Members of Chambers have a wealth of trusted expertise in the field of inquests and inquiries.
We are regularly instructed to undertake Coronial work, representing police officers involved in fatal shootings and cell deaths; companies charged with breaching health and safety regulations which include a train crash and a railway bridge collapse; the medical profession, insurers and public authorities. Nick Mather and Richard Hearnden frequently undertake inquests in which Article 2 is engaged, Nick represented the Gold Commander of the operation that led to the fatal shooting of Mark Saunders by the Metropolitan Police. Our success is underpinned by an extensive understanding of causation and forensic knowledge as well as company structures and corporate responsibility. As a result, a number of inquests have brought changes to health and safety law (e.g. diving at work regulations, see the Bufton Inquest). Members including Caroline Haughey have represented both family and corporate bodies in “disaster” inquests, with a particular knowledge of air accident investigations. We have also represented interested parties in inquests involving service personnel killed on operations overseas (Oliver Doherty). Our extensive collective expertise led to changes in law and policy, with many of the CBA’s recommendations (drafted by Caroline Haughey and others) on changes to the new Coroners Act having subsequently been adopted.
We are engaged in a spectrum of inquiries, working at all levels of UK Government and on behalf of victims. Charlotte Powell was instructed in the Detainee Inquiry 2013 (led by former Judge Sir Peter Gibson) into HMG complicity with the US and others in the rendition programme post 9/11. The Inquiry concluded British intelligence services had been complicit in extraordinary rendition and announced investigations would be undertaken by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. She is currently Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Extradition Inquiry 2014-2015, reviewing extradition law, practice, policy, drawing on evidence from Judges, the Home Secretary, world-renowned academics and ranked practitioners. Sonia Woodley QC represented three senior investigating officers at the Stephen Lawrence Public Inquiry. Philippa McAtasney QC at the Victoria Climbié inquiry represented the senior police officer; advised an individual questioned under the “Cash for Honours” inquiry and advised a senior police officer questioned in the de Menzez shooting inquiry.
We are available to direct seminars or give lectures on developments in either field. For more information please contact our Senior Clerk, Steve Ball.