Inquiries and Inquests


Chambers and Partners 2016

THE SET  Doughty Street Chambers expertly acts for bereaved families and key witnesses in multiple inquests and public inquiries. Its members are notably strong on proceedings arising from unlawful acts of state agents including the army, foreign security services and the police. The set is well versed in Article 2 inquests and judicial reviews. Its members have appeared in some of the most high-profile proceedings including the Al-Sweady Inquiry into the actions of British troops in Iraq and the Hillsborough inquest. They are noted for having "a diverse skill set, which is helpful when considering the direction a matter could turn."

CLIENT SERVICE Richard Bayliss leads the civil law clerking team at the set. 


Patrick O'Connor QC Known for his work in inquests and inquiries into prison detention, deaths in custody and the conduct of the military. He is often seen advising bereaved families in emotionally charged inquests. Strengths: "His chief attribute is that he is fearless and willing to take points that other people may feel are difficult." Recent work: Represented the Iraqi citizens in the Al-Sweady Inquiry into the conduct of British troops in Iraq. 

Henrietta Hill QC Represents bereaved families in inquests and inquiries into deaths where failures of the state have been a contributing factor. She is recommended for her ability to act for clients in high-profile cases which are subject to intense media scrutiny. Strengths: "She is effective and phenomenally well prepared." "When cases are so emotional she is able to retain clarity." Recent work: Acted for 22 of the bereaved families in the inquest into the Hillsborough stadium disaster. 


Adam Straw Highly regarded by peers for his capabilities in Article 2 inquests. He acts for the families of the deceased in complex inquests and inquiries and also handles judicial reviews which develop the law in this area. Strengths: "He is inventive and thinks outside of the box." "Phenomenal; he is second to none in his knowledge of inquests and is also cool and unflappable, responsive and supportive." Recent work: Acted on behalf of the family of ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in the public inquiry into his death. 

Caoilfhionn Gallagher Handles a variety of inquests and inquiries for bereaved families and other interested persons. Her practice focuses on the promotion of open justice and she has previously represented a consortium of media organisations in challenging reporting restrictions. Strengths: "She is passionate and able to pick up matters at short notice." "Always accessible and someone who thinks through the strategy," "she is outrageously bright and works very hard." Recent work: Represented one bereaved family in the Hillsborough inquest whose particular attention was focused on the failings of the South Yorkshire Police. 

Jude Bunting Specialises in acting for bereaved families in inquests and inquiries into deaths following acts or omissions to act by the state. He is skilled at advising families who are subject to attention by the press, including live interviews. Strengths: "He is very clear on the issues, is well prepared and has a nice court manner." "He has a very strong legal mind and is always contactable at the end of the phone." Recent work: Acted for a key witness in the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan, who gave evidence that he was holding a mobile phone with his hands up when he was shot. 

Alison Gerry Has built up a strong practice with a focus on representing bereaved families in death in custody proceedings. She is remarkably able in cases involving self-inflicted deaths in custody and prison restraint deaths. Strengths: "She is very strong on difficult cases, as she is not fazed, has good judgement and can shine a light on what's happened." "Her compassionate approach ensures bereaved clients feel confident that she has grasped the issues of concern to them." Recent work: Acted for the family of James Herbert who died in a police cell following police restraint. 

Martha Spurrier Offers expertise in inquests and inquiries arising from self-inflicted deaths in custody, deaths in psychiatric care and deaths of vulnerable children and adults in the community. Her ambit includes Article 2 inquests, judicial reviews against coronial decisions and civil claims against the state. Strengths: "Displays a tenacity and assertiveness far beyond her years." "Clients love her and she has a great way of disarming her opponents." Recent work: Secured a critical narrative verdict in an Article 2 inquest into the death of vulnerable adult Shaun Elliott. 

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