Peter Skelton QC
Peter’s practice encompasses public inquiries, inquests, human rights litigation, clinical negligence, judicial review, national security and personal injury, with a particular emphasis on multi-party actions and claims arising in foreign jurisdictions. He acts for both claimants and defendants.
Peter is presently leading the accountability and reparations investigation in the IICSA (the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse). He also counsel to the inquest in the Birmingham Bombings Inquest and to the inquest into the death of the Russian Alexander Perepilichnyy.
Over the last five years, he has been instructed by large numbers of claimants who allege that they were abused by Jimmy Savile and Max Clifford. He has also been acting for claimants in several other high-profile cases, including Ian Paterson (breast surgery), Rob Jones (gynaecological surgery), and the Winterbourne View Litigation (institutional neglect and abuse exposed by Panorama). Previously, Peter acted for the claimants in the Cornwall Partnership Trust Litigation and the Nationwide Organ Group Litigation.
On the defendant side, Peter is presently junior counsel for Metropolitan Police Service in a multi-party action arising from allegations of inappropriate sexual liaisons by undercover police officers. He is acting for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation, which involves allegations of mistreatment by the Colonial Government of Kenya in the 1950s. He is also representing an international mining corporation in a multi-party action arising from allegations of police brutality in Sierra Leone.
From 2009 to 2010, Peter was a member of the senior counsel team in the Guantánamo Bay Litigation, representing five Government departments accused of complicity in the rendition and torture of detainees by the United States. In early 2011, he appeared in the Supreme Court case which determined whether the courts in England and Wales have a common law power to order secret hearings (Al Rawi v The Security Service  1 AC 531).
Peter has also been instructed in several major public and private inquiries in the last thirteen years, most recently the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the Leveson Inquiry, the Al-Sweady Inquiry and the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry. From 2005 to 2009, he was Junior Counsel to the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry, which investigated allegations of Government collusion in the murder of the Northern Irish solicitor, Rosemary Nelson. He previously represented participants in the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry and the Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry.
More generally, Peter has considerable experience in dealing with litigation arising from medical and dental treatment, including cases involving catastrophic injuries and death. He has appeared in many inquests, representing various interested parties, from bereaved families to Government departments, including the MOJ and the MOD. He has undertaken a large number of inquests involving detention and medical or psychiatric treatment. And he has given many presentations on legal and procedural issues arising in the context of clinical negligence litigation and inquests. In 2014 and 2015, he was invited by the Chief Coroner to provide a series of lectures on the application of Article 2 of the ECHR to inquests.
"Very assiduous and very practical." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
"An excellent erudite advocate with good judgement." (Legal 500 2016)
"He's phenomenally bright and incredibly popular. You can ask him anything about any part of the most complex cases and he knows it all." (Chambers & Partners 2015)
"Very good at working with experts, and excellent on quantum." (Legal 500 2014)
Inquests and Public Inquiries
"He comes up with novel ideas, provides a realistic and sensible evaluation of cases and deals with difficult clients well. He just navigates the course through." "Great on his feet, thinks quickly, sharp as a razor and very articulate." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
"Simply excellent." (Legal 500 2016)
"He is right up there as an extremely bright and able junior. He's a great cross-examiner, and is a walking encyclopaedia of inquiry law." "He is very shrewd, has good tactical sense, writes well and, above all, is good company." (Chambers & Partners 2015)
2006 Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland
1997 Called to the Bar – Middle Temple
1996 Master of Philosophy – University of Cambridge
1995 Common Professional Examination –College of Law London
1994 BA English Literature: First Class Honours – University of York
Contributing author of Inquest Casebook, by Neil Garnham QC and Caroline Cross, due for publication by Hart Publishing in 2016.
Contributing author of Public Inquiries, by Jason Beer QC, published by Oxford University Press in 2011.
2016 Queen’s Counsel
2014 Attorney General’s A Panel of Counsel
2009 Attorney General’s B Panel of Counsel
2009 Special Advocate
2004 Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel
1996 Harmsworth Scholarship from Middle Temple to the Inns of Court School of Law
1995 Economic and Social Research Council Scholarship to the University of Cambridge
1994 Harmsworth Scholarship from Middle Temple to the College of Law
1992 Academic Scholarship to the University of California
Professional Negligence Bar Association (former Committee Member)
Personal Injury Bar Association
Significant cases include the following
Undercover police litigation
Kalma v African Mineral Ltd
Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation
Belhaj v Straw and others  EWCA Civ 1394
PIP Breast Implant Litigation
Guantánamo Bay Litigation
Jimmy Savile Litigation
Max Clifford litigation
Winterbourne View Litigation
Ian Paterson Litigation
Robert Jones Litigation
Al Rawi v The Security Service  UKSC 34,  1 AC 531
Cornwall Partnership Trust (CPT) Litigation
Rosemary Nelson Inquiry
In Re Organ Retention Group Litigation  QB 506
Devon Breast Screening Litigation
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry
Rosemary Nelson Inquiry
Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry
Bristol Royal Infirmary Public Inquiry
Birmingham Bombings inquest
Alexander Perepilichnyy inquest
VAT Registration No: 722 6713 45