'The set has strengths advising on medical, policing and military matters' Chambers UK 2023
'QEB Hollis Whiteman remains a key set in the crime arena' Legal 500 2023
'QEB Hollis Whiteman has an impressive breadth of expertise in the field of public inquiries and inquests.' Chambers UK 2023
Representing the Military
QEB Hollis Whiteman understands the particular issues and pressures that may arise in proceedings when they involve the military. We have experience going back many years of representing service personnel and the military in major public inquiries, inquests, criminal cases and related legal areas. We have barristers who were in the military themselves. QEB barristers also have considerable experience in dealing with cases involving national security information and other forms of sensitivity and confidentiality.
QEB’s recognised experience in work involving the police is also highly relevant where the nature and quality of the investigation of incidents by the military is called into question. At QEB, we have represented police officers in a variety of different situations, from numerous disciplinary proceedings, through to major inquests and public inquiries. We also understand how police investigations are conducted in the military context, including the constraints of operating overseas and the requirements of Article 2 of the ECHR in respect of any investigations into deaths caused by our armed forces.
QEB has been instructed in most of the major public inquiries over the past two decades, including:
- UK Covid-19 Inquiry, a major new inquiry examining the UK response to and impact of the pandemic.
- Grenfell Tower Inquiry investigating the circumstances concerning the fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017.
- Manchester Arena Inquiry investigating the deaths of the victims of the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack.
- Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse investigating the extent to which State and non-State institutions failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
Barristers at QEB also have specific experience in long and controversial inquiries involving allegations of misconduct by the military or the Police. For example:
- Undercover Policing Inquiry investigating allegations of inappropriate conduct by undercover officers.
- Rosemary Nelson Inquiry investigating a terrorist murder of a solicitor in Northern Ireland together with allegations of military and police collusion.
- Bloody Sunday Inquiry investigating the circumstances that led to loss of life in connection with the civil rights march in Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 30th January 1972, when 13 civilians were killed by Army gunfire.
QEB Hollis Whiteman has long provided pro-bono representation through the Royal British Legion, acting for bereaved families at inquests into service deaths resulting from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more widely. As a result, QEB has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that families who have lost loved ones in the service of their country receive the expert representation and advice which they deserve. From this, QEB has developed an intricate knowledge of the environment in which service people operate and the unique demands placed upon them. As part of this work QEB has experience of successfully arguing for the application of Article 2 of the European Convention on European Rights to inquests into service deaths. It also has a detailed understanding of Article 2 and how this impacts upon the environment in which the military operates.
Generally, QEB barristers regularly appear in a wide range of inquests. These include recent cases following terrorist incidents in London (Fishmongers’ Hall, Westminster), through to inquests concerning the deaths of military personnel in Afghanistan, for example: five servicemen killed in helicopter crash; two servicemen killed in 'friendly fire' incident; soldier killed in gun battle; two soldiers killed by IED; soldier killed by rogue Afghan National Army soldier; five soldiers shot by rogue Afghan police officer and the deaths of Cpl Mathew Hatfield and Cpl Darren Neilson who died in an explosion in a Challenger 2 tank .
QEB regularly represents members of the Armed Forces on matters before the criminal courts on a private and legally aided basis. Expertise from those who have served ensures a full appreciation of the consequences of criminal conviction or caution for service personnel. Representative cases include:
- Corporal C widely reported case involving a member of the Parachute Regiment serving in Helmand and accused of assaulting a Taliban prisoner captured in the course of an operation. QEB defended. Upon defence representations the case was dismissed and was followed by widespread criticism of the decision to prosecute given the circumstances of the allegation.
- Soldiers A and C criminal prosecution of two former members of the Parachute Regiment accused of the murder of an Official IRA leader in 1972 in Belfast; providing advice and representation in relation to the defendants’ anonymity
- International criminal law: QEB has barristers who are authorised defence counsel for both the International Criminal Court and Kosovo Specialist Chambers
QEB is ranked as a leading chambers in the field of inquests and inquiries in both of the main legal directories:
"QEB Hollis Whiteman has an impressive breadth of expertise in the field of public inquiries and inquests. Members act for public bodies, private companies and the bereaved. The set has strengths advising on medical, policing and military matters, in which the barristers draw from their professional disciplinary, criminal and health and safety experience..." Chambers & Partners 2023
"Its members routinely instructed in key public inquiries, the ‘experienced and reliable‘ QEB Hollis Whiteman covers a range of issues, from those arising from terrorist incidents to matters involving the medical, healthcare, policing and military sectors..." Legal 500 2023
It is also ranked as a leading chambers in the field of criminal law:
"QEB Hollis Whiteman remains a key set in the crime arena…" Legal 500 2023
"QEB Hollis Whiteman is an outstanding criminal defence and prosecution set… Its barristers are regularly engaged in the most serious cases… and routinely handle instructions that attract great media attention… Instructing solicitors praise the set for its "amazing depth and its provision of experienced counsel who know how to handle anything that is thrown at them" Chambers & Partners 2023