Areas of Specialisation / Areas / International law


International law

Garden Court North Chambers specialise in civil liberties and human rights law and have advised and appeared in significant human rights cases both of international importance and where international and domestic law overlap.

Recent work includes:

  • Outreach Strategy guidance for War Crimes Division of High Court of Uganda more
  • Trial observations in Bahrain and report for Bar Human Rights Committee more
  • International delegation of lawyers to Colombia on a fact finding mission to support and protect human rights in Colombia more
  • Parole board hearing delays; review of sex offenders register (UK)
  • Amicus brief to US Supreme Court on the propriety of sentencing juveniles to life without parole for non-homicide offences, considering England & Wales law. more
  • Appearances in the European Court of Human Rights on the Right to fair hearing (art. 6) [Ezeh & Connors v UK] and the miscarriage case of Michael Shields, convicted of attempted murder in Bulgaria. ECHR Grand Chamber appearance in Chiragov v Armenia.
  • Members of GCN have also worked with foreign governments on penal reform, with NGOs on wide ranging issues including conditions of detention and death penalty.

Major areas of human rights work

Chambers have been involved in a number of major human rights cases â?? developing human rights law. > Human rights work

Experience of international / overseas courts

Our specialist advocates have appeared before the following courts

  • European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
  • the European Court in Luxembourg
  • Northern Ireland Criminal courts
  • US Supreme Court
  • USA Criminal Courts -?? Texas and Louisiana

Other overseas appearances:

  • Pete Weatherby presented a formal petition to the European Parliament in Brussels calling for further investigation into the miscarriage case of football fan Michael Shields', convicted of attempted murder in Bulgaria in 2005
  • Mary McKeone has represented a Northern Ireland human rights NGO at the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, in Geneva.
  • Mark George QC has recently assisted in preparing an amicus brief to be submitted to the US Supreme Court which, later this year, will be considering a constitutional challenge to the propriety of sentencing juveniles to life without parole for non-homicide offences. Mark worked on the part of the brief which explains the law of England & Wales in respect of sentencing juveniles for very serious offences.

International issues within domestic law

International issues within a wide range of domestic law undertaken by Garden Court North barristers including crime ( Michael Shields, human trafficking), public law, employment and discrimination, immigration and nationality / asylum law (EU directions, asylum, control terrorism, foreign national prisoners, and inquests into military deaths in Iraq.

Admitted to bars of other jurisdictions

Members of Garden Court North are admitted to practise at the Bars of diverse jurisdictions including Northern Ireland and the Texas Bar.

Other overseas work

  • Death penalty work in USA A number of members of Garden Court North have experience in death row / death penalty cases â?? Mark George QC appeared in a capital murder trial in Texas USA (for which time he was temporarily admitted to the Texas Bar) and regularly delivers training sessions in trial procedures in capital cases, jury selection and mitigation for the international NGO Amicus. Andrew Byles undertook an internship through the international NGO Reprive, assisting in death penalty trials and appeals in Lousiana USA.
  • Human rights work in Northern Ireland Mary McKeone has worked on a voluntary basis for the Irish Council of Civil Liberties and the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas and has also been a member of the Management Committee of British Irish Rights Watch, (a nongovernmental human rights organisation and registered charity, which monitors the human rights dimension of the conflict and peace process in Northern Ireland). Mary represented BIRW at the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, in Geneva.
  • Working with foreign governments on penal reform Pete Weatherby has written a proposal for prison legislation for a foreign government.
  • International legal scholarship to Washington Kate Stone undertook a Pegasus scholarship in Washington in Autumn 2009 (one of 12 scholarships granted annually) The Pegasus scholarship scheme makes it possible for gifted young lawyers to learn about the practical working of the common law system in countries other than their own, and to form enduring links with lawyers in those counties. more
  • Specialist training on human rights law in UK and overseas Members of GCN delivered comprehensive training to the newly formed UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2008 on conducting judicial review proceedings and associated Human Rights challenges. Georgina Firth was guest Lecturer at the Sorbonne, Paris in March 2002 and March 2004 on UK Human Rights Law.
  • Written publications Ian Macdonald QC is the author of Macdonalds Immigration Law and Practice (now in its 8th edition) [â??the leading textbook on immigrationâ? according to Chambers & partners 2009] and has also been published on the subject of both (1) International terrorism; and (2) How a claimed prerogative right to control the immigration of rights of friendly aliens became a recognised rule of customary international law.


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8.9.16 Hillsborough Law launched

16/8/16 Manchester Peterloo Massacre anniversary - GCN and others challenge UAE Human Rights record

15/8/16 Landlords behaving badly - damages for dispossession

15/8/16 Pete Weatherby QC on renewed critique of IPP sentences

27/7/16 3-Judge Upper Tribunal panel allows Tax Credit Appeals test case

26/7/16 Tribute to Bryan McGuire QC 

20/7/16 Tenants and borrowers subjected to unlawful evictions (defective N325 forms)

8/7/16 LALY16 outstanding achievement award for GCN Hillsborough team

29/6/16 Tom Royston speaking at LAG Housing Law Conference

24/6/16 Certifying asylum and human rights claims as “clearly unfounded”  

17/6/16 GCN immigration team response to MoJ consultation on tribunal fees

GCN sponsors PLP JR North conference 14.7.16 Manchester

Immigration and EU law for housing lawyers - the new Immigration Act, Brexit and more | Housing seminar | 6.7.16

The Immigration Act 2016 | Immigration seminar | 1.7.16

GCN to host INQUEST Conference and fundraising quiz 16.6.16

Mark George QC speaking at YLAL North meeting 15.6.16

20/5/16 Joe Markus shortlisted for LALY Legal Aid Newcomer Award

GCN Criminal Law update May 2016

26/4/16 Truth Justice Accountability | Hillsborough 22 Families Press Conference

26/4/16 A landmark day in legal history - Hillsborough Inquests

11/4/16 Recompense for the wrongfully convicted (Nealon)

22/3/16 Supreme Court grants permission in Kiarie

18/3/16 Not guilty verdict for Chetham violin teacher

4/3/16 GCN wins Barristers' Chambers of the Year at MLA 2016

29/2/16 Permission to appeal in relation to adult dependent relative rule

17/3/16 GCN launches new Appeals and Miscarriages of Justice Team

18/2/16 Considering Jogee: Joint Enterprise, Retrospective Effect and Fresh Appeals - Mark George QC and Matt Stanbury

11/2/16 CART-style JR of Upper Tribunal succeeds  

9/2/16 Appeal allowed in "police officer on jury" case after CCRC referral  

8/2/16 Permission granted in best interests (grandchild) immigration appeal

5/2/16 Repeated acquittals in historic cases

3/2/16 Housing allocation scheme - discrimination challenge by Irish Traveller

27/1/16 Bedroom Tax victory

GCN barristers present PLP "How to JR"

Matt Stanbury presents "JR for criminal practitioners"

25/1/16 SSHD failure to apply own policy to Victim of Trafficking

5/1/16 Important statelessness JR (Semeda)

5/1/16 GCN members elected to BHRC Exec Committee

18/12/15 GCN remains totally committed to first class representation through legal aid

17/12/15 Permission granted in trafficking JR

16/12/15 Natalie Wilkins writes in  Family Law

15/12/15 Gary Willock on delay in obtaining Legal Aid

12/12/15 Extension of Workers Registration Scheme 2009 Appeal now listed for Feb 2017

11/12/15 Court of Appeal quashes extended sentence

23/11/15 Sentence reduced (serious health problems and delays)

12/11/15 GCN Housing Bulletin: disrepair and injunctions

3/11/15 Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks GCN in Band 1

Tom Royston speaking at CPAG seminar

30/10/15 Transgender prisoners

26/10/15 Successful out of time sentence appeal

Anti-Slavery Day event

30/9/15 Acquittal in Operation Pallial

28/9/15 Immigration FTT recognizes appellant as Victim of Trafficking (VOT)

24/9/15 Immigration FTT relies on Trafficking JR

17/9/15 Legal 500: Counsel "easy to work with and quickly engage"; Clerks "consistently very helpful"

11/9/15 FGM Protection Order to safeguard 13 year old taken to Sudan

9/9/15 Ben McCormack Court of Protection talk for YLAL North

14/7/15 GCN crime team support Rally to Save Criminal Legal Aid

30/6/15 GCN crime team "It's time we took action"

12/6/15 Mark George QC on IPCC Orgreave report

Kate Stone chairs PLP "Private Law for Public Law Practitioners"

4/6/15 Art 8 defences for Canal and River Trust  

Lucy Mair speaking at "Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law" 7.7.15 (Lancaster)

28/5/15 Lucy Mair discusses Eve Ensler's "Avocado" human trafficking monologue

27/5/15 Lucy Mair on trafficking JR (Free Movement)

13/5/15 Abuse of process argument succeeds

Pete Weatherby QC  at Haldane "Child Sex Abuse Inquiry" Lecture 

Pete Weatherby QC at Prisoners' Advice Service panel discussion

20/4/15 Matt Stanbury on Bad News for Good Character

20/3/15 Sex Offender Notification Reviews Guidance

4/3/15 Joe Markus appointed to EHRC Panel of Counsel

26/2/15 S222 injunction to restrain begging in Leeds City Centre

16/2/15 Extension of Workers Registration Scheme was unlawful

13/2/15 Rory O'Ryan appointed as Deputy Upper Tribunal Judge

27/1/15 Permission granted in homelessness affordability appeal

13/1/15 Kate Stone on Human Rights and Arms Trade Treaty

5/1/15 GCN move to Blackfriars House profiled in M.E.N

15/12/14 Gudanaviciene (exceptional funding)   

10/12/14 Landmark Supreme Court decision on ISP Prisoners

5/12/14 UT decision on Bereavement Benefits and telephone marriage

13/11/14 Permission to appeal granted in benefits case

10/10/14 Pete Weatherby QC wins Legal 500 Regional Silk Award 2014

3/10/14 Clerks  "first class " in Legal 500 2014