Koc v Turkey  EWHC 1234 (Admin)
Saoirse Townshend represents Appellant whose extradition to Turkey for kidnap is barred by the High Court under passage of time, deliberate absence and Article 8 ECHR.Read more
Described as “a brilliant lawyer with a sharp mind and an unwavering determination to protect her clients” by Chambers and Partners, Saoirse has developed a dynamic court and advisory practice specialising in public inquiries, extradition and public law. She is recognised as a “leading junior” across the directories. Skilled at both arguing complex and novel points of law before the Supreme Court and the Divisional Court, Saoirse also has great expertise handling witnesses before the lower courts, tribunals, inquest and Inquiry settings.
In extradition law, Saoirse is known as an “incredibly capable extradition barrister”. She has a wealth of experience representing requested persons and requesting states in some of the defining cases of the past decade.
On Article 6 ECHR, she was instructed for an Appellant before a Divisional Court arguing that the Appellants could no longer obtain fair trials due to the controversial Constitutional changes to the judiciary between 2017-2021 (Wozniak v the Circuit Court in Gniezno and Wojciech Chlabicz v Regional Court in Bialystok  EWHC 2557 (Admin). Saoirse also represented Mr Lange in the case Lis and Lange v Poland  EWHC 2848 (Admin);  EWHC 674 (Admin)), which was the predecessor Polish Article 6 case.
In relation to prison conditions (Article 3 ECHR), Saoirse has been instructed in the lead cases relating to a plethora of EU countries: Lithuania (Bartulis v Lithuania  EWHC 504 (Admin)); Latvia (Danfelds v Latvia  EWHC 3199 (Admin)); France (Shumba, Henta and Bechian v France  EWHC 1762 (Admin)); Bulgaria (Chechev v Bulgaria  EWHC 427 (Admin) and L. Georgiev, I. Dimitrov and B. Georgiev v Bulgaria  EWHC 359 (Admin)); Hungary (GS v Hungary  EWHC 64 (Admin)) and Italy (Elashmawy v Italy  EWHC 28 (Admin)).
On suicide risk, Saoirse was instructed by the Polish Judicial Authority in Bobbe v Poland  EWHC 3161 (Admin) an extradition appeal which changed the legal test following the CJEU case of CK and others v Slovenia  3 CMLR 10. In addition, following this case, she successfully represented the Appellant in Debiec v Poland  EWHC 2653 (Admin) in one of the first cases in which the s.25 bar has been successful in EAW cases since Poland v Wolkowicz  EWHC 102 (Admin).
On the charge/try bar, she represented an Appellate requested person in the lead case of Puceviciene v Lithuania  EWHC 1862) on s.12A; which provided new definitions of “charge” and “try”.
Saoirse has also represented both Requested Persons (Turkey v Koc  EWHC 1234 (Admin); Albania v Koleci; Albania v Sultan Dragjoshi and USA v Okeakpu) and Requesting States (Turkey v Charles  ACD 84 and 563553) in complex Part 2 cases. Recently in Koc (supra), Saoirse successfully represented the Appellant, accused of robbery and kidnap in Turkey from 2002, on the grounds of s.85 (deliberate absence from trial), s.82 (oppression due to passage of time) and Article 8 ECHR.
In addition, Saoirse is instructed in judicial review proceedings arising out of extradition and criminal proceedings. She was successful in the first judicial review in the area where the requested person in extradition proceedings was not removed within the statutory time period (see R (on the application of Mechlinksi) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court  EWHC 2043 (Admin)). Further, she successfully represented the CPS in the lead habeas corpus application post-Brexit; Cosar v Governor of Wandsworth Prison  EWHC 1142 (Admin).
Saoirse compliments her extradition practice with publications. She has written chapters in: ‘A Practical Guide to Extradition Law Post-Brexit’ (Law Brief Publishing, 2021) and ‘A Practitioner’s Guide to Judicial Review in the Criminal Justice System and Related Areas’ (Hart, 2014).
Saoirse is instructed in a variety of roles in public inquiries.
She is instructed as Junior Counsel to the Brook House Inquiry which is investigating incidents of Article 3 ECHR abuse of detained persons at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre. The role has involved inquisitorial advocacy; taking important witnesses to the Inquiry such as whistle-blowers and experts. Saoirse also regularly provides written and oral advice to the Chair, and drafts submissions on a plethora of legal issues.
Saoirse is also instructed as Junior Counsel for the Department of Health in the Infected Blood Inquiry.
In addition, Saoirse is instructed in the upcoming Covid Inquiry by the Ministry of Justice. This is likely to involve the assessment of the MOJ’s response to the pandemic, particularly within the prison environment.
Saoirse advises and represents a range of interested parties at Pre-Inquest Review Hearings and Inquests, both with and without a jury. Saoirse has experience in inquests relating to deaths in prison custody. Saoirse also accepts instructions on behalf of families, including pro-bono.
Saoirse’s public law practice is also thriving. Since the beginning of her practice, Saoirse has represented Claimants in the First Tier and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) on a wide range of issues, from asylum to EEA Visa and ETS cases. In April 2019, Saoirse was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel. She regularly appears before the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber), County Courts and Coroner’s Courts in a variety of cases relating to and including social security appeals, and civil claims made by prisoners.
‘”earless approach to her oral advocacy. Very good on paper too. Bright, able and an ability to hold the attention of her audience.” Inquest and Inquiries Legal 500 2023
“She is an intelligent and committed advocate.” Extradition Legal 500 2023 (Band 1)
“Incredibly capable extradition barrister. She is very knowledgeable and well regarded by the extradition world. She is always keen to argue test cases in extradition and is regularly looking for new lines of challenge”. Legal 500 2022 (Tier 1)
“Dynamic, bright and creative.” “She has a very quiet and assured approach in court” and is “a determined and knowledgeable advocate who cares deeply about her clients.” Chambers and Partners 2021 (Band 2)
“She is an incredibly capable extradition barrister. She always impresses me with her thoroughness and regular contact with her instructing solicitors. She is very knowledgeable and well regarded by the extradition world.’ Legal 500 2021 (Band 1: Leading junior)
“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
Junior Counsel to the Crown – C panel 2019
Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel Extradition Panel – grade 3
Defence Extradition Lawyers Association
Undertakes Public Access work
Appointed to C panel
Saoirse Townshend represents Appellant whose extradition to Turkey for kidnap is barred by the High Court under passage of time, deliberate absence and Article 8 ECHR.Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saoirse represented Mr Shumba in the leading extradition appeal on French prison conditions (Article 3 ECHR).
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.
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  EWHC 102 (Admin).
Saoirse appeared in the Supreme Court in an extradition appeal regarding the validity of European Arrest Warrants.
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.
9th September 2021
Published on 6 September 2021 by the TGC Extradition Team.
30th December 2014
Chapter on Judicial Review in Extradition Proceedings.
18th July 2022
Saoirse Townshend has joined the legal team acting for the Department of Health and Social Care in The Infected Blood Inquiry. The Infected Blood Inquiry is currently hearing evidence from former Health ministers. The final phase of hearings will start in September and will hear evidence relating to candour, openness, cover-up and record-keeping. The Inquiry is due to conclude by the end of 2022.
Saoirse joins other members of TGC, including Nicholas Moss QC, Kathryn Howarth, Anthony Lenanton, who are also instructed by the Department of Health and Social Care. She is led by Eleanor Grey QC.
Further information about the Inquiry’s work can be found on the Inquiry’s website at the link below.
18th March 2022
The second phase of hearings in the Brook House Inquiry have resumed. The Brook House Inquiry was set up to investigate mistreatment of individuals detained at Brook House IRC between 1 April 2017 and 31 August 2017. The Inquiry was set up as a result of the ill-treatment shown in the BBC Panorama programme “Under-Cover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets”.Read more
28th September 2021
On 23 September 2021, judgement was handed down in the joined in the cases of Wozniak v the Circuit Court in Gniezno and Wojciech Chlabicz v Regional Court in Bialystok  EWHC 2557 (Admin) in which the Requested Persons argued that their extradition to Poland would breach their right to a fair trial because the rule of law was seriously imperilled there.Read more
9th September 2021
The TGC Extraditon Team is delighted to announce the publication on 6th September of ‘A Practical Guide to Extradition Law Post-Brexit’. Find it at www.lawbriefpublishing.com/ExtraditionLawPostBrexit. A 10% off discount code can be found here. Kathryn Howarth; Myles Grandison; Daniel Sternberg; Benjamin Seifert; Émilie Pottle; Saoirse Townshend; Emily Wilsdon; Juliet Wells.
13th May 2021
Fordham J allows the Appellant’s appeal and discharges him from an order extraditing him to Turkey. The Court held that the District Judge ought to have found that extradition is barred due to the passage of time (s.82, Extradition Act 2003); deliberate absence (s.85) and Article 8 ECHR (s.87).Read more
13th April 2021
Daniel Sternberg and Saoirse Townshend of Temple Garden Chambers join host Benjamin Seifert fresh from the decision of the Divisional Court in Chechev and Vangelov  EWHC 427 (Admin) in which they were led by Robin Tam QC.Read more
26th February 2021
Robin Tam QC, Saoirse Townshend and Daniel Sternberg successfully resist two European Arrest Warrants issued by Bulgaria on Human Rights Grounds.Read more
11th February 2021
Extradition is an area of law which frequently produces headlines, with cases involving the USA, such as Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Anne Sacoolas (hit and run at RAF Croughton) in the news. Significant changes are afoot with the UK set to withdraw from the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in 2021.Read more
30th November 2020
TGC Extradition team invites you to a webinar in advance of the publication of A Practical Guide to Extradition Law Post-Brexit.Read more
28th July 2020
Judgment in Danfleds & Jodelis v Latvia handed down today – permission to appeal granted and assurances required.Read more
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
27th March 2020
The Coronavirus Act 2020 received royal assent on 25 March 2020. It contains provisions amending the Extradition Act 2003 which came into force on the same day.Read more
27th February 2020
The Appellant submitted that the public interest in extradition was outweighed by the interference with his right to private and family life in the UK (Article 8 ECHR).Read more
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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