Jason Beer QC

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YEAR OF CALL: 1992

Background:

Jason is a specialist in public inquiries, public law and police law. He took Silk in 2011. He is ranked as a leading practitioner in four practice areas in Chambers & Partners Guide to the Legal Profession, namely in ‘police law for defendants’, ‘professional discipline’, ‘public inquiries’ and ‘administrative and public law’. In the Legal 500 he is ranked in ‘police law for defendants’ and ‘public inquiries’.

In relation to public law, Jason specialises in public inquiries and inquests, in claims arising from the operation of the criminal justice system, and in corporate manslaughter and health and safety investigations and prosecutions. Before taking Silk Jason was Junior Counsel to the Crown (Common Law – A Panel). He is a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit.

In relation to police law, he acts in the full range of disciplines: in civil jury trials for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution; in misconduct proceedings and in inquests.

Chambers & Partners Guide to the Legal Profession comments include:

“He is unflappable, he’s practical, clients like and respect him, and his advocacy is second to none.” Police Law (2017)

“His ability to review and take in the central features of a case is brilliant.” Police  Law (2017)

“He goes the extra mile when needed.” Police Law (2017)

“Produces very effective legal submissions, and he cross-examines with the panache of a top-flight criminal silk. Just a great all-rounder.” Inquest and Inquiries (2017)

“He has a fantastic capacity for hard work.” Inquest and Inquiries (2017)

“He handles difficult briefs wonderfully and has an extremely effective manner of advocacy. He makes the best of every point and has a great deal of experience as counsel to the inquiry.” Inquest and Inquiries (2017)

“He’s very, very bright and has a nice manner with the court. He’s an impressive advocate and his written work is very good. He’s the real deal.” Professional Discipline (2017)

“Very impressed by his client care. He involves himself deeply in cases and stays on top of everything.” Administrative & Public Law (2017)

“His technical abilities truly stand out. Easy to have confidence in him.” Administrative & Public Law (2017)

“Understated and takes a reasonable line. He gains the confidence of courts by being agreeable.” Admin and Public Law (2017)

“He is extremely clever with surgically precise cross-examination skills.” – Administrative & Public Law (2016)

“He is intellectually very able.” – Police Law (2016)

“He is fantastic, the real deal. He is one of the most effective advocates, a brilliant questioner with juries and judges. His grip on the legal issues and evidence is very strong and astute. His questions are penetrative.”

“One of his great strengths is that he is a lateral thinker and tactician and will usually think of a solution however novel the situation.” – Professional Discipline (2016)

“He is a very able advocate, who is bright, and very persuasive in a court environment. He is equally strong when providing written advice.”

“He has a fantastic capacity for work, knows the area well and is very capable in court.” – Inquests & Public Inquiries (2016)

“He adopts a very skilful and persistent approach to witnesses and produces some good results.”

“He’s very thorough, a good technical lawyer and someone who is very easy to work with.”

“He is a very able, very intelligent advocate. He obviously has the skills.”  – Administrative & Public Law (2015)

“A very able and very intelligent advocate.” – Inquests & Public Inquiries (2015)

“He is incredibly astute and very client-friendly.”

“He is extremely well respected by judges for his intellect and for his understated and reliable advocacy.” – Police Law  (2015)

“He is bright, very good on the law, tactically very astute and a top-drawer advocate.” – Professional Discipline (2015)

“Supremely intelligent, he is sensible and gives you advice you can really use.”

“In the high-profile inquests he can do everything. He has a great command of the court and his written advice is very helpful.”

“A sophisticated analyst who does a lot of public inquiries. He has a deep knowledge of political practices and intelligence systems.” – Police Law (2014)

“He has an impeccable pedigree in public inquiries. He is the go-to silk in that area.”  ”He has a really understated but very effective manner. He is absolutely clear in his questioning, and his questions demonstrate that he has an absolute grasp of the issues.” – Inquests & Public Inquiries (2014)

“He is technically excellent and very competent.” – Administrative & Public Law (2014)

“Incredibly astute and very client-friendly.”

“He is very bright and quick to pick up issues and key points. His drafting is excellent and he is very prompt in responding.” – Professional Discipline (2014)

 Jason’s current case load includes:

  • Leading Counsel to the Anthony Grainger Inquiry
  • Acting for Sheffield Wednesday Football Club in proceedings arising from the Hillsborough Disaster
  • Counsel for OFGEM in the Renewable Heat Incentive Inquiry
  • Counsel for the Commissioner of Police in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
  • Counsel for Thames Valley Police, Surrey Police and Sussex in the Undercover Policing Inquiry
  • Counsel for South Yorkshire Police in privacy claim brought by Sir Cliff Richard
  • Acting for Surrey Police in the civil, regulatory and inquest proceedings arising from the Surry Puppy Farm Murders
  • Acting for Devon and Cornwall Police in the investigations and proceedings arising from the death of Thomas Orchard
  • Acting for Norfolk Police in £30 million malfeasance claim
  • Acting for police forces in two separate claims involving use of Closed Material Procedures

Police Law:

Jason appears in the full range of disciplines on behalf of the police service. He has been instructed by nearly all of the 43 forces in England and Wales.

He has appeared in a significant number of civil jury trials for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution and non-jury actions for assault. These are often ‘high profile’ claims where serious allegations of racism and / or corruption have been made. Jason has also appeared in non-malfeasance claims which involve the police service – by way of example he appeared on behalf of the Attorney-General in the application for disclosure of police documents in the Madeline McCann case; and represented the Counter-Terrorism Command in the Omagh Bombing Trial in the High Court in Northern Ireland.

Jason has acted and advised in over 250 discipline and misconduct cases. These have often involved complex misconduct investigations and substantial, document intense, misconduct hearings. Jason has additionally acted as Legal Advisor to Chief Constables and Misconduct Panels in a significant number of cases.

Jason has appeared in a high number of difficult and sensitive inquests involving the police service. These are typically inquests involving the deliberate use of lethal force by police officers (firearms incidents), suicides and other deaths in police custody (involving allegations of lack of care) and deaths in road traffic accidents following pursuits by police vehicles. He was counsel for the Metropolitan Police Service in the New Cross Fire Inquest (a 3 month inquest into the deaths of 13 children at a birthday party in 1981).

Jason’s public law practice frequently sees him acting on behalf of the police service in the Administrative Court. Cases have involved challenges to a policy on police cautioning, to disclosures made to the Criminal Records Bureau under the Police Act 1997, to the use of ASBOs to combat prostitution, to the legality of investigations, arrests and searches conducted as part of Operation Ore.

Finally, Jason conducts a significant amount of advisory work on non-contentious police business. This is in relation to both operational and policy matters, in particular in relation to sensitive, and terrorist related, issues. He has also provided advice on the operation of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Recent Police Law cases:

Verrechia v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2002] 1 WLR 2409

Wilding v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2004] EWHC 3042 (QB)

Brooks v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2005] 1 WLR 1495

Karagozlu v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2007] 1 WLR 1881; [2007] 2 ALL ER 1055

M v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (2008) The Times 4th January

Gichura v Home Office (2008) The Times 4th June; [2008] ICR 1287

Flood v The Times Newspapers Ltd [2009] EWHC 411 (QB); (2009) EMLR 18

Al-Hassan Daniel v Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2010] EWCA Civ 1443; (2011) 2 WLR 488; (2011) 2 All ER 31; (2011) UKHRR 1

Richardson v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police [2011] EWHC 773 (QB) (2011) The Times 11th April (2011) Cr.App.R.1

Hayes v. Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2011] EWCA Civ 988 (2011) 2 Cr App R 30 (2011) The Times 19th August 19

Howarth v Chief Constable of Gwent Police and Gwent Police Authority [2011] EWHC 2836 (QB)

Various Claimants v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2012] 1 WLR 2545

A and B v Chief Constable of Hampshire [2012] EWHC 1517 (QB)

Various Claimants v  News Group Newspapers Limited [2014] 2 WLR 756

Daniels v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2015] EWCA CIv 680

R (Commissioner of Police) v Independent Police Complaints Commission [2015] EWCA Civ 1248

Miranda v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] 1 WLR 1505

Rudall  (1) Crown Prosecution Service & (2) Chief Constable of South Wales [2016] EWHC 2884 (QB)

Public/Administrative  Law:

Jason undertakes all areas of public law work, but specialises in claims that arise from the operation of the criminal justice system. He has particular expertise in relation to corporate manslaughter and health and safety investigations and prosecutions (where experience in inquests, the criminal courts and in civil claims is essential). He appears on behalf of central government, other public authorities (including the police service, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the prison service and coroners) and corporate clients.

Recent Public/Administrative Law cases:

R v The Chairman of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry ex parte Acourt (1998) The Times 25th July

R v The Governor of HMP Brixton ex parte Kamer Peci (2000) The Times 12th January

Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire v Parkin (2000) LTL 24th February 2000

R v Birmingham Magistrates ex parte Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and others [2002] EWHC 1087 (Admin)

R (on the application of Redgrave) v Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis [2003] EWCA Civ 04

Chief Constable of Lancashire v Potter [2003] EWHC 2272 (Admin)

R (on the application of “C”) v (1) Chief Constable of “A” Police (2) “A” Magistrates’ Court [2006] EWHC 2352 (Admin)

R (on the application of Mondelly) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2006] EWHC 2370 (Admin)

R (on the application of Pinnington) v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police [2008] EWHC (Admin) 1870

R (on the application of Kay) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2008] UKHL 69; [2008] 1 WLR 2723; [2009] 2 ALL ER 935; [2009] RTR 10

R (on the application of the Independent Police Complaints Commission) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2009] EWHC 1566 (Admin)

Kennedy v (1) Information Commissioner and (2) Charity Commission [2011] EWCA Civ 367

R (GC & C) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] UKSC 21 [2011] 1 WLR 1230

Kennedy v Charity Commission (No 2) [2012] WLR 3524

R (on the application of E1) v The Chairman of the Azelle Rodney Inquiry [2012] EWHC 563 (Admin)

R (FGP) v Serco PLC [2012] EWHC 1804 (Admin)

R (Children’s Rights Alliance for England) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] 1 WLR 3667

Inquests:

As well as appearing in inquests themselves, Jason is frequently instructed in related proceedings in the Administrative Court (often acting on behalf of coroners whose decisions and actions are challenged). He appeared on behalf of the Ministry of Defence in the Porton Down Inquest(an inquest into the death in 1953 of a serviceman who acted as a “human guinea pig” testing the Sarin nerve agent). He advised the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to the public law aspects of the Inquest into the 7/7 Bombings in London and represented the Parole Board in the Naomi Bryant Inquest. He acted for the University of Manchester in three inquests into the deaths of academic staff who occupied the Rutherford Rooms at the University. He acted for the Sheffield Wednesday Football Club in the Hillsborough Inquests.

Recent Inquest cases:

HM Coroner for Wiltshire & Swindon v Ministry of Defence [2002] EWHC 2567 (Admin)

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v HM Coroner for Southwark [2003] 1 WLR 371

Regina (Hurst) HM Coroner for Northern District London [2003] EWHC 1721(Admin)

R (on the application of Sutovic) v HM Coroner for the Northern District of Greater London [2006] EWHC 1095 (Admin)

R (on the application of the Ministry of Defence) v HM Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon [2006] EWHC 309 (Admin)

R (on the application of the Independent Police Complaints Commission) v HM Coroner for Inner North London [2009] EWHC 2681 (Admin)

R (on the application of McLeish) v HM Coroner for the Northern District of Greater London [2010] EWHC 3624 (Admin) [2010] All ER (D) 211

R (on the application of Hicks) v Senior Coroner for Inner North London [2016] EWHC 1726 (Admin)

Public Inquiries:

Jason has appeared in many of the most significant public inquiries of the last two decades, mainly on behalf of central government or other public authorities.

He acted for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (and in the civil litigation that followed it, right up to the House of Lords: see Brooks v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis[2005] 1 WLR 1495). He appeared for a Government Department in the Harold Shipman Inquiry. He again appeared for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis – in the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry (an inquiry into the murder of a young man in Feltham Young Offenders Institution). He was Counsel to the Hearings, instructed by the Health and Safety Executive, in the Public Hearings Touching on the Outbreak of Legionella in Barrow in Furness (an inquiry into the worst outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the United Kingdom, in which 7 people died and 172 others contracted the disease). He was junior counsel for the family of Dr David Kelly in theHutton Inquiry.

Jason spent a significant period of time in Northern Ireland, appearing in the Billy Wright Inquiry and the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry. In the former, he lead a team of barristers representing 92 former and serving prison officers and governors that had worked in HMP Maze at the time of the murder of Billy Wright. In the latter, he led a team representing the Northern Ireland Office.

He appeared in the Baha Mousa Inquiry, leading on behalf of a group of soldiers in connection with the death of an Iraqi civilian in Basra in 2003.

He was appointed Counsel to the Al-Sweady Inquiry, an inquiry into allegations that British soldiers unlawfully killed and mistreated Iraqis in 2004.

More recently, he has been instructed in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the Anthony Grainger Inquiry and the Renewable Heat Incentive Inquiry.

He has written a book, called Public Inquiries, for the Oxford University Press, published in July 2011 as part of the OUP’s “Practitioner Series”.

Public inquiries:

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (Junior Counsel for the Commissioner of Police)

The Shipman Inquiry (Counsel for a Government Department)

The Hutton Inquiry (Junior Counsel for the family of Dr David Kelly)

The Mubarek Inquiry (Counsel for the Commissioner of Police)

The Public hearings Touching on the Outbreak of Legionella in Barrow in Furness (Counsel to the hearings)

The Billy Wright Inquiry (Leading Counsel for serving and retired prison officers and governors)

The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry (Leading Counsel for the Northern Ireland Office)

The Baha Mousa Inquiry (Leading Counsel for 15 Soldiers)

The Al-Sweady Inquiry (Second Counsel to the Inquiry)

The Azelle Rodney Inquiry (Leading Counsel for the Commissioner of Police)

The Leveson Inquiry (Counsel for Met Police Director of Public Affairs)

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (Leading Counsel for the Commissioner of Police)

The Undercover Policing Inquiry (Counsel for Thames Valley Police, Surrey Police and Sussex Police)

The Anthony Grainger Inquiry (Counsel to the Inquiry)

 

Immigration:

When on the A Panel of Junior Counsel for the Crown,  appeared in a large number of cases at appellate level concerning immigration, nationality and asylum issues. These often involve issues of statutory construction, whose outcome affects a significant volume of applicants.

Recent Immigration cases:

JK (Democratic Republic of Congo) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] EWCA Civ 831

NH (Vietnam) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWCA Civ 338

AH (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWCA Civ 985

US (Nepal) V Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWCA Civ 208

JH (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWCA Civ 78 [2009] INLR 385; [2009] IMM AR 499

R (on the application of R (Palestine) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWHC 1044 (Admin)

A (Afghanistan) v Entry Clearance Officer (Islamabad) [2009] EWCA Civ 825

AS (Afghanistan) + NV (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] 2 All ER 21; (2011) 1 WLR 385 [2010] IMM AR 284; [2010] INLR 111

R (MS, AR and FW) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWCA Civ 1310 [2010] INLR 489

R (Simons) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWHC 3132 (Admin)

QI (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 614

MD (Ivory Coast) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 726

NA (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 1172

R (Solomon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 3075 (Admin)

Lectures:

Jason provides CPD-accredited lectures to solicitors and others on all aspects of his practice. Recently he has lectured on tactics in defending claims for judicial review, corporate manslaughter, negligence claims against the police service, and the transition to Police and Crime Commissioners under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

Education:

ICSL, 1991-1992

University of Warwick, 1988 – 1991

The Grammar School for Boys, Gillingham, 1981 – 1988

Interests:

Sailing and travel.