Details of practice

Areas of expertise: public law, human rights, inquests and inquiries, extradition and civil recovery.

Clair has substantial expertise in public and human rights law. She has been appointed Counsel to the Crown  since 2004 and was appointed to the “A” Panel in 2014.  She has particular expertise in international co-operation (extradition, mutual legal assistance and diplomatic law) and children’s human rights.  She has appeared alone before the Supreme Court, the Privy Council and in the European Court of Human Rights.

She has been in a number of leading extradition cases; these include a number of important terrorist cases such as USA v Abu Hamza, USA v Aswat, USA v Babar Ahmad and Hilali v Central Court of Criminal Proceedings National Court Madrid.

Other cases include Bat v Germany (special mission immunity); Gary Mc Kinnon v USA (computer hacking); India v Shankaran (the War Room spying case) and the Harkins v UK (litigation before the European Court of Human Rights (concerning life without parole)).

Clair’s other main area of practice is public inquiries and inquests. She is presently instructed as counsel in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse as leading junior in the investigation into Rochdale Children’s homes (and Cyril Smith MP) and the investigation into Children’s Home in Lambeth.

Clair has appeared in many leading inquiries and inquests of recent years. These include the inquests into the deaths of Smiley Culture, Ian Tomlinson, Alexander Litvinenko and Mark Duggan.

She is recommended as a leading practitioner across five different practice areas:

Chambers UK 2018

Administrative and Public Law – “Well organised and meticulous, she is a strong advocate.” “She is very hard-working. I don’t think she sleeps! Also, she has a lovely advocacy style.”

Inquests and Public Inquiries– “Her legal analysis is second to none, she has a brain like a razor and she is a superb cross-examiner.  Coroners and juries love her.  She is utterly charming, always courteous and helpful.  A superb all-round lawyer.”

“Always willing to help, very, very good on detail and a prodigious work ethic. She is hugely experienced in public inquiries and that wealth of experience is of great benefit to clients.”

Extradition – “Well versed at looking at things from the perspective of both requesting nations and the home office, she gives excellent well-rounded advice.”

Professional Discipline – “An excellent lawyer. She is very personable and offers very good analysis.”

The Legal 500 2017

Administrative & Public Law – “Bright, articulate and client-friendly; she is genuinely superb”

International Crime and Extradition – “Instructed by the government legal department and requested persons in challenging cases”

Police Law – “She represents the Met in judicial reviews”

Civil Liberties and Human Rights – “Among the top of a handful of juniors handling extradition law”

Examples of public cases in which she has been instructed include the following:

Ismail v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] 1 WLR 2814 Supreme Court case on the application of Article 6 to mutual legal assistance processes.

Akarcay v NCA (ongoing) – judicial review of police co-operation with Northern Cypriot authorities and the application of the non-recognition principle.

Unaoil v SFO (ongoing) – judicial review of mutual legal assistance in corruption investigation by the SFO.

R (on the application of Hisbani) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 1215- Consular immunity and family members

R (on the application of AB) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2016] EWHC 2714 (Admin)- police officer retirement in the course of an Article 2 investigation into a fatal police shooting.

R (on the application of Birks) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2014] EWHC 3041 (Admin); [2015] ICR 204; [2014] Inquest LR 221 – the requirements of an Article 2 investigation into a death in custody. Retirement of police officer.

R (on the application of Mackaill) v Independent Police Complaints Commission [2014] EWHC 3170 (Admin); [2015] ACD 19. Judicial review challenging the IPCC investigation into the misconduct of officers linked to “Plebgate”.

R (on the application of Aswat) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 1216 (Admin); [2014] MHLR 140; [2014] ACD 116.  Extradition and mental health.

Sherry v The Queen [2013] UKPC 7 – the application of the Human Rights Act 1998 to historical convictions and court orders.

T v MOJ [2013] EWHC 1119 (Admin); [2013] ACD 88 (concerning the detention of children in court buildings).

Hamza v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2736 (Admin) – judicial review proceedings by Abu Hamza and others following the Judgment of the European Court that their extraditions were compatible with Article 3.

MP v MOJ 2012] EWHC 214 (Admin) [2012] ACD 58; (2012) 109(9) LSG 17 – rights of mothers and children concerning temporary release from prison.

Extradition and International Criminal Law

Clair has substantial experience across the spectrum of extradition law. She has appeared in numerous leading cases including many important terrorist cases such as Abu Hamza; Aswat and Ahmad; Hilali and Ignoua and others.  Recently she has represented the United Kingdom before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Harkins v UK.

Clair acted in Shankaran v India (concerning the high profile naval war room spying case in India) and Galojan v Estonia (concerning the extradition of a well known Estonian politician).

Other cases include Halligen v SSHD in which Clair acted for the Secretary of State for the Home Department before the Supreme Court in a case concerning the application of Article 6 to extradition proceedings.  She was leading counsel in R v Hussain, (at first instance and in the Court of Appeal) a case concerning abuse of process in the first extraditions from Iraq to the United Kingdom.

She has a particular expertise in diplomatic law and acted for the Secretary of State for the Home Department in Brown v Rwanda in proceedings concerning Memoranda of Understanding concluded in respect of suspected genocidaires.  She was also counsel for the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Bats (Government of Mongolia Intervening) v FCO concerning Special Mission immunity and State immunity.  She has also advised the Foreign Office in respect of corruption allegations in overseas territories.

Clair has also advised the UK Central Authority, the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police in numerous mutual legal assistance cases. These have included the criminal investigation into McLaren racing by the Italian police and the investigation of Trafigura Beheer (for the alleged unlawful handling of hazardous waste) by the Dutch authorities.

Public Inquiries and Inquests

Clair has extensive public inquiry and inquest experience having been involved in some of the most prominent of recent years. She acted in the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and represented a very large number of core participants in the Baha Mousa Inquiry.

She is presently instructed as junior counsel leading two investigations in The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (the Rochdale and Cyril Smith MP investigation and the Lambeth investigation).

She has appeared in numerous inquests and has particular expertise in deaths in police and prison custody. She was led by Patrick Gibbs QC in the Inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson (and was junior counsel in the subsequent manslaughter proceedings).  Other recent Inquests in which she has appeared include the Inquest into the death of David Emmanuel (also known by his stage name Smiley Culture), the Inquest into the death of Mark Duggan, the Inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

Clair also has particular experience in dealing with the deaths of highly vulnerable individuals including children and victims of domestic abuse.

Asset Recovery

Clair has acted for and advised the National Crime Agency in a number of applications for the seizure of criminal assets in civil recovery proceedings. Recent cases before the Queen’s Bench Division include NCA v Atkinson [2015] Lloyd’s Rep FC 435 and NCA v Wong [2016] Lloyd’s Rep FC 588.

Directory recommendations

See above for recent rankings.

Education/professional qualifications

MA Hons (Cantab) Clare College, Cambridge
Middle Temple Diplock Scholar

Appointments

Appointed Member of Treasury C Panel 2004
Appointed Member of Treasury B Panel 2007
Appointed Member of Treasury A Panel 2014

Publications

Competition Litigation in the UK (Sweet & Maxwell 2005) Expert commentary and practical advice on how to litigate within the new competition law regime.