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Lord Murray of Blidworth

Simon Murray (Lord Murray of Blidworth) is an experienced barrister sought after in public law and commercial matters. He attracts instructions in some of the most complex and highest profile cases. He also accepts instructions to act as Mediator. 

He served as the Minister of Migration and Borders in the House of Lords 2022-2023. He has now returned to private practice.

In addition to his full-time practice at the Bar, Lord Murray continues to contribute to the work of the House of Lords, speaking in particular on issues relating to law, justice and migration. He is a member of Joint Committee on Human Rights, a Select Committee comprising members both Houses the United Kingdom Parliament.

He has also been called to the bar in the Republic of Ireland and like all lawyers in those jurisdictions, can appear before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Lord Murray also practices in other fields including data protection, commercial and other common law matters. He has particular expertise in claims against public bodies and regularly advises on legal issues crossing both public and private law. He has substantial experience in group litigation.

Additionally, he has long standing, niche experience of representing the Queen’s (now King’s) Proctor and intervening in family proceedings at the request of the court as Advocate to the Court.

Lord Murray has long been on the Attorney General’s Panels of Counsel, first being appointed in 2005 and has lengthy experience of representing central and local government bodies at all levels. He is a member of the Attorney General’s London A Panel. 

Practice Areas:

  • Administrative & Public
  • Commercial
  • Information and Media
  • Regulatory and Disciplinary

Areas of expertise

Administrative and Public

Lord Murray undertakes general public law work, advising and representing claimants and government departments and other public bodies in a wide range of cases. He regularly advises and acts in matters concerning national security, human rights and discrimination (including issues of international law), immigration & asylum (including human trafficking), prisons and justice system, police, healthcare, energy, education and Defence.

He also regularly acts in private law claims raising public law issues.

Cases of note:

  • R(AAA & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC (Admin); [2023] H.R.L.R. 4  
    High profile challenge to the policy of removal of illegal migrants to Rwanda for the processing of their asylum applications.

  • R. (British Medical Association) v Secretary of State for Defence [2022] EWHC 1262 (Admin); [2022] 1 W.L.R. 4831; [2022] A.C.D. 91 
    Challenge to the Secretary of State for Defence's refusal to implement the Employment Rights Act 1996 section 192, which would potentially enable service personnel to bring employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissal.

  • R(SPM) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 2007 (Admin): [2022] 4 W.L.R. 92
    Challenge to legal aid provision in Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre for vulnerable female detainees

  • R. (Mujahid) v First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) [2021] EWCA Civ 449 | [2021] 1 W.L.R. 3404
    Application for ILR, grant of limited leave to remain gives rise to no right of appeal to FTT.

  • R(GMB & 7 other unions) v Chancellor of the Exchequer (February 2021)
    Challenge by trades unions to secondary legislation imposing a cap on public sector exit payments

  • R(Ellerton) v Governor of HMP Birmingham & Secretary of State for Justice [2021] EWHC 3529 (Admin); [2022] EWCA Crim 194
    Divisional Court challenge to detention pursuant to a hospital order, imposed otherwise than in accordance with statute, in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment in respect of counts of arson with intent to endanger life, heard by a composition also sitting as the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

Information and Media

Lord Murray frequently advises on matters involving information rights, including matters arising under the GDPR, Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act. 

In addition to appearing in Judicial Review claims in connection with information rights, he appears before the First-tier Tribunal (GRC) on appeals from Decisions of the Information Commissioner.   He also advises on, court claims challenging compliance with subject access request and seeking damages for data protection breaches. 

Cases of note:

  • Keighley v Information Commissioner & British Broadcasting Corporation (2022)
    Instructed by the Claimant in this appeal regarding the breadth of the “journalism” exemption under FOIA
  • R. (Xavier) v Governor of Whitemoor Prison [2021] EWHC 3060 (Admin); [2022] A.C.D. 3
    Challenge to decisions to open correspondence sent to a prison in high security prison – extent of rule 39 of the Prison Rules and interaction with Legal Professional Privilege

  • A Local Authority v Child A, B and C and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022]
    Representing both Secretaries of State – disclosure of sensitive information in care proceedings

Regulatory and Disciplinary & King’s Proctor’s cases

Lord Murray has long experience in the regulatory and disciplinary field. He was a pro bono prosecutor for the Bar Standards Board for a 10-year period to 2021. 

In addition to acting in conventional regulatory cases for example in education appeals in the High Court Lord Murray had a niche specialisation being invited by the court to intervene in proceedings in the Family Division of the High Court both for the Queen’s (now King’s) Proctor and as Advocate to the Court, instructed by the Attorney General.

The King’s Proctor is an ancient office whose modern role is protect the integrity of the divorce process.

Cases of note:

  • Ullmer v Secretary of State for Education [2021] EWHC 1366 (Admin)
    [2021] A.C.D. 88

    Acted for Secretary of State in this challenge to an order prohibiting the appellant from teaching. Authoritative case on approach to appeal hearing.

  • Hussain v Parveen (Queen’s Proctor intervening) [2021] EWFC 73; [2022] 1 F.C.R. 81
    Acted for the Queen’s Proctor – concerned the recognition of Islamic divorces obtained in Pakistan when the “talak” was pronounced in the United Kingdom but registered in Pakistan.

  • L, Re (Declaration of Parentage) [2022] EWFC 38; [2022] 3 W.L.R. 467
    As Advocate to the Court instructed by the Attorney General – concerned adoptees who had discovered the identity of their respective birth fathers and sought declarations to correct the historical record on their original birth certificates.

  • Bury v ML [2022] EWHC 746 (Fam); [2023] 1 F.C.R. 726
    As Advocate to the Court instructed by the Attorney General – concerned the human rights implications of a local authority's application to remove a father as a party in care proceedings

  • Shahzad v Mazher (Queen’s Proctor intervening) [2020] EWCA Civ 1740; [2021] 2 F.L.R. 707; [2021] 1 F.C.R. 389
    Court of Appeal: leading case on the circumstances when a divorce decree absolute may be set aside

  • JK v MK (E-Negotiation Ltd (t/a Amicable) and the Queen’s Proctor intervening) [2020] EWFC 2 | [2020] 1 W.L.R. 5091
    For Queen’s Proctor Online divorce facilitator did not violate the Legal Services Act 2007 Sch.2 para.4 or para.5 and did not create a conflict of interest by acting for both parties

  • M v P (Queen’s Proctor intervening) [2019] EWFC 14 | [2019] Fam. 431  | [2019] 3 W.L.R. 273
    Distinction between void and voidable divorce decrees in context of decrees nisi and absolute which had been pronounced erroneously and unlawfully by the court. 

Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury

Lord Murray has previously acted in high value personal injury claims arising in state related settings – in custody or in connection with injuries caused by alleged negligence of central government departments, frequently combined with claims under the Human Rights Act 1998. 

He has long experience in handling claims for damages for personal injury: acting, with others, for the Foreign Office in the Mau Mau litigation Kimathi & ors v Foreign & Commonwealth Office in a group action brought by 44,000 claimants who alleged that they were victims of assaults whilst detained or in the course of security forces operations during the emergency in Kenya between 1952 and 1959.The case was dismissed in November 2018 after one of the longest trials in English legal history.

Cases of note:

  • Kimathi & ors v FCO [2018] EWHC 3144 (QB)
    Judgment upon the second test claim. Claim dismissed, the Judge refusing to disapply limitation pursuant to section 33 of the Limitation Act. The Judge went on to determine that the decision would be the same in all other test claims and dismissed all claims on the group register.
  • Kimathi & ors v FCO [2018] EWCA Civ 2213
    Court of Appeal refused the Claimants’ application for permission to appeal judgment in the first test claim.
  • Kimathi & ors v FCO [2018] EWHC 2066 (QB) 
    Judgment upon the first test claim. Claim dismissed, the Judge refusing to disapply limitation pursuant to section 33 of the Limitation Act.
  • Kimathi & ors v FCO [2018] EWHC 1169 (QB) 
    Considering issue of “concealment” under section 32 of the Limitation Act 1980.
  • R. (on the application of Tracey) v Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2014] EWCA Civ 822 | [2015] Q.B. 543 
    Acted for Addenbrookes Hospital – concerned the need for informed consent for Do Not Attempt CPR order (DNACPR) and article 8 ECHR rights respect for private and family life

Inquiries and Investigations

Lord Murray was instructed in the Infected Blood Inquiry as counsel for the Cabinet Office specifically for the former Prime Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries.

Cases of note:

  • Infected Blood Inquiry
    Lord Murray acted on behalf of the former Prime Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries who assistance is requested by the Infected Blood Inquiry. Accordingly, he represented Sir John Major KG, who gave oral evidence to the Inquiry on the 27 June 2022.