The Legal Cheek View
5 Essex Court is a leading civil law chambers that specialises in police law, public inquiries, inquests, employment, public & administrative law, and personal injury & medical negligence. It has seven silks and 36 junior members, and aims to recruit two pupils each year.
Lately 5 Essex Court barristers have worked on cases including the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the Deepcut Inquests, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Tunisian Shooting Inquests. Members of chambers’ practice extends to public international law, immigration, education, personal injury and even equestrian law.
The set is perhaps best known for its police law expertise, which encompasses an array of high profile work across core practice areas including public law, public inquiries, inquests, human rights, disciplinary proceedings, civil jury actions (such as false imprisonment or malicious prosecution claims) and employment law. Recent high profile police law instructions include the Daniel Morgan litigation, Ipswich Town Football Club v Chief Constable of Suffolk in the Court of Appeal and the Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquests.
What The Junior Barristers Say
“There’s no pomp and circumstance” at 5 Essex Court, says John Goss, who studied law as a postgrad at Nottingham Law School after serving as a Royal Engineer officer in the British Army for six years, some of which was spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Having turned his energies to training for the bar, Goss joined 5 Essex Court as a pupil in 2015. “It’s a genuinely unstuffy, open and informal chambers,” he adds.
This is despite the fact that the work is high profile and not for the faint-hearted. In the second four months of his pupillage, Goss was working on one of the inquests to come out of four deaths at the Army’s Deepcut barracks in Camberley in the late 1990s. “I would do a first draft of something and then my supervisor, Francesca Whitelaw, would look at it. So at a very early stage, I had a real sense of contributing to what chambers was doing,” he recalls.
Goss says that the chambers provides particularly broad-based advocacy training: “For a civil set, 5 Essex Court has plenty of opportunity for court exposure. For instance, we do inquests and these are very different from civil courts because they often have a jury where the police are involved. There are plenty of opportunities to really examine evidence. Because they are neither purely civil nor criminal courts, it’s quite unusual experience.”