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MEET:

Robbie Stern

Robbie joined Matrix in October 2021 following the successful completion of his traineeship.

Called: 2017

Robbie joined Matrix in October 2021.

He has a broad human rights-based practice in public law; criminal law; inquests and inquiries; and media and information law. Much of his work across these areas focusses on extradition and cross-border crime; human trafficking; protest; data rights; and policing.

In his first two years in practice, he has been instructed at all levels up to the UK Supreme Court.

Robbie has experience acting for claimants in public law and human rights matters and accepts instructions across the full range. He has a particular interest in cases at the intersection of public law and criminal justice.

Recent work includes:

Protest law

  • In re: Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Northern Ireland) Bill [2022] UKSC 32: Acted for the intervener JUSTICE in the first reference by the Attorney General of Northern Ireland to the UK Supreme Court, and the leading case on the defence of proportionality in protest cases (led by Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh KC). Press coverage here.
  • Shell v Persons Unknown: Acted (unled) for Extinction Rebellion in the High Court, contesting the terms of “persons unknown” injunctions obtained by Shell against environmental protestors at its London headquarters and its regional refineries.

Immigration, asylum and human trafficking

  • Robbie is currently instructed for Anti-Slavery International, seeking to intervene in the lead cases in the Public Order Disqualification challenges (led by Helen Law). Robbie is separately acting in the Administrative Court (unled) for an Albanian victim of trafficking subject to a Public Order Disqualification decision. Press coverage here.
  • R (XT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Acting in a policy challenge to the Home Office’s refusal to provide safe house addresses to the criminal courts where remanded victims of trafficking are applying for bail. Following the grant of permission, the Home Office amended the impugned policy (led by Chris Buttler KC).
  • R (DG) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Acted (unled) in a challenge brought by an Eritrean victim of torture and trafficking, concerning delays by the Home Office in determining his Conclusive Grounds decision. Following the grant of permission, the claimant received positive Conclusive Grounds and asylum determinations.
  • MI v UK: Instructed in an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the “safety net” for deportation cases under Part 5A of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (led by Raza Husain KC).
  • D4 v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 2179: Assisted Dan Squires KC in a successful challenge to the “citizenship stripping” Regulations. Press coverage here.

National security, terrorism and criminal justice

  • Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri v UK Security Services IPT/19/197/C: Acted in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal for Mr Al-Nashiri, a detainee at Guantánamo Bay alleged to have orchestrated attacks on the USS Cole and MV Limberg. The Tribunal was persuaded to investigate Mr Al-Nashiri’s complaint relating to the alleged complicity of the UK Security Services in his rendition and torture (led by Hugh Southey KC). Press coverage here.
  • DRJ & Ors v Australia: Instructed as part of the team representing five Yazidi women pro bono before the UN Committee Against Torture, in relation to trafficking and gender-based violence at the hands of an Australian ISIS fighter (led by Philippe Sands KC and Jo Buckley). Press coverage here.
  • R (Latif) v Secretary of State for Justice: Assisted Dan Squires KC in a challenge concerning licence conditions for terrorist offenders following the Fishmongers’ Hall attacks.

Robbie has acted for appellants in the Immigration and Asylum, Special Educational Needs and Social Security Tribunals. He also supervises student volunteers representing permanently excluded pupils under the School Exclusions Project.

Robbie’s criminal law practice focusses primarily on extradition and protest law.

Extradition

Robbie has experience representing requested persons in Part I and Part II cases at first instance and on appeal to the High Court. Recent work includes:

  • Government of India v Sanjay Bhandari: Acted for the requested person in complex Part II proceedings involving alleged money laundering and failure to declare foreign assets (led by Edward Fitzgerald KC and James Stansfeld).
  • Romania v Szabo [2023] EWHC 2123 (Admin): Acted (unled) for the requested person in the Judicial Authority’s appeal against discharge, concerning the admission of prison condition assurances and the approach to Aranyosi requests under Article 613(2) of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
  • Ilia v Greece [2022] EWHC 3114 (Admin): Acted in successful defence of applicant’s attempt to re-open extradition proceedings (led by James Stansfeld).
  • Pancu v Romania [2022] EWHC 1287 (Admin): Acted (unled) for the requested person in an appeal concerning the correct approach to delay in cases concerning rights to private and family life under Article 8 ECHR.
  • Romania v Zaltan Sara: Secured discharge for requested person on grounds that extradition would constitute a breach of Article 3 ECHR.
  • Wozniak v Poland [2021] EWHC 2557 (Admin): Assisted Clare Montgomery KC in the leading extradition case concerning the independence of the Polish judiciary.

Robbie also has experience acting and advising in international prisoner transfer cases. He is currently a committee member of the Defence Extradition Lawyers’ Forum.

Protest Law

Robbie is developing a specialism in protest-related cases across civil and criminal law. Recent criminal work includes:

  • R v Richard Barnard & ors (“Elbit 8”): Acted for the third defendant in six-week, lead Palestine Action trial. The defendants faced charges of blackmail, criminal damage and burglary following action aimed at shutting down the operation of arms manufacturer Elbit (hung jury). Press coverage here and here.
  • R v Louis McKechnie & ors: Acted for the first and fourth defendants in the first Crown Court trial of the statutory offence of causing a public nuisance under Section 78 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (before Mr Justice Garnham). The six Just Stop Oil activists were charged following an invasion of the race-track at the Silverstone F1 Grand Prix. Press coverage here.
  • R v Peter Knapp and ors: Acted for Mr Knapp in a successful appeal to the Crown Court following conviction. Mr Knapp was charged with causing criminal damage to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) building during the course of a Scientist Rebellion environmental protest. Coverage here.
  • R v Joseph Paxton: Acted for a defendant charged with riot following the 2021 “Kill the Bill” Protests in Bristol (hung jury, guilty plea subsequently accepted for violent disorder).
  • R v Thacker & Ors [2021] EWCA Crim 97 (“Stansted 15”): Assisted Clare Montgomery KC in the successful appeal against conviction.

Contempt of Court

Robbie accepts instructions in committal proceedings. Recent work includes:

  • UK Insurance Ltd v Syed Mohammed Yusuf Ali & Ors [2024] EWHC 30 (KB): Acted (unled) for the first defendant in proceedings relating to “crash for cash” scam and subsequent falsification of witness statements. Successfully contested the Claimant’s application for permission.
  • Say Chong Lim & Ors v Francis Ong: Acting for the defendant in committal proceedings before the Property and Business Division, involving alleged dissipation of assets in breach of worldwide freezing order (led by Rupert Bowers KC).

Crime and criminal appeals

Robbie accepts instructions in general crime and is building a varied trial appellate and advisory practice. Recent work includes advising on abuse of process in relation to high profile criminal proceedings in the Caribbean (led by Mathew Ryder KC).

During his traineeship, Robbie assisted Clare Montgomery KC across a range of criminal law matters, including the EncroChat litigation and a securities fraud in Hong Kong. Before joining Matrix, Robbie worked as legal assistant to Nigel Lambert KC in R v Aizlewood & ors, a major SFO-prosecuted trial involving the misappropriation of public funds by professional footballers.

Inquests and Inquiries

Robbie frequently acts for bereaved family members in inquests. Recent instructions include:

  • Inquest touching upon the death of Robert Botello: Acting for the father in Article 2 jury inquest following death at St Mary’s Hospital under police supervision (forthcoming).
  • Inquest touching upon the death of Edward Shirley: Acted for the family in jury inquest concerning death following escape from mental health hospital. Press coverage here.
  • Inquest touching upon the death of Molly-Ann Sergeant. Acted for the grandmother in Article 2 inquest concerning death of teenage girl on Mersea Island who had previously been detained as a mental health patient. The coroner found that social care’s failure to discharge aftercare functions contributed to her death. Prevention of Future Deaths report here.

Robbie is instructed as junior counsel for the Disabled People’s Organisations in Module 4 of the Covid-19 Inquiry (led by Danny Friedman KC).

Robbie has a particular interest in these jurisdictions having previously led JUSTICE’s When Things Go Wrong Working Party, a two-year project exploring reform of inquests and inquiries. He is a member of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.

Actions against the police and other public authorities

Robbie has experience (unled and as a led junior) acting and advising in civil actions against the police, Ministry of Justice, Home Office and local authorities – including upon the conclusion of inquest proceedings.

Robbie acts for both defendants and claimants across defamation, privacy, data protection and open justice matters. Recent work includes:

  • Mueen-Uddin v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 1703; [2021] EWHC 3026 (QB): Acted in the UK Supreme Court following successful defence of strike-out application before the Court of Appeal, in a libel and data protection claim concerning allegations of war crimes committed in the Bangladesh War of Independence (led by Anthony Hudson KC).
  • Acting as junior counsel in the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation (phone hacking).
  • Acting for the defendant in libel claim involving allegations of misconduct by village parishioners (led by Ian Helme).
  • Advisory work for a major trade union on data protection; freedom of information; and electronic surveillance matters.

Robbie works as a night lawyer at a major broadsheet and for a national broadcaster. He is co-author of the chapter on the Right to be Forgotten in Online Publication Claims: A Practical Guide (2nd edn, forthcoming).

Robbie is a founding committee member of Next Generation Media Lawyers, where he acts as E&D officer.

Before joining Matrix, Robbie was Senior Legal Fellow at law reform and human rights organisation JUSTICE. During his time at JUSTICE, Robbie was Associate Editor at Just Security, the national security and rights blog based at NYU School of Law.

Robbie holds a double first-class degree in English from the University of Cambridge and a first-class, accelerated LLB from Queen Mary University of London.

Scholarships and awards include:

  • John and Sophie Laws Scholarship, Bar European Group
  • David Karmel European Scholarship, Gray’s Inn
  • Postgraduate Scholarship, City Law School
  • Senior Status Bursary, Queen Mary School of Law
  • College Prize (Pt II examinations), Pembroke College Cambridge
  • Foundress Prize, Pembroke College Cambridge
  • Foundation Scholarship, Pembroke College Cambridge

Robbie has also worked for many years as a professional musician.

Robbie is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Robbie 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 read Robbie’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Robbie 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

Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Called: 2017

Robbie joined Matrix in October 2021 following the successful completion of his traineeship.

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • EU Law
  • Extradition and Mutual Assistance
  • Fraud and Financial Crime
  • Investigatory Powers
  • Protest Law
  • Serious Crime (including terrorism) and Trial Advocacy
  • Media and Information Law
  • Court Orders affecting the Media
  • Data Protection
  • Defamation and Privacy
  • Public Law
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Health and Social Care (including welfare benefits)
  • Immigration, Asylum and Free Movement
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Public Law: Information, Data and Privacy
  • Private International Law
  • Equality and Discrimination Law
  • Education Law

Robbie Stern

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

Contact Robbie's Practice Team (Team T): TeamT@matrixlaw.co.uk


Robbie joined Matrix in October 2021.

He has a broad human rights-based practice in public law; criminal law; inquests and inquiries; and media and information law. Much of his work across these areas focusses on extradition and cross-border crime; human trafficking; protest; data rights; and policing.

In his first two years in practice, he has been instructed at all levels up to the UK Supreme Court.

Public Law and Human Rights

Robbie has experience acting for claimants in public law and human rights matters and accepts instructions across the full range. He has a particular interest in cases at the intersection of public law and criminal justice.

Recent work includes:

Protest law

  • In re: Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Northern Ireland) Bill [2022] UKSC 32: Acted for the intervener JUSTICE in the first reference by the Attorney General of Northern Ireland to the UK Supreme Court, and the leading case on the defence of proportionality in protest cases (led by Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh KC). Press coverage here.
  • Shell v Persons Unknown: Acted (unled) for Extinction Rebellion in the High Court, contesting the terms of “persons unknown” injunctions obtained by Shell against environmental protestors at its London headquarters and its regional refineries.

Immigration, asylum and human trafficking

  • Robbie is currently instructed for Anti-Slavery International, seeking to intervene in the lead cases in the Public Order Disqualification challenges (led by Helen Law). Robbie is separately acting in the Administrative Court (unled) for an Albanian victim of trafficking subject to a Public Order Disqualification decision. Press coverage here.
  • R (XT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Acting in a policy challenge to the Home Office’s refusal to provide safe house addresses to the criminal courts where remanded victims of trafficking are applying for bail. Following the grant of permission, the Home Office amended the impugned policy (led by Chris Buttler KC).
  • R (DG) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Acted (unled) in a challenge brought by an Eritrean victim of torture and trafficking, concerning delays by the Home Office in determining his Conclusive Grounds decision. Following the grant of permission, the claimant received positive Conclusive Grounds and asylum determinations.
  • MI v UK: Instructed in an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the “safety net” for deportation cases under Part 5A of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (led by Raza Husain KC).
  • D4 v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 2179: Assisted Dan Squires KC in a successful challenge to the “citizenship stripping” Regulations. Press coverage here.

National security, terrorism and criminal justice

  • Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri v UK Security Services IPT/19/197/C: Acted in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal for Mr Al-Nashiri, a detainee at Guantánamo Bay alleged to have orchestrated attacks on the USS Cole and MV Limberg. The Tribunal was persuaded to investigate Mr Al-Nashiri’s complaint relating to the alleged complicity of the UK Security Services in his rendition and torture (led by Hugh Southey KC). Press coverage here.
  • DRJ & Ors v Australia: Instructed as part of the team representing five Yazidi women pro bono before the UN Committee Against Torture, in relation to trafficking and gender-based violence at the hands of an Australian ISIS fighter (led by Philippe Sands KC and Jo Buckley). Press coverage here.
  • R (Latif) v Secretary of State for Justice: Assisted Dan Squires KC in a challenge concerning licence conditions for terrorist offenders following the Fishmongers’ Hall attacks.

Robbie has acted for appellants in the Immigration and Asylum, Special Educational Needs and Social Security Tribunals. He also supervises student volunteers representing permanently excluded pupils under the School Exclusions Project.

Criminal Law and Extradition

Robbie’s criminal law practice focusses primarily on extradition and protest law.

Extradition

Robbie has experience representing requested persons in Part I and Part II cases at first instance and on appeal to the High Court. Recent work includes:

  • Government of India v Sanjay Bhandari: Acted for the requested person in complex Part II proceedings involving alleged money laundering and failure to declare foreign assets (led by Edward Fitzgerald KC and James Stansfeld).
  • Romania v Szabo [2023] EWHC 2123 (Admin): Acted (unled) for the requested person in the Judicial Authority’s appeal against discharge, concerning the admission of prison condition assurances and the approach to Aranyosi requests under Article 613(2) of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
  • Ilia v Greece [2022] EWHC 3114 (Admin): Acted in successful defence of applicant’s attempt to re-open extradition proceedings (led by James Stansfeld).
  • Pancu v Romania [2022] EWHC 1287 (Admin): Acted (unled) for the requested person in an appeal concerning the correct approach to delay in cases concerning rights to private and family life under Article 8 ECHR.
  • Romania v Zaltan Sara: Secured discharge for requested person on grounds that extradition would constitute a breach of Article 3 ECHR.
  • Wozniak v Poland [2021] EWHC 2557 (Admin): Assisted Clare Montgomery KC in the leading extradition case concerning the independence of the Polish judiciary.

Robbie also has experience acting and advising in international prisoner transfer cases. He is currently a committee member of the Defence Extradition Lawyers’ Forum.

Protest Law

Robbie is developing a specialism in protest-related cases across civil and criminal law. Recent criminal work includes:

  • R v Richard Barnard & ors (“Elbit 8”): Acted for the third defendant in six-week, lead Palestine Action trial. The defendants faced charges of blackmail, criminal damage and burglary following action aimed at shutting down the operation of arms manufacturer Elbit (hung jury). Press coverage here and here.
  • R v Louis McKechnie & ors: Acted for the first and fourth defendants in the first Crown Court trial of the statutory offence of causing a public nuisance under Section 78 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (before Mr Justice Garnham). The six Just Stop Oil activists were charged following an invasion of the race-track at the Silverstone F1 Grand Prix. Press coverage here.
  • R v Peter Knapp and ors: Acted for Mr Knapp in a successful appeal to the Crown Court following conviction. Mr Knapp was charged with causing criminal damage to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) building during the course of a Scientist Rebellion environmental protest. Coverage here.
  • R v Joseph Paxton: Acted for a defendant charged with riot following the 2021 “Kill the Bill” Protests in Bristol (hung jury, guilty plea subsequently accepted for violent disorder).
  • R v Thacker & Ors [2021] EWCA Crim 97 (“Stansted 15”): Assisted Clare Montgomery KC in the successful appeal against conviction.

Contempt of Court

Robbie accepts instructions in committal proceedings. Recent work includes:

  • UK Insurance Ltd v Syed Mohammed Yusuf Ali & Ors [2024] EWHC 30 (KB): Acted (unled) for the first defendant in proceedings relating to “crash for cash” scam and subsequent falsification of witness statements. Successfully contested the Claimant’s application for permission.
  • Say Chong Lim & Ors v Francis Ong: Acting for the defendant in committal proceedings before the Property and Business Division, involving alleged dissipation of assets in breach of worldwide freezing order (led by Rupert Bowers KC).

Crime and criminal appeals

Robbie accepts instructions in general crime and is building a varied trial appellate and advisory practice. Recent work includes advising on abuse of process in relation to high profile criminal proceedings in the Caribbean (led by Mathew Ryder KC).

During his traineeship, Robbie assisted Clare Montgomery KC across a range of criminal law matters, including the EncroChat litigation and a securities fraud in Hong Kong. Before joining Matrix, Robbie worked as legal assistant to Nigel Lambert KC in R v Aizlewood & ors, a major SFO-prosecuted trial involving the misappropriation of public funds by professional footballers.

Inquests, Inquiries and Actions against the Police

Inquests and Inquiries

Robbie frequently acts for bereaved family members in inquests. Recent instructions include:

  • Inquest touching upon the death of Robert Botello: Acting for the father in Article 2 jury inquest following death at St Mary’s Hospital under police supervision (forthcoming).
  • Inquest touching upon the death of Edward Shirley: Acted for the family in jury inquest concerning death following escape from mental health hospital. Press coverage here.
  • Inquest touching upon the death of Molly-Ann Sergeant. Acted for the grandmother in Article 2 inquest concerning death of teenage girl on Mersea Island who had previously been detained as a mental health patient. The coroner found that social care’s failure to discharge aftercare functions contributed to her death. Prevention of Future Deaths report here.

Robbie is instructed as junior counsel for the Disabled People’s Organisations in Module 4 of the Covid-19 Inquiry (led by Danny Friedman KC).

Robbie has a particular interest in these jurisdictions having previously led JUSTICE’s When Things Go Wrong Working Party, a two-year project exploring reform of inquests and inquiries. He is a member of the INQUEST Lawyers Group.

Actions against the police and other public authorities

Robbie has experience (unled and as a led junior) acting and advising in civil actions against the police, Ministry of Justice, Home Office and local authorities – including upon the conclusion of inquest proceedings.

Media and Information Law

Robbie acts for both defendants and claimants across defamation, privacy, data protection and open justice matters. Recent work includes:

  • Mueen-Uddin v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 1703; [2021] EWHC 3026 (QB): Acted in the UK Supreme Court following successful defence of strike-out application before the Court of Appeal, in a libel and data protection claim concerning allegations of war crimes committed in the Bangladesh War of Independence (led by Anthony Hudson KC).
  • Acting as junior counsel in the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation (phone hacking).
  • Acting for the defendant in libel claim involving allegations of misconduct by village parishioners (led by Ian Helme).
  • Advisory work for a major trade union on data protection; freedom of information; and electronic surveillance matters.

Robbie works as a night lawyer at a major broadsheet and for a national broadcaster. He is co-author of the chapter on the Right to be Forgotten in Online Publication Claims: A Practical Guide (2nd edn, forthcoming).

Robbie is a founding committee member of Next Generation Media Lawyers, where he acts as E&D officer.

Background

Before joining Matrix, Robbie was Senior Legal Fellow at law reform and human rights organisation JUSTICE. During his time at JUSTICE, Robbie was Associate Editor at Just Security, the national security and rights blog based at NYU School of Law.

Robbie holds a double first-class degree in English from the University of Cambridge and a first-class, accelerated LLB from Queen Mary University of London.

Scholarships and awards include:

  • John and Sophie Laws Scholarship, Bar European Group
  • David Karmel European Scholarship, Gray’s Inn
  • Postgraduate Scholarship, City Law School
  • Senior Status Bursary, Queen Mary School of Law
  • College Prize (Pt II examinations), Pembroke College Cambridge
  • Foundress Prize, Pembroke College Cambridge
  • Foundation Scholarship, Pembroke College Cambridge

Robbie has also worked for many years as a professional musician.


Robbie's Privacy Notice

Robbie is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Robbie 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 read Robbie’s privacy notice in full, please see here.