Francesca Whitelaw appointed King’s Counsel

28 December 2022

5 Essex Chambers is delighted to announce that Francesca Whitelaw has been appointed King’s Counsel.

The swearing in ceremony will take place in 2023.

"It is an immense privilege to have been appointed. I am hugely grateful to all those who have helped and encouraged me along the way. I feel particularly fortunate to have spent my career – since pupillage – in such a wonderfully supportive and happy set of Chambers." Francesca commented.

Head of Chambers, Jason Beer KC said: "Frankie's appointment is richly deserved.  We are all enormously proud of her, having watched her career develop at 5 Essex Chambers since pupillage."

Francesca started her legal career as a pupil at 5 Essex Chambers and developed her practice to become a leading specialist in public and police law. She has many years of experience of advising and representing public and private bodies across the country in all areas of civil law including judicial review, civil actions, professional discipline, human rights, inquests and public inquiries. She has been appointed as Junior Counsel to the Crown (Attorney General's A Panel) since 2020, having served on the AG’s B and C Panels since 2012. Francesca is experienced in dealing with the most complex, high profile and sensitive matters. She is ranked in Chambers UK and in The Legal 500 for Police Law and Inquests and Public Inquiries.

Some of Francesca’s recent and current work includes:

  • First Junior Counsel to the Inquiry for the Public Inquiry into the death of Dawn Sturgess (Salisbury Novichok Poisonings).
  • First Junior Counsel to the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Justice for the inquests into the deaths arising out of the terror attack at Fishmongers’ Hall, having acted in the same role for the inquests arising out of the London Bridge and Borough Market Terror Attacks and the Westminster Bridge Terror Attack.
  • Lead Counsel for the Secretary of State for the Home Department for the Streatham Terror Attack inquest.
  • First Junior Counsel to the DHSC in the Infected Blood Inquiry with particular responsibility for UKHSA.
  • Junior Counsel to Jason Beer KC representing the Chief Constable of South Wales Police in the appeal to the Court of Appeal in Bridges, the first case in the world to consider the use of Automated Facial Recognition by Police.
  • Counsel for former soldiers for the inquest into the death of Sean Benton, and the inquest into the death of Cheryl James, both of whom died at the Deepcut Barracks in 1995.

Francesca’s full profile can be viewed here.

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