Skip to content
Specialist Services

Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Human rights law sets out the basic level of protection everyone can expect from the state and the freedoms it should promote. 

Bindmans has a long history of enforcing human rights here in the UK and abroad, for clients with everyday problems, as well as in high-profile cases. We pride ourselves in offering the same level of commitment, attention to detail and expertise across the board to ordinary people, campaigning groups, NGOs, charities and companies.  

[Bindmans] conducts pioneering human rights legal work, at every level of court and internationally, on behalf of both individual and institutional claimants. The team’s diverse practice ranges from freedom of assembly issues and torture claims to environmental law and data protection concerns. Further areas of expertise include anti-terror laws, pre-emptive policing and modern slavery cases.

Chambers and Partners 2019

Human rights are for everyone, including corporations, but their most important function is to protect against state oppression, including unlawful killings, torture, brutality and slavery and to help people live and express themselves freely, with dignity, enjoying private and family life. Human rights also demand fair trials in public, respect for interests in property and educational preferences and that any discrimination by the state is properly justified.

All action by public authorities should be informed by respect for human rights, whether the public body is the Government itself, the Courts, local authorities, regulators, NHS organisations, the police, the defence forces, the prison services and certain service providers acting on behalf of the state. In practice, even today, human rights are other times are breached breached unknowingly but with serious consequences and sometimes very deliberately.

Human rights are meaningless if they cannot be enforced.

If you are concerned that your human rights or the human rights of others have been infringed, then you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible. If a serious breach is about to happen, it might be possible to bring a preventative legal challenge. If one has occurred, legal action may secure real accountability and sometimes compensation. Such actions can also help prevent similar human rights abuses in the future.

Many firms now claim to be specialists in this field, but Bindmans has been the leading firm for human rights enforcement since it was established in 1974. We are always willing to explore how we can help challenge human rights breaches, but it is important that you contact us quickly. Many human rights claims will be brought by way of judicial review. To avoid time limit problems most judicial review claims must be commenced promptly and within three months of the action being challenged (and in some cases, the time limit is even shorter). It might also be possible to bring a Human Rights Act claim seeking only a declaration and compensation within 12 months of the action being challenged, but in most cases, the aim will be to stop the infringement from happening, in which case the shorter time limits will apply.

Besides helping individuals with advice and litigation, we work proactively to prevent human rights problems from arising in the first place. We advise organisations that are concerned about future infringements of their own human rights, or that are seeking to ensure they comply with the highest level of human rights standards across their own activities. We also support activists, pressure groups and unions, where human rights arguments are likely to be one part of a wider campaign or action for social change. 

Experience

The Public Law and Human Rights team’s cases include:

  • Establishing proposed laws to restrict access to legal aid on a discriminatory basis were unlawful
  • Challenging the law and policy relating to assisted dying
  • Overturning refusals by the government to establish independent public inquiries and reviews into deaths in which the state has been at fault, for example, in prisons, care homes and mental hospitals
  • Exposing the fact that ‘wholly innocent men were mercilessly murdered’ at Batang Kali in 1948 in the UK Supreme Court
  • Acting in claims relating to the phone hacking scandal and other breaches of privacy, including in respect of allegations that the Police’s failure to warn potential victims constituted a breach of the right to respect for private life
  • Successfully challenging the unlawful retention of DNA, fingerprints and other personal information
  • Securing the first finding against the UK before the European Court of Human Rights for breach of the right to be free from forced labour
  • Successfully challenging the policing of protests and the treatment of protesters, including ‘kettling’, arbitrary arrests and searches,  as contrary to the right to respect for private life, freedom of expression and freedom of association
  • Taking action on the part of victims of crime in respect of breaches of human rights by the police and prosecuting authorities, including in respect of failure properly to investigate credible allegations
  • Acting on behalf of peaceful environmental and animal welfare activists in respect of unlawful blacklisting
  • Challenging the security service’s refusal to permit the publication of a former employee’s memoirs 
What others say

[The firm] conducts pioneering human rights legal work, at every level of court and internationally, on behalf of both individual and institutional claimants. The team’s diverse practice ranges from freedom of assembly issues and torture claims to environmental law and data protection concerns. Further areas of expertise include anti-terror laws, pre-emptive policing and modern slavery cases.

Chambers and Partners 2019

Bindmans LLP is well-known for its involvement in human rights cases both in the UK and internationally. The practice’s diverse caseload covers immigration, actions against the police, and housing among other matters.

Legal 500 2018

Incredibly thorough and conscientious.

Chambers and Partners 2016

Excellent reputation for dealing with delicate, sensitive discrimination cases.

Chambers and Partners 2016

Bindmans LLP has a key role in some of the highest-profile challenges in this field, and is justifiably lauded for its police actions work, in which Jules Carey leads with ‘flair and dynamism’. Recent work includes acting for the family of an individual who suffered catastrophic injuries allegedly caused by the police in regard to an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation. Saimo Chahal QC (Hon), who is ‘at the top of the human rights field’, and John Halford co-head the team with Carey. Salima Budhani, Charlotte Haworth Hird, Anna Thwaites, and Paul Ridge are also recommended.

Legal 500 2016

Hugely experienced and extraordinarily conscientious.

Chambers and Partners 2015

The ‘extremely passionate and knowledgeable’ Bindmans LLP provides highly professional advice’, and is ‘a leader in civil liberties and human rights, with perspicacious expertise on tap’. John Halford and ‘modern-day legal champion’ Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) co-head the team, which includes ‘rainmaker’ Jules Carey, head of the police actions team. Clients also recommend Paul Ridge. Anna Thwaites joined the firm from Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.

Legal 500 2015

Bindmans LLP is in the ‘top echelon of claimant firms’, and recognised for handling multi-faceted cases with a strong human rights element. Practice head Saimo Chahal, who is ‘outstanding’, continued to be heavily involved in Article 2 right to die cases. John Halford led advice to the Association of Child Psychologists on reforms to the Code of Ethics, and the Conduct, Rules and Disciplinary Procedures, which helped to secure the client’s professional accreditation. The practice also represented The Good Thinking Society in a judicial review application. Associate Charlotte Haworth Hird is ‘well prepared, determined and tenacious’. Associate Jamie Potter joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP in 2014 to develop the team’s procurement expertise.

Legal 500 2015

They are organised, provide updates on progress promptly, and furnish us with documents and information frequently.

Bindmans LLP client

They have responded well to my queries, helped greatly in obtaining funding for the case and supported me throughout the whole process.

Bindmans LLP client

Meet the team

Tayab Ali
Partner | Deputy Managing Partner BD

Crime, Fraud and Regulatory | Political, Diplomatic and International Law

Salima Budhani
Partner

Public Law and Human Rights

Jules Carey
Partner

Head of Actions against Police and State

John Halford
Partner

Head of Public Law and Human Rights

Laura Hobey-Hamsher
Partner

Public Law and Human Rights

Paul Ridge
Partner

Public Law and Human Rights

Anna Thwaites
Partner

Actions against Police and State

Jamie Potter
Senior Consultant

Public Law and Human Rights

Will Whitaker
Associate

Public Law and Human Rights

Christina Ashibogu
Solicitor

Actions against Police and State

Jessie Brennan
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

Verity Cannell
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

Laura Chapman
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

Elizabeth Cleaver
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

Brighde Gallivan
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

Christian Hansen
Solicitor

Housing and Property Litigation | Public Law and Human Rights

Jacob Howell-Jones
Solicitor

Housing and Property Litigation | Public Law and Human Rights

Shirin Marker
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

Theodora Middleton
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

Caroline Robinson
Solicitor

Public Law and Human Rights

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.