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Practice Areas

Police Law
Health & Safety
Public / Administrative Law
Personal Injury Law

Barnabas Branston



Barney studied French with Linguistics at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in 1991. Whilst at university, Barney was sponsored by the Welsh Guards and after graduating he served in the regiment for five years in Northern Ireland, Shropshire, Paris, Germany and London.

On leaving the Army he converted to law at City University and studied for the BVC at ICSL; he was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in October 1999. Barney was awarded an MA from Oxford University, being congratulated by both the Vice Chancellor of the University and by the Dean of Christ Church for his “hard work and dedication”.

Chambers and Partners

“He has a great rapport with officers and a really practical approach.” (Police Law) Chambers UK 2017

“He carries a very firm and positive air.” (Police Law) Chambers UK 2016

“He is thorough and pragmatic.” (Police Law) Chambers UK 2016

“He is excellent counsel. He has a really good, approachable and easy to work with manner – very able.” (Police Law) Chambers UK 2016

“He is great; the clients absolutely love him.” (Police Law) Chambers UK 2015 

“He is very approachable and clients like him very much. We use him a lot for misconduct and inquest work because he knows it inside out.” (Police Law) Chambers and Partners 2014

“There is no panicking with him and he puts everyone at ease. Also his style of delivery is excellent and panels really like him.” (Police Law) Chambers and Partners 2014

“The “very good” Barnabas Branston “charms the panel,” and “has the knack of not overplaying his hand” in cases and inquests. He has been involved in a number of inquests recently, including one into the death of Sean Walsh, who suffered a seizure in custody and died in hospital. Branston was also involved in the Ian Tomlinson case” (Police Law) Chambers and Partners 2013

“is a firm favourite among clients and instructing solicitors alike. Sources rate him highly for his work in coroners’ inquests, disciplinary hearings and civil actions.” (Police Law) Chambers and Partners 2012


Police Law:


Barney’s police law practice consists largely of work in disciplinary proceedings, both on behalf of the presenting officer/Appropriate Authority at misconduct hearings and at Police Appeals Tribunals; he continues to be instructed as the independent legal adviser to the panel (where needed) and has appeared as legal adviser to the panel in third stage UPP proceedings brought pursuant to the Police (Performance) Regulations 2008.


Barney continues to represent Chief Officers in coroners’ inquests, notably having been instructed on behalf of the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police as junior counsel in the Hillsborough inquests. Barney also appeared on behalf of City of London Police in the six-week inquest into the death of the newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson on the day of the G20 demonstrations. Other police inquests in which Barney has appeared have included various deaths following contact with the police where death has followed episodes of drug toxicity and / or Acute Behavioural Disorder, those where issues of positional asphyxia have been raised, those where death resulted from acute alcohol withdrawal, those where Tazer was deployed in the episode that led to death and those where death followed vehicle pursuits.

Civil Actions:

Barney also defends Chief Officers in civil actions for assault, wrongful arrest/false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and misfeasance, as well as in personal injury claims and judicial review.



As well as representing Chief Officers in police inquests, Barney regularly appears on behalf of Serco Home Affairs in inquests following deaths in custody, notably for those at HMP Doncaster, HMP Dovegate and HMP Norwich.


Barney is also developing a practice in inquests in the general care setting, having recently appeared on behalf of an NHS Foundation Trust in charge of a psychiatric ward, on behalf of a care home and on behalf of the family of a patient who was awaiting transportation under section.


Health and Safety:

Barney has dealt with a wide array of cases defending alleged or actual statutory breaches, including HSWA 1974, PUWER, the PPE legislation, and the various regulations that apply to workplaces, contributing at an early stage in threatened proceedings and in associated negotiations with the HSE. He has represented a number of defendants in the printing industry and in heavy industry, both under the “old” regime and also under the more recent sentencing guidelines, recently appearing on behalf of Cammell Laird Shipbuilders to mitigate in the Liverpool Magistrates court. His many years at the criminal bar gave him regular exposure to both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts, in which he is also able to deploy the full array of advocacy skills honed in the regulatory work he does elsewhere.

Personal Injury:

Barney represents both claimants and defendants at all stages of proceedings and in cases that range from “simple” tripping and slipping cases on the fast track to rather more complex matters on the multitrack.


Barney is happy to provide CPD lectures to solicitors on all aspects of his practice.


ICSL, 1998 – 1999

City University, 1997 – 1998

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, 1992

Christ Church, Oxford University, 1987 – 1991

Rendcomb College, Cirencester, 1982 – 1987


Barney is married with three children, lives in Shropshire and his outside interests include sport and games (especially rugby and cricket), the Welsh Guards, and looking after his chickens and his spaniels.