5 Essex Court
Temple, London, EC4Y 9AH
Phone: 020 7410 2000
YEAR OF CALL 1999
Ranked in Chambers and Partners as a police law specialist in which he has in current and past editions been described as ‘tireless and dedicated ’ and as having 'excellent paperwork and breadth of experience'.
"Russell Fortt represents police forces in a wide range of matters, including judicial reviews, civil actions, inquests and police misconduct tribunals. Of late, he has been instructed in a judicial review dealing with arrests in an environmental camp just prior to the Royal Wedding" (Police Law) – Chambers UK 2013
"always well prepared" (Police Law) – Chambers UK 2012
Russell was appointed as Counsel to the Crown in 2005 and is currently on the B panel of the Attorney General's list.
Russell came to the Bar after a career in the Civil Service where he worked as a Fraud Inspector. He did his degree at Southampton Institute and graduated with First Class Honours where he was awarded the Sweet and Maxwell Prize, the Cavendish Publishing Prize, the Paris, Smith & Randall Prize, the Blake Lapthorn Prize and the Advocacy Cup. He was called to the Bar by Inner Temple in 1999. Before commencing pupillage he worked in the litigation department for Mishcon de Reya Solicitors working primarily on banking/shipping fraud cases and also on international constructions law disputes for an international arbitration consultancy.
He accepted tenancy at 5 Essex Court in 2001.
Russell is ranked in Chambers and Partners Directory as a police law specialist and has represented most of the police forces in England and Wales in all aspects of civil law, including assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, misfeasance, disclosure, Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act issues and judicial review actions. He has a very considerable inquest practice, including lengthy and complex cases involving deaths in custody and firearms operations. He also has extensive experience of advisory work on all aspects of police powers including both policy and operational issues. He has also represented the Presenting Officer in numerous police disciplinary proceedings and acted as legal advisor to panels at misconduct hearings.
He has considerable experience in forfeiture proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and specialises in the more complex and sensitive applications and particularly those with a terrorist dimension. He also has experience of Football Banning Orders, Anti-Social Behaviour and Sexual Prevention Orders and Closure Orders.
Russell has lectured extensively to police forces and solicitors, most recently on the following topics: Proceeds of Crime Act; Football Banning Orders; Hunting Act 2005; Police Disciplinary Tribunals and judicial review actions.
Recent Police Law cases:
R (on the application of Hicks and Others) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 1947 (Admin):
Acted for the Commissioner in one of the joined cases (Middleton and Lewis) in a 5 day judicial review before the Divisional Court. The case concerned a challenge to the policing practices at the Royal Wedding. Successfully argued that a search warrant executed at an environmental protest camp near Heathrow airport had not been improper motivated and was not obtained unlawfully.
R (on the application of M) v IPCC  EWHC 2071 (Admin):
Acted for the IPCC in a judicial review challenge to the IPCC's dismissal of an appeal against an alleged failure by the police to properly investigate her complaint about the inadequacy of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault. The case was the first to determine the extent of the proviso in the Police Reform Act 2002 Sch. 3 Pt 1 para. 8(3). namely that a statement made by any person for the purpose of a local resolution process (LRP) for dealing with complaints against the police was not admissable in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings, included statements from the beginning to the end of the LRP. Statements not made for the purposes of a LRP could be properly referred to in subsequent proceedings.
R (on the application of Perinpanathan) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWCA Civ 40
Acted for the Commissioner in both the Divisional Court  EWHC 762 (Admin) and in the Court of Appeal in the leading case on the application of costs principles to police proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court. Successfully argued that the principles which were applicable in licensing cases as set out in City of Bradford MDC v Booth  were of equal application to forfeiture proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Brogan v (1) South Yorkshire Police (2) Department for Work and Pensions (3) HM Customs & Excise  EWHC 1040 Admin
Acted for the Department for Work and Pensions in a judicial review application relating to the lawfulness of a search carried out by fraud investigators from the DWP, Customs & Excise and police officers. Successfully argued that even if the police warrant was invalid, the existence of independent powers of entry meant that there was no trespass.
Howlett v HM Coroner for Devon & Others  EWHC 2570
Instructed by Wiltshire Constabulary in a successful appeal under s.13 of the Corner's act quashing the original inquest and obtaining an order for a new inquest. Concerned the death of Rachel Whitear, a heroin addict whose parents released the photograph of her dead body to the media and used it as part of a high profile national campaign against drug abuse.
Re Wardle (Deceased) (2006)
Acted for a police force in a five week inquest concerning the death of a member of the Royal Navy who shot himself whilst surrounded by armed police.
R (on the application of M) v Bow Street Magistrates Court, Times, July 21, 2005
Instructed to represent the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in a judicial review application of terrorist cash forfeiture proceedings. Successfully argued that application was premature.
Public / Administrative Law:
Russell acts for many Government Departments and agencies in judicial review and civil actions. His areas of work include prison law, immigration and asylum, human rights, inquests and public inquiries.
Recent Public/Administrative Law cases:
Bryant (deceased) (2010)
Instructed to represent the Parole Board at a lengthy and high profile inquest into the death of a woman who was murdered by a former prisoner who had been released on licence from a discretionary life sentence.
The Billy Wright Inquiry (2007 to 2010)
Instructed by the Crown Solicitor’s Officer of Northern Ireland as part of team of counsel representing a large number of individual prison officers and governors, including the former governor of the Maze prison in a long running inquiry into the death of the LVF leader who was murdered by Republican terrorists in the Maze in 1997. Also separately instructed by the Ministry of Defence to represent a senior army officer at the inquiry.
AB (Turkey) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1535
Successful appeal to the Court of Appeal from the AIT in a case concerning the alleged bias of the Adjudicator and the Adjudicator's failure to provide a fair hearing.
Russell has a significant personal injury practice. He accepts instructions for both claimants and defendants but has considerable experience in high value defendant claims (up to £500,000) both for police forces and government departments (including Department for Work and Pensions, Highways Agency, Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Ministry of Defence). His cases range from manual handling, mesothelioma, repetitive strain injury, fatal accident, stress at work and harassment cases.
Russell provides CPD accredited lectures to solicitors on all aspects of his practice. He has lectured extensively to police forces and solicitors, most recently on the following topics: Proceeds of Crime Act; Football Banning Orders; Hunting Act 2005; Police Disciplinary Tribunals and judicial review actions.
Inns of Court School of Law, 1998-99
Southampton Institute 1995-8
Clayesmore School 1976-84