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MEET:

Kate Boakes

“An extraordinary lawyer who analytically is absolutely first rate”
Chambers & Partners, 2022

Called: 2014

Kate is described in the legal directories as “an extraordinary lawyer who analytically is absolutely first rate”, “a first class rising star”, and “very hardworking”, with “a very nice court presence” and “a maturity beyond her year of call”.

Most of her work is in the field of private international law, primarily acting in claims arising out of human rights abuses or environmental harm. She also acts in domestic cases, typically in claims concerning serious injury, disease, or product liability. Many of her cases are group actions, and she enjoys working on large-scale litigation as part of a team.

 

In international group actions, Kate has represented clients from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Malawi, Kenya, and Zambia in claims against multinational corporations arising out of environmental damage and human rights abuses. She has also acted in cross-border claims brought against the Government. Further details are provided under “Human Rights” and “Environment” below.

She also acts in cross-border injury claims concerning individual claimants, including cases arising out of aviation disasters.

Kate has considerable experience of representing claimants in civil claims arising out of human rights abuses. Most of her cases in this area have an international dimension.

  • Various Claimants v British American Tobacco & Imperial Tobacco – Group litigation brought by more than 7,000 Malawian tobacco farmers against two tobacco companies. Claims brought for negligence, conversion, and unjust enrichment.
  • Rohingya people v Facebook – Group litigation brought by and on behalf of victims of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, in respect of Facebook’s alleged role in facilitating hate speech and offline violence.
  • Daniel Morgan v Metropolitan Police – Acting in the civil claim arising out of the murder of Daniel Morgan and subsequent police investigation.
  • Various Claimants v Camellia Plc & Linton Park Plc – Claims brought by 79 Kenyan claimants against Camellia Plc and two related English companies for their alleged failure to prevent human rights abuses, including rape, beatings and death, at their subsidiary’s avocado farm in Kenya. Settled in February 2021.
  • Rahmatullah v MoD & FCO – Acting for Mr Rahmatullah in his claim against the Government for its alleged involvement in his capture in Iraq in 2004 and extraordinary rendition to Bagram, where he was held for 10 years and tortured. Settled in November 2019.
  • Vilca & Ors v Xstrata Plc & Xstrata Tintaya SA – Acting for 22 Peruvian environmental protestors who brought claims for serious injuries and mistreatment sustained during demonstrations at an Andean copper mine. Appeared in five reported decisions, including a limitation trial which concluded in November 2017.

Kate acts in international group claims arising out of mass environmental contamination.

  • Various Claimants v RDS & SPDC of Nigeria – Representing two Nigerian communities in litigation against the Shell group’s parent company and its Nigerian subsidiary, arising out of alleged systemic and ongoing pollution from Shell’s operations.
  • Bravo & Ors v Amerisur Resources Plc – Acting for Colombian campesinos who allege that their local waterways have been contaminated by oil emanating from Amerisur’s operations.
  • Lungowe v Vedanta Resources Plc – Acting for more than 2,000 Claimants in group litigation arising out of pollution of waterways and land surrounding a copper mine in Zambia. Settled in January 2021.

Kate has considerable experience of acting in disease claims, particularly those arising out of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. She has been instructed in test litigation in this area by claimants and insurers.

  • Aviva Insurance Ltd v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2022] EWCA Civ 15 – Acting for insurers of asbestos risks at first instance and on appeal in judicial review proceedings concerning the compatibility of the CRU recovery scheme with their A1P1 rights.
  • Mather v Ministry of Defence – Acting for a former RAF painter who alleged that his multiple sclerosis had been caused by exposure to organic solvents. Multi-million pound settlement reached on final day of trial in December 2021.
  • Head v Culver Heating Co Limited [2021] EWCA Civ 34 – Acting at first instance and on appeal for a very successful businessman who contracted mesothelioma and brought a claim for his loss of income in the “lost years”. Head of loss assessed at nil at trial. Decision reversed on appeal and subsequently re-assessed at £2.4 million in May 2021. PTA application exceptionally re-opened under CPR 52.30.

Kate regularly acts in sexual abuse cases, in civil actions as well as claims under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme. She has been instructed in claims against schools, children’s homes, local authorities, and youth organisations, in addition to complex cross-border cases.

  • Various Claimants v PGI Group Ltd – Claims brought by 31 Malawian women who allege they were raped, assaulted and sexually harassed while working on tea plantations. Claims brought in negligence against English parent company.
  • GDH & PAB v Secretary of State for the Department of Health – Acting for two individuals who were migrated to Southern Rhodesia and Australia in the 1950s pursuant to the Government’s policy of permitting the migration of unaccompanied child migrants from the UK to commonwealth countries after the Second World War. They allegedly suffered sexual abuse and general mistreatment in the institutions to which they were migrated. Settled January 2021.
  • Historic sexual abuse claims brought by multiple claimants arising out of abuse by the same schoolteacher.
  • Claim brought by a police officer arising out of repeated sexual assaults by a senior colleague.
  • Appeal of the CICA’s rejection of a childhood sexual abuse victim’s claim which was brought more than 20
    years out of time.
  • Appeal of the CICA’s rejection of a claim brought by a victim of marital rape.

Kate is a group litigation specialist. She regularly acts in complex international group litigation against UK multinationals, typically arising out of human rights abuses or environmental harm, as detailed above.

She also acts in domestic group actions. She is presently instructed in the NOx emissions claims, acting in various group claims against leading vehicle manufacturers concerning the alleged use of illegal defeat devices, and the Grenfell Tower fire litigation, representing the firefighter claimant group.

Aviva Insurance Ltd v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2022] EWCA Civ 15. Led by Michael Kent QC. Acting for insurers at first instance and on appeal in judicial review proceedings. Whether compensation recovery scheme operated pursuant to the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997 was incompatible with A1P1 insofar as it applied to asbestos-related diseases.

Thomas v PGI Group Ltd [2021] EWHC 2776 (QB). Led by Richard Hermer QC and Benjamin Williams QC. Application for a costs capping order in claims brought by 31 Malawian women who alleged that they had been raped, assaulted, or harassed while working on tea plantations.

Josiya v British American Tobacco Plc [2021] EWHC 1743 (QB). Led by Richard Hermer QC and Tamara Oppenheimer QC. Application to strike out group litigation brought against tobacco companies by Malawian tobacco farmers.

Mather v Ministry of Defence [2021] EWHC 811 (QB). Led by Michael Rawlinson QC. Application for causation to be heard as a preliminary issue in a case brought by a former RAF painter who alleged that his multiple sclerosis had been caused by exposure to organic solvents.

Head v Culver Heating Co Limited [2021] EWCA Civ 34. Led by Harry Steinberg QC. Acting at first instance and on appeal for a very successful businessman who contracted mesothelioma and brought a claim for his loss of income in the “lost years”. Head of loss assessed at nil at trial. Decision reversed on appeal and subsequently re-assessed at £2.4 million. PTA application exceptionally re-opened under CPR 52.30.

Lungowe v Vedanta Resources Plc [2020] EWHC 749 (TCC). Led by Richard Hermer QC. Acting for more than 2,000 Claimants in group litigation arising out of pollution of waterways and land surrounding a copper mine in Zambia. Suitability and scope of a GLO in circumstances where two claimant groups were represented by separate legal teams and brought proceedings at different stages of development raising different factual issues.

Passey v Kevin Sears Carpentry Ltd [2018] 12 WLUK 656. Acting as sole counsel for the Defendant at trial.
Successfully established that the Claimant had brought a fraudulent claim based on a fictitious accident.

Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2018] EWHC 27 (QB). Led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC. Acting for 22 Peruvian environmental protestors who brought claims for serious injuries and mistreatment sustained during demonstrations at an Andean copper mine. Preliminary trial in respect of Peruvian law issues and limitation.

Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2017] EWHC 2096 (QB). Led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC. Application to plead a limitation defence 12 King’s Bench Walk, Temple, London EC4Y 7EL T: 020 7583 0811 E: chambers@12kbw.co.uk DX: 1037 Chancery Lane for the first time weeks before trial.

Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2017] EWHC 1582 (QB). Led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC. Application to instruct a different foreign law expert. Circumstances in which permission to change expert would be contingent on the disclosure of previous expert’s report.

Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2016] EWHC 2757 (QB). Led by Harry Steinberg QC. Application to rely on an expert in the field of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Consideration of the principles to be applied when a party seeks to rely on an expert in a novel field of expertise.

Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2016] EWHC 1824 (QB). Led by Charles Béar QC. Application for a “re-review” of the Defendant’s disclosure by an independent lawyer in circumstances where there were concerns about the integrity of the disclosure process.

2012-2014: GDL & BPTC, City University Law School

2006-2010: BA (Hons) Modern Languages, Oxford University

Asbestos: Law & Litigation, 1st Ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2019): chapter on “Damages” co-authored with Harry Steinberg QC.

Accidents Abroad (2018) Butterworths Personal Injury Litigation Service: author of the Applicable Law chapter.

Kate is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, she needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matters in respect of which she is instructed. To view Kate’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

"An extraordinary lawyer who analytically is absolutely first rate."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

"She is very knowledgeable, quick off the mark and gives sound advice."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

"A fantastic barrister who is able to quickly get to grips with a subject matter and provide valuable insight."

Legal 500, 2022
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Called: 2014

“An extraordinary lawyer who analytically is absolutely first rate” Chambers & Partners, 2022

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Private International Law
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources

Kate Boakes

Contact Kate: kateboakes@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Kate's Practice Team (Team X): TeamX@matrixlaw.co.uk


Kate is described in the legal directories as “an extraordinary lawyer who analytically is absolutely first rate”, “a first class rising star”, and “very hardworking”, with “a very nice court presence” and “a maturity beyond her year of call”.

Most of her work is in the field of private international law, primarily acting in claims arising out of human rights abuses or environmental harm. She also acts in domestic cases, typically in claims concerning serious injury, disease, or product liability. Many of her cases are group actions, and she enjoys working on large-scale litigation as part of a team.

 

International

In international group actions, Kate has represented clients from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Malawi, Kenya, and Zambia in claims against multinational corporations arising out of environmental damage and human rights abuses. She has also acted in cross-border claims brought against the Government. Further details are provided under “Human Rights” and “Environment” below. She also acts in cross-border injury claims concerning individual claimants, including cases arising out of aviation disasters.

Human Rights

Kate has considerable experience of representing claimants in civil claims arising out of human rights abuses. Most of her cases in this area have an international dimension. Various Claimants v British American Tobacco & Imperial Tobacco – Group litigation brought by more than 7,000 Malawian tobacco farmers against two tobacco companies. Claims brought for negligence, conversion, and unjust enrichment. Rohingya people v Facebook – Group litigation brought by and on behalf of victims of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, in respect of Facebook’s alleged role in facilitating hate speech and offline violence. Daniel Morgan v Metropolitan Police – Acting in the civil claim arising out of the murder of Daniel Morgan and subsequent police investigation. Various Claimants v Camellia Plc & Linton Park Plc – Claims brought by 79 Kenyan claimants against Camellia Plc and two related English companies for their alleged failure to prevent human rights abuses, including rape, beatings and death, at their subsidiary’s avocado farm in Kenya. Settled in February 2021. Rahmatullah v MoD & FCO – Acting for Mr Rahmatullah in his claim against the Government for its alleged involvement in his capture in Iraq in 2004 and extraordinary rendition to Bagram, where he was held for 10 years and tortured. Settled in November 2019. Vilca & Ors v Xstrata Plc & Xstrata Tintaya SA – Acting for 22 Peruvian environmental protestors who brought claims for serious injuries and mistreatment sustained during demonstrations at an Andean copper mine. Appeared in five reported decisions, including a limitation trial which concluded in November 2017.

Environment

Kate acts in international group claims arising out of mass environmental contamination. Various Claimants v RDS & SPDC of Nigeria – Representing two Nigerian communities in litigation against the Shell group’s parent company and its Nigerian subsidiary, arising out of alleged systemic and ongoing pollution from Shell’s operations. Bravo & Ors v Amerisur Resources Plc – Acting for Colombian campesinos who allege that their local waterways have been contaminated by oil emanating from Amerisur’s operations. Lungowe v Vedanta Resources Plc – Acting for more than 2,000 Claimants in group litigation arising out of pollution of waterways and land surrounding a copper mine in Zambia. Settled in January 2021.

Disease

Kate has considerable experience of acting in disease claims, particularly those arising out of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. She has been instructed in test litigation in this area by claimants and insurers. Aviva Insurance Ltd v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2022] EWCA Civ 15 – Acting for insurers of asbestos risks at first instance and on appeal in judicial review proceedings concerning the compatibility of the CRU recovery scheme with their A1P1 rights. Mather v Ministry of Defence – Acting for a former RAF painter who alleged that his multiple sclerosis had been caused by exposure to organic solvents. Multi-million pound settlement reached on final day of trial in December 2021. Head v Culver Heating Co Limited [2021] EWCA Civ 34 – Acting at first instance and on appeal for a very successful businessman who contracted mesothelioma and brought a claim for his loss of income in the “lost years”. Head of loss assessed at nil at trial. Decision reversed on appeal and subsequently re-assessed at £2.4 million in May 2021. PTA application exceptionally re-opened under CPR 52.30.

Sexual Abuse

Kate regularly acts in sexual abuse cases, in civil actions as well as claims under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme. She has been instructed in claims against schools, children’s homes, local authorities, and youth organisations, in addition to complex cross-border cases. Various Claimants v PGI Group Ltd – Claims brought by 31 Malawian women who allege they were raped, assaulted and sexually harassed while working on tea plantations. Claims brought in negligence against English parent company. GDH & PAB v Secretary of State for the Department of Health – Acting for two individuals who were migrated to Southern Rhodesia and Australia in the 1950s pursuant to the Government’s policy of permitting the migration of unaccompanied child migrants from the UK to commonwealth countries after the Second World War. They allegedly suffered sexual abuse and general mistreatment in the institutions to which they were migrated. Settled January 2021. Historic sexual abuse claims brought by multiple claimants arising out of abuse by the same schoolteacher. Claim brought by a police officer arising out of repeated sexual assaults by a senior colleague. Appeal of the CICA’s rejection of a childhood sexual abuse victim’s claim which was brought more than 20 years out of time. Appeal of the CICA’s rejection of a claim brought by a victim of marital rape.

Group Litigation

Kate is a group litigation specialist. She regularly acts in complex international group litigation against UK multinationals, typically arising out of human rights abuses or environmental harm, as detailed above. She also acts in domestic group actions. She is presently instructed in the NOx emissions claims, acting in various group claims against leading vehicle manufacturers concerning the alleged use of illegal defeat devices, and the Grenfell Tower fire litigation, representing the firefighter claimant group.

Reported Cases

Aviva Insurance Ltd v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2022] EWCA Civ 15. Led by Michael Kent QC. Acting for insurers at first instance and on appeal in judicial review proceedings. Whether compensation recovery scheme operated pursuant to the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997 was incompatible with A1P1 insofar as it applied to asbestos-related diseases. Thomas v PGI Group Ltd [2021] EWHC 2776 (QB). Led by Richard Hermer QC and Benjamin Williams QC. Application for a costs capping order in claims brought by 31 Malawian women who alleged that they had been raped, assaulted, or harassed while working on tea plantations. Josiya v British American Tobacco Plc [2021] EWHC 1743 (QB). Led by Richard Hermer QC and Tamara Oppenheimer QC. Application to strike out group litigation brought against tobacco companies by Malawian tobacco farmers. Mather v Ministry of Defence [2021] EWHC 811 (QB). Led by Michael Rawlinson QC. Application for causation to be heard as a preliminary issue in a case brought by a former RAF painter who alleged that his multiple sclerosis had been caused by exposure to organic solvents. Head v Culver Heating Co Limited [2021] EWCA Civ 34. Led by Harry Steinberg QC. Acting at first instance and on appeal for a very successful businessman who contracted mesothelioma and brought a claim for his loss of income in the “lost years”. Head of loss assessed at nil at trial. Decision reversed on appeal and subsequently re-assessed at £2.4 million. PTA application exceptionally re-opened under CPR 52.30. Lungowe v Vedanta Resources Plc [2020] EWHC 749 (TCC). Led by Richard Hermer QC. Acting for more than 2,000 Claimants in group litigation arising out of pollution of waterways and land surrounding a copper mine in Zambia. Suitability and scope of a GLO in circumstances where two claimant groups were represented by separate legal teams and brought proceedings at different stages of development raising different factual issues. Passey v Kevin Sears Carpentry Ltd [2018] 12 WLUK 656. Acting as sole counsel for the Defendant at trial. Successfully established that the Claimant had brought a fraudulent claim based on a fictitious accident. Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2018] EWHC 27 (QB). Led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC. Acting for 22 Peruvian environmental protestors who brought claims for serious injuries and mistreatment sustained during demonstrations at an Andean copper mine. Preliminary trial in respect of Peruvian law issues and limitation. Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2017] EWHC 2096 (QB). Led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC. Application to plead a limitation defence 12 King’s Bench Walk, Temple, London EC4Y 7EL T: 020 7583 0811 E: chambers@12kbw.co.uk DX: 1037 Chancery Lane for the first time weeks before trial. Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2017] EWHC 1582 (QB). Led by Phillippa Kaufmann QC. Application to instruct a different foreign law expert. Circumstances in which permission to change expert would be contingent on the disclosure of previous expert’s report. Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2016] EWHC 2757 (QB). Led by Harry Steinberg QC. Application to rely on an expert in the field of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Consideration of the principles to be applied when a party seeks to rely on an expert in a novel field of expertise. Vilca v Xstrata Ltd [2016] EWHC 1824 (QB). Led by Charles Béar QC. Application for a “re-review” of the Defendant’s disclosure by an independent lawyer in circumstances where there were concerns about the integrity of the disclosure process.

Qualifications

2012-2014: GDL & BPTC, City University Law School 2006-2010: BA (Hons) Modern Languages, Oxford University

Publications

Asbestos: Law & Litigation, 1st Ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2019): chapter on “Damages” co-authored with Harry Steinberg QC. Accidents Abroad (2018) Butterworths Personal Injury Litigation Service: author of the Applicable Law chapter.
Kate's Privacy Notice

Kate is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, she needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matters in respect of which she is instructed. To view Kate’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


"An extraordinary lawyer who analytically is absolutely first rate."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

"She is very knowledgeable, quick off the mark and gives sound advice."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

"A fantastic barrister who is able to quickly get to grips with a subject matter and provide valuable insight."

Legal 500, 2022