Garden Court North has retained its ranking as a Band 1 set in both Civil Liberties & Human Rights and Administrative & Public Law in the 2016 edition published last week. We are pleased to have also been recommended under the new category of Inquests & Public Inquiries. 21 individual practitioner recommendations are also included covering the above specialist areas along with Crime, Employment, Immigration and Social Housing.

The rankings are based on independent research carried out by Chambers and Partners among lawyers and clients. Feedback about GCN quoted from the research this year includes

  • "Garden Court North has a strong reputation for advising claimants on all areas of domestic and international human rights law" (Civil Liberties and Human Rights - Northern Bar)
  • "Garden Court North is a pre-eminent set that has members who specialise in many areas of public law, including prison law, immigration, housing and inquests. The set fields a strong team of silks and juniors who have been involved in several high-profile and landmark cases". (Administrative and Public Law - North/North Eastern Bar)
  • "Garden Court North provides expert advice across the full range of immigration law, from human rights and asylum claims to nationality and EEA matters. The set has particular expertise in bringing Judicial Review proceedings." (Immigration - North/North Eastern Bar)

and the clerks

  • "The clerking team, led by Sarah Wright, is very approachable and helpful."

The full list of all recommendations including all the individual recommendations is below.

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Administrative & Public Law - Northern/North Eastern (Bar)

THE SET  

Garden Court North is a pre-eminent set that has members who specialise in many areas of public law, including prison law, immigration, housing and inquests. The set fields a strong team of silks and juniors who have been involved in several high-profile and landmark cases.

Client service:  "The clerking team, led by Sarah Wright, is very approachable and helpful." 

SILKS  

Pete Weatherby QC  
A human rights practitioner with specialisms in public law, inquests, international law and criminal defence. He has particular experience of matters concerning prison law and he frequently deals with judicial review applications on behalf of trade unions. 
Strengths:  "He's very well respected in prison law cases and inquests and good on the technical points." "He provides good, steady advocacy in emotive issues and gets the tone right in court." 
Recent work:  Represented 22 of the families in the Hillsborough inquests, dealing with civil claims and criminal and disciplinary charges relating to the disaster. 

JUNIORS  

Vijay Jagadesham  
Highly regarded for his burgeoning public law practice that has a focus on immigration and prison law work. He regularly handles complex cases in the higher courts and has enjoyed recent success in the Supreme Court in cases concerning the ECHR. 
Strengths:  "He takes the time to consider every possible angle on complicated matters." "He is most personable and excellent in his relations with me and my clients. He is thoughtful and thorough and has dealt with challenging novel issues." 
Recent work:  Successfully represented the appellant in a landmark Supreme Court case which held that indeterminate sentence prisoners are given a reasonable opportunity to rehabilitate themselves under Article 5 of the ECHR.

Matthew Stanbury  
Centres his public law practice on matters concerning human rights and civil liberties. He has an interest in points of statutory construction and equalities law and frequently handles cases concerning the rights of prisoners and bereaved families. 
Strengths:  "He's tenacious, goes the extra mile and is very personable." "One of the benefits of instructing him is you can give him a considerable wealth of paperwork and he can home in and elucidate clearly." 
Recent work:  Acted in a challenge to the Secretary of State for Justice regarding the decision to refuse claimant compensation to a victim of a miscarriage of justice. 

Kate Stone  
Frequently represents claimants in judicial review and public law proceedings, and has a particular interest in human rights issues. She often acts on behalf of prisoners in challenges to the parole board and Secretary of State and has additional experience of acting in inquests and cases concerning the police. 
Strengths:  "She is known for handling inquests and enjoys a good reputation in the field." "She's very thorough and very good in the sense that you can just pick up the phone to her. She likes to be involved from start to finish.
Recent work:  Acted as junior counsel to Peter Weatherby QC in representing 22 families in the Hillsborough inquests concerning the 96 deaths arising from the stadium disaster. 

Ben McCormack 
Enjoys a broad public law practice and has experience in welfare rights, social housing, mental health and discrimination. He frequently appears in the Administrative Court and in statutory homelessness appeals. He has the added advantage of prior experience as a solicitor specialising in social welfare cases. 
Strengths:  "He's very good with clients and very good at seeking to reach agreements." "He has great knowledge of the area, thinks outside the box and has a really good manner with clients." 
Recent work:  Acted in R (Mensah) v Salford City Council, a Court of Appeal challenge to the local authority's policy for calculating the amount of financial assistance payable under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

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Civil Liberties & Human Rights - Northern (Bar)

THE SET  Garden Court North has a strong reputation for advising claimants on all areas of domestic and international human rights law. Its members have acted on some of the highest-profile miscarriages of justice, inquests and prison law matters of recent years.

SILKS  

Pete Weatherby QC  
Has a wide-ranging human rights practice, with particularly strong expertise in cases where claimants are detained by the state. His wider practice has also seen him appear before the ECHR on the issue of prisoners' voting rights.

JUNIORS  

Vijay Jagadesham  
Highly regarded for the depth of his knowledge in prison law and immigration. He is widely recognised for his expertise in actions brought under Article 5 ECHR. He has a strong public law background and is frequently engaged in judicial review proceedings on behalf of children and vulnerable individuals.

Matthew Stanbury  
A specialist public law barrister who is well versed in criminal law. He has a diverse human rights practice and is instructed to act for victims of miscarriages of justice seeking compensation, as well as for bereaved families in judicial reviews and inquests.

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Crime - Northern (Bar)

Mark George QC  of Garden Court North 
Draws on his 35 years of experience to work on high-profile cases on the circuit. He is known as a strong advocate and is recognised as a presence in the market. 
Strengths:  "Very direct, focused and clear. He gets to the point and puts it across with passion."
Recent work:  He is currently working on the ongoing inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster.

Pete Weatherby QC  of Garden Court North 
With experience covering human rights, public and criminal law, Pete Weatherby QC is instructed in a wide range of cases. He has a strong appellate practice. 
Recent work:  Represented a number of families in connection with the Hillsborough inquests.

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Employment - Northern (Bar)

Kerry Smith  of Garden Court North 
Has a particular skill in handling discrimination cases of all kinds, as well as TUPE issues, redundancy, industrial relations and breach of contract claims. She also acts in disciplinary hearings and mediations. 
Strengths:  "She is adept at putting difficult clients at their ease and explaining difficult legal concepts in a straightforward way.
Recent work:  Acted in the Employment Appeal Tribunal case of Sheffield City Council v Norouzi, a case concerning claims of indirect discrimination and racial harassment.

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Immigration - Northern/North Eastern (Bar)

THE SET 
Garden Court North provides expert advice across the full range of immigration law, from human rights and asylum claims to nationality and EEA matters. The set has particular expertise in bringing Judicial Review proceedings.

JUNIORS  

Rory O'Ryan 
Has extensive experience acting in public law and social welfare matters. He has a broad immigration practice and is praised for his skilled representation of vulnerable clients. He has particular expertise in PBS, trafficking and asylum claims.

Vijay Jagadesham  
A recognised human rights expert, particularly well known for his expertise in immigration cases that involve children. He is regularly instructed by clients seeking to utilise his experience in prison law to assist with immigration detention cases.

Lucy Mair  
Frequently handles public and civil actions for unlawful detention and is regularly engaged in cases involving trafficked victims. Solicitors are keen to praise her client care skills. 
Strengths:  "She is consistently excellent all round; she is a real fighter for her clients."

Immigration – London (Bar)

Senior Statesman : 

Ian Macdonald QC  
One of the founding fathers of immigration law, having been practising in this field since the 1960s. He continues to be very active in the field, regularly appearing before courts of all levels, on matters ranging from PBS complications to refugee law. 
Strengths:  "He is involved in the big, detailed cases on the important points."

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Inquests & Public Inquiries - All Circuits

Pete Weatherby QC  of Garden Court North 
Has acted on inquests since being called to the Bar, and has notable expertise in cases concerning controversial deaths. He also undertakes judicial reviews of the coroner's decisions. 
Strengths:  "Examines witnesses very skilfully." "He is concise in the points that he takes." 
Recent work:  Represented 22 of the bereaved families in the inquest into the Hillsborough stadium disaster.

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Social Housing - Northern (Bar)

Laura Cawsey of Garden Court North 
Experienced across all aspects of housing law, and has a particular interest in homelessness, unlawful eviction and the defence of antisocial behaviour injunctions. 
Strengths:  "She is very approachable and very good with difficult clients. She's very good at putting things in layman's terms, and brilliant in the courtroom - a wonder to watch."
Recent work:  Regularly conducts housing trials, including possession proceedings and injunctions.

James Stark of Garden Court North 
Has a broad social housing practice, with experience in both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He is particularly noted for defending possession proceedings on behalf of tenants with mental health issues or learning difficulties.
Strengths:  "He is known to be a leading expert on all aspects of housing law and is determined to get the best outcome." "He has a really good reputation, and is clearly very knowledgeable. "He is phenomenally clever and incredibly sharp."
Recent work:  Junior counsel in a Supreme Court appeal regarding overriding interests of occupiers against mortgagees in sale and leaseback arrangements.

Andrew Byles  of Garden Court North 
Renowned for his work on behalf of tenants. His broader practice includes experience within human rights, public law and equality law.
Strengths:  "He's a really good advocate, a walking encyclopaedia of housing law."

Gary Willock  of Garden Court North 
Formerly a solicitor, he has over ten years' experience in housing law. His practice covers a range of social housing matters, including Court of Protection proceedings and cases involving vulnerable tenants.
Strengths:  "He's really knowledgeable and bright, and is very able - he knows his stuff." "He's excellent with clients."
Recent work:  Acted in multiple Equality Act proceedings, deploying Equality Act defences to possession injunction cases.

Ben McCormack  of Garden Court North 
Covers a range of housing, welfare rights and mental health cases and has an excellent reputation for social welfare work. He is regularly instructed in cases involving the Official Solicitor and has extensive experience in Court of Protection matters.
Strengths:  "He is knowledgeable, approachable and always willing to go the extra mile." "He is excellent, brilliant with clients, responsive with urgent queries and just really clever."
Recent work:  Represented a vulnerable tenant in a judicial review of a local authority decision to refuse housing, pursuant to their community care and mental health obligations.