Inquests and Inquiries

Companies, institutions, individual employees, national and local government bodies, as well as those, and the families of those, affected by the events under inquiry, all turn to members of Six Pump Court to ensure that their positions are advanced in the most effective way possible at Coroners’ Inquests and other inquiries, be those formal public inquiries under the Inquiries Act 2005 or informal or internal inquiries without that statutory backing. At every level of call from the silks to the juniors, we are familiar with the procedural and substantive issues which arise in such arenas. Our clients rightly increasingly recognise that there are potentially adverse implications for interested persons, both organisations and individuals, of not engaging with the inquisitorial process through strategic, expert and well-prepared representation.

Increasingly, clients look to us to help shape in advance, and respond to once made, Coroners’ Preventing Future Deaths Reports and the various formal and informal recommendations which the inquisitorial process can generate.

Members of Six Pump Court are also able to contest unsatisfactory decisions, whether during or at the conclusions of Inquests and other inquiries, whether by judicial review or the other means of challenge sometimes available: for more details of our Public Law work click here.

Six Pump Court’s well recognised grounding in all aspects of regulation, in particular health & safety, consumer and environmental, enables us fully to understand and represent clients’ positions as to the background subject matter, however wide-ranging that might be. Very often Health and Safety cases involve fatalities. In such cases members of Chambers frequently act both at the Inquest and in any criminal proceedings. We thus boast considerable experience of construction accidents, workplace transport incidents, electrocutions and other industrial fatalities. We also have extensive experience of more high profile or unusual types of Inquest and Inquiry, including:


• Major Explosions
o the Humber Oil Refinery Explosion
o the Lindsey Oil Refinery Explosion
o the Buncefield Explosion

• Railway/Transport Fatalities
o the Potters Bar Rail Crash
o acting for Alstom/Carillion/TSO in two separate railway fatalities
o double fatality from exploding locomotive in HS1 Tunnel.
o M5 ‘fireworks’ multiple fatality crash

• Deaths In Custody/Involving Police Action
o   Police pursuit deaths, including the M20/M26 police pursuit multiple fatality
o   police shootings and restraint deaths
o   Mubenga deportation-restraint at Heathrow
o   Hasanovic: murder of wife by husband following CPS decision not to pursue earlier domestic violence allegations – defence of CPS policy position
o   medication fatal overdose under arrest
o   cancer in a prisoner not diagnosed early enough to prevent death
o   suicide of a prisoner with known mental health issues

• Mental Health/Vulnerable Victims
o suicide of a hospital patient with known mental health issues
o death from hypothermia of person observed to be in extremis
o teacher allegedly driven to suicide
o death by choking of a care home resident on a soft diet but given solid food

• Legionella and other Medical Issues
o the Barrow-in-Furness Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak
o the Basildon Hospital legionella deaths (Members of Chambers acting for two separate and potentially opposed interested persons)
o acting for producer of medical devices alleged to have contributed to hospital patient’s death

• Education/Training
o army recruit falling through barracks roof

• Leisure/Sports/Crowd Control
o the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster
o quarry quad-biking death
o botched leisure centre operation

• Drownings
o public swimming pool drowning of 8 year old girl (Members of Chambers acting for two separate and potentially opposed interested persons)
o river drowning of 12 year old boy
o fall through ice into a frozen lake at site of World Darts Championships

• ‘Missing Body’ cases
o Lee Sheppard (who disappeared without trace at a recycling plant)

Civil & Commercial Law

Chambers’ broad common law background has led to the development of a highly experienced civil and commercial team that provide a range of services in all commercial matters. These include in particular, contract and commercial agreements, companies and partnerships, insolvency, sale of goods and services, landlord and tenant, intellectual property and probate.

Members at Six Pump Court seek to provide a fully comprehensive service including pre-action advice, emergency remedies, continuing throughout proceedings leading to judgement, costs issues, assessment proceedings and enforcement of judgement.

Whether the client’s requirements relate to a highly complex dispute involving substantial sums with a cross territorial element or whether they concern a straightforward contractual dispute or debt recovery, chambers will be able to provide the appropriate level of advice, assistance and advocacy.

As part of the team’s commitment to providing value it recognises the need to give prompt and, above all, practical advice to the commercial clients seeking its services.


Click on the subspecialities below for further information on our work in these areas:


Companies & Partnerships

Contract & Commercial agreements



Intellectual Property

Landlord & Tenant



Sale of Goods and Services

Planning & Environmental

 Awards 2019 shortlisted logo resized




The Planning and Environmental Law barristers at Six Pump Court provides expert advocacy and advisory services in all areas of planning and environmental law and practice.  The broad range of specialisms in Chambers and our corresponding strengths in other specialist areas, such as Regulatory Law, ensure a strength and depth of expertise and experience, especially at the intersection of planning, environmental and regulatory law.  The team of expert planning and environmental barristers at Six Pump Court are well equipped to provide the practical advice and effective representation required by those engaged in, or affected by, the complex and multi-faceted regimes of planning and environmental regulation.

A diverse range of clients from the public, private and third sectors instruct members of our Planning and Environmental team.  Whether they regulate, or are regulated, all of our clients receive expert advocacy and advisory services of the highest quality, tailored to address their specific priorities and needs.

The acknowledged expertise and experience of our Planning barristers and our Environmental law barristers and the friendly, unstuffy but highly professional reputation for which Chambers is well known, are cited by our professional clients as reasons for choosing to instruct members of Chambers specialising in planning and environmental law.  Our clerking team has an integral role in the delivery of our professional services and our success; they are consistently recognised for their professionalism, approachability and willingness to meet the particular needs of each client.

Christopher Badger was the winner of the Real Estate, Environment & Planning Junior of the Year 2018 at the Legal 500 UK Bar Awards. Six Pump Court Chambers also won Real Estate, Environment & Planning Set of the Year 2015 at these Awards. Stephen Hockman QC was nominated in this category as Silk of the Year 2015. Furthermore, many of our barristers are recognised and recommended as experts in Planning and Environmental Law in the leading legal directories, including Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.  William Upton was awarded Environmental/Planning Junior of the Year at the 2014 Chambers UK Bar awards.

Six Pump Court also boasts two Standing Counsel and a further ten members of the Attorney General’s Regulatory List of Counsel used by the Environment Agency and other regulators – more than any other chambers.  For a detailed list, please click here.

Please use the links below to view the full range of the expertise of our Planning Law barristers and Environmental Law barristers:


Planning Law – including development management, plan-making, enforcement, and highways

Environmental Law – including environmental regulation, environmental assessment, energy and natural resources, utilities, nuisance and access to environmental information

Environmental Enforcement – including Waste, Water Pollution, Export of Waste Abroad, Judicial Review and Environmental Regulation, Injunctions, Permit Appeals, Suspension and Enforcement Notices, Enforcement and Interpretation of Environmental Permits, Odour, Confiscation, Fisheries

Public Law

The exercise of power by public authorities is regulated by a set of legal principles that are commonly referred to as public law. This area of specialism involves the analysis and application of constitutional and administrative law, primarily in the context of challenges to the decision-making by public authorities and inferior tribunals.

The separation of powers and judicial oversight of the executive branch are cornerstones of the British constitutional law that guarantee those subject to and affected by the exercise of executive power, whether individuals or corporate entities, access to the courts to review and adjudicate upon the lawfulness of decisions involving the exercise that power, providing specialist remedies where excesses of power warrant intervention.

The practice of public law has grown significantly since the latter part of the twentieth Century, reflecting the ever-increasing breadth and complexity of state regulation of individuals and corporate entities under domestic and European legislation. Since October 2000, the Human Rights Act 1998 has made it unlawful for public authorities to act in a way that is incompatible with the rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and empowers individuals to challenge the lawfulness of public authorities action in legal proceedings. The impact of the Human Rights Act on public law jurisprudence has been widespread and continues to develop.

The recent legislative reforms to the tribunal system, which reorganised individual Tribunals into a new, unified tribunals structure has also had a significant impact on the practice of public law. Tribunals are specialist judicial bodies that decide disputes in particular areas of law and appeals to Tribunals are generally against a decision made by a Government department or agency and engage the principles of public law.

The expertise and experience of the Public Law group at Six Pump Court reflects the diversity and range of Chambers’ other Areas of Specialism, especially those which involve the statutory regulation of public authorities and inferior tribunals. There is considerable overlap between the practice of Public Law and our other specialist areas of Criminal, Planning, Environmental and Regulatory Law.

The Members of our Public Law group also offer our clients with expert advocacy and advisory services over an extensive range work involving civil and criminal regulation. We offer experience at all levels of seniority, advising and appearing in cases involving judicial review and statutory challenges in the High Court, including cases assigned to the specialist Planning Court, appeals by way of case stated in the Divisional Court and statutory appeals within the specialist jurisdictions of First-tier and Upper-tier Tribunals.

Barristers in Chambers also have considerable experience of a diverse range casework involving challenges to and appeals against the decisions and actions of governments, public authorities and quasi-public bodies, which engage public law principles in other courts, councils, tribunals and inquiries, including those constituted on an ad hoc basis. Click here for details of our Inquests and Inquiries work and click here for details of our work relating to Professional Discipline.

Our clients include those seeking to challenge the lawfulness of the exercise of power by public authorities and the many and varied government departments, agencies, public authorities, local authorities, inferior tribunals and other regulators whose decisions and actions are subject to review and oversight by Courts and Tribunals applying public law principles. The strength and depth of talent and experience in Chambers is built upon our commitment to act on behalf of claimants and respondents in this area. Our clients benefit from the insight and knowledge of our Members that can only be gained from accepting instructions from claimants, respondents and interested parties in public law proceedings.

Many of our barristers are recognised and recommended as experts in cases involving public law challenge, including judicial review, statutory challenge and administrative appeals. For full details of members recognised by the UK Legal Directories click here. Our members also appear on behalf of the government as current or former members of the Attorney General’s specialist panels of civil and regulatory counsel – click here for a full list of our Regulatory List Counsel.