An exceptional lawyer with a brilliant mind
Pete Weatherby KC is ranked as a Tier 1 Leading Silk by The Legal 500 for Administrative and public law (including civil liberties) , Crime, and Inquests and inquiries.
Pete is a human rights barrister who practices domestically in public inquiries, inquests, criminal, public, prison and police law. He is a both a trial and appellate lawyer, and has regularly appeared in judicial review claims. Pete has appeared at all domestic court levels and before the European Court of Human Rights, including the Grand Chamber. He specialises in cases involving miscarriages of justice, freedom of expression, extradition and ‘terrorism’, and he has a particular expertise in statutory interpretation.
Pete led the team representing 22 of the bereaved Hillsborough families at the new inquests, and continues to act for them in a number of matters, including their campaign to get the Public Authorities (Accountability) Bill 2017 (‘Hillsborough Law’) enacted. He was one of the drafters of the Bill which seeks to provide a lasting legacy and prevent what happened to the families happening to others. Since the conclusion of the Hillsborough inquests, Pete has appeared for the partner of Anthony Grainger at the Public Inquiry into his death (a police shooting), and represented 80 of the victims of the Grenfell disaster during phase one of the Inquiry. More recently he appeared for bereaved victims of the Manchester Arena bombing outrage at the inquests and he currently leads the team representing the Covid Bereaved Families for Justice group in the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.
Pete has advised ministers and shadow ministers regarding a number of high profile cases and he has regularly spoken publicly on matters of law reform particularly with regard to inquiries and inquests, opposing legal aid cuts, and for changes to prison and sentencing law, notably with regard to IPP and other indeterminate sentences.
Pete represented Reggie Kray (parole), Robert Brown (conviction quashed after he had served 26 years of a life sentence for a murder he did not commit), and Michael Shields (the football fan wrongly convicted of attempted murder in Bulgaria, who is the only person ever pardoned with respect to a foreign conviction).
Pete also practices internationally. He has appeared or advised in matters relating to Bulgaria, Japan, Spain, Mauritius, and the Maldives, and has pro bono international human rights experience in matters relating to the US, Kashmir, Bahrain, UAE, Turkey and elsewhere.
Pete has appeared and advised in a number of criminal, prison and human rights cases in Mauritius, and is currently challenging the legality of its ID Card system before the UN Human Rights Committee. Pete has undertaken pro bono international human rights work for the Bar Human Rights Committee, particularly regarding Turkey, Kuwait and Bahrain.
Pete is a regular commentator on legal and human rights issues in the media. Recent media comment has related to the Grenfell disaster and Inquiry, and show trials of journalists in Turkey. It includes:
Pete was founding member of Garden Court North Chambers and, although he has always practised from Manchester, he is also a door tenant at Garden Court Chambers, London. Pete is a member of the Executive of the Bar Human Rights Committee, and is a Trustee of INQUEST.
In addition to leading the team representing 22 of the bereaved Hillsborough families at the new inquests, Pete represented the family of Jessie James, a 15 year old brutally gunned down in Manchester in 2006, and has appeared for families at many inquests and public inquiries into custody deaths. Pete appeared in the Abergele cyclists inquest (2007) (four members of the North Wales Cycle Club killed by a skidding car). He is often instructed by Trade Unions in this area of work, particularly in work related deaths.
Pete undertakes judicial review of inquest decisions and rulings, and appeared for the family at the Public Inquiry into the death of Bernard “Sonny” Lodge (a prisoner who died at HMP Manchester in 1998), set up following a defective Inquest, and which reported in late 2009. Pete also appeared at all stages of the Middleton case; the landmark case relating to Article 2 and inquest jury verdicts which resulted in substantial changes to the law relating to narrative conclusions and the accountability of state authorities and officials.
Pete represented the partner of Anthony Grainger, an unarmed man fatally shot in a botched police operation, at the Public Inquiry into his death, and he represented 80 victims of the Grenfell disaster during phase one of the Inquiry. Pete is currently instructed for bereaved families of the Manchester Arena bombing at the forthcoming inquests.
Pete was one of the lawyers who drafted the Public Authorities (Accountability) Bill 2017 (‘Hillsborough Law’), and is involved in the campaign of the families to get it enacted. The Bill institutes a legal duty of candour and provides a ‘toolbox’ for victims to require public authorities and officials to be frank and transparent and accept responsibility for wrongdoing. It empowers whistleblowers and it provides for a level playing field between authorities and institutions on the one hand and victims on the other in terms of public funding for legal representation.
Pete is a Trustee of INQUEST, the charity which provides support for the bereaved in cases involving death in state custody or where state officials are involved. He also writes and delivers seminars and webinars relating to Article 2, inquests and inquiries.
At first instance, Pete appears predominantly in murder, ‘gangland’, ‘terrorism’ and serious fraud trials. Pete is particularly interested in cases involving civil liberties, human rights, political, prison law, extradition, mental health, and international issues. He has appeared in criminal cases in other jurisdictions, including Mauritius.
Pete has a long-standing appellate practice including cases involving miscarriages of justice, and cases relating to the legality of sentences, in particular IPP and whole life terms. Pete has successfully challenged aspects of the IPP regime, and whole life tariffs, in the European Court of Human Rights.
Pete appeared in R v Robert Brown  (conviction for murder quashed after RB had served 26 years), and represented Michael Shields (the only person ever to receive a pardon for a foreign conviction). He has been involved in a number of Criminal Cases Review Commission referrals, and challenges to their decisions. Pete recently appeared in a high profile judicial review of an adverse CCRC decision relating to a ‘joint enterprise’ case. Pete also recently appeared in the Supreme Court in a case involving interest accruing on unpaid confiscation orders.
Pete has a High Court criminal practice including appeals by way of case stated and judicial review.
Pete specialises in bringing judicial reviews in all of his practice areas, particularly prison law, inquests, public inquiries and crime. His judicial review practice has included appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and applications to the European Court of human Rights, including the Grand Chamber.
Pete has appeared and advised in a number of criminal, prison and human rights cases in Mauritius, and is currently pursuing a case to the UN Human Rights Committee challenging the Mauritius biometric ID card system, under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Pete has worked in association with the Chambers of Sanjeev Teeluckdharry in Port Louis, Mauritius and in particular Erickson Mooneapillay of counsel.
Pete has also appeared or advised in matters relating to Bulgaria, Japan, Spain, and the Maldives.
Pete is on the Executive of the Bar Human Rights Committee, which undertakes international pro bono human rights work primarily with respect to the rule of law and the protection of judges, lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists. Pete has been particularly involved with BHRC projects regarding Turkey, Kuwait and Bahrain and has published a number of reports through the BHRC website: http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk, and articles in the wider media. Pete has also undertaken pro bono work relating to the US, Kashmir, the UAE, and elsewhere.
Pete has regularly dealt with judicial review claims regarding release dates, parole, adjudications, and prison conditions. He has represented claimants in a number of leading release-date, false imprisonment, adjudication and IPP cases. He also undertakes civil actions against the Ministry of Justice, amongst other actions, for breach of Article (A) 5, assault, negligence and misfeasance. Pete also does some first instance prison work including complex parole cases. He has appeared at all levels in prison law: Adjudications, parole panels, High Court, Court of Appeal, House of Lords and Supreme Court, and the European Court of Human Rights and Grand Chamber (GC). Pete has appeared in three leading prison cases in Strasbourg: Ezeh and Connors v UK  39 EHRR 1 (GC held that having Governors as adjudication judges was a breach of A6 where additional detention was a possibility), James v UK  56 EHRR 12 (ruled that IPP sentences were a breach of A5 where prisoners could not progress), and Vinter, Bamber and Moore v UK  63 EHRR 1 (GC held that Whole Life tariffs breached A3 unless there was a possibility of release).
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