Serjeants’ Inn has one of the best police law teams in the UK and is rated as a band one set for police work by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. We have specialist police barristers at every level of call: 37 of our 46 police practitioners are ranked as a leader in their field by the legal directories and numerous members of the team have won individual awards.
We act for all police forces around the country. We also represent the National Crime Agency, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Police and Crime Commissioners and other policing bodies including the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council and private providers in the criminal justice service.
We act in the most high-profile and sensitive proceedings, including cases which shape police law in this country. Our work for police and other clients includes:
- the public inquiries into Undercover Policing, Child Sexual Abuse, the Manchester Arena attack and the Salisbury poisonings;
- the Gaia Pope-Sutherland, Guildford pub bombings, Croydon tram derailment, Stephen Port murder victims, Briggs and the three recent London terrorist attack inquests;
- the Robinson, Gatwick drone, Goodenough and Barrymore/Parker civil claims;
- the judicial reviews concerning Public Order Act powers in the context of the 2019 Extinction Rebellion protest, Balkwell and W80;
- the Austin, Laporte, Griffiths and MLIA human rights challenges and the recent ECtHR decision in Pal v UK;
- information law cases including Dias, Re QM and Re M;
advising on the national policing of lockdown regulations, anti-fracking protests and other major public order operations;
- whistleblowing and discrimination cases including Hextall and Eckland; and pay and pensions cases, including Boskovic, Corsham and Prior;
- leading misconduct proceedings including most cases involving senior officers, the IOPC’s first independently presented case, numerous appeals from and judicial review challenges to misconduct decisions (most recently Superintendent Robyn Williams).
We draw on our complementary expertise, for example in Employment, Pensions, Public law and Business and Specialist Crime. Many of our police barristers are recognised as specialists in their field, as well as excellent jury and panel advocates.
Our team, led by John Beggs KC, includes 13 police law silks and is distinguished by:
- first, our cutting-edge understanding of police law. We know that police clients need effective solutions, applying often complex and developing law in difficult situations;
- second, our robust defence of our clients’ interests. We are committed to providing our clients with the defence to which they are entitled, in accordance with their public duty; and
- finally, our excellence in advocacy and trial tactics, having regard to the politics of the situation, public confidence and the media. Our advocacy is distinct, impressive and we get results.
We are also acknowledged for our approachable and flexible style. We understand the pressures police forces and their legal advisors are often under and offer a “one-stop shop” across numerous different areas of law.
Our barristers have day-to-day experience of police law in all its forms: judicial review, civil claims, actions under the Human Rights Act 1998, policy issues, inquests and inquiries, misconduct proceedings, information law, operational policing matters encompassing public order and warrants, firearms and RIPA, pensions and employment work, and the full range of civil preventative orders.
Our work in the police sector is complemented by our experience representing other emergency and security services; prison operators; public service and health and social care providers; and insurers.
Our police publications include Police Misconduct, Complaints and Public Regulation, Blackstone’s Police Manual and Public Order: Law and Practice and you can follow:
Members of the Police Team appear in the full range of civil restraining orders including ASBOs, SOPOs, ROSHOs, FBOs, DBOs, VOOs and Closure Orders. We also appear in applications under POCA. We are particularly experienced in appeals to the Crown Court and challenges by way of judicial review or case stated. We appear in proceedings under the Firearms Act 1968 including firearms licensing appeals. We also deal with matters under the Police Property Act and Licensing hearings involving the police.
We have experience of acting in the full range of civil litigation involving the police including actions in assault and battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, misfeasance in public office, breach of confidence and negligence. We have particular expertise in claims brought under s.6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 or other claims where human rights arguments are raised.
We are trusted advisors to the police service (and other law enforcement agencies) on sensitive operational matters. We are often asked to provide advice on an urgent basis by telephone. Areas we have advised on recently are the policing of public order operations, firearms operations and covert operations engaging the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and associated legislation.
We have unrivalled experience of prosecuting and defending at police misconduct and performance hearings and at appeals to the PAT. We have been involved in many of the judicial review challenges to police disciplinary decisions. We deal with officers and staff of all ranks and in recent years have advised and acted for officers and Police Authorities (now PCCs) in cases involving chief officers.
We advise and appear in judicial review challenges against the police in a whole range of areas including public order, sufficiency of investigations, discipline, pensions, disclosure and human rights.
Members of the Police Team are expert in the complex and ever changing area of police pensions and retirement including on grounds of ill health. We have appeared in many of the most significant judicial review challenges in this field.
Many members of the Police Team are also employment law experts and appear in the Employment Tribunal and the High Court in claims brought by police officers and staff for all forms of discrimination and whistleblowing and by police staff for unfair dismissal.
We have appeared in many of the most high profile Inquests and Public Inquiries involving the police including the Deepcut Inquest and the Undercover Policing Inquiry. We have particular expertise in inquests into deaths following police shootings, restraint by police officers and where the deceased had mental health issues (a number of our team are mental health law experts).
24 Hour Urgent Advice
Our Police team provides a 24 hour service, 365 days a year to arrange for urgent advice and representation on applications including injunctions. For more details about our emergency service please click here.
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