Kathryn Hirst

Year of call: 1986

Kathryn is a highly regarded and popular member of the Bar. She is frequently praised by judges for her accessible style, trial management skills and effective cross-examination. She has a real instinct for setting the right tone in a case and, whether prosecuting or defending, has the flexibility to adjust her approach to the demands of the case. She works hard to find innovative ways of crafting a closing speech, cross examination or plea in mitigation.

Her relaxed manner makes her the ideal barrister for young and vulnerable clients as well as the more difficult ones. She has specialist knowledge in the areas of mental health and addiction, including sentencing options. She is also experienced in cross-examining witnesses requiring an intermediary.


BA (Hons.) Law

Direct Access qualified


As a grade 3 rape prosecutor Kathryn has wide experience in prosecuting sexual offences. In her defence work she has increasingly specialised in difficult trials involving sexual abuse, familial rape and sexual grooming. As a result she is experienced in dealing with complex disclosure involving schools, local authorities and social services.

Kathryn is also an experienced fraud prosecutor. She has advised in and conducted a number of high value confiscation hearings for the defence and prosecution as well as in trials involving boiler rooms frauds, misconduct in public office and banking frauds.

As well as those specialist areas Kathryn is a reliable generalist, appearing on both sides in cases involving drugs, dishonesty, benefit fraud and violence.

She is frequently used by solicitors as a specialist advocate at parole hearings where she often succeeds in persuading the panel to recommend re-categorisation or early release.

Professional Associations


South Eastern Circuit

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Notable Cases

R –v- HH. (2010) – Operation retriever. She successfully defended one of those charged in Operation Retriever with grooming young and vulnerable girls in Derby and committing serious sexual offences against them. This was one of the biggest and most extensive sexual grooming investigations in the UK.

R –v- DB (2013) – oral rape of a 12 year old girl by a 13 year old boy at school.

R –v- Peachey (2011) – attempted murder by son whilst father was in a coma.

R –v- Ajala (2013) – neglect in care home by care staff.

R –v- CW (2013) – Anal rape of young man with Aspergers and learning difficulties. The complainant was cross examined through an intermediary.

R –v- H and H (2013) – Boiler room fraud. Fraud set up to steal money from potential investors in shell companies.

R –v- RDV – Teacher who pleaded Guilty to sexual activity with pupils at a Scottish boarding school. This involved advising on abuse of process, jurisdiction as well as on sentence in a complex case. The sentence was also argued by her in the Court of Appeal.