educational needs that arose from anxiety;

  • claims for unlawful removal of children from their parents, for failure to remove children, and for delays in the issue of care proceedings;

  • a claim for delay in the issue of a deprivation of liberty proceedings.

Cian has a strong commitment to access to education and undertakes pro bono work in this field.

Media and Information Law

Cian advises in relation to data protection claims – in particular against the police and public authorities in relation to the disclosure of sensitive personal data.

He has also assisted with:

  • the defence of a defamation claim brought against a public figure;

  • the defence of a data protection and breach of confidence claim against a solicitors firm;

  • the preparation of the Media Lawyers Association Online Safety Guide for Journalists.

International Human Rights Advocacy & Research

Cian is a member of the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Research Consortium. In addition to his teaching and research, Cian has led rule of law training for Advocates 4 International Development (A4ID) and been a communications volunteer for Liberty. He was a member of the legal sub-committee of the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign and has also collaborated on events and programmes with The AIRE Centre, JUSTICE, and Lawyers without Borders.

Amongst Cian’s publications are an award-winning book, EU Counter-terrorism Law, and an edited collection on EU Security and Justice Law. His current projects include editing By Peaceful Means: International Adjudication and Arbitration – Essays in Commemoration of David D. Caron – as part of a team led by Judge Charles N. Brower and President Joan D. Donoghue of the International Court of Justice.