Theo Huckle QC & Christopher Johnson to speak at the APIL annual conference and AGM 2018

Theo Huckle QC & Christopher Johnson to speak at the APIL annual conference and AGM 2018  on Tuesday, 17 April (2.00pm - 3.00pm)


The de minimis argument in the context of noise induced hearing loss

• Pushing the limits of Rothwell: can (or should) NIHL which is objectively identifable ever be dismissed as de minimis? Is there room for a test case?

• An update on de minimis “hot topics” after Evans v Department of Energy and Climate Change and Anor:

• Losses at or above 4 kHz

• The status of the 2015 Guidelines (the LCB) • The phenomenon of “loudness recruitment” • The threshold of subjectively appreciable hearing loss.


More information can be found here



Hearing the Arguments

Theo Huckle QC and Christopher Johnson ask whether a recent case spells the end of de minimis and loudness recruitment arguments in NIHL cases. 


Read the article here

An International Use of Force in Salisbury?

15.03.18 | |

In the afternoon of Sunday, 4 March, Mr Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury. Mr Skripal is a former Russian agent convicted of espionage for the West, exchanged in a spy swap and brought to live in the UK. He, his daughter and a number of individuals who had attended to them were found to have been exposed to a nerve agent known as Novichok. At the time of writing, both remained in critical condition in hospital, with uncertain prospects of recovery. One of the first responders, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, was also kept in hospital in a serious condition.


On 12 March the British Prime Minister addressed the House of Commons. She claimed that it was ‘highly likely’ that the government of the Russian Federation was responsible for the action. She asserted that ‘either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.’ She demanded a ‘credible response’ by Russia within a day, indicating that, failing such a response, the UK would conclude that this action ‘amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.’


The responsibility for the action was placed on the Russian Federation by the UK government in view of its previous suspected involvement in the assassination in the UK of former Russian security operative Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 using the similarly exotic means of radioactive polonium, instances of politically motivated killings allegedly undertaken by Moscow elsewhere, and Moscow’s perceived generally aggressive attitude towards the West, and the UK in particular, especially after its purported annexation of Crimea in 2014.


The Russia government dismissed the allegations and requested samples of the nerve agent in order to mount its own investigation, ignoring Ms May’s deadline. Moscow instead offered cooperation through the relevant mechanism of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). While Russia’s responsibility for the action will evidently remain contested, this post considers the claim of the UK government that it amounts to a ‘use of force’.


Read more here.

BBC Calls for Talks with Iran over BBC Persian Journalists

The Director of the BBC World Service Group, Jamie Angus, has today called on the Iranian authorities to stop the harassment of BBC Persian journalists in London and their families in Iran and appealed to the authorities to discuss any grievances they may have about the BBC Persian Service coverage. BBC Persian staff and their families have come under sustained harassment and persecution from the Iranian authorities for the last nine years.


Jamie Angus said: “I invite them to come to speak to us at any time and any place. In public or in private. We are happy to investigate any complaints respectfully.” He was speaking at a side-event at the 37th session of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in Geneva. Angus emphasised that Iran should raise any editorial complaints with the BBC and that “the persecution of BBC Persian families and their staff is unacceptable”. 


The UK Ambassador to the UN, Julian Braithwaite, also called on Iran to cease all action against the BBC staff and their families, and end its harassment of independent journalism. “Freedom of expression and of the press is a hallmark of an open society,” he said.


Speaking via a video message the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye, said it was clear that for the Iranian authorities any affiliation with the BBC is a crime; “Iran should cease all legal action against BBC Farsi staff and their families and cease the use of repressive legislation against independent journalists whether affiliated to the BBC or not.”  


Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, counsel for the BBC World Service, said: “Harassing journalists and accusing them of espionage for simply doing their jobs is not a new tactic. But targeting family members and their sources, and taking this across borders, is new and deeply concerning.”


Jeremy Dear, Deputy General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said: “Iran stands condemned – for its human rights abuses, for jailing journalists, for those forced into exile, for those barred from returning, for the arbitrary arrest, detention, intimidation and harassment of media workers.”


Journalist and human rights campaigner, Maziar Bahari, recounted his own experiences in Iran: “I was arrested for doing my job in 2009 when I was a reporter for Newsweek magazine and making documentaries for different channels in the UK. During my interrogation I realised that doing my job as a reporter was my only crime.”


On Wednesday this week, a senior correspondent with the BBC Persian Service and NUJ member, Kasra Naji, delivered the first ever appeal to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of his colleagues. He address the Council and said: “When security forces arrested a 27-year-old woman in Tehran and took her to Evin prison, her captors contacted her sister in London, one of my colleagues in BBC Persian, with an ultimatum: Stop working for the BBC, or at least spy on your colleagues for us, in return for the release of your sister. When she refused they kept her in solitary confinement for 17 days.”


Naji also highlighted there are many other cases of persecution and harassment and Iran has escalated its attacks on BBC Persian staff, “by accusing 152 present and former BBC Persian staff of conspiracy against national security, and freezing their assets.” He described this latest act as an “unprecedented collective punishment” and a “mass assault on freedom of expression”.

Details of the Appeal to the UN can be found here. 

New crime team book on drugs offences published by Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury Press have published The Drug Offences Handbook this week, written by Tim Moloney QC, Steven Bird, Tom Stevens, Abigail Bright, Paul Mason and Harriet Johnson. The Handbook provides a comprehensive, focussed and concise analysis of the often complex evidential and litigation issues that relate to drugs cases.


It addresses the key areas in drugs offences, evidence and post-conviction matters.  These include manufacture and cultivation, importation, possession and supply, police powers of search and seizure, sentencing and confiscation.


The Handbook is the latest addition to the Bloomsbury Professional Criminal Practice Series.  It is a joint venture between members of the Doughty Street Crime Team and Birds solicitors. 


It can be purchased from the publisher here.



Russia nerve gas attack: Malcolm Hawkes discusses the legal questions on CNN: Hala Gorani Tonight

14.03.18 | |

Malcolm Hawkes was interviewed by CNN to add a legal commentary to the issues arising out of the nerve gas attack at Salisbury, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s public condemnation of alleged Russian state involvement in the offence.


Stephen Cragg QC speaks at Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

13.03.18 |

Stephen appeared on a panel for the London Premiere of the French film 12 Days. Every year in France, 92,000 people are placed under psychiatric care without their consent. By law, the hospital has 12 days to bring each patient before a judge. Relying on little information beyond doctor recommendations, a crucial decision must be made: will the patient be forced to stay or granted the freedom to leave?  Focusing primarily on these public hearings, renowned filmmaker and photographer Raymond Depardon captures the raw and vulnerable interactions at the border of justice and psychiatry, humanity and bureaucracy. Absorbing and thought-provoking, 12 Days gives a platform to those whose voices are so rarely considered.


Stephen Cragg QC specialises in cases concerning the police, the criminal justice system, access to information and social welfare law, and has appeared in many Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases in these areas. He has been involved with mental health law for over 20 years, acting for patients, NGOs and sometimes healthcare bodies in tribunal and High Court cases. He has been a part-time judge of the mental health tribunal for ten years, sitting on over 200 cases where mental health patients appeal against their continued detention in hospital.

The festival continues this week and more detail can be found here

Lekić v. Slovenia

On March 14, 2018 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hear oral arguments in the matter of Lekic v. Slovenia (application No. 36480/07).


The case concerns the adverse effects of the Financial Operations of Companies Act (so-called FOCA), passed by the Slovenian Parliament in 1999, on the rights of a former minority shareholder of a limited liability company. Notably, the FOCA introduced the unparalleled measure that purportedly inactive companies incorporated under Slovenian law were to be struck off the register of companies by the registry courts on their own motion. The striking off resulted into the former shareholders’ personal, joint and severe liability for the struck off company’s outstanding debt.


Mr Lekic, as a former shareholder who was forced to surrender his personal assets to cover the outstanding debt of the company in which he once held 11.11% share, complains that the implementation of the FOCA breached his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights. Namely, under Article 6 of the Convention, it is claimed that the proceedings which resulted in the striking off of the company did not measure up to the fair trial guarantees. Under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, it is submitted that the implementation of the former shareholders’ personal and unlimited liability for the outstanding debt of the struck off company amounted to an interference with the right to property which lacked the necessary procedural safeguards in terms of foreseeability and proportionality.


These complaints have been rejected by the Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights with a judgment of February 14, 2017.


On September 18, 2017, however, a panel of five judges of the European Court accepted the request to refer the case to the Grand Chamber, that was submitted, on behalf of the applicant, by Professor Andrea Saccucci, member of Doughty Street International, together with two Italian attorneys, Giulia Borgna and Matteo Zamboni, who act for the applicant before the Grand Chamber.


In the request for referral, as well as in the procedure before the Grand Chamber, the applicant’s representatives point to the extraordinary nature of the measure. Indeed, such a blanket implementation of the shareholders’ personal and unlimited liability for the company’s debt is unknown to any other State party to the Council of Europe. It contradicts the universal principle of company law of the strict distinction between a company and its shareholders.


They also point to the systemic implications of the FOCA. As a matter of fact, according to the data published by the Slovenian Ministry of Economy, from 1999 to 2007 more than 24,000 limited liability companies have been struck off. As a result, tens of thousands of former shareholders have been forced to pay the outstanding debt of these companies out of their pockets.


For this reason, the hearing of March 14, 2018, will have a crucial impact on the future of the Country entrepreneurship, and it will be of great concern for as much as 2.5% of the entire population of Slovenia.   


A webcast of the hearing can be found here.

BBC Makes Unprecedented Human Rights Appeal to UN with assistance of Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson

For the first time in its history, the BBC is making an appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to protect the human rights of BBC journalists and their families. This unprecedented move comes in response to years of persecution and harassment by the Iranian authorities, which escalated in 2017. BBC journalists will address the Human Rights Council 37th session (HRC37) to call upon member states to take action to protect BBC staff and to ensure their ability to report freely.
Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson were consulted by the BBC last year after 152 current and former BBC Persian were accused by the Iranian authorities of crimes against national security for their reporting work with BBC and subjected to an asset freezing order which prevents them from buying and selling property. This followed almost a decade of persecution and harassment, commencing in 2009, of BBC Persian staff and their families. Represented by Doughty Street, BBC World Service filed an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and Asma Jahangir on behalf of BBC Persian staff: the first time in the BBC’s history that it has had to resort to the UN to protect its journalists and staff.
BBC Director General, Tony Hall, said: “The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the United Nations because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored. In fact, during the past nine years, the collective punishment of BBC Persian Service journalists and their families has worsened. This is not just about the BBC – we are not the only media organisation to have been harassed or forced to compromise when dealing with Iran. In truth, this story is much wider: it is a story about fundamental human rights. We are now asking the community of nations at the UN to support the BBC and uphold the right to freedom of expression.”
Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC said: “Journalism is not a crime, but for almost a decade BBC Persian journalists have been systemically harassed and threatened simply for doing their jobs, and their families targeted. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right which underpins other freedoms. Without it, societies wither. The international community must stand up to the Iranian authorities and speak out to support BBC Persian and protect freedom of expression.”
In addition to the urgent appeal, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson have advised BBC World Service on the international legal and advocacy campaign to protect BBC Persian staff. Working with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Doughty Street Chambers, the BBC has organised a series of events during HRC37 in Geneva this week about BBC Persian. BBC journalists will speak during the session as IFJ representatives and there will be a side event on Thursday 15 June where Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC will speak about Doughty Street’s legal efforts.

The event will raise awareness about the persecution of BBC Persian Service journalists in London and their families in Iran. In additional to the criminal investigation and asset freeze injunction, they have faced arbitrary arrest and detention of family members in Iran, the confiscation of passports and travel bans preventing people leaving Iran, ongoing surveillance of journalists and their families, and the spread of fake and defamatory news targeting individuals especially women journalists.


As a result of the work of Doughty Street counsel, the treatment of BBC Persian staff is now firmly on the international human rights agenda of the UN. After the urgent appeal was filed by BBC World Service, UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and the late Asma Jahangir issued a joint statement expressing concern that the “Iranian authorities appear to regard any affiliation with the BBC as a crime” and that the “measures are clearly aimed at targeting the BBC and at preventing journalists from continuing their legitimate work with BBC Persian.”
During HRC37, the UN Secretary-General’s report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/HRC/37/24) specifically mentioned the persecution of BBC Persian staff and their families and the fact that “special procedure mandate holders issued a statement calling upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease all legal action against the BBC staff and their families, and to end the use of repressive legislation against independent journalism, whether affiliated to the BBC or not.”
Today in Geneva, the late UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir’s report will be tabled and discussed at the Human Rights Council. The late Ms Jahangir, a celebrated Pakistani human rights lawyer, reported being “disturbed after hearing the accounts of the staff members” and how the UN Special Rapporteurs have “issued a statement calling upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease all legal action against the staff and their families, and to cease the use of repressive legislation against independent journalism.”

Harriet Johnson secures acquittal for abuse victim who stabbed her husband

09.03.18 | |

Harriet Johnson has successfully ensured the acquittal of her client in a trial at Manchester Crown Court. Harriet’s client, K, was in a violent and abusive 5 year marriage. K had frequently reported the assaults by her husband to police, then withdrawn the allegations. 

When K was pregnant with their child, K’s husband attacked her with a weapon in a vicious assault causing her head injuries.  Fearing for her life and the life of her unborn child, K stabbed him in self-defence causing her husband life-threatening injuries.


After hearing detailed submissions at the close of the prosecution case, the Judge at Manchester Crown Court ruled that the case could not proceed beyond the half way mark, and directed K’s acquittal.  After spending five months on remand awaiting trial, K was duly discharged.


Harriet Johnson was instructed by James Goodfellow of Connor Ross Brown solicitors.


For information on instructing Harriet in similar cases, please contact her clerks 

Not guilty of “Hit Squad” murder.

09.03.18 | |

The Defendant, Connal Cocker-Dawkins, represented by Piers Marquis, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter by an Essex jury after a four  week trial.


He was alleged to have been part of a “hit squad” in an organised revenge killing; a brutal machete murder, in broad daylight on a suburban street.


The Prosecution built a largely circumstantial case after a “huge” police investigation, generating hundreds of hours of CCTV evidence and more than 60,000 pages of used prosecution material.


The Crown’s case theory had to be systematically unpicked to give credence to the Defendant’s case, that he was unwittingly present at what he thought would be the scene of a drug deal. Two co-defendants who were also at the scene were convicted of murder.


With Giles Cockings QC and instructed by Sasha Sidhu at SVS Solicitors.


Read about this case in the press here

Independent legal report on Brexit and Human Rights launched today in Westminster

The European United Left / Nordic Green Left ("GUE / NGL") Group of the European Parliament today launched an independent legal report on the Human Rights Implications of Withdrawal from the EU, authored by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Angela Patrick and Katie O'Byrne.


The report analyses the mechanics of the European Union (Withdrawal Bill), the Joint Report of negotiators, and the draft Legal Text published by the European Commission.  The report finds that Brexit, and the UK’s proposed withdrawal from the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, will result in a significant shrinking of human rights protections for UK citizens generally, as well as UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, and for the people of Northern Ireland in particular.  


The report provides concrete case study examples of the forms of rights regression that are likely to occur on Brexit across a number of different areas of law. It goes on to make recommendations to MEPs and negotiators on how human rights arguments might inform the future EU-UK relationship. 


The report was launched at Westminster today and is available online here


Doughty Street Women Apply For A Red Plaque To Honour Revolutionary Barmaids Who Defeated Churchill

08.03.18 |

This morning barristers from Doughty Street Chambers announced an application they have made for a Red Plaque (to mark “events of importance to the social history of the city”) in the centre of the city of Manchester, to honour the achievements of the Barmaids Political Defence League.


In 1908 the Licencing Bill was making its way through the Houses of Parliament.  The bill, supported by a number of prominent MPs (who were, at that time, all men) effectively gave the power to Magistrates to ban women from working in public houses.  The bill was welcomed by many religious organisations and by a group of MPs who published their opposition to women working on licensed premises, claiming that the lives of barmaids often ended in “drunkenness, immorality, misery and frequently suicide”.


Eva Gore-Booth, the suffragist, social worker, activist and experienced trade unionist, set up the Barmaids’ Political Defence League.  She headed a deputation of barmaids to lobby the home secretary, protesting against a Bill that had the potential to throw thousands of women out of work.  The furore over the Bill grew, attracting controversy for many political figures – including one Winston Churchill, a rising star, who publically supported the bill.


Things reached a head when Churchill was standing for re-election in his constituency of Manchester North West, where it was expected that he would stroll to victory: he had secured a majority of 62% over his opponent in his election two years earlier.


Two days before the election, Churchill addressed the public at the Coal Exchange in Manchester.  Thousands turned out to hear him speak.  Meanwhile, Eva Gore-Booth organised a coach, drawn by four white horses, to be driven around Manchester, with her sister, Constance Markievicz, at the whip. 


The women stopped periodically and stood on the roof of the carriage, making rousing speeches about the rights of women.  Gore-Booth urged voters to vote against Churchill, to prove to the Government that “it was not a minor matter to take away the livelihood of 100,000 respectable, hard-working women”.  At one stage, while addressing the crowd, Markievicz was heckled by a man who asked “can you cook a dinner?” “Certainly”, replied Markievicz, “can you drive a coach-and-four?”


The following day, the Barmaids Political Defence League organised their own mass meeting in the Coal Exchange in advance of the election.  Markievicz appealed to voters to support the Conservative candidate, William Joynson-Hicks, saying


“I have come over from Ireland to help because I am a woman.  I am not a Conservative – I am a Home Ruler – but I have come over here to ask everyone to vote for Mr. Joynson-Hicks because he, of the three candidates who are standing, is the only one who takes a straight and decent view of the barmaid’s question”.


Despite snow and bitter wind, turnout on election day was overwhelming, with 10,691 of 11,914 registered voters casting their votes.  At 9:30 on the evening of 24th April 1908, the result was announced: Churchill has lost, by a margin of 529 votes.


Shortly thereafter, the Licensing Bill was defeated after 294 out of 355 MPs rejected the bill.  During the debate, Wilfrid Ashley MP called into question whether “a body of men elected entirely by men had any moral right to prohibit the employment of women in a certain trade purely on sentimental grounds”.


The barmaids had won.


A crowdfunding page has been set up to support the costs associated with the project.  Those who wish to support the project can donate funds here.


Harriet Johnson, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in Manchester, submitted the application on International Women’s Day.  She said


"The story of the Barmaids Political Defence League is one that deserves telling; and, better yet, memorialising.  It is a story of Manchester; of resilience in the face of oppression; of women banding together to support and protect other women; and of the incredible difference that a single campaign can make.  This city is full of memorials to the achievements of men: on International Women’s Day, we think it’s fitting that we launch our campaign to memorialise some incredible Manchester women."


The application is supported by Sarah Judge, Assistant Executive Member and Lead Member for Women at Manchester City Council. 


The project will be officially launched by Harriet Johnson at Doughty Street Chambers’ annual celebration of International Women’s Day, the Manchester strand of which is taking place at the Midland Hotel on 13th March 2018.  As part of its other activities to celebrate International Women’s Day, Doughty Street Chambers are highlighting women’s invisibility in London street names, with a social media project to rename the local streets after suffragettes who were based in the Doughty Street area.  Doughty Street has also applied for a Blue Plaque to honour Helena Normanton, England’s first woman barrister.


Notes for editors:


The application for a Red Plaque was submitted on 8th March (International Women’s Day) by Harriet Johnson on behalf of Doughty Street Women.  Doughty Street Women is a group of barristers within Doughty Street Chambers.  More information can be found at or at the hashtag on twitter, #DoughtyStWomen


Any enquiries regarding the Red Plaque application or Doughty Street Chambers’ International Women’s Day celebrations should be directed to Harriet Johnson at or 0161 618 1066

Equatorial Guinea: Cartoonist Ramón Esono Ebalé released from prison

(Nairobi, March 7, 2018) – An Equatorial Guinean court on March 7, 2018 released an artist imprisoned on dubious charges for nearly six months, 18 human rights groups said today. The prosecution dropped all charges against Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist whose work is often critical of the government, at his February 27 trial after the police officer who had accused him of counterfeiting $1,800 of local currency admitted making the accusation based on orders from his superiors.  


"It is a huge relief that the prosecution dropped its charges against Ramon, but they should never have been pressed in the first place," said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International's Writers-in-Prison Committee. "We urge the authorities to guarantee his safe return to his family, allow him to continue creating his hard-hitting cartoons, and ensure that Equatorial Guinea respects the right to freedom of expression.”


The global #FreeNseRamon coalition, consisting of hundreds of artists, activists, and organizations devoted to protecting artistic freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights, carried out a campaign to direct international attention to his situation.


“Ramon’s release from prison is a testament of the power of collective work of hundreds of artists, concerned citizens, and NGOs,” said Tutu Alicante, director of EG Justice, which promotes human rights in Equatorial Guinea. “But we must not forget that dozens of government opponents who are not as fortunate fill Equatorial Guinea’s jails; thus, the fight against human rights violations and impunity must continue.”


Esono Ebalé, who lives outside of his native Equatorial Guinea, was arrested on September 16, 2017, while visiting the country to request a new passport. Police interrogated him about drawings critical of the government, said two Spanish friends who were arrested and interrogated alongside him and were later released.


But a news report broadcast on a government-owned television channel a few days after the arrest claimed that police had found 1 million Central African francs in the car Esono Ebalé was driving. On December 7, he was formally accused of counterfeiting. The charge sheet alleged that a police officer, acting on a tip, had asked him to exchange large bills and received counterfeit notes in return.  


“Equatorial Guinea’s government has a long record of harassing and persecuting its critics,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Ramon’s release is an important victory against repression.”


At the trial on February 27 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea’s capital, it became clear that the police officer who had made the accusations had no personal knowledge of Esono Ebalé’s involvement in the alleged crime, according to his lawyer and another person present at the trial. After offering details that conflicted with the official account, the officer admitted that he had acted on orders of his superiors, they said. The prosecution then withdrew the charges.


“We are delighted that Ramón was acquitted and is finally free,” said Angela Quintal, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists. “The fact that the state's main witness recanted, underscores the point that authorities manufactured the charges in the first place. Ramon should never have spent a single day behind bars and we trust that he will not be subjected to any further reprisal.” 


The human rights groups are Amnesty International, Arterial Network, Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Asociación Profesional de Ilustradores de Madrid, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Cartooning for Peace, Committee to Protect Journalists, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason, Doughty Street Chambers, UK, EG Justice, FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Freemuse, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, PEN America, PEN International, Reporters without Borders, Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. 


“Now that Ramon has been released, the authorities must launch a thorough and effective investigation into whether the charges against him were fabricated, and ensure that the criminal justice system is no longer misused to target and harass human rights defenders,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Equatorial Guinea.


For more information, please contact:
In Chapel Hill, for EG Justice, Tutu Alicante (Spanish, English, French): +1-615-479-0207 (mobile); or Twitter: @TutuAlicante
In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Sarah Saadoun (English): +1-917-502-6694 (mobile); or Twitter: @sarah_saadoun
In Washington, DC, for Cartoonists Rights Network International, Robert Russell (English): +1-703-543-8727; or Twitter: @BroDirector



Day 8: International Women’s Day - Where are all the Women?

08.03.18 |

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018


Day 1: 1 March 2018


Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here


Day 2: 2 March 2018


Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.


Day 3: 3 March 2018


Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here


Day 4: 4 March 2018


Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here


Day 5: 5 March 2018


Lamb’s Conduit Street became Haslam Street. Read more about Dr Kate Haslam here


Day 6: 6 March 2018


John Street became Kenney Street. Read more about Annie Kenney here


Day 7: 7 March 2018


Theobald’s Road became Richardson Street.  Read more about Mary Richardson here


Day 8: 8 March 2018 – International Women’s Day


Today, International Women’s Day 2018, we rename Russell Square as Pankhurst Square, in honour of Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), founder and President of the Women’s Franchise League and Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (“WSPU”).


Among the best known of the suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst was the founder (in 1889) of the Women’s Franchise League. It was considered among the more radical suffrage groups at the time in part because it advocated that women should have equal rights in respect of divorce and inheritance.


Born in Manchester, Emmeline lived in Bloomsbury, at 8 Russell Square between 1888 to 1893. In her drawing room in that house she held Women’s Franchise League conferences. In 1903, she was among the founders of the WSPU and a prominent participant in its activities, which resulted in her repeated arrest and hunger-striking.


Emmeline is honoured, together with her daughter Christabel, in Victoria Gardens in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament.  She will shortly be commemorated by the city of Manchester in a new statue, one of the first to honour any woman’s achievements there.


While Emmeline’s achievements may be well-known, her legacy has been profound.  Doughty Street Chambers was delighted to have her great granddaughter, Helen Pankhurst close this year’s London International Women’s Day event with the call to action Emmeline made legend: Deeds, not Words.



The #DoughtyStWomen urge you to continue to work for equality for all women everywhere.  Let us never forget that change is achieved through our deeds, not words.



#DoughtyStWomen Keina Yoshida, Kate Beattie, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Laura Pankhurst, Angela Patrick, Jen Robinson, Sian Wilkins and Jeannie Mackie mark the change of name from Russell Square to Pankhurst Square.

Day 7: Where are all the women?

07.03.18 |

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018


Day 1: 1 March 2018


Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here


Day 2: 2 March 2018


Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.


Day 3: 3 March 2018


Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here


Day 4: 4 March 2018


Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here


Day 5: 5 March 2018


Lamb’s Conduit Street became Haslam Street. Read more about Dr Kate Haslam here


Day 6: 6 March 2018


John Street became Kenney Street. Read more about Annie Kenney here


Day 7: 7 March 2018


Today, Theobald’s Road becomes Richardson Street.


Theobald’s Road was named after Theobald’s House, where the Stuart monarchs had their hunting grounds.


Today, we reimagine it as Richardson Street, after suffragette and activist Mary Richardson.


Mary Raleigh Richardson (1882/3 – 1961) was one of the most militant of the suffragettes.  According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, she grew up in Belleville, Ontario, and came to Britain when she was sixteen, studying art and travelling to Paris and Italy. She lived in Bloomsbury and whilst there undertook freelance journalism work. On 18 November 1910 she witnessed the events of ‘Black Friday’, when the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), led by Emmeline Pankhurst, lobbed Parliament and were brutally attacked by the police. This spurred her into joining the WSPU and she quickly became involved in militant activities. She later described the moment when she witnessed police brutality against protestors and decided to join the WSPU as like being enlisted “in a holy crusade.”


Mary Richardson was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned. She was arrested nine times and served several sentences in Holloway Prison for assaulting police officers, breaking windows (including at the Home Office and Holloway Prison) and for arson. She was one of the first two women to be force fed, under the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’ in 1913, having been arrested at the scene of an arson attack. She suffered extensive bruising and poor health as a result, and described this experience as “torture.”  


In October 1914 Mary was released from Holloway after a long period of forcible feeding and she found shelter at Jane Lyons’ boarding house at 48 and 49 Doughty Street, now the Charles Dickens Museum. This was the address from which she set out on the morning of 10 March 1914, when she went the National Gallery and famously attacked the Diego Velazquez painting, The Toilet of Venus (known as the Rokeby Venus) with a butcher’s hammer she had purchased on Theobald’s Road. The painting was one of the most expensive in the gallery (according to Lucinda Hawksley, March Women March) and it depicted Venus, the goddess of love. The act was said to be a protest to draw attention to the plight of Emmeline Pankhurst, who remained in Holloway on hunger strike (although see Elizabeth Crawford’s analysis on that point, here). Mary wrote a brief statement explaining her actions to the WSPU, and it was immediately printed in The Times:


“I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history. Justice is an element of beauty as much as colour and outline on canvas. Mrs Pankhurst seeks to procure justice for womanhood, and for this she is being slowly murdered by a Government of Iscariot politicians. If there is an outcry against my deed, let every one remember that such an outcry is an hypocrisy so long as they allow the destruction of Mrs Pankhurst and other beautiful living women…”


Mary Richardson’s actions led to immediate fame – or infamy. She was described as “‘Slasher’ Mary Richardson” by much of the press. An example of the coverage is this cover from the Daily Mirror the following day. She was sentenced to 18 months with hard labour, and many museums closed their doors to unaccompanied women.

We have learned of the link between Doughty Street and Mary Richardson’s notorious attack at the National Gallery from a blog by researcher and writer Elizabeth Crawford: ‘What Links Charles Dickens, the Rokeby Venus and the Number 38 Bus?’ (which you can read here).


Later in life, Mary became involved in politics, joining the Labour Party in 1919 and unsuccessfully standing for Parliament in 1922, 1926, 1931 and 1934. She briefly joined the British Union of Fascists in 1934 but left them in 1935 and took no further part in politics.


Mary Richardson died on 7 November 1961. A number of years before her death, she explained why and how she slashed the Rokeby Venus in a piece aired on BBC’s Woman’s Hour on 12 September 1957, which you can hear here.  She also described this incident in her 1953 autobiography, Laugh a Defiance.


Today, we acknowledge Mary Richardson and her local connection.



CAPTION: #DoughtyStWomen Mary Westcott and Keina Yoshida stand, fittingly, outside the police station on Theobald’s Road, where Mary Richardson purchased the butcher’s hammer she used when she set out from Doughty Street on 10 March 1914

Bar Human Rights Committee delivers training on rights of IPDs in Nigeria

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (‘BHRC’) in conjunction with the Nigerian Bar Association (‘NBA’) conducted a four-day training workshop on the enforcement of the legal rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the domestic, regional and international levels. The workshop took place in Abuja between 12 and 15 February 2018 and was delivered by BHRC Chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC, and members, Dr Tunde Okewale MBE and Jelia Sane, to a group of 55 Nigerian human rights lawyers practising in the North East of the country.


As a result of the conflict between Boko Haram and the state security forces, over 2 million people have been displaced in the northern states of Nigeria, making the nation  home to the 6th largest internally displaced population in the world. The vast majority of IDPs are in dire  need of protection and humanitarian assistance and face widespread abuses of their civil, political, and socio-economic rights, as well as discrimination on account of their displaced status.  Against this background, the principal aim of the workshop was to train participants on international normative framework relevant to the protection of IDP rights, the principle avenues of redress at the regional level and within the UN system, as well as best practices in evidence gathering and retention, in order to increase access to justice for IDPs.


BHRC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NBA and will continue to provide training and litigation support for human lawyers in the country  


More information about the workshop can be found here and here.


Guideline authority on electronic service in extradition: Greek prosecution appeal dismissed for filing appeal notice late

07.03.18 | |

Malcolm Hawkes represented a woman before the Divisional Court whose extradition was sought by Greece to serve a sentence of five years imprisonment for infanticide. The woman had given birth while on holiday in Greece, but her baby was found smothered shortly afterwards. She was held in prison for 11 months, at times in squalid conditions before being acquitted by a Greek jury. The Greek prosecutor appealed and, some six years later, secured her conviction and sentence in absentia and sought her extradition from the UK.


The woman was discharged on Article 8 grounds at the Westminster Magistrates Court. The CPS lodged an appeal against that decision and duly served notice of appeal on the court which was received and sealed. However, despite sending notice and grounds of appeal to the Respondent by email in time, these documents were not received within the 7-day statutory deadline. This, the court found, was likely because of restrictions on the size of attachments and mailbox capacity of the secure CJSM email system used by the CPS.


As a point of principle, the Divisional Court held that, when serving documents by email, it is essential that the sending party obtains confirmation of receipt of the message and attachments; the recipient would be expected to cooperate in that process. Whereas the Criminal Procedure Rules at 4.11 do establish same-day service of documents by email, that does not mean service is necessarily effective; rather, it creates a rebuttable presumption that the document has been received.


In the instant case, the court accepted the evidence of the woman’s solicitors, William Bergstrom and Chirag Patel that no appeal documents were received within the statutory period. The court agreed that the failure, by an appellant judicial authority to serve notice and grounds of appeal in time is indeed an incurable error and dismissed the appeal.


In Greece v LA, Malcolm was instructed by William Bergstrom of McMillan Williams Solicitors.


Day 6: Where are all the Women?

06.03.18 |

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018


Day 1: 1 March 2018


Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here


Day 2: 2 March 2018


Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.


Day 3: 3 March 2018


Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here


Day 4: 4 March 2018


Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here


Day 5: 5 March 2018


Lamb’s Conduit Street became Haslam Street. Read about Kate Haslam here


Day 6: 6 March 2018


John Street was named after 18th century carpenter John Blagrave.


Today, we reimagine it as Kenney Street, named after Annie Kenney, a suffragette who stayed in Jane Lyons’ boarding house in the area when on the run under the Cat and Mouse Act. She is often described as “an English working class suffragette” and she became a leading figure in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), very unusual in an organisation which was largely a middle-class one.


Annie Kenney (1879 – 1953) was born in Springhead, near Oldham, in 1879, into a large and poor family. By the age of 10 she had started working in a local cotton mill as a “half-timer”, spending her mornings working in the mill and afternoons at school. By 13 she was working full time on 12 hour shifts, from 6am to 6pm. Her job involved assisting weavers by fitting the bobbins and tending to strands of fleece when they broke; one of her fingers was ripped off when doing this work. She stayed working at the mill for 15 years, where she became very involved in trade union activities. She loved literature  and furthered her education by self-study. 


In 1905, aged 25, she and her sisters Jessie and Jane went to a meeting in Oldham where Christabel Pankhurst spoke about women’s voting rights. The Working Class Movement Library describes this as a key moment for Annie: “Annie was so inspired that she was soon organising and speaking at meetings, and joined the [WSPU] which Christabel has recently helped form.”  A few months later, in October 1905, Annie and Christabel attended a Liberal Party  rally together. Accounts of this event vary – some describe it as taking place in Manchester and the women heckling Winston Churchill; others describe it as taking place in London and them heckling Sir Edward Grey, a Minister. However, it is clear that it took place in Manchester, and it was reported in The Manchester Courier on 21 October 1905 (this extract is from Lucinda Hawksley’s book, March Women March: How Women Won The Vote, 2013). Annie and Christabel attended the meeting to ask that the Liberals support their campaign for Votes for Women. They were thrown out of the meeting and, in the ensuing struggle, a policeman claimed they kicked and spat at him. They held a meeting outside once ejected from the meeting. Both women were arrested and prosecuted. The Manchester Courier described the court case:


Mr Bell [the prosecuting solicitor]… said the defendants evidently went to the meeting with the firm intention of creating a disturbance. They appeared to have had a number of questions to put to the speakers and… one or both of them mounted a seat in the body of the hall and yelled and shrieked to the utmost of their powers. They were persuaded to desist but afterwards renewed the disturbance and were ejected from the hall… Miss Pankhurst spat in the faces of Superintendent Watson and Inspector Mather… When they got outside the defendants went into South Street and began holding a meeting. A crowd gathered round them and the police took them into custody for obstructing the thoroughfare. On her way to the police station Miss Pankhurst said that, having assaulted a police constable, she felt quite satisfied. Mr Bell added that the behaviour of the defendants was not such as was expected from ladies of education, but ‘it would be more attributable to women from the slums’… Miss Kenney said she felt it her duty to do what she had done.”     


It was also reported that, when the magistrates left to consider the sentence, Annie and Christabel put up a ‘Votes for Women’ banner in the courtroom. They were both found guilty and fined, but given the option of spending seven days in prison instead of paying. They refused to pay and so were brought to Strangeways Gaol. Their imprisonment attracted substantial publicity for the WSPU.


Once released, Annie Kenney attended an outdoor meeting in her honour, at Manchester’s Stevenson Square, where she critised the Liberal Party’s treatment of women and declared, “They have not tamed us. We have more fire in us than ever before.


In 1912, Annie Kenney became Deputy of the WSPU. She is described by the Working Class Movement Library as being “the only working class woman in a position of authority in the organisation.”

October 1905 was the first of 13 times that Annie Kenney was sent to prison. She was involved in many militant acts and underwent force-feeding repeatedly, being released and rearrested under the terms of the Cat and Mouse Act. It was during one of the occasions when she was released from Holloway Prison, having undergone force-feeding and when very ill, that she hid out at Jane Lyons’ boarding house on Doughty Street (described by Mary Richardson, and summarised in this anonymous blog). On one occasion when she had been released from prison, in January 1914, The Times reported that she attended a WSPU meeting at Knightsbridge Town Hall: “Miss Kenney was conveyed to the meeting in a horse ambulance; and she was borne into the meeting on a stretcher, which was raised to the platform and placed on two chairs. She raised her right hand and fluttered a handkerchief and, covered with blankets, lay motionless watching the audience. Later, her licence under the "Cat and Mouse" Act was offered for sale. Mrs Dacre Fox stated that an offer of £15 had already been received for it, and the next was one of £20, then £25 was bid, and at this price it was sold. Soon afterwards Miss Kenney was taken back to the ambulance. Detectives were present, but no attempt was made to rearrest Miss Kenney, whose licence had expired.”


In her book Prison Faces she later wrote, “The law may be stronger than I am, but if I may not change the wicked law that holds in bondage the smitten womanhood of this country, I will at least die in the attempt to change it.


We are proud to honour Annie Kenney, in acknowledgment of the sacrifices she made and her huge contribution to securing women’s suffrage.



Day 5: Where are all the Women?

05.03.18 |

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018


Day 1: 1 March 2018


Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here


Day 2: 2 March 2018


Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.


Day 3: 3 March 2018


Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here


Day 4: 4 March 2018


Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here


Day 5: 5 March 2018


Today, Lamb’s Conduit Street becomes Haslam Street.


Lamb’s Conduit Street was named after William Lambe, a local benefactor who gave £1,500 for the rebuilding of the Holborn Conduit (an Elizabethan dam) in 1564.


Today, we imagine it renamed as Haslam Street, in honour of Dr Kate Haslam, a local suffragist in Bloomsbury.


Dr Haslam was a founder member of the Tax Resistance League, which was founded on 22 October 1909 to “conduct a campaign of constitutional militancy and organised resistance by women to taxation” (Elizabeth Crawford, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866 – 1928).  Since 1870, a number of women had highlighted the anomalous position of women being subject to tax, but not having the vote – taxation without representation. The Tax Resistance League drew on this history, and on a longer tradition of tax resistance including that of John Hampden in the sixteenth century. He stood trial in 1637 for his refusal to be taxed for ship money and he was one of a number of Parliamentarians whose attempted unconstitutional arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons sparked the Civil War.


The founding meeting of the Tax Resistance League in October 1909 was held at the invitation of Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson. Dr Haslam attended that first meeting, at which the simple slogan ‘No Vote, No Tax’ was agreed. By 1910 she was a committee member.


Dr Haslam’s name comes up repeatedly in coverage of the work of the Tax Resistance League, and it is clear she was an active and key member of the group throughout its lifetime, from 1909 to 1918. For example, the 6 July 2012 issue of The Vote (see more here) describes how the League “after some difficulty” were able to attend the unveiling of a statue of John Hampden at Aylesbury, and so “able to pay their last tribute to the great Tax Resister.” They laid a wreath of white flowers with black writing, “From Women Tax Resisters.” Dr Haslam was one of those reported to be present.


The Tax Resistance League’s basic premise was described by Beatrice Harraden in the New York Times in 1913 as follows:

The least any woman can do is to refuse to pay taxes, especially the tax on actually earned income. This is certainly the most logical phase of the fight for suffrage. It is a culmination of the Government’s injustice and stupidity to ask that we pay an income tax on income earned by brains, when they are refusing to consider us eligible to vote.


Women in Criminal Law launched on March 1st.

05.03.18 | |

Women In Criminal Law launched on 1st March 2018 at The Law Society.  Despite the snow and travel problems, the hall was full of women and men, wanting to work together to make sure that our industry is a welcoming and empowering place for women working in the criminal justice system.  It was a wonderful occasion, filled with positivity and celebration. 


I am very proud of Doughty Street Chambers, who have been there from the outset, helping advising and resourcing our efforts to make WICL a success.  DSC also sponsors us, and with that support, we organised the official launch last week, and also have a programme of events to announce in the very near future. 


Check out my article in The Times this week here.


The future is looking bright for women working in the criminal law. Join us here


Katy Thorne QC

Founder Women in Criminal Law


The Privy Council has today handed down judgment in A v R (Guernsey) [2018] UKPC 4.  The case arose out of an Order requiring the making of maintenance payments in respect of a child made by the Court of the Seneschal in the island of Sark in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.  The Court had purported to make the Order pursuant to its powers under customary law.  The Appellant, in an appeal with potentially significant consequences for the citizens of Sark, argued that the Court of the Seneschal was a ‘creature of statute’ and had no customary law at all.  The Privy Council rejected the appeal.


The Privy Council's press summary is available here.


Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Sam Jacobs of Doughty Street Chambers acted for the Respondent, instructed by Nick Barnes of Ashton Barnes Tee, Guernsey.

Day 4: Where are all the Women?

04.03.18 |


Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018



Day 1: 1 March 2018

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here


Day 2: 2 March 2018

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.


Day 3: 3 March 2018

Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here.


Day 4: 4 March 2018

Gray’s Inn Road becomes Singh Street

#DoughtyStWomen Rebecca Trowler QC and Angela Patrick


Gray’s Inn Road was named after Lord Gray of Wilton, owner of a local inn or town house which was later leased to lawyers in the 16th century.


Today, we reimagine it as Singh Street, in honour of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948).


Sophia Duleep Singh was born in London, the daughter of the exiled last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.  Despite growing up with access to many privileges of the aristocracy (Queen Victoria was her godmother and she lived at Hampton Court) she became one of the leaders of the suffragette resistance.


She joined the Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (“WSPU”) in 1909. She worked closely with the WSPU when they were based near Doughty Street, at Clement’s Inn. She used her relative affluence to help fund the movement, and was known for selling copies of The Suffragette newspaper in Hampton Court. She was also an active member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League (“WTRL”) and had her property seized for her refusal to pay taxes. 


Ms Singh was among the leaders of the protest on “Black Friday”, 18 November 1910 at which more than 150 women were violently assaulted. In 1911 she threw herself in front of the car of the Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith bearing a “Give Votes to Women” banner. After 1918 she joined the Suffragette Fellowship.  She became its President in 1928 following the death of Emmeline Pankhurst.


Day 3: Where are all the Women?

03.03.18 |


Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018



Day 1: 1 March 2018

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here


Day 2: 2 March 2018

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.


Day 3: 3 March 2018

Roger Street becomes Kerr Street.

#DoughtyStWomen Heather Williams QC and Eileen Donaghey


Roger Street was originally called Henry Street, after Henry Doughty, a landlord in the late 18th century. It was renamed in 1937 and became Roger Street. Although the reason is unclear, it appears likely that it was renamed in honour of Sir Roger Charles Doughty-Tichborne. In 1867 the Doughty Estate was embroiled in the Tichborne case, when a claimant came forward asserting that he was Sir Roger and thus entitled to the Doughty Estate in Bloomsbury and other property (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).


Today, we reimagine it as Kerr Street, in honour of Harriet Roberta Kerr (1859-1940).


Harriet Kerr was born in West Ham. She ran a typewriting business in the City and it is reported that she gave up her secretarial business to work for the Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (“WSPU”).  She was the WSPU’s office manager and Secretary. She was famously photographed leading a group of women in protest in 1908, flag aloft, arms linked, in line with seven other suffragettes. 


Harriet Kerr was living at 18 Doughty Street at the time of the 1911 census and she was one of the women who refused to give her information as a protest at women not being allowed to vote. In 1913 she was charged with conspiracy to cause damage to property and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.  She went on hunger strike and was released under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913. This was commonly referred to as a ‘Cat and Mouse Act’. When the women were released they were given time to recover before being rearrested and taken back to prison to serve out the rest of their sentence. Further information on Ms Kerr can be found (by clicking here) at the LSE Women’s Library.

Day 2: Where are all the Women?

02.03.18 |

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018



Day 1: 1 March 2018


Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here


Day 2: 2 March 2018


Guilford Street becomes Lawson Street


#DoughtyStWomen Ulele Burnham and Amelia Nice 


Guilford Street in Bloomsbury, just north of Doughty Street, is named after Lord Frederick North, a former Prime Minister and the second Earl of Guilford.


Today, we imagine it renamed as Lawson Street, to honour Marie Lawson.


Marie Lawson (1881-1975), Women’s Freedom League


Marie Lawson was born in Sunderland. She was one of 6 siblings and the child of a solicitor. She studied law at the LSE but since law was a profession closed to women, she became a clerk at an engineering firm. At 21 years old, she took her own flat at 4 Guilford Street in Bloomsbury, which was then considered “a rather disreputable area” and “a forward thing to do”.[1]


In 1907 Marie joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in London. She joined the Women’s Freedom League and was elected to the executive in 1908. Marie formed Minerva Publishing Company in 1909, in order to produce The Vote. That same year, she refused to pay income tax and a year later she joined the newly founded Women’s Tax Resistance League. In 1911 Marie was one of the women who ‘vanished for the vote’ by refusing to register for the census. The records describe her and Emily Ridler, both “over 30,” as follows: “4 Guilford Street… Census night: resisters. Occupation: secretaries to suffragettes.”


In 1920-1923 Marie was vice-president of the Women’s Election Committee and a member of the International Women’s Franchise Club. She died in the south of France. We are proud to honour Marie Lawson, a local suffragette. Share her story.


[1] Elizabeth Crawford, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 

Upper Tribunal case on appointeeship

01.03.18 | |

The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) has published a decision in an appeal about the appointeeship system. This is the regime where social security benefits can be paid to someone other than the claimant, where the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decides that the benefits claimant is unable to act. Oliver Lewis represented Medway Council, the appointee for the disability living allowance claimant in this case. In his submissions, Oliver raised concerns about the fairness of the appointeeship system, and whether it complies with the UK’s obligations both under the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The judge found that these were “important issues”, but did not need to decide them in this case.


Oliver would be interested in hearing from solicitors or law centre caseworkers who have benefit claimant clients wanting to appeal against decisions made by the DWP in relation to the appointee, for example complaining about the appointee, displacing the appointee or cancelling the appointeeship. These aspects seem not to have been examined by the courts through the lens of human rights. 

Bar Pro Bono Awards 2017: A special commendation awarded this year to Kirsty Brimelow QC

A special commendation has also been awarded this year to Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee ad barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in recognition of her outstanding long-term contribution to assisting on human rights issues around the world. This has included interventions on death penalty cases in the Middle East, North Africa and the USA; mediating peace talks between the Colombian Government and the San José de Apartadó peace community and prosecuting cases of child rights abuses in Nigeria.


Lord Goldsmith QC said of Kirsty:


“The breadth and depth of the pro bono work undertaken by Kirsty Brimelow QC, best illustrated by the diversity of the supporting references, demonstrates a career-long commitment spanning continents. Her role at the helm of the Bar Human Rights Committee enables her to nurture an environment that supports pro bono on a global scale, an opportunity she has grasped with both hands.”


Lord Goldsmith QC also noted the high calibre of nominations this year across the board.


“Reading through the submissions assures me that the Bar is still an exciting and inspiring place to be.


“This year has been an exceptionally difficult year to choose an overall winner and I, together with my fellow judges, continue to be humbled by the commitment of the nominees to tackling injustice.”


Read more here

IICSA has published its report into the child migration scheme operated by the UK government between the 1940s and 1970s

IICSA has published its report into the child migration scheme operated by the UK government between the 1940s and 1970s.  The Inquiry has been critical of the UK Government and relevant institutions.  It has made recommendations, including that the UK Government should set up a compensation process to make payments in Redress.


The Counsel to the Inquiry team included Henrietta Hill QC (also Deputy Counsel to the Inquiry) and Katie O’Byrne of DSC.


The Child Migrants Trust, a core participant, which has been instrumental in bringing the issue of former child migrants to public knowledge was represented by Aswini Weereratne QC and Keina Yoshida of DSC.


Click here and here to read about this in the press. 


Indian dowry law ‘blackmail’ extradition request rejected: no dual criminality

01.03.18 | |

A request by the Government of India for the extradition of a man, represented by Malcolm Hawkes, for an alleged offence of blackmail has been rejected.


The conduct related to alleged dowry law offences in India, which was certified in the UK as an offence of blackmail. The man, who lives and works in the UK, was alleged to have threatened to divorce his wife unless her family paid him an additional dowry of £10,000.


The defence raised multiple challenges to the request, including dual criminality and prima facie case; it was argued that the conduct would not amount to a criminal offence under the law of England and Wales and the evidence was insufficient to establish a case to answer.


The conduct was linked with Indian marital law which was introduced in that country in response to the abuse of women and their families who faced ever increasing dowry demands from their in-laws. Some women were driven to suicide and other acts of serious self-harm. In response, the Indian government outlawed both the payment and receipt of dowries. However, the Indian Supreme Court acknowledged in 2017 that, in setting the threshold so low for complaints of dowry demands to be made, there had been a proliferation of false cases which resulted in numerous arrests and the abuse of the court system.


Central to the defence case was a taped telephone call with the man’s former father-in-law, a senior lawyer who admitted that the alleged dowry demand was indeed false. The Indian government failed to respond to this evidence, despite having months to do so.


Moreover, INTERPOL has for some time refused to issue Red Notices for dowry-law-related matters, which reflects the concerns over the lack of criminality of these issues, as opposed to Indian cultural mores.


Since the court rejected the request on dual criminality and prima facie case grounds, the other issues raised – poor prison conditions, corruption and unfair trial – were not addressed in the court’s judgment.


In India v SJ, Malcolm was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors.


Where are all the women?

01.03.18 |

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.


Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art.


Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 


Yet, the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we will focus on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.


Follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.


#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018



Day 1: 1 March 2018

Reimagining Doughty Street; discovering Lyons Street.


Doughty Street was built in the 1790s. It is part of the Doughty estate in Bloomsbury, part of extensive lands owned by the Doughty family.[1] The Street was named after Henry Doughty, a member of the family and a landlord of the area in the late eighteenth century.[2]


So, today, welcome to Lyons Street.

We are honouring Jane Lyons, who ran a 'Private Hotel and Boarding House' at 48 and 49 Doughty Street from 1901-1923 (the buildings are now the Charles Dickens Museum).


Born in 1836, Jane Lyons moved in London in the late nineteenth century. Researcher and writer Elizabeth Crawford has described how she had by 1901 become the proprietor of the Boarding House at Doughty Street, and, “on the day of the census, she had 24 boarders – all women – … clerks, teachers and typists (and a stockbroking nephew).”  By 1911 her boarders included both men and women.


Miss Lyons gave shelter to many suffragettes at her Boarding House - when they were released from Holloway Prison; when they travelled to London to protest; and to those on the run. It was, for many women, a safe house, providing shelter when they were fighting for their rights.


One such woman was Mary Richardson. In her autobiography, Laugh a Defiance, she describes being given shelter in Miss Lyons’ Boarding House in October 1913, when she was let out of Holloway under the terms of the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act 1913, commonly known as the ‘Cat and Mouse Act.’ The Act was the Government’s attempt to deal with hunger-striking suffragettes: it allowed for the early release of prisoners who were so weakened by hunger striking that they were at risk of death.  They were to be recalled to prison once their health was recovered, where the process would begin again.  On 10 March 2014, it was from Miss Lyons’ Boarding House that Mary Richardson set out for the National Gallery when she attacked the Velasquez painting, The Toilet of Venus (known as The Rokeby Venus) with a butcher’s hammer she had bought on the Gray’s Inn Road. Another woman who found shelter at Miss Lyons’ Boarding House was Annie Kenney, a working class suffragette from Manchester who became a leading figure in the Women’s Social and Political Union.


Jane Lyons would have been in her late 70s at this time, when she was providing a roof over the heads of Mary Richardson, Annie Kenney and many others. Her Boarding House was, for many women, a safe house, providing shelter when they were fighting for their rights.


You can read more about Jane Lyons here and here.


[1] Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952, cited by the UCL Bloomsbury Project.

[2] Weinreb, Ben & Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 241.


Authorities in Equatorial Guinea Drop Charges against Cartoonist Ramon Ebalé

Artist and activist, Ramón Esono Ebalé, has been detained by the Equatoguinean state since September 2017. Mr Ebalé was arrested on 16th September 2017 and questioned about his cartoons. For many years, he has been a critic and satirist of President Obiang’s regime in Equatorial Guinea.  His work continues to receive international recognition and he is the recipient of multiple awards.


On 1st December 2017 his international legal team (Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason of Doughty Street Chambers’ International Media Defence Panel), along with the organisations EG Justice and Cartoonists Rights Network International, filed urgent appeals with the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr David Kaye, and with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The appeals requested urgent steps to protect Mr Ebalé and to call on the authorities in Equatorial Guinea to comply with their international legal obligations. The urgent appeals were filed after the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, failed to respond to an urgent open letter calling for Mr Ebalé’s immediate and unconditional release, sent on 15 November 2017 by a large number of expert international organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The letter was also signed by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Chair of JUSTICE.


Although detained since September 2017, Mr Ebalé was initially detained without charge. He was only charged with offences after the complaint was filed with the UN bodies in December. He has only been able to see his local lawyers once, on 20th September, and was denied access to them for the months he spent on remand and in the lead-up to his trial.


Today, the first day of his trial, the charges were suddenly dropped, and he is to be released imminently.This news has been widely welcomed by his supporters, friends and legal team. A press release with further detail will follow.


More background information is available here and here.

Life sentence avoided for serious offender

27.02.18 | |

Abigail Bright recently appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on behalf of a client who pleaded guilty during a trial, after the complainant had given evidence, on an indictment of rape, sexual assault, and threatening with an offensive weapon (using a knife).  At the time of conviction the judge observed that, given the seriousness of the offending and the particular circumstances of the case, she was giving consideration to passing a life sentence.  A psychiatric report was commissioned.


Notwithstanding this indication, Abigail persuaded the Judge that the Court should, wholly exceptionally, commission a second forensic psychiatric report to look in particular at the issue of insight, as well as the defendant’s ability to respond to treatment by specialist mental health services on the prison estate.  Although the defendant’s offending was at the very serious end of the spectrum of criminal behaviour, the Judge was persuaded by Abigail, as well as the results of the second psychiatric report she persuaded her to commission, that the risk to the public presented by the defendant could be met by the passing of an extended sentence.  The passing of a life sentence was, the Judge concluded, not required notwithstanding her earlier indication at the time of conviction.


Abigail was instructed by Andy Malik of DJMS Solicitors, Newcastle, assisted by Nicole Wright.

How will the latest non-disclosure debacle affect appeals?

26.02.18 | |

Following the series of recent cases that have collapsed due to inadequate prosecution disclosure, the CPS will be reviewing all live rape and sexual offence cases. But what of the convictions in completed cases that may have been tainted by similar non-disclosure? At the moment, these are not included in the “live” case review and attempts to trigger investigations appear to lie with potential applicants.


The initial difficulty here is that the CPS may send a negative response to any such request based on R (Nunn) v Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary [2014] 2 Cr App R 22. In this case the Supreme Court considered a case in which the claimant had been refused leave to appeal against his conviction and had then sought all the police records of the investigation. In relation to post conviction requests for disclosure the Supreme Court stated:


(a)   Although the common law duty of disclosure applied to appellate proceedings, and prosecutors were obliged to disclose any relevant material which was not already known to the defendant and which might assist him in the proceedings, such disclosure did not involve a re-performance of the entire disclosure exercise.

(b)   Similarly, where the trial process was complete, the common law did not recognise a duty of disclosure and inspection which was the same as that prevailing prior to and during the trial.

(c)   The public interest until conviction was in the trial process being as full and fair as possible. After conviction, and apart from the question of its safety, the public interest was in finality.

(d)   There was no indefinitely continuing duty on police or prosecutors to respond to whatever enquiries the defendant might make for access to case materials to allow re-investigation.


Crucially, however, in the context of the current discussion, the Supreme Court stated that where, after the conclusion of the proceedings, material came to light which might cast doubt on the safety of the conviction, the prosecutor was obliged to disclose the material to the defendant unless there were good reason not to do so, and, further, where there was a real prospect that further enquiry might reveal such material, there was also a duty to make that enquiry.


In light of the above it is submitted that the CPS would not be justified in issuing a blanket refusal to requests to carry out investigation of the unused material where the request is more than just a “fishing expedition”, and instead identifies the basis of the request with as much particularity as possible. As the Supreme Court stated a “realistic evidential foundation” should be laid to show why the conviction may well be unsafe. Following the recent cases in which late disclosure led to the collapse of the trials, it is arguable that the CPS is at least under a duty to investigate all the cases relating to the particular disclosure officer(s) involved. These may be thought to provide “a real prospect that further enquiry might reveal [relevant] material.”


In addition, it is arguable that if the current review of “live” cases identifies evidence relating to other convictions which might afford arguable grounds for contending that that conviction was unsafe, “there can be no doubt” that the CPS and police have a “duty to disclose it to the convicted defendant.”


Another difficulty in these cases is that an applicant may not have enough material – without further disclosure - to draft arguable grounds. In these case, an alternative route may be an application to the CCRC to assist. However, they too will need to be persuaded that the request is more than a speculative, fishing expedition.


The CCRC has stated that: “….Since the media spotlight fell on non-disclosure in criminal cases in late 2017, we have again been in contact again with the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service about disclosure problems generally and more immediately to check whether there are any particular cases we should look at again.”


Paul Taylor QC

Paul Taylor and Katy Thorne sworn in as Queen’s Counsel

Doughty Street Chambers is extremely proud of Paul Taylor QC and Katy Thorne QC, who received their Letters Patent from the Lord Chancellor today, delivered on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, at a ceremony in Westminster Hall.  They were also sworn in as Queen's Counsel by the Lord Chief Justice at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice.


Unusually amongst criminal barristers, Paul Taylor QC (Call: 1989) specialises exclusively in criminal appeals.  He is widely lauded by the industry directories as “attracting plaudits for his preparation and intellect”, “bringing great energy to the legal team”, and being “an absolutely standout barrister”.  He is the Head of the Doughty Street Appeals Unit, and is the author of Taylor on Criminal Appeals (Oxford University Press), the leading practitioners’ authority.  He has developed a particular expertise in cases involving fresh evidence, homicide, and offenders with mental disorders.  He is commonly instructed to provide “2nd opinion” advices on appeal against conviction and sentence, including those being made out of time.  In addition to his work in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), he has extensive experience of drafting submissions to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and representations on the judicial setting of tariffs in murder cases.  He also works internationally, advising on appeals in Commonwealth and other overseas jurisdictions, and appears before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in death penalty cases and other appeals.


Katy Thorne QC (Call: 1994) acts for a broad spectrum of clients including barristers, doctors, those serving life sentences, alleged members of organised criminal gangs, and others.  She is instructed to lead in the most serious criminal cases including murder, manslaughter, and serious drug trafficking, as well as in cases of sexual allegations and abuse, child abuse, and financial crime.  The directories say of her that she is “always thorough and well-prepared”, and she is frequently singled out for her client care skills.  A particular area of expertise is in presenting and challenging expert evidence at trial, and she is an author of Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers (Bloomsbury, 2015).  In addition, Katy regularly acts for professionals who face proceedings brought by their regulatory bodies, particularly where those arise as a result of criminal allegations.  She is the Founder of the Women in Criminal Law network, which seeks to support women working across the whole criminal justice system.


For more information on Paul or Katy's work, please call their clerks Tom Street (020 7400 8915) or Richard Vile (020 7400 9054) or send an e-mail.   


Survivors of black cab rapist win landmark victory in Supreme Court

21.02.18 | |

Two women, who were sexually assaulted by the ‘black cab rapist’, John Worboys, have won their claims against the Metropolitan Police for the serious failings in the police investigation into Worboys’ offending.


The two women who brought the claim and who were anonymised in the proceedings as DSD and NVB were represented by Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Ruth Brander.  Their solicitor was Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce.


DSD was one of Worboy’s first victims.  NBV was his 76th known victim.  Worboys went on to attack at least another 29 women after NBV and before he was caught.  In total there were at least 105 victims over a four year period, at least 10 of whom had made complaints to the police.  The judge who heard DSD and NBV’s claims in the High Court found numerous systemic and individual failings in the police investigation into their allegations against Worboys, including failures in training, supervision and allocation of resources to the investigation of sexual assaults.


The claims establish that police can be liable to victims of serious and violent crime for failing to conduct an effective investigation into credible allegations.  The Supreme Court held that Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, requires the state to investigate credible allegations of mistreatment that crosses the threshold of torture or inhuman and degrading treatment, even where such conduct is that of a private individual and there is no complicity on the part of any public official or state agent.  This is a significant legal development as victims of crime are not generally able to bring claims against the police for failing to investigate under the common law.  The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, supported by the Home Secretary, had argued that the duty owed to victims of serious and violent crimes should be limited to putting in place a criminal justice system and no claim should arise out of the failings of a particular investigation.  The Supreme Court has rejected this approach and held that serious failings can give rise to a claim.


This decision will enable a number of challenges, which have been on hold pending the outcome of this case, to proceed.



An Evening to Celebrate the Life And Work of Asma Jehangir

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience: MSc in Forensic Mental Health, 2017-18 programme

16.02.18 | |

For a sixth year, Abigail Bright is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, MSc in Forensic Mental Health. 


Abigail’s lecture today at the Institute is on appeals against conviction and appeals against sentence in the context of forensic mental health clinical practice. The lecture critically discusses the legal frameworks concerning the treatment for mental disorder of those detained in hospital and/or detained in prison. Abigail holds a Dip.F.M.S. (diploma in forensic medical sciences) after examination in 2010 at Barts and The London School of Medicine and serves as a committee member of the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association.  


You can contact Abigail directly if you would like a copy of the materials she uses to present her lecture/

Appeal filed against sweeping anti-protest injunction in #IneosvThePeople

Protesters against the fracking industry have lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal against a sweeping anti-protest injunction granted to a multinational fracking company.


In an unprecedented decision last July, INEOS – the fracking company which has been awarded the most fracking licences by the UK Government – was granted a pre-emptive, ex parte injunction against protests at eight sites across England where fracking is planned or under investigation by INEOS. In a concerning development, the injunction extended to contractors, subcontractors and other entities which make up INEOS’ ‘supply chain’.


Environmental activists Joseph Boyd, represented by Heather Williams QC, Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh and Jennifer Robinson with Leigh Day Solicitors, and fellow campaigner, Joseph Corré, represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Stephen Simblett of Garden Court and Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, applied to the court to have the injunction discharged.


In December the High Court upheld and renewed the injunction with the effect that campaign groups and individuals are prevented from being able to protest at fracking sites without the immediate threat of arrest and fines for contempt of court. The injunction was addressed to “persons unknown” (that is, the world at large), spurring the campaign hashtag #INEOSvThePeople.


The effect of the injunction is that individuals will be in contempt of court if they engage in a variety of different forms of protests, such as slow-walking, which have not previously been held to be unlawful in all circumstances. An arrest for breach of this injunction could result in a prison sentence of up to two years and/or a fine up to £5,000. The injunction has implications for all social movements and their right to freedom of speech and assembly.


Without the efforts of Joe Boyd and Joe Corré to represent “persons unknown”, the status quo of this injunction will continue unchallenged. Joe Boyd’s ongoing legal challenges against the injunction can be supported through the Crowd Justice campaign here.

Bar Council response to Law Commission’s third consultative document on the Sentencing Code

14.02.18 | |

The General Council of the Bar of England and Wales, the Bar Council, has responded to the Law Commission’s third consultative document on the Sentencing Code, and accompanying draft legislation.


Abigail Bright was part of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee that settled the response of the Bar Council. 


Abigail took the lead in drafting the Bar Council’s response to chapter 6 of the Law Commission’s consultation (‘Financial orders and orders relating to property’), questions 27 to 33, inclusive.


A copy of the Bar Council’s response is here.  


Abigail is the elected representative of barristers under seven years’ Call on the executive committee of the Criminal Bar Association of England & Wales. 

Sarah Elliott QC and Daniella Waddoup secure a manslaughter conviction for defendant charged with murdering his step-grandmother

Sarah Elliott QC and Daniella Waddoup acted for JG, a 23-year old man who brutally killed his step-grandmother, who had raised him since a baby. The defendant slit her throat, in front of others, with a large hunting knife, and tried to decapitate her, believing her to be an evil witch who “had to go”.


JG was floridly psychotic and in a profoundly disturbed emotional state at the time of the killing, which the court described as shocking and tragic.


Psychiatric experts found that JG had a primary diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and that although he may have taken illicit drugs in the run-up to the killing, his abnormality of mental functioning was a significant factor in causing him to act as he did. The prosecution were persuaded to accept a plea to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.


The Recorder of Cardiff agreed with the submissions of Sarah and Daniella that the most appropriate way of dealing with the case was by way of a hospital order coupled with a restriction order. The effect is that JG will be detained in a high-secure hospital to receive treatment for the foreseeable future. The restrictions affect leave of absence, transfer between hospitals and discharge, all of which require Ministry of Justice permission.


The Judge was persuaded to find JG’s culpability to have been low notwithstanding his possible drug use. She rejected a ‘hybrid order’ (which would allow for the defendant to be transferred to prison for punishment upon completion of his treatment), noting that the public would be better protected if decisions about release and supervision are led by clinicians.    


Sarah and Daniella were instructed by Sarah Griffiths-Jones of Evans, Hayes, Burnell Ltd. solicitors.


Press coverage can be found here.

Russia breached journalist’s rights

Today the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia breached the rights of a Ukrainian journalist when he was arrested at a  protest upon which he was reporting, and later detained and charged.  The European Court of Human Rights has held that the journalists rights under Article 5(1) (right to liberty), 6(1) (fair hearing) and 10 (freedom of expression) have been breached.


Three expert NGOs filed a third party intervention in the case: the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), ARTICLE 19 and the Mass Media Defence Centre, Russia. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Keina Yoshida acted for them, and Nani Jansen Reventlow, now an associate at Doughty Street Chambers, was MLDI’s Legal Director at the time the submissions were prepared.


The judgment is available here


Read the press release here

Amos Waldman instructed to appear at the International Criminal Court, in the Hague

13.02.18 | |

Amos Waldman has been instructed to represent a witness during the ongoing trial of the Prosecutor v Dominic Ongwen.


More details about the case can be found here

Doughty Street Chambers mourns the loss of Asma Jahangir

13.02.18 | |

The Bar Human Right Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) pays tribute to its friend and colleague, international human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir.


BHRC Executive Committee member & barrister at Doughty Street Chambers  Zimran Samuel said:


Asma was a powerful voice who held the feet of the establishment to the fire her whole life. She was a source of immeasurable inspiration for a movement in Pakistan and an entire generation of activists, campaigners and lawyers.I will never forget the way she opened up her home to me in Lahore. Talking to her you could see the passion in her eyes as she discussed the problems that many young girls face, particularly from religious minorities or marginalised communities. She allowed me to stay with her and ensured I was safe when investigating sensitive issues in Pakistan. She was just an incredibly warm and generous person. To my mind Pakistan has lost its greatest daughter.


Read the full tribute here

Court awards paralysed patient £4m over surgery consent blunder

A woman who was left unable to walk after an operation on her spine has been awarded £4.4m by the High Court after it found the surgeon had failed to ensure she was given informed consent. Christopher Hough acted for Tracy Hassell.


Mr Justice Dingemans ruled in favour of Tracy Hassell yesterday. She was operated on at the Mount Vernon Hospital, part of the Hillingdon Hospitals Foundation Trust, in 2011.


The case is one of the first in the country to be brought against the NHS where a patient did not have the full risks of a procedure explained to them. It follows a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that material risks must be fully explained to patients.


In 2015, HSJ reported on fears among senior figures at the Care Quality Commission and NHS England over lapses in patient consent processes in the NHS, which meant patients were being denied copies of their consent form and the forms vary throughout the country.


Ms Hassell was operated on by spinal orthopaedic surgeon Shaun Ridgeway after an MRI scan identified spondylolisthesis – a condition where a bone in her vertebra has slid over the bone below leading to her spinal cord being squeezed.


She underwent a series of operations between 2009 and 2011 to tackle the pain until in October 2011 she had an operation that left her paralysed on her right side and with weakness on her left side.


The judge said Mr Ridgeway did not properly explain the risks of the surgery and had he done so, it was likely that Ms Hassell would not have agreed to the operation.


He said: “I find that Mr Ridgeway used reasonable care and skill in carrying out the operation, and that I am unable to identify the cause of Ms Hassell’s spinal cord injury. I find that Ms Hassell did not give informed consent to the operation, and that if she had been given information about material risks and conservative treatment Ms Hassell would not have agreed to the operation on 3 October 2011.”


He added: “Whatever Mr Ridgeway’s strengths as a surgeon when carrying out the operation… Mr Ridgeway was not a good communicator about the risks of operations.”


In court, the judge was told Ms Hassell was told the worst case scenario was her spine would have to be fused and there was no discussion about other treatment options such as painkillers or physiotherapy. She claimed Mr Ridgeway told her the operation was routine surgery.


On the day of the operation, Ms Hassell went to the hospital with her husband. Whilst her husband went to get her something from the hospital shop, Mr Ridgeway arrived with the porter and nurse, and Ms Hassell was told that she was going to the operating theatre.


Ms Hassell said she felt nervous and had not said goodbye to her husband. She was given a consent form to sign but she described the events as a rush and she did not pay attention to what it said. She did not recall any discussion about paralysis.


Olive Lewin, from the medical negligence team at Leigh Day that represented Ms Hassell, said she “was not made aware of the substantial risks such an invasive procedure would have on her and the risk of paralysis, which has had such a calamitous effect on her life.


The [Supreme Court] ruling should ensure that all patients have the full knowledge of the risks associated with a medical procedure and have a dialogue with the consultant so that they can accurately balance those risks and give truly informed consent.”


Ms Hassell said: “I walked into the Mount Vernon on 3 October and came out in a wheelchair. I spent eight months in hospital, which took me away from my family and friends who have supported me throughout this six year battle.


“Integrity is telling myself the truth, and honesty is telling the truth to other people.”


A spokeswoman from the trust said: “The trust acknowledges that Ms Hassell was left with serious injuries following surgery that was carried out at the Mount Vernon Hospital in 2011, which is a matter of real regret. Nonetheless, the trust felt very strongly that the performance of the surgery itself was carried out to a high standard, and that the poor outcome was a recognised risk of the procedure. The judge agreed with this, and made no criticism of the performance of the operation. He did, however, find fault with the consent process prior to the surgery, and awarded damages to Ms Hassell on that basis.”

Open letter to Iran’s Mr Larijani

Four members of Doughty Street International (Professor Juan Mendez, Baroness Kennedy QC, Lord Gifford QC and Kirsty Brimelow QC)  have joined other leading international and human rights lawyers from around the world in signing an open letter to Mr Larijani, the Head of the High Council for Human Rights in Iran. The letter draws Mr Larijani’s attention to the launch of a new website that documents human rights abuses against Iran’s Baha’i community.


Read the letter here

No bail power without lawful detention

08.02.18 | |

In B, an important judgment on bail powers,  the Supreme Court today affirmed that the power to impose conditions of bail must be narrowly interpreted. The bail power under the Immigration Act 1971 applies only to a person who could still lawfully be detained. Laura Dubinsky of Doughty Street Chambers was junior counsel for the Intervener.


The judgment is availble here.

Nicholas Bowen QC & David Lemer in Supreme Court victory: Robinson v CC West Yorkshire



The UK Supreme Court today handed down a seminal decision on the tort of negligence in the case of Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [2018] UKSC 4.  Nicholas Bowen QC and David Lemer acted for Mrs Robinson, instructed by Duncan Fairgrieve and Grieves Solicitors.  Key issues flowing from today's decision include: (1) the liability of the police in negligence for the “supposed” Hill immunity, that police owe no duty of care in respect of action taken in the course of suppressing crime, does not exist; (2) the “idea that Caparo established a tripartite test is mistaken” in all but novel cases, and; (3) the case has important implications for watchers of the fate of CN v Poole.


This is a landmark case on the liability of the police and public authorities more generally, and by its judgment the Court has decided (click here for a link to the judgment), that the police owe a duty of care to avoid causing foreseeable personal injury to another person in accordance with the general law of tort, and that this extends to a duty to protect an individual from a danger of injury which they have themselves created.  The judgment builds upon and explains the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Michael v South Wales Police.  Contrary to previous dicta in both Court of Appeal and House of Lords / Supreme Court cases, it does not matter that the act or omission that caused the damage took place in the context of a “core” police activity”. 


A pre-planned arrest operation of a suspected drug dealer went badly wrong resulting in personal injury to Mrs Robinson, an elderly lady and innocent bystander in her late 70s who was out shopping in Huddersfield.  She ended up on the ground with two large officers and the suspect on top of her.


The Supreme Court unanimously found the police liable for the injuries caused to Mrs Robinson. Lord Reed giving the lead judgment dismissed arguments for the defendants that there was a general rule denying liability of the police when discharging their function of preventing and investigating crime, holding that this was a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of previous cases. On the contrary, “when discharging their function of preventing and investigating crime .. (t)hey generally owe a duty of care when such a duty arises under ordinary principles of the law of negligence, unless statute or the common law provides otherwise.”  The police, in common with everyone else, owe a duty of care to avoid causing foreseeable personal injury to another person.


In so holding, the Court re-established the pre-eminence of important principles of tort law, including the role of the Caparo test in determining the existence of a duty of care. Lord Reed re-affirmed the incremental approach underpinning the decision in Caparo, rejecting robustly the Court of Appeal’s view that the three-stage Caparo test “applies to all cases in the modern law of negligence” . The recent retreat in the role of public policy concerns was also confirmed, with Lord Reed confirming that such factors should not be a “routine aspect of deciding cases in the law of negligence”, and are only to be considered in novel cases.


A Diceyan approach to the liability of public authorities was underlined by the Court whereby the private law rules of tort apply similarly to public bodies and private persons alike. The omissions principle, which had been applied in a similar sphere in the Michael case, was reaffirmed so that public authorities, like private individuals, are not under a duty of care to prevent the occurrence of harm, other than in exceptional circumstances where the public authority has created a danger of harm, or has assumed a responsibility for an individual’s safety on which the individual has relied, or has been in control of the third party which caused the harm.


In the instant case, the injury of Mrs Robinson was found to have been caused by a positive act of the police in deciding to effect the arrest in circumstances in which it was not only reasonably foreseeable but actually foreseen that the suspect would attempt to resist arrest. That reasonably foreseeable risk of injury was sufficient to impose on the officers a duty of care towards the pedestrians in the immediate vicinity when the arrest was attempted.


The judge at first instance was entitled to have found that, on the facts, the police had been negligent. The chain of causation was not interrupted by the suspect’s voluntary decision to resist arrest, as that act was the very one which the defendant was under a duty to guard against.


The Chief Constable was thus found liable and the case was remitted for assessment of damages


Lords Mance and Hughes gave concurring judgments.


The judgements have important implications for whether or not the police will now be liable in a range of areas where they were previously thought to be protected by the immunity:

  • Most notably perhaps a failure to investigate.  This issue will be revisited in a further Supreme Court appeal due to be heard on 6 / 7 March 2018 in which Nicholas Bowen QC and David Lemer also act for Claimant police officers against the MPS Commissioner:
  • A variety of factual circumstances where the police have caused physical or psychiatric injury either by way of positive acts or have played an “active part in the critical events” which led to the damage, or a case where they have failed to protect a person from harm but they were in “control” of the person / risk who causes the damage and have a special / proximate relationship with the person who has suffered the damage.
  • The judgment may also have implications for the long-term survival of Lord Justice Irwin’s very recent and controversial judgment in CN v Poole Borough Council where the Court of Appeal boldly held that D v East Berkshire was no longer to be followed as a result of the judgment in Michael v SWP, a case that now needs to be read in the light of Robinson and the retreat from a policy justification for non-liability; watch that space.


The judgement is available here

Edward Fitzgerald QC delivers the second Hong Kong University-Boase Cohen Collins Criminal Law Lecture

Edward Fitzgerald QC was recently invited to Hong Kong to deliver the second annual lecture in the Hong Kong University-Boase Cohen Collins Criminal Law series.  Edward's subject was a comparative analysis of the approach of the appellate courts in Hong Kong and in England and Wales, as well as in the Caribbean, when those courts come to consider criminal appeals and fresh evidence.


The lecture series has immediately become a major feature in the annual calendar for HKU's law students, as well as senior professionals from Hong Kong's criminal justice community including prosecution and defence lawyers, judges, and academics.  Our sincere thanks go to Colin Cohen of Boase Cohen Collins and to Professor Michael Hor, Dean of the HKU law faculty, for their kind invitation to Edward to address such a distinguished audience of 200 guests.   


You can watch a video of Edward's lecture below, or by clicking here if the video below doesn't appear in your browser.  If you would like a copy of the supporting papers (Edward's lecture notes, as well as an in-depth supporting paper by Paul Taylor on fresh evidence and the Pendleton test) please email Maurice MacSweeney, our Business Development Director, or call him on +44 (0)207 400 8906.


You can also see more information, as well as photos of the event, by clicking here for a link to the relevant page of the Boase Cohen Collins website. 


Christopher Johnson drafts written submissions to the European Court of Human Rights.

Christopher Johnson has drafted written submissions on behalf of Validity (formerly the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre) in the case of Marinov v Bulgaria App. No. 26081/17.


The Applicant (Marinov) is a person under partial guardianship in Bulgaria. As a result of the partial guardianship the Applicant is automatically excluded from the electoral register and thus prevented from voting.


In its intervention, Validity argued that it is contrary to Article of 3 Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights to have (1) automatic disenfranchisement; or (2) any form of assessment of “capacity to vote”.

Russian extradition request refused: Chechen man wins 3-year legal battle

06.02.18 | |

A Chechen man, AZ, represented by Malcolm Hawkes has won his appeal against extradition to Russia, where he is wanted to stand trial for murder. It was alleged that during the second Chechnya conflict in 2001, he forced a woman to take revenge on a man who had raped her and supplied her with the gun she then used to kill him.


The Appellant initially left Russia for Belgium where his extradition was ordered in 2011. In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the Belgian court’s decision to extradite him and dismissed his account of being at risk in Russia due to his combatant past.


The Appellant fled Belgium for the UK where he was arrested and subject to fresh extradition proceedings. His account of having been a fighter in the Chechnya conflicts and tortured was rejected. However, on appeal the Appellant adduced fresh evidence which seriously undermined the reasoning of both the Strasbourg and Westminster courts.


First, the prosecution witness statements were disclosed which confirmed that the Appellant was indeed a combatant which would adversely affect the fairness of his trial. Second, the co-accused insisted that she had been tortured to name the Appellant as her accomplice, there was no other evidence capable of supporting a conviction. And third, the evidence the Appellant would be tried by jury was found to be incorrect; he would stand trial by a single judge. The acquittal rate of single-judge trials in Russia is less than 1%, but in Chechnya itself it is zero.


The Divisional Court remitted the case back to the Westminster Magistrates Court to determine whether the Appellant’s extradition would be compatible with his Article 3 and 6 rights.


Following a two-day hearing, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot found that there was a real risk the Appellant would suffer a flagrant breach of the right to a fair trial, contrary to Article 6 of the Convention and refused the extradition request.


In Zarmaev v Russia, Malcolm was instructed by Kate Goold of Bindmans Solicitors.


Index on Censorship give evidence to Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech in Universities

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has launched an inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Universities. The inquiry is considering a number of issues including: whether free speech is being suppressed in universities, by whom, and the causes. Index on Censorship has provided written evidence to the Committee, which has now been published. 


Doughty Street Chambers barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Keina Yoshida worked with Index on Censorship to prepare their submission. It addresses the question of whether freedom of speech on campus is in jeopardy, and specifically considers and criticises the Prevent strategy. Caoilfhionn, Jonathan and Keina’s evidence on behalf on Index on Censorship is available here.


Index is currently undertaking a project looking at the issue of free speech at colleges and universities around the world. You can read more about this work and how to support Index here

Lord Chief Justice gives landmark judgment on forum bar to extradition

Mr Lauri Love, represented by Edward Fitgerald QC and Ben Cooper both members of these chambers (instructed by Kaim Todner Solicitors) will not be extradited to the United States of America. 


In a judgment handed down today at the High Court by the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Ouseley it was held that the extradition of Mr Love would not be in the interests of justice given that he could be tried in England and there was a high risk that his mental and physical health would seriously deteriorate in custody in the United States.


Mr Love is accused by US authorities of cyber crime activity, and faced a very severe sentence in prison were he to be extradited and found guilty by a US court. Although Mr Love will not be extradited to face trial in the US, it is open to the UK authorities to consider whether or not to bring a prosecution against him. 


This is the first extradition case to win on the new forum bar to extradition. This was on the basis that he could be tried in England without the very serious risk of mental deterioration and even suicide if he was extradited.  The court accepted there was a real risk that Mr Love would deteriorate to the extent that he would become unfit to stand trial in the US due to his mental and physical health and the inadequate health care available in US federal prisons.


For more information on our market leading extradition team, please click here.


Read about this case in the press here and here


Read the High Court judgment of the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Ouseley here.




Disclosure: what goes on?

02.02.18 |

The Director of Public Prosecutions is scrambling to catch up. A string of defendants have seen their cases dropped after the late disclosure of material that undermined the case against them. Alison Saunders’ response has been to announce a review into all forthcoming rape trials. How have we got here? Cuts to the funding of the criminal justice system have undoubtedly played a part, but there are more profound problems; first, there has been a toxic mix of ever more complex material being found during investigations and, second, those responsible for assessing and disclosing that material have no motive to do so.  The complexity most often comes from the vast storage capacity of smart phones or from ever-present CCTV cameras. The lack of motive arises because police, and on occasions prosecutors, have a belief and commitment to the case they have painstakingly assembled and often yield to the temptation to let that infect their judgment of what will and will not undermine that case; it is all too easy to explain away an inconvenient text message or not notice an unhelpful piece of CCTV if one is partisan and knows the judgement made will never be subject to open scrutiny.


For no reason she has yet articulated, the DPP has explicitly said the current scandal does not lead her to worry that there may have been wrongful convictions. It is implicit within her decision to confine her review to rape cases that all other criminal investigations are somehow magically insulated from these problems.


Three questions arise. Is the current review an adequate answer to the problem? Are past convictions touched by these failings? What can a practitioner do? The answers that we at Doughty Street’s Crime Team would give are no, yes and watch this space. Over the next few weeks our team of experienced and expert barristers will be posting short pieces on how disclosure failings affect cases of sexual offences, terrorism, fraud and appeals. We hope they will help. 

First Successful ‘Substantial Injustice’ Joint Enterprise Appeal.

Tim Moloney QC, Jude Bunting and Kate O’Raghallaigh represented the first Applicant to be granted exceptional leave to appeal by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in the wake of the decisions in Jogee and Johnson.  On 30th January 2018, the Applicant’s conviction for murder was quashed and the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial. Accordingly, details of the case cannot yet be published.


Tim, Jude and Kate act for a number of applicants who have sought assistance in challenging their convictions from the campaign group ‘Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association’ (JENGbA). In all of those cases, they are instructed by Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors. Simon and Tim commenced their work with JENGbA in 2012 when they gave evidence on Joint Enterprise to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee. Tim and Jude subsequently acted for JENGbA, instructed by Simon, in the Supreme Court case of Jogee and the subsequent Court of Appeal case of Johnson.

Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and Andrew Walker QC Chairman of the Bar Council raise international human rights law breaches with Iran over its imprisonment of its lawyers.

Sarah Vine secures first acquittal in ‘child sex doll’ prosecutions

29.01.18 | |

R v DA (Chelmsford Crown Court, January 2018)


In this case, A was charged with importing a child sex doll. The doll in question was a ‘hybrid’ of child and adult features. At the close of the Prosecution case, Sarah argued that there was insufficient evidence upon which a jury could convict A of the charge. The judge upheld this submission, resulting in the first acquittal in a prosecution for an article of this kind.


Press can be found here & here


Mary-Rachel McCabe awarded prestigious Pegasus Scholarship

Doughty Street Chambers is delighted to announce that Mary-Rachel McCabe has been awarded a scholarship by the Inner Temple Pegasus Trust.


Mary-Rachel’s practice covers a broad range of social welfare law, including community care (adult and children’s social care), housing and mental health and capacity law.  

Mary-Rachel has a particular interest in children’s rights. She regularly acts in urgent judicial review proceedings for children who are street homeless or otherwise in need of support or accommodation, and unaccompanied age-disputed migrant children.


As a Pegasus scholar, Mary-Rachel will spend three months in New Zealand later this year working with YouthLaw, a community law centre for children and young people aged under 25, based in Auckland.


The Pegasus Trust was founded to build links between the English legal profession and the legal profession in overseas jurisdictions.


The Pegasus scholarship scheme “makes it possible for gifted young lawyers – the future leaders of their professions – to learn about the practical working of the common law system in countries other than their own, and to form enduring links with lawyers in those countries” (Founder and Chairman of the Pegasus Trust, the Rt Hon Lord Goff of Chieveley).


More information about Mary-Rachel’s practice is available here

Joint head of Chambers Geoffrey Robertson QC named in the Australia Day Honours list

We warmly congratulate our joint head of Chambers Geoffrey Robertson QC who has been named in the Australia Day Honours list for a life’s work of “distinguished service to the law and the legal profession as an international human rights lawyer and advocate for global civil liberties”.


Read more here


Chief Coroner’s Birmingham Bomb decision quashed.

26.01.18 | |

Today the Divisional Court gave judgment in R (Hambleton) v. Coroner for the Birmingham Inquests. This was a judicial review challenge to the decision of the Chief Coroner, who was appointed to hear the inquests into the deaths of the victims of the Birmingham Bombings in 1974. The Chief Coroner decided to exclude from the scope of the inquest the question of who was responsible for the atrocity. The judicial review challenge was made on behalf of relatives of 10 of those killed. The Divisional Court upheld the claim, quashing the Chief Coroner’s decision. The court provided guidance on how decisions of this nature should be taken.


The bombings were the largest peacetime loss of life in their time, with 21 people killed and a further 220 injured. The miscarriage of justice by West Midlands Police in respect of their investigation of the Birmingham Six is notorious.


Adam Straw represented the claimants, instructed by KRW Law.  


Read about this case in the media here


Adam Wagner acting in Joint Enterprise European human rights challenge

26.01.18 | |

Adam Wagner led by Felicity Gerry QC and acting alongside Peta-Louise Bagott of Carmelite Chambers, instructed by Wells Burcombe, have applied for permission to bring an application before the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Asher Johnson in a joint enterprise appeal.


Asher Johnson’s attempt to appeal (largely in time) after the decision in R v Jogee; [2016] UKSC (Jogee) was refused by the Court of Appeal in 2017. He was then refused a certificate to appeal to the Supreme Court on grounds of general public importance which included breach of his Convention rights. His application for permission to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was served on the 15th of January 2018. The issues the ECtHR will be asked to consider include whether section 33(2) of the Criminal Appeal Act (CAA) 1968 is compatible with Convention rights, whether the ambit of the ‘substantial injustice’ test (applicable to all appeals based on Jogee grounds) applied by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (CACD) is unduly onerous and places a disproportionate burden on an Appellant and also the discriminatory effect of joint enterprise law against BME youth (which applies to Asher Johnson). David Wells and Alan Burcombe of Wells Burcombe, Felicity Gerry QC, Adam Wagner and Peta-Louise Bagott were instructed as fresh solicitors and counsel after the Court of Appeal dismissal.


Stateless mother-of-two wins appeal against extradition to Lithuania

25.01.18 | |

Malcolm Hawkes represented a stateless woman who challenged the order for her extradition to Lithuania to serve an 18-month prison sentence for fraud, and to stand trial for similar offences.


The woman had entered the UK on false identity documents and was convicted of those offences in this country.


She challenged extradition on the basis that her statelessness would mean she could never return to the UK if she were extradited and be reunited with her children. Born in the Soviet Union, she had never regularised her immigration status in independent Lithuania; she faced insurmountable obstacles in establishing her right to citizenship of that country.


In the UK, she was the victim of domestic violence and extreme controlling behaviour from her husband, who had been convicted of murder in Lithuania and would regularly threaten her. He has since been deported to Lithuania where he faces trial for a second murder allegation.


The woman’s two children were severely affected by their mother’s arrest and imprisonment and were at real risk of further significant and serious psychological harm were she to be extradited.


Describing the case as one of the most difficult of its type, High Court judge, Sir Wyn Williams accepted that if the woman were extradited, she would automatically lose custody of her children as she would be unable to contest care proceedings in the family court. He concluded that this outcome would be a clearly disproportionate interference with her and her children’s right to private and family life.


In JB v Lithuania, Malcolm was instructed by John Howey of JFH Solicitors


Digital Freedom Fund launches to support digital rights litigation in Europe

Launched on 25 January, the Digital Freedom Fund (DFF) supports strategic litigation to advance and protect digital rights in Europe. Operating from Berlin and Brussels, it provides financial support to NGOs and individuals litigating to protect human rights in online and networked spaces and supports coordination and collaboration between digital rights activists in Europe.


The Digital Freedom Fund responds to an identified need to strengthen strategic litigation on digital rights and increase the impact of both litigation and advocacy to protect and advance the enjoyment of human rights in the digital sphere.


Since October 2017, DFF has been seeking input from the digital rights community on its strategy and funding priorities. Please get in touch to share your views.


The first call for funding applications is scheduled for April 2018. Receive a notification by signing up for updates here


DFF is led by Nani Jansen Reventlow, an experienced human rights lawyer, strategic litigator and associate tenant at Doughty Street Chambers. "We are very excited to launch the Digital Freedom Fund. Litigation is a powerful tool to push back on the curtailment of our human rights in the digital sphere. By supporting the digital rights community in the important work it does, we pursue an open and democratic society in which people can freely exercise their rights."


DFF is supported by a Board and a group of friends. "Ensuring that our human rights are protected online is crucial, especially as more and more parts of our lives enter the digital sphere" said David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and part of the group of friends of the Digital Freedom Fund. "The Digital Freedom Fund will help reinforce the efforts of those fighting for our rights online, including the right to freedom of expression.”


The Digital Freedom Fund is grateful for the support of the Open Society Foundation, Adessium Foundation, Omidyar Network and the Renewable Freedom Foundation, and expresses its thanks to the Advisory Group that helped develop DFF.


Stay up-to-date with the Digital Freedom Fund by signing up for DFF's newsletter or by following DFF on Twitter


Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chairman of the Bar Human Rights Committee, issues a joint statement with Andrew Walker QC, Chairman of the Bar Council Andrew Walker in recognition of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer

On the day of the Endangered Lawyer, Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of BHRC, said:


“In 2016, BHRC, called upon the President of Egypt to end the persecution against lawyers in Egypt. “The Egyptian government continues to issue travel bans, freeze assets and detain human rights lawyers as part of an ongoing and sustained campaign to intimidate and undermine their work.


“Prominent figures currently facing persecution include Azza Soliman, a women’s rights lawyer and co-founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), Malek Adly, a human rights lawyer and director of Lawyers Network at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), and Khalid Ali, a workers’ rights lawyer. . They have been subject travel bans, asset freezes, imprisonment with hallmarks of solitary confinement, beatings and denial of family and lawyer visitation.


“On this important day, BHRC condemns this campaign to intimidate and undermine the work of these lawyers and others like them in Egypt.” 


Read the full statement here.

Edward Fitzgerald QC gave the annual Hong Kong Base Cohen and Collins Criminal Law Lecture on the introduction of fresh evidence in criminal appeals in Hong Kong

On the 26th of January, Edward gave the annual Hong Kong Base Cohen and Collins Criminal Law Lecture on the introduction of fresh evidence in criminal appeals in Hong Kong. The talk was attended by members of the Hong Kong judiciary, Department of Justice, and Bar Association, as well as students from Hong Kong’s three law schools.


The full talk can be seen here.   

High Court finds Personal Independence Payments Regulations unlawful

The High Court has found that part of the Regulations governing Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are unlawful and discriminate against people with mental health impairments.  The claimant in the case, RF, had all three of her grounds of challenge accepted by Mr Justice Mostyn.  He held that the Regulations are discriminatory, in breach of Article 14 of the European Convention; that they are ultra vires; and that the preceding consultation process was unlawful. 


The claimant is represented by Martin Westgate QC, Alison Pickup and the Public Law Project.


There were two interveners who supported the challenge: the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and MIND. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC represents the EHRC. The EHRC argued that the Regulations breach the right to independent living, protected by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Mr Justice Mostyn agreed and stated that this further supported his finding that the Regulations are discriminatory.


The Secretary of State sought permission to appeal.  This was refused by the High Court but he has indicated his intention to now seek permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal.


Further information is available from Public Law Project here

Sarah Elliott QC and Benjamin Newton secure an acquittal and wasted costs order in case dropped by CPS as a result of disclosure failings.

Sarah Elliott QC and Benjamin Newton secured an acquittal and wasted costs order at Southwark Crown Court for a client accused of assault causing grievous bodily harm after last minute disclosure forced the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the case.

The defendant was indicted under s18 Offences Against The Person Act 1861. In the months leading up to the trial repeated attempts were made to secure disclosure of the download from his mobile phone, seized by the police, because he had consistently asserted that it contained material that would support his defence. Despite repeated requests and court orders for disclosure the material was not provided until the trial had begun. The material from the mobile phone demonstrated that the complainant had been lying to the police, as the defendant had always asserted, and was not someone who the CPS should put forward as a witness of truth. Although the case had been opened to the jury and a live link to Australia had been established for the complainant, defence submissions to prosecution counsel and the reviewing lawyer finally resulted in the Crown offering no evidence on the second day of the trial, before the witness was called.

An application to recover the wasted costs incurred by the defendant under s19 Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 was granted following a hearing on 19th January 2018. HHJ Lorraine-Smith cited the "ineptitude" of the CPS and police, and observed that the case would have ended in January 2017 if the mobile telephone had been examined immediately as it should have been.

Sarah Elliott QC acted for the defendant at trial and Benjamin Newton appeared in relation to the wasted costs application.

Both were instructed by John Harding and Nicholas Dent of Kingsley Napley solicitors.

Guilty pleas vacated - Evidence of human trafficking accepted

In June 2017, N, a Vietnamese citizen, pleaded guilty to offences of producing cannabis and unauthorised use of electricity. The Crown’s case was that N had been 'responsible for industrial scale production, operating from a factory’. 


N was represented by a lawyer at the police station. He answered ‘No comment’ in interview to the majority of questions he was asked. N had legal representation when he pleaded guilty at court to both offences, the next day. 


Six months later, and with newly instructed counsel and solicitors, N’s legal team successfully applied to vacate both N’s guilty pleas on the ground that there was prima facie evidence that N had been the victim of human trafficking. N’s convictions were duly set aside.  


The Crown Prosecution Service requested that the Crown Court list the case, again, for trial. The Court did so. N’s counsel settled submissions that there were no remaining issues to litigate before a jury and that the Crown Prosecution Service had failed to apply its own guidance. N’s solicitor prepared a detailed chronology of all proceedings to date, including missed opportunities by investigating and arresting police to pursue reasonable lines of inquiry that would have shown, at the earliest, that N was a victim of human trafficking. 


Today, at the PTPH, the Crown Prosecution Service elected to discontinue the listed trial proceedings against N. 


From first instruction in the Crown Court, N’s counsel and solicitors drove N’s case down the route of the National Referral Mechanism and elicited 'reasonable grounds’ and ‘conclusive grounds’ decisions that founded N’s application to vacate his guilty pleas. N’s legal representatives commissioned an expert report on indicators and classic hallmarks of human trafficking and how those were indicated and apparent per the case served against N. 


N was represented by Abigail Bright and Hayley Douglas, instructed by Miriam Thompson, Faradays Solicitors


‘Revenge porn’ case against Facebook

Last week, Edward Fitzgerald QC appeared in a ‘revenge porn’ case in Belfast. Naked photos of a minor were being continually shared on Facebook. At an earlier hearing, Facebook had sought to have the case struck out on the basis that they had no duty more than to take down the photo once reported. At last week’s hearing, Edward argued that it was possible to block access to individual images for all time and Facebook had a responsibility to do so. Edward further argued that the processing of her sensitive data and doing so without her consent was contrary to the Data Protection Act and constituted a misuse of information.  The case against Facebook settled on confidential terms with an order that Facebook pay the Plaintiff’s costs. 


Read about this case in the news here

Rape trial collapses after disclosure failures

15.01.18 | |

Another high-profile rape trial has collapsed after the CPS was forced to offer no evidence when images emerged of the defendant in bed with his alleged victim.


The collapse of the prosecution at Snaresbrook Crown Court is the latest example of vital evidence either not being found or not being disclosed.  


Samson Makele had been under investigation for a year and a half before the case collapsed just two weeks before his trial was due to begin.


Harriet Johnson, Mr. Makele’s barrister, said 


“had we not been able to recover these images ourselves, there is every chance Mr. Makele could have been wrongly convicted.  The prosecution are under a duty to investigate all avenues that could potentially prove the defendant’s innocence, as well as his / her guilt - yet cases like this make it clear that that is not being done.  Unless the disclosure regime is seriously overhauled I have no doubt that there will be miscarriages of justice.”


Coverage of the case can be found here, here and here


Harriet Johnson was instructed by Paris Theodorou of Hodge Jones and Allen

Oldest person requested in extradition proceedings - fraud of €96, 766: EAW withdrawn

11.01.18 | |

A, an eighty-four year-old, was requested by the Federal Republic of Germany.


The European Arrest Warrant (‘EAW’) was withdrawn after written submissions were filed and served on behalf of A. Those written submissions set out, extensively, A’s positive case in response to the application for her arrest and extradition to Germany. .


A was accused of twenty-nine offences of fraud, with a total value of €96,766, allegedly committed over a six-and-a-half-year period. In the event of her conviction for any one such offence, A was liable to a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment.


A had allegedly engineered repeated frauds of the Federal Cash Office (Bundeskasse) and the responsible State pension regulatory authority (Bundesfinanzdirektionen).


A’s positive case, as pleaded, was that she did not deny any part of the alleged frauds but that there were bars to her extradition pursuant to the 2003 Act; alternatively, resort should be had to less intrusive measures than extradition to resolve the outstanding criminal proceedings. No reliance was placed by A on ill or poor health as a potential bar to order of extradition. A is a high-profile political activist and civil rights campaigner.


At the request of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that A is the oldest person known to have been requested in UK extradition proceedings.


A’s legal representatives arranged for A to present herself, voluntarily, not under compulsion of any power of arrest, and ensured that A at no time was placed in handcuffs or detained in a cell.


Abigail Bright defended A, instructed by Edward Jones, partner, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.


Hidden in Plain Sight: Australia to follow the UK in Establishing a Modern Slavery Act

Dr Anne Gallagher AO 


2017 may be seen, in hindsight, as the Year of the Slave. Almost immediately after his inauguration, President Trump vowed to "bring the full force and weight of our government" to combat this “epidemic”. In September at the UN General Assembly, new data on the number of slaves (40.3 million) was publicly released. The data was generated by an alliance between the International Labour Organisation and Walk Free, the authors of the methodologically troubled Global Slavery Index. A high-level panel convened to mark the occasion and discuss “the greatest issue of our time” included UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump.


Theresa May’s role was not an accidental one. The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of this global campaign, principally through its success in marketing the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the 'MSA') as a legislative game-changer –  a model  that other States seeking to burnish their anti-slavery credentials could usefully follow.


The MSA is certainly unusual. While most countries have adopted legislation criminalizing trafficking and related forms of exploitation, only a few have gone as far as the UK in legislating for “supply chain transparency” or creating independent oversight mechanisms (in the form of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner).


In February 2017, the Australian Parliament established an Inquiry into whether Australia should adopt a version of the MSA. Anne Gallagher, in her role as Academic Adviser, gave evidence and coordinated Doughty Street Chambers’ (‘DSC’) submission to the Inquiry.


The submission acknowledged that the MSA has some positive features that Australia could usefully consider when seeking to further refine its laws. These include prevention provisions focused on encouraging business to identify and respond to exploitation in their supply chains and the creation of an independent mechanism to oversee implementation of the law.


But the submission was clear that the MSA has significant weaknesses which are too often ignored by those who are pushing it as a model for other countries to follow. Not least is its startling, unconscionable failure to provide minimum statutory entitlements to victims of exploitation.


Drafters of the MSA chose to not specify the rights of person assessed to be victims of trafficking. They also chose to not impose an obligation on government authorities to provide support. Rather, the MSA authorises the relevant public official to issue guidance (Article 49) and make regulations (Article 50) concerning victim identification and support. These can, of course, be amended at any time.


The practical impact of the MSA’s failure to mandate victim rights and entitlements is partially moderated by the UK’s obligations under European law – which include substantial and detailed protections for victims of trafficking. Even leaving aside the very real possibility that this safety net will be removed, the experience of DSC and others has confirmed that securing such rights is a difficult and time-consuming process, often requiring court action. In short, and contrary to the dominant PR spin, this aspect of the MSA is far from international good practice.


As widely expected, the Parliamentary Inquiry’s report, released in December 2017, calls for the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, along with the establishment of an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Several of its key recommendations draw on the DSC submission. The Inquiry recommends the introduction of a statutory defence for victims who commit status-based offences, similar to but stronger than that set out in Article 45 of the MSA. The report also recommends the establishment of a national compensation scheme for victims of exploitation.


But opportunities to address more fundamental problems were missed. Australia’s criminal justice response to trafficking is desperately in need of review and reform. Too few victims are ever identified, and successful prosecutions are vanishingly rare. The Inquiry was made aware of these failings but declined to even call for a review of what is going so terribly wrong. And while the report acknowledges the need to protect victims’ rights, it tinkers with details rather than proposing that the new law unambiguously articulate obligations of protection and support.


The main problem with the report is the disproportionate attention it pays to the newly fashionable ‘solution’ of supply chain transparency. As I have written elsewhere, addressing supply chains must be part of any comprehensive attack on exploitation. It is, however, no silver bullet. In fact, there is a real risk that the current obsession with supply chains, as reflected in the global marketing of the MSA and the Australian Inquiry’s final report, will deflect precious time, energy and resources away from the grindingly difficult, less glamorous tasks we know to be critical to making a difference. These include: identifying and supporting victims; securing more and better prosecutions; reducing the vulnerabilities of migrants and migrant workers; enforcing labour legislation; and addressing the structures and attitudes that help to normalize exploitation.

Paul Barker to lecture at Harvard Law School

11.01.18 | |

Paul Barker, a specialist in international dispute resolution, has been invited to lecture on the international arbitration course at Harvard Law School in January 2018.


Drawing on his experience as a practitioner, Paul has also been a guest lecturer at Stanford Law School and teaches an annual class on investment treaty arbitration at City University of Hong Kong.


Paul accepts instructions as counsel and appointments as arbitrator in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations.  A link to Paul’s profile is available here.

Following the release of John Worboys, Kirsty Brimelow QC comments on parole laws in the UK

Kirsty Brimelow QC states that now 'taxi rapist' John Worboys has been released from prison we need to fix the parole laws.


Read the full article on Newsweek here

Sarah Elliott QC successfully defends client charged with voyeurism

10.01.18 | |

The defendant, a professional in a senior position at a global media company, used a hidden camera to covertly film women in intimate situations, both in his home and theirs, as well creating an extensive catalogue of “upskirting” videos of women on public transport. The offences were committed over a four year period and were aggravated by the planning and sophistication of execution .  Sarah successfully persuaded the Judge to pass a suspended sentence with a requirement to attend a sexual offenders programme rather than the immediate custodial term the Judge original had in mind. She also successfully argued that the terms of the sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) should not prevent the defendant from having ordinary electronic devices, such as a mobile, with camera facilities.


The case has appeared in the media.


Sarah was instructed by Tim Walker, Sonn MacMillan Walker.

Murder charge dropped at trial

04.01.18 | |

The Defendant was alleged to have been running a “County Lines” drugs telephone in Sussex on behalf of South London gang members. In the course of an altercation over a drug debt he was said to have attacked the deceased and murdered him by stabbing him twice in the chest, in a public street in broad daylight. After extensive, evidenced, representations by the Defence, the Prosecution conceded at trial that contrary to their initial case, the Defendant had only armed himself in response to an armed attack by the deceased. The count of murder was not proceeded with.


Represented by Piers Marquis, instructed by Sasha Sidhu at SVS Solicitors.


Read about the case in the news here and here

Police treatment of menstruating women and girls in the cells likely to be unlawful

The Independent Custody Visitors Association (“ICVA”) has called on the Home Secretary to address ongoing failures by police forces across England and Wales to ensure that women and girls in police custody have proper access to sanitary protection.  


The ICVA has written to Amber Rudd MP and the Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening MP, to ask that an immediate review of police practice is undertaken, consistent with the public sector equality duty, and that specific protection is provided for menstruating women in Code C to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the statutory Code of Practice governing the treatment of police detainees.


ICVA is represented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Angela Patrick, who have produced a legal opinion, provided to the Home Secretary and today published by the ICVA. 


The legal opinion makes clear that leaving women and girls in police cells without access to a pad or a tampon will violate women’s right to be treated with dignity, protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 (Articles 8 and 14).  In some cases, it may amount to degrading treatment (prohibited by Article 3).  Forces are failing to follow their own statutory guidance, inconsistent with their public law duties.  A continuing failure to treat women with equal respect may violate the public sector equality duty (Section 149, Equality Act 2010).  The Home Secretary and individual forces risk judicial review and some women may have a right to compensation.


Copies of the ICVA Press Pack are available, here. 


Coverage of the ICVA’s request to the Home Secretary is available from Buzzfeed, the BBC and the Guardian.


For more information, please contact Eileen Donaghey, on or 0207 404 1313 .  The legal opinion by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Angela Patrick for the ICVA is available by request.

Nick Stanage joins UN Roster of Senior Consultants

22.12.17 | |

Following an open competition, Nick Stanage has been selected to join the Roster of Senior Consultants of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, based in Geneva.

Nick will work for the Multilateral Diplomacy Programme which trains diplomats, international civil servants and other government officials in international human rights protection and promotion, international law, communication, public speaking, negotiation skills, and drafting UN resolutions.

UNITAR works in particular with delegates of UN missions from the least developed countries and small island developing states.

More information about the Institute can be found here and a fact sheet can be downloaded here.

Nick Stanage is a member of Doughty Street International. Domestically he specialises in police law and inquest law. Internationally he has worked for various UN agencies, Embassies, governments and NGOs, advising on detainees’ rights, police powers and procedure, criminal justice reform, the independence of the judiciary, and on effective investigations into allegations of torture and slavery.

The above work has been conducted variously in English, French and Spanish.

Paul Taylor and Katy Thorne to be appointed Queen’s Counsel

Doughty Street Chambers is thrilled and proud to announce that Paul Taylor and Katy Thorne will be appointed Queen’s Counsel in a ceremony at Westminster Hall on 26 February 2018, when the Lord Chancellor will present them with their Letters Patent on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.


Called in 1989, Paul Taylor specialises in criminal appeals and is Head of the Doughty Street Appeals Unit.  He has particular specialism in cases involving fresh evidence, homicide, and offenders with mental disorders.  He is the author of leading practitioner textbook, Taylor on Criminal Appeals, and edits our monthly appeals bulletin (which can be viewed via our website).  Paul appears regularly before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), as well as in applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and he has appeared before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.  The most recent edition of Chambers & Partners says of him that he is, "A fantastic, hard-working advocate who is highly regarded for his specialism and expertise in appellate work. He attracts plaudits for his preparation and intellect, and has been instructed in some of the most complex and challenging appeals of recent years, including those relating to fresh evidence, murders and historic sexual offences.  He's meticulous in his directions to instructing solicitors, he brings great energy to the legal team and he goes the extra mile when preparing for cases."  The Legal 500 comments that Paul is “the leading junior authority on criminal appeals”, and as having “an unrivalled encyclopaedic knowledge of appeal issues".


Katy Thorne has defended since her call to the Bar in 1994, and her specialisms now include sexual allegations and abuse, child abuse and financial crime.  She is also instructed in the most serious criminal cases including murder, manslaughter, and high level drug trafficking.  Comments from legal directories include that “she is always thorough and well-prepared” (The Legal 500) and she is particularly singled out in feedback for her client care skills, being easy to work with, and for her good judgement.  Katy has particular expertise in challenging experts, from medical to cell site, and is often sought by professionals who face concurrent proceedings brought by their regulatory body (befoire which she also appears), particularly where those arise as a result of criminal allegations. In 2015, she published Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers with Professor Helen Whitwell and others.


Paul and Katy join our market leading team of 32 Silks who practise across all areas of crime, criminal appeals, fraud, public and administrative law, and civil and international law.


For more information on Paul and Katy’s work, please call our criminal senior practice team leader Tom Street on 020 7400 9088 or send an e-mail.   


A list of all those appointed Queen's Counsel in 2018 can be found here.

Man accused of criminal damage to £24 million painting in the National Gallery, found Not Guilty by reason of insanity.

21.12.17 | |

Emma Scott defended Keith Gregory, charged with slashing an “x” into the Thomas Gainsborough painting, “The Morning Walk” on 18 March 2017.


Mr Gregory could be seen on CCTV walking up to the painting and slashing it, before being pulled away by a member of the public, and detained by a guard of the Gallery.


Mr Gregory accepted damaging the painting, but the defence of insanity was raised.  Three psychiatrists agreed that Mr Gregory was suffering from a psychotic disorder at the time of the incident, most likely paranoid schizophrenia.  He had previously been detained under the Mental Health Act, but had absconded.  He spent four months travelling the country, alone, with no contact with his family or medical professionals, believing himself to be under surveillance by people with laptops and other devices.  In the Gallery, Mr Gregory informed psychiatrists that he heard a “powerful voice” that told him to leave a mark on the painting so his family could find him.


The issue for the jury, was whether, at the material time, Mr Gregory “knew what he was doing was wrong”.  The expert evidence differed on this point.


The jury returned a unanimous verdict of Not Guilty by reason of insanity in under 2 hours.


'Emma Scott was instructed by Tim Walker of Sonn MacMillan Walker.


Read about this case in the news here

European Parliament Study on the Implications of Brexit for the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice in the EU coordinated by Associate Tenant, Susie Alegre, is published

20.12.17 | |

The Study looks at some of the issues that will need to be discussed and considered in the next phase of negotiations - migration policy, judicial cooperation in family and criminal law, police cooperation and data protection for security and law enforcement.  It concludes that the impact of Brexit in these fields is complex and there may be a need for the EU to balance immediate operational needs with wider implications for policy development and greater integration in the EU in some areas. 


On an operational level, to ensure continued police and judicial cooperation is possible after Brexit, there is an urgent need to address some legal issues relating to cross-border cooperation including transitional arrangements around the European Arrest Warrant, whether at an institutional level (such as agreements with Eurojust) or on a bilateral level with Member States. The technical issues of transitional provisions to be included in the Withdrawal Agreement should be discussed as soon as possible in order to provide legal certainty for ongoing proceedings.


Many of the AFSJ areas affect the daily lives of people. Family law should not be considered an area of negotiation subject only to the principle of reciprocity. Whatever the UK position in this area might be, European families should not be held hostage to the political turbulence surrounding Brexit. The EU should explore ways of ensuring, to as great an extent as possible, legal certainty in the EU27 following Brexit.


The EU will need to bear in mind the implications of the decisions it makes on the AFSJ for the integrity of EU law. To ensure that Brexit does not weaken the foundations of the AFSJ itself, the importance of the role of the CJEU and the rights and principles set out in the EU Charter need to be fundamental.


Read the full study here.

Judicial Diversity: Where there’s no will, there’s no way

The Government’s response to David Lammy’s recommendation for the recruitment of Judges from ethnic minorities is as disappointing as it is predictable. David Liddington, the latest Justice Secretary, claimed today that setting targets “was the wrong way” saying instead “you need to look at the critical path of how people get into the legal profession in the first place". This solution would seem to require the elimination of all discrimination and disadvantage in schools and universities, thus kicking the can down the road for another 30 years. Liddington could form a double act with Lord “50 years before judicial equality between the sexes” Sumption. Decades of listening to this particular debate have left me with the belief that nothing will happen until we really, really want it to. It’s not like there aren’t solutions out there, how about:

  • Targets: tell your recruitment panels they should aim for 10% BME appointments and 50% women. At the end of each year, see how they got on. Telling people they’re being watched makes them try harder.
  • Learning from around the world: In American Football the Rooney Rule obliged all teams to interview at least one black candidate when choosing a new coach, and lead to a dramatic increase in the appointment of black coaches.
  • All women shortlists: Condemned by its critics as leading to the women selected being regarded as second rate. Really? Try this simple test. Name one female Labour MP who was chosen from an all women shortlist. Without looking it up. Unless you are such an MP [or were part of the selection process], I’ll bet you can’t 

Would such action cause unbearable resentment amongst those who would feel they might otherwise have been appointed? I will accept the need for caution and elaborate care to avoid stirring up divisions and prejudice amongst white working class men, but I’m damned if a bit of grousing at the bar in the Garrick should derail attempts to arrive at equality and justice. Anyway, speaking as a white man myself, at least this way I’d know any appointment I managed to achieve was based on merit.

ICSID provisional measures v extradition proceedings: and the winner is…...

18.12.17 | |

Arbitration Analysis: Emilie Gonin examines the interactions between ICSID provisional measures and extradition proceedings in Nova Group Investments, B.V. v Romania.


Read the full article here


The article was first published on Lexis Nexis. 

Doughty Street Chambers members give evidence to House of Lords committee on Brexit and citizens’ rights

The House of Lords' EU Justice Sub-Committee is undertaking further work on citizens' rights after Brexit, following its 2016 Inquiry, Brexit: acquired rights. It has now published a range of evidence which it has recently received on these issues, including a submission from Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Susie Alegre. Their evidence summarises their key concerns regarding:


(a) The impact of Brexit on citizenship rights for all UK citizens;
(b) The particular issues arising in relation to citizenship rights in Northern Ireland; and
(c) The impact of Brexit on citizenship rights for EU nationals resident in the UK.


Caoilfhionn and Susie’s evidence is available here and a blogpost summarising it is available here.

Kenyan Supreme Court abolishes the mandatory death penalty

15.12.17 | |

In a landmark decision that will affect thousands of prisoners, the Supreme Court of Kenya has struck down the mandatory death penalty (Muruatetu & Mwangi v Republic, 14 December 2017).


Under Kenya’s Penal Code anyone convicted of murder or aggravated robbery is automatically sentenced to death. This produces hundreds of death sentences every year, most of them imposed in the magistrates’ courts for aggravated robbery. The Supreme Court ruled that imposing the ultimate penalty for all such offences, without considering the circumstances of the offence or the offender, was incompatible with the fundamental rights enshrined in Kenya’s Constitution, including the right to a fair trial and the prohibition of inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty itself has not been abolished, but its imposition in future is likely to be the exception rather than the rule.


Joe Middleton addressed the Court on behalf of the Death Penalty Project. The Court allowed the Death Penalty Project to take part in the appeal as a “friend of the court” because of its historic expertise in bringing constitutional challenges of this kind. The Court was also provided with a detailed analysis of capital sentencing from other common law jurisdictions in Africa and elsewhere.


Reacting to the judgment, Joe said:


“This is a great achievement for Kenya, for the judiciary and for the many lawyers who have worked on the constitutional litigation in Kenya over the last decade. These cases continue to build on the pioneering death penalty challenges argued by Edward Fitzgerald QC and Sir Keir Starmer QC. The Court has provided a powerful affirmation of fundamental rights under the Constitution, and in doing so rejected  the colonial legacy of mandatory death sentences. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with colleagues in Kenya on capital sentencing principles, as well as the resentencing process for prisoners who have been given unconstitutional capital sentences”.

Amos Waldman successful in appeal against restraining order on acquittal

15.12.17 | |

Amos Waldman, represented David Taylor during his trial, for burglary, which took place, at Liverpool Crown Court, in May of this year. He was acquitted.


Following the trial, the Trial Judge imposed a restraining order, on acquittal. The power to do so is contained within S5A Protection from Harassment Act 1997, as amended by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.


Mr Waldman argued that:

(1)    the statutory test, namely, that the court may impose such an order if it considers it ‘necessary to do so to protect a person from harassment by the defendant’ was not met; and

(2)the factual basis for the order was not clear.


In delivering the court’s judgement, Irwin LJ, reviewed the relevant earlier authorities.


He reiterated that, given the potential consequences of breaching the order, one should only be imposed if it was truly necessary.


Report of the case can be found here.


Amos Waldman was instructed by Andy Malik, at DJMS Solicitors.

Check out Kirsty Brimelow QC’s review of books for the holiday season in The Times.

Twists, turns and a touch of inspiration: the best books for Christmas by Kirsty Brimelow QC. 


Read the full article here


Alison Pickup and Maria Roche, instructed by Sapna Malik and Shubhaa Srinivasan of Leigh Day, successfully represented Iraqi civilians in claims against the Ministry of Defence for human rights abuses relating to their inhuman and degrading treatment and arbitrary detention during the conflict in Iraq from March 2003 onwards.


In this landmark judgment, raising novel and complex issues of English and Iraqi law, the Court awarded damages under the Human Rights Act 1998 to four lead Claimants, who came from Iraq to give evidence in trials lasting over seven weeks.  The Court found that none of these Claimants had been engaged in terrorist activities or posed any threat to the security of Iraq.


Mr Justice Leggatt held that the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment under Article 3 ECHR had been breached through the deliberate assault and/or hooding of each Claimant and that the right to liberty protected by Article 5 ECHR had been breached by their unlawful detention.  


The limitation period was extended under s.7(5) of the Human Rights Act 1998 to reflect the significant obstacles that the Claimants faced in bringing their claim. Damages awarded range from £10,600 to £33,300.


Alison Pickup and Maria Roche were part of the Counsel team representing Mr Alseran, Mr Al-Waheed, MRE and KSU. 


The judgment can be found here.


The POA are pleased that their members have been cleared of misconduct in a public office after a prisoner died on 16th December 2013. The pressure facing criminal charges has been immense for the Officers but hopefully now they can move forward knowing that this sad case has finally concluded and they have been cleared by the Court.

Steve Gillan General Secretary of the POA said,

'We are delighted by the strong judgment of His Honour Judge Dickinson QC which sets out comprehensively that prison officers, Mr Philip Marshall, Mr Paul Atkin and Mr Auvil Graham had no case to answer. He indicated that this was “crystal clear”. Sadly, it has taken several years since the tragic death of Mr Moore for this case to come to Court and for Mr Marshall, Mr Atkin and Mr Graham to receive, in a full considered judgment, a validation of their position. They are very grateful to their legal teams who, from the very start, identified the flaws in the case against them and to the Judge who enabled a just verdict of not guilty, with no case for them to answer. It is unfortunate that the prosecution failed to analyse the evidence carefully so as to understand that there was no criminal conduct by any of these prison officers. These are charges that should never have been brought.

Mr Marshall was represented by Mrs Gillian Jones QC, Mr Michael Lavery and Mr Greg Powell, Mr Atkin by Ms Kirsty Brimelow QC, Mr David Toal and Ms Gemma Zakrzewski and Mr Graham by Mr Simon Csoka QC, Mr Patrick Cassidy and Mr Jared McNally.


For more information click here


Christopher Johnson secures significant NIHL judgment

Christopher Johnson acted for the successful Claimant who received compensation of £11,567.49 (subject to apportionment) for NIHL of 11.2dB averaged over 3 and 4 kHz.


The judge dismissed the Defendant’s reliance on numerous in vogue points including: de minimis; the importance of losses at 4kHz; and the phenomenon of “loudness recruitment”.


Read the full judgement here

Child Sexual Exploitation Acquittals

12.12.17 | |

After three days in retirement an Oxford man represented by David Hislop QC leading Alwyn Jones was acquitted by a jury of six counts of conspiracy to rape, one count of rape and further counts of assault by penetration and conspiracy to have sexual activity with a child. The charges arose out of a police investigation known as Operation Nautical, an investigation into Child Exploitation by Asian gangs.


Garry Green successfully defends inmate in Pentonville Prison murder trial

11.12.17 | |

Garry Green and Charlie Sherrard QC appeared for Joshua Ratner who was acquitted unanimously of a murder committed in Pentonville Prison in October 2016. In a trial lasting 3 months at the Old Bailey the poor conditions of the North London prison were laid bare. Inadequate staffing, violence and the illegal trade in contraband; phones, drugs and weapons. The deceased was killed in a dispute over contraband with a  smuggled in “Rambo knife". Joshua  Rather was an inmate on the same wing at the time.The prosecution alleged he was jointly responsible for the stabbing and death of  Jamal Mahmoud.The motive was said to be a dispute about the control of contraband going into the prison wing. The location and circumstances of the incident were very obviously unique.  During the trial the jury visited the prison wing. They saw first hand the very unsatisfactory conditions of the prison.  A recent report into another London prison, Wormwood Scrubs, highlighted similarly poor conditions.  The case highlights the need to look again at how offenders are punished and how our prisons operate.  


For news links to the Pentonville and Wormwood Scrub stories, see here and here






Press Release: Statement from the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia



“External, impartial investigators essential and extremely urgent”


International lawyers at Doughty Street Chambers have advised Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family that the investigation into her assassination violates procedural requirements of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).


In a legal opinion issued today, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jonathan Price say “we are of the firm view that Malta is in flagrant violation of the Article 2 investigative duty and thus in breach of its obligations under the ECHR”, and that “from the information available at this stage it appears highly likely to us that the Maltese authorities have also violated other human rights of Ms Caruana Galizia and the bereaved family, under Articles 2, 3, 8, 10 and/ or 13 ECHR (and indeed under other international human rights treaties and domestic law).”


The lawyers conclude that Malta is in breach of its obligations to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family under the ECHR. Their legal opinion calls for swift action to be taken by the authorities in Malta to immediately remove the Deputy Commissioner from his role and to apologise to the family “for the failure to appropriately update and involve them in the investigation, and alter the way in which information is provided to them to comply with Article 2’s requirements.”


They further note that the involvement of external, impartial investigators is “an essential requirement, and an extremely urgent one.”


Note to Editors:

  • Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC has acted in many landmark human rights cases in the UK in recent years, including acting for bereaved families and survivors of the 7/7 London bombings and the Hillsborough disaster. She has particular expertise in freedom of expression and she regularly acts for journalists worldwide who are imprisoned, prosecuted or harassed due to their work. She is a member of the Board of Reporters Without Borders, and earlier this year she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for her contribution to the protection of human rights.
  • Jonathan Price specialises in media, publication and information law, and he regularly defends journalists and writers both in the UK and internationally.
  • Doughty Street Chambers is home to leading specialist barristers who advise and appear as advocates for clients in courts and tribunals around the world. The Chambers practise in crime, civil law, public and administrative law, international law, mediation, and arbitration, frequently in cases invoking issues of human rights and civil liberties. Doughty Street is home to over 120 barristers, including 29 Queen’s Counsels.
  • A detailed explanation of the lawyers’ findings and conclusions can be viewed here.

Inmates cleared of Pentonville Prison murder

08.12.17 | |

Robert Butler, defended by Piers Marquis and Di Middleton QC, has been unanimously acquitted of murder by an Old Bailey jury at the conclusion of a three month trial. Butler was one of three inmates accused of murdering a fellow inmate in HMP Pentonville. The Crown alleged that the three had launched a premeditated attack, stabbing the deceased to death with a hunting knife and flick knife.


Butler maintained that order had broken down to such an extent in Pentonville that his Wing was being run by an armed criminal gang; and the Prison Service was powerless to prevent the proliferation of weapons and extreme violence. Butler had to habitually carry a knife because of almost daily incidents of violence. When he himself faced life threatening violence he had to defend himself. 


Read about this case in the news here and here

Louise Price and Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce, have lodged a complaint to UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on behalf of seven women psychologically and sexually abused by undercover policemen infiltrating UK protest groups.

08.12.17 | |

The women complain that the United Kingdom Government has failed to prevent institutionalised discrimination against women by the police. All the women suffered serious psychological harm through having been deceived into long term intimate relationships with undercover policemen.   These intimate relationships involved five different undercover police officers over a period spanning nearly 25 years.


The case is one of the first complaints of its kind made to the committee and has been launched to coincide with the 16 days of action called by the United Nations that commenced with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November and culminates in Human Rights Day on 10th December. 


View the full press release here

Rebecca Trowler QC to speak at the Kazakhstan Lawyers Association Annual Forum in Almaty

Rebecca Trowler QC attends the Kazakhstan Lawyers Association Annual Forum in Almaty this Friday, 8th December, to give speeches on protecting the independence of the legal profession and the importance of the role and protections of the defence lawyer. She is attending in her capacity as International Director of the Criminal Bar Association. 

Court rejects Police attempt to strike out claim brought by abandoned son of police spy


Heather Williams QC and Fiona Murphy instructed by Jules Carey of Bindmans LLP have successfully defended a strike out application brought by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in a bid to prevent the son of undercover officer, Bob Lambert, from bringing his claim for misfeasance in public office and negligence.

In a judgment handed down on 4 December 2017 Mr Justice Nicol commented that the Commissioner’s application missed the point as it was the “whole deceptive course of conduct from Lambert’s sexual liaison [with the claimant’s mother] through the Claimant’s birth, his father’s contact with him in the early years and then abandonment, all of which were based on a fiction” that was material to the claim in negligence and that in relation to the claim in misfeasance, on a strike out application, the Court had to accept as true the Claimant’s assertion that his psychiatric injury was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the alleged unlawful actions of Bob Lambert.

Further details are reported here.

Call for ‘written guarantees’ on human rights in NI post Brexit

04.12.17 | |

16 signatories from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, have published a letter in today's Irish Times saying that "fundamental questions about human rights are at stake" in current Brexit negotiations. The signatories include: Liam Herrick executive director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights; Colin Harvey, professor of human rights law at Queens University, Belfast; and Dr Anna Bryson, school of law at Queens’ University.

One of the signatories, Professor Colin Harvey, Queen's University Belfast is also an Academic Expert at Doughty Street Chambers.

A copy of the article in The Irish Times can be read here

Special Treatment

Theo Huckle QC and Christopher Johnson examine the law on claiming damages for immunotherapy for cancer patients.


Read the article here

Pippa Woodrow speaking for the LCCSA on the sentencing of Gypsy and Traveller children

01.12.17 | |

On 4th December Pippa Woodrow will be working with speakers from the Traveller Movement to run training for the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association which is intended to raise awareness of the particular issues facing Gypsy and Traveller children who come into contact with the criminal justice system.  The session will highlight that Gypsy and Traveller children are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and will help to ensure criminal solicitors are informed of common factors relevant to GTR children as members of a minority ethnic group in order to bring these to the court's attention.


Pippa will be speaking in particular about the Sentencing Council’s guidelines on Sentencing Children and Young People, and will also be referring to the guidance issued by the Traveller Movement (available by clicking here), which she and Doughty Street colleague Katy Thorne were involved in drafting earlier this year.

More information on the event is available on the LCCSA website.





His international legal team calls on the government of Equatorial Guinea to end his arbitrary detention immediately and unconditionally.


Artist and activist, Ramón Esono Ebalé, has instructed a team of expert international lawyers to challenge his continued detention by the Equatoguinean state.  Mr Ebalé, a citizen of Equatorial Guinea, has been detained in Black Beach prison, Malabo, without charge since his arrest on 16th September 2017. When arrested he was questioned about his cartoons.


This week, Mr Ebalé’s international legal team, along with the organisations EG Justice and Cartoonists Rights Network International, have filed urgent appeals with the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr David Kaye, and with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.  The appeals request urgent steps to protect Mr Ebalé and to call on the authorities in Equatorial Guinea to comply with their international legal obligations.


These urgent appeals have been filed after the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, failed to respond to an urgent open letter calling for Mr Ebalé’s immediate and unconditional release, sent on 15 November 2017 by a large number of expert international organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The letter was also signed by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Chair of JUSTICE.


Ramón Esono Ebalé

Ramón Ebalé is a well-known illustrator, blogger and human rights activist.  For many years, he has been a critic and satirist of President Obiang’s regime in Equatorial Guinea.  His work continues to receive international recognition and he is the recipient of multiple awards.


His blog, Las Locura de Jamón y Queso was blocked by the government of Equatorial Guinea in 2014 and remains shut down there.  His work has been exhibited in Equatorial Guinea, as well as in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Spain, Paraguay and the United States.  He has collaborated with various international organizations, including the African Union and UNICEF and gives lectures on political corruption, dictatorships and democracy.


In 2011, and following threats on social media to Mr Ebalé and his family from government supporters, he moved to Paraguay, where he continued to exhibit his work.  In 2014, he published a graphic novel, La pesadilla de Obi (“Obi’s Nightmare”) funded by EG Justice, an NGO based in the United States. The novel depicts President Obiang as a citizen, experiencing the injustices of his own regime.



Ramón Ebalé was arrested with two Spanish nationals by members of state security on 16th September outside a restaurant in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.  Mr Ebalé had returned to the country from Paraguay to apply for a new passport.


While the Spanish nationals were released, Ramón was detained without explanation or charge.  He was questioned by state security about his views on President Obiang and the nature of his cartoons of the President, Vice-President and First Lady. On 20th September, Mr Ebalé appeared in court, accused of counterfeiting and money laundering – although no mention had been made of these allegations when he was first arrested and questioned.  He was not formally charged with either offence but was subsequently detained at Black Beach prison in Malabo.


He has now been detained without charge for more than 70 days.  His lawyers in Equatorial Guinea filed a request for his release on bail on Monday 20th November but are yet to receive a response from the court.  The open letter to the President has also been ignored. 


Restrictions on Free Speech in Equatorial Guinea

Freedom of expression is severely curtailed in Equatorial Guinea. On 16th April 2017, police arrested the President and Vice-President of the Equitoguinean human rights organisation, CEID. Both men were detained without charge for ten days. Cultural and artistic comment on President Obiang’s regime has been subject to severe restriction. In July, authorities detained Benjamin Ndong, after he released a song in support of taxi drivers who were protesting an increase in licensing fees. A UNICEF-funded theatre production raising awareness about HIV was banned also because of its criticism of government policy on sexual health.


Journalists have faced similar restrictions. In August this year, authorities ordered the withdrawal of all copies the pro-government weekly Ebano, which reported government harassment of journalists in Equatorial Guinea.  In January 2015, security officials detained two Financial Times journalists and confiscated their equipment, which was not returned. The journalists were released after several hours but only after revealing their laptop passwords.


Urgent Appeal

Mr Ebalé has instructed Doughty Street Chambers, EG Justice and Cartoonist Rights Network International to take action. Their urgent appeals sets out the infringements by Equatorial Guinea of its international obligations both to protect Mr Ebalé’s right to freedom of opinion and expression and that his arbitrary detention with no legal means of challenge is neither necessary or reasonable


Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of EG Justice said “An innocent man has now been deprived of his liberty for over 70 days, solely for exercising his freedom of expression with a pencil. The lack of evidence to substantiate the police accusation, and the state’s unwillingness to summon witnesses to be interrogated by Ramon’s lawyers shows that the accusations were completely fabricated.  It is time for the United Nations and its members to take urgent action to place pressure on the government of Equatorial Guinea to free artist Nse Ramon.”



Note for Editors:


  • Ramón Esono Ebalé is represented by barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason of Doughty Street Chambers, London, United Kingdom.
  • The appeal has been filed on Ramon Ebalé’s behalf by Doughty Street Chambers, EG Justice and Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI). More information about EG Justice and CRNI is available from their websites, available here and here.
  • Press enquiries should be directed to Tutu Alicante ( or
  • Eileen Donaghey at Doughty Street Chambers on  +44 (0)20 7404 1313 or
  • Members of the legal team are available for interview.
  • There is a Twitter campaign supporting the call for Ramon’s release, through the hashtag #FreeNseRamon.




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