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

She is ranked as a leading practitioner in Chambers and Partners 2019, which describes her as “phenomenal – razor sharp…an excellent advocate who has the ear of the court” and one who “has an amazing ability to establish a rapport with everyone on each side”. It is also said that “instructing her immediately has the effect of conferring authority and seriousness on your client’s claim”

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

Henrietta is described as having "extensive experience in high-profile inquests” and “outstanding presentational skills” in this year’s Legal 500, which rates her as a leading silk in Inquests and Inquiries law.

Henrietta regularly writes and lectures in her specialist areas. She has co-authored Promoting Equality and Diversity: A Practitioner's Guide and 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 has been appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Panel of counsel. Henrietta also sits as an Assistant Coroner for Inner South London and 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 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 often instructed in novel claims of disability and sexual orientation discrimination against the police and prisons.

Henrietta is currently representing Victor Nealon, whose conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) after he had served over 17 years in prison.

She also represents Anthony Hewlett in his disability discrimination claim against Hampshire Police, which required consideration of the rarely invoked provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983, s.139, requiring a High Court judge’s permission before such claims can be brought (LTL 12/10/2018).

Together with Ruth Brander, she represented the Howard League in their intervention in the Supreme Court case R (Coll) v Secretary of State for Justice, finding that the provision of approved premises discriminated against women.

Henrietta is also instructed in the case of Martin McGartland, a former Special Branch agent within the RUC during the Northern Ireland troubles, which was one of the first in which a closed material declaration under the Justice and Security Act 2013 was made (see here).

Henrietta represented the families of Jean Charles de Menezes and Mikey Powell in the various proceedings arising out of their deaths, including in the de Menezes family’s claim before the European Court of Human Rights (Da Silva v UK).

She is an active member of the Police Action Lawyers Group.

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 is on the EHRC’s panel of counsel.   In that capacity she was instructed as counsel to their formal investigation into the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of grievances raising discrimination issues and on the appeal in Moorthy v HMRC, on the tax treatment of injury to feelings awards.

She also has experience of leading and advising on internal investigations for organisations, including on sensitive bullying or discrimination issues.  Recent examples include investigations within the healthcare and higher education setting.

Henrietta is also very experienced in round table settlement days and mediations. 

Equality and Discrimination

Henrietta has extensive experience in workplace discrimination cases, and a 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 Eq LR 1090 and the Court of Appeal 1 WLR 2490.  Henrietta also represented Liberty in the related claim of Hall v Bull 1 WLR 3741 before the Supreme Court Together with Ruth Brander, Henrietta represented the Howard League in their intervention in the Supreme Court case R (Coll) v Secretary of State for Justice, finding that the provision of approved premises discriminated against women.

Henrietta is on 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 and in Moorthy v HMRC, on the tax treatment of injury to feelings awards.

She also has experience of leading and advising on internal investigations for organisations, including on sensitive bullying or discrimination issues.  Recent examples include investigations within the healthcare and higher education setting.

Chambers and Partners has noted 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 is Deputy Counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and is lead counsel in the Inquiry's investigations relating to Children Outside the UK, Custodial Institutions and Child Sexual Exploitation by Networks.

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, Diana, Princess of Wales/Dodi Al Fayed, Alexander Litvinenko (who died of polonium poisoning in 2006) (details) (details) (details), Mikey Powell (who died after being run over and restrained by West Midlands Police officers) and Ruddock and others (the second New Cross fire inquest).  She represented 22 of the families of those who died in the Hillsborough tragedy. She is also instructed in the inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy (a Russian whistleblower, suspected of having been poisoned).

Henrietta sits as an Assistant Coroner in Inner London (South).  She regularly writes and gives talks on aspects of coronial law.

Administrative and Public Law

Henrietta's public law work general arises out of her police and coronial cases. 

Together with Ruth Brander she represented the Howard League in their intervention in the Supreme Court case ​ R (Coll) v The Secretary of State for Justice, finding that the provision of approved premises discriminated against women.

She was also instructed in​ Secretary of State for the Home Department v HM Senior Coroner for Surrey and others EWHC 3001 (Admin), arising out of the inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, an important case on the determination of public interest immunity claims in inquests).  

Henrietta was also instructed in R (Litvinenko) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others 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 EWCA Civ 1367 and (a test case about the powers of the IPCC in a ‘special requirements’ investigation).