5 Essex Court

Robert Harland

Call 2006


Rob is known for his work in inquests and inquiries with a specialism in healthcare. He has acted for Claimants and Defendants in a number of cases including obstetric negligence, wrong or delayed diagnosis, orthopaedic and surgical negligence. He also acts in death in custody cases and has extensive experience working on inquiries including the Mid Stafford Public Inquiry and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Rob is a member of the Attorney General’s B panel and  regularly acts on behalf of the government in judicial reviews at the Upper Tribunal, High Court and Court of Appeal.

Rob acts on behalf of families and other Interested Persons at Article 2 inquests, predominantly into prison and immigration detention deaths but also into healthcare and product liability deaths. Rob regularly appears in high profile and particularly complex Inquests.

Recent cases:

Inquest into the death of Prince Fosu - Acted on behalf of the lead IP, the Home Office, in relation to a death in Harmondsworth Detention Centre. The inquest lasted between 3 February 2020 and 3 March 2020. There were more than 10 IPs, and complex issues relating to pathology. I took the lead role in questioning witnesses. Instructed by the Government Legal Department.

Kevin Smith, Richard Branton, the Cook family - Inquest into the deaths of five individuals who had been killed by faulty gas cookers. Rob acted on behalf of Kevin Smith and Richard Branton to obtain a fiat quashing a previous inquest (reported in front of the Divisional Court as Smith v HM Coroner for Cornwall [2015] EWHC 3475 (Admin). This inquest involved considerations of unlawful killing and Article 2 in a situation where a company had failed to take prompt action in relation to a defect that they knew about and which had gone on to cause the deaths of these individuals and a number of others. Instructed by Leigh Day solicitors.

Inquest into the death of Patrick Morreau - Acted on behalf of the family following a death in UCLH where the family were able to show that the trust policy in relation to NEWS scores for elderly patients did not comply with the national guidelines. Coroner adjourned the inquest after my questioning and required the Trust to reattend with further witness statements. Complex cross examination of senior consultants and the head of nursing. Instructed by Hodge Jones & Allen.

Inquest into the death of Donna Williamson - Acting for CPS in inquest relating to the murder of a woman by her ex-partner. There was an extensive history of domestic violence and the inquest considered whether the actions of the police and CPS in prosecuting the ex-partner in the run up to the death. The inquest raise particular issues for the CPS in relation to the reach of Article 2 and disclosure. Lengthy PFD report issued (though not in relation to CPS). Inquest found systemic failings by the Met in relation to the protection of those who are victims of domestic violence

Inquest into the death of John Tuff - Inquest into the death of a prisoner in HMP Hewell from psychoactive substances after it was the Prison and Probation Ombudsman’s conclusion that there had been systemic failings in the provision of healthcare. Robert was acting for one of the healthcare bodies. No prevention of further death reports were made. Instructed by Capsticks Solicitors