Cecily White

Call 2011


Cecily is a leading junior practising across the full range of Chambers’ specialisms, principally police and public law, inquests and inquiries, disciplinary proceedings, and related healthcare cases. She is particularly adept at handling cases involving novel or complex points of law and won a Rising Star award from the Solicitors Journal in 2016.  Cecily is consistently ranked by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500.  She has been described as “a fantastic barrister” who is “clever, thorough, calm, firm and approachable”,  a “real one to watch”, and “very much in demand”.

Cecily is clerked primarily by Lee Johnson, Clare Sabido, Jennifer Pooler and  Emma Bell.

Cecily was nominated for Professional Disciplinary and Regulatory Junior of the Year at The Legal 500 UK Bar Awards 2023, see here.



“Clever, well-organised, sensible and switched on. Clients love her.”
Chambers & Partners 2023

experience & expertise

Cecily has a broad practice across civil, public, disciplinary and inquests law and has appeared in a number of leading cases in the police and medical fields.  She regularly acts in civil claims, including human rights and judicial review; misconduct hearings and appeals; inquests with and without a jury; and the Court of Protection. She provides advice and representation in cases of particular complexity or sensitivity and has a special interest in the tortious and public law liabilities of public authorities.

Cecily frequently appears against and alongside senior juniors and silks, and many of her cases attract media attention.  Cecily is ranked by the leading directories in Police law, Inquests and Inquiries, and Professional discipline.

Notable cases have included the claim for damages brought by Michael Barrymore against Essex Police in respect of his arrest in connection with the death of Stuart Lubbock; the inquests into the deaths of four soldiers at the Deepcut Army Barracks in Surrey between 1995 and 2002; the Undercover Policing Inquiry, acting for the National Police Chiefs’ Council; and the Supreme Court case of Henderson, concerning the defence of illegality in tort.

Cecily has accepted instructions on behalf of Government departments, including the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice. She is security-cleared and public access accredited.

Cecily studied at the Sorbonne (2005); Cambridge University, Trinity College (BA Hons. History, 2008); and Harvard University, cross-registered at the Kennedy School of Government (2009).  She came top in her year on the law conversion (City University, 2010) and third in her year in the Bar exams (BPP, 2011).  Prior to joining Chambers Cecily worked in the House of Commons and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Please see specialist profiles for more detail about Cecily’s practice areas.

cases & work of note

Current and recent work has included:

  • Brook House Inquiry [2022-2023]
    Appearing on behalf of the Practice Plus Group which provides healthcare services at the Gatwick Immigration Removal Centre.  The Brook House Inquiry, which is due to report in 2023, examined the circumstances surrounding the mistreatment of detainees at Gatwick IRC as shown in the BBC Panorama programme, Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets, which aired on 4 September 2017.  See here.
  • HD & Ors v Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police [2022] EWHC 1661 (QB)
    Successfully defending allegations that sexual abuse could have been prevented had the police properly investigated a report relating to the possession of indecent images of children on the basis that no duty of care was owed in negligence or pursuant to Article 3 ECHR (with Matthew Holdcroft).
  • Undercover Policing Inquiry [ongoing]
    Junior counsel to Gerry Boyle KC on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
  • Needham & Fitzgibbons inquests [2022]
    Acting for the Chief Constable of Sussex Police in the inquests into the fatal shootings of Robert Needham, his partner and their two young children.  The inquests examined the circumstances in which RN came to be issued with a firearm and shotgun licence.  See here.
  • Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust [2020] UKSC 43. Acting for the successful NHS Trust (led by Angus Moon KC) resisting a claim brought by a woman who stabbed her mother to death following mental health treatment.  The claim was defeated because the Supreme Court accepted that it was barred by the doctrine of illegality. See here.
  • Parker v Essex Police [2018] EWCA Civ 2788
    Acting for Essex Police (led by John Beggs KC) in the compensation claim brought by Michael Parker (aka Barrymore) in respect of his arrest in 2007 following the death of Stuart Lubbock in March 2001.   The Court of Appeal allowed the police appeal holding that, even though the arrest had been unlawful, Mr Parker was only entitled to nominal damages. See here.
  • Inquests into the deaths of soldiers at Deepcut Army Barracks [2016, 2018 and 2019]
    Junior counsel to Surrey Police in three fresh inquests ordered following the deaths of four soldiers at Deepcut Army Barracks between 1995 and 2002. See here.
  • Gray v Police Appeals Tribunal [2018] EWCA Civ 34
    Resisting the judicial review of a decision to bring fresh Part 4 misconduct proceedings against an officer acquitted in the Crown Court of serious sexual offences (led by John Beggs KC). The appeal concerned the use of Part 5 (“fast track”) misconduct proceedings where an officer has sustained a criminal conviction which is overturned on appeal.
  • Inquests touching the deaths of Rashan Charles [2018] and Edson da Costa [2019]
    Police inquests involving deaths following restraint (led by John Beggs KC). See here and here.
  • Inquest touching the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy [2016 to 2018]
    Junior counsel to the widow of a Russian businessman who died in Surrey in 2012.  After hearings  in June 2017 and April 2018, the Coroner (HHJ Hilliard KC, then Recorder of London) concluded that Mr Perepilichnyy’s death was attributable to natural causes. The High Court determined a satellite issue concerning the jurisdiction to decide public interest immunity issues in inquests [2016] EWHC 3001 (Admin).
  • Inquest touching the death of Sally Hodkin [2018]
    Acting for the Metropolitan Police Service in this inquest concerning the death of a woman killed by Nicola Edgington who had previously been convicted of manslaughter after killing her mother. See here.
  • Mohidin & Ors v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2015] EWHC 2740
    Allegations of racially aggravated assault, false imprisonment and breaches of Articles 3, 8 and 14 ECHR, acting for the Commissioner (led by John Beggs KC) in the trial against the officers and related successful proceedings under CPR Part 20 seeking an indemnity from the impugned officers [2016] EWHC 105 (QB). Authority on awards of damages in false imprisonment cases.
  • James-Bowen & Ors v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2015] EWHC 1249
    Strike out of claims in negligence and contract concerning the Commissioner’s conduct of civil litigation brought by Babar Ahmad.
  • Harpham v Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police [2015]
    Two week trial involving allegations of unlawful detention under s. 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, unlawful arrest and false imprisonment, breach of statutory duty and harassment.
  • Inquest touching the death of Estyna Blunnie [2015]
    Acting for Essex Police at a 3 week jury inquest into the death of a woman murdered by her former partner. See here.
  • Laporte & Christian v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2014] EWHC 3574
    Case clarifying the circumstances in which the police can go to the assistance of a body conducting a public meeting (led by George Thomas).
  • Challenger II litigation
    One of several junior counsel instructed by the Ministry of Defence in the test cases on combat immunity following the Supreme Court decision in Smith & Others v MOD [2013] UKSC 410.


I am motivated to get the best possible result for my client. Often that means winning the case, but in other cases success has a broader meaning. Every case has twists and turns. Often I can add value by anticipating or responding to a new development.

“Working together is the best way to prepare a case and secure a positive outcome.”

I aim to inspire trust and confidence in every case. In many cases, my contact with the client or witness marks an unhappy or stressful period in their life.  I aim to provide realistic and practical advice, guidance along the way, and fluent advocacy.

The best results are always a team effort. I am extremely fortunate to be instructed by people with a wide range of skills and experience different from my own. Working together is the best way to prepare a case and secure a positive outcome.


Cecily is recognised as a leading junior by The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. She was shortlisted for the Professional Disciplinary and Regulatory Junior of the Year Award at The Legal 500 UK Bar Awards 2023. Recent editorials include:

  • Cecily is thorough and conscientious – a strong advocate;
  • she is a compassionate advocate with high emotional intelligence;
  • Cecily was very organised, proactive and had good client care skills in conference; 
  • She was superb and impressed the coroner by being clear and authoritative in her advocacy;
  • a fantastic barrister who is clever, thorough, calm, firm and approachable;
  • she is hard-working, incredibly diligent and focused;
  • a pleasure to work with;
  • thorough and articulate;
  • Cecily is a gem;
  • she is a very bright and articulate barrister, who I have no doubt will reach the top of her game;
  • real one to watch: she will progress and achieve great things;
  • she has very good communication skills;
  • a very approachable junior who is in total command of her brief;
  • she gives sound and practical advice on very complex misconduct matters;
  • commercially astute;
  • she is able to quickly get to the root of the issues in the claim and provide both detailed and reassuring advice to clients and witnesses;
  • she is incredibly intelligent, holds her own in court and doesn’t let anyone get away with anything;
  • someone who ensures that cases are brought to trial in top condition;
  • she has this great ability to predict the right outcome;
  • friendly and proactive in providing a supportive environment in which to talk through issues;
  • articulates requirements in an easy to follow manner;
  • she is a very knowledgeable and impressive barrister;
  • a great all-rounder for all police work;
  • she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and great judgement;
  • Cecily is a very bright and able counsel;
  • she demonstrates agile thinking across a range of difficult challenges;
  • she provides valuable advice and has extremely good interpersonal skills;
  • her written work is superb;
  • she is a very articulate barrister and she has the personal touch;
  • she’s incredibly intelligent;
  • she is not aggressive but never lets anything get past her and never gives up;
  • Cecily is good on paper and very clever;
  • she’s very much in demand;
  • has a very strong technical knowledge, and very good client care and communication skills;
  • a very bright junior with great potential;
  • she is very approachable and provides sound legal advice in a way that is easily understood by non-lawyers;
  • suggests things to be done tactically and has an unnerving tendency for that to be proven right;
  • she is very clever and explains her points well so that laypeople can understand;
  • she is bright and able;
  • she stops at nothing for the client;
  • she is switched on, academic and intellectual;
  • she is very bright;
  • you feel you can be confident in her as a safe pair of hands no matter what might go wrong;
  • demonstrates an ability to understand her brief, undertake research and produce high-quality advice;
  • she is noticeably good – junior but a standout; and
  • extremely bright, easy to work with and very helpful.


Cecily is an Accredited Mediator (ADR, 2011)


Contributor to Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law (3rd edition, 2016)


  • Solicitors’ Journal Rising Star Award 2016 (Highly Commended)
  • Middle Temple Lechmere Essay Prize (2012)
  • Middle Temple Certificate of Honour (2011)
  • 3 Verulam Buildings Prize for best overall performance on the GDL (2010)
  • Middle Temple Diplock Scholarship  (2009, 2010)
  • Greaves Prize for  History, Trinity College, Cambridge (2007)


  •  French (advanced)
  • German (intermediate)


ALBA, ELBA, ARDL, PNBA, Bar Pro Bono Unit, FRU


Cecily adopts and adheres to the provisions of her privacy notice which can be accessed here.

further information

For further details of Cecily’s practice please click on the links to the left or contact a member of the clerking or client service team.

Bar Council Membership No: 58775
Registered Name: Cecily Frances White
VAT Registration No: 172842791