“He’s incredible. He’s very nice, easy-going, charming and easy to speak with. He’s very knowledgeable, but is also a very modern barrister. He’s really good with clients.” Chambers and Partners, 2015
“Works quickly to produce incisive, articulate and persuasive work” Legal 500, 2015
“Extraordinarily easy to deal with. He can turn work around instantly and do a brilliant job. He doesn’t put a foot wrong” Chambers and Partners, 2014
Can is a popular and well-respected junior at the public law and human rights law Bar, with a broad-ranging practice, encompassing:
- judicial review (instructed by both applicants and defendants) in the commercial, party political funding and regulatory contexts;
- public law challenges to the decisions of coroners;
- claims under the Human Rights Act 1998;
- applications before the European Court of Human Rights and the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice; and
- constitutional petitions in European, African and common law jurisdictions.
Can holds a particular expertise in human rights challenges involving: (i) the right to freedom of expression (Can is a preferred choice of counsel for a number of international free speech organisations); (ii) the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Can was counsel in Rotsztein – see below – and is an author of the leading practitioner text The Protections for Religious Rights: Law and Practice); and (iii) the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions under Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (Can was counsel in Breyer & Ors v DECC, see below).
Can has a particularly strong reputation for representing coroners in judicial review challenges (and has acted as sole counsel in a number of important reported decisions), as well as acting in judicial review applications against the Legal Ombudsman, Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (Can was counsel in the leading Court of Appeal decision of Emptage v FSCS – see below).
Ongoing or recent public law and human rights cases include:
- R (on the application of Rotsztein) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London  EWHC 2764 (Admin) instructed in judicial review proceedings relating to the approach to be taken by coroners when ordering invasive post mortem examinations in circumstances where the family of the deceased has raised religious objections under Article 9 of the European Convention. The case was identified by the court as one of public importance and is now the leading authority in this area.
- Rhodes v OPO  UKSC 32 led by Adrienne Page QC in the Supreme Court in an appeal relating to the proper scope of the tort in Wilkinson v Downton ( QB 57) in the appeal of an injunction prohibiting the publication of a memoir by the concert pianist, author and television film maker, James Rhodes. Submissions were focussed on the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention.
- R (on the application of Miranda) v (1) Secretary of State for the Home Department (2) Commissioner of Police for Metropolis instructed as lead counsel by Article 19, English PEN and Media Legal Defence Initiative in judicial review proceedings relating to the detention of David Miranda under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000. Mr Miranda is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist who has written a number of stories in The New York Times and The Guardian relating to mass surveillance programmes by the agencies of the US and UK governments, with significant parts of the underlying information being provided by Edward Snowden. The judicial review ( EWHC 255) raised important matters of principle regarding the purpose, scope and extent of the coercive powers under Schedule 7 and the protection of journalists’ sources and confidential journalistic material. Can has been retained for the Court of Appeal proceedings.
- Breyer Group Plc & Others v Department of Energy and Climate Change acting for Claimants, led by Patrick Lawrence QC, in a £195 million claim for damages under s. 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 for violation of the Claimants’ rights under Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention, following the government’s proposed retrospective changes to the feed-in-tariffs scheme for solar photovoltaic installations. Successful in the trial of preliminary issues at first instance ( EWHC 2257) and in the Court of Appeal ( EWCA Civ 408).
- Big Brother Watch and Ors v the United Kingdom (Application No 58170/13) instructed (led by Hugh Southey QC) by the Center for Democracy & Technology and PEN American Center in an application before the European Court of Human Rights challenging the scope of the secret interception and use of communications by the UK under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
- In the matter of HSH Nordbank acting for a European Bank on a US $75 million property rights claim before the European Court of Human Rights challenging a state’s handling of enforcement proceedings relating to ship mortgages. The application raises arguments under Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of the First Protocol, and is the first case before the Strasbourg Court specifically concerned with the Convention compliance of the international ship financing and enforcement regime.
- Gambian Press Union, Jammeh & Ceesay v The Gambia acting as lead co-counsel on behalf of leading journalists in The Gambia in a challenge before the Supreme Court of The Gambia to the constitutionality of certain sedition and criminal defamation laws on the basis that they violate fundamental human rights under the Gambian Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Related proceedings are being brought at the regional level in the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States for which Can is also instructed.
- Emptage v Financial Services Compensation Scheme Ltd  EWHC 2708 acted (led by Mark Cannon QC) for the successful applicant in a landmark judicial review of the FSCS’s decision to award compensation pursuant to the compensation scheme established under part XV of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and administered by FSCS. The case raised important issues of principle about the proper application of the Scheme to cases where an applicant has borrowed money pursuant to a regulated mortgage contract. Can also appeared successfully resisting the FSCS’s appeal in the Court of Appeal  EWCA Civ 729.
- Sik and Sener v Turkey (Application Nos 38270/11 & 53413/11) instructed as sole counsel by PEN International to intervene in two successful applications before the European Court of Human Rights relating to press freedom. The two cases received widespread coverage in the international media. For an article on the cases in Time Magazine, click here; for coverage in The New Yorker, click here.
- R (Aly) v HM Coroner for Bridgend and Glamorgan Valleys acted as sole counsel successfully defending the Coroner in resisting a judicial review application challenging his decision to direct a post-mortem examination. The Claimant had sought to argue that the decision constituted, in the circumstances of the case, a disproportionate interference with her right to manifest her religious beliefs under Article 9 and her right to respect for her private and family life under Article 8. The case generated a high degree of media interest. For a link to the coverage of the case in the Daily Telegraph, please click here.
- UKIP v The Electoral Commission  UKSC 40 appeared (led by Patrick Lawrence QC) before a seven-strong UK Supreme Court, acting for UKIP in its successful appeal in respect of the proper interpretation of the domestic law on the funding of political parties in the United Kingdom and its compatibility with the European Convention. This case remains the leading authority on the law of political donations.
- R (Mack) v HM Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull acted as sole counsel successfully defending the Coroner in judicial review proceedings in which the Claimant raised issues in relation to: (i) the scope of the inquest and Article 2 of the European Convention; (ii) the law on circumstances in which a coroner must, alternatively may, decide to sit with a jury; and (iii) the law on “neglect”.
In addition to his court work, Can is regularly instructed to advise on a broad range of public law, constitutional law, and human rights law issues, including:
- the application of judicial review and human rights arguments in the commercial context;
- the funding of political parties and the law of political donations, in particular: the legal and compliance risks which attach to giving and receiving political donations in the United Kingdom, the powers of the Electoral Commission, how the Bribery Act 2010 applies to donations, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the Electoral Administration Act 2006, the Companies Act 2006 and the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009;
- applications to the European Court of Human Rights and UN Human Rights Committee on matters involving the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 9, ECHR; Article 18, ICCPR) and the right to freedom of expression (Article 10, ECHR; Article 19, ICCPR);
- challenges to the scope of government surveillance regimes (including under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000);
- the law relating to coroners, and in particular the scope and application of Convention Rights in the context of inquests;
- claims against the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, and the Legal Services Ombudsman;
- constitutional law; and
- all aspects of freedom of expression or religious rights.
Can has published articles on public law and human rights law issues ranging from the Article 2 (right to life) obligation in the context of inquests, to freedom of expression in the context of CFAs, to religious rights under the Human Rights Act 1998, as well as on matters of public international law and constitutional issues.
Can is a member of the Constitutional and Administrative Bar Association (ALBA) as well as Lawyers for Liberty.