Experience

Saoirse has a dynamic court and advisory practice specialising in extradition and public law.

Saoirse is instructed alone and is led in complex and novel points of law before the Supreme Court and the Divisional Court. She represents requested persons and requesting states in extradition proceedings; as well as interested parties in inquests concerning deaths in custody, and is instructed on prison law matters. She is currently instructed as first junior counsel to the Brook House Inquiry.

Directories

“A very strong junior counsel who continues to develop a sophisticated extradition practice both as a jury and an appellate advocate. She is particularly well versed in European Arrest Warrant cases, and acts for both requesting governments and requested persons. Townshend has appeared in the Supreme Court in cases relating to European Arrest Warrants”.

“A brilliant lawyer with a sharp mind and an unwavering determination to protect her clients.”

“She is incredibly capable and always impresses with her thoroughness.”

“Very good at identifying the issues in cases, she writes extremely persuasively.” Chambers & Partners – 2020 (Band 2)

“She has very detailed knowledge of the law, and is keen to argue test cases in the extradition field”. Legal 500 2019 (Band 2)

“A well-regarded junior who continues to develop a sophisticated extradition practice both as a jury and an appellate advocate. She is particularly well versed in European Arrest Warrant cases, and acts for both requesting governments and requested persons. Townshend has appeared in the Supreme Court in cases relating to European Arrest Warrants”.

“Quickly grasps arguments and gives very considered advice.” “She’s a highly organised individual and a pleasure to work with.. Passionate but realistic, she is very hard-working and adopts an approach which judges like – they instantly trust her…

Recent work: Represented a vulnerable appellant with post-traumatic stress disorder whose extradition was sought in order that he could serve over five years’ imprisonment for drugs offences”. Chambers & Partners, 2019

“She has a nice manner in court and is very good and efficient on the paperwork”. Legal 500, 2018

“A very bright and meticulous counsel who has great attention to detail and is very clear and concise in her written work. Saoirse is a creative barrister who is diligent”. Chambers and Partners 2017

“She always goes the extra mile and makes valuable contributions to the team”. Legal 500 2017

Appointments

Junior Counsel to the Crown – C panel 2019

Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel Extradition Panel – grade 3

Education

  • GDL and BVC, BPP
  • BA (Hons) Politics and Parliamentary Studies, University of Leeds

Professional Memberships

Defence Extradition Lawyers Association

Public Access

Undertakes Public Access work


Attorney General Panel

Appointed to C panel

Connect

Bartulis v Lithuania [2019] EWHC 504 (Admin); [2019] EWHC 3504 (Admin)

Saoirse was junior counsel representing one of the Appellants in this appeal before a Divisional Court. The issues decided were: a) whether inter-prisoner violence is such that a violation of Article 3 ECHR can be found; and b) disclosure in extradition proceedings.


Lis, Lange and Chmielewski v Poland [2018] EWHC 2848 (Admin); [2019] EWHC 674 (Admin)

Saoirse was junior counsel acting for Mr Lange. This was the lead case before a Divisional Court (including the Lord Chief Justice) which determined whether extradition to Poland in all “accusation” cases would be halted. The Appellants argued that due to the political and constitutional changes in Poland since 2015, the judiciary are no longer independent and therefore the Appellants cannot obtain a fair trial pursuant to Article 6 ECHR.


IM v Bulgaria [2019] EWHC 602 (Admin)

Saoirse successfully represented the Appellant whose appeal was allowed on Article 8 ECHR grounds in light of the Appellant’s vulnerabilities having been a victim of trafficking and forced labour.


Krupeckiene v Lithuania [2019] EWHC 569 (Admin)

Saoirse was junior counsel representing the Appellant before a Divisional Court in this appeal concerning the definition of a “judicial authority” following three recent CJEU cases.


Balazs v Crown Prosecution Service [2018] EWHC 2540 (Admin)

Saoirse acted alone against a Silk. She acted for the Respondent in this application for habeas corpus. The law was clarified concerning time limits for removal in extradition proceedings and applications to discharge.


L. Georgiev, I. Dimitrov and B. Georgiev v Bulgaria [2018] EWHC 359 (Admin)

Saoirse represented Mr Dimitrov in the key extradition appeal where it was argued that the Bulgarian authorities could not be trusted to comply with assurances regarding prison conditions where there was evidence of multiple previous breaches.


Connor, Herbert and Shammas v Germany [2018] EWHC 829 (Admin)

Saoirse represented Mr Shammas in an extradition appeal where the Appellants were charged in Germany with a multi-million Euro carousel fraud. It was argued that it was an abuse of process to modify the number of offences for which they were sought without particularising them in the European Arrest Warrant.


Shumba, Henta and Bechian v France [2018] EWHC 1762 (Admin)

Saoirse represented Mr Shumba in the leading extradition appeal on French prison conditions (Article 3 ECHR).


Bobbe v Poland [2017] EWHC 3161 (Admin)

Saoirse was instructed by the for the judicial authority alone against a Silk and Junior. The Appellant suffered from schizophrenia and argued his extradition was oppressive due to his ill health (s.25 EA 2003). Before a Divisional Court on appeal, Saoirse made persuasive oral submissions that the Appellant’s novel argument regarding a recent CJEU decision (C.K) was inapplicable. The appeal was dismissed.


Debiec v Poland [2017] EWHC 2653 (Admin)

Saoirse represented an Appellate requested person in one of the first cases in which s.25 (oppression due to mental health) has been successful in European Arrest Warrant cases since Poland v Wolkowicz [2013] EWHC 102 (Admin).


Puceviciene v Lithuania [2016] EWHC 1862

Saoirse was junior counsel representing one of the Appellants in this case before the Lord Chief Justice and is now one of the seminal cases on the operation of the s.12A bar to extradition.


Criminal Justice Review

30th December 2014

Chapter on Judicial Review in Extradition Proceedings.


PERMISSION GRANTED IN RULE OF LAW CHALLENGE TO POLISH EAWs

10th June 2020

On 8 June 2020, Lewis J in the case of Wojciech Chlabicz v Poland (CO/4976/2019) and Fordham J in Robert Wozniak v Poland (CO 4299/2019) granted permission to appeal on the basis of recent Constitutional changes in Poland which effect the independence of the judiciary, in particular the introduction of the “muzzle law”.

Read more

TGC Welcomes Saoirse Townshend and Anne Coulon to chambers

6th January 2020

We are delighted to announce that Saoirse Townshend has accepted an invitation to join Temple Garden Chambers. Saoirse specialises in extradition and public law. She is a member of the Attorney General’s ” C” Panel.

We are also delighted to welcome Anne Coulon, a public international lawyer trained in France, Germany and the United States, to Chambers as an Associate Tenant. Before joining Temple Garden Chambers, Anne spent several years working at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

 


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Coronavirus Update 6 July 2020

TGC continues proactively to safeguard against the risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus. We have a Covid-19 Committee who continue to monitor the situation and follow advice issued by the Government and Public Health England. We will be updating this page as and when new information becomes available. As of 6 July 2020, our London premises, 1 Harcourt Buildings, will be operating with a reduced clerking team in attendance. The remaining staff members and barristers will continue working remotely. We wish to reassure everyone that our contingency plans enable us to continue to provide our services.

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