Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng

Head of 12 Square Chambers

Originally from Ghana, Charlotte Boaity gained an LLB from London University in 1970. After graduating, she worked with Community Relations Commission, carrying out research and providing legal advice on refugees and citizenship. She was called by the Middle Temple in 1976.

While spending time in Geneva as a stay at home mother, she took the opportunity to attend seminars and research international law. In 1980 she read Social Anthropology at Oxford University and was a member of Oxford Women Anthropologists which promoted the writing and publication of women. Boaity-Kwarteng was the consultant anthropologist to Granada Television’s Disappearing World: Asante Market Women.

In addition to her hard work, Ms Boaitey’s journey to the Bar as a black woman in the 1980s involved overcoming prejudice both on the Bench and among members of the legal profession. The previous head of 12 Old Square had been Mavis Gibson, a Zimbabwean who had set up the Chambers in 1965 after experiencing difficulties in securing a tenancy. When Zimbabwe became independent, Ms Gibson went back there to be a High Court judge and Ms Boaitey started practising in 1982 become head of the chambers in 1984.

Her background is now in general common law with considerable experience in criminal law, both defence and prosecution, as well as in employment and local government law. She now focuses on arbitration, family law mediation, wills and probate and providing expert opinion on African (especially Ghanaian) customary law (marriages and divorces). She attended the Ghana Law School in 1997 to study Ghanaian customary laws and was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Ghana that same year. She is a member of the Nigerian branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration and a member of the African Arbitration Association.

She has chaired review committees for Councillors’ remuneration and has also been an Assistant Boundary Commissioner. Her immigration law experience spans over 40 years.

She was a member of the Bar Council’s Race Relations Committee, when the first Bar Equality Code was produced under the chairmanship of the late Lord Justice Brooke and Lord Justice Hooper, both of whom were heavily committed to diversity at the Bar. She is a founding member of the Commonwealth in England Barristers Association (CEBA).

She was appointed as a Mental Health Review Tribunal judge by the Lord Chancellor in 2004 and held that post until she retired from it in 2014. She was also appointed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to make an enquiry into racism in connection with the Grenfell Tower tragedy. She completed the enquiry in February 2020.

12 Square is currently one of the leading chambers in human rights, immigration and public law.