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Year of Call:  2012

Position:  3rd Six Pupil

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Michael Etienne - Third Six Pupil - Public Law

Third Six Pupil
Michael joined No5 in October 2018, having completed Traineeship at Matrix Chambers. He has professional interests across the spectrum of public law and human rights and related civil actions. He also accepts instructions in a small number of criminal law matters. He has an established background in cases concerning individuals affected by mental ill-health which predates his time at the Bar and which he is keen to continue. He is supervised by Philip Rule and Ian Brownhill but takes on a significant amount of his own work.

Actions against the state
He has a particular focus on actions against the police and other detaining authorities in all of their forms; especially claims involving alleged breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. With that in mind, he has been an active member of the Police Action Lawyers Group (PALG) and more recently joined the Inquest Lawyers Group (ILG).

Mental health and Court of Protection
Michael has represented individuals challenging decisions to section them under the Mental Health Act 1983 before the Mental Health Tribunal. Prior to coming to the Bar, he was permitted to do this work as a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health Accreditation Scheme. He has secured a number of positive outcomes for his clients, ranging from variations to conditions on discharge into the community to discharge from section altogether.

His clients have included those affected by the criminal, as well as civil provisions of the 1983 Act. This also includes individuals who have been detained in medium and high secure conditions.

With that experience of mental health work, Michael is eager to develop a practice in Court of Protection matters.

Schools exclusions and education law
Michael has been instructed in a number of appeals against the permanent exclusion of school children, acting pro bono for Just for Kids Law (JFKL), securing reconsideration and reinstatement of such pupils, on a number of occasions. He is keen to continue this work, as well as in education law cases more broadly, particularly those concerning school admissions and Special Educational Needs provision.

Current instructions
Michael’s current instructions include:

  • Junior-junior counsel as part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Project “Following Grenfell, concerned with the equality and human rights issues arising from the Grenfell Tower Fire and the ongoing public inquiry.
  • Civil actions against police and prison authorities, concerning the allegedly unlawful use of force and failures to protect against a real and immediate risk of suicide.
  •  Inquests touching upon a number of self-inflicted deaths.
  • Defending a Crown Court prosecution for public order offences.

Before coming to the Bar
Before coming to the Bar, Michael developed extensive experience in the public law and human rights field. As the Sir Peter Duffy Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn, he completed a Stage at the European Court of Human Rights, in 2012. He has been a paralegal at Deighton Pierce Glynn and Bindmans LLP. From there he became an Advice and Information Officer at Liberty, responsible for co-ordinating their public legal advice service. He has subsequently been elected to Liberty’s Policy Council and Executive Board. 


Cassel Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn
Sir Peter Duffy Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn


Police Action Lawyers Group (PALG)
Inquest Lawyers Group (ILG)
Human Rights Lawyers Association


Law (LLB, hons)


French - conversational