Richard Hermer QC - Matrix Chambers
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Richard Hermer
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Richard Hermer QC

" A renowned practitioner in the field who is regularly called upon to handle the most significant, high-profile human rights and civil liberties cases in the UK. "

CHAMBERS & PARTNERS 2021
Called: 1993 | Silk: 2009

Richard Hermer’s practice spans public and private law litigation within both domestic and international spheres.  He has been instructed in many of the most high profile cases heard by the English Courts over the past decade.  He was called to the Bar in 1993 and took silk in 2009.  He is recognised in the major legal directories as a leading practitioner in all his practice areas.

Richard’s public international law cases include those raising issues of state immunity such as the leading case of Jones v Saudi Arabia (House of Lords, April 2006), and diplomatic immunity Reyes v Al Maliki (Supreme Court October 2017).  He is currently instructed in cases against a number of foreign governments concerning the application of state immunity and the use of computer ‘malware’.

He has appeared in a range of cases concerning the interrelationship between international law (including international humanitarian law) and domestic law including  Al Waheed v Secretary of State for Defence (Supreme Court, February 2016) and Serdar Mohammed v Secretary of State for Defence (Supreme Court October 2016) and  Al Jedda v Secretary of State for Defence (House of Lords, October 2007) and cases assessing the extra-territorial application of domestic legislation overseas such as Al Skeini v Secretary of State for Defence (House of Lords, April 2007).  Richard has also been instructed in cases concerning the legality of the UN financial sanction framework including the leading case of Ahmed v HM Treasury (Supreme Court, October 2009).  Richard led the claimant team in the case of Belhadj & Others v Jack Straw & Others (Supreme Court, November 2015) concerning liability for extraordinary rendition and the application of the Foreign Act of State Doctrine.

Richard regularly advises on a wide range of PIL issues including international human rights law and international humanitarian law and lectures extensively both in the UK and internationally.

Over the past decade Richard has appeared in many high profile private international law claims brought by foreign claimants in the English courts against multinational corporations for human rights abuses or widespread environmental damage. His cases include Lungowe v Vedanta (Supreme Court January 2019) a group action arising out of environmental damage in Zambia; Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell (Supreme Court June 2020) a group action stemming from oil spills in Nigeria;  AAA v Unilever (Court of Appeal July 2018), a group action concerning alleged failures to protect a workforce from election violence in Kenya; Kalma v African Minerals, a claim brought by Sierra Leone nationals against a mining company alleged to have been complicit in their mistreatment (Court of Appeal, Feb 2018) and Begum v Maran Shipping a case focused on the practice of ‘shipbreaking’ in Bangladesh (Court of Appeal, March 2021).  Richard also represented the claimants in the ‘Trafigura Litigation’, one of the largest group actions in ever brought in England; Bodo Community v Shell a £55million settlement for environmental damage caused by pollution in the Niger Delta; Tabra v Monterrico, a claim brought against a UK domiciled mining company by Peruvian environmental protestors for complicity in torture and Strudhadar v NERC a claim concerning water contamination in Bangladesh (House of Lords, July 2006).

Richard has also appeared in a significant number of private international law claims against government.  These include: the ‘Mau Mau’ litigation which led to the successful settlement of over 3,000 claims brought by individuals mistreated by the Colonial regime in Kenya; the Guantanamo Bay litigation brought by UK citizens and residents held in Cuba including Al Rawi v Security Services (Supreme Court, January 2011); and multiple claims brought against the Ministry of Defence for mistreatment of civilians in Iraq, including on behalf of the family of Baha Mousa and also two successful trials brought on behalf of four Iraqi civilians alleging mistreatment and unlawful detention (Alseran v MoD, High Court, December 2017). He is currently acting for Abu Zubaydah a detainee at Guantanamo Bay who alleges that the UK Security Services were complicit in his torture.  Richard also acted on behalf of injured servicemen successfully challenging the principle of combat immunity Smith v Ministry of Defence (Supreme Court, February 2013).

Richard’s domestic practice is evenly split between public law and private law including high profile claims against public authorities and private bodies.

Richard has considerable experience of domestic Group Litigation.  He is currently acting for over 800 victims of the Grenfell Tower Disaster.  He acted for military veterans subject to medical experiments at Porton Down and on behalf of children unlawfully held in immigration detention centres.  He led the ‘Opiate Dependent Prisoner Litigation’, a group action against the Home Office on behalf of several hundred prisoners concerning the treatment of their drug dependence.

Richard has appeared in many cases concerning allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct.  He acted for the estate of Derek Bentley (sentenced to death and posthumously pardoned), in the fatal police shooting of James Ashley (House of Lords, February 2008), and in the civil claim arising out of the shooting of Mark Duggan.  Richard appeared for the Appellant in SXH v Crown Prosecution Service a challenge to the prosecution of asylum applicants (Supreme Court July 2016) and in El Gizouli concerning the Home Secretary’s decision to provide Mutual Legal Assistance to the United States without a death penalty assurance (Supreme Court, March 2020).  His current cases include a challenge to police powers to detain children (Archer v Met Police listed Court of Appeal May 2021).

Recent public law claims include BF(Eritrea), a challenge to age assessments in the immigration detention system (Supreme Court, March 2021); PLP v Lord Chancellor a challenge to the adequacy of legal aid (Court of Appeal, March 2016); C v Secretary of State for Justice a successful challenge to the policy of restraining children in detention (Court of Appeal in July 2008.  Richard is currently acting in two judicial reviews arising out of allegations that UK Special Forces operated a shoot to kill policy in Afghanistan.

Richard has also appeared in a number of cases concerning the scope of the State’s obligations to vulnerable people under the Human Rights Act, for example Van Colle v Chief Constable of Herfordshire (House of Lords, July 2008) and Savage v South Essex NHS Partnership (House of Lords, December 2008).  He previously represented the family of Victoria Climbie.  Richard intervened for Liberty in the recent case concerning the deprivation of Shamina Begum’s citizenship (Supreme Court, February 2021).

Richard has been instructed in a number of Inquests.  In December 2020 he acted for the family of Ella Kissi Debrah which culminated in the first verdict linking a death to air pollution.   He has acted in Inquests raising systemic failings in the custodial system including into the series of deaths of Irish men in Brixton prison, the series of deaths of vulnerable women at Stayl prison, and the case of Adam Rickwood, the youngest person to die in custody in the modern era;

Richard is a Deputy High Court Judge assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and the Administrative Court.

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

Richard is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"An excellent advocate."

"He's a clear and confident advocate." "He's an excellent advocate and incredibly strategic."

"He has tactical nous, extremely strong advocacy and extensive experience."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"Undoubtedly a leader in his field, his strategic instincts are second to none and his ability to take on the might of corporate defendants is unparalleled."

"Extraordinary ability to grasp complex points of law."

Legal 500 2021

"He's very well respected by the court and extremely pleasant to work with despite the huge workload that he has at any time. His advocacy and strategic sense are brilliant." "He was really on top of the material and did a brilliant job."

"Richard Hermer is the leading light for civil claims against corporations. He's respected by the court, very pleasant to work with and his advocacy and strategic senses are brilliant." "Richard has a huge amount of appellate advocacy experience. He's fantastic at managing the judges."

"He is very good at identifying key points, exceptional on his feet and performs well under pressure."

"Totally approachable, bright and a good team player."

"Knows how to win difficult cases and has good instincts for how things will go. Committed, and great to work with."

(Chambers & Partners 2020)

"An exceptionally keen strategic litigation sense. An ability to relate to clients, experts, other lawyers (on the same and opposing sides) and judges alike. He provides very sound strategic advice and is also an exceptional advocate, who is light and fast on his feet and reads a court well."

(Legal 500 2020)
Matrix Chambers
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+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Richard Hermer
Called: 1993 | Silk: 2009

" A renowned practitioner in the field who is regularly called upon to handle the most significant, high-profile human rights and civil liberties cases in the UK. "

CHAMBERS & PARTNERS 2021

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources
  • Investigations
  • International arbitration
  • Public International Law
  • Public Law
  • Public Law: Information, Data and Privacy
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Commercial Public Law

Richard Hermer QC

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

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


Richard Hermer’s practice spans public and private law litigation within both domestic and international spheres.  He has been instructed in many of the most high profile cases heard by the English Courts over the past decade.  He was called to the Bar in 1993 and took silk in 2009.  He is recognised in the major legal directories as a leading practitioner in all his practice areas.

Public International Law

Richard’s public international law cases include those raising issues of state immunity such as the leading case of Jones v Saudi Arabia (House of Lords, April 2006), and diplomatic immunity Reyes v Al Maliki (Supreme Court October 2017).  He is currently instructed in cases against a number of foreign governments concerning the application of state immunity and the use of computer ‘malware’. He has appeared in a range of cases concerning the interrelationship between international law (including international humanitarian law) and domestic law including  Al Waheed v Secretary of State for Defence (Supreme Court, February 2016) and Serdar Mohammed v Secretary of State for Defence (Supreme Court October 2016) and  Al Jedda v Secretary of State for Defence (House of Lords, October 2007) and cases assessing the extra-territorial application of domestic legislation overseas such as Al Skeini v Secretary of State for Defence (House of Lords, April 2007).  Richard has also been instructed in cases concerning the legality of the UN financial sanction framework including the leading case of Ahmed v HM Treasury (Supreme Court, October 2009).  Richard led the claimant team in the case of Belhadj & Others v Jack Straw & Others (Supreme Court, November 2015) concerning liability for extraordinary rendition and the application of the Foreign Act of State Doctrine. Richard regularly advises on a wide range of PIL issues including international human rights law and international humanitarian law and lectures extensively both in the UK and internationally.

Private International Law

Over the past decade Richard has appeared in many high profile private international law claims brought by foreign claimants in the English courts against multinational corporations for human rights abuses or widespread environmental damage. His cases include Lungowe v Vedanta (Supreme Court January 2019) a group action arising out of environmental damage in Zambia; Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell (Supreme Court June 2020) a group action stemming from oil spills in Nigeria;  AAA v Unilever (Court of Appeal July 2018), a group action concerning alleged failures to protect a workforce from election violence in Kenya; Kalma v African Minerals, a claim brought by Sierra Leone nationals against a mining company alleged to have been complicit in their mistreatment (Court of Appeal, Feb 2018) and Begum v Maran Shipping a case focused on the practice of ‘shipbreaking’ in Bangladesh (Court of Appeal, March 2021).  Richard also represented the claimants in the ‘Trafigura Litigation’, one of the largest group actions in ever brought in England; Bodo Community v Shell a £55million settlement for environmental damage caused by pollution in the Niger Delta; Tabra v Monterrico, a claim brought against a UK domiciled mining company by Peruvian environmental protestors for complicity in torture and Strudhadar v NERC a claim concerning water contamination in Bangladesh (House of Lords, July 2006). Richard has also appeared in a significant number of private international law claims against government.  These include: the ‘Mau Mau’ litigation which led to the successful settlement of over 3,000 claims brought by individuals mistreated by the Colonial regime in Kenya; the Guantanamo Bay litigation brought by UK citizens and residents held in Cuba including Al Rawi v Security Services (Supreme Court, January 2011); and multiple claims brought against the Ministry of Defence for mistreatment of civilians in Iraq, including on behalf of the family of Baha Mousa and also two successful trials brought on behalf of four Iraqi civilians alleging mistreatment and unlawful detention (Alseran v MoD, High Court, December 2017). He is currently acting for Abu Zubaydah a detainee at Guantanamo Bay who alleges that the UK Security Services were complicit in his torture.  Richard also acted on behalf of injured servicemen successfully challenging the principle of combat immunity Smith v Ministry of Defence (Supreme Court, February 2013).

Domestic Public Law and Private Law

Richard’s domestic practice is evenly split between public law and private law including high profile claims against public authorities and private bodies. Richard has considerable experience of domestic Group Litigation.  He is currently acting for over 800 victims of the Grenfell Tower Disaster.  He acted for military veterans subject to medical experiments at Porton Down and on behalf of children unlawfully held in immigration detention centres.  He led the ‘Opiate Dependent Prisoner Litigation’, a group action against the Home Office on behalf of several hundred prisoners concerning the treatment of their drug dependence. Richard has appeared in many cases concerning allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct.  He acted for the estate of Derek Bentley (sentenced to death and posthumously pardoned), in the fatal police shooting of James Ashley (House of Lords, February 2008), and in the civil claim arising out of the shooting of Mark Duggan.  Richard appeared for the Appellant in SXH v Crown Prosecution Service a challenge to the prosecution of asylum applicants (Supreme Court July 2016) and in El Gizouli concerning the Home Secretary’s decision to provide Mutual Legal Assistance to the United States without a death penalty assurance (Supreme Court, March 2020).  His current cases include a challenge to police powers to detain children (Archer v Met Police listed Court of Appeal May 2021). Recent public law claims include BF(Eritrea), a challenge to age assessments in the immigration detention system (Supreme Court, March 2021); PLP v Lord Chancellor a challenge to the adequacy of legal aid (Court of Appeal, March 2016); C v Secretary of State for Justice a successful challenge to the policy of restraining children in detention (Court of Appeal in July 2008.  Richard is currently acting in two judicial reviews arising out of allegations that UK Special Forces operated a shoot to kill policy in Afghanistan. Richard has also appeared in a number of cases concerning the scope of the State’s obligations to vulnerable people under the Human Rights Act, for example Van Colle v Chief Constable of Herfordshire (House of Lords, July 2008) and Savage v South Essex NHS Partnership (House of Lords, December 2008).  He previously represented the family of Victoria Climbie.  Richard intervened for Liberty in the recent case concerning the deprivation of Shamina Begum’s citizenship (Supreme Court, February 2021). Richard has been instructed in a number of Inquests.  In December 2020 he acted for the family of Ella Kissi Debrah which culminated in the first verdict linking a death to air pollution.   He has acted in Inquests raising systemic failings in the custodial system including into the series of deaths of Irish men in Brixton prison, the series of deaths of vulnerable women at Stayl prison, and the case of Adam Rickwood, the youngest person to die in custody in the modern era;

Other Relevant Information

Richard is a Deputy High Court Judge assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and the Administrative Court.
Richard's Privacy Notice

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


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"An excellent advocate."

"He's a clear and confident advocate." "He's an excellent advocate and incredibly strategic."

"He has tactical nous, extremely strong advocacy and extensive experience."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"Undoubtedly a leader in his field, his strategic instincts are second to none and his ability to take on the might of corporate defendants is unparalleled."

"Extraordinary ability to grasp complex points of law."

Legal 500 2021

"He's very well respected by the court and extremely pleasant to work with despite the huge workload that he has at any time. His advocacy and strategic sense are brilliant." "He was really on top of the material and did a brilliant job."

"Richard Hermer is the leading light for civil claims against corporations. He's respected by the court, very pleasant to work with and his advocacy and strategic senses are brilliant." "Richard has a huge amount of appellate advocacy experience. He's fantastic at managing the judges."

"He is very good at identifying key points, exceptional on his feet and performs well under pressure."

"Totally approachable, bright and a good team player."

"Knows how to win difficult cases and has good instincts for how things will go. Committed, and great to work with."

(Chambers & Partners 2020)

"An exceptionally keen strategic litigation sense. An ability to relate to clients, experts, other lawyers (on the same and opposing sides) and judges alike. He provides very sound strategic advice and is also an exceptional advocate, who is light and fast on his feet and reads a court well."

(Legal 500 2020)