Senior consultant at Bindmans LLP, Saimo specialises in International cases, application to the ECtHR and domestic human rights and civil liberties cases in a wide range of areas, including Inquiries & Inquests, Terrorism Act cases, Administrative and Public law, Mental health law, Healthcare. Saimo sits as a fee paid Judge of the Mental Health Tribunal and also in the Court of Protection.
Saimo is widely acclaimed for the excellence of her legal work and has had numerous successes in high profile cases at the cutting edge of the law. Many cases have set precedents and changed the law. They invariably involve issues of wider public interest. She is a versatile and strategic lawyer whose cases and innovative methods of working have pushed the boundaries of the law.
She has also been involved in International Delegations due to her reputation and experience, in film making to promote her cases as well as many talks and seminars which promote debate and understanding of the law:
- Saimo was part of the delegation of Human Rights Lawyers and Jurists on a fact-finding mission to consider the migrant tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean with a view to influencing policy (June 2015);
- Saimo was invited by the International Federation of Journalists to attend a conference in Ramallah, Palestine to advise on legal remedies available to Palestinian journalists in respect of the systematic abuse, assault, killings and arbitrary detention suffered by Palestinian journalists at the hands of Israeli military occupying forces with a view to seeking legal redress (Nov 2015);
- Saimo is providing legal advice on a documentary about radicalisation and the legal consequences arising to the producer and director of Made In Copenhagen (Nov 2015);
- Saimo has also been involved in producing a short documentary film called: “Jeff Spector- denied the right to die at home” about the last moments of Jeff Spector’s life now showing as part of his widow’s crowdfunding campaign to bring a legal challenge on the ban on assisted dying;
- Saimo has worked with NGO’s and community groups on the lawfulness of the “Prevent” guidance and has spoken widely on this subject including in her blogs;
- Saimo attended an EU law students conference to compare as an expert the state of the law of assisted dying in England & Wales compared to other EU countries;
- Saimo’s international law practise extends to several jurisdictions including the USA, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia;
- RightsInfo praises the work of Saimo Chahal by including 3 of her cases: Nicklinson, Savage & Rabone (for the Intervener) in its list of 50 Human Rights Cases that Transformed Britain (June 2015).
Education and career
- Saimo graduated from Sussex University with a BA Hons in Sociology.
- She qualified in 1990, joined Bindman & Partners (now Bindmans LLP) in 1993, and was made a partner in 1995.
Saimo’s cases include:
- R (JL) v The Secretary of State  UKHL 68. (concerning the Art2 Investigative obligation).
- R (Purdy) v The Director of Public Prosecutions (2009) UKHL. (about Art 8, confirming that it is engaged in decisions concerning the manner of death. The court granted a Declaration that the DPP should issue guidance on the factors he will take into account in exercising his discretion whether to prosecute or not in circumstances such as those faced by Ms Purdy.
- Saimo acted for Mind, Inquest, Liberty and Justice in an Intervention in the Supreme Court in the case of Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Trust, UKSC 2010/140 which extended the scope of Art2 to non detained patients and other vulnerable groups.
- R (Nicklinson and Lamb) v The Ministry of Justice (1) the DPP (2) & The Attorney General (3) UKSC  0235. Saimo acted for Tony Nicklinson, and later on his death for Jane Nicklinson and Paul Lamb in these “right to die” cases seeking declarations that the Suicide Act 1961 is unlawful in so far as it prohibits medically-assisted suicide for people with catastrophic injuries who have decided that their lives are intolerable. The case was heard by nine Supreme Court judges and judgement was given in June 2014 that the court does have jurisdiction to determine these issues but Parliament should have the opportunity to debate the issues first.
- R (Luisa Ferreira) v Senior Coroner – Inner London South . Permission to appeal sought from the Supreme Court on whether a mentally-incompetent patient receiving treatment in an ITU is in state detention and on the applicability of Article 5 ECHR.
In the European Court
- Saimo acted in Nicklinson v the UK -1787/15 in the European Court in a claim by Jane Nicklinson that the Supreme Court failed to adjudicate on her Article 8 ECHR claims when it decided that the court had jurisdiction to determine the claims in the Supreme Court but then failed to do so by referring the matter to parliament.
- Saimo acted in Zadeh v The Czech Republic in a claim about Mr Zadeh’s right to a fair trial, engaging Articles 5 & 6 ECHR.
- Saimo acted for a businessman, Emin Sadig in an emergency application to the ECtHR to halt an extradition from Russia to Azerbaijan, seeking an Interim measures determination from the ECtHR.
Other important cases include:
- CPS v Michael Sandford: The CPS sought a Serious Crime Prevention Order against Michael Sandford on grounds that he poses a serious risk to President Trump and others and sought to curtail Mr Sandford’s activities during the visit to the UK of President Trump in July 2018. Mr Sandford adduced evidence to show that the legal test could not be met. The case settled by agreement with dismissal of the claim and payment of Mr Sandford’s legal costs.
- R (Butt) v SSHD EWHC  CA, an appeal to the Court of Appeal. Dr Butt challenges the Prevent Duty Guidance which conflicts with the duty of free speech under the Education Act, curtailing freedom of speech and challenges the lack of fair process in the gathering and storage of data by the Home Office in relation to alleged extremists. The case is of wide public interest. There are two documentaries being made on the subject and the case has been widely reported in the media.
- Butt v SSHD QBD. Saimo acts in Dr Butt’s defamation case against the SSHD following the issuing of a press release in which Dr Butt was named as an extremist and hate preacher. Appeal pending to the Court of Appeal, on whether the words were honest opinion, and whether he has suffered harm following the statements made about him.
- R (Justice for Health Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health and Ors  (Admin) a challenge to the vires of the decision by the Secretary of State to impose or introduce the Junior Doctors Contract. In September 2016 the court found that the SSH had not imposed a contract on the junior doctors and that they were free to negotiate with their employers.
- USA v Michael Sandford. Saimo acted for Lynne Sandford and Michael Sandford. Michael was remanded in custody in Nevada, USA on 3 counts of being an illegal alien, possession of firearms, and disrupting government business. Michael was sentenced in Nevada and sought a prisoner transfer to England on grounds that he was mentally unwell at the time of the offences
- KB v the CPS. KB sought to challenge the decision of Nottinghamshire police and the CPS not to prosecute a doctor for an offence of unlawful wounding for carrying out a circumcision on her baby son aged 4 months without her consent. The Police and then the CPS were obliged to reinvestigate the case and provide proper reasons for their decision after 3 separate reviews.
Other cases of significance
- Saimo acted in the Inquest into the Hillsborough disaster, an investigation into the circumstances of the death of 96 fans attending a match at Sheffield Wednesday football ground on 15th April 1989. Saimo, with Najma Rasul, Chris Evans and Ruth Mellor acted. The Inquest started on 31st March 2014 and established in 2016 the liability of Yorkshire police for the tragic deaths.
- R (O’Connell) v the Secretary Of State for Justice  EWHC (Admin) a challenge to the barring regime under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Act 2006.
- Saimo acted for 12 law firms in the successful challenge to the Legal Services Commission’s procurement processes for mental health and public law in Public Interest Lawyers and the LSC  EWHC 3277 (Admin) resulting in the LSC undertaking a proper verification exercise as well as consultation and impact assessments under s 49A Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
- Saimo acted for the Asian Music Circuit, a national touring group in a challenge to the legality of the refusal of a funding grant by the Arts Council of England in R (AMC) v Arts Council England  EWHC 5072 (Admin).
- Saimo acted for D in R (LD) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [CA]  3 ALL ER 94 concerning a prisoner who was inadequately cared for at HMP Pentonville and who attempted suicide. The case concerned the ambit of an Article 2 enquiry pursuant to the ECHR. Saimo also acted for D in the first public Inquiry ordered by the courts into a “near miss” case. The Inquiry was ordered to comply with the state’s Article 2 obligations.
- Saimo has acted in a number of ground-breaking cases enhancing the rights of victims in criminal cases, ensuring that their Article 8 rights to prevent disclosure of sensitive personal information were recognised. Saimo acted in R (TB) acting by the Official Solicitor v Stafford Crown Court  EWHC 1645. In judicial review proceedings, the Court found that the Crown Court had acted unlawfully and in breach of TB’s Article 8 rights by disclosing her medical records to the Defendant without affording her the opportunity of objecting at a hearing. The case led to a precedent being set for the use of exceptional legal funding for representation for victims in Crown Court cases. It also led to a change in the criminal procedure rules ensuring that victims have the right to be notified and heard when an application is made for disclosure of their sensitive medical information.
- Saimo acted for FB in R (FB) v the DPP 170071 CQ/7895/2007 in which FB sought to challenge the DPP’s withdrawal of a prosecution against defendants in which FB was the victim of an assault. FB was successful in his submission that the DPP had acted irrationally, unlawfully and in breach of Article 3 ECHR in dropping a prosecution against the defendant. FB was awarded damages of £8,000 for breach of Article 3, for the first time in a case of this kind.
- Saimo acted for Beth Ellis, a victim of rape and sexual abuse and in a number of other cases in which victims have successfully challenged failures by the Crown Prosecution Service and/or the police to prosecute in cases of rape/sexual assault.
- Saimo has acted in many complex inquest cases concerning deaths in custody, in mental hospitals, in the community, care homes and in other facilities as well as representing in civil claims arising from the breach of Article 2 ECHR.
What clients say
Saimo Chahal QC, (Hon), who has acted for me in my right to die case to change the law, is an exceptional lawyer of the highest calibre who takes on cutting edge cases to protect the rights of vulnerable individuals against an entrenched status quo. She is a formidable opponent, who leaves no stone unturned, and is the toughest litigator in the administrative and public law field. Her commitment to clients is unparalleled. She is clever, insightful and constantly pushes the boundaries of the law. I could not have had a better solicitor.– Omid T
We instructed Bindmans – and Saimo Chahal in particular – to advise and represent us in dealing with complex and sensitive challenges to the approach the QC Selection Panel took to particular applications. Saimo’s astute legal analysis and her wise advice made a huge contribution to our success. She was also extremely responsive and a pleasure to deal with.– Russell Wallman, CEO, QCA
I am delighted to express my gratitude to Saimo Chahal QC and her dedicated team for their extremely comprehensive work and guidance on my son’s case. At a time when I was under enormous emotional and financial pressure, coping with a very complex and unusual case spanning 2 far apart countries – Ms Chahal and her team were undoubtedly invaluable in leading and assisting us navigate through a quagmire of difficulties. Her expertise, professionalism, speed and support were unrivalled. It has truly been an honour and privilege to have her work on our behalf. Not only is she an amazing professional but that extends to her personally also. She is a charming, friendly and compassionate individual, with a sense of humour. She has helped me to relax in the knowledge that herself – and her team – were always at our disposal – at any time and issues were promptly addressed. Our case has had an excellent outcome – due very much to Ms. Chahal’s work and dedication, for which I thank her wholeheartedly– Lynne Sandford
At a time where I was worried and facing a troubling uncertainty, I was overwhelmed with the support, enthusiasm and guidance I received from Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) of Bindmans and her team. In their confident professionalism I—and the other side—have seen the years/decades of experience and excellence shine through. This, coupled with the friendly, supportive, personal service I have received, has instilled great relief and even confidence in me for the challenges to come in the future. Saimo and her team have gone far beyond the call of duty and sacrificed their personal time and energies for me for which I will be forever grateful. I wish them all the best for the future and I am glad that in the face of the potential troubles ahead, we as a society contain such gladiators for the rule of law and justice.– Dr Salman Butt
Saimo Chahal QC acted for me in my claim, following the death of my much loved brother Christopher Letts, in an Inquest and civil claim. The claim was fiercely contested at every single stage and the litigation was bloody and vindictive beyond anything I expected. Saimo Chahal calmly and strategically negotiated her way through a myriad of pitfalls and advised me at each stage of the options I had. I felt I had the best solicitor in the world and I could not possibly have hoped for more. Without Saimo’s skill, dedication and expertise, I would not have ended up with the resounding victory that I had. Saimo Chahal is in a league of her own. Her work is outstanding and the public interest cases that she takes on like my own – she wins, no matter what the opponent throws in her way. She is remarkable, outstanding, understands clients’ needs and was utterly superb!– Joanna Letts
In my opinion Saimo Chahal has gone beyond anything we were expecting a solicitor to do. Not once did she pass us on to one of her junior staff always dealing with any queries herself. She always made us feel important and this was something that Tony needed and appreciated so much. Saimo is a very special lady and I am not sure that I could have got through the last four years knowing that she is there for us, fighting our legal battles. I know that nobody could have done more for us and I am just so thankful that Tony had such a wonderful solicitor to give him hope in his dying years. I will always be in her debt.– Jane Nicklinson
Saimo Chahal QC (Hon) and her team have guided me through some of the most terrible times I have had to endure since the death of my sister. The legal system has been utterly bewildering at times and while the opposition has ben brutal, Saimo Chahal has been a rock and nothing gets past her. She is a formidable solicitor and a tough operator and it has been wonderful having her on my side fighting for me. She is always compassionate, efficient reliable and superb!– Luisa Ferreira
Saimo Chahal is a brilliant lawyer, who turned a potentially negative outcome into a victory for me. She is cool, calm and incisive. She is a human rights protector of the rights of vulnerable people. There is no one better I could have had on my side. She is the best!– Michael Sandford
After a deeply worrying and concerning year awaiting an outcome of a very long police investigation into an allegation of serious sexual abuse that my severely disabled son made against someone ,it was with immense relief that Saimo from Bindmans has taken on his case.
Her professionalism, attention to detail and vast wealth of knowledge is awesome. Both she and her trainee are incredibly fast to respond to all correspondence and explanations of where the law should be upheld are very comprehensive. I feel the case is safe in their hands and a weight has been lifted. I cannot recommend her highly enough.– Jane Mosse
Saimo Chahal QC has been incredibly supportive to the plight of people with Down’s syndrome who have been the subject of discrimination and lack of understanding which in some extreme cases has led to their untimely death. I am absolutely delighted to find such a brilliant lawyer with so much compassion and determination who is willing to help us fight for justice for those who can’t fight for themselves.– Carol Boys, Chief Executive, Down’s Syndrome Association
Saimo Chahal and her team at Bindmans were wonderful with our case. They were patient, very considered and fully embraced us, the case and all it’s complications as their own. We were a challenging group, with many different questions, ideas and degrees of control. Bindmans worked incredibly well with us; professionalism splashed with warmth and a real involvement and passion for the work. We are all very grateful for their expertise, commitment and notable humanity with which they approach their work and their clients.– Dr Amar Mashru
I am so grateful to the team at Bindmans, led by Saimo Chahal QC. They clearly take pride in doing their best for every client at every level, from the smiling warm welcome at reception to the late nights working through complex legal issues. They personally invested themselves in our case with everything they had, even working through special occasions to ensure they gave their best at every crucial moment. Their passionate belief in our case shone through in their unwavering commitment to our cause and continues to do so even now our case has concluded. It is truly wonderful knowing this team, who I know will continue fighting with devotion and honour for justice in our society.– Dr Nadia Masood
Entering the world of law can be a confusing and scary experience. For five ordinary junior doctors taking on the government, we couldn’t have done it without the fantastic work and support from Saimo Chahal QC and her team at Bindmans. From clearly explaining to us complex legal information, helping us through some difficult decision making, answering questions late at night when the political landscape changed, to actually finding some of our weird medic sense of humour funny, the whole process ran smoothly. This isn’t easy when your clients are junior doctors on different shift patterns and it is nearly impossible to get us in a room at the same time. Saimo and her team went far beyond what was expected in terms of a professional service. The passion they have for their work and sense of justice is astounding. As clients we couldn’t have asked for more, and I am so glad that we chose them as our legal team.– Dr Fran Silman
Saimo and her colleagues at Bindmans took our concerns seriously and made us feel welcome. They were honest and up front about issues of cost. They acted as tireless advocates for us. They put together a landmark case involving complex law and medical literature also using top QCs. There was no request which was treated as impossible. In wrapping up the case we felt a sense of loss that we would no longer have Saimo and Bindmans with us. We will forever be in Bindmans’ debt.– Dr Ben White
Saimo -Thank you for the opportunity to attend the seminar on Assisted Dying including the useful networking. I found it interesting and immensely enjoyable – from the philosophical to the legal, the data and the personal. I was pleased to meet you having seen your photos and followed the earlier legal challenges whilst working with Friends at the End. The view that “now is the moment” is compelling. Omid and the wider world will be forever indebted to you and your team for your commitment to this issue.– Liz Nichols
Legal 500 2023
Saimo is recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ in Healthcare.
Legal 500 2022
- Saimo is recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ in Healthcare.
Chambers and Partners 2020
- Saimo Chahal KC (Hon) is ranked in Administrative and Public Law: Traditional claimant (Band 1), a client “attests that she is “widely recognised as one of the very best in public law” for her impressive track record of high-profile public law challenges on major human rights points. She has particular expertise in right to life and right to die cases and also routinely handles mandates with an international or criminal aspect.”
- Saimo Chahal KC (Hon) is ranked in Healthcare: Mental Health: Patients (Star Individuals).
- Saimo is also ranked in Civil Liberties and Human Rights (Band 1).
- Saimo is ranked in Civil Liberties and Human Rights: Prison Law (Band 3), “Saimo is as hard as nails and it’s fair to say that any public authority facing a claim with her on the other side is trepidatious and rightly so. She really fights very hard for her clients.”
Legal 500 2020
- Saimo Chahal KC (Hon) is ranked as a leading individual in Administrative and Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Healthcare.
- Saimo is described as being “extremely tenacious and knowledgeable” healthcare advocate, is best known for her “unmatched reputation” in challenging healthcare provisions on behalf of claimants and family members of the deceased and judicial review work in the highest courts.
Chambers and Partners 2019
- Saimo Chahal KC (Hon) is ranked in Administrative and Public Law: Traditional claimant and Civil Liberties and Human Rights (Band 1). Chambers and Partners state that Saimo has a ‘broad public practice, with experience in both judicial reviews and public inquiries’. Sources describe her as “outstanding” and say that they “would choose her every time – she’s so easy to interact with.”
- Saimo is also ranked as a Star Individual in Healthcare: Mental Health: Patients.
- Saimo is ranked in Civil Liberties and Human Rights: Prison Law (Band 3).
- Saimo is noted for being “a formidable lawyer who leaves no stone unturned and is the toughest litigator in the administrative and public law field.”
- Feb 2016 Saimo is listed in the Thompson Reuter’s Top 100 Super lawyers List, as well as in the Public Law and Admin section.
- Jan 2016 – Saimo is listed in BLD’s first ever “Movers and Shakers” list of the most influential and powerful black lawyers;
- In April 2014 Saimo was awarded the tile of Honorary QC (now KC) in recognition of her major contribution to the development of the law of England and Wales. The title has only been awarded to about 115 solicitors in total at that date;
- In 2014 Saimo was listed as one of the top 100 Super lawyers;
- In 2014, Saimo entered Who’s Who for her outstanding contribution to society in her legal work.
- In 2013 Saimo was listed for the prestigious Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year award.
- In March 2012 Saimo was listed in The Times Law 100 as one of a handful of solicitors chosen from the nation’s 150,000 judges, lawyers & academics as one of the most influential 100 lawyers in society.
- May 2011 awarded the Public Law and Human Rights Lawyer of the Year by the Society of Asian lawyers.
- In January 2010 Saimo was named Hot Campaigning Lawyer in the Lawyer’s Hot 100 awards for being at the top of her game and winning some of the most high profile cases to hit the headlines.
- Featured in ‘The Guardian’ on 12 December 2008 where Afua Hirsch wrote: ‘She has built a career on helping people turn disadvantage into pioneering litigation, a record that won her the legal profession’s highest accolade… Law Society Solicitor of the Year.’
- Winner of prestigious Law Society Excellence Award as the ‘Solicitor of the Year’ in October 2008.
- Profiled as a ‘Trail-blazer’ in the newsletter of the ‘British Institute of Human Rights’, Autumn 2006 for her innovative use of the Human Rights Act.
- ‘Lawyer of the Month in the ‘Black Lawyer’s Directory’ in January 2008.
- ‘Lawyer of the Week’ in the Times in June 2008.
- ‘Lawyer in the News’ in the ‘Gazette’ in June 2008.
- Awarded Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2006 – Mental Health, for constantly pushing the boundaries of the law on behalf of people with mental illness, disabilities and the vulnerable.
- Distinguished Friend of the Migration Museum
- The Advisory committee of Peace Brigades International
- Tribunal Judge – Health, Education & Social Care Chamber – Mental Health
- Law Society’s MHRT panel Assessor
- Appraiser for the Tribunal
Saimo has lectured and written on Human Rights law- some recent examples include:
- Journalists reporting from conflict zones – legal remedies arising
- Terrorism law – is there scope for a different approach?
- From Magna Carta to the Human Rights Act- can the law set us free?
- Preventing Extremism or promoting discrimination? – The Law
- Universal jurisdiction- no safe haven for torturers
- The Senate Committee’s Report on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques- the beginning or the end?
- Creative lawyering
- The Right to Die – a matter of life death and public law
- Art 2 the right to life – recent developments
- Victims rights in criminal trials
- EU Students conference on the law across member states on assisted dying