Claire is a criminal barrister, practicing in all areas of crime.
Claire has a particular expertise in defending cases involving women defendants and vulnerable defendants, including young people and those with mental health difficulties.
Claire also practices in prison and coronial law.
Claire is an active member of Justice for Women: a long-established pro-bono campaigning group who bring appeals against murder convictions for women who have fought back against a violent male partner.
Claire successfully represented the Appellant in the reported case of DPP v Oraki  EWHC 115 (Admin).
This case is now the leading authority concerning a defendant’s right to advance self-defence or defence of another on a charge of Obstruct / Assault PC, where an officer is acting within their duty.
Previously the law on this issue was not settled, with statute – establishing a defendant’s general entitlement to advance this defence – standing in contradiction to a long-line of authority in case law limiting the availability of the defence to situations where the officer is acting outside their duty.
In 2017 Claire, led by Hugh Southey QC of Matrix Chambers, was instructed to represent an individual suspected of being an active ISIS operative, in his action against the licence conditions imposed upon his release from custody.
Claire’s client had been made the subject of ‘extremist offender’ post-release licence conditions, which heavily curtailed his freedom of worship. Claire and Hugh were successful in challenging the licence, with the result that it was drastically modified to remove all the key infringements affecting their client’s Article 8 rights.
General Criminal Cases
R v D 2018 (Inner London Crown Court): Claire secured a Suspended Sentence Order for a young woman and mother who pleaded guilty to s20 GBH against a violent male partner. Following the submission of lengthy written argument about the applicability of United Nations protocol concerning the treatment of women defendants, the court was persuaded to accept a basis of plea in which the defendant explained that her assault against the complainant occurred in the context of long-term domestic violence by the complainant. The injuries received by the victim were described as ‘life-changing’ and included a lacerated wrist and multiple stab wounds to his back.
R v SB 2018 (Isleworth Crown Court): Claire successfully persuaded the court to disapply the 7-year minimum sentence for a third strike Class A dealer, instead securing a 3-year sentence on a plea to three counts of PWITS Class A.
R v FC 2017 (Isleworth Crown Court): Claire represented an 18year-old man who pleaded guilty to PWITS Class A, where her client was found with a ‘pharmacy’ of illicit drugs, including 138g of MDMA, 33g of cocaine, 123g heroin and 35g of ketamine. Claire secured a Suspended Sentence Order for her client: successfully arguing that the court should sentence the defendant as a juvenile, due to his age at the time of the offence.
R v SS 2017 (Isleworth Crown Court): case against the defendant dismissed at half-time following submissions regarding the safety of DNA evidence.
R v HS 2016 (Isleworth Crown Court): defendant acquitted of a dwelling burglary where it was alleged that the defendant, a lodger, stole high-value items from his landlady.
R v S (a youth) 2016 (Lewes Crown Court): Claire secured a Youth Rehabilitation Order with an ISS requirement, following a guilty plea by a 17 year-old man to charges of s18 GBH and possession of a bladed article.
R v COS (a youth) 2016 (Harrow Crown Court): on appeal against conviction from the Willesden Magistrates’ Court, Claire successfully persuaded the court to uphold a s78 application to exclude the evidence of a complainant who constantly sought to frustrate the trial, and subsequent re-trial, of a 16 year-old boy charged with an assault by beating, as a result of him brandishing a laser pen.
White Collar Crime
In 2016 Claire represented the family of a young man, Daniel Chapman, who suffered with paranoid schizophrenia who died under the care of his community mental health team. This was a sensitive case involving consideration of whether Article 2 safeguards should be extended to individuals recently discharged from voluntary (yet essential) inpatient treatment. Claire was instructed due to her experience in representing individuals with mental health difficulties. Read the story
Lord Mansfield Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn (major BPTC scholarship)
BPTC, City University
GDL, The College of Law
Commonwealth Scholarship, Cambridge University
MA (Hons.) History (Cantab)
Criminal Bar Association
Haldane Society of Socialist LawyersDownload CV
Pro Bono Work
Claire is a long-standing member (since 2009) of Justice for Women (JfW): a small pro-bono group advocating and campaigning on behalf of women who have experienced prejudicial treatment by the criminal justice system. In particular, JfW brings appeals for women convicted of murdering a violent partner.
JfW was founded over 25 years ago and was instructed in the seminal cases of R v Humphreys and R v Ahluwalia. Current Justice for Women campaigns include that of Sally Challen, whose case has received widespread press coverage due to the highly pertinent issues it raises, such the criminal justice system’s ability to acknowledge the impact of coercive and controlling behaviour on women.
Claire was heavily involved in the high-profile case of R v Stacey Hyde. This Justice for Women campaign resulted in Ms Hyde’s murder conviction being quashed in November 2014, leading to a re-trial in 2015 in which Ms Hyde was acquitted on the basis of self-defence. Claire assisted leading and junior counsel.
In the autumn of 2017 Claire played a significant role in organising JfW’s 25th birthday event, answering questions alongside Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce (JFW’s co-founder, and founder of the Centre for Women’s Justice) and Helena Kennedy QC of Doughty Street Chambers & author of ‘Eve Was Framed’. Claire has also lectured on behalf of JfW at forums such as the House of Commons.
Claire began her legal career at Solace Women’s Aid, North London, where she practised as a family law paralegal, assisting domestic violence victims in injunctive relief and care proceedings. Claire then moved to prison law, where she represented prisoners in adjudications, parole hearings, and in prison treatment cases.
Immediately prior to being called to the bar Claire worked for Birnberg Peirce & Partners, where she assisted the immigration team in their asylum, SIAC and other immigration work.