David Barr QC

Year of Call: 1993 / Year of Silk: 2014


Practice Areas

David Barr QC


David Barr QC has a wide experience of civil litigation both at first instance and appellate level.  Administrative and public law work includes public inquiries, inquests, human rights and other cases.  His employment practice focuses on demanding cases, particularly at appellate level.  Personal injury work encompasses employer’s liability, public liability and motor claims (recent 7-figure settlements have included PTSD and amputation claims).

He has a keen interest in the application of European Union law to those areas of domestic law in which he practises.  He served on the Attorney General’s panels of civil counsel from 1999 until he took silk in 2014.


Ranked in Chambers & Partners 2014 for inquests and public inquiries


St. John’s College, Cambridge

Professional Memberships


R(UNISON) v Lord Chancellor, Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening [2015] EWCA Civ 935; [2015] ICLR 911

Appeals to the Court of Appeal against the dismissal of judicial review proceedings which had challenged the lawfulness of the fees regime introduced in the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal by the Lord Chancellor. The appeals were dismissed.  David Barr QC appeared for the Lord Chancellor.

Undercover Policing Inquiry

Major statutory public inquiry into undercover policing chaired by Sir John Mitting, retired High Court Judge.  David Barr QC has been appointed Counsel to the Inquiry. Andrew O’Connor QC is instructed to act for National Crime Agency.

Major X -v- MOD

The Claimant, a former high-flying Major in the Army developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) following experiences in the First Gulf War and subsequently in Kosovo.  The claim was based on a failure by Army psychiatrists to diagnose and treat the PTSD.  The claim settled at a Joint Settlement Meeting for £1.5 million which was the MOD’s highest individual payout for 2013/2014. David Barr acted for the Ministry of Defence.

In Amenas Inquest

Inquest into the killing of six British nationals and one British resident during the terrorist attack and mass hostage taking at the In Amenas gas facility, Algeria. David Barr QC acted for Her Majesty’s Government.

Thorne and Others v House of Commons Commission [2014] EWHC 93

Collective bargaining of the pay of House of Commons Commission staff: the sample claimants’ collectively negotiated pay and conditions conferred no contractual right to annual pay increases. David Barr QC acted for the House of Commons Commission.

The Leveson Inquiry

This was a major statutory public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. David Barr served throughout as first junior counsel to the Inquiry. Cathryn McGahey appeared as junior counsel for the Chairman of the Inquiry during related judicial review proceedings. Louise Jones acted for the core participant victims in the judicial review proceedings. William Irwin acted throughout providing legal assistance to Counsel to the Inquiry. Emily Wilsdon assisted in the preparation of the report.

C-127/05 Commission v United Kingdom [2007] ECR I-04619; [2007] ICR 1393

Test of reasonable practicability in s.2 Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 properly implements Art.5 of Council Directive 89/391/EEC.  David Barr appeared as junior counsel for the United Kingdom.

Thames Trains v Railtrack (1) HSE (2)

Instructed on behalf of the HSE in litigation arising out of the Ladbroke Grove train crash.  The claim by Thames Trains for a contribution from the HSE was ultimately discontinued.

Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry

Statutory public inquiry into rail disaster at Ladbroke Grove.  Hugh Carlisle QC acted for the Health and Safety Executive leading David Barr and Emma-Jane Hobbs

Age Discrimination

18th February 2006

A guide to the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006