Chris Callender


Chris is a solicitor specialist and expert in representing children and young people.   Chris is passionate, committed and dedicated to his clients and their cases.   He has an unusually diverse legal background and an in depth understanding of the duties and powers of authorities. 

Chris trained in Leeds in personal injury work at Thompson’s Solicitors and criminal defence with Harrison Bundey and Co.  He qualified as a solicitor in 1997.  After seven years in criminal defence, Chris joined the Howard League for Penal Reform in 2002 as a legal officer representing children and young people in prison. In 2011 he moved to T V Edwards Solicitors LLP to head the prison law team.  In 2013 Chris joined the public law team at Steel & Shamash.

At the Howard League for Penal Reform, Chris established the award winning legal team and was appointed as Legal Director.  He developed extensive experience in international human rights and policy and the national entitlements of children and young people in custody and in the community.  Chris spoke and published widely about the work of the Howard League and pursued legal and campaign strategies to protect children and young people and ensure that authorities acted within the law.  As Legal Director Chris worked with government, the media and non-governmental organisations.  Chris had conduct of cases in High Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords (now Supreme Court). 

In his varied and diverse career, Chris has developed expertise in criminal, prison, community care, housing, public, damages and inquest law.

Chris’s work at Steel & Shamash includes:

  • Bringing judicial review claims including injunctions against authorities in areas including community care and housing law

  • Advising and representing client’s in relation homelessness and housing

  • Bringing damages claims against local authorities for failing to care in accordance with their obligations under the Children Act 1989

  • Bringing damages claims against the police or prisons for failing in their duty of care

  • Representing families at inquests

For preliminary advice or enquiries please contact Chris directly by email.

Notable cases


BP –v- Secretary of State for the Home Department  [2003] EWHC 1963 (Admin)

Challenge to the use of segregation for a child which led to a change in Prison Service policy. 


DT (1) -v- SSHD [2004] EWHC 13 Admin

Challenge to unlawful mixing children and adults in prison.


SP –v- SSHD [2004] EWHC 1418 (Admin) and SSHD-v-SP [2004] EWCA Civ 1750

Challenge to the use of segregation for a child which led to a change in Prison Service policy.


DT (2) -v-SSHD – (2004, unreported)  

Challenge the failure to allow children on long sentences to access home detention curfew.


J -v- Caerphilly County Borough Council [2005] EWHC 586 (Admin)

Challenge to unlawful assessment and planning for children and young people leaving care. 


K -v- Parole Board [2006] EWHC 2413 (Admin)

Challenge the failure of the Parole Board to adopt a child centred approach to children seeking release.


M -v- Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [2006] UKHL

Challenge the failure of the local authority to retrospectively treat M as a care leaver.  Statutory guidance was issued in response to this judgment. 


K -v- Manchester City Council [2006] EWHC 3164 (Admin)

Challenge the failure of local authority to assess children seeking parole.


R(S)-v-Sutton LBC [2007] EWCA Civ 790

Challenge failure of local authorities to ensure child has suitable accommodation for early release from custody.


P -v- Secretary of State for Justice [2009] EWHC 13 (Admin)

Challenge to the appointment of a former prison service area manager to chair the first public inquiry under Article 2 ECHR into the near death of a child in custody through self-harm and suicide attempts.  It was found that the appointment failed to meet the independence requirement of the Article 2 investigative obligation. 


P-v-Secretary of State for Justice [2009] EWCA Civ 701 and P-v-UK (ECtHR)

Challenge to the failure of the state to under article 2/3 public inquiry into a young person who self-harmed for some fifteen months while isolated and segregated in prison.  Court found duty article 2/3 duty not triggered.    


SP Article 2 Inquiry (stage 1) [2011]

The SP Inquiry into treatment of children and vulnerable people with mental health problems in prison.


NM-v-SSJ  [2012] EWCA Civ 1182

Challenge into the failure of the state to activate article 2/3 investigative duties to investigate assault upon a learning disabled prisoner.  Court found no duty to investigate. 


NM-v-Islington LB & ors [2012] EWHC 414 (Admin)

Leading case on the duty of local authorities to undertake needs assessments in accordance with S47 NHSCC 1990 upon prisoners seeking parole.  


Daniel Sterriker –v- SSJ CO/5429/2012

Unreported.  SSJ conceded case challenging unlawful restrictive incentives and earned privileges regime at HMP Norwich.  Permission granted and application withdrawn. 


Laura Cutler-v-LB Barnet [2014] EWHC 4445 (QB)

Challenge to refuse to hear an oral application for relief from sanctions.  Court granted declaration, quashed lower court decision and remitted for fresh application.


CC & RC –v- LB Ealing, CO/6472/2015

Challenge to local authority decision to move children contrary to their wishes and Children Act regulations.


D-v- LB Croydon JR 1576/2014

Challenge to age assessment.  Local authority conceded claim prior to trial. 


CG –v- LB Lambeth CO/6159/2016

Challenge to failure of local authority to treat child as a looked after child.  Authority conceded claim. 


SL –v- LB Lambeth CO/5555/2016

Challenge to failure of local authority to treat child as a care leaver.  Authority conceded claim.