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“elegant and cogent submissions” R (SG) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 2639 Admin

“elegant and persuasive submissions” Birmingham CC v Sec [2016] EWCA Civ 1211

"impressive arguments" R (Walford) v Worcestershire CC [2015] EWCA Civ 22

"attractive submissions" R (Hysaj) v SSHD [2014] EWCA Civ 1633

"submissions well made" R (Hillsden) v Epping Forest DC [2015] EWHC Admin 98

"carefully crafted submissions" R (Fitzroy George) v SSHD [2014] UKSC 28, [2014] 1 WLR 1843

"powerful submissions” R (Kaziu) v SSHD [2014] 4 All ER 133

"clear and cogent submissions" AA (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 1625

"clear and forceful submissions of the highest quality” AH (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 1284

"excellent assistance" John Reeves (Listing Officer) v Randy Northrop [2013] EWCA Civ 362

Stephen practices across the whole area of public law and also undertakes property, planning and commercial cases.

He advises and represents individuals, public authorities, regulators and commercial operators, and is licensed to accept direct instructions by way of Public Access.

Stephen offers a fixed fee option on social care opinions - click here for more details.

Stephen has appeared as an advocate at all levels of the judicial system, including the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union. He has appeared in over 200 reported cases and many high value and/or sensitive mediations.

In addition to his advocacy work, Stephen also advises public authorities, regulators, individuals and commercial operators on policy issues that arise across the whole of public law, in particular in relation to adult and children’s social care, health, housing, education and financial misconduct.

In recent years, Stephen has represented Shelter, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, the Women's Aid Federation of England (3 times pro bono in the Supreme Court) and others on a pro bono basis in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Stephen is ranked in the Chambers UK Bar Guide and the Legal 500 as a leading silk in community care, administrative and public law, immigration, housing, civil liberties and human rights and local government. He is described by solicitors and other barristers in these Guides as:

  • "Supremely intelligent and pursues cases with diligence and skill. Brilliant on his feet"
  • "An exceptionally bright and intuitive lawyer who comes out with new points nobody's seen before"
  • "He is really good on big public law issues. He is able to get on top of the issues exceptionally quickly"
  • "One of the finest lawyers out there. He's extremely able, skilful and creative. He's both exceptionally good on paper and exceptionally good on his feet"
  • "He gets a ten out of ten for his academic and intellectual ability. He can always see all sides of the argument"
  • "brilliant and highly effective advocate" who is "able to cut through to the essential issues of a case and get the court to listen to him"
  • "He is well loved by the judiciary"
  • "I really like working with him. He is very engaged, works hard and is very insightful"
  • "He has an unflappable manner in court. I see him being put on the spot and he always deals with it very well, never snatching at an answer and then getting it wrong"
  • "Brings innovative and persuasive arguments"
  • "He gives composed and thoughtful addresses to the court, and has good tactical sense"
  • "Hard-working, intelligent and a good opponent"
  • "He is a very nice person to work with and is very hands-on from an early stage" "He is very clear-headed, determined and always very collaborative, whilst also knowing that it's up to him to run the case" 
  • "He is eager to get everyone involved in the case and willing to listen to everybody's arguments"
  • Outside court, Knafler is "very client-friendly, very approachable and accessible" and proves "immaculate in his preparation for conferences or advices"
  • "A lawyer who grasps the essential elements and puts them across to the Bench in simple terms, he is loved by judges"
  • "is tremendously intelligent, and has the ability to get on top of complex cases really quickly"
  • "sources note his exceptional cross-examination skills and describe him as "approachable, calm and reassuring"
  • "an "attractive advocate" with a "very calm and questioning approach"
  • "he just devours information and seizes on the killer points immediately, making his speed of turnaround unmatched"
  • "a brilliant advocate who works extremely hard and to a very demanding standard"
  • "a deep thinker and a highly creative lawyer"
  • "quick and efficient"
  • "an absolutely fantastic advocate"
  • with "fantastic advocacy, which hinges on his sheer ability to put a point across clearly"
  • "legally rigorous but able to put his cases in a moderate, non-inflammatory way"
  • "His "helpful and reasonable approach" to working with others has won him a lot of friends"