Public Law

Members of Drystone Chambers share an ethos of using the law imaginatively and assertively to protect and further the best interests of our clients. It is our frequent experience that in situations where the interests of the individual and the state are in conflict the better course for redress is through public law remedies. That approach may be applied to cases across the spectrum of our practice, from regulatory and disciplinary law to criminal and international disputes. Our approach is also informed in depth knowledge of Human Rights principles and ECHR case law which can be applied effectively within a domestic context.

We act for both regulators and the regulated and know the value of a prompt and responsive service whether in seeking urgent injunctive relief, ensuring that procedural deadlines are met or in replying to unexpected applications and challenges.

A number of our barristers hold high-level government security clearance and junior counsel accept instructions from the Treasury Solicitor and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, working on a variety of cases and public inquiries including LIBOR investigations and the Hallett Review.

Inquests & Inquiries

The inquest provides the forum for a detailed examination of the events leading to death. We fully appreciate the sensitivity and importance for families in understanding the causes of an untimely death. Although inquests may not pronounce upon civil or criminal liability, this restriction has proved to be no bar to the uncovering of systemic or individual failures in the delivery of services by the state to the individual. Whether the circumstances relate to an IED in Afghanistan, the misprescription of medication by a GP, or the treatment of those in care, the public interest demands a close examination of the causes of death. This degree of public scrutiny inevitably requires those who have had a duty of care for the deceased, and those whose reputation may be called into question at the inquest, to be properly represented so that their interests may be properly protected.

Public Inquiries, like inquests may often mark the beginning, rather than the end of a process of accountability. The Inquiries Act 2005 has formalised a long-standing inquisitorial procedure developing from the 1921 Act that has existed alongside the adversarial common law tradition. Our public law practitioners have longstanding experience of cases with an international dimension, recently advising the team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office handling the Inquiry into Detainee Treatment post 9/11. The Inquiry chaired by Sir Peter Gibson followed the settlement of the civil litigation brought by a group of Guantanamo detainees against the British government

Prison Law

Drystone Chambers recognises that convicted prisoners often require assistance and representation throughout their Prison sentence and sometimes beyond.

We understand that many within the Prison system at times feel “lost”, “stuck” or even “forgotten” and may be very concerned for their, and their family’s future. To that end the team work hard to put the Prisoner at his or her ease and to present the Prisoner’s case as strongly and effectively as possible.

The importance of Parole Board hearings cannot be overstated to those affected. We have particular expertise representing prisoners serving mandatory and discretionary life sentences as well as indeterminate IPP sentences at Parole Board hearings and also at hearings challenging recall to Prison. We also provide representation at Prison Adjudications, and the team also have expertise in assisting life prisoners in their appeals.

Our team has close links with Solicitors contracted with the Legal Services Commission to provide Prison Law services; thus whilst a Prisoner is unable to instruct a barrister from Drystone Chambers directly, Chambers is well-able to point a Prisoner towards an appropriate Solicitor. Drystone Chambers is happy to accept referrals from any Solicitor countrywide.