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James Berry advises in case of Met Police serial rapist David Carrick

17th January 2023

Serial rapist David Carrick’s case came before an accelerated misconduct hearing in the Metropolitan Police on 17 January 2022. The hearing was conducted by Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe OBE who was advised by James Berry. AC Rolfe found that PC Carrick’s criminal convictions for multiple serious offences amounted to gross misconduct and imposed the sanction of dismissed without notice.

Together with members of Serjeants’ Inn’s market-leading Police Law team, James advises police forces across the country on removing unsuitable police officers via the police misconduct and performance procedures and on matters concerning vetting and probationary constables. Members of chambers both present against and defend police officers of all ranks in misconduct proceedings and appeals and appear in associated judicial reviews.

Read more about the case in the press here.

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Sarah Simcock appointed junior counsel to the Undercover Policing Inquiry

16th January 2023

Sarah Simcock has been appointed second junior counsel to the Undercover Policing Inquiry. She is led by David Barr KC.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry was set up in 2015 to get to the truth about undercover policing across England and Wales since 1968 and provide recommendations for the future. The Inquiry is examining the activities of undercover police officers and the contribution undercover policing made to tackling crime, how it was and is supervised and regulated, and its effect on the individuals involved.

A number of other members of Serjeants’ Inn represent core participants in the Inquiry.

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The inquests into the deaths of the eleven bystanders and road users who were killed in the Shoreham Airshow Aircrash in 2015 have now concluded

22nd December 2022

These inquests were resumed in 2019 following the pilot’s acquittal of criminal charges of gross negligence manslaughter.  Bridget Dolan KC was then appointed as Counsel to the Inquests and has assisted and advised the Senior Coroner over the past three and a half years. This included when taking a claim to the High Court seeking access to material from the criminal trial that was held by the AAIB (see here)

Despite the criminal acquittal the Senior Coroner found that, applying the civil standard, the men were unlawfully killed due to the gross negligence of the pilot. The Coroner found that the Hawker Hunter T7 jet aircraft crashed because of a series of gross errors whilst attempting an incorrectly flown looping manoeuvre.

The aircraft did not achieve sufficient height at the apex of a looping manoeuvre to complete it before impacting with the ground because of the combination of low entry speed and low engine thrust in the upward half of the manoeuvre.  Despite the aircraft being significantly short of the minimum apex height to complete the manoeuvre safely, the pilot did not perform an escape manoeuvre.  The deaths occurred because the aircraft crashed on the A27 due to a change of ground track during the manoeuvre which positioned the aircraft further East than planned, producing an exit track along the dual carriageway.

Press reports of the inquests include those in the Guardian, Independent and BBC.

Bridget Dolan KC is regularly instructed by coroners and judges to act as Counsel to the Inquest including in three other cases this year concerning matters as varied as a death on a ‘Smart Motorway’, a death following police restraint and the deaths of two applicants to the British Army undertaking the MoD selection process. In January & February 2023 Bridget will be assisting the Senior Coroner for Plymouth as Counsel to the Inquests into the deaths following the Keyham shootings in August 2021

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James Berry appears in Met Police WhatsApp case

12th December 2022

James Berry represented the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Chief Constables of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Norfolk Constabulary in a significant misconduct hearing concerning the involvement of six serving police officers in a WhatsApp group that was used to exchange highly offensive, racist, sexist and homophobic messages.

The WhatsApp group came to light when the seventh member of the group referred to as PC A was arrested for unrelated offences. Three members of the group had been prosecuted for offences under the Communication Act 2003 with two convicted and one acquitted. The misconduct hearing concerned all six officers and over 400 messages deemed to breach the Standards of Professional Behaviour.

The independent misconduct hearing panel found all six of the officers’ conduct amounted to gross misconduct and either dismissed them or found that they would have been dismissed had they not already resigned.

This is thought to be one of the first hearings conducted on a joint/regional basis involving officers from three police forces.

The case attracted significant media interest: The Evening Standard, The Guardian, The Daily Mail.

James Berry appears in the most serious police misconduct proceedings and appeals and judicial review proceedings concerning police discipline and regulation.

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Frances McClenaghan successful in judicial review of Police Misconduct Panel decision

11th November 2022

The High Court has quashed the sanction imposed by a police misconduct panel on the basis of unlawfulness and, in relation to one of the officers, irrationality (see judgment).

Two firearms officers were found to have been dishonest with respect to their reclassification shoots; the panel ordered a final written warning in relation to both officers.

The Metropolitan Police Service successfully argued that the sanction decision was unlawful. Mostyn J found that the panel erred in law by considering testimonials when assessing the seriousness of the misconduct, and thereby not complying with the Outcomes Guidance: [57].[1]

In relation to one of the officers (who falsified an instructor’s signature), the Court found that the panel’s decision was Wednesbury unreasonable. In doing so Mostyn J stated, [71]:

The decision does not grapple with the consequences of the finding of dishonesty, having regard to the policy of the disciplinary regime. It does not attempt to calibrate this particular class of dishonesty (i.e. on-duty, non-operational) by reference to the Outcomes Guidance.

The Court remitted the matter to a fresh panel to consider sanctions afresh for both officers.

The case is authority for the proposition that it is permissible, under the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 for a differently constituted panel to consider sanctions than the panel that considered findings/breach: [87] and [88].

It also provides useful guidance on the factors to be considered when determining whether a matter should be remitted to a new panel: [89] to [92].

Frances McClenaghan was instructed by Mark Knowles, solicitor in the Metropolitan Police Directorate of Legal Services.

[1] 2017 version in place at the time, the updated Outcomes Guidance can be found here.

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Scott Matthewson joins Chambers as the sixth new tenant in the last 12 months

10th November 2022

We’re delighted to announce the recruitment of Scott Matthewson, described by The Legal 500 as “an engaging advocate” who “easily builds trust and a good rapport with clients”, following the arrival of five other barristers Joanne Kane, Benjamin Harrison, Jake Rylatt, Olivia Kirkbride and Emily Campbell. This will further enhance the service we are able to provide to you, significantly consolidating our expertise in all our core fields.

For more information about our barristers’ practices or to discuss how we might assist, please contact our clerking or client care teams: 020 7427 5000.

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Jake Rylatt appears before the Supreme Court in Pearce v Parole Board

9th November 2022

Jake Rylatt, led by Philip Rule of No5 Barristers’ Chambers, appears for Mr Pearce. The Supreme Court will consider the Parole Board’s “Guidance on Allegations”, which was declared to be unlawful by the Court of Appeal below [2022] EWCA Civ 4

The hearing is listed to commence at 10:30 today (9 November 2022), and can be viewed here

Further information as to the issues in the case can be found here


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Mark Harries KC and Tom O’Connor announced as winners at the Advocate Awards 2022

3rd November 2022

Congratulations to Mark Harries KC and Tom O’Connor for winning Pro Bono KC of the Year and Pro Bono Chambers’ Professional of the Year respectively.

Advocate noted that:

  • “Mark’s practice stands out for the importance, impact and range of pro bono cases he undertakes… his enthusiasm in even the most challenging situation is inspiring”; and
  • “Tom’s approach plays a crucial part in driving a pro bono ethos in Chambers which supports and steers clients through what sadly is often the crisis of their lives… his commitment to helping vulnerable people shapes everything he does.”

It was also announced that Olivia Kirkbride is down to the final four, from an original shortlist of nine, for the Young Pro Bono Barrister of the Year Award, which is to be announced at the Annual Bar and Young Bar Conference at the end of the month. She was commended as “highly accomplished and remarkable in her professionalism, diligence and care”.

Serjeants’ Inn was also one of four finalists in the Set of the Year category as testament to what the judges described as an “impressive commitment” to pro bono work on the part of members of Chambers and the staff team.

For more information about our barristers’ practices or to discuss how we might assist, please contact our clerking or client care teams: 020 7427 5000.

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Michael Mylonas KC joins Joshua Rozenberg on BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action to discuss transparency in the Court of Protection

1st November 2022

The Court is to consider issuing new guidance after criticism of closed hearings in the Court of Protection. Michael Mylonas QC discusses the rare circumstances in which closed hearings are used and whether new guidance would help Judges in these complex cases in future.

To listen to the programme on BBC Sounds, please click here.

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Angus Moon KC 1986 | 2006    Joint Head of Chambers
Michael Horne KC 1992 | 2016    Joint Head of Chambers
Adrian Hopkins KC 1984 | 2003
John Beggs KC 1989 | 2009
Michael Mylonas KC 1988 | 2012
Tom Crowther KC 1993 | 2013
John de Bono KC 1995 | 2014
Dijen Basu KC 1994 | 2015
Nageena Khalique KC 1994 | 2015
Katie Gollop KC 1993 | 2016
Simon Fox KC 1994 | 2016
Bridget Dolan KC 1997 | 2016
Gerard Boyle KC 1992 | 2017
Sarah Clarke KC 1994 | 2017
Debra Powell KC 1995 | 2017
Jon Holl-Allen KC 1990 | 2018
Ian Skelt KC 1994 | 2020
Mark Harries KC 1995 | 2019
Sophia Roper KC 1990 | 2022
Claire Watson KC 2001 | 2022
Jemma Lee 2010
Liam Duffy 2012
His Honour Brian Barker CBE KC 1969 | 1990    Associate Member
Sir Robert Francis KC 1973 | 1992    Associate Member
James Watson KC 1979 | 2000    Associate Member
Natalie Cargill 2016    Associate Member
Susan Burden 1985    Door Tenant
Anthony Jackson 1995    Door Tenant
Benedict Wray 2009    Door Tenant