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Charlotte Keighley

Head of Inquest Team | Barrister

Called: 2003

Charlotte is an experienced advocate who has considerable skill and experience in dealing with young and vulnerable clients and witnesses, including those with communication difficulties, who require the assistance of an intermediary and those with mental health issues.  Thanks to her experience in working with very serious allegations of sexual harm and violence (more often than not, perpetrated against children), Charlotte is especially adept at dealing with finding of fact hearings in Public and Private Law Children Act cases.

As a result of her considerable experience Charlotte is au fait with applications requesting the attendance of minor children to attend at court and give evidence (Re W) and is fully conversant with the requirements of Ground Rules Hearings.

Charlotte also has experience of a case involving the fatal burning of a child and has dealt with numerous cases involving bone fractures.

Charlotte’s initial experience was gained in the field of Criminal Law, where she both prosecuted and defended, being a grade 3 prosecutor appointed to the specialist rape panel.

During her 19 years of practice at the Bar, she has specialised in cases involving serious sexual abuse and violence perpetrated against both children and adults.  Charlotte has developed significant skills in the forensic examination of complex medical evidence.

Charlotte has represented parents, children, other alleged perpetrators and Local Authorities in cases involving serious factual matters and expert evidence.

Charlotte has a superb ability to cut through voluminous information and get to the heart of the issue in a case.

No matter who she is representing, she knows how to get the right result for her clients and achieve the best possible outcome.

Charlotte has a very approachable and friendly manner and is a persuasive, determined and skilled advocate. She is down to earth, enabling her to deal with even the most difficult of clients.

Throughout her career, Charlotte has been led by both Queens Counsel and Senior Junior Counsel in very serious and complex cases. Charlotte has also led junior counsel in serious and complex cases.

Charlotte is a pupil supervisor, enabling her to pass her knowledge and experience on to others.


Charlotte’s interest and understanding of Inquests stems from her own personal experiences following the death of a family member whose cause of death was unknown and a friend who sadly took his own life at the age of 35, leaving two young children behind.

Charlotte has experience of representing a range of Interested Persons and has particular expertise in the following types of inquests:-

Prison Death Cases – For 12 years Charlotte practiced at the Criminal Bar and was regularly instructed in prison law cases and as a consequence, Charlotte has an extensive knowledge of prison law, policy and procedure.

Children in Care – Charlotte has practiced in public law children work for over 7 years and has extensive knowledge of the procedures, policies and responsibilities relating children in the care of the Local Authority with interrelated Deprivation of Liberty issues.

Road Traffic Incidents, particularly those involving motorcycles – for a number of years Charlotte owned and rode motorcycles and has a personal interest and particular expertise in respect of cases involving the death of motorcyclists.

Public Law Children

A LA v T & B – a case involving Fabricated or Induced Illness, Charlotte represented two of the children, the case involved complex and voluminous medical evidence, several medical expert witnesses and complex legal and factual issues.

Legal 500 2020 – ‘Very calm and measured in his approach to clients and in court.’

Legal 500 2019 – ‘Noted for his expertise in Hague Convention cases.’

Legal 500 2018 – ‘Frequently instructed in Hague Convention cases.’

Legal 500 2017 – ‘Experienced in international cases.’

WB – Complex Article 2 Inquest representing the child of the deceased who died in difficult circumstances following significant involvement with the police. Failings to identify immediate risk to life and follow correct procedure.

TN – successful application for a second post-mortem for Interested Person charged with Murder.

DS – representing the family of the deceased who passed away following police pursuit.

AR –Two week complex Article 2 Inquest representing the family of the deceased who took his own life whist in prison. Significant issues pertaining to the adequacy of healthcare assessments, applicability and effectiveness of emergency response codes and delay in entering the cell of the deceased.

MW – Two week complex Article 2 Inquest representing the family of the deceased who took his own life whilst in prison. Significant issues in respect of special accommodation procedures, ACCT procedures including post-closure phase and the movement of prisoners previously subject to ACCT. Additional issues in respect of IEP scheme and the inadequacy of healthcare assessments.

Re M – representing the Local Authority following the death of a child with previous involvement with children’s services, issues in relation to the correct procedures in place for the assessment of children and young persons along with issues of designation and responsibility of different local authorities.

TO – representing family of deceased following two episodes of police contact. Issues relating to stop and search procedures, lawful arrest and the safe movement of prisoners. Additional issues in respect of the policies in place for appropriately identifying and assisting those in mental health crisis.

Assistant Coroner for West Yorkshire

Assistant Coroner for Cheshire

Family Law Bar Association

Lawyers for Children

Bar Pro Bono Unit

North Eastern Circuit

Middle Temple Inns of Court

Criminal Bar Association

Inquest Lawyers Group

Accredited for Direct Access Cases

HSE, EA & ORR list of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health & Safety and Environmental Law

“I recommend Mrs Keighley whole heartedly for any case - especially where a vulnerable or nervous client is present as she has a brilliant manner with clients which instantly places them at ease and gives them great confidence in her abilities.”

- Instructing Solicitor

Articles from Charlotte