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Philip Kolvin

Ashley Underwood QC

Called
1976
Silk/QC
2001
Telephone
020 7242 4986
Clerk
Sam Collins
CV
Email

Ashley Underwood QC is a hugely experienced public lawyer. He routinely conducts judicial review work for and against public bodies.

He is on the Attorney General's panel of Special Advocates for national security work and regularly appears in SIAC and the High Court in relation to terrorism cases.

Ashley Underwood QC is a hugely experienced public lawyer. He routinely conducts judicial review work for and against public bodies. He is on the Attorney General's panel of Special Advocates for national security work and regularly appears in SIAC and the High Court in relation to terrorism cases.

He is also a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland and is instructed in many of the major 'legacy' cases concerning allegations of State collusion in torture and murder. He is instructed on highly confidential matters of national security.

He is a prominent practitioner in inquests and inquiries, having acted as Counsel to a significant number of important investigations and also as Counsel to Interested Parties and Core Participants in others. Ashley's current instructions include:

Ashley has extensive experience in commercial and regulatory work for companies and for local government, which has included drafting standard terms of business and policies, arbitrating in disputes and acting in relation to licensing disputes. He has also appeared in many of the leading housing cases in the Appellate Courts.

Ashley's regular clients include the Government Legal Department, local authorities, coroners, police services, NGOs and individuals seeking to vindicate their human rights.

Overview

Ashley is one of the most experienced practitioners at the Bar in this field. He was, successively, Counsel to the Robert Hamill Inquiry, the Azelle Rodney Inquiry and the Inquest into the death of Mark Duggan. He was Counsel to the Coroner for the In Amenas Inquests, dealing with intelligence issues. In addition he has advised Government departments and Coroners in relation to investigations. He has been retained to train Coroners in relation to the use of Counsel and to the treatment of sensitive materials.

He has advised on and acted in, a number of high-profile judicial reviews relating to inquests and inquiries, such as Re Officer L and the R (on the application of Pamela Duggan) v HM Assistant Coroner.

Ashley is instructed by the families of victims in the Birmingham Pub bombings and secured the Coroner's decision to conduct inquests into those deaths. He is acting for a Core Participant in the Goddard Inquiry.

He acts for a number of victims in "legacy" cases in Northern Ireland, including those concerning the Omagh bombing and the Kincora Boys' Home.

Ashley's experience has resulted in an ability to manage large and difficult investigations which include the handling of intelligence materials, the examination of planned covert operations, the need to deal with PII and anonymity.

Cases

Court of Appeal rejects challenge to Mark Duggan Inquest finding about unlawful killing
29.03.2017
The Court of Appeal delivered judgment today on the Duggan family's challenge to the outcome of the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan. The jury had been directed on the....

Coroner orders reopening of Birmingham pub bombings inquests
01.06.2016

The senior coroner overseeing the investigation into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings has ruled that the inquests into the deaths of 21 people as a result of the bombings should be reopened. The coroner stated that new inquests were necessary due to the wealth of evidence yet to be heard concerning the circumstances of the bombings and, in particular, West Midlands Police's handling of information in the run-up to the attacks.

....

Ashley Underwood QC instructed in Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland
24.05.2016

Ashley Underwood QC has been instructed on behalf of a Core Participant in the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland.

....

Kincora Boys’ Home Judicial Review comes before the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast
02.06.2015
A judicial review seeking to challenge a decision to exclude Kincora boys' home in Belfast from the scope of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse established by the Home....

Child Abuse Inquiries - A Ticking Bomb
20.02.2015
Those conducting investigations into historic child sexual abuse are likely to be faced with calls to comply with the investigative obligations of Article 3 ECHR. Where the investigative obligation arises....

Home Affairs Select Committee Supports Kincora Claim
13.02.2015
The Home Affairs Select Committee today published a report into the Child Abuse Inquiry in England and Wales, and said: 'We recommend that the scope of the inquiry be extended to....

Ashley Underwood QC successful in obtaining leave for judicial review in relation to Omagh Bombing
30.01.2015
Michael Gallagher's long standing campaign for a cross-border investigation into the Omagh bombing has resulted in the High Court ruling that the authorities were arguably in breach of their obligations....

Ashley Underwood QC has been formally appointed to the Bar of Northern Ireland
01.10.2014
Chambers are delighted to announce that Ashley Underwood QC has been formally appointed to the Bar of Northern Ireland. His appointment will be effective from 24 October 2014. Ashley regularly....

Duggan Inquest: Report to Prevent Future Deaths Published by Coroner
04.06.2014
The Coroner conducting the inquest into Mark Duggan's death has produced a report to prevent future deaths which contains a number of concerns arising out of the evidence given to....

Metropolitan Police Service responds to Azelle Rodney Inquiry Report
04.06.2014
The Metropolitan Police Service has responded to recommendations made in the Azelle Rodney Inquiry Report. As a result a number of changes to armed policing will be made with a....

Duggan Inquest: Report to Prevent Future Deaths Published by Coroner
04.06.2014
The Coroner conducting the inquest into Mark Duggan's death has produced a report to prevent future deaths which contains a number of concerns arising out of the evidence given to....

Divisional Court rejects challenge to Azelle Rodney Report
06.03.2014
The Divisional Court has refused permission for a judicial review challenge to the Azelle Rodney Report. That report followed the public inquiry into the death of Azelle Rodney, who was....

Jury returns a verdict of lawful killing in Duggan
08.01.2014
Ashley Underwood QC acted as Counsel to the Mark Duggan Inquest. Running for nearly 4 months, the inquest into the killing that sparked riots throughout the country in 2010 drew to....

Ashley Underwood QC begins Mark Duggan Inquest
17.09.2013
Ashley Underwood QC is acting as Counsel to the Inquest which is being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice. Mr Duggan is the 29 year old man who was shot....

News

The Times podcast on the Grenfell inquiry
19.07.2017
Ashley Underwood QC and Sir Oliver Popplewell discuss the appointment of Martin Moore-Bick as the judge leading the Grenfell inquiry for an episode of The Times podcast. Click here to listen....

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Investigation into Institutional Failures in the Anglican Church
16.03.2016
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by the Hon. Dame Lowell Goddard DNZM, has launched 13 investigations into a broad range of institutions. One of these is into....

Ashley Underwood QC speaks at Coroners Continuation Training 2015-2016
09.06.2015

Ashley Underwood QC is a guest speaker at the Coroners Continuation Training 2015-2016, taking place in Northampton on 9th June 2015.

....

Overview

Ashley has appeared in a large number of leading human rights cases. He acted for the Lord Chancellor in relation to his refusal to grant legal aid to the 7/7 bombers, for the Mayor of London in his successful action to evict the protestors from Parliament Square Gardens, and for a public inquiry in defining the test for anonymity applications by witnesses to inquiries and inquests.

Ashley's national security work has involved recent important cases such as ZZ (successful invocation by an EU national of the rights not to be removed), W Algeria (successful resistance by Algerian nationals to their forcible removal to Algeria under the Deportation With Assurances scheme) and XH (judicial review of the revocation of a British passport). In Northern Ireland, Ashley is acting for plaintiffs in claims arising out of the Omagh bombing, the Dublin Monaghan bombings, the Kingsmill massacre and the McGurk's Bar bombing, as well as many other significant legacy cases.

Cases

Re R (Closed Material Procedure: Special Advocates: Funding)
17.07.2017
The High Court has provided much-needed clarity to the issue of funding for Special Advocates within Family Proceedings as part of a Closed Material Procedure conducted under the Court's inherent....

Court of Appeal rejects challenge to Mark Duggan Inquest finding about unlawful killing
29.03.2017
The Court of Appeal delivered judgment today on the Duggan family's challenge to the outcome of the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan. The jury had been directed on the....

Ashley Underwood QC appointed lead Special Advocate in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury
30.08.2016
Ashley Underwood QC has been appointed as the lead Special Advocate in the Bank Mellat v HM Treasury litigation. The Bank is a major Iranian organisation with very significant international....

Coroner orders reopening of Birmingham pub bombings inquests
01.06.2016

The senior coroner overseeing the investigation into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings has ruled that the inquests into the deaths of 21 people as a result of the bombings should be reopened. The coroner stated that new inquests were necessary due to the wealth of evidence yet to be heard concerning the circumstances of the bombings and, in particular, West Midlands Police's handling of information in the run-up to the attacks.

....

Ashley Underwood QC instructed in Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland
24.05.2016

Ashley Underwood QC has been instructed on behalf of a Core Participant in the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland.

....

BB,W,PP,U,Y and Z v Secretary of State for the Home Department
20.04.2016

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission ("SIAC") has delivered its long-awaited judgment in W Algeria and others. This controversial case concerns the safety on return to Algeria of the Appellants and has already been the subject of many decisions in the Appellate Courts.

....

High Court in Northern Ireland to decide whether Omagh bomb hearing will be held in secret
24.02.2016

The High Court of Justice in Ireland will today hear an application for judicial review relating to the Omagh bombing with took place in Ireland in 1998; in what will be the first such legal bid in judicial review proceedings in Northern Ireland.

....

Kincora Boys’ Home Judicial Review comes before the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast
02.06.2015
A judicial review seeking to challenge a decision to exclude Kincora boys' home in Belfast from the scope of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse established by the Home....

Cornerstone note Supreme Court homelessness judgment
13.05.2015
SummaryThe Supreme Court has this morning handed down judgment in three conjoined appeals - Hotak v London Borough of Southwark; Kanu v London Borough of Southwark; Johnson v Solihull Metropolitan....

Child Abuse Inquiries - A Ticking Bomb
20.02.2015
Those conducting investigations into historic child sexual abuse are likely to be faced with calls to comply with the investigative obligations of Article 3 ECHR. Where the investigative obligation arises....

Home Affairs Select Committee Supports Kincora Claim
13.02.2015
The Home Affairs Select Committee today published a report into the Child Abuse Inquiry in England and Wales, and said: 'We recommend that the scope of the inquiry be extended to....

Ashley Underwood QC successful in obtaining leave for judicial review in relation to Omagh Bombing
30.01.2015
Michael Gallagher's long standing campaign for a cross-border investigation into the Omagh bombing has resulted in the High Court ruling that the authorities were arguably in breach of their obligations....

Cornerstone Double Triple Whammy at Supreme Court Today
15.12.2014

Watch live coverage of a Supreme Court intervention which sees Kelvin Rutledge QC, Ashley Underwood QC and Catherine Rowlands acting for the Respondents, Solihull MBC and LB of Southwark in three appeals, with Bryan McGuire QC, Matt Hutchings and Jennifer Oscroft representing Shelter and Crisis, who are intervening.

....

Cornerstone Trio in Supreme Court Triple Whammy
25.11.2014

Bryan McGuire QC, Matt Hutchings and Jennifer Oscroft are instructed to represent Shelter and Crisis in a Supreme Court intervention.

In the three appeals of Johnson v Solihull, Hotak v Southwark and Kanu v Southwark, the homeless applicants challenge the Pereira test of vulnerability. The appeals have been listed before the Supreme Court on 15-17 December.

....

Imminent judgment re Exceptional Legal Aid Funding
09.06.2014
Gudanaviciene, Edgehill and others In an important judgment to be delivered on Friday 13 June, Collins J is to consider whether the Lord Chancellor's Guidance on exceptional legal aid funding is....

Duggan Inquest: Report to Prevent Future Deaths Published by Coroner
04.06.2014
The Coroner conducting the inquest into Mark Duggan's death has produced a report to prevent future deaths which contains a number of concerns arising out of the evidence given to....

Metropolitan Police Service responds to Azelle Rodney Inquiry Report
04.06.2014
The Metropolitan Police Service has responded to recommendations made in the Azelle Rodney Inquiry Report. As a result a number of changes to armed policing will be made with a....

Duggan Inquest: Report to Prevent Future Deaths Published by Coroner
04.06.2014
The Coroner conducting the inquest into Mark Duggan's death has produced a report to prevent future deaths which contains a number of concerns arising out of the evidence given to....

Divisional Court rejects challenge to Azelle Rodney Report
06.03.2014
The Divisional Court has refused permission for a judicial review challenge to the Azelle Rodney Report. That report followed the public inquiry into the death of Azelle Rodney, who was....

Jury returns a verdict of lawful killing in Duggan
08.01.2014
Ashley Underwood QC acted as Counsel to the Mark Duggan Inquest. Running for nearly 4 months, the inquest into the killing that sparked riots throughout the country in 2010 drew to....

Ashley Underwood QC begins Mark Duggan Inquest
17.09.2013
Ashley Underwood QC is acting as Counsel to the Inquest which is being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice. Mr Duggan is the 29 year old man who was shot....

An open mind on closed trials
08.08.2013
Ashley Underwood QC explains in The Lawyer Magazine that closed procedures may not be ideal, but in some circumstances they can result in fairer outcomes The understandably earnest debate about whether....

News

The Times podcast on the Grenfell inquiry
19.07.2017
Ashley Underwood QC and Sir Oliver Popplewell discuss the appointment of Martin Moore-Bick as the judge leading the Grenfell inquiry for an episode of The Times podcast. Click here to listen....

Overview

Ashley has drafted standard terms for many significant organisations, including GE Finance.

He has acted for a number of local authorities in governance matters, including major claims for recovery of monies from members and officers, such as LB Tower Hamlets v Chavda [2005] EWHC 2183. The breadth of his experience extends from advising on allocations policies, through challenges to consultation exercises (e.g. Beale v LB Camden [2004] EWHC 6) to claims for recovery of care costs against tortfeasors (e.g. LB Islington v UCL Hospital Trust [2005] EWCA Civ 1768).

In addition, Ashley has a breadth of experience that includes having acted for local authorities such as the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in civil claims against members and officials for misfeasance; advised a Chief Constable of Sussex in relation to alleged breach of Parliamentary Privilege; advised the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the conduct of a statutory inquiry; and appeared in many important judicial review cases concerning local and central government powers.

Cases

Ashley Underwood QC appointed lead Special Advocate in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury
30.08.2016
Ashley Underwood QC has been appointed as the lead Special Advocate in the Bank Mellat v HM Treasury litigation. The Bank is a major Iranian organisation with very significant international....

Overview

Ashley is one of the most experienced housing silks at the Bar. He has acted for the authority in most of the major appellate cases in the last decade, including LB Hounslow v Powell [2011] UKSC 8, in Doherty v Birmingham CC [2008] UKHL 57, and Kay v Lambeth [2006] UKHL 10.

He is a some-time editor of the Social Housing chapter of Hill and Redman. He regularly advises on all aspects of housing, from allocation policies, eligibility, anti-social behaviour and right to possession

Cases

London Borough of Waltham Forest successfully upholds its selective licencing practice
19.04.2017
The London Borough of Waltham Forest has successfully upheld its selective licencing practice. The authority designated its entire area under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004, and has a....

Cornerstone note Supreme Court homelessness judgment
13.05.2015
SummaryThe Supreme Court has this morning handed down judgment in three conjoined appeals - Hotak v London Borough of Southwark; Kanu v London Borough of Southwark; Johnson v Solihull Metropolitan....

Cornerstone Double Triple Whammy at Supreme Court Today
15.12.2014

Watch live coverage of a Supreme Court intervention which sees Kelvin Rutledge QC, Ashley Underwood QC and Catherine Rowlands acting for the Respondents, Solihull MBC and LB of Southwark in three appeals, with Bryan McGuire QC, Matt Hutchings and Jennifer Oscroft representing Shelter and Crisis, who are intervening.

....

Cornerstone Trio in Supreme Court Triple Whammy
25.11.2014

Bryan McGuire QC, Matt Hutchings and Jennifer Oscroft are instructed to represent Shelter and Crisis in a Supreme Court intervention.

In the three appeals of Johnson v Solihull, Hotak v Southwark and Kanu v Southwark, the homeless applicants challenge the Pereira test of vulnerability. The appeals have been listed before the Supreme Court on 15-17 December.

....

News

The Times podcast on the Grenfell inquiry

19th July 2017

Ashley Underwood QC and Sir Oliver Popplewell discuss the appointment of Martin Moore-Bick as the judge leading the Grenfell inquiry for an episode of The Times podcast. Click here to listen....

Case

Re R (Closed Material Procedure: Special Advocates: Funding)

17th July 2017

The High Court has provided much-needed clarity to the issue of funding for Special Advocates within Family Proceedings as part of a Closed Material Procedure conducted under the Court's inherent....

Case

London Borough of Waltham Forest successfully upholds its selective licencing practice

19th April 2017

The London Borough of Waltham Forest has successfully upheld its selective licencing practice. The authority designated its entire area under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004, and has a....

Case

Court of Appeal rejects challenge to Mark Duggan Inquest finding about unlawful killing

29th March 2017

The Court of Appeal delivered judgment today on the Duggan family's challenge to the outcome of the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan. The jury had been directed on the....

Case

Ashley Underwood QC appointed lead Special Advocate in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury

30th August 2016

Ashley Underwood QC has been appointed as the lead Special Advocate in the Bank Mellat v HM Treasury litigation. The Bank is a major Iranian organisation with very significant international....

Case

Coroner orders reopening of Birmingham pub bombings inquests

1st June 2016

The senior coroner overseeing the investigation into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings has ruled that the inquests into the deaths of 21 people as a result of the bombings should be reopened. The coroner stated that new inquests were necessary due to the wealth of evidence yet to be heard concerning the circumstances of the bombings and, in particular, West Midlands Police's handling of information in the run-up to the attacks.

....

Case

Ashley Underwood QC instructed in Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland

24th May 2016

Ashley Underwood QC has been instructed on behalf of a Core Participant in the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland.

....

Case

BB,W,PP,U,Y and Z v Secretary of State for the Home Department

20th April 2016

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission ("SIAC") has delivered its long-awaited judgment in W Algeria and others. This controversial case concerns the safety on return to Algeria of the Appellants and has already been the subject of many decisions in the Appellate Courts.

....

News

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Investigation into Institutional Failures in the Anglican Church

16th March 2016

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by the Hon. Dame Lowell Goddard DNZM, has launched 13 investigations into a broad range of institutions. One of these is into....

Case

High Court in Northern Ireland to decide whether Omagh bomb hearing will be held in secret

24th February 2016

The High Court of Justice in Ireland will today hear an application for judicial review relating to the Omagh bombing with took place in Ireland in 1998; in what will be the first such legal bid in judicial review proceedings in Northern Ireland.

....

News

Ashley Underwood QC speaks at Coroners Continuation Training 2015-2016

9th June 2015

Ashley Underwood QC is a guest speaker at the Coroners Continuation Training 2015-2016, taking place in Northampton on 9th June 2015.

....

Case

Kincora Boys’ Home Judicial Review comes before the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast

2nd June 2015

A judicial review seeking to challenge a decision to exclude Kincora boys' home in Belfast from the scope of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse established by the Home....

Case

Cornerstone note Supreme Court homelessness judgment

13th May 2015

SummaryThe Supreme Court has this morning handed down judgment in three conjoined appeals - Hotak v London Borough of Southwark; Kanu v London Borough of Southwark; Johnson v Solihull Metropolitan....

Case

Child Abuse Inquiries - A Ticking Bomb

20th February 2015

Those conducting investigations into historic child sexual abuse are likely to be faced with calls to comply with the investigative obligations of Article 3 ECHR. Where the investigative obligation arises....

Case

Home Affairs Select Committee Supports Kincora Claim

13th February 2015

The Home Affairs Select Committee today published a report into the Child Abuse Inquiry in England and Wales, and said: 'We recommend that the scope of the inquiry be extended to....

Case

Ashley Underwood QC successful in obtaining leave for judicial review in relation to Omagh Bombing

30th January 2015

Michael Gallagher's long standing campaign for a cross-border investigation into the Omagh bombing has resulted in the High Court ruling that the authorities were arguably in breach of their obligations....

Case

Cornerstone Double Triple Whammy at Supreme Court Today

15th December 2014

Watch live coverage of a Supreme Court intervention which sees Kelvin Rutledge QC, Ashley Underwood QC and Catherine Rowlands acting for the Respondents, Solihull MBC and LB of Southwark in three appeals, with Bryan McGuire QC, Matt Hutchings and Jennifer Oscroft representing Shelter and Crisis, who are intervening.

....

Case

Cornerstone Trio in Supreme Court Triple Whammy

25th November 2014

Bryan McGuire QC, Matt Hutchings and Jennifer Oscroft are instructed to represent Shelter and Crisis in a Supreme Court intervention.

In the three appeals of Johnson v Solihull, Hotak v Southwark and Kanu v Southwark, the homeless applicants challenge the Pereira test of vulnerability. The appeals have been listed before the Supreme Court on 15-17 December.

....

Case

Ashley Underwood QC has been formally appointed to the Bar of Northern Ireland

1st October 2014

Chambers are delighted to announce that Ashley Underwood QC has been formally appointed to the Bar of Northern Ireland. His appointment will be effective from 24 October 2014. Ashley regularly....

Case

Imminent judgment re Exceptional Legal Aid Funding

9th June 2014

Gudanaviciene, Edgehill and others In an important judgment to be delivered on Friday 13 June, Collins J is to consider whether the Lord Chancellor's Guidance on exceptional legal aid funding is....

Case

Duggan Inquest: Report to Prevent Future Deaths Published by Coroner

4th June 2014

The Coroner conducting the inquest into Mark Duggan's death has produced a report to prevent future deaths which contains a number of concerns arising out of the evidence given to....

Case

Metropolitan Police Service responds to Azelle Rodney Inquiry Report

4th June 2014

The Metropolitan Police Service has responded to recommendations made in the Azelle Rodney Inquiry Report. As a result a number of changes to armed policing will be made with a....

Case

Duggan Inquest: Report to Prevent Future Deaths Published by Coroner

4th June 2014

The Coroner conducting the inquest into Mark Duggan's death has produced a report to prevent future deaths which contains a number of concerns arising out of the evidence given to....

Case

Divisional Court rejects challenge to Azelle Rodney Report

6th March 2014

The Divisional Court has refused permission for a judicial review challenge to the Azelle Rodney Report. That report followed the public inquiry into the death of Azelle Rodney, who was....

Case

Jury returns a verdict of lawful killing in Duggan

8th January 2014

Ashley Underwood QC acted as Counsel to the Mark Duggan Inquest. Running for nearly 4 months, the inquest into the killing that sparked riots throughout the country in 2010 drew to....

Case

Ashley Underwood QC begins Mark Duggan Inquest

17th September 2013

Ashley Underwood QC is acting as Counsel to the Inquest which is being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice. Mr Duggan is the 29 year old man who was shot....

Case

An open mind on closed trials

8th August 2013

Ashley Underwood QC explains in The Lawyer Magazine that closed procedures may not be ideal, but in some circumstances they can result in fairer outcomes The understandably earnest debate about whether....

News

Attorney General's Panel Appointments

20th February 2013

Cornerstone Barristers are delighted to announce that Catherine Rowlands and Clare Parry have been appointed to the Attorney General's Panel of Counsel with effect from 1 March 2013. Their appointments....

News

Ashley Underwood QC joins Cornerstone Barristers

28th January 2013

We are delighted to announce that Ashley Underwood QC has joined Cornerstone Barristers.

....