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Paul Harris SC

Associate Tenant
Year of call:

Paul Harris S.C. is a public law and human rights specialist who also has considerable experience of other areas of civil litigation. He is based at Doughty Street, but also practices in Hong Kong, where he is one of the territory’s leading public law silks.


Paul is Senior Counsel in Hong Kong and author of “ The conflict of laws in Hong Kong” ( Thompson Reuter).


Leading public law cases have included:

  • Peter Sand v Information Commissioner and Foreign Secretary, (EA/2012/0196, Information Rights Tribunal, 28 July 2014), confirming that the UK Freedom of Information Act applies to the British Indian Ocean Territory.
  • Epoch Group v Director of Immigration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [2011] HKCFI 166 (  a successful challenge to the Director of Immigration’s refusal of entry to the New York based Shen Yun dance troupe, invited to Hong Kong by Falun Gong).
  • Chan Hau Man, Christina v Commissioner of Police, HCAL 139/2008 ( the Tibetan flag demonstrator case)
  • Cho Man Kit v Broadcasting Authority8 May 2008, about sexual orientation discrimination (the "Gay Lovers" case).
  • Tong Yu Lam v Long Term Prison Sentence Review Board, CACV 203/2006 ( about review of sentence of mandatory life sentence prisoners
  • HKSAR v Yeung May Wan & Ors [2005] 2 HKLRD 212 about the right to demonstrate (the "Falun Gong hunger strikers" case)
  • Gurung Kesh Bahadur v Director of Immigration [2002] 5 HKCFAR 480, about the right of Hong Kong residents to re-enter Hong Kong after traveling
  • Andayani v Chan Oi Ling [2000] 4 HKC 501 about rights of domestic helpers
  • HKSAR v Ng Kung Siu (1999) 2 HKCFAR 442 ( the "flag burning" case);
  • Ng Wai Sang v Secretary for Justice [1998] 3 HKC 501 about reasons for administrative decisions
  • Cannon v Barnsley Metropolitan Council [1992] IRLR 474 about equal retirement ages for male and female teachers.


In his English practice Paul does a wide range of immigration, housing and other public law cases.


He successfully represented the Parliament Square demonstrator Brian Haw in resisting an attempt by the Mayor of London to require him to leave Parliament Square Gardens. (Mayor of London v Hall & Ors [2010] EWC 1613 (QB); [2010] EWCA Civ 817).


Paul is currently representing Olivier Bancoult in an attempt to set aside a House of Lords judgment against the Chagos Islanders in 2008 on grounds of breach of duty of candour by the FCO.


Paul has extensive experience of Africa dating back to a previous career in overseas aid.


Paul is a former chairman of the Bar Human Rights Committee and a prolific author. His most recent book is “The Right to demonstrate” (Rights Press, 2007). A further book “Raising Freedom’s Banner – how peaceful demonstrations have changed the world"  is due to be published this year. He has recently published articles on developments in the law relating to demonstrations; on the right of self determination in international law; and on the problems of defamation via the internet.


He speaks fluent French German and Spanish and regularly translates legal documents from those languages. He is an Associate of the Institute of Translators and Interpreters. He also speaks fluent Cantonese Chinese and can conduct conferences in Cantonese.


Equity and trusts


Paul obtained First Class marks in Trusts in his Oxford degree, and later taught the law of trusts at the University of Hong Kong. He appeared in the high profile “Magic Score” litigation in Hong Kong (Esquire Electronics v HSBC), about breaches of fiduciary duty by a bank. He has considerable experience of disputes about equitable interests in property,  and has recently advised in a complex inheritance dispute raising conflict of laws issues, relating to a house in London owned by a Malaysian

Regional expertise


Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS
Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 53-54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS