LawPod UK Ep. 111: Covid-19 and Inquests with Peter Skelton QC - May 2020
Peter Skelton QC’s practice encompasses public inquiries, inquests, human rights litigation, clinical negligence, judicial review, national security and personal injury litigation, with a particular emphasis on multi-party actions and claims arising in foreign jurisdictions. He acts for both claimants and defendants.Inquests
Peter has immense experience in inquests and coronial law, having spent over 20 years representing coroners and interested persons, from bereaved families to government departments, including the MOJ and the MOD.
He has undertaken many complex and high-profile inquests involving unlawful killing, national security, detention and medical or psychiatric treatment. Several of these cases have involved hearings in the High Court, Divisional Court and Court of Appeal.
Peter is presently counsel for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the inquests into the deaths of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port. Between 2016 and 2019 he was counsel to the inquests into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings and the sudden death of the Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy.
Peter has a particular interest in inquests that engage the state’s responsibilities under Article 2 of the ECHR, ‘the right to life’. In 2014 and 2015, he was invited by the Chief Coroner to provide a series of lectures on this subject to the coroners of England and Wales.
“He’s very bright, effective and has a very nice, laid-back manner in court.” “He is a really superb public lawyer.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
‘He can plot the way through complex issues and his knowledge of coronial law is superb.’ (Legal 500 2018)
“A confident advocate and good communicator.” (Legal 500 2017)
“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)
- Stephen Port Inquests
- Birmingham Inquests (1974)
- Coroner for Birmingham Inquests (1974) v Hambleton  EWCA Civ 2081.
- Alexander Perepilichnyy Inquest
- Secretary of State for the Home Department v HM Senior Coroner for Surrey  EWHC 3001 (Admin),  4 WLR 191.
- Alice Gross Inquest.
- Brecon Beacons Inquest.
- In Amenas Inquest.
- Coagh Inquest (Northern Ireland).
Over the last five years, Peter 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) and Rob Jones (gynaecological surgery). Previously, he acted for the claimants in the Winterbourne View Litigation (institutional neglect and abuse exposed by Panorama), the Cornwall Partnership Trust Litigation, and the Nationwide Organ Group Litigation.
On the defendant side, Peter is counsel for the Metropolitan Police Service in a multi-party action arising from allegations of inappropriate sexual liaisons by undercover police officers. He acted 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 human rights claim 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); and in 2014, he appeared in the Court of Appeal in Belhaj v Straw  2 WLR 1105.
Peter has been instructed in several major public and private inquiries in the last thirteen years, most recently the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 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.
- Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI)
- Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
- Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation: ('Mau Mau' litigation)
- Belhaj v Straw  2 WLR 1105
- Al Rawi v The Security Service  1 AC 531
- Leveson Inquiry.
- Al-Sweady Inquiry.
- Guantánamo Bay Litigation
- Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry.
- Rosemary Nelson Inquiry.
- Ayling Inquiry.
- Royal Liverpool Children's Inquiry.
- Bristol Royal Infirmary Public Inquiry.
Peter has been instructed by claimants and defendants in several major international personal injury cases. Recently, this includes a claim brought by the son of a former undercover police officer for psychiatric injuries.
These include (1) the Guantánamo Bay litigation, which focused on allegations of extraordinary rendition and torture by the US and UK governments, (2) Pike v Indian Hotels Co Ltd  EWHC 4096 (QB), which arose from the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008, (3) Kalma v African Mineral Ltd, a multiparty human rights action arising from allegations of police brutality in Sierra Leone, and (4) the Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation arising from allegations of mistreatment by the colonial authorities during the Mau Mau Emergency in Kenya in the 1950s.
“Excellent to work with. He is very knowledgeable and provides clear accurate advice.” “A shrewd tactician who is willing to push hard on difficult cases. He has an empathetic manner with vulnerable clients.” (Chambers & Partners 2018)
“An approachable silk with a first-rate brain.” (Legal 500 2018)
“Very assiduous and very practical.” (Chambers & Partners 2017)
- Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation: ('Mau Mau' litigation)
- Kalma v African Mineral Ltd
- Pike v Indian Hotels Co Ltd  EWHC 4096 (QB)
- Guantánamo Bay litigation
Is this too sensitive? Dealing with difficult issues in Inquests and Inquiries - Oct 2019
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse publish investigation report into Accountability and Reparations - Sep 2019
Peter Skelton QC appointed Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the Undercover Policing Inquiry - Sep 2019
Peter Skelton QC in hearing of claim by child of an undercover police officer - May 2019
The Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest concludes - Apr 2019
The Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest opens - Feb 2019
Inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy concludes - Dec 2018
The Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation is at an end - Nov 2018
Guy Mansfield QC upholds Kenya Emergency Group Litigation judgment in Court of Appeal - Oct 2018
Peter Skelton QC, Matthew Hill and Gideon Barth successful in Court of Appeal inquests challenge - Sep 2018
Peter Skelton QC, Matthew Hill and Gideon Barth in Court of Appeal inquests challenge - Jul 2018
1COR Public Law Seminar – Life, Liberty & Security - Sep 2017
Peter Skelton QC and Robert Wastell, Leanne Woods instructed as counsel for the inquest into Mr Perepilichnyy’s death - Apr 2017
Profits from the sale of the Inquest Book given to the Bar Pro Bono Unit - Nov 2016
Birmingham bombings inquest to be reopened - Jun 2016
Birmingham Coroner hears application to re-open inquests into the 1974 IRA Birmingham Pub bombings - Feb 2016
‘Six of the Best!’ 6 members appointed Queen’s Counsel - Jan 2016
1COR quiz team wins the Leigh Day / Silverlining Brain Injury Charity Quiz night - Feb 2015
New appointments to the Attorney General’s A and C Panels - Feb 2014
4 members of 1COR in the Kenyan Mau Mau Case - Jun 2013
Nine members of 1COR involved in Al-Sweady Public Inquiry - Mar 2013
New Appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels – February 2013 - Feb 2013
One Crown Office Row instructed on Jimmy Savile claims - Feb 2013
Members of 1COR acted in the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust Public Inquiry - Feb 2013
Members of One Crown Office Row acted in the Leveson Inquiry - Nov 2012
Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC, Henry Witcomb and Peter Skelton are representing women who were wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer by Ian Paterson - Nov 2012
Lizanne Gumbel QC, Justin Levinson and Peter Skelton are instructed to act on behalf of sexual abuse victims of Jimmy Savile - Oct 2012
Peter Skelton acting for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in the Leveson Inquiry - May 2012
New Appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels – February 2012 - Feb 2012
Peter Skelton in Supreme Court case on closed material procedure - Jul 2011
Peter Skelton joins One Crown Office Row - Nov 2010