Our history

Garden Court North Chambers was established in 1996 by a group of young barristers wanting to provide a radical alternative to the more traditional barristers’ chambers.

Our founding ethos was one of upholding the rights of the individual against the state and supporting people disadvantaged in society by offering pro-bono or publicly-funded representation.

This progressive ethos is something of which we are incredibly proud and to which we have an unwavering commitment.

This philosophy is exemplified by the leaders we have seen as Garden Court North. Our Heads of Chambers have always been at the forefront of challenging and reforming inequality and pursuing and securing justice for the most marginalised.

Notable cases

Previous Heads of Chambers

Our proud history has been made under the leadership of remarkable individuals who shared, promoted and lived by the ethos which still unites our members today.

  • Ian Macdonald QC

    Our founding Head of Chambers in 1996 was Ian Macdonald QC. A pioneering barrister and an inspirational leader.

    Ian was held in very high esteem as an activist, practising trial and appellate lawyer, an academic and author of seminal legal texts such as Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice, as well as a trailblazer of committed anti-racist legal practice.

    Ian’s reputation as a successful trial lawyer was forged in the 1970s and 80s in the high-profile Mangrove Nine, Angry Brigade, and Balcombe Street siege trials, in his representation of families of those who had died in the Deptford fire and in the Black Parents Association and students’ association cases in London and Manchester. These trials challenged, amongst other matters, the unrepresentative composition of juries, police harassment of the black community and its spokespeople, the many racial injustices in housing, policing, prosecution and immigration decision-making and unfair trial and prosecutorial procedures.

    Read more about Ian.

  • Mark George KC

    Mark George KC followed Ian as Head of Chambers, taking up the role in 2013 until his sad passing in December 2022.

    Mark joined Garden Court North in 2000 and was a principled and popular advocate whose presence, friendship, strength and wisdom was greatly appreciated by all who knew him.

    Mark was determined to become a lawyer after seeing TV footage in the mid-1960s of American police officers beating civil rights demonstrators. He wanted to represent people fighting for their rights against the power of the state. Many of his first cases involved defending protesters arrested after a large anti-Nazi demonstration against the National Front in South London in 1977.

    He continued to represent protesters in myriad causes as well as people accused of the most serious criminal offences, including many cases of murder. He is perhaps best known however for his tireless work representing 22 families in the Hillsborough Inquests, his involvement in the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, his leading role in pushing the Criminal Bar Association into action to save the criminal bar and CJS, and many miscarriage of justice cases. Mark regularly lectured on miscarriage cases, and he was a trustee of Amicus – the anti-death penalty NGO, training a generation of lawyers on the subject and appearing in US death penalty cases.

    Find out more about Mark, the activist lawyer.

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