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Kirsten joined Matrix in October 2012, following the successful completion of her traineeship. She practices predominantly in media and public law.

Media and Information Law

Approximately half of Kirsten’s practice comprises media and information law. She has a particular interest in cases with both a media and public law component. She acts regularly for both Claimants and Defendants in defamation, data protection, and privacy related matters. In addition, Kirsten has considerable experience of injunctive relief, particularly in the context of blackmail threats.  She has also successfully acted on behalf of various media organisations challenging the imposition of reporting restrictions and anonymity orders. Notable recent cases include:

  • Construction Industry Blacklisting Vetting Litigation (2016)
    Acted for the GMB Claimant group along with Guy Vassall Adams QC and Ben Silverstone. Over 700 claimants brought claims in respect of the loss and damage resulting from the use of information about them held on these lists. Among the Defendants were Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska UK and VINCI. Claims were brought in conspiracy and defamation, and for breach of confidence, misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. In the course of the litigation the Defendants made wide-ranging admissions of liability in respect of their use of the lists, and issued apologies. Substantial sums were agreed in the individual claims by way of settlement. The 11-week trial of the Lead Claims was due to start on 9 May 2016. It had been recognised by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 most significant cases of 2016.
  • Submissions on behalf of various media organisations to the Pitchford Inquiry (2016)
    Drafted submissions to the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing on the approach to be taken to anonymity orders in respect of various witnesses and interested persons.
  • Sarah Hannon and Daniel Dufour v News Group Newspapers Ltd (NGN) and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2015] EMLR 1
    Acted with Hugh Tomlinson QC in successfully resisting a strike out application brought by the Defendant. The Defendants sought to allege that no action could found in misuse of private information or breach of confidence where the claim was wholly or substantially one for damage to reputation. Mr Justice Mann refused the applications, holding inter alia that the defendants had failed to establish the correctness of their central proposition, namely that reputation could only be protected by a claim in defamation, with sufficient clarity to merit an order striking out the claims. The authorities established no more than that where the real cause of action was defamation, other causes of action could not be invoked in order to obtain a remedy which was not open in defamation. The Court recognised that this was an important and developing area of law.

Public Law

Kirsten has a broad public law practice, encompassing a wide range of areas. She has particular experience in claims involving breaches of Articles 2 and 3. She acted for the Claimants in Daniel v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2016] 4 WLR 32 and successfully argued for the applicability of the Article 2 operational duty to healthcare professionals delivering life-saving treatment in a detention setting. The case also expands the notion of “victim” status in Article 2 claims brought by those without a formal legal relationship to the deceased.

Kirsten frequently acts for regulatory bodies, including the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Kirsten is on the IPCC’s list of approved counsel and recently acted for them (as an Interested Party) in R(Lovell) v MPS, in which the Claimants successfully obtained permission to judicially review the Metropolitan Police’s decision to permit an officer facing criminal charges to retire from the force, which would have had the effect of removing the prospect of the gross misconduct charges recommended by the IPCC.  Kirsten is a member of ALBA.

Election Law

Notable cases include:

  • Ireland v Dorries [2016] 1 W.L.R. 571
    Led by Anthony Hudson QC acting for the petitioner presenting an election petition seeking a determination that the respondent’s (Nadine Dorries MP) election as a Member of Parliament was void as a result of conduct during the election campaign.
  • Ian Jones v The Labour Party [2016] EWHC 866 (QB)
    Led by Helen Mountfield QC. Successfully obtained an order for urgent interim relief brought ex parte on notice, to lift the claimant Mr Jones’ suspension from holding office in or representing the Labour Party.

Inquests and Inquires

Kirsten is regularly instructed to act in inquests on behalf of bereaved families. She has experience of complex and lengthy inquests, often with multiple interested parties.

Notable recent cases include:

  • Inquest touching upon the death of Anthony McManus (September 2016)
    Acted for the family of a man detained under the Mental Health Act under the care of the Priory. The jury concluded that there had been failures on the part of nursing staff to carry out the required observations on the night of Anthony’s death and that there had been an “excessive” delay in calling for an ambulance and in starting CPR once Anthony was found hanging. The Coroner has also produced a Prevention of Future Deaths Report in light of the failures on the part of the Priory to ensure that staff were carrying out meaningful observations of patients.
  • Inquest touching upon the death of Abbi McAllister (January 2016)
    Represented the family of a 19 year old woman detained under the Mental Health Act. In the weeks leading up to Abbi’s death she had attempted to take her own life a number of times and had self-harmed regularly. Twice in the two months before her death police had found Abbi threatening to jump from car parks in Birmingham and took her to hospital. Abbi told staff at Mary Seacole House a number of times that she intended to end her life by jumping from a building. Despite these incidents Abbi was sent for an off-site appointment on 16 April 2015, escorted by a health care assistant and a student nurse, rather than a fully-qualified member of nursing staff. Following the appointment Abbi was allowed to get into a taxi on her own and abscond.  Staff then took over an hour to contact police and report Abbi as missing, despite Trust policy dictating this should have been done immediately. Abbi took the taxi to the car park where she fell from the sixth floor and later died of her injuries. The jury found multiple failings and concluded that neglect contributed to Abbi’s death.
  • Inquest touching upon the death of Rebecca Jones (September 2015)
    Represented the family of a 23 year old woman detained under the Mental Health Act having been brought in by police officers who feared she was a suicide risk. Ms Jones was brought to Lister Hospital as a ‘place of safety’. The jury concluded that there was inadequate observation by a nurse who had worked a double shift at a private hospital that day, which led to Ms Jones going missing from the unit. She was found several hours later having fallen from a roof. The jury founded that neglect contributed to her death.
  • Inquest touching upon the death of Derek Richards (March 2015)
    Represented family at 5 day inquest into death of a 39 year old man who died while sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Bethlem Royal Hospital. The jury found that the death of Derek Richards, who died on 19th May 2012 of a methadone and diazepam overdose, followed multiple failures by the hospital including inadequate training, lack of communication, poor record keeping and incorrect prescribing of medication.

Education and Qualifications

LLM (International Legal Studies) Georgetown University (2008) (highest mark in year)
LLB (hons) Durham University (2007)

Professional Memberships

INQUEST
ALBA

Kirsten accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.

Articles and Downloads

Privacy Notice

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

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS
WHAT THEY SAY:

“An incredible advocate who is very, very good with clients.”

Chambers & Partners, 2018
(Inquests and Public Inquiries, Up and Coming)