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Claims against the police and public authorities

We have a reputation for securing substantial damages in the most difficult cases and for pursuing innovative points of law to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. We are strongly committed to representing the vulnerable and the marginalised.

Our Expertise

Our barristers have very considerable expertise in holding the State to account and bringing private law claims against a range of public bodies including:

  • The Metropolitan Police Service and all other police forces in England and Wales
  • The Prison Service (via the Ministry of Justice)
  • The Probation Service
  • Local Authorities
  • Social Services
  • NHS Hospital Trusts
  • The Home Office, particularly in relation to immigration detention

Since the outsourcing of public services to private companies such as G4S and Serco, we have inevitably built up expertise in bringing damages claims against such entities too.

Given some of the very real difficulties in obtaining public funding, we do our best to provide flexible fee arrangements, including Conditional Fee Agreements.

We also bring related judicial review challenges to individual decisions made by public bodies (such as the IOPD) as well as wider public law and human rights challenges to published policy.

We specialise in pursuing a wide range of civil claims for our clients, including damages claims relating to:

  • Post-inquest civil claims including breaches of Article 2 ECHR
  • Breaches of Articles 3 & 4 ECHR investigative obligations on behalf of victims of trafficking and sexual offences
  • Assault and battery and breaches of Article 3 ECHR
  • False imprisonment, unlawful detention and breaches of Article 5 ECHR
  • Trespass and breaches of Article 8 ECHR
  • Protest cases and breaches of Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the ECHR
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Misfeasance in public office
  • Negligence
  • Discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010 and Article 14 ECHR claims

To find out more about how we can help, contact Dan Randall, Civil Practice Manager on 020 7092 8329 or

What others say

Garden Court Chambers won Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2016.

“Garden Court Chambers boasts an impressive selection of silks and juniors offering broad-ranging expertise in the field of civil liberties and human rights. The set enjoys a strong reputation for claimants challenging police misconduct and the actions of public bodies.”
Chambers UK Bar Guide

“Experienced and highly regarded barristers” and “a go-to set for police actions.
Legal 500

Notable Cases

A selection of our notable cases:

Birmingham Pub Bombings 

Representing the families of victims killed in the 1974 pub bombings in Birmingham. Examining the conduct of the police investigations, which led to one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history, and the issue of whether the police may have missed two opportunities to take steps to prevent the bombings. This is an extremely challenging case into a historic tragedy of national significance.

Stephen Port murder victims: claim against the police on behalf of the families of his victims 

Human Rights Act claim against the police for a series of operational failures in the investigation which allowed Port to operate with impunity and continue to murder young men, despite being arrested and bailed early on by the police. This high-profile, sensitive and complex matter will test for the first time the scope of certain duties under the Human Rights Act in UK law.

PD (by her mother and LF, ZD) v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and Just For Kids Law & CRAE (Interveners) [2015] EWCA Civ 114: Annex A of Code C of PACE (strip searches) does apply to the (forcible or otherwise) removal of clothing of suspects in police custody pursuant to s. 54 of PACE (clothes removed for own safety). More information can be found in this post on the UK Human Rights Blog.

Michael and Others v Chief Constable of the South Wales Police and Another [2015] UKSC 2, [2015] 2 WLR 343
Acting for the Interveners (Refuge and Liberty) in the most recent Supreme Court authority on police liability in negligence for a preventable death, as well as under the Human Rights Act 1998 (i.e. whether there was a breach of Article 2 ECHR).

CLG and others v Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police [2015] EWCA Civ 836
The Court of Appeal considered whether the police could rely on judicial proceedings immunity in a claim for negligence arising out of disclosure of the addresses of eye witnesses to a shooting.

South Wales Police v Daniels and others [2015] EWCA Civ 680
Successfully responding to an interlocutory appeal by the police in relation to claims for misfeasance in public office and the extent to which such claims were caught by the absolute immunity from suit as set out in Darker v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police [2001] 1 AC 435.

Hayes v Merseyside Police [2011] EWCA Civ 911, [2012] 1 WLR 517
Test of necessity under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Muuse v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWCA Civ 453
Unlawful immigration detention and misfeasance in public office leading to substantial award of damages, including exemplary damages.

Buike v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [2009] EWCA Civ 971
The Court of Appeal considered the proper approach to section 329 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.