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Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Landmark Chambers has wide-ranging expertise in the fields of civil liberties and human rights which overlap with barrister’s work in administrative and EU law, as well as specific areas of practice such as immigration, national security, social security, community care and health care. Chambers is consistently recommended as a leading set in the civil liberties field. The Legal 500 2017 notes that chambers is an “excellent set” and Chambers & Partners 2018 says that:

“Members of Landmark Chambers are distinguished for their abilities across a wide range of specialist areas, including human rights and civil liberties matters stemming from environmental, social care, planning, prison and immigration law. Offering particular ability in judicial reviews and appellate cases, they are at home acting for both claimants and defendants. A solicitor remarks that Landmark is a ‘brilliant and professional public law set with exceptional barristers’.”

Landmark’s expertise covers the full range of civil liberties and human rights work including immigration and immigration detention, terrorist cases, health, prisons and parole, mental health and social welfare, international law, civil liberties and human rights issues in environmental law, policing, the right to protest, and the right to property.

Landmark is particularly noteworthy as one of the very few sets which genuinely straddles the divide in this field between acting for claimants and for defendants. Barristers at all levels of seniority frequently represent individuals and NGOs in significant cases, some of which have led to decisive changes in law and policy so as to advance the protection of civil liberties (for example in relation to abortion rights in Northern Ireland), prevention of the export of drugs from the UK for use on death row in the US (Zagorski), constitutional protection of LGBT rights in Trinidad (Jones), the need for housing benefit to cover an additional room for a disabled person’s carer (Burnip, Carmichael), and a number of cases which have advanced the protection of right of immigrants in detention (Das, BA (Nigeria), Aman) and refugee protection (Kiarie).

Barristers (including currently 24 members of the Attorney-General’s Panels, and many former panel members now in silk) are equally experienced in acting for government and other defendant bodies. Barristers’ breadth of experience in terms of subject matter and clients enables them to offer lateral thinking and insights. A number of Landmark’s barristers are developed vetted so as to be able to carry out cases involving national security both for and (as Special Advocates) against the government, and barristers also have experience acting as open advocates in national security cases. Many barristers have a strong commitment to legal aid and pro bono work in this field both for individuals and acting for NGOs such as Reprieve, CPAG, JCWI, Medical Justice, BID, and many others.

High-profile on-going work includes acting for claimants challenging the Revised Benefit Cap (Supreme Court in July 2018), the two-child policy, the most recent decision concerning resettlement of the Chagos Islands, and acting for public bodies concerning protesters, parole, and social welfare issues. Notable cases involving Landmark’s barristers include:

  • Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s Application for Judicial Review, Re [2018] UKSC 27 – abortion rights in Northern Ireland, for the Commission;
  • Jones v AG of Trinidad and Tobago, High Court of Trinidad and Tobago, 12 April 2018 – constitutional protection of LGBT rights;
  • R (XH & AI) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] QB 355 – cancellation of passports on national security grounds, ECHR and EU Charter;
  • R (Kiarie and Byndloss) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] 1 WLR 2380 Supreme Court – out of country human rights appeals, certification;
  • R (Youngsam) v PB [2017] 1 WLR 2848 (Article 5(4) ECHR – determinate sentences;
  • R (Carmichael) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKSC 58, [2016] 1 W.L.R. 4550 – successful challenge to the “bedroom tax” under Article 14 ECHR;
  • R (MM (Lebanon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] 1 WLR 771 Supreme Court – financial entry thresholds for spouses, Article 8 ECHR;
  • Mathieson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] 1 WLR 3250 – DLA where children are hospitalised, Article 14 ECHR;
  • R (JS) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] UKSC 16, [2015] 1 WLR 1449 – benefit cap and children’s welfare, Article 14 ECHR, for CPAG intervening;
  • R (Zagorski) v SSBIS [2011] HRLR 6 – export of drugs for use on death row, EU Charter on Fundamental Rights, EU export rules, scope of EU law;
  • R (Gudanaviciene, Reis and ors) v Director of Legal Aid Casework [2015] 1 WLR 2247 – Legal aid exceptional funding, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, access to justice;
  • R (Hardy) v Sandwell MBC [2015] PTSR 1292 – bedroom tax, discretionary housing payments, Article 14 ECHR;
  • R (Das) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] 1 WLR 3538 – immigration detention, mental illness, Article 3 ECHR;
  • R (Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd) v Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2014] QB 282 – retrospectivity, right to property, Article 1 First Protocol ECHR;
  • Burnip, Trengove, Gorry v Birmingham CC, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] PTSR 117 – housing benefit, disability discrimination, Article 14 ECHR, more favourable treatment;
  • R (Mousa) v Secretary of State for Defence [2013] HRLR 32 – detention by armed forces in Iraq, right to life, torture, duty to investigate;
  • R (Faulkner and Sturnham) v Parole Board [2013] 2 AC 254; [2013] 2 WLR 1157 – Article 5(4) ECHR, damages;
  • City of London Corp v Samede [2012] PTSR 1624 – right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, protestors, trespass;
  • MCC v Pinnock [2011] 2 AC 104 – Article 8 ECHR, right to a home, protection from eviction;
  • R (BA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 2748 (Admin) – immigration detention, mental illness, breach of Article 3 ECHR, breach of policy.
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