Area Category: Primary

Actions against the police

Founded over 40 years ago with the aim of ensuring access to justice for all members of the community, 1MCB Chambers is proud of its longstanding commitment to seeking redress for those who have fallen victim to abuses of police power, including the Guildford Four and parties to the Stephen Lawrence and Bloody Sunday inquiries.

The team has extensive experience across the full range of claims that can be brought following encounters with the police and other public and quasi-public bodies, and is recognised by Legal 500 (2014) for its “niche expertise” in this area.  From initial advice, through devising a litigation strategy and drafting persuasive pleadings, to negotiating settlement, to advocacy in jury trials and before the appellate courts, the team prides itself on providing first-class representation at every stage.

The team recognises that there is often considerable overlap with other specialist areas of law, and is able to draw upon its collective expertise across related disciplines, including crime, public law, equality and discrimination, and personal injury.   Many team members are also engaged in related judicial review work, including challenges to the issue and execution of search warrants, decisions to caution, refusals to prosecute, and refusals to refer complaints to the IPCC.

Whilst committed to representing legally aided claimants, team members are alive to the constraints of public funding, and as such, some of our practitioners are willing to accept instructions on a ‘conditional fee’ basis where appropriate.

The team is always happy to be approached in order to provide bespoke in-house training to law centres, citizens’ advice bureaux, solicitors’ firms, and charities.

Civil litigation

1MCB Chambers’ strength is its multi-disciplinary approach. We offer a breadth of knowledge and expertise, and our members are skilled at familiarising themselves with new areas of law very quickly.

Many of our members are particularly experienced in landlord and tenant and property-related issues, including leasehold and valuation disputes, forfeiture and possession, easements, land registration, TOLATA matters and boundary disputes.

Members also have expertise in contractual and commercial matters, from pre-action advice through to settlement, contested trials and enforcement. We offer advice and representation at all levels of seniority and provide direct access work in appropriate cases.

Our members also offer niche or specialist expertise in the following practice areas:

  • Civil harassment;
  • Inquests;
  • Defamation;
  • Welfare benefits;
  • Personal injury and clinical negligence;
  • Equine law;
  • Mediation;
  • Costs and enforcement.

 

 

Community care

1MCB Chambers’ community care team provides dedicated and high-quality advice and representation in the key areas of local authorities’ duties under the Care Act 2014 and Children Act 1989, as well as welfare benefit provision, mental capacity, prisons, mental health, equality and education law.

Many of our community care barristers draw on their work in the immigration, housing and public law fields, and the team’s practice is rooted in 1MCB’s history and ethos of representing all sectors of the community. Chambers has significant expertise in the complex eligibility regulations, issues relating to asylum and ‘no recourse to public funds’, and provision of accommodation through homelessness and migration legislation.

That dedication and breadth of expertise means that the team is well-placed to ensure that vulnerable people are represented with skill and sensitivity, and with a tactical appreciation of  the other legal and practical problems that community care clients often face.

Many of our members are available for urgent and out-of-hours judicial reviews.

Crime

1MCB Chambers is perhaps most renowned for its specialist criminal work.  Members provide the highest quality representation at all levels of seniority: whether a particular case requires Queen’s Counsel, a senior junior, or a more junior barrister, 1MCB offers a friendly, practical and professional service.

As well as providing expert pre-trial advice on evidence, preparation, and trial strategy, and advocacy at trial, members of the crime team are regularly instructed to present appeals in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the Privy Council.  Some members also have experience of crime-related judicial review, such as challenges to decisions to caution or to prosecute youths.

Chambers’ crime team is widely recognised for its tenacious defence work. Indeed, although some members now prosecute, many exclusively defend. The crime team is resolutely committed to the principle of access to justice, and prides itself on its reputation for being professional yet approachable, whichever side it is instructed to represent. Continuity of representation is recognised as being of enormous importance, irrespective of the seriousness of the allegation faced by the lay client.

Members of the crime team are regularly instructed in cases of homicide, serious violence, organised crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism.  Cases involving allegations of sexual violence – particularly when such cases involve children – require expertise combined with sensitivity and impeccable judgment: many members of the crime team have considerable experience in this area.

The crime team can provide particular expertise in cases involving white-collar crime. The team has considerable experience in corporate and commercial fraud, insider-trading and cases with an international dimension.  Members of the crime team at 1MCB Chambers also enjoy vast experience in cases involving confiscation and forfeiture proceedings.

Dangerous dogs & animal welfare

Dangerous Dogs Law

1MCB Chambers boasts a dedicated team specialising in dangerous dogs legislation.  Members of the team are experienced in working with experts to determine whether or not a particular dog is of a prohibited breed, or whether a dog was dangerously out of control or caused injury.  They regularly oppose – frequently successfully – the imposition of immediate destruction orders and make applications for the return of beloved pets to their owners.

Members appear in such cases at all levels, from the Magistrates Court, through the Crown Court, to the Divisional Court (by way of judicial review or appeals by way of case stated) and the Court of Appeal.  Some members also have experience of drafting submissions to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Animal Welfare Law

Team members have a deep concern for the welfare of animals and have therefore developed recognised expertise in the law that protects them.  At the same time, they are committed to ensuring that this law is fairly applied when defending.

Equine Law

Members provide advice and representation in all areas of equine law, including horse welfare, road traffic law, buying and selling, horse passports, professional and clinical negligence involving veterinary surgeons, lease and tenancy agreements, and regulatory law arising from the rules and disciplinary procedures of equestrian bodies.

 

Employment & discrimination

1MCB Chambers has a team of dedicated employment and discrimination barristers with expertise across the full range of employment law issues.

Members of chambers represent individuals at every level.  At the junior end our members represent workers in disputes in the employment tribunal, whereas more senior members have recently been involved in groundbreaking Court of Appeal litigation on the ‘gig economy’.

Members of chambers have particular expertise at representing in employment cases with a strong cross-over aspect (for instance in public sector discrimination cases) cases with a European law dimension and commercial employment law (such as restraint of trade, fiduciary and breach of confidence issues and bonus/share option disputes). We advise across all industry sectors and act in insurance funded cases, for trade unions and for private clients. We are happy to act for clients across the range of cases, from straightforward unfair dismissal to complex equal pay matters.

The employment team is happy to provide direct access advice and representation in appropriate cases.

Members of 1MCB Chambers regularly act for clients in non-employment discrimination matters including discrimination in Part IV Equality Act 2010 housing cases, public sector discrimination and related judicial review, school SENDIST cases, and County Court matters including goods and services discrimination and higher and further education discrimination.

Family

When relationships break down, 1MCB Chambers’ family team is there to provide representation at court hearings, advice face-to-face in conference and in writing, and mediation.

Members of the family team offer expertise in all aspects of family law including:

  • care proceedings and adoption;
  • contact and residence disputes;
  • other private law disputes over children, such as where a child should be educated;
  • disputes over the movement of children, both within England and Wales and internationally;
  • international child abduction;
  • divorce, nullity and the validity of marriage;financial relief orders under the Matrimonial Causes Act, the Children Act and TOLATA;
  • forced marriage;
  • Inheritance Act claims where inadequate provision has been made for a dependant;
  • domestic violence applications;
  • Court of Protection matters.

As part of a multi-disciplinary chambers, our family barristers can access expert advice on areas of law that commonly impact on family breakdown, including housing, immigration, welfare rights and criminal law.

The family team prides itself on its friendly and personable approach and provides clients with a professional and sympathetic service, aiming to arrive at early settlement in order to minimise the stress of protracted disputes. We consider continuity of representation a priority and are often able to act at short notice in emergency situations.

Housing

Housing is one of the most established practice areas in chambers. This is an area in which clients face increasingly desperate situations and practitioners face increasingly complex law, and the team is committed to providing expert and reliable representation.

Many of the housing team’s members began their legal careers in the law centre movement. This gives them an excellent ability to engage with clients, as well as an awareness of the pressures of the legal aid sector and the need for thoughtful and pragmatic advice.

The housing team’s barristers have an excellent grasp of the technicalities of possession claims and strive to identify new and unusual defences.  There is particular expertise in defences to private sector ‘section 21’ claims, and in defences that rely on knowledge of social welfare, immigration, discrimination or public law issues.

In homelessness the team is regularly instructed in County Court appeals and judicial reviews, with particular expertise in ‘priority need’ challenges.

The team is also highly experienced in disrepair litigation.

Over the years, the housing team has developed a strong reputation around the country and is instructed by some of the most experienced housing solicitors.

We provide regular seminars on developing areas of housing law both in chambers and at solicitors’ offices. Please contact the clerks for further details.

Immigration & asylum

1MCB Chambers has a longstanding commitment to the rights of individuals seeking asylum, entry and settlement in the United Kingdom. From initial application through to appellate litigation, our team of dedicated immigration practitioners has a proven track record in providing high quality advice, drafting and representation to all those affected by immigration and nationality law.

Members of the immigration team have expertise across the full breadth of immigration law, including:

  • Asylum
  • Human rights applications
  • Family settlement
  • Long residence
  • EEA rights of residence
  • Points Based System
  • Domestic workers
  • Entry clearance
  • Visit visas
  • Naturalisation and registrations as a British citizen
  • UK ancestry
  • Deportation
  • Detention, bail and habeas corpus
  • Business immigration
  • Sponsor licences

All members of the immigration team regularly appear before both tiers of the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal; individual practitioners also have experience of litigation before the Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and the European Court of Justice.

A particular strength of the immigration team is its ability to tackle cases which straddle disciplines, allowing members to draw upon in-depth knowledge of areas of law that commonly impact on immigration cases. These include civil actions for damages, criminal law, family, housing, social security (including asylum support), mental health, employment, education, extradition and prison law.

As a culturally diverse set of chambers with international practitioners and multi-lingual speakers, there is a particular sensitivity to, and understanding of, the impact of culture, religion and ethnicity.

The immigration team is always happy to be approached in order to provide in-house training to law centres, citizens’ advice bureaux, solicitors’ firms, local authorities and charities.

International criminal law

International criminal law is a relatively young but fast-developing area of law. It is a highly specialised division of public international law which saw its practical genesis in the work of the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War II.

The crimes that fall within the ambit of international criminal law are, classically, genocide (the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such), crimes against humanity (including murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, torture and rape when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population) and war crimes (including grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war). The sources can be found in international treaties, customary international law, international jurisprudence and academic writings.

International criminal law developed enormously with the establishment of the ad hoc UN international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and hybrid tribunals trying mass crimes committed in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, East Timor and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2002, the permanent International Criminal Court was founded in The Hague, Netherlands. Also based in The Hague are the Special Tribunal for Lebanon – the first international tribunal of its kind to try terrorism as a distinct crime – and the new Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

International criminal law operates at the frontier of law and geopolitics, human rights and war. These cases are among the most complex and complicated a barrister can undertake. They require expertise, dedication, passion and patience, all of which can be provided by the highly experienced practitioners at 1MCB.

Iain Edwards is one of a small handful of barristers ranked by Chambers and Partners as a leading junior in international crime. He is currently assigned as counsel before the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague for the defence of the former head of the Serbian state security service, on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes. From 2012 to 2016 he was counsel representing the rights and interests of a senior Hezbollah commander before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Between 2009 and 2012, he was a legal adviser in three defence teams representing clients charged with genocide and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

Gwawr Thomas  has previously worked within the Prosecution Division of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court; has interned at the Legal Aid Department in Lilongwe, Malawi; and has advised Reprieve on a number of issues arising from the resentencing of those prisoners benefiting from the decision in Kafantayeni & Others v The Attorney General of Malawi (Constitutional Case No. 12 of 2005), by which the mandatory death sentence was ruled unconstitutional.

Tanya Murshed has worked in Uganda since 2013 and is the Founder of Evolve – Foundation for International Legal Assistance. Other members of 1MCB Chambers also support Evolve’s work by acting pro bono in appeals against conviction and/or sentence for a number of defendants held in Luzira Prison’s condemned section – Uganda’s death row.

Ishan Dave  has advised companies and charitable entities all over the world (including India, Tanzania, Mexico, Colombia and Panama) on a range of topics including integrity compliance, anti-bribery and corruption and international human rights.

International human rights

The protection and advancement of human rights and civil liberties lies at the heart of what we do at 1MCB Chambers.  We take pride in both the depth and breadth of our barristers’  expertise in international human rights and provide specialist advice, advocacy and training to individuals, communities and NGOs.

A number of members of the team have taken cases to international courts including the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Justice, and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.  Others have developed substantial expertise in international criminal law at the International Criminal Court, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

An increasing number of 1MCB Chambers’ barristers combine their domestic practices with work outside of the jurisdiction, as members of foreign Bars or holders of temporary rights of audience in overseas jurisdictions, including Rwanda, Uganda and Guyana.

Members are also actively involved in the work of NGOs working on issues including Kurdish human rights, protection of human rights defenders in Colombia, prison conditions in Malawi, the rights of indigenous peoples in Uganda, freedom of expression in Rwanda, development in Cameroon and Roma rights in Europe.

The team has significant experience of fact-finding missions throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, representing international and non-governmental human rights organisations.  Members have also participated in trial and election observation missions and in judicial training in many countries all over the world.

 

Mediation

Chambers appreciates that increasingly parties wish to avoid litigation and prefer to opt for a more affordable  solution, that is conciliatory in nature, to resolve their disputes.

Individual members of chambers are trained in mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution.

Mediation is where a neutral third party (the mediator) attempts to facilitate a settlement between the parties to a dispute.  This is a confidential process which is without prejudice and only becomes binding when the parties reach an agreement.

1MCB’s mediators are experienced in a wide range of disputes including but not limited to civil, commercial and family, both domestically and internationally.

Please contact the mediation clerk, Sophia Carter, for further information as to the mediation process, fees or individual CVs of the mediators.