Public Inquiries

Neil Sheldon is recommended by the directories as a leading new silk in a broad range of practice areas, including public & administrative law, public inquiries & inquests, professional discipline, and clinical negligence.

In 2018 he was named ‘Public Inquiries Barrister of the Year UK’ by The Lawyer Monthly.

He has acted in many of the most important public inquiries and inquests of recent years including the Inquests into the terrorist attacks on Fishmonger’s Hall, Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Manchester Arena, the Victoria Climbie Inquiry, the Zahid Mubarak Inquiry, the Al Swaedy Inquiry, the Iraq Inquiry and the Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry. He acted for the NCA and a number of government departments in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). He is instructed by the Cabinet Office in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, by the Home Office in the Undercover Policing Inquiry and by a leading medical defence union in the Infected Blood Inquiry.

“He is very calm on his feet and very reasonable in his advocacy.” “He’s got a really lovely manner and he’s very, very competent. I think he’s very measured and I really rate him.” (Chambers & Partners 2021)

Very experienced in very high-profile and complex inquests.’ (Legal 500 2021)

“He’s really good at dealing with his clients and has played an important role in helping to deal with really challenging material.” (Chambers & Partners 2020)

“He’s one to watch.” “He’s very good with clients and they adore his approach.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)

“His skeleton arguments are impressive.” “Highly composed, organised, thorough and comprehensive. He has a very cool head.” “Extremely clever and good humoured and a delight to work with.” (Chambers & Partners 2018)

Notable cases include:

  • Jermaine Baker Public Inquiry (ongoing).
  • Undercover Policing Inquiry (ongoing).
  • Infected Blood Inquiry (ongoing).
  • Manchester Arena Inquiry (ongoing).
  • Grenfell Tower Inquiry (ongoing).
  • Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)
  • Victoria Climbie Inquiry: Counsel to Inquiry.
  • Zahid Mubarak Inquiry: Counsel to Inquiry.
  • Al Sweady Inquiry: Counsel to the Military Witnesses.
  • Iraq Inquiry: Counsel to several prominent political and military witnesses.
  • Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry: Counsel to Foreign and Home Secretaries.
  • IICSA: Counsel to several government departments.
  • Chantler Review into Standardised Tobacco Packaging: Counsel to Review.
  • Investigation of Jimmy Savile at Broadmoor: Counsel to Investigation.

National Security

Neil has been heavily involved in national security work since 2003 when he was first appointed as a special advocate to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. He acted as special advocate for, amongst others Abu Hamza and a number of the original Belmarsh detainees.

More recently, Neil has acted exclusively for government departments and agencies in work of this nature and has been involved in some of the most-high profile such cases including the Alexander Litvinenko inquest/inquiry, the Saudi arms trade litigation and a number of applications to European Court of Human Rights concerned with the bulk interception of communications and communications data.

Neil has extensive experience of SIAC and has acted for the Secretary of State in a variety of appeals including deportation with assurances, deprivation of citizenship and naturalization.

Notable cases include:

  • E3 and G3 v Secretary of State for the Home Department (ongoing): Deprivation of citizenship (SIAC)
  • Al Khayer v Secretary of State for the Home Department (ongoing): refusal of naturalisation for various members of President Assad’s extended family (SIAC).
  • Bureau of Investigative Journalism v United Kingdom (ongoing): ECHR application concerning bulk interception of communications; Articles 8 and 10.
  • Saudi Arms Trade Litigation (ongoing): JSA 2013 closed material procedure; international humanitarian law; relationship between national security and international relations.
  • McGartland v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 686: National Security; JSA 2013 closed material procedure; NCND principle; correct approach to case management under the JSA.
  • Foreign Secretary v Coroner for Inner North London [2014] ACD 43 PII; Litvinenko Inquest; successful Jr of Coroner’s decision to order disclosure of material.
  • McGartland v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 2248 (QB): JSA 2013 closed material procedure; s.6 declaration; case management.
  • LO (Jordan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 164: Appeals against preliminary rulings of SIAC; application of s.7 of the SIAC Act 1997.
  • E v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] HRLR 18.
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