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Marina Wheeler KC has a broad practice in public and human rights law with a special focus on detention, armed conflict and national security. The reconfiguration of hospital services has also featured heavily in Marina’s public law caseload, allowing her to develop expertise in the requirements of a fair consultation and application of the Public Sector Equality Duty. Marina is an accredited Mediator and handles investigations, especially those involving the workplace and the healthcare sector, building on her years of experience litigating employment disputes. In addition to employment and public law work, Marina has expertise in complex family law cases, often involving a human rights or cross-border element.
Marina recently returned to full time practice following the publication of her family memoir, ‘The Lost Homestead’. She writes, and commentates, regularly about legal issues.Human Rights
Marina has a wide human rights focused practice, spanning issues of mistreatment, privacy and liberty of the subject.
During, and following, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan she was instructed in cases involving UK detention policy, allegations of mistreatment, and the treatment of Afghan nationals who assisted UK armed forces. Cases include: R (Maya Evans) v Secretary of State for Defence; Serdar Mohammed & others v Secretary of State for Defence; R (SS) v Secretary of State for Defence & Others. She has also handled cases in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) involving the suspected interception of communications by the security services. Cases include Belhadj & Others v Security Service & Others.
Marina has established expertise in privacy cases where, typically, the court is called on to balance Article 8 privacy rights against Article 10 rights to free speech. In many cases she has represented parties, including government departments, arguing for or against anonymisation or restricted reporting orders. Cases include Leon Rose v Kirklees Safeguarding Board and Secretary of State for Education; East Sussex County Council v Stedman, Patten & Others; A v Ward.
Another strand of Marina’s human rights practice centres on the criminal justice system. She has handled many Article 5 cases against the prison service and Parole Board, involving the legality of continued detention, the independence and/or impartiality of adjudicative processes and the scope of other procedural protections. Many of her cases tested the extent of the State’s positive obligations under the HRA, such as claims against the Crown Prosecution Service for failing to prosecute. Cases include Miftari v Crown Prosecution Service and NXB v Crown Prosecution Service.
Soon after the HRA was enacted, Marina co-authored “The Civil Practitioner’s Guide to the Human Rights Act.” She regularly contributes to the UK Human Rights Blog.
Marina has accumulated years of experience in public and administrative law, largely through her appointment to the Attorney General’s Panel of Council on which she served until taking silk in 2016. She undertook large volumes of work for central government Departments and Agencies including the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Justice and Home Office. Her caseload ranged from those involving prisons and the management and categorisation of offenders, to detention powers in armed conflict, to the compulsory detention of mentally disordered offenders in secure hospitals, to cases involving suspected radicalisation and threats to national security.
Marina also undertakes Inquest and Inquiry work. To date, this has centred on prisons. She has been instructed in numerous inquests involving self-inflicted deaths in custody in adult and young offender institutions in which the processes for managing risks of self-harm have been scrutinised.
Marina contributed to The Inquest Book, The Law of Coroners and Inquests, Bloomsbury.
Another strand of Marina’ public law practice is in the healthcare sector. She has been instructed in many cases involving the reconfiguration of NHS hospital services, most frequently defending claims brought on the grounds of inadequate consultation and breach of the Public Sector Equality Duty. Her cases include R (Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust) v Joint Committee of Primary care Trusts & Another; R (Save our Surgery) v Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts & Another; R (London Borough of Ealing) v NHS Commissioning Board; R (Enfield London Borough Council) v Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group & others. She also handled claims brought on the closure of dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD) units in secure hospitals when restricted patients were transferred into the prison estate. Cases include R (RW) v Secretary of State for Justice; R (LE) v Secretary of State for Justice.
She chaired the recent webinar ‘India & the Rule of Law: in 2021, is India still a Liberal democracy?’
As well as being instructed in public law challenges to the reconfiguration or closure of hospital services (see Public Law dropdown), many of Marina’s cases have centred on the impact of closing care homes or psychiatric facilities on grounds of patient safety and in light of safeguarding alerts and regulatory breaches. Cases include Griffiths & ors v Care Quality Commission & ors and Arlington House v Torbay Care Trust.
Marina has been instructed in numerous cases involving the detention, management, discharge and recall of mentally disordered patients within the meaning of the mental Health Act 1983. She has advised and appeared in cases involving restricted patients, detained under 37/41 MHA 1983 at Broadmoor, Ashworth and Rampton Special Hospitals, including on the occasion when Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) units were closed. Cases include R (L-H) v Secretary of State for Justice; R (G) v Nottinghamshire Healthcare trust & Others.
Marina has been instructed in many employment disputes in the healthcare sector, including many claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment, and whistleblowing.
Marina is a regular contributor to the Quarterly Medical Law Review and recently discussed the Cumberlege Review on Ep. 128 of Law Pod UK. Read more in her recent UK Human Rights Blog post ‘Covid, Consent and the Court of Protection’ and ‘Cases against the medical profession: an extended review’.
Marina has many years’ experience litigating employment disputes, mainly representing government departments and public bodies including the NHS. She has developed special expertise in discrimination, bullying and harassment and whistleblowing cases.
In some of her cases there is a background of professional failure, where health visitors, midwives or social workers, have been dismissed following high profile incidents involving the death of a child. Marina has also been instructed in cases involving judicial office-holders who have been disciplined on grounds of misconduct or removed from office. In R (on the application of Forrest) v Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, for example the Court confirmed the removal of a sitting Coroner.
Marina is currently focusing her employment work on workplace mediation and undertaking investigations – into any form of suspected misconduct, harassment or discrimination. She also offers training in mediation to corporate and public bodies which are developing their own in-house skills in this area.
Marina has recently been appointed as the Chair of Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Committee and previously served on the Bar Council Equality and Diversity Committee and on the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal.
Marina is an experienced accredited Mediator who previously taught mediation and alternative dispute resolution at Regents University, London. She is competent to mediate any civil dispute but has special expertise in workplace mediation to which she brings her years of experience litigating employment disputes.
She has recently refreshed her practice through remote mediations.
Marina has discussed mediation on Ep.138 of our podcast, Law Pod UK.
Marina can draw on extensive experience in public and private law children proceedings, which in latter years she has focused on the human rights and public law aspects of family work.
Her cases increasingly involve a cross-border element. She has been instructed in numerous public law proceedings in which children were considered at risk of serious harm as a result of travel to Syria or suspected radicalisation. These invariably raise sensitive disclosure issues and on occasion claims for public interest immunity. Her cases include London Borough of Wandsworth v K; Hertfordshire County Council v. A, J & Others; Re C (A Child) (no 2) (Application for Public Interest Immunity).
Other recent cases raise jurisdiction issues. In Brighton & Hove City Council v VM & Others, the Court determined the habitual residence of a Russian child and appropriate jurisdiction to consider long-term care, applying Brussels II and the Hague Convention.
Marina has reported the Courts’ Judgments in claims brought by Shamima Begum on the UK Human Rights Blog and can be heard discussing Radicalisation and the Prevent Duty Guidance on Law Pod UK Ep. 8 and 75.
1COR Quarterly Medical Law Review – Summer/Autumn 2021 – Issue 10 - Jan 2022
1COR Quarterly Medical Law Review – Spring 2021 – Issue 9 - Jul 2021
Law Pod UK Ep. 138 : Mediation with Marina Wheeler QC - Mar 2021
Is this unlawful? Judicial Review under scrutiny Webinar - Dec 2020
Law Pod UK Ep. 128: The Cumberlege Review with Marina Wheeler QC - Oct 2020
When the Courts closed their doors: remote hearings, should they stay with us? - Sep 2020
1COR Quarterly Medical Law Review – Summer 2020 – Issue 6 - Sep 2020
Law Pod UK Ep 75: The Prevent Guidance in Universities - Apr 2019
1COR Public Law Seminar – Life, Liberty & Security - Sep 2017
Law Pod UK – Radicalisation & Child Protection Interview with Marina Wheeler QC - Aug 2017
Law Pod UK Ep. 8: Radicalisation and the Terrorism Prevention & Investigation Measures Act - Aug 2017
PII Certificate in extremism case need not preclude a fair trial - Jun 2017
Martin Downs in new Radicalisation Judgment about protecting older children and vulnerable adults - Apr 2017
Marina Wheeler QC Master of Ceremonies at China Britain Trade Expo 2017 - Jan 2017
Profits from the sale of the Inquest Book given to the Bar Pro Bono Unit - Nov 2016
Marina Wheeler QC writes in The Times about government proposals on Human Rights and the deployment of troops overseas - Oct 2016
‘Six of the Best!’ 6 members appointed Queen’s Counsel - Jan 2016
Marina Wheeler talking about Syrian Injunctions on Law in Action - Nov 2015
Martin Downs and Jacqueline Roach appeared in the case of “E” - Jan 2014
Neil Garnham QC, Marina Wheeler and Karwan Eskerie successfully defend NHS proposals for Chase Farm Hospital - Nov 2013
Neil Garnham, Marina Wheeler and Karwan Eskerie secure victory for the NHS in North West London reorganisation - Oct 2013
Marina Wheeler successfully defends an Integrated Health and Social Care Authority - May 2013
Philip Havers QC, Jeremy Hyam and Marina Wheeler in judicial review on consultation re closure of centres for paediatric cardiac surgery - Mar 2013
New Appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels – February 2013 - Feb 2013
Marina Wheeler in Royal Brompton Hospital cardiac services lawful consultation case - Apr 2012
New Appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels – February 2012 - Feb 2012
New appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels - Mar 2010