Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities


Chambers & Partners 2016


THE SET  Doughty Street has a sizeable team of silks and juniors bringing claims for individuals affected by police misconduct and representing bereaved families in inquests and inquiries. Members of the set have appeared in many of the most prominent recent cases including Michael v Chief Constable of South Wales, which concerned a delay in responding to a 999 call, and R (Catt) v MPC, about whether the retention of sensitive information constituted an invasion of privacy. They are active in proposing legislative changes to improve policing. "Doughty Street is my first choice for actions against the police," comments one interviewee; "it has outstanding barristers with a real mix of intellect and political commitment."

CLIENT SERVICE "They're organised, friendly and efficient." Richard Bayliss leads the civil clerking team. 


Heather Williams QC Brings claims against the police relating to the abuse of power and discrimination. Strengths: "She combines an exceptional intellect with a down-to-earth approach and is involved with every aspect of the case down to the smallest detail." "She is a force of nature as far as advocacy is concerned. She has an incredible work ethic and is formidable in cross-examination." "She is the number one police actions barrister." Recent work: Represented the family of a victim in the high-profile inquest into the Hillsborough disaster, concentrating on the involvement of officers from South Yorkshire Police. 

Nicholas Bowen QC Represents claimants, including police officers, in actions against the police. Strengths: "He's a very clear thinker. He is enormously hard-working and totally dedicates himself to the case. He's excellent on his feet and an excellent advocate." Recent work: Led a bid to sue South Wales and Gwent police forces on behalf of the family of a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend despite having twice called 999. 

Henrietta Hill QC Took silk in January 2015 and maintains her commitment to bringing claims against the police on behalf of those discriminated against or otherwise mistreated, and to representing bereaved families in inquests. Strengths: "She offers skilled cross-examination." "She is very sharp and very good on the law." "She is keen to help out and go into the trenches. She has a thorough and practical knowledge." Recent work: Acted in the Hillsborough Inquest for 22 families of victims of the disaster. 


Jude Bunting Picking up steam in challenging police law cases, and has been involved in reviewing the police duty to protect vulnerable individuals from injury. Strengths: "He understands the issues well and will always find a way to argue something perceptively." "He is a clear up-and-coming authority in police law." "He is very intelligent, exceptionally hard-working, and takes on novel cases which push at the boundaries of the law." Recent work: Brought a claim against two Welsh police forces on behalf of the family of a woman stabbed to death by her ex-partner despite having made two 999 calls for help. 

Adam Straw Applies a thorough understanding of public law and human rights issues when challenging police conduct on behalf of claimants. Strengths: "He has a phenomenal reputation and strikes me as someone on his way firmly to the top." "He has an outstanding intellect and work ethic. He is one of the best juniors around."  Recent work: Acted for a claimant whose son, suspected of being a robber, was shot fatally by a police marksman. 

Ruth Brander Brings claims and appears in inquests arising from alleged transgressions by the police. She practises in the related, and often overlapping, areas of prison, criminal and public law. Strengths: "She's a brilliant lawyer and tactician, and phenomenally hard-working." "The way she thinks things through and comes up with new arguments is extremely impressive. She's incredibly thorough." "She was amazing on the technical points. She was lovely with the client too. On her feet she was really excellent."  Recent work: Undertook a judicial review of the long-term retention by police of data about harassment warning letters that have been issued; succeeded in ensuring that such retention be either properly justified or stopped. 

Nick Brown Represents claimants wrongly charged with crimes or psychologically scarred by police. He also appears in inquests on behalf of the families of those who have died in custody or during policing operations. Strengths: "He is impressively thorough in his analysis with an exceptional eye for detail." "He is a very reassuring barrister. He is realistic but is not afraid to take on interesting or novel claims." Recent work: Brought claims on behalf of eight women who sustained psychiatric injuries after having been misled into having sex with undercover police officers.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher Runs a busy public law practice spanning such areas as community care, inquests, prison law and police law. She has appeared, both led and unled, in many significant actions against the police, some of which reached the Supreme Court. Strengths: "She is outrageously bright and works very hard." Recent work: Represented the Equality and Human Rights Commission before both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in relation to the question of whether enhanced criminal records checks, which demanded that job applicants disclose cautions and convictions for minor offences, constituted an invasion of privacy. 

Alex Gask Has built up a first-rate practice litigating against the police and other public bodies. He concentrates on instances where claimants' human rights have been breached. Strengths: "I have a 100% success rate with him so far. His advice and particulars of claim are spot-on. He's one to watch. He's really on the ball with police actions." "He's very good and very clever." Recent work: Successfully brought claims against the Metropolitan Police on behalf of claimants who had CS gas sprayed into their faces by a police officer during a protest. 

Alison Gerry Brings claims and undertakes judicial reviews of police actions on behalf of claimants. She frequently deals with human rights and misfeasance issues. Strengths: "She is exceptionally bright and has a fantastic ability to grasp and develop complex cases, often running novel legal arguments."

Nick Stanage Represents claimants in actions against the police relating to such issues as discrimination, abuse of power and misfeasance. He also acts in inquests for the families of those who have died in custody or in circumstances with police involvement. Strengths: "He is a very skilled advocate.

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