Claire has a busy practice defending in all areas of general crime, including: violent offending; drugs offences; sexual offences; and fraud. Claire also has a successful practice in appellate crime.
In recognition of Claire’s determined and industrious approach to her work, she is often instructed in cases involving complex factual and legal issues.
Furthermore, Claire’s experience in representing vulnerable defendants, notably young people and those with mental health difficulties, results in her regularly receiving instructions in cases that require careful client care.
Current instructions include: s18 GBH x 2, PWITS Class A, inciting sexual activity, trading standards offences and perverting the course of justice.
Examples of Claire’s recent work include:
R v CS 2019, Norwich Youth Court (certificate for counsel). Claire secured the acquittal of a 15-year-old defendant charged with the sexual assault of an 11-year-old complainant.
R v ES 2019, Harrow Crown Court. Claire secured the acquittal of a defendant charged with possession of a bladed article in circumstances where the defendant had been driving without a licence and where drugs and other potentially dangerous articles were found.
R v MA 2019, Guildford Crown Court. Claire was a led junior, defending in a multi-handed Class A drugs conspiracy.
R v FM 2019, Isleworth Crown Court. Claire was instructed in a s18 GBH where the matter in issue concerned whether her client could advance a defence of drug induced psychosis. After the issue was explored fully by a leading psychiatrist and toxicologist, a guilty plea was entered on the basis of this expert evidence, directly resulting in a significant reduction in sentence.
Manzou / DPP, 2018. Claire was instructed to represent a nurse in a private prosecution for s18 GBH instituted by a former patient. Claire’s detailed and careful representations to the DPP resulted in the case being taken over by the Crown and discontinued.
Appellate and Other Crime
Claire has a busy and successful practice in appellate crime (primarily the Court of Appeal Criminal Division) and enjoys the challenge of appearing before this tribunal. She also regularly advises
convicted defendants on the possibility of appealing out of time, providing detailed and comprehensive written advices dealing with concerns about previous representation, legal directions and sentences.
Examples of Claire’s recent work are as follows:
– R v O’Leary & Others 2019. Appeal against sentence. The Appellant originally received a sentence of 12 months’ immediate imprisonment for a conspiracy to steal in an abuse of position. Following an expedited appeal (listed within 5 weeks) Claire was successful in arguing that the sentence should be quashed and replaced with a suspended sentence.
– R v Newsome 2019  EWCA Crim 921. Appeal against sentence. Ms Newsome, a mother of two young children, was dying of terminal cancer and estimated to have a year left to live when she was given a 3-year sentence of imprisonment for a serious fraud by abuse of position. Claire was instructed when the family sought a second opinion after Ms Newsome was advised negatively on appeal by her original representatives. Claire successfully argued that Ms Newsome’s sentence should be reduced as an act of mercy, resulting in the CACD passing a substantially reduced sentence and bringing about her release the day after the appeal.
In 2018 Claire successfully represented the Appellant in the leading case of DPP v Oraki  EWHC 115 (Admin)/  1 Cr. App. R. 27 . Claire’s work in this case involved successfully resisting an application by the Crown for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Oraki is now the leading authority concerning a defendant’s entitlement to advance self-defence or defence of another on a charge of Obstruct / Assault PC, where an officer is acting within their duty. Prior to the principle established in this case, availability of the defence was limited to situations where an officer is acting outside their duty. The case features in the 2019 editions of Archbold & Blackstone’s Criminal Practice and has been reported extensively.
Claire also has experience in the overlap between crime and public law. In 2017 Claire was led by Hugh Southey QC of Matrix chambers in a judicial review of ‘extremist offender’ post-release licence conditions imposed on an individual suspected of high-level involvement in ISIS. The application for judicial review was successful in compelling the MOJ to remove all of the licence conditions that infringed the offender’s article 8 rights.
Claire’s interest in appellate work stems from her membership of Justice for Women: a pro-bono group who represent women appealing murder convictions in circumstances where a violent male partner has been killed. The majority of JfW’s appellate work involves bringing out of time appeals predicated on fresh evidence, through which Claire has gained a breadth of experience beyond her call.
Recently, Claire contributed to the work of the Appellant’s legal representatives in the high-profile case of Sally Challen, whose murder conviction was quashed after a successful Justice for Women campaign. Claire appeared as a spokesperson for JfW in interviews with BBC Radio Five Live, BBC News and Sky News, in addition to giving comment in the national print press. See here for Claire’s comment in the Telegraph and here for Clair’s comment in the Standard.
Qualifications & Scholarships
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 Appeals Lawyers Association (CALA)
Women in Criminal Law
Justice for Women
Criminal Bar Association (CBA)
Since 2009 Claire has been an active member of Justice for Women (JfW): a pro-bono organisation representing women appealing murder convictions in circumstances where they have killed 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.
In addition to assisting leading counsel in the appellate cases undertaken by the group, Claire’s recent work for JfW has included:
– Nov 2018: chairing a JfW public meeting at which the cases of Sally Challen, Emma Jayne-Magson and Farieissia Martin were discussed.
– Oct 2017: organising JfW’s 25year anniversary celebration, at which Claire appeared in a panel discussion alongside Harriet Wistrich & Helena Kennedy QC.
– April 2017: addressing MPs and policy makers at the House of Commons on the subject of the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence, including offending driven by domestic violence.