Public Inquiries

Peter has been instructed in several major public inquiries over the last 20 years, most recently the Undercover Policing Inquiry (for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police), the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (as counsel to the inquiry), the Leveson Inquiry (for the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime), the Al-Sweady Inquiry (for Iraqi judges), and the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (for two national healthcare charities). He has previously represented bereaved families in the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry and the Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry. From 2005 to 2009, he was counsel to the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry, which investigated allegations of state collusion in the solicitor’s murder.

In recent years, Peter has also acted for groups of victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile and Max Clifford. He has also represented claimants in several other high-profile group actions, including Ian Paterson (breast surgery) and Rob Jones (gynaecological surgery). Prior to that, he acted for the claimants in the Winterbourne View Litigation the Cornwall Partnership Trust Litigation (institutional neglect and abuse), and the Nationwide Organ Group Litigation.

On the defendant side, Peter has acted for the Metropolitan Police in a group action arising from allegations of inappropriate sexual liaisons by undercover police officers. He has also represented the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation, which involved allegations of mistreatment by the Colonial Government of Kenya in the 1950s; and was instructed by 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 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 [2011] 1 AC 531); and in 2014, he appeared in the Court of Appeal in Belhaj v Straw [2015] 2 WLR 1105.

“Very knowledgeable, excellent in court and on paper.” “His grasp of detail is extraordinary and he is able to distil large volumes of documents into a series of simple propositions for witnesses. His style of questioning is relaxed yet forensic and precise.” (Chambers & Partners 2021)

His written work and advocacy are impeccable, and his manner in hearings is just right.’ (Legal 500 2021)

“He has a real mastery of the factual detail and is superb at assimilating material and evidence and getting on top of it all.” “He’s the most relaxed advocate I’ve ever seen; he’s very gentle with witnesses but always gets his point across even when it’s very difficult.” “He’s almost flawless in court: completely fluid and sensible. He doesn’t take bad points and when he has a good one he puts it across efficiently and persuasively.” (Chambers & Partners 2020)

‘He has a relaxed bedside manner that hides a ruthless streak that cuts to the core of any issue.’ (Legal 500 2019)

“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)

Selected Cases

  • Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI)
  • Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
  • Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation: (‘Mau Mau’ litigation)
  • Belhaj v Straw [2015] 2 WLR 1105
  • Al Rawi v The Security Service [2011] 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.
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