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Phillippa Kaufmann QC

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Phillippa Kaufmann QC took silk in 2011. Her expertise spans the public and private law arenas. She is equally at home in complex trials requiring mastery of large volumes of evidence and skilled cross examination as before the Administrative Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court arguing novel and difficult points of law. Phillippa was awarded ‘Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year’ at the 2014 Chambers Bar Awards.

She is identified in three practice areas by Chambers & Partners (administrative and public law; civil liberties and police law) where she is described as “one of the leading lawyers of her generation, who presents issues beautifully and is a blistering advocate” (2017). Senior solicitors, and their counterparts at the Bar, confirm that she is a “really remarkable”, “brilliant and hugely creative” practitioner (2014) who “has a phenomenal intellect and takes a really incisive approach to cases” (2017). Phillippa is “mellifluous, clever and very strategic”, (2015), “a real joy to work with” (2014), “a great trial advocate who knows her law and tactics inside out, and is extremely dedicated.  She is superb at thinking on her feet, and is as good at presenting innovative and detailed submissions as she is at responding off the cuff” (2015).

Claims against Public Authorities

Phillippa has extensive experience in complex private law claims brought against public authorities including central government department such as the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence, FCO as well as other public authorities such as the police. She was part of the claimant team in the recently settled “Mau Mau” litigation arising out of the systematic torture of suspected insurgents in the 1950s Kenyan uprising.

She is acting for eight women in claims against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner arising out of misconduct of undercover police officers who while undercover engaged in intimate relationships with claimant protesters: AKJ and others v Commissioner of Police [2014] 1 WLR 285 (QB) (under appeal) and DIL and others v Commissioner of Police.

She represented two women in a successful claim against the Metropolitan Police under the Human Rights Act 1998. The claimants were victims of serious sexual assaults by London cab driver John Worboys. In DSD and NBV v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2014] EWHC 436 the High Court held that the police had failed to conduct an effective investigation into their complaints of serious sexual assault and awarded them compensation as just satisfaction (at [2014] EWHC 2493). In total John Worboys is believed to have attacked more than 100 women. The Commissioner is appealing.

She represents over 800 Iraqis bringing private law damages claims both under the Human Rights Act and for assault and false imprisonment following their internment in the aftermath of the Iraq war.

She also represents Yunus Rahmatullah who was also captured by British forces in Iraq. In his case the British forces transferred him to US control after which he was held in Abu Ghraib before being rendered to Afghanistan. He was detained there in Bagram airbase until June 2014. The MOD’s application to strike out his claim on grounds of state immunity, foreign act of state and crown act of state was determined by the High Court in November 2014 (Rahmatullah v MOD [2014] EWHC 3846) and is in the process of being appealed both to the Supreme Court on foreign act of state and to the Court of Appeal on Crown Act of state.

Administrative and Public Law

Phillippa has an extensive public law practice representing a broad range of individual applicants. She also acts for NGOs such as Reprieve and Privacy International. She is described in Chambers and Partners (2012) as “a true public law all-rounder” who “can turn her hand to many matters” and as an “exceptionally talented silk who maintains her outstanding reputation for her public law work” (2015). She is currently involved in two systemic challenges to the cuts to legal aid introduced under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, one to the removal from scope of many areas of prison law (R (Prisoners Advice Service and the Howard League) v Lord Chancellor) and the other to the operation of the exceptional funding scheme established to give effect to s. 10 of the Act (R (IS) v Director of the Legal Aid Authority and the Lord Chancellor).

Inquiries and Inquests

Phillippa has extensive experience both of inquests and bringing challenges to coronial decisions by way of judicial review.

International Law

Phillippa has an extensive international law practice in the field of human rights. She was part of the team representing the claimants in the “Mau Mau” litigation against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office arising out of the systematic torture of suspected insurgents in the Kenyan uprising in the 1950s, and represents over 800 Iraqis bringing private law damages claims both under the Human Rights Act and for assault and false imprisonment following their internment in the aftermath of the Iraq war. She also represents Yunus Rahmatullah a man who was detained in Abu Ghraib, rendered to Afghanistan and held for 10 years in Bagram following his transfer to US forces by British forces who captured him in Iraq in 2004.

Media Law and Defamation

It was through her prisoners’ rights practice that Phillippa first branched out into media law. She has represented many prisoners seeking access to the media, including the appellants in the seminal House of Lords case Simms and O’Brien and in 2012, Babar Ahmad in the successful judicial review brought by the BBC in which exceptionally the Divisional Court held that a refusal to allow an interview for broadcast purposes was contrary to Article 10 ECHR. She has been involved in securing injunctive protection on behalf of a number of individuals convicted of notorious crimes whose life or mental well-being was put under threat by the glare of publicity. She represented Mary Bell and Maxine Carr when they secured lifelong contra mundum injunctions preventing the publication of any information liable to lead to the disclosure of their new identities.

More recently she acted for Jon Venables in relation to the continued operation of the contra-mundum injunction secured on his release on licence in 2001, following his further prosecution in 2010.

Prison Law and Crime Related Public Law

Phillippa began specialising in prisoner’s rights in the early 1990s when this was a little known area of law. She was involved in most of the leading House of Lords cases extending the scope of prisoners’ rights, particularly the rights of indeterminate sentence prisoners. She undertakes all aspects of prison law, be they Parole Board hearings, where she has recently represented Learco Chimdamo in relation to his recall to prison, or complex judicial reviews.

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

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