The complete list of women QCs

1. Helena Normanton 1949 Dead
2. Rose Heilbron 1949 Second Woman High Ct Judge 1974 Died 2005
3. Dorothy Knight Dix 1957 Dead
4. Elizabeth Lane 1960 County Court Judge then First Woman High Court
Judge (1965). Dead
5. Myrella Cohen 1970 Circuit Judge 1972 Retired 1997 Died 2002
6. Jean Southworth 1973 Recorder 1972-93 Retired. Died 2010
7. Patricia Coles 1974 Circuit Judge Retired Died 2005
8. Barbara Calvert 1975 Chairman Industrial Tribunal 1986 Recorder and
Deputy HCJ FD 1986-1998. Retired Lady Lowry. Died
2015
9. Rosina Hare 1976 Died 2012
10. Margaret Booth 1976 High Court Judge FD 1979 Retired
11. Beryl Cooper 1977 Recorder 1977-1998 Retired. Died 2012
12. Joyanne Bracewell 1978 Circuit Judge 1983 HC Judge 1990 Died 2007
13. Monique Viner 1979 Circuit Judge 1990 retired 1998 Died 2006
14. Mary MacMurray 1979 Circuit Judge 1988 Died 2001
15. Elizabeth Appleby 1979 Deputy HCJ FD 1985. Recorder 1989. First female
treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn (2007) 16. Shirley Ritchie 1979 Circuit Judge 1995 [Anwyl] Retired
17. Carol Ellis 1980 CBE Consultant Editor,Law Reports.Died 2015
18. Margaret Puxon 1982 Recorder 1986-1998 Retired Died 2008
19. Eleanor Frances Platt 1982 Recorder 1982-2004 Deputy HCJ FD 1987-2004
Deputy Chairman NHS Tribunal 1995-2001. Acting
Chairman FLBA 1995.
20. Ann Goddard 1982 Circuit Judge 1993 retired 2008 Died 2011.
21. Helen Grindrod 1982 Recorder 1981-1995. Died 2002
22. Sheila Cameron 1983 Recorder Chancellor Diocese Dean of Arches 2001
23. Diana Cotton 1983 Recorder 1982- Deputy HCJ 1993-Tribunal Judge
Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Tribunal
and Mental Health Review Tribunal
24. Ann Curnow 1985 Recorder 1980-Retired 2009 Died 2011
25. Barbara Mills 1986 DPP 1992 Retired 1998. Died 2011
26. Rosalyn Higgins 1986 Professor. First Woman Judge in The Hague.
President of the International Court of Justice
(2006) Dame Grand Cross 2019
27. Janet Smith 1986 High Court Judge 1992 Court of Appeal 2002/3
Retired from CA 2011. Independent Assessor for
Miscarriages of Justice iJune 2011. Dame Janet
Smith Review re Jimmy Saville.
28. Mary Arden 1986 High Court Judge 1993 Court of Appeal 2000. Lady
Mance. Supreme Court October 2018
29. Hilary Heilbron 1987 Deputy High Court Judge Daughter of Rose
Heilbron.
30. Barbara Dohmann 1987 Recorder 1990- Deputy HCJ 1994-Chairman of
Combar 1999-2001
31. Belinda Bucknall 1988 Retired. Sits as Arbitrator. Now a door tenant
32. Ann Mallalieu 1988 Baroness. Recorder 1985-93
33. Hazel Williamson 1988 Chairman ChBA 1994-7 Deputy HCJ 1994-2006
Recorder 1996-2006 Circuit Judge Specialist
Chancery 2006 Retired 2013
34. Heather Hallett 1989 Leader SE Circuit 1995-1997 Vice Chairman of the
Bar 1997 Chairman GCBar 1998 High Court Judge
1999, 2002-05 Senior Presiding Judge Western
Circuit. Court of Appeal 2005. Vice-President of
the Queen’s Bench Division 2011. Vice-President
of the Criminal Division of the Court of
Appeals, 2013
35. Clare Tritton 1988 Retired
36. Mary Hogg 1989 High Court Judge FD 1996 retired 2016
37. Brenda Hale 1989 High Court Judge FD 1994. Lady Justice of Appeal
1999 Lady [Lord] of Appeal in Ordinary 2003-
[First woman to hold this position] Head of
Supreme Court 2017 [First woman]
38. Anna Worrall 1989 Recorder 1987-2004 Retired
39. Elizabeth Lawson 1989 Recorder 1998 Deputy HCJ FD Chairman FLBA 1995-
1997 Retired 2007
40. Elizabeth Gloster 1989 P/t J CA Channel Islands Recorder 1995- 2004
High Court Judge 2004 CA 2013 First woman Judge
of Commercial Court. Court of Appeal 2013 Vice
president Civil Division December 2016 Retired
2018
41. Anne Rafferty 1990 Chairman CBA 1995-7 (First woman chairman) High
Court Judge 2000 CA 2011
42. Genevra Caws 1991 Dead.
43. Louise Godfrey 1991 Recorder 1989-2002 Leader of NE Circuit 2001-02
Died 2002
44. Helena Kennedy 1991 Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws
45. Judith Parker 1991 High Court Judge FD 2008
46. Linda Stern 1991 Circuit Judge 2001 Died 2006
47. Patricia Scotland 1991 Baroness. Government Minister 1999
Attorney General 2007-2010
48. Presiley Baxendale 1992 Retired 2008
49. Nicola Davies 1992 Recorder 1998 HCJ QBD 2010 CA 2018
50. Lindsay Kushner 1992 Circuit Judge 2000 Retired 2017
51. Jean Ritchie 1992 Recorder 1993-2008 Retired 2006
52. Pamela Scriven 1992 Recorder 1996- Acting Chairman FLBA 1999
Chairman 1999-2001 Deputy HCJ
53. Elizabeth Slade 1992 Recorder 1998 Chairman ELBA 1995-7 DHCJ,QBD
54. Hazel Fox 1993 [Lady]. Editor International and Comparative Law
Review. Visiting Lecturer in Law, Oxford
55. Joanna Dodson 1993
56. Susan Edwards 1993
57. Joanna Korner 1993 CH 2004 Recorder 1995- 5 years as Senior
prosecuting Counsel at the Hague International
Criminal Tribunal. Circuit Judge 2012
58. Suzan Matthews 1993 Circuit Judge 2003
59. Susan Hamilton 1993 Circuit Judge 1998
60. Caroline Swift 1994 Recorder 1995- High Court Judge 2005-2015 2017
Head of MPTS
61. Marion Simmons 1994 Recorder 1998-2008 Chair Competition Tribunal.
Died May 2008
62. Sonia Proudman 1994 Recorder 2000 HCJ Chancery Division 2008
63. Joanna Greenberg 1994 Recorder 1995 Circuit Judge 2014
64. Linda Sullivan 1994 Recorder 1990 Circuit Judge 2009
65. Judith Hughes 1994 Circuit Judge 2001
66. Laura Cox 1994 High Ct Judge QBD 2002 Honorary
President of the Association of Women
Barristers. 2013 elected as Vice-President of
the UK Association of Women Judges
67. Judith Jackson 1994
68. Jill Black 1994 High Court Judge FD 1999 CA 2010 Supreme Court
2017
69. Frances Oldham 1994 DHCJ FD Recorder
70. Alison Ball 1995 Recorder 1998
71. Nadine Radford 1995 Recorder 1995
72. Heather Swindells 1995 Recorder 1994 Deputy HCJ 2000, Circuit Judge
2005
73. Rebecca Poulet 1995 Recorder 1995 Senior Circuit Judge 2012
74. Cherie Booth 1995 Recorder 1999
75. Florence Baron 1995 High Court Judge FD 2004 Died 2014
76. Catherine Newman 1995 Recorder 2000 Deputy High Court Judge,
Lieutenant-Bailiff of the Royal Court of
Guernsey
77. Anna Pauffley 1995 High Court Judge FD 2003
78. Sonia Woodley 1996 Recorder 1985
79. Rosamund Horwood-Smart 1996 Recorder 1995
80. Janet Turner 1996 2007 Heads Charity and Education Group at Taylor
Vinters.Solicitors
81. Clare Montgomery 1996 Recorder 2000
82. Mary Vitoria 1997 Editor Patent Reports
83. Sally O’Neill 1997 Recorder 2000 Chairman CBA 2007-8
84. Elizabeth Annabel Walker 1997 Circuit Judge 2001 (HHJ Carr)
85. Sally Smith 1997 Written a book on Marshall Hall 2016
86. Lindsay Boswell 1997 Now a door tenant
87. Jennifer Kershaw 1998 Recorder 2000 Circuit Judge 2005 Died 2012
88. Wendy Joseph 1998 Recorder 1999 Circuit Judge 2007. Senior Circuit
Judge 2012
89. Jane Crowley 1998 Recorder 1995 Deputy HCJ FD 1999-
90. Margaret de Haas 1998 Recorder 1999 Circuit Judge 2003 Senior Circuit
Judge 2012
91. Joan Butler 1998 Circuit Judge 2002
92. Frances Patterson 1998 Recorder 2000 DHCJ QB and Admin Court. HCJ
QBD 2013 Died 2016.
93. Elizabeth Blackburn 1998
94. Patricia Lynch 1998 Recorder 2000 Circuit Judge 2014
95. Julia Macur 1998 Recorder 1999 HCJ FD 2005 CA 2013
96. Linda Dobbs 1998 HCJ QBD 2004 Retired 2013
97. Susanna FitzGerald 1999
98. Adrienne Page 1999 Recorder 1999 Recorder
99. Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel 1999
100. Sally Bradley 1999 Recorder DHCJ Died 2014
101. Eleanor Hamilton 1999 Recorder 2000 HCJ FD 2008 CA 2014 (King LJ)
102. Elizabeth Marsh 1999
103. Eleanor Sharpston 1999 Advocate General European Court of Justice,
Luxembourg, 2006
104. Anesta Weekes 1999 Recorder 1999
105. Kathryn Thirlwall 1999 Recorder 2000 HCJ 2010 CA 2017
106. Juliet Wheldon CB 1999 Treasury Solicitor 2000
107. Vera Baird 2000 MP Solicitor General 2007-10 Made Dame in NY
Honours 2017
108. Beverley Lang 2000 Recorder. HCJ 2011 QBD
109. Ann Cotcher 2000
110. Jane Miller 2000 Circuit Junior 2002 Circuit Judge 2010
111. Rachel Brand 2000 Recorder 2003
112. Sasha Wass 2000 Recorder 1997 Recorder CCC 2008 Serious Fraud
Office Panel 2013
113. Yvonne Coen 2000 Recorder 2000
114. Susan Prevezer 2000 Recorder 2000 DHCJ 2006 co-managing partner of
the QE London office Quinn Emanuel Trial Lawyers
115. Catherine Otton-Goulder 2000 Recorder 2000 DHCJ Also a solicitor
116. Elizabeth Jones 2000 DHCJ Chancery Division
117. Diana Ellis 2001 Recorder 1998 Authorised counsel for
International Criminal Court.
118. Margaret Bowron 2001 Recorder 1996
119. Victoria Sharp 2001 HCJ QB 2009 CA 2013
120. Maura McGowan 2001 Recorder 1996 DHCJ 2010 Vice Chairman of
the Bar 2012 Chairman of the Bar 2013
HCJ 2014 QBD
121. Josephine (Jane) Giret 2001 Died 2016
122. Geraldine Andrews 2001 Recorder 2001 HCJ QBD 2013
123. Anna Guggenheim 2001 2006 Circuit Judge
124. Lucille (Lucy) Stone 2001
125. Vasanti Selvaratnam 2001 Recorder 2000
126. Monica Carrs-Frisk 2001
127. Shan Warnock-Smith 2002
128. Marianna Hildyard 2002 Recorder 1999 DHCJ Circuit Judge 2012
129. Kim Hollis 2002 First female Asian Silk 2016 DPP of
British Virgin Islands
130. Elwen Evans 2002 Recorder 2002
131. Susan Rodway 2002 Deputy Chairman of the NHS Tribunal:
2000–2004
132. Melanie Hall 2002
133. Jane McNeill 2002 Recorder. Employment Tribunal
134. Joanna Glynn 2002 Recorder 2000-2013
135. Finola O’Farrell 2002 HCJ QBD 2016
136. Sarah Asplin 2002 DHCJ Chancery Div. HCJ 2012 CA Autumn
2017
137. Alison Foster 2002 DHCJ Chancery
138. Sarah Munro 2002 Recorder 1996 Circuit Judge 2011
139. Margaret Bickford Smith 2003 Recorder 1997 2012 Chair of CiArb
140. Carey Ann Johnston 2003 Legal Assessor MPTS
141. Sally Cahill 2003 Circuit Judge 2005
142. Judith Rowe 2003 Recorder 2000 DHCJ Fam 2005 Circuit
Judge 2012
143. Lucy Theis 2003 Recorder 1998 Chairman FLBA 2008-2010
HCJ Fam div 2010
144. Jane Humphryes 2003 Recorder 1999
145. Miranda Moore 2003
146. Sally Howes 2003
147. Sue Carr 2003 Chairman Professional Negligence Bar
Association and of the Bar’s Complaints
Committee 2008 HCT J 2013

Under the New Rules in October 2006

148. Jacqueline Anne Perry 2006
149. Janet Claire Bazley 2006 Recorder 2000
150 Susan Elizabeth Jacklin 2006 Recorder 1998 DHCJ 2008m Vice Chairman
FLBA 2012, Chairman 2014-15, Circuit
Judge 2018
151. Deborah Joanna Janet Bangay 2006
152. Lynn Margaret Tayton 2006 Circuit Judge 2011
153. Philippa Mary McAtasney 2006
154. Lorna Gillian Meyer 2006
155. Johanne Erica Delahunty 2006 Recorder 2010
156. Helen Katharine Lucy Malcolm 2006 Recorder 2005
157. Rosemary Elizabeth Jackson 2006 Recorder 2002 Full time mediator and
Conciliator
158. Tania Veronica Griffiths 2006 Recorder 2000
159. Tracy Jane Ayling 2006 Standing Counsel to HMRC (1998 – 2005)
160. Sarah Louise Singleton 2006 Recorder Circuit Judge 2012
161. Heather Rogers 2006 Recorder 2010
162. Amanda Eve Pinto 2006 Recorder 2004
163. June Marion Venters 2006 First Woman Solicitor to be QC.
Recorder
164. Gillian Irving 2006 Part-time Chairman of the Care
Standards Tribunal
165. Christine Katherine Laing 2006 Recorder 2000 member of the Standards
Committee of the Bar Standards Board
166. Sallie Ann Bennett-Jenkins 2006 Recorder 2000
167. Kate Victoria Branigan 2006
168. Rosalind Morag Ellis 2006 Church Commissioner 2019
169. Kanta Shant 2006 Recorder. Circuit Judge 2015
170. Frances Jean Judd 2006 Recorder 2002 DHCJ 2011
171. Heather Jean Williams 2006 part-time Employment Judge and as a
Chair of the Royal Mail’s National
Appeals Panel. DHCJ and Recorder,
Assistant Coroner
172. Louise Mary Blackwell 2006
173. Ingrid Ann Simler 2006 Recorder 2002 HCJ 2013 LJ Appeal 2018
174. Ruth Sara Margaret Henke 2006
175. Stephanie Nicola Barwise 2006
176. Patricia Grace Robertson 2006 Board member Bar Standards Board
January 2010. BSB Vice Chair 2013
177. Jennifer Jane Eady 2006 Recorder 2003
178. Dinah Gwen Lison Rose 2006
179. Nathalie Marie Daniella Lieven 2006 HCJ 2019 FD
180. Lesley Jane Anderson 2006 Recorder 2006 DHCJ Ch. 2008
181. Elisabeth Laing 2008 Recorder 2000
182. Julia Dias 2008 member of the Gibraltar Bar 1994
183. Alison Russell 2008 Recorder 2004
184. Rosalind Coe 2008 Recorder 2003 Circuit Judge 2011
185. Sarah Vaughan Jones 2008 Recorder
186. Deborah Eaton 2008 Recorder 2004
187. Felicity Cullen 2008 CEDR Accredited Mediator
188. Suzanne Goddard 2008 Recorder 2002
189. Nerys Jefford 2008 Recorder 2007 HCJ QBD 2016
190. Johannah Cutts 2008 Recorder 2003 Circuit Judge 2011
191. Susan Grocott 2008 Recorder 2003
192. Sarah Forshaw 2008 SFO Approved Panel of QC’s [2009]
Leader SE Circuit 2012
193. Juliet May 2008 Circuit Judge 2008 HCJ 2015
194. Alison Levitt 2008 Recorder Principal Legal Advisor to the
Director of Public Prosecutions.
Partner Mishcons
195. Karon Monaghan 2008 Deputy High Court Judge
196. Sarah Hannaford 2008 Bar of Northern Ireland, 2015
197. Elspeth Talbot Rice 2008 Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme
Court
198. Helen Davies 2008
199. Chantal-Aimee Doerries 2008 Technology and Construction Bar
Association Chairman 2010 Chairman of
the Bar 2016
200. Caroline Harry-Thomas 2008
201. Daphne Irene Romney 2009 Chairman ELBA
202. Ann Elizabeth Hussey 2009
203. Mary Bernadette O’Rourke 2009
204. Penelope Jane Reed 2009 Recorder 2010 DHCJ
205. Maureen Anne Bacon 2009 Recorder 2002 Circuit Judge 2015
206. Gillian Matthews 2009 Circuit Judge 2010
207. Judith Ann Elizabeth Gill 2009 Solicitor
208. Susan Claire Campbell 2009
209. Raquel Agnello 2009 Deputy Registrar in Bankruptcy &
Companies
210. Jennifer Mary Roberts 2009 Recorder 2014 HCJ FD
211. Christina Caroline Lambert 2009
212. Rachel Langdale 2009
213. Wendy-Jane Tivnan Outhwaite 2009 Retired 2012
214. Joanna Angela Smith 2009
215. Leigh-Ann Maria Mulcahy 2009 DHCJ
216. Isabella Forshall 2010
217. Jane Cross 2010
218. Jane Bewsey 2010
219. Katherine D’Arcy 2010 Died 2010
220. Katharine Holland 2010
221. Susan Evans 2010 Circuit Judge 2011
222. Judith Khan 2010
223. Anuja Dhir 2010 Recorder 2009 Circuit Judge 2012
224. Joanne Wicks 2010
225. Zia Bhaloo 2010
226. Helen Mountfield 2010 Recorder 2010
227. Veronique Buehrlen 2010
228. Claire Blanchard 2010
229. Naomi Ellenbogen 2010
230. Sally Harrison 2010
231. Anne Whyte 2010 DHCJ QBD
232. Michelle Colborne 2010
233. Sioban Healy 2010
234. Jemima Stratford 2010
235. Philippa Whipple 2010 Recorder 2005 HCJudge 2015
236. Kalyani Kaul 2011 Recorder, Circuit Judge 2015
237. Catherine Wood 2011 Recorder 2007
238. Barbara Connolly 2011
239. Fiona Barton 2011
240. Kate Davidson 2011
241. Tina Cook 2011
242. Gillian Etherton 2011
243. Sarah Plaschkes 2011 Recorder 2004 Circuit Judge 2015
244. Patricia Hitchcock 2011
245. Sarah Morgan 2011 Recorder 2009/11
246. Rosina Cottage 2011 Recorder 2012
247. Poonam Melwani 2011
248. Eleanor Grey 2011 Judge of the Mental Health Review
Tribunal
249. Eleanor Laws 2011 Recorder
250. Sara Cockerill 2011 DHCJ 2016 HCT J 2017
251. Lisa Giovanetti 2011
252. Janine Kirsty Brimelow 2011 Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights
Committee of England and Wales 2012-2018
253. Phillippa Kaufmann 2011 Chair of the Mental Disability Advocacy
Centre
254. Jennifer (Jenni) Richards 2011
255. Amanda Tipples 2011 Recorder 2010
256. Amanda Yip 2011 Recorder 2009 DHCJ 2013
257. Alexandra Healy 2011 Recorder 2010
258. Judith Farbey 2011 Lead Assistant Boundary Commissioner
for the London Region 2011
259. Fiona Parkin 2011
260. Gwyneth Knowles 2011 Part-time Tribunal Judge of the Mental
Health Review Tribunal HCJ 2017
261. Sonia Tolaney 2011
262. Felicity Toube 2011
263. Ceri Bryant 2012
264. Frances Heaton 2012 Recorder 2002 DHCJ 2013
265. Suzanne Ormsby 2012
266. Sally Ann Hales 2012 Recorder 2011
267. Anne Studd 2012
268. Jane Bickerstaff 2012
269.Fenella Morris 2012
270. Zoe Johnson 2012 Recorder 2009 Senior Treasury Counsel
at the Central Criminal Court 2011
271. Tracey Angus 2012
272. Dominique Rawley 2012
273. Suzanne McKie 2012 former Chair of the Employment Lawyers
Association
274. Taryn Lee 2012 Recorder 2008
275. Kate Blackwell 2012
276. Samantha Leek 2012
277. Emma Himsworth 2012
278. Sara Masters 2012
279. Rebecca Sabben-Clare 2012
280. Rebecca Stubbs 2012
281. Rebecca Trowler 2012
282. Marie Demetriou 2012
283. Nicola Shaw 2012
284. Anneliese Day 2012
285. Claire Wills-Goldingham 2012
286. Caroline Harrison 2013
287. (Brie)Michelle Stevens-Hoare 2013
288. Sally Hatfield 2013 Recorder 2004 Assistant Deputy Coroner
(Manchester) 2008
289. Fiona Sinclair 2013
290. Parmjit Kaur (Bobbie) Cheema-Grubb 2013 Deputy High Court judge and a
Crown Court Recorder with Appeals
and Rape authorisations Senior
Treasury Counsel. HCJ 2015
291. Karyl Nairn 2013 global co-head of Skadden’s
International Litigation and Arbitration
292. Stephanie Harrison 2013 Legal Counsel to the Equality
and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

293. Fionnuala McCredie 2013
294. Jessica Simor 2013
295. Kristina Montgomery 2013 Circuit Judge 2014
296. Katherine (Kassie) Smith 2013
297. Camilla Bingham 2013
298. Lucy Frazer 2013 Conservative MP for South East
Cambridgeshire elected 2015
299. Elizabeth Isaacs 2013 Recorder 2009/12 DHCJ FD 2016
300. Rachell Ansell 2014
301. Kelyn Bacon 2014
302. Sarah Elliott 2014
303. Jane Mulcahy 2014
304. Felicity Gerry 2014
305. Catherine Gibaud 2014
306. Annette Henry 2014 Mental Health Review Tribunal (Part-time
judge) 2001 – 2013
307. Paula Hodges 2014 Solicitor Herbert Smith HEAD OF GLOBAL
ARBITRATION PRACTICE
308. Adrienne Lucking 2014 Circuit Judge 2015
309. Kate Markus 2014 Upper Tribunal Judge 2014
310. Charlotte May 2014
311. Elizabeth McGrath 2014
312. Kate Gallafent 2014
313. Saira Sheikh 2014
314. Kathryn Skellorn 2014
315. Karen Steyn 2014 DHCJ 2016
316. Sarah Whitehouse 2014 Senior Treasury Counsel 2014
317. Lisa Wilding 2014
318. Marion Smith 2015
319. Rufina (Aswni)Weereratne 2015
320. Marcia Shekerdemian 2015 Deputy Registrar in the Bankruptcy and
Companies Courts.

321. Julia Cheetham 2015 Recorder 2008
322. Christine Agnew 2015
323. Janet Bignell 2015 Recorder 2009/13/15
324. Annabel Darlow 2015 Recorder 2009
325. Amanda Hardy 2015
326. Rhiannon Jones 2015
327. Jane Lemon 2015
328. Zoe O’Sullivan 2015
329. Alison Pople 2015
330. Lisa Roberts 2015
331. Rachel Crasnow 2015
332. Nageena Khalique 2015
333. Clare Stanley 2015
334. Wendy Miles 2015
335. Riel Karmy-Jones 2015
336. Angela Rafferty 2015
337. Francesca Wiley 2015
338. Catherine Brunner 2015
339. Eleanor Hill 2015 Assistant Coroner London South
340. Deirdre Fottrell 2015 DHCJ 2018
341. Alison Grief 2015
342. Christine Henson 2015 Circuit Judge 2015
343. Jayne Adams 2016
344. Kim Franklin 2016
345. Marina Wheeler 2016
346. Sarah Lee 2016
347. Cathryn McGahey 2016
348. Kerry Bretherton 2016
349. Emma Deacon 2016
350. Katharine Gollop 2016
351. Justine Thornton 2016
352. Caroline Shea 2016
353. Soibhan Grey 2016
354. Loiuise Sweet 2016
355. Gemma White 2016
356. Catrin Evans 2016
357. Clodagh Bradley 2016
358. Bridget Dolan 2016
359. Kama Melly 2016
360. Clare Sibson 2016
361. Hannah Markham 2016
362. Anya Proops 2016
363. Rosalind Phelps 2016
364. Maya Lester 2016
365. Lisa Busch 2016
366. Shaheed Fatima 2016
367. Penelope Madden 2016 Solicitor
368. Jane Allison Hunter 2017
369. Caroline Goodwin 2017 Recorder 2010
370. Sara Lawson 2017
371. Mary Prior 2017 Recorder 2018
372. Alexis Campbell 2017 Recorder 2010
373. Penelope Howe 2017
374. Maria Kinsler 2017
375. Hannah Brown 2017
376. Tana Adkin 2017
377. Kate Bex 2017
378. Natasha Wong 2017
379. Sarah Clarke 2017 Recorder
380. Anna McKenna 2017
381. Caroline Carberry 2017
382. Nina Goolamali 2017
383. Debra Powell 2017
384. Gillian Jones 2017 Recorder 2012
385. Sadeqa Shaheen Rahman 2017
386. Fiona Scolding 2017
387. Anna Vigars 2017 Recorder
388. Diane Middleton 2017
389. Samantha Broadfoot 2017
390. Deok Joo Rhee 2017
391. Catherine Addy 2017
392. Kate Grange 2017
393. Schona Jolly 2017
394. Serena Cheng 2017
395. Alison Macdonald 2017
396. Michelle Heeley 2017 Recorder
397. Sarah Ford 2017
398. Caoilfhionn Gallagher 2017
399. Gemma Mary Taylor 2018
400. Bridget Ann Lucas 2018
401. (Sarah)Vanessa Meachin 2018
402. Samantha Leonie King 2018
403. Clare Catherine Wade 2018
404. Sonali Naik 2018
405. Alison Padfield 2018
406. Jennifer Dempster 2018
407. Heidi Kubik 2018 Recorder 2015 Circuit Judge 2018
408. Kate Lumsdon 2018
409. Nicola Jane Rushton 2018
410. Vanessa Marshall 2018
411. Sarah Lambert 2018 Recorder 2012 Deputy Costs Judge
412. Philippa Hopkins 2018
413. Caroline Rees 2018 Recorder 2016
414. Eloise Marshall 2018
415. Katy Thorne 2018
416.Nicole Sandells 2018
417. Mary Loram 2018 Recorder
418. Amanda Weston 2018
419. Samantha Knights 2018
420. Lynne McCafferty 2018
421. Tiffany Scott 2018
422. Sophie Lamb 2018 Solicitor
423. Sarah Crowther 2018
424. Catherine Callaghan 2018 also qualified in NZ
425. Lyndsey de Mestre 2018
426. Caroline Haughey 2018
427. Lucy Garrett 2018
428. Brenda Campbell 2018
429. Joanna Martin 2018 was Solicitor in 1996
430. Hui Ling McCarthy 2018
431. Katherine Goddard 2019
432. Isabel Hitching 2019
433. Fiona Horlick 2019
434. Nina Grahame 2019
435. Sarah Pritchard 2019
436. Julia Smart 2019
437. Christina Michalos 2019
438. Aparna Nathan 2019
439. Michelle Nelson 2019
440. Catherine Cowton 2019 Recorder
441. Nicola Howard 2019 Recorder 2016
442. Sarah Jones 2019
443. Lindsay Lane 2019
444. Stephanie Tozer 2019
445. Narita Bahra 2019
446. Katherine Deal 2019
447. Margaret Gray 2019
448. (Catherine) Jane McCafferty 2019
449. Ronit Kreisberger 2019
450. Charlotte Kilroy 2019
451. Lorraine Cavanagh 2019
452. Constance McDonnell 2019
453. Sian Mirchandani 2019
454. Alison Morgan 2019
455. Diya Sen Gupta 2019
456. (Katherine) Valentina Sloane 2019
457. Jessica Stephens 2019
458. Anna Jane Boase 2019
459. Victoria Wakefield 2019
460. Victoria Butler-Cole 2019

With huge thanks to Eleanor Platt QC (#19) of 1 Garden Court Family Law chambers whose labour of love it has been to painstakingly compile and update this list, and who has allowed me to publish it here.

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Legal Hackette lunches with Frances Gibb

thumbnail_frances gibb updated headshot 15_06_2012 - 15.56.05 - TIMNEWS - PR_FrancesGibb-04Over a croque madame, chips and large glass of chardonnay at Dalys, just off Fleet Street – the historic home of newspapers — the recently retired legal editor of The Times, discusses the horror of being interviewed under caution, warns over the biggest challenge for the legal profession and offers top tips for legal PRs.

Frances Gibb has spent 46 years in journalism. She was at The Times for 40 of them, serving under nine editors from William Rees-Mogg to John Witherow, and took over the legal beat in 1982.

She grew up in the north London suburbs of Edgware and Barnet, the eldest of three children. Her father was a solicitor and later in life, her mother became a writer of short stories.

Frances studied English at the University of East Anglia and, after graduating with a first, sought her first job in journalism. “I thought I’ll take any job in the media because it was quite hard to get jobs. So I applied for a whole host of things.”

The first thing that came up was a six-month stint at news film agency, Visnews, where she had “a very lowly job filing cuttings”. From there, she went to The Times Higher Educational Supplement, where she spent four years, before joining The Daily Telegraph as art sales correspondent.

“They wanted someone to take on The Times, which at that time had Geraldine Norman – the doyenne of the arts sales world, who was doing massive investigations and huge exposés of forgers. I barely know a thing about auction houses. It was quite daunting.”

She was sent to India to cover what was to be the biggest sale of jewels in the world. “It was going to make absolutely millions. Sotheby’s were handling it. But after three or four days of political wrangling the government blocked it, so I had a week in India for nothing, which was absolutely fabulous.”

Reeling off other big stories covered – the British Rail pension fund investing in art works and a record-breaking sale – she interjects: “Interrupt me if I’m not telling you what you want”.

After four years, she fancied the more varied diet of a general reporter, and in 1979 joined The Times, which had started recruiting again after having closed its doors over a dispute with the unions around manning levels and the introduction of new technology.

The paper was based in Gray’s Inn Road and although the newspaper industry back then was, she says, probably more egalitarian than the legal profession, she recalls: “When I went to look for a desk, another established woman reporter said: ‘Don’t come over here – we don’t want it to become a women’s corner’.”

Among the major stories she covered was the crash in Tenerife in 1980 of a Boeing 727 from Manchester that killed all passengers and crew. Covering the story meant visiting the scene of the disaster which was strewn with personal belongings and body parts. By contrast, she was among the team that covered the wedding of Princes Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

After a couple of years of the variety of the general beat, she became slightly fed up with being pushed from pillar to post and wanted the greater control of a specialist patch. The legal job came up after her predecessor Marcel Berlins left to write crime novels.

But her appointment was not straight forward because, unlike the previous holders of the post, she was not a lawyer. She had to make her case to the then editor, Charles Douglas-Home. “I said that I had to write the stories for the wider public – for lay people, not for lawyers, and that as a journalist I was best placed to do it.

“I think they were slightly dubious,” she says and, as she recalls in the valedictory piece she wrote for the paper the week before she left, the consternation expressed by one senior judge continued to be voiced by some commentators for years after her appointment.

Confounding the doubters, for 37 years of her distinguished career, her distinctive clear and engaging writing has playing a huge role in enhancing the public’s understanding of legal issues of the day and the legal profession.

Her advice to budding journalists looking to follow in her footsteps, is “take the opportunities” that come your way and do not limit your horizons.

Since the late-1980s, when the The Lawyer and later Legal Week came on the scene alongside the older titles — New Law Journal, Law Society Gazette and Solicitors Journal – she says a strand of “legal journalism” has grown up.

But to those who ask her “how can I be a legal journalist?” her reply is: “Don’t ask to be a legal journalist; be a journalist and then see where you go. It’s all journalism and it doesn’t really matter whether it’s legal or education or health.

“I would have been happy to have done all of those, but I actually think I got the best job in the end because it’s so interesting.”

Frances bowed out on a high, writing on her final day a story about divorce reform, which would be the paper’s splash the following day. But she is modest about her achievements. “I haven’t brought down any governments. I really haven’t had any massive scoops. I like to think I just had a regular run of smaller things.”

One story that she says gained a lot of traction, was about the lord chancellor, Derry Irvine, likening himself to Cardinal Wolsey. “It came in the wake of stories about his purchase of £650,000 of Pugin-designed wallpaper for his official residence. The tabloids went wild and made mock-ups of him as Wolsey in a palace.”

As she recalls in The Times: “Irvine was livid. He launched into a torrent of abuse when I was seated opposite him at a dinner shortly afterwards: I had ‘no soul’, he told me, and I was a ‘silly goose’.”

In 2009 Frances got to see what it was like to be on the wrong side of the law. By a majority verdict of 10-2 a jury at Reading Crown Court convicted a child minder of the manslaughter of the 11-month-old child in her care. One of the dissenting jurors, concerned that the wrong verdict had been reached, was keen to talk.

“He approached us and we duly did an interview. We didn’t identify the case and it all went through the lawyers. It was very carefully done, but that wasn’t good enough for the law officers, so they prosecuted us of contempt of court,” she recalls.

Gavin Miller argued for the paper that that contempt proceedings could not be justified in the light of article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression, and that it was in the public interest for the press to tell the public what happened in court proceedings. But it was to no avail and the paper was fined £15,000.

“There were quite a few judges who recused themselves, because they said they knew me,” says Frances. Lord Justice Pill and Mr Justice Sweeney heard the cases, and she recalls “they were quite nice in the end and tried to exonerate me in the judgment. But it was a strict liability offence and we were found guilty.”

PA, the news agency, she adds, were very nice about it all and didn’t mention her name in their copy.

“The worst aspect was having to go and do the police interview, which was really unpleasant,” she recalls. As a favour to her, it was done outside London in Maidenhead. Laughing, she says: “I don’t quite know why that was a favour – I think they did it in case I was recognised – as if I was a celebrity.”

Peter Binning, the solicitor instructed to act for her by the paper, advised her to give a “no comment” interview.

“They asked very detailed questions about the amount of research done and the toing and froing between different news editors. I couldn’t remember the half of it. It lasted for 45 minutes and I followed his advice and didn’t answer any questions. I think he was quite amazed that I managed it.”

After the verdict, she says the office was very nice about it, adding: “I blame the lawyers.”

Looking back over her career, she says the job has “changed beyond recognition” and “without a doubt” the biggest factor is the internet.

Recalling the move from Gray’s Inn Road to Wapping, which happened overnight and marked the “complete change from an analogue to digital world in an instant,” she says: “We were all ‘phoned over the weekend and told to report to Wapping. Nobody, except a very small group of people knew about the secret project.

“I remember arriving and there were no typewriters. I was just presented with this computer. It sounds ridiculous now, but I actually remember handwriting my stories and then copying them laboriously onto the computer. I wasn’t able to just write it straight onto the keyboard.”

The internet, she says, enables speedy online research. “Gone are the days of trailing over to cuttings libraries and getting dusty files full of cuttings out.”

With social media, it have changed the pace of news, making it more immediate. “You can’t sit on a story and produce it the next day in a leisurely way in the paper.” And instead of writing a couple of stories a day, the digital editions mean she can write five or six stories a day.

“Paradoxically, the internet makes it quicker and easier to access information, but makes it harder to get out of the office.”

Turning to the legal profession, the biggest change she says, has been the way it is perceived by the news desk, who represent the public. While an anti-professional culture has long been pervasive in Fleet Street, along with the feeling that there is too much reverence for judges, she says there is now even less deference.

“When I started there would be a leisurely Law Society conference lasting five days and we’d all go off and have nice meals in the evenings – then there’d be the president’s speech and that would always be a page lead.

“Anything the president says now has to fight to get in on its own merits; they will never just take a speech because it’s by the president of the Law Society – or even the lord chief justice.”

Newspapers, or The Times at any rate, she says, used to be more concerned about being a paper of record, and as such would report on the daily events in court cases, in the same way that it covered parliamentary debates. But, she notes: “That doesn’t happen anymore … We’re lucky to get an opening in the paper and then after that it’s the judgment.”

Colourful legal characters and old-style florid rhetoric, she says, are a thing of the past, and it is the graphic, colourful details of cases that determine coverage.

“What the news desk want has changed, but there is still an appetite for things legal,” she insists and is not all sexy stuff, sexual harassment and naughty judges. “They are interested in ground-breaking cases or things pushing the law forward, and everything has to have human interest.”

Looking ahead she says: “The biggest challenge for the legal profession is the need to address the fact that it is almost impossible for women to have children, stay in the profession and rise to the top.”

“It’s bad enough in journalism, but it’s really tough in law, especially at the criminal bar – the hours are long, you have to travel away from home and the conditions are terrible. It’s so unattractive. No one in their right mind would do it.”

She warns: “Until they sort that out they are going to lose some of the best people.” Judges, she says, have to be more understanding about the how stressful juggling a career and a family is – “one little thing and the whole fragile network of arrangement collapses”.

A big change in recent years has been arrival of PRs across the legal profession, which she says is a “mixed blessing”.

Judges, once aloof and often rude and irascible, are now media-savvy and more polite. But while access to them is easier, it is on their terms and they remain guarded about what they say.

Communication with ministers has, since the days of Tony Blair, become more centrally controlled by Downing Street. Ministerial press briefings are rare, and gone are the days of informal drinks or lunches with senior officials.

Of law firm or chambers PRs, she says: “They can facilitate the writing of an urgent comment piece or quote when we are up against a deadline; but they can be unhelpful or even obstructive if they decide that helping is not in their interest.”

Recognising the inherent tension between what journalists need and what PRs want for their law firm or chambers’ clients, she says: “They want their experts quoted or pieces by them printed, but they don’t always understand what makes a good quotation or commentary.

“They also often don’t appreciate the nature of our business and the importance of speed. And unless they have a background in journalism, they don’t understand what will make a story.” Those few PRs who do, she adds are “worth their weight in gold”.

The biggest frustration, she found, was when PRs from whom she would take regular pieces, were less happy to oblige when she was in desperate need of a quote or information from a client who was in the news. “It really has to be a two-way street,” she says.

Among her top tips: When pitching articles or commentaries, make sure they are topical and tied to current news, write them with that news peg in the intro; and write them clearly and simply, without legal case references.

Refer to cases by the facts – as in: “In a recent court of appeal ruling when a woman challenged her mother’s will …’ rather than ‘in Bloggs v Bloggs’.”

When commenting on a breaking news story: “Keep the quotes short and don’t fill them with detail of what the ruling says. We know that. Talk about the implications and throw the story forward, for example — ‘there is now a danger that x will happen’ or ‘ministers must now act to do x or y’.”

When contacted by a journalist: “Return the call quickly with the information wanted or come back to explain at least why you can’t supply the info. Even a returned call to say ‘we won’t be commenting on this’ is better than a rude silence.”

And, she adds: “When a lawyer does take a call, there is nothing more frustrating and disingenuous than the common cop-out – ‘I don’t have my client’s instructions to speak on this’.”

Despite the insight and wisdom that she could impart to legal PRs, a career in legal consultancy does not appeal. She’s not sure what she will do next. “I can’t think beyond this week,” she says. After lunch, she is off to pick up Bella, her eight-month-old Labrador and submit her final expenses claim.

It is clear that Frances has loved the job that has given her a ringside seat at moments of history and allowed her to mingle with many leading legal figures.

“If I was told I couldn’t do journalism, which would still be my first love, I think law would be a great second,” she says – preferring the bar to being a solicitor. “I couldn’t bare working in a big City law firm where you’d get lost in some big corporate machine.”

Even with the roles reversed, the consummate professional is looking at this interview with the eyes of a journalist. Concerned that her answers have not provided good enough copy, she asks: “Do you want anything else? If you think of any more questions or want me to make any of my answers a bit more lively, just send me an email and I’ll do my best.

“I know what it’s like when you think ‘how am I going to make a silk purse out of this?’”

Legal Hackette Lunches with Christine Kings

CK_APL_81001-200x180Over egg, chips and beans at Andrew’s Café on Gray’s Inn Road, Christine Kings, who helped set up Doughty Street Chambers, was the first woman to manage a set of chambers and who has spearheaded the introduction of modern management at the bar, talks about sexism and being spat at by a clerk, a near death experience with Helena Kennedy, putting barristers on contracts and the role of solicitors in reducing stress at the bar and increasing diversity.

Managing the bar might seem an oxymoron, but after spending almost 30 years striving – with undoubted success – to do just that, Christine Kings, one of the two chambers’ directors at London’s Outer Temple Chambers, retires this month. A politics graduate, Kings also studied Chinese. Before entering the legal world, she was a support worker at a women’s refuge and then head of campaigns at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

It was while working at CND and organising a lawyers for nuclear disarmament event, that she met a couple of the barristers who would go on to set up the now renowned human rights and civil liberties set, Doughty Street Chambers. Founded in 1990, it was the first chambers in London to survive being housed outside one of the four Inns of Court and the first to put all its staff on a fixed salary.

Kings stayed in touch with them and at a dinner in 1989 one of the founding members suggested that the job would suit her. Responding to her protestation that she knew nothing about the bar, chambers or clerks, they told her that was exactly why she would be just the ticket, as they wanted to break the traditional chambers mould.

Another barrister advised her against it, telling her ‘barristers are all prima donnas; don’t do it’, as did the late Brian Raymond of Bindmans. Her pal Martyn Day, one of the founders of Leigh Day also advised her ‘don’t work for barristers’.

Kings went for two interviews and recalls: ‘They didn’t endear me to them much – they asked if I was going to have children and about my politics. When they offered me the job, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to take it.’

In a bid to tempt her Stephen Irwin, now a Court of Appeal judge, took her to have a look at the building. ‘It was a beautiful Georgian building and had just been fitted out. It was lovely. I walked in and thought: “oh, I’d love to work here”.’

Kings was given until 10pm one evening to let them know her decision. At 9.45pm she was still flipping a coin, when a friend called and told her that she might as well take it and see how it worked it.

And how did it work out? ‘It was hard – really hard,’ she says. Not because of the prima donna barristers, but because the set could not find clerks who would work with Kings, because she was a woman, unless she was subordinate to them. She recalls: ‘Clerks wouldn’t take my calls, they would cross the road when they saw me and one spat at me.’

The set eventually found a female clerk, who had been a second junior in another set, to work with her and employed two teenage runners. ‘That’s how we opened – and with me who didn’t know anything. It was just hopeless. It should never have worked.’

Kings attributes the set’s success to the dedication of the founding barristers. ‘They had made a huge personal commitment to it – they had put in money and had taken a big risk, including with me and the staff – and they were going to make it work. We all were.’

But, she remembers how her career could have ended as soon as it had begun. She needed to go to Ikea to get furniture for Doughty Street and Helena Kennedy offered to drive her there around the north circular. ‘She’d only passed her test the day before. It was brave of her to offer, but I thought we were going to be killed.’

With humility Kings professes ignorance as to how she turned things round personally in a male-dominated profession that had shunned her and spat at her, to become one of the most respected figures in chambers management. But, as she recalls the sensible and commercial no-nonsense ways she sought to change many of the unquestioned, historic ways of working in order to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the working lives of barristers and staff and the service given to professional and lay clients, it is obvious.

It is easy to see why barristers in other sets would like her way of working. Speaking at a seminar at one of the Inns, a clerk asked how much she was paid. ‘Instead of telling him to mind his own business, I said I was paid £44,000 — in line with the Bar Council’s guidance. You could have heard a pin drop. The clerks were all thinking “she isn’t paid much” and the barristers were all thinking the same.’

Early on in the job, she complained to the Bar Council about the practice of the RCJ listing office of charging junior clerks £10 a week to get the court lists on time. ‘I got a frosty reception from the Bar Council’s director of services, who told me that didn’t happen and marched me round to the listing office to prove the point, only to be told by the listing officer that I was correct.’

Because of her intervention, the practice stopped and, Kings recalls receiving a few grateful ‘phone call from clerks to thank her.

Andrew’s Café has links with both sets where Kings has worked – she was a regular attender of the Doughty Street’s Friday Egg & Chips Club, which took place there, and it was in the same venue that a meeting with a barrister ultimately led to her move to Outer Temple.

‘I had lunch with barrister who was going through a bad patch. He decided he was giving up and the bar and thought he could do my job. He was a good people person and I told him that he could and sent him the details of three jobs going – one of which was at Outer Temple.’

A month later, head-hunters called to ask why she had not made an application, and she pitched up for a meeting with them at the Russell Hotel. ‘They told me I was not what the set was looking for, but said they would like to put me forward as the “maverick” candidate.’

She continues: ‘I wasn’t looking for a job, but I went along for interview with Michael Bowes and Phillip Mott at Outer Temple – and got the job.’

Kings has done a great deal to drag a conservative profession into the twenty-first century and introduce the concept of modern management. Initially as a much-needed therapy for those working in chambers’ management, she got together with a group of other female chief executives and senior clerks for drinks – they decided to meet up again and the Legal Practice Management Association was born.

During her career the bar has changed so much as to be ‘almost unrecognisable’ – with the biggest changes brought about by technology and regulation. Though, she admits with the former, it has been an uphill struggle, noting that after Outer Temple got rid of its library five years ago, some members remain wedded to paper and insist on printing off inches worth of stuff.

Outer Temple is one of the few sets that has taken advantage of the changes instigated by the Bar Standards Board after the rules were liberalised in the Legal Services Act 2007. In 2016, it set up Outer Temple International – a separate law firm that is a BSB-regulated entity, employs a solicitor and is insured by a private insurance company rather than the Bar Mutual.

Other sets have been slow to embrace the new practice models permitted, she suggests, because of the nature of the bar and the independence that enables members of the same set to work on opposite sides in a case without being conflicted.

Another huge change, she notes, has been the reduction in publicly funded work as a result of the massive cuts to legal aid over the last decade. Outer Temple, she says took the decision deliberately to move away from legal aid work and focus instead on financial and regulatory work.

Having been a tireless supporter of the publicly funded bar and promoter of wider access to justice — as a trustee of the Bar Pro Bono Unit (now called Advocate) for 12 years and its treasurer; a trustee and treasurer of Bar in the Community; a trustee and chair of the Mary Ward Legal Centre; vice chair and chair of the Legal Action Group; and a member of the Gibson Committee on public access, she says ‘that decision is not something to be proud of’ but was necessary financially for chambers, which now derives only 3% of its income from legal aid work.

More widely, looking at the structure of the legal profession, which remains split by the titles of barrister and solicitor, despite regulatory and practice changes that remove any real division, Kings says: ‘If you were you starting from scratch you wouldn’t start where we are. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a single profession.’

But, she notes: ‘There is no appetite for it and too much vested interest in retaining the status quo.’

Due to the changing nature of the profession, she suggests it would be a good to train solicitors and barristers together initially, before doing additional training to acquire skills like advocacy.

She would also shake-up the bar’s working model in which barristers get a tenancy for life regardless of their performance. ‘Barristers should have contracts – for example for three years. The idea of having a tenancy for life is ridiculous. There has to be some security, but the idea you can just stay somewhere forever is out-dated.’

Her contractual model, she reckons, would also have the benefit of promoting flexibility and movement within the profession.

Kings is in favour of retaining the QC quality mark. ‘It is a good idea to have something that shows seniority. You need career progression and after 15 years in practice, it’s good to have something to aim for.’

While the new independent appointment system is ‘one hundred times better than the old one’, she says it is not perfect, and the requirement for 12 judicial references makes it hard for ‘those who are brilliant lawyers and settle great results for their client and so are in court less often’.

The issue of stress at the bar has, says Kings, become more visible in recent years, and many sets have sought to respond to that with various wellbeing initiatives. Her former set, Doughty Street, has played a key role in leading the way. But, she says, the suicide of one of its senior members, John Jones QC, in 2016 shows there can be no room for complacency.

The nature of the work in some chambers, where barristers are briefed at short-notice on urgent cases for vulnerable and desperate clients, promotes a culture of working long hours and always being available, which she says, some still see as a badge of honour.

Outer Temple, she insists, has tried to do all the right things to promote the wellbeing of its barristers and staff. It has, for example signed up to a 24-hour helpline and strives to promote a culture of not working long hours in chambers.

Solicitors, she says, have a role to play in cutting stress at the bar, by reducing the demands they make of barristers to do work at the last minute and late at night.

They also have a key role to play in promoting greater gender diversity, insists Kings, by briefing more female barristers. ‘Senior male solicitors can play a key role in briefing more female barristers, because there are more of them than there are women solicitors. And female solicitors should be briefing female barristers too.’

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Kings says she is surprised that there have been so few high profile revelations about senior members of the bar. ‘When I was at Doughty Street, Helena Kennedy and I got numerous calls and letters from people telling us about all sorts of abuse. One woman said she been raped by her pupil master, others told us they had suffered harassment and abuse, and a male pupil said his pupil mistress used him to baby sit her children.’

Her response to those who contacted her demonstrates why so few people have spoken out: ‘We advised them to go to the police, seek counselling or make a complaint, but we knew they had already thought about these things and had had to balance doing them against their future career at the bar.’

Ensuring that the bar does not go backwards in increasing diversity, is a problem that Kings is keenly aware of, particularly due to the cost of legal education, reduction in legal aid and continuing unconscious bias that operates in favour of students from a narrow sector of society.

‘Class is still one of the biggest barriers to getting pupillage’ she observes. ‘We have tried to make one of our application processes as open and fair as possible – we don’t ask for details of their academic background, but ask applicants to do an exam and attend interview.’

In a bid to remove the bias that some chambers might have in favour of Oxbridge candidates, Kings has previously asked the Bar Council to remove the name of the university attended on pupillage applications made through the Pupillage Gateway, and it has recently introduced a facility that allows chambers to hide it.

One of the biggest headaches for chambers in recent months, she says, has been Brexit. ‘It is creating a headache for sets like ours, because of the immigration issues. We’ve got pupils, associates and tenants who need visas and the rules have got more difficult and keep changing. We’ve got others working abroad who may need to set up entities to manage their taxes post-Brexit. It all takes up time and money.’

All this has left Kings feeling tired, and while she has enjoyed her career, she is looking forward to retirement, having handed in her notice last year. Her time will be spent learning French, volunteering as a ‘tree musketeer’, working on her allotment, and spending time with her family – much of which she will do on her bicycle.

‘I’m never going to need to wear shoes with a heel or makeup again.’

Legal Hackette lunches with William Clegg QC

Mz8mAYlwOver saltimbocca and potatoes washed down with a glass of Chiante, at Isobella — not far from his 2 Bedford Row chambers — William (Bill) Clegg QC discusses the ‘crisis’ in the criminal justice system, ‘squalid’ courts, ditching wigs, mental ill-health among barristers, and his book, Under the Wig, ghost-written by one of his former clients, and published this week.

Almost half a century ago, when Clegg, one of the country’s leading QCs, was starting out, it was, he says, ‘another world. ‘We didn’t have mobile phones, so when you finished a case you had to rush out and put a shilling into a phone box to call into the office, there were no computers, and no photocopiers. The way the profession has changed is remarkable.’

cj2_2wMABut not all of that change has been for the better. Battered by a decade of cuts, imposed by a supine Ministry of Justice at the behest of a Treasury that dislikes the open-ended nature of the legal aid scheme, Clegg says the criminal justice system, the profession and the courts are in ‘crisis’ with the morale of judges and lawyers at an all time low.

Between 2011 and 2020 the ministry’s budget will have been scythed by 40% in real terms. ‘There is no department that has had greater cuts as a percentage of its budget,’ he notes, and they are taking their toll.

‘If you go to any crown court today in London, you’ll find lavatories that are blocked and don’t work, lifts that are broken, carpets that are threadbare, roofs that leak, walls that need painting – they are squalid.’ In contrast to some of the ‘third world’ countries where he has practised and where the courts are ‘kept immaculately clean as a matter of pride by the people who work there and the governments, as an example to say that “we can do justice here”.’

The Central Criminal Court, or Old Bailey as it is affectionately known – where Clegg sits as a part time judge, is protected, not because it is the country’s flagship criminal court but, he says, because it is the City of London that picks up the maintenance bill, rather than the MoJ.

‘Go to Southwark and see the conditions there, or Inner London – they are unbelievably squalid. We need a huge injection of capital’ – not something he anticipates will be forthcoming, suggesting the lack of funding and the condition of the courts is ‘indicative of the lack of respect for the rule of law’.

Staffing cuts at HM Courts & Tribunals Service, says Clegg, have been a false economy, causing inefficiency and delays, as staff have to cover several courts. ‘I’ve sat recently as a judge and I couldn’t start because there was no clerk to begin the proceedings and no usher available, and I’ve known cases where you can’t send the jury out because there’s no usher to take the oath.’

Slashing the legal aid budget by more than 40% since 2005, has “damaged our system of criminal justice” and created the risk of a two-tier system, where those who cannot afford to pay privately will get a substandard service, inevitably resulting in miscarriages of justice.

The cuts, he says, have made it hard for legal aid barristers, who have seen their take-home pay halved, to survive. Average earnings are, he estimates, are around £28,000 a year net – not including provision for sick pay, holiday pay, maternity or paternity leave or a pension. And he points to a survey by the Young Legal Aid Lawyers group which revealed that 85% of those qualified for up to 10 years earn less than £25,000 a year.

In his book, he writes that: ‘In the 1950s and 60s and even the 1970s, a barrister could afford to buy a townhouse in the better parts of London such as Chelsea or Putney. Nowadays they will be lucky to afford a one-bedroom flat on the outskirts of the capital.’

The poor pay, he says, means that only the wealthy or those with a private income can afford to practice as legal aid barristers, setting back the progress to increase the diversity of the profession back by 30 years. A state school boy who received full grants for university and the bar course, Clegg reckons if would be very difficult for him to chose a career at the publicly funded bar today. And he notes that pupillage applications made to his set – one of the top criminal chambers, which offers four places a year – have fallen by two thirds in the last eight years.

A4vz2CV5Anxiety over money coupled with the long hours and intense pressures of the job, observes Clegg, contributes to a high level of depression and mental ill-health among barristers, who are ‘working harder than ever and getting less money than ever.’

He estimates that between 5% and 10% of the barristers that have been in his chambers over the years have suffered sufficiently serious depression that they have had to stop work for a time, though with treatment and support all were able to return to work.

The drop in income due to falling fee rates, he says, has forced some sets to lay off staff, merge or go out of business. His own set, he says, has been less affected than most because it decided a few years ago to reduce its dependence on publicly funded work. ‘Fifteen years ago about 90% of our turnover came from legal aid, now it’s about a third.’

Clegg has done no legal aid work for several years, because he says he would be forced to provide a ‘substandard service’ as he wouldn’t be able to instruct the best experts and couldn’t expect solicitors to do the large volumes of work required for the fees on offer.

The cuts, he says, mean that when he represented Barry George in his retrial after being wrongly convicted of murdering the TV presenter Jill Dando, he received roughly half what Michael Mansfield QC had been paid for defending him the first time round, and that he would be paid about half as much again today.

‘If Barry’s solicitors had come to my now I would not be prepared to act in his case; the experts that I instructed would likewise refuse to act. If Barry George were re-tried now, would he get justice?’

His perception is that ‘the government doesn’t really care whether people are well-represented’ because they see all defendants as ‘just a bunch of criminals’ – and will provide the minimum representation necessary to ensure they are not hauled up before the European Court of Human Rights for failing to provide fair trials.

Earlier this year when criminal barristers decided not to accept new legal aid cases in protest over further cuts to fees paid for crown court work, under the advocates graduated fee scheme, his set unanimously supported the action.

To prevent escalated action that would have seen barristers refuse to cover cases returned by others, the ministry promised £15 million more funding. In June, by a narrow Brexit referendum-like majority, 52% of the 3,038 barristers who voted agreed to accept the pay deal and halt further action.

Since then, a four-week consultation on how the extra money will be spent has been delayed, barristers fees remain unchanged and practitioners claim that the actual additional funding on offer amounts to only £8.6 million, rather than the £15 million pledged.

As a result, says Clegg, there is a ‘great deal of anger in the profession’. Barristers, he says ‘don’t feel that the government is playing fair with them, and that it will say anything to get you back to work and then renege on it’.

Echoing comments from Chris Henley QC, the chair of the Criminal Barristers Association, Clegg says: ‘I’m surprised there is any trust left in the MoJ. If there is a thread, it’s a very thin one.’

He predicts that without more money, barristers will take further protest action – downing tools for a day, then refusing new cases and returns, which he says ‘will very soon bring the whole thing crashing down.

‘People are just fed up to the back teeth of seeing their income cut in a way that no other profession has. People, rightly I think, will say it’s not fair.’

What is required, he suggests, is a legal aid system that recognises the distinction between very serious crimes like rape and murder, and less serious offences such as assault and shoplifting, and provides reasonable remuneration in each, commensurate with the work that has to be done. This, he says, cannot be done without a significant increase in the legal aid budget – and suggests that reverting to the rates paid a decade ago would be ‘good start’.

‘It ought to be looked at not so much as an increase in funding, but as the reinstatement of funding wrongly removed,’ he adds.

Due to the cuts, he continues, there is more privately paid work about – ‘because so few people qualify for legal aid and even those who do are realising quickly that you won’t get the barrister you want or the service you want on legal aid’.

Many people charged with criminal offences, he says, are making huge financial sacrifices or taking out second mortgages to pay for their defence, often against flimsy cases that should not have been brought.

‘I did a case for a schoolmaster whose family used their life savings, which had been set aside to look after his mother, who was showing early signs of Alzheimer’s.

‘As luck would have it, not only was the case won, but it was such a scandal that the judge ordered the CPS to pay his expenses, because the case should never have been brought — but that’s very rare.’

Disclosure failings by the CPS in rape cases, exposed first at the end of last year in Liam Allan’s case, and figures reported in the Guardian showing that less than a third of rape prosecutions brought against young men result in a conviction, have prompted suggestions that juries have become less willing to convict.

But Clegg argues that it may also show a desire by the prosecution to proceed with cases irrespective of the likelihood of success and a failure to abandon those that have no realistic prospect of conviction. ‘A large number of acquittals does not mean that guilty people are being let off. It’s just as likely to mean that a lot of innocent people have been prosecuted on the basis of a false or exaggerated complaints, or that somebody who undoubtedly was a victim of a sexual assault could never, on the face of the material before the court, have that proved to the criminal standard.’

Clegg detects too great a willingness by prosecutors to unquestioningly accept that a complainant is telling the truth, even in the face of circumstances that suggests things do not add up and where ‘there isn’t a cat in hell’s chance of conviction’.

There should, he suggests, be a critical assessment of cases, and those where there is no hope of conviction should be stopped at an early stage. ‘It only causes added trauma to victims to go through a trial and hear a “not guilty” verdict announced.’

But, he adds: ‘The problem is, if you don’t prosecute, a victim can complain and ask for a review. So to some extent it’s easier to prosecute.’

He recalls a case he did where incontrovertible medical evidence proving the innocence of the accused, was served on the prosecution nine months before the trial, but it took the prosecution until the second day of the trial to stop, wasting tens of thousands of pounds.

A huge fan of the jury system, Clegg says that in 47 years in practice, while there are cases where he thinks he got a ‘lucky result’ he can only think of one occasion where he thought the jury had come to ‘a really bad decision and convicted somebody who I felt was innocent’ – adding that fortunately the verdict was quashing on appeal.

‘It maybe that more people get acquitted under the jury system, but it’s better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man is convicted.’

Dismissing any potential unfairness to defendants because no reasons are given for their decisions, Clegg says ‘that it is the sacrifice you make for the safeguards of having verdicts decided by juries’.

Judges, he says, would make poor triers of fact, as they get too cynical. ‘Because we see it all the time, we may not spot the genuine, innocent man among all the endless crooks who come up before you’.

On other matters, Clegg would like to see an ‘upgrade to the role of lord chancellor’, which he says has been ‘devalued since Tony Blair tried to abolish it.

‘Now, it’s used as a stepping stone for some other ministry and the ministers who’ve been filling the post are more interested in getting promoted somewhere else than doing the job.’

Although he favours a return to the days before the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, when the role was separate from that of the secretary of state for justice, he would not go back to the regime where the incumbent sat in the House of Lords.

To help improve the growing problem of the shortage of senior judges, Clegg suggests judges should be able to sit beyond the current retirement age of 70 – to 72 or 75.

‘When people are healthier, fitter, living longer, and everybody is working longer why reduce the retirement age for judges?’ he asks, noting that the change was introduced just after the time judges had to serve in order to get a full pension was raised.

Forcing judges to retire at 70, he says, means the senior courts lose their experience to the commercial circuit where they sit as arbitrators in civil actions in Dubai, Hong Kong and London, earning fortunes, because they’ve kicked out of doing the job of a high court judge for far less money.

While no-one wants judges sitting who are incapable through age, he suggests that there could be the equivalent of an MOT certificate to show they are fit to practice. ‘A senior judge could look at transcripts of their summings up and provide a discrete reference on their capabilities.’ After all, he adds: ‘You can sit as a juror until you are 75 and practice as a barrister until you are 80.’

On a lighter note, Clegg suggests that barristers and judges in criminal cases should ditch their traditional horsehair wigs, stating that they ‘look ridiculous’ and are a hangover from a time when poor health meant wigs were the norm.

In his book, he says: ‘Some judges think the wig gives them an air of authority, but if you need a wig to exercise authority over your court then you are not much of a judge. I think that justice is better done by the judge’s words rather than what he has on his head.

‘The thought that you have to put part of a horse on your head to appear in a criminal trial is absurd.’

The Book

UnderthewigCOVERTurning to his book, Under the Wig. It was three years in the making, after Martin Hickman from Canbury Press approached him with the commission. The publishers, he explains, did not want a standard legal memoir, but a book aimed at non-lawyers, to demystify the profession, explain how it works and give a short synopsis of some of his most interesting cases.

After it became obvious that, with his day job, it would take a decade to write the book, a ghost writer was drafted in, in the form of the journalist John Troop, known as Troupy.

‘Troupy had been a fixture in Fleet Street for many years and had become the East Anglia correspondent of the Sun. He was caught up in Operation Elveden — the Metropolitan police’s campaign to stop journalists paying public officials for stories – and I was asked to defend him, having recently successfully defended the head of security of News International in the News of the World phone hacking trial’.

Charged with paying £300 to a prison officer for information about the suicide of a prisoner, Troop went on trial with other journalists and photographers working for the Sun in a trial that lasted 12 weeks. ‘He was acquitted, as I was always confident he would be. It was a very stupid case to bring against him in my view.’

Economically, simply and engagingly written, it is a modest book for a man who, in his lengthy career has defended more than 100 people charged with murder and acted in some of the most high-profile cases in recent years, including representing Colin Stagg, Michael Stone, Britain’s first Nazi war criminal and a man wrongly convicted of murder on the basis of an ear print.

The cases and profession take centre stage, not the man under the wig. Accounts of fourteen of the most colourful cases he has worked on are interspersed with chapters explaining the workings of the legal profession, the reality of life as a barrister, the rivalries and machinations in chambers, and tips on how to do the job. It is a must read for anyone with an interest in the law and justice, aspiring barristers and those with an interest in legal history.

Fascinating historical details include: how when he was called to the bar by Gray’s Inn in 1972 he was given a certificate confirming him to be an ‘utter barrister’; attending a hearing on his first day of pupillage, held in the former home of Lady Astor, because London was short of courts; appearing in a fraud trial at Chichester Rents in 1991, where for the first time a court took live evidence via video, sitting at 7.30am to hear witnesses from Australia and the Far East; and the continued tradition of giving nosegays of flowers to Old Bailey judges – originally done to ward off the stench from the cells of Newgate Prison below.

Memorable among the cases is Clegg’s chilling realisation on reading the papers to defend Robert Napper (briefed by Robin Murray & Co), who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a young mother and her daughter whom he had brutally killed in 1994, that the crime had been committed by the same person who had killed Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common in 1992.

Clegg had previously represented Colin Stagg, who had been charged with murdering Nickell, on the basis of criminal profiling and the fruits of a dubious undercover police operation, before being acquitted.

There are accounts of the preparation for a 22-day, old-style committal at Dorking Magistrates’ Court in relation to the 84-year-old Szymon Serafinowicz, charged under the War Crimes Act 1991 of murdering Jews in Belarus during the Second World War, and the trial of Anthony Sawoniukm, known as Andrusha the bastard, who became he first person in Britain to be convicted of war crimes. In the latter case, the jury and entire court team schlepped out to Belarus to visit the crime scenes.

During the phone hacking trial, Clegg recalls the kindness of the former News of the World editor, Rebekah Brooks, who bought him cough sweets when he had a cold during the case.

And there is an entertaining anecdote about a good-humoured judge at Snaresbrook crown court. A defendant when asked by the clerk to confirm his name, replied ‘Fuckwit’. In response, the judge asked the clerk to amend the indictment, replacing his name with the word ‘Fuckwit’ and then read the charge to him again.

At the start of the book, Clegg gives his answer to the dinner party question dreaded by all barristers – how can you defend someone guilty of murder? In answering it, he reveals that his greater difficulty comes when defending someone whom he suspects is not guilty. ‘The thought that an innocent man may be incarcerated for the rest of his life because I have failed to expose the weakness in the case against him means I don’t sleep at all well at night. It is a worry that gnaws.’

The boy

YXKbxjWgClegg’s parents owned a florist shop in West-Cliff on Sea, in Essex. As a child he would he would get up at 4am and go to market with his father to buy flowers. A sate-school boy, he failed the 11-plus and went to St Thomas More Roman Catholic Secondary Modern and West Cliff High School.

Watching Perry Mason on television made him want to become a barrister – a career his parents initially felt was a ‘little ambition’, instead suggesting he become a pharmacist.

He studied A-levels in history, geography and economics, getting two As and a B, and got a full grant from Southend Council to study law at Bristol University. A student from 1968-71, he took part in anti-apartheid demonstrations and sit-ins, and describes his politics at the time as ‘broadly left-wing’.

Outnumbered by students who had been to private schools, who brimmed with a confidence that did not come naturally to him, Clegg says he was ‘conscious’ of his different background, but says it has his helped him to deal with clients throughout his career.

His tutor, George Frost, maintained a criminal practice while teaching law, and lectures were held at 9am so he could be in the Assize Court at 10.30am. Clegg recalls that he did not learn much law at university, having eight hours of lectures and two tutorials a week. ‘I could probably have learned the law that was actually useful to me in three months,’ he notes.

Back then, wannabe barristers had to eat 24-36 dinners, and getting pupillage was difficult. Clegg secured his with a barrister called Ronnie Trott, through a solicitor who had arranged the leases for his parents’ flower shops. Clegg describes Trott as ‘the antithesis of everything I thought a barrister would be’ – he was short, had only four teeth, and was a vegetarian teetotaller who had been to state school and had previously worked as an engineer for Marconi.

In the second six months of his pupillage, he recalls his first case was a murder committal at Wallington Magistrates’ Court in which he was given strict instructions to say nothing and for which the fee was £10 – a sum, he says, he has still not received from the instructing solicitors, Sampsons.

His second case, he recalls, was a ‘glorious failure’, softened by the £8 fee. And, giving hope to all those not taken on at the end of pupillage, Clegg failed to get tenancy at 3 Hare Court and squatted for some time – only being taken on when others left.

He took silk in 1990, by which time he says his father had given up hope of him becoming a pharmacist. At the time, applications were in the gift of the lord chancellor and hopefuls applied by posting the details of how much they had earned over the last three years. In contrast to today, there was no fee, and he did not throw a lavish party. After the formalities he had a ‘low-key drink’ in chambers and it was all over by 8pm.

Still working away, Clegg intends to keep going, but ‘not for another 47 years’. This term he has three appeals and a couple of trials, and next year, 50 years after he joined as a student, he becomes the treasurer of Gray’s Inn. Accepting that he is coming to the end of his career, he says: ‘I think it’s very sad to see people carrying on too long,  beyond their capabilities. There’s nothing worse than hearing someone say “he used to be quite good, you know”. I’m determined not to go out in disgrace.’

Assessing his career, Clegg reflects on his cases with humility: ‘Some are almost impossible to lose; some nobody could win. But there is a group in the middle where the barrister can make a difference’.

Fifty years after he enrolled to study law, it is obvious that Clegg still loves it. Ending his book, he writes: ‘What I like doing more than anything else is reading a new case … That moment when I am about to turn the first page is the most thrilling’.

MPs back Liam Allan’s crowdfunded justice movement

EXCLUSIVE PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH LIAM ALLAN

Seven months after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was forced to drop a rape prosecution of Liam Allan, the student who became the reluctant poster boy for the scandalous disclosure failures has launched a campaign on social media to prevent miscarriages of justice.

DjQutmeX0AAat0GBacked by MPs including Nigel Evans, the former Commons deputy speaker, who in 2014 was acquitted of charges of rape and sexual assault charges, the campaign seeks to bring together all the disparate groups interested in criminal justice reform and elect a five-strong review panel that will act as a watchdog to monitor the CPS and police, make them accountable for change and provide ideas for reform.

Mr Allan, together with Manchester University professor, Claire McGourlay, who runs the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre, and second-year Sheffield University law student Annie Brodie Ackers, initially want to increase awareness of the failings of the criminal justice system and the impact on innocent individuals.

Their campaign document detailing their plan of action, published on Twitter last night, said: ‘The aim will be to unite as many people together as possible, and work with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to create a dialogue for change.’

It stressed: ‘For change to happen in the right way, the approach must be respectful to real victims and it must be balanced. This event will approach miscarriages of justice and victims in the broader sense in a way that is fair, respecting victims, complainants and the police.’

The trio opened a crowdfunding page on the JustGiving website to raise £10,000 to support the campaign and conferences ‘to influence change in the Crown Prosecution Service with regards to the way innocents are failed in multiple ways by the Criminal Justice System’.

They said: ‘Many believe that you are only charged, and potentially convicted, of a crime if you are proven guilty, sadly however, this isn’t the case. Many innocents are accused or suspected of a crime that they are not guilty of. For example, a false allegation can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, race, religion or background.’

From November to March 2019 they aim to run a series of conferences titled ‘Innovation of Justice’ in Manchester, Sheffield and Cardiff, before hosting a three-day conference in June at the House of Commons in London, to spread the word and collect proposals for reform, before electing the review panel.

That panel will seek two meetings a year with the CPS, police, and justice committee to get progress reports, highlight problems and make recommendations for change.

Commenting on why he is backing the campaign, Mr Evans said: ‘Now is the convenient time to do this, with the current Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, on her way out and a new DPP coming in. It is not just a case of rearranging the deckchairs, we need a new broom to sweep clear the rot in the current system.

‘I have no doubt that there will be people in the profession who will want to back this because they do not want to see the system rigged in such a way that justice is not being done.’

Mr Evans said that even when judges complain about disclosure failures, nothing is done ‘There is just a shrugging of the shoulders and everything continues without change. There seems to be no shaming of the police or CPS when evidence is withheld and people’s lives absolutely ruined.’

He added: ‘It is not as if Liam’s case was an exception; it seems to be the norm, and that is appalling.

‘We have go to hold their [the police and CPS] feet to the fire and keep them on the straight and narrow – and this is the perfect way of doing it. If we can get people to come together, we can bring about change.’

The campaign has the support of Barry Sheerman MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on miscarriages of justice (APPGMJ), and will work closely with it.

It is also backed by Sheffield Heeley MP, Louise Haigh, the universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Greenwich, campaign groups including JENGbA, and law firms including Irwin Mitchell, the Johnson Partnership, Howells, Norrie Waite & Slater, GWB Hartills, Lam & Meerabux and Tuckers Solicitors.

Digby Johnson, senior partner of The Johnson Partnership, one of the country’s largest criminal legal aid practices, said: ‘We work in a number of crown courts and CPS areas around the country – the level and standard of disclosure varies dramatically between areas and prosecutors.

‘A lot of prosecutors see restricting disclosure as a macho badge of honour. If anything can be done to make that badge of honour a stain on their professional character and be held against them, that would be a good thing.’

Mr Johnson added: ‘People ought to regard disclosure as something that can’t be just brushed off. The decisions that a prosecutor makes need to be reasoned and considered. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if there had to be disclosable written record of the reasons why disclosure has not been made’.

In particular, he said disclosure of digital evidence was ‘absolutely vital’ and may be as important to the criminal justice system as fingerprint or DNA evidence has been over the years.

Funding, he said, needed to be made available for proper consideration of this evidence, adding that doing so could save money because proper disclosure could encourage the guilty to plead guilty earlier or prevent others from being prosecuted in the first place.

n1H6Rwra_400x400Mr Allan said: ‘We are not here just to criticise the police and CPS – this not about police-hate or being anti-victim – we are very much aware that rape does happen and victims need to get justice. We are trying find solutions for all of us – for victims of crimes and for those who are wrongly charged or imprisoned — innocent people whose lives are devastated.’

On the day he launched the campaign, Mr Allan called for: the widespread pre and post trial disclosure failures to be addressed in all offences, not just in cases of sexual assaults; reform of the law of joint enterprise and a review of the operation of the Court of Appeal and under-resourced Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

‘I had always thought the Court of Appeal and the CCRC were fighting to correct miscarriages of justice, but they are not. They are not helpful, it’s just for show.

‘The CCRC refers only 0.03% of the cases it receives to the Court of Appeal — everyone else is left in prison. I could have been shut away in prison for ten years and would have been one of the many seeking to get a wrongful conviction overturned.’

He called for anonymity for defendants in all sex cases, unless otherwise ordered by a judge to encourage other potential victims to come forward.

Mr Allan stressed that genuine victims of crime must not be deterred from coming forward, but he called for those who have lied and made false allegations of rape to be prosecuted. He emphasised that he did not want to see complainants prosecuted in cases where juries have found defendants not guilty or rape. ‘In those cases, it does not mean that the complainant has not been raped, it means that the jury was not sure on the evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

‘If you open the door to prosecuting these people, it could be dangerous and would put off genuine victims from reporting offences.’

Mr Allan also called for information about the criminal justice process and people’s rights to be on the national curriculum. ‘School children should be taught about criminal justice and their rights – information needs to be made as simple as possible.

‘I didn’t know my rights at all – I didn’t know about legal aid or disclosure or how the process should be done. I was oblivious about the system and wrongly assumed that everything would be done properly’.

He further suggested that government money would be better spent on funding criminal legal aid adequately, instead of the spending vast amounts sending people to prison.

Mr Allen, who despite his two-year deal gained a first class degree in criminology from the University of Greenwich, said that the idea for the campaign came to him during a meeting of the APPGMJ, for the launch of the book ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’, by journalist Jon Robins, at which he spoke. ‘I started to see that there were so many different people doing different things about the criminal justice system and miscarriages of justice, which was confusing for the media and the public, who didn’t know where to focus.

‘I thought we needed to get people fighting for change all around the country, and if people were serious about making change, we all needed to work together.’

He expressed the hope that Sir Cliff Richard, who successfully sued the BBC over its coverage of the police search of his home four years ago, would get on board with the campaign.

On making lasting change for the better, he said: ‘There is a new hope where there hasn’t been hope before. Hope is the most powerful thing we can have together. It makes things possible.’

Speaking about his ordeal, during which he was on bail for two years with the case hanging over his head, he said: ‘When I was charged, I was initially suspended from my job as an assistant manager in retail sales, before being allowed to return, and feared I would may lose my place at university. ‘

Mr Allan had always denied the charges, stating that the sex had been consensual, but it came down to the complainant’s word against his. In the run-up to the trial, his lawyers had made repeated requests for disclosure of text and social media messages, but had been told by the police that those that existed were ‘too personal’.

Mr Allan was incredulous: ‘How can anything be too personal — rape is the most personal offence.’

At the start of the trial it became clear that the prosecution was relying on text messages and his legal team again asked to see everything that had been downloaded. It was not until a new prosecutor, Jerry Hayes, was instructed that thousands of text messages were finally disclosed on the third day of the trial, including conversations that the complainant had had with others, which proved Mr Allan’s innocence — he and his team  were up until the early hours of the following morning going through them.

Following the revelation, the case against him was dropped and Mr Hayes told the court it was the most appalling failure of disclosure he had ever encountered. After a review of the case the police, who Mr Allan is intending to sue, apologised for its failings. The case prompted a review by the CPS into disclosure in sex case, an inquiry by the justice committee and the CCRC announced that it will review more than rape convictions due to concerns that it failed to identify disclosure failings.

But Mr Allan is adamant that problems in the system should have been addressed earlier. ‘It shouldn’t have taken this long and it shouldn’t have taken my case to get a review of the disclosure problems. People have been raising the issues for years – it shouldn’t have taken the worst case scenario before people acted.’

It was not only the disclosure process that failed him. After his arrest, he was initially represented at the police station by the duty solicitor. But unbeknown to him, the firm was closed down six months before he was charged. ‘No one told me – I had to track down the agent who had represented me at the police station who told me.’

Despite knowing his innocence, from the start of the trial, he said he began to lose a little bit of hope. ‘From the moment I walked into court, they [the prosecution] sought to add another charge. I honestly believe that part of the reason was that they hoped that the jury would believe one of the charges.

‘It felt like I wasn’t just fighting one battle, but that I was fighting 12 battles. If I could prove that one of the charges was a lie, it wouldn’t be enough – I’d still have to show that the others were lies too.’

Throughout the ordeal, he said it was his family and friends who kept him going. ‘I can’t even begin to praise them all enough but they were all there for me when it mattered most.

‘It was a fight for the truth and a fight for my life. I would have easily just have given up if it wasn’t for them, in all honesty. They were my support network and one day I hope I’ll be able to repay them for everything they’ve done for me.’

Despite everything that Mr Allan has been through, he is remarkably calm. He said: ‘There is of course underlying anger and upset, but just being angry never got anyone anywhere.

‘For our idea to work and to promote unity I need to be level-headed and open-minded, which is pretty difficult. ‘

He said that despite the continued coverage of the case, he has tried to move on and made his peace with what has happened.

‘That’s not to say I will ever agree it should have happened, but there are other people out there who have been through the same thing or are going through it now, so my mind is just focused on how we can help those people.

‘It’s probably therapeutic focusing on others needing help too, but if I was always angry about what happened to me then it would always define who I am and eventually consume me. Who would listen to an angry vengeful student really?’

Before his arrest, Mr Allan has wanted to work in the criminal justice, but he has since changed track. His desire to help people remains but, apart from through the campaign, he hopes to do it differently, and will start an MA in sociology at Greenwich University.

Ms Ackers, who as a child experienced the sharp end of criminal justice failings when her father’s violence against her mother went without charge, said of the campaign: ‘We want to achieve unity – change happens when people come together. We are acting on behalf of all who have been badly treated by the criminal justice system — victims who have not got justice as well as those who are wrongly accused.’

The ‘under-resourced’ criminal justice system, she said, did not work in the way it should. ‘People are not seen as innocent until proven guilty, but have to prove their innocence.’

She stressed: ‘We don’t want any of this to stop victims of crime from coming forward. Prosecutions still have to happen where people have been victims of crime, because that is absolutely devastating’.

Ms Akcers met Allan after inviting him to speak at Sheffield University. She said: ‘What happened to him could have happened to anyone – and I wanted to raise awareness of this to people of our age.’

A shorter version of this appeared in The Brief from Times Law.

Legal Hackette lunches with Jerry Hayes

Jerry-Hayes-1162910Over ribs and white wine at Bill’s in Covent Garden (eschewing his regular haunt of Fleet Street’s El Vino in case we are ‘mobbed by the drunks’) barrister and former Tory MP Jerry Hayes, in his trademark colourful specs, explains why the criminal bar was right to accept the government’s pay offer, why disclosure problems will get worse, and why he definitely isn’t the Secret Barrister.

Criminal bar strike vote

Echoing the Brexit vote, last month more than 3,000 barristers voted in the Criminal Bar Association’s (CBA) ballot by 51.5% to 48.45% to end their protest action over legal aid fees and accept the government’s offer of extra funding and a pay rise. The outcome halted an escalation of the action that would have seen barristers implement a ‘no returns’ policy, but has left the bar deeply divided.

Hayes, called to the bar in 1977 and working from London’s Goldsmith Chambers, voted in favour of the deal and is adamant that it was the right result. ‘We got as much as we could. We weren’t going to get any more,’ he insists.

‘We’ve got to give [the Lord Chancellor] Gauke some wriggle room. He’s given us £15m of new money, which hasn’t happened before, and a 1% pay rise. So the kids will do better. It was the kids that I was particularly concerned about.’

To those barristers who argue that the bar had the ministry on the ropes and should have held out for more, he says that is ‘bad politics’ and was never going to happen.

‘Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey. The fact of the matter is we were being offered, through the very skilful negotiations of Angela Rafferty [CBA chair], something that was sellable to the members and the promise of a review in 18 months and then a look at the prosecution and disclosure. So this is only step one.”

And he adds: ‘Gauke is facing the bigger problem of having to cut £600 million from his department’s budget by 2020.’

But the closeness of the vote, he suggests, will work in the bar’s favour: ‘If it had been an overwhelming vote “yes” then the government would have said there was no problem. Now they know that if they put a step wrong, there will be serious trouble – we will have a no returns policy.’

Unlike during the bar’s protest four years ago, there was little media attention paid to the recent action – something Hayes puts down to the fact there was no actual strike or demonstration. But, he says No.10 ‘was made aware’ of the bar’s action and the consequences if it escalated to the next planned stage.

The whole problem with criminal legal aid fees, he says, has arisen because of ‘systemic problems within the MoJ going back to Jack Straw [former Labour justice secretary and lord chancellor and a former barrister], which has regarded barristers as part of the establishment and filthy rich’ — a perception fed to and gobbled up by the public, with help from sections of the press.

Much of the blame for the deteriorated situation, he says, lies with the former justice secretary and lord chancellor, Chris Grayling. ‘That terrible man Grayling tried to destroy the bar and destroy the criminal justice system and what’s more he relished doing it.

‘Barristers and solicitors have been treated absolutely appallingly – we’ve had our wages cut by 40% and we’re just treated like absolute rubbish. If consultants or GPs had been treated the way we’ve been treated there would be national strikes.’

The bar’s recent protest was triggered by cuts to the advocates graduated fee scheme. Solicitors face a similar cut to the litigators graduated fee scheme, and are going to court next month to challenge it. So, if both sides of the profession are treated badly, why don’t stand together and negotiate with the government together?

‘Because it’s two different problems,’ argues Hayes. ‘When it comes to litigation fees, how can we negotiate for them – we can support them and I think we should, but how can we negotiate, because we don’t understand it.’

And he dismisses the notion that a single profession would make things easier: ‘It’s horses for courses. You hire me because I’m an advocate. You wouldn’t hire me as a litigator – I wouldn’t have a clue about litigation and most solicitors don’t have a clue about advocacy.’

Disclosure

Hayes was the prosecution barrister drafted in for the trial of Liam Allan, the criminology old student who had been charged with rape and been on bail for two years. His trial was halted at the eleventh hour when the prosecution disclosed thousands of previously undisclosed text messages showing his innocence.

Hayes, told the court it was the most appalling failure of disclosure he had ever encountered, and told the media: ‘This is a criminal justice system which is not just creaking, it’s about to croak.’

Allan’s was the first in a line of cases that highlighted the widespread problems with disclosure. After the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, initially denied there was a problem, she initiated a review of all sexual offence cases, which lead to almost 50 matters being dropped.

Many suggest that the matter may not have come to light had someone like Hayes not been the prosecutor in Allan’s case. ‘I’m old fashioned. If the defence want something, provided it’s not a complete fishing expedition, they can have it and we can argue it out in front of the judge about whether it’s relevant,’ he says.

‘My job as a prosecutor is to be fair, I wasn’t prepared to stand by and see some kid get 12 years and be on the sexual offenders register for the rest of his life.’

But, he notes: ‘Some people don’t do that because they are afraid they’re going to lose their briefs.’ As for recorders – part time judges who are also jobbing barristers and who should be aware of the problem, he says: ‘They’re in a very difficult position – some are desperate to get on the bench. I’m sure they would do their duty, but there would have been a temptation, which I hope they resist, to say “let’s get on with this trial, we’re wasting valuable time and resources”.’

The problem with disclosure, says Hayes, is not new – it’s been going on since the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996.

He explains that there was supposed to be an independent disclosure officer in every case, although one is only assigned in very big cases. ‘In most cases the disclosure officer is the officer in the case, so they are hardly going to be impartial.

‘And there’s a cultural and systemic problem within the police – they don’t understand their job, which should be about looking at the evidence, not building a prosecution case. It’s not for them to decide what is relevant.’

It’s also a question of resources – neither the police nor the CPS has sufficient to look at the huge volumes of evidence generated by social media and mobile ‘phones. Although, he adds: ‘I don’t think it’s terribly difficult, is it? It’s not brain surgery for the officer just to have a someone’s ‘phone.’

And the problem is not limited to sexual cases. It is, says Hayes, ‘widespread’. ‘The reason the Liam Allen case pulled the media and the public’s heart-strings, was because this was a young man who could have been anyone’s son – to be brutally honest, a middle class boy from a decent family, of good character, who’d been charged with something very serious. If it had been a drug dealer, or someone in a gang, and disclosure hadn’t taken place, it wouldn’t have made the newspapers at all.’

And he predicts the problem will get worse and there will be more miscarriages of justice, because the police and CPS will hand everything over to the defence without reviewing it and the defence won’t read it because they are not getting paid to. ‘So no one will read anything and the little nuggets, the golden nuggets will be hidden.

‘There will be wrongly convicted people in prison, but what can we do about it – how do we know. If the police haven’t told the CPS and nothing has been flagged up on the unused – how do you know? And if it’s five years down the line, everything will have been destroyed?’

At the likelihood to of the Court of Appeal righting wrongful convictions, he laughs. ‘I like appearing in front of the Court of Appeal, because you tend to win your arguments and then they say at the end, “yes, but ‘is it unsafe?”

‘To which I always say “of course it’s unsafe for all the reasons you’ve just given”, and then they say they can’t grant the appeal.’ Its reluctance to overturn verdicts, he puts down to the fact that the court does not want to criticise brother judges for fear of undermining the whole system.

Presumption of anonymity for defendants in sexual cases

To prevent the lives of so many wrongly accused individual’s being destroyed, Hayes would introduce a presumption of anonymity in all sexual cases, unless the prosecution can persuade a judge that it’s in the public interest and in the interests of the enquiry for the defendant to be named — for example in cases involving a potential serial offender, like Warboys, to bring in other complainants.

‘In a case where there’s a boy and a girl, drink has been taken, there is no other supporting evidence, what’s the point of naming the individual; it’s just not fair.’

Being charged with a sexual offence with a trial, asserts Hayes, is worse than being charged with murder, even when you are acquitted. ‘You’re ostracised by friends, you lose your job, people will remember your name, which will come up in a Google search, but they won’t remember you were acquitted.’

He reckons that Liam Allan’s case makes a change in the law a possibility, but it will require legislation, and he bemoans: ‘The government is paralysed in the headlights of Brexit. Everything is seen through the prism of Brexit. Good sense and priorities have gone out of the window.’

The move, he states, is not anti-women, but ‘common sense’ because the ‘pendulum has swung too far the wrong way’ i.e. in favour of complainants and away from defendants.

‘As Angela Rafferty says, there’s been an almost unconscious bias towards that terrible word ‘the victim’ — we have the victim’s charter and the victim’s tsar,’ he says, raising the ‘heretical’ thought that they are unnecessary.

Also unnecessary, he suggests, he is the planned new law against upskirting: ‘There’s a law already – outraging public decency. But if it makes people feel batter, do it. And if MPs want to change the law – let them do it.’

Hayes is also against appointing judges from academia rather than practice – something he regards as ‘fucking insane’, and he is against legalising cannabis (though he would change the law to allow doctors to prescribe it for medicinal purposes).

He is in favour of reforming the legal aid means test, so that more people are eligible, and regards it as ‘weirdly sensible’ to impose a levy on city law firms to fund legal aid.

His rationale: ‘The city does so well in law is because people around the world look at our criminal justice system and think we have the the fairest justice system in the world.

‘It is the fairest in the world if you’re a wealthy man looking to divorce your wife and it is the fairest in the world if you’re a filthy rich businessman who wants to protect the reputation of his company or avoid your taxes, but for everyone else it’s a bit shit.’

Career and background

The MP for Harlow for 14 years (1983 -1997), Hayes does not miss politics. ‘It’s much more fun doing media, journalism and the bar.’ He went to the bar because: ‘I wanted to be an actor, and I do theatrical performances in court.’

He attended Mid Essex Technical College and School of Art and got a third in his law degree from the University of London. There were no lawyers in his family, he had no real idea what it was about and only got pupillage through a friend. His pupil master was the wonderfully-named Ernle Money and he had to pay 100 guineas for the privilege of doing it.

‘He was a lovely man, but a nightmare in court. He’d pick fights with everybody,’ recalls Hayes whose own style is very different. ‘I like a nice gentle atmosphere in court. I’ll fight my corner, but I just want everything to go nicely and smoothly. Some people are just bastards in court and some judges are stupid.’

On whether the quality of judges has declined, he says: ‘Don’t forget it was a very low bar when I first started. There were some very mad people – some of whom nowadays would be committed or put in place of safety – and should never have got on the bench at all.’

He recalled doing a shoplifting case before Lord Dunboyne. After a summing up in which he suggested to the jury that the defendant had worn a great coat with a poacher’s pocket in which to conceal the stolen goods, Dunboyne reported Hayes and the prosecutor to the Bar Council for suggesting there was no evidence to support his assertions.

Their disciplinary hearing went well, due to Dunboyne’s reputation for being ‘mad and deaf’ and the two young barristers were advised to ‘go off to El Vino and get pissed’.

In his career at the bar Hayes has acted in many high-profile cases, including the successful defence of a soldier in Basra accused of drowning a teenager and representing Labour councillors charged with postal ballot fraud. He also acted for Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming in his legal bid to challenge postal votes at the 2005 general election.

All the people he looked up to in the profession are dead. Among the living, he rates 2 Hare Court’s Jonathan Laidlaw QC and Orlando Pownall QC. He would have liked to meet George Carman and was in the next-door court at the Bailey when the great man defended Jeremy Thorpe.

He recalls going down to the cells and the jailer telling him that Thorpe was in. The former Liberal leader had asked for a tablecloth when eating his sandwich to which the jailer replied ‘this is not the national bugger all club, Sir’.

From barrister to politician and radio show host, one thing Hayes emphatically denies being is the anonymous blogger and author the Secret Barrister. ‘I wouldn’t have given any of the book royalties to charity and I wouldn’t need to be anonymous,’ he protests.

Though before his Lovesport radio show was axed due to a licence change, he did interview the elusive individual – he can’t and won’t spill the beans on their identity, having signed an NDA promising not to tell.

‘I’m told authoritatively it’s a bloke in the west country. I’m also told authoritatively it’s a woman in the north,’ he teases.

Before the tape recorder goes off and Hayes pours forth his more indiscreet “off the record” thoughts, he imparts his wisdom on the art of advocacy: ‘Communication — with the judge, your client, your solicitor and most important of all to the jury. Make them laugh, make them cry, make then pay attention.’

And on whether there is a future for the criminal bar: ‘Of course it has and I’d encourage anyone to do it. It’s fun and I love it. I’m 65 and I’ll never give up.’

Guilty Until Proven Innocent by Jon Robins

cover_9781785903694Jon Robins’ powerful and timely critique exposes the catastrophic failings in the underfunded criminal justice system, that sends innocent people to jail, and how that injustice is compounded by the failure of the the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and the Court of Appeal to correct those wrongs.

Hot on the heels of the Secret Barrister’s Stories of the Law and How it’s Broken, which lifts the lid on the crisis in the justice system, Robins’ compelling book, launched with less fanfare, tells vividly the human story of those whose lives are devastated by the all too frequent miscarriages of justice, but who are treated as ‘collateral damage’.

More than a quarter of a century since scandalous miscarriages of justice, such as the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six, ‘shocked the public out of its complacency about the supposed infallibility of the courts’ — and despite a royal commission and ensuing reforms, Robins’ book shows how little has changed for the better.

Setting the scheme in the foreword, Michael Mansfield QC, veteran barrister synonymous with miscarriages of justice, observes: ‘It’s not that nothing has changed; it has got worse.’

British justice, says Mansfield, has been ‘diminished and demoralised’. Lawyers fees have been frozen for two decades, the austerity agenda has seen the Ministry of Justice’s budget slashed by 40%, and the criminal justice pendulum has swung dramatically in the direction of complainants.

The book is published in the wake of the narrowly avoided miscarriage of justice in the case of Liam Allan, a student whose trial for rape was halted at the eleventh hour when the prosecution disclosed thousands of previously hidden text messages that showed his innocence.

The prosecution barrister, Jerry Hayes, told the court it was the most appalling failure of disclosure he had ever encountered, and later commented: ‘This is a criminal justice system which is not just creaking, it’s about to croak.’

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 18.05.21Robins considers 11 cases, exploring the common ground between them to shine a light on why the system keeps failing – they feature a mixture of false confessions, police misconduct and confirmation bias, non-disclosure, over-reliance on flawed expert evidence and misconceptions about statistics and probability.

Much of the book was written during the year that the CCRC celebrated its twentieth anniversary. The body came out of the recommendations of the Runciman Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, set up on the day that the Birmingham Six were released with the aim of restoring the battered reputation of British justice.

But Robins argues that the body designed to deal with wrongful convictions is underfunded, understaffed and oversubscribed. As it comes of age, he says, it ‘appears to be becoming increasingly timid’ and provides no effective safety net.

The CCRC saw the deepest cut anywhere in the justice budget (60%). But aside from its chronic underfunding, it is dogged by concerns over its lack of independence and inbuilt conservatism. Only cases with a ‘real possibility’ of being overturned can be referred back which, critics argue, makes it second-guess the Court of Appeal and take too pragmatic a view.

On average it receives 1,500 applications a year and refers just 0.77% of cases back to the Court of Appeal – fewer than its predecessor body, the ‘shadowy and discredited home office department known as C3’.

Eddie Gilfoyle, who is fighting against a conviction for murdering his pregnant wife in 1993, is quoted saying of the CCRC: ‘It’s not independent. They are the same as the Court of Appeal. They have become the Court of Appeal. They are so scared of the Court of Appeal they might as well be the Court of Appeal’.

Lawyers are tribal creatures and often reluctant to criticise senior judges. But Robins is not a lawyer; he is a journalist and author of the website The Justice Gap and he does not shy away from such criticism.

The Court of Appeal takes a battering for its continued failure to get to grips with miscarriages of justice. The book suggests how little distance has been travelled since the bad old days of the Birmingham Six appeals.

In 1980, the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning, so beloved of today’s law students, ruled that the six should have no further appeals. If they won, he said, ‘it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous’.

And in 1988 Denning reasoned: ‘It is better that some innocent men remain in jail than the integrity of the English judicial system be impugned.’ Cases in Robins’ book suggest in many cases, that remains the ethos of the court of appeal.

Founded in 1907, Robins describes the Court of Appeal as a ‘compromise and misnomer’ confining itself to examining only points of law, and ‘unfortunately, guilt or innocence is not a point of law’.

In his unfinished autobiography, quoted in the book, the late Tom Sargant, criticises the courts ‘unreasoning respect’ for jury verdicts and ‘unwillingness to let down the police’.

Glyn Maddocks is the solicitor for the late Tony Stock, whose appeal against his conviction for robbery has twice been referred to the court and twice rejected, even though a super-grass confessed and confirmed that Stock was not involved and the Court of Appeal’s decision has been shown to be wrong.

Maddocks slams the court for its ‘lack of willingness to engage with (or even recognise) the problem and its often intransigent, often arrogant and, dare I say, obdurate view that it knows best and is constrained by its own previous decisions, however wrong they may have been’.

‘The Court of Appeal does not do apologies’ says Robins, and even on the rare occasions that it does quash wrongful convictions there is often an appearance that it does so through gritted teeth.

He sites the case of Sam Hallam, one of the youngest victims of a miscarriage of justice. He was convicted aged 17 for a gang-related murder and spent seven years in prison. His father took his own life during his imprisonment, as a result of his son’s ordeal. There was no sympathy expressed by the court for Hallam, says Robins – ‘in fact, there was more than a suggestion that the then seventeen-year-old was the architect of his own fate’.

More shockingly, Robins shows the impact on the lives of those who are wrongly convicted — many lose not just their liberty and livelihood, but their friends and family, and come out of prison deeply damaged people, suffering depression, paranoia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

When a conviction is quashed, the wrongly convicted person often walks out with no notice or preparation, with less state support than other prisoners receive. Their only source of help is the Royal Court of Justice’s miscarriage of justice support service, run by Citizens Advice. In 2011, it is reckoned that one third of its clients found themselves homeless after being freed.

‘My sentence started when I was released,’ says Paddy Maguire, the youngest of the Maguire Seven, arrested aged 13 and wrongly convicted for an IRA bombing campaign in the 1970s.

When a conviction is quashed the Court of Appeal does not reinstate the presumption of innocence; it almost never offers an unequivocal declaration of innocence. And those who have been wrongly convicted are rarely entitled to compensation.

Tony Blair’s Labour government scrapped ex gratia payments for victims of miscarriages of justice and the coalition government limited compensation to those who can demonstrate their innocence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ – so much for the presumption of innocence and, as Robins states, those whose convictions are overturned are ‘innocent – and yet not innocent enough’.

Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon (who served 17 years for a crime he didn’t commit and left prison with three hours notice, £46 in his pocket and a train ticket to Shrewsbury) have challenged this position and are waiting for a judgment form the Supreme Court.

‘The cases in this book should send shivers down the spines of every law-abiding citizen,’ states Rod Hayler, of Old Bailey Solicitors, in the preface. It is a book that informs, shocks and demands a response. It demands justice.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent is published by Biteback Publishing  and costs £12.99