David Manknell 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 meticulous barrister, able and willing to run carefully crafted legal arguments”, exceptionally bright and hard-working” and “thorough, approachable and very sensible”.

He has been a member of the Attorney General’s panels of Counsel since 2006, and the A-Panel since 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 in Strasbourg, in respect of the 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.
  • Acting for the Parole Board at all levels, including the Supreme Court, in the leading case on Article 5 ECHR and procedural fairness (R(Osborne) v Parole Board).
  • Acting as junior counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the claims about GCHQ surveillance arising from the Edward Snowden leaks (Liberty v GCHQ & Foreign Secretary).
  • Representing the Secretary of State for Justice in the leading case of the division of responsibility between state-run and privately-run prisons (R(LW) v Sodexo and SSJ)
  • Representing the Home Office in the challenges relating to the accommodation of asylum-seekers in former military barracks (R(NB) v SSHD – Napier Barracks)
  • Representing 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)
  • 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)


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