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.


‘”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


  • 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


Koc v Turkey [2021] 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

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.

A Practical Guide to Extradition Law Post-Brexit

9th September 2021

Published on 6 September 2021 by the TGC Extradition Team.

Criminal Justice Review

30th December 2014

Chapter on Judicial Review in Extradition Proceedings.

Saoirse Townshend joins the legal team acting in The Infected Blood Inquiry

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.

View External Link

Brook House Inquiry

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

View External Link


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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