Out of hours: +44(0)752 505 0001
Barrister: Barbara Hewson
Year of Call: 1985
- Inquest and Public Inquiries
- Human Rights
BA Hons Cantab; Dip Law; MA Cantab.
Areas of Practice:
was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1985. She is also a
member of the Bar of Ireland (called 1991) and of Northern Ireland
Barbara has appeared in numerous reported cases involving the Court
of Protection, human rights, judicial review, medical law, &
professional regulation; her reported cases also cover a range of civil,
EC and commercial litigation. She has won cases abroad before the
European Court of Human Rights, and in the High Court and Supreme Court
of the Republic of Ireland.
Barbara trained as a mediator with ADR Chambers.
She regularly speaks at conferences & seminars including the
annual ‘Legal Birth’ Conference for the Royal College of Midwives and is
a trustee of British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Her specialist areas are: Administrative & Public law, Civil
Liberties, Court of Protection & mental capacity, Due process,
Healthcare law, Human rights, Injunctions, Inquests, Judicial review,
Local government law, Mental Health, Privacy, Professional negligence,
Professional regulation, Reproductive rights, Women’s rights.
Barbara also has experience of employment law, including
discrimination claims, unfair dismissal, breach of confidence and
internal disciplinaries. Barbara has been a keen horse-rider since her
childhood in Ireland, and also undertakes cases involving equine issues.
The Chambers Law Directory 2014 ranks her a leading junior in Court
of Protection work, and calls her ‘bright, committed and
passionate…her client manner is outstanding.’ The Legal 500 (2013)
ranks her a leading junior in Administrative & Public Law, Human
Rights & Civil Liberties, and Professional Discipline &
Regulatory Law. In November 2012, the University of Westminster awarded
her an honorary fellowship for services to law.
Barbara’s clients include private individuals, not for profit groups,
professional bodies, local authorities facing judicial reviews &
monetary claims, and businesses suing various regulators. She also
undertakes professional negligence claims against NHS Trusts,
solicitors, veterinarians, and others. She has acted in a number of
high-profile inquests, including the inquest into the death of David
Gray in 2010.
Barbara defends healthcare professionals before their regulators,
including GMC/ NMC, and has developed particular expertise defending
home birth midwives. Her work in the field of reproductive rights
includes landmark legal challenges to court-ordered Caesareans: St
George’s Healthcare NHS Trust v S; R v Collins and others, ex parte S
 Fam 26; Rochdale v Choudhury [unrep.]. She has advised on aspects
of abortion and midwifery regulation in both the UK and in Ireland.
Barbara has appeared in the following cases:
- Hamnett v Essex CC  EWHC 246 (Admin)
- Hussain v GMC  EWHC 3865 (Admin)
- CAIM v Ofsted  EWHC 1157 (Admin)
- R (T) v Legal Aid Agency  Fam Law 805
- PS v LP  EWHC 1106 (COP)
- Gray v Germany & UK (no. 49278/09), 18 Dec 2012
- Duthie v NMC  All ER (D) 332 (Oct)
- Hussain v GMC  EWHC 2991 (Admin)
- C v Blackburn with Darwen BC (2012) 15 CCL Rep 251
- P & Q v Surrey CC  2 WLR 1056, CA
- A v Independent News & Media  1 WLR 2262, CA
- R (Humberstone) v LSC  EWHC 760 (Admin)
- Hossack v LSC  A.C.D. 97
- Muscat v HPC  EWHC 2798 (QB)
- Moody v General Osteopathic Council  EWCA Civ 513
- Ealing BC v KS, LU, SK & Ors  EWHC 636 (Fam)
- P, C & S v UK (2002) 35 EHRR 31
- Glass v UK (2004) 39 EHRR 341
- D v Ireland (2006) 43 EHRR SE16
- Aydin v Turkey (1997) 25 EHRR 251
Barbara has published widely in a number of legal and non-legal journals.
1 Gray’s Inn Square, Barristers’ Chambers
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Rape victims can be partly responsible for their ordeal’ says top woman barrister
- Barbara Hewson questioned whether rape victims are ‘utterly innocent’
- She argued they can have ‘moral responsibility’ at a university debate
- She also challenged the idea that ‘victimisation must always be respected’
12:23, 1 November 2013
14:11, 1 November 2013
Rape victims can be partly responsible for what happened to them, according to a leading lawyer.
Hewson, a human rights and civil liberties barrister at London’s
Hardwicke Chambers, challenged the idea that ‘the victim is utterly
innocent and the victimiser is utterly guilty’.
Hewson, who describes herself on Twitter as ‘not for the easily
offended’, suggested that people who are raped can have a ‘moral
responsibility’ for the crime, even though the law says that rape is
only ever the fault of the rapist.
She also questioned whether ‘claims of victimisation must always be respected’, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Hewson, 52, made the comments during a debate with other legal
professionals at the London School of Economics on Wednesday, entitled
‘Is Rape Different?’
She said: ‘We need to make a distinction between legal responsibility and moral responsibility.
law does not attribute any responsibility now to the victim of rape
whereas traditionally we know the judge would say when they came to
sentence “well she was contributorally [sic] negligent” or something
what she views as the received wisdom when discussing, Miss Hewson
dismissed the idea ‘that it’s morally absolutely unambiguous,
the victim is utterly innocent and the victimiser is utterly guilty and
this is infinitesimal. And finally that claims of victimisation must
always be respected, anything less is victim-blaming.’
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Miss Hewson compared a rape victim to
somebody who falls over whilst drunk to demonstrate that people can put
themselves in a situation where they are more likely to fall victim to a
She also attacked a
culture around rape which encourages people to ‘realise’ they have been
raped, and added that some victims go on to blame their ordeal for
everything that goes wrong in their life.
Rape Crisis spokesman Fiona
Elvines condemned Miss Hewson’s argument, telling the Telegraph:
‘Barbara Hewson shows how out of touch she is with the realities of
sexual violence. As a society, we have moved on from the rape myths she
continues to propagate.’
Hewson, a Cambridge graduate who has worked as a barrister since 1985,
has courted controversy on sexual offences before, by attacking the
decision to double the sentence for broadcaster Stuart Hall.
His original sentence of 15 months in prison for 14 counts of indecent assault was increased to 30 months after a public outcry.
has also previously called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13
and criticised the ‘witch-hunt’ of ageing celebrities accused of sexual
Miss Hewson was unavailable for comment this morning.
A LAW UNTO HERSELF: THE CONTROVERSIAL BARRISTER WHO’S NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK HER MIND
Hewson has made a name for herself both as one of the country’s most
respected lawyers, and as someone not afraid to ruffle some feathers
with her outspoken views.
member of the prestigious Hardwicke Chambers, Miss Hewson, who was
called to the bar in 1985, is regularly ranked in the Legal 500
She has won a
Barrister of the Year award from The Lawyer magazine after she fought
for the rights of pregnant women against compulsory treatment.
Chambers UK guide has variously described her as ‘bright, committed and
passionate’, ‘well-respected’, ‘highly diplomatic’ and ‘a tough
She writes on legal issues for the Spiked website, and is often highly critical of the establishment.
Miss Hewson has stepped into the firing line on numerous occasions in the past.
to the controversial case in which a judge described a 13-year-old sex
attack victim as ‘predatory’, she tweeted: ‘It takes two to tango.
Disgusting tho’ these men are, frankly the girls are often not much
better – and no shrieking martyrs.’
has also said that operation Yewtree, into sex abuse linked to Jimmy
Savile, ‘has got out of hand’ and was hijacked by ‘moral crusaders’.
storm of criticism met that suggestion, and she has also angered the
NPCC by suggesting at the same time that the age of consent be lowered
At the time an NSPCC
spokesman said: ‘To trivialise the impact of these offences for victims
is all but denying they have suffered abuse at all.’
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