David Manknell KC practises principally in public law, inquests and medical law. He has been described by the Directories as “a powerful intellect, very hardworking, great judgement…”, “a tenacious lawyer and persuasive advocate”, “a meticulous barrister, able and willing to run carefully crafted legal arguments”, exceptionally bright and hard-working”, “thorough, approachable and very sensible” and “excellent, conscientious and a pleasure to work with”.

Prior to taking Silk, he was a member of the Attorney General’s panels of Counsel from 2006, and the A-Panel from 2015 (reappointed in 2019, and again in 2023).

David is a leading barrister in his practice areas, and has acted in some of the most high-profile, significant and complex cases in those fields. His recent experience has included:

  • Representing the Air Accident Investigation Branch in the inquests arising from the two most high profile air accidents in recent years, the Shoreham air crash, and the death of the Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala in a light aircraft.
  • Acting for the UK in a claim in the European Court of Human Rights (removal of stateless Palestinians from the UK to camps in Lebanon (HA v UK))
  • A central role as Counsel for the RAIB in the inquest into the deaths in the Croydon tram disaster, Britain’s worst tram accident for over 90 years.
  • Representing the Parole Board at all levels, including in the Supreme Court in the leading case on Article 5 ECHR and procedural fairness (R(Osborne) v Parole Board).
  • Junior Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the claims about GCHQ surveillance arising from the Edward Snowden leaks (Liberty v GCHQ & Foreign Secretary).
  • Counsel in the leading case of the division of responsibility between state-run and privately-run prisons (R(LW) v Sodexo and SSJ)
  • Acting for the Home Office in the challenges relating to the accommodation of asylum-seekers in former military barracks (R(NB) v SSHD – Napier Barracks)
  • Counsel for the SSHD in the “burka ban” case in the Court of Appeal; on the effect of the French burka ban on removal to France of young Muslims. (R(Baradaran v SSHD)
  • Instructed on major Public Inquiries including the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the Infected Blood Inquiry, and on major group litigation, including the Kenya Emergency Group (Mau Mau) claims.
  • Representing the Home Office in respect of the expedited process operated for young asylum seekers following the closure of the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais (R(Citizens UK v SSHD).
  • Appearing in the leading authority on causation in medical negligence (Gregg v Scott)


Public Law Clinical Negligence Inquests Human Rights Healthcare Immigration Court of Protection Environmental Law Professional Negligence
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