Chambers and Partners 2015 recommendations

3 November 2014

Garden Court North Chambers has retained its ranking as a Band 1 set in both Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and Immigration in the Northern Bar region. We have also moved from Band 2 to Band 1 for Administrative and Public Law. 18 individual practitioner recommendations are also included covering the above specialist areas along with Crime, Employment and Social Housing.

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

  • “Noted for its skilful and vigorous pursuit of human rights actions on behalf of claimants against detaining authorities and the police”;
  • “Very well respected for the quality of the advice and representation it offers claimants in a wide range of public law matters”; and
  • “The set boasts an impressively high-calibre immigration team whose members are regularly instructed in cases that challenge the status quo”.

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

Administrative and Public Law – Northern (Bar) – Band 1


Garden Court North is very well respected for the quality of the advice and representation it offers claimants in a wide range of public law matters. Its members are especially accomplished in handling proceedings relating to housing, community care, immigration and prison law.

Client service: “The clerking is exceptional – there is a good rapport between clerk and counsel, meaning work gets turned around quickly.”


Pete Weatherby QC Commands great respect as the leading silk for public law matters on the Northern Circuit. He has appeared in a number of the most high-profile public law cases concerning human rights and the rights of prisoners. Expertise: “He is a real force and very knowledgeable in public law.” “He is the standout silk in public law in the North. He is very well regarded.” Recent workActed for the claimant in a significant case addressing the issue of whether a failure to provide rehabilitative measures to prisoners constitutes arbitrary detention in violation of their rights under Article 5 ECHR.


Vijay Jagadesham Enjoys a growing reputation for the quality of his public law practice. He focuses particularly on human rights issues arising in the context of prison law and immigration. Expertise: “He is a careful and effective advocate who commands trust and respect. He handles the complexities of cases very well and gives very helpful advice.” Recent work: Successfully brought judicial review proceedings against the Justice Secretary in relation to a prisoner who had repeatedly been denied access to his children, despite the Secretary having previously conceded proceedings on the same issue.

Matthew Stanbury Focuses on handling public law actions on behalf of claimants, typically founded in the areas of prison law and the rights of women. He is particularly interested in equality and statutory construction issues. Expertise:”The standard of his work is excellent. He’s very clear and concise in the arguments he puts forward, and anticipates and deals with contrary positions.” “He is very dynamic and passionate about his work.” Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a successful judicial review challenging the decision of the Justice Secretary not to award compensation to the claimant as a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Kate Stone Specialises in appearing for claimants in prison law proceedings, particularly in challenges to decisions of the Parole Board and the Home Secretary. She is also experienced in inquests and matters concerning the actions of the police. Expertise: “She defended a complex case with discretion and vigour, and her pleadings were just brilliant.” Recent work: Acted as junior counsel to 22 bereaved families in the Hillsborough Inquests.

Ben McCormack Centres his public law practice on matters concerning social housing, welfare rights and mental health. He is also interested in questions of discrimination. Expertise: “He is very approachable, and very good at explaining complex issues to lay clients.” “He is a joy to work with, and is reliable and efficient on the papers.” Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a judicial review challenging a decision of the Official Receiver to revoke a debt relief order. The case turned on the issue of whether the Receiver was bound by the public sector equality duty, on which the court held that her exercising of a judicial function meant this duty was not binding.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights – Northern (Bar) – Band 1


Garden Court North Chambers is noted for its skilful and vigorous pursuit of human rights actions on behalf of claimants against detaining authorities and the police. Its members provide advice, training, and advocacy relating to the full range of human rights and civil liberties issues. Solicitors praise the set’s “quick turnaround of work and no-nonsense approach to advice.”


Pete Weatherby QC Commands great respect for his expertise across a broad range of human rights issues. He is particularly experienced in matters concerning the rights of prisoners. Expertise: “He’s really very involved with the issues, and capable of good, steady advocacy when presenting emotive issues. He gets his tone just right in court.” Recent work: He acted successfully for the claimant in a landmark case in the ECHR, in which it was established that whole-life tariffs without review for prisoners constituted inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of the ECHR convention.


Vijay Jagadesham A public law specialist who has developed a strong practice in civil liberties and human rights work, assisted by his considerable expertise in prison and immigration law. He is also an expert in cases relating to religious freedom. Expertise: “He’s very, very bright and a tenacious advocate.” Recent work: He represented the two claimants in a significant Supreme Court case concerning the right of prisoners to an oral hearing when their sentence is reviewed by the Parole Board. The case established that not allowing prisoners a hearing was a violation of procedural fairness and their rights under the ECHR.

Matthew Stanbury Specialises in human rights actions relating to miscarriages of justice, the rights of prisoners and the representation of bereaved families at inquests. He has a further interest in points of discrimination and equality. Expertise: “He’s very enthusiastic and is definitely an up-and-coming figure; he has a good reputation in prisoners’ rights work.” Recent work: He acted in a judicial review challenge to the Justice Secretary’s policy on strip-searching female prisoners, founded on the contention that a failure to balance the risk to their mental health against security considerations breached their rights under Article 8 ECHR.

Immigration – Northern (Bar) – Band 1


The set boasts an impressively high-calibre immigration team whose members are regularly instructed in cases that challenge the status quo. Particular areas of strength are cases involving migrant prisoners and extradition cases.


Rory O’Ryan (Band 1) Devotes a significant portion of his practice to public law matters including personal immigration. He is noted for his expertise in obtaining emergency injunctive relief in deportation or removal cases, and is praised by instructing solicitors for his sensitive handling of refugees and vulnerable claimants.

Vijay Jagadesham (Band 2) An expert in cases involving detained migrants, children and the ECHR. He also has a burgeoning practice assisting organisations with obtaining sponsor licences. Expertise: “He is very thorough in his preparation, shows confidence in court, and is also very knowledgeable and easy to work with.”

Immigration – London (Bar)
Ian Macdonald QC is an incredibly accomplished silk who has a long history of working at the forefront of immigration law, having practised since the 1960s. His workload sees him advising students, assisting those using the points-based system via the Tier 1 (Investor) route, and providing counsel to non-EEA nationals, among other matters.

Crime – Northern (Bar)

Mark George QC Acts for clients on the full range of general crime work. He regularly acts on cases involving sexual offences and murder. Expertise: “He is very thorough and prepared to fight for the client.”

Pete Weatherby QC A criminal defence advocate acting on cases ranging from murder to fraud. He is noted for his strong appellate practice and for his expertise in miscarriage of justice cases. Expertise: “He has a good way with clients and inspires confidence with his incisive intelligence.”

Employment – Northern (Bar)

Kerry Smith Represents individuals and trade unions in a wide variety of matters before employment tribunals, the EAT and the County Court. She is best known for handling unfair dismissals, redundancy claims and TUPE matters. Recent work: Successfully represented the claimant in a third party harassment claim.

Social Housing – Northern (Bar)

Ben McCormack of Garden Court North Formerly a solicitor and continues to receive effusive praise from sources. He represents tenants and vulnerable clients in a range of social housing mandates which include social welfare and community care. Expertise: “He is very well prepared and an excellent advocate in court.” “A reasonable opponent who does not give concessions where he should not, but will focus on key points for the client.”

James Stark Highly reputed junior for social housing matters. His expertise includes a full range of matters including complex possession proceedings, homelessness appeals and disputes involving multiple parties and agencies. Expertise: “He is pretty much excellent at everything. He’s so intelligent.

Andrew Byles Acts exclusively for social housing tenants and occupiers on matters including those involving antisocial behaviour, nuisance and homelessness. Expertise: “He is the walking, talking dictionary of housing law who never stops working.” “Excellent knowledge and then did everything he could above and beyond from the court work.”

Laura Cawsey Maintains an excellent reputation for social housing work including matters involving antisocial behaviour cases, homelessness, possession proceedings and disrepair claims.

Gary Willock Handles a range of social housing matters including the representation of vulnerable clients in cases such as antisocial behaviour and claims for possession. Expertise: “He advises clients tactically, and really understands the vulnerable clients we see.”

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