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‘An innovative and progressive set that continues to be instructed in high-profile and often law-defining cases.’Chambers and Partners 2014
Helen Law

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Consistently ranked in the Directories and picked by Legal Week as one of the most promising juniors at the Bar, Helen Law has a broad criminal, civil and public law practice, with a focus on criminal justice and human rights.

Legal 500 describes Helen as “A skilled cross-examiner with the ability to construct a very persuasive legal argument.”  Chambers & Partners 2015 writes thatShe is one of the most skilled juniors I’ve seen, and has a rare talent to be able to turn her hand to civil and criminal litigation with equal aplomb. … She is able to handle complex legal issues and offers excellent drafting. …  She’s extremely approachable, knowledgeable and thoroughly reliable.”

Helen prosecutes and defends in criminal matters, both on her own and as a junior. In addition to her trial work, she has been instructed in criminal cases before the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, Privy Council and European Court of Human Rights. She is a Grade 2 prosecutor. Her notable cases include R v Lord Taylor (in which she appeared alone for the Crown) and R v Lord Hanningfield (where she was led by Clare Montgomery QC), in relation to House of Lords’ expenses claims, and FSA v Swallow with Matthew Ryder QC, one of The Lawyer’s Top Cases of 2012, concerning inside dealing. She regularly undertakes criminal justice related public law matters, with a particular expertise in challenges to decisions not to prosecute and the scope of the ECHR positive obligations in criminal investigations.

Helen has a broad public law, human rights and public international law practice with experience in a range of forums. Her notable recent cases include: AKJ & Ors v Metropolitan Police & Ors, in the High Court, concerning the legality of undercover police officers having sexual relationships with surveillance targets; C.N v UK, in the European Court of Human Rights, concerning the first finding of a violation by the UK of Article 4 for a failure to criminalise forced labour, with Helen Mountfield QC; Croatia v Serbia in the International Court of Justice concerning a claim under the Genocide Convention, with Philippe Sands QC, James Crawford QC and Kate Cook; and with Tim Owen QC, she also represented the appellant in Zatuliveter v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the first espionage case to be heard by SIAC.

Helen has a strong interest in prison law, public inquiries and police law. She was junior counsel for the Public Prosecution Service in the Robert Hamill Inquiry in Northern Ireland and her recent cases in the prison law field include R (Shaheen) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and R (Botmeh & Alami) v Parole Board. She is regularly instructed in civil claims against the police, including assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, discrimination, misfeasance and breaches of the Human Rights Act at all stages from advice to trial, with particular expertise in obtaining disclosure of unsubstantiated complaints against police officers


  • AKJ & Ors v Metropolitan Police Commissioner & Ors [2013] EWHC 32 (QB) Concerning the legality of undercover police officers entering into sexual relationships with surveillance targets.
  • Assange v Swedish Judicial Authority [2012] 2 AC 471 (Supreme Court) Instructed with Mark Summers for Julian Assange in his appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision to extradite him to Sweden
  • CN v United Kingdom [2012] ECHR 1911 Concerning the failure of the UK to adequately criminalise forced labour and servitude in accordance with Article 4 ECHR (with Helen Mountfield QC and Ken Macdonald QC).
  • FSA v Swallow (2012) Instructed with Matthew Ryder QC for one of the defendants in an insider dealing case described by the FSA as the most serious and complex such prosecution which has ever been mounted in the UK. The case was included in The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2012.
  • R v Moore (2012) Junior counsel for the defendant in a £½m conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
  • R v Roberts (2012) Instructed to prosecute the first case for animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 concerning a circus elephant.
  • Al-Jedda v United Kingdom; Al-Skeini v United Kingdom (2011) 53 EHRR 18/23 Before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Article 1 jurisdiction and the interrelation of Article 5 with Resolutions of the UN Security Council (with Rabinder Singh QC and Raza Husain QC).
  • CICA v 1st Tier Tribunal (2011) In the Upper Tribunal, concerning the appropriate criminal injuries compensation for oral rape.
  • Krishna v The State [2011] UKPC 18 Pro bono appeal concerning voir dires and accomplices, resulting in the quashing of the appellant’s murder conviction after 27 years.
  • R (GC) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & Anor [2011] WLR 1230 Before the Supreme Court, concerning the lawfulness of the ongoing blanket policy of retaining samples of DNA from arrested persons (with Karon Monaghan QC).
  • R v Lord Hanningfield (2011) House of Lords’ expenses claims (led by Clare Montgomery QC).
  • R v Lord Taylor (2011) House of Lords’ expenses claims.
  • Zatuliveter v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2011)
  • Before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, concerning an allegation of espionage against a Russian national living and working in London. The case was the first espionage case ever heard by SIAC (with Tim Owen QC).
  • Al-Saadoon & Mufdhi v The United Kingdom (2010) ECHR 285 Concerning an unlawful transfer, in breach of Articles 3, 13, and 13 ECHR, by the UK of two men to the Iraqi authorities to stand trial on capital charges. She was instructed throughout the domestic proceeding: [2008] EWHC 3098 (Admin),[2009] EWCA Civ 7, and House of Lords (led by Karon Monaghan QC, Ben Emmerson QC and Raza Husain QC).
  • Campbell v The Queen [2010] UKPC 26 Led by Julian Knowles in a case which raised complex issues concerning the scope of the special leave jurisdiction and led to the quashing of the appellant’s conviction for murder.
  • Croatia v Serbia (2010) Before the International Court of Justice, on behalf of Croatia in its claim against Serbia under the Genocide Convention (with James Crawford SC, Philippe Sands QC, Ben Emmerson QC and Kate Cook).
  • HJ (Iran), (HT) Cameroon [2010] 3 WLR 386 In the Supreme Court, concerning the correct approach to determining asylum claims based on sexuality (with Karon Monaghan QC and Jessica Simor).
  • Kawogo v United Kingdom (2010) Concerning the failure of the UK to adequately criminalise forced labour and servitude in accordance with Article 4 ECHR (with Helen Mountfield QC and Ken Macdonald QC).
  • Robert Hamill Inquiry (2009) Public inquiry into sectarian murder and subsequent investigation/prosecution in Northern Ireland, led by Ben Emmerson QC.
  • Al-Marri v Spagone (2008) In the US Supreme Court, in a written intervention on behalf of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and JUSTICE, concerning the executive military detention of a US resident (with Ben Emmerson QC and Alex Bailin QC).
  • E v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] 1 AC 499 In the House of Lords, concerning the compatibility of anti-terrorism control orders with Articles 5 and 6 (with Ben Emmerson QC and Raza Husain QC).
  • R (Botmeh & Alami) v Parole Board & Anor [2008] EWHC 1115 (Admin) The proper approach of the Parole Board to denial of guilt by those convicted of terrorism offences (with Tim Owen QC).
  • R (Shaheen) v SSJ [2008] EWHC 1195 (Admin) Concerning the repatriation of prisoners within the EU.
  • R v Astbury and others (2008) 4 month trial for conspiracy to harm an animal research organisation, contrary to s.145 SOCPA
  • R v Harrison and others (2008) Criminal damage and SOCPA offences arising out of direct action at RAF Lakenheath

Helen accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.

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