Edward is a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.
“Edward is a very good strategist and tactician.”
The Legal 500
EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE
Edward has acted in a significant number of cases involving the assertion of Public Interest Immunity including a leading case, BCC v FZ and Others  EWHC 1154 (Fam). He has appeared in high profile inquests and professional discipline cases including the inquest into the death of Frances Andrade, which helped to shape the way witnesses/victims of historical sexual abuse are supported by the police and Crown Prosecution Service. He was instructing in ‘Operation Alice’ the series of misconduct hearings arising out of the investigation in to the ‘Plebgate’ incident at the gates of Downing Street.
In 2016, Edward was appointed to the Attorney General’s B Panel of Counsel.
Edward advises and represents police forces across the country in all areas of police civil law. These include judicial review, inquests, civil actions for false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution, misfeasance, and negligence. He is instructed in a wide range of advisory work, including operational advice to police forces on matters such as the implementation of new legislation, surveillance, searches and the disclosure obligations in civil and family litigation.
Edward also regularly advises and acts for police forces at misconduct hearings, including the Police Appeals Tribunal and deals with judicial review relating to misconduct issues. Edward has experience of representing the police, private prisons, the Ministry of Justice and other statutory bodies at Inquests.
Edward has developed a particular expertise is representing and advising police forces on Public Interest Immunity, Legal Professional Privilege and non-disclosure. He represented a Chief Constable in a leading PII case, BCC v FZ and Others  EWHC 1154 (Fam). Edward is regularly instructed by the police to assert PII in cases involving ongoing criminal investigations, covert human intelligence sources, witness protection and targeted surveillance operations.
Public / Administrative Law
Edward is a specialist in the field of public law and is regularly instructed to advise on complex legal points at appellate or judicial review stage. He regularly advises international non-governmental organisations and foreign governments on issues of international law with a particular expertise in the field of International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law.
Edward has previously worked as a consultant on a variety of legal projects at the United Nations Headquarters as well as in Bahrain, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Morocco and Kenya.
Inquests & Inquiries
Edward has experience of representing families, NHS Trusts, the police, private prisons, the Ministry of Justice and other statutory bodies at Inquests. He is regularly instructed in inquests into deaths occurring during or following contact with police or the prison service. In the healthcare field, he has developed a specialty in inquests involving assessment and/or detention under the Mental Health Act.
Edward was instructed to work with the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in Manama, Bahrain. BICI which was established on 29 June 2011 and was tasked with investigating and reporting on the violent events that took place in Bahrain from February 2011. Edward was instructed to assist in the drafting of the report which can be viewed here. Previously, Edward assisted in the gathering of evidence in to human rights abuses in Sierra Leone.
Professional Discipline & Regulatory
Edward is an expert in the field of professional discipline with a practice that encompasses the police, the military and the healthcare professions. In the field of healthcare regulation, Edward regularly appears on behalf of doctors in the GMC, dentists in the GDC and nurses in the NMC. He also acts on behalf of doctors and dentists in hearings held by their PCTs and on appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. In the field of police misconduct he is regularly instructed to prosecute and defend in serious police misconduct allegations in misconduct proceedings, the Police Appeals Tribunal and on Judicial Review. He was instructed in ‘Operation Alice’ the series of misconduct hearings arising out of the investigation in to the ‘Plebgate’ incident at the gates of Downing Street and recently defended two officers at a Ministry of Defence Police Gross Misconduct Hearing arising from events at the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield.
Cases and work of note
- BCC v FZ & Ors  EWHC 1154 (Fam)
Edward acted for the Police in this case in which the police asserted public interest immunity and successfully opposed disclosure to the Family Courts. This was a novel case because it was the first time that the parents of a child have been prevented from having access to any of the material, which formed the basis of the Local Authority’s case. The case was appealed by the parents but permission was refused following an oral hearing.
- Inquest into the Death of Frances Andrade
Edward represented Mrs Andrade’s two General Practitioners in this Inquest. Mrs Andrade was found dead at her home a week after giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court in the sexual abuse trial of her former music teacher. This inquest resulting in significant changes to the way witnesses/victims of historical sexual abuse are supported by the police and Crown Prosecution Service.
- Ministry of Defence Police v Police Constable EM and NT
Edward was instructed to defend Police Constables EM and NT at these Ministry of Defence Police Gross Misconduct Hearing arising from events at the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield in Berkshire.
- Operation Alice
Edward acted as Legal Adviser in the series of misconduct hearings arising out of the investigation in to the ‘Plebgate’ incident at the gates of Downing Street.
- The Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis v the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Edward successfully advised and represented the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust to oppose an application by the Metropolitan Police for disclosure of medical records.
- Joel Richards and Roy Bentham v West Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police.
Edward (acting for West Yorkshire Police) was successful in securing a discontinuance on the second day of trial at Leeds County Court in a test case brought by two Liverpool FC supporters for false imprisonment. There were about 350 further potential claimants in waiting. Each alleged that they had been falsely imprisoned for about four and a half hours during their journey home from an away fixture at Sunderland because the coaches on which they were travelling had been subjected to a ‘rolling containment’ and had been unable to stop or exit from a set route. Following the discontinuance both forces recovered their costs against the claimants.
- Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry
Other areas of practice
Pro Bono Work
Edward accepts pro bono mental health, social welfare, inquest and medical cases (including providing representation for families at inquests) via the Bar Pro Bono Unit and mental health charities.
I recognise the need for practical solutions supported by thoroughly researched legal advice. I aim to combine timely strategic advice with my experience and commitment as an advocate to ensure the best possible outcome for my clients. I understand the pressures of litigation and firmly believe that there are often alternative routes to achieving a beneficial outcome.
“In many cases the objective must not be to win at all costs but to improve standards and to ensure public confidence in the organisation.”
The early identification of the route to success is paramount, it informs every tactical decision taken in the lead up to trial. I am recognised as “a very good strategist and tactician” (The Legal 500). I always seek to understands the client’s objectives and adapt the case strategy accordingly.
Win but not at all costs. A large proportion of my work involves acting for public bodies. In litigation between private parties very often – in addition of course to the duty to the court – the focus is on success. An advocate representing the government, police or NHS must, of course, strive to succeed but in many cases the objective must not be to win at all costs but to improve standards and to ensure public confidence in the organisation.
- Attorney General’s A Panel of Junior Counsel
- Former President of the Inner Temple Junior Bar Association
Edward is recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as leading junior barrister. Recent editorials include:
- He really knows his brief and is very knowledgeable;
- a star of the junior Police Law Bar;
- he is fiercely intelligent but measured, calm and eloquent;
- a very clever barrister and delivers impressive submissions;
- he is a real expert in police discipline;
- clients love him;
- he is very calm;
- he has a very common-sense approach;
- as an advocate he is methodical, effective, measured and controlled;
- he is very intelligent;
- brilliant counsel and good to deal with;
- I can send him a huge amount of documentation and he’ll pull out the fundamental point and provide the advice in a really concise and clear manner;
- very good at cross-examination;
- a commanding presence in court;
- I would recommend him highly as his level of detail and presenting of cases is of an extremely high standard;
- well liked by clients and solicitors;
- he is a tough opponent;
- lay clients are very impressed with him and speak highly of him after the hearing;
- he presents cases very well;
- clients appreciate his approachable manner;
- absolutely charming;
- highly knowledgeable;
- very good at written and oral submissions and when cross examining witnesses;
- very good judgement;
- great with both witnesses and clients;
- he has an excellent knowledge of inquest law and practice; and
- a very reassuring manner with witnesses and clients;
Edward adopts and adheres to the provisions of the privacy notice which can be accessed here.
For further details of Edward’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: 48622
Registered Name: Edward James Pleeth
VAT Registration No: 942781795