Doughty Street is renowned for housing many of the leading specialist criminal appeal barristers working on cases in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
The Doughty Street Appeal Unit is headed by Paul Taylor who, together with twelve others from the team, wrote the leading textbook in this field, Taylor on Criminal Appeals, published by Oxford University Press. Another member, Joel Bennathan QC, co-authored the new Criminal Appeals Handbook from Bloomsbury, aimed at members of the public as well as practitioners. To see Joel and Paul discussing some of the issues you may wish to have in mind when considering mounting a criminal appeal, please watch this short video.
We have appeared in some of the most important miscarriage of justice cases over the last 25 years including the Birmingham six, Myra Hindley, Ahluwhalia, Guildford four, Rowe (in Davies, Johnson and Rowe), the “Karl Bridgewater” murder, the Cardiff three, Venables and Thompson, Sarah Thornton, Michael Stone, Derek Bentley, Harry Mackenney and Bruce Childs and Ken Erskine (“The Stockwell Strangler”).
We recognise that a wrongful conviction or sentence at any level can have a devastating impact on appellants and their families. Our barristers represent clients in appeals across the full range of offences, from the relatively minor to homicides and terrorism. We advise and appear at all levels, from appeals against magistrates’ courts to the Crown Court,, to appearing in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, and European Court of Human Rights, as well as drafting submissions to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Several members have additional expertise in judicial review and case stated appeals, and can advise on the appropriate method of challenging decisions falling within these areas.
Our cases frequently involve complex legal or evidential issues. We have built up a particular expertise in cases involving fresh evidence, often from forensic experts including DNA and firearms, and cases involving appellants with mental health issues.
We accept instructions from solicitors in the usual way. Please contact the criminal clerks.
We are also regularly instructed directly by members of the public who may want a second opinion. This can be a cost-effective way to secure specialist advice, and more information can be found by clicking here. Please note members of the public wishing to take advice under the legal aid scheme must instruct a solicitor; we will be pleased to advice on suitably experienced choices.
For all our clients we can offer a “triage” service, where for an initial fixed fee preliminary advice can be obtained to determine whether or not there are any merits in pursuing an appeal. Please call our criminal clerks to discuss your individual case.
Our Criminal Appeals Advice Line provides free preliminary advice and guidance for solicitors involved in criminal cases raising potential issues of judicial review, case stated, appeals and applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. For further details please click here.
Members regularly provide in-house training for solicitors on a range of appellate topics [click for our recent series of lectures].
We are also releasing videocasts on various aspects of the appellate process. For the first one on Advising on a Potential Appeal with Joel Bennathan QC and Paul Taylor, click here. This is a short guide to appealing against a conviction, identifying some of the relevant issues together with practical tips. The accompanying power point presentation can be found here.
The Appeals Unit at Doughty Street Chambers has also launched a regular newsletter that highlights recent changes in case law and procedure, and provides practical guidance to those advising on appellate matters. Recent editions can be found by clicking on the links below.
Issue 1 - Fresh Evidence; Financial Crime Appeals; Appeals to Crown Court in Road Traffic Cases; Increasing Responsibilities of Appellate Lawyers; Remedies for Wrongly Convicted Refugees; Gunshot Residue.
Issue 2 - Whole Life Terms for prisoners; Criticism of Trial Lawyers as a ground of appeal; The Court of Appeal and Loss of Control; “In Camera” material before the ECtHR; New Criminal Appeals training video; New Criminal Appeals Handbook
Issue 3 - Appealing a conviction after entering a guilty plea on advice of previous lawyers; Recovering private costs in Court of Appeal cases; Joint Enterprise in the Supreme Court; Appealing convictions for historic sex offences; Sentencing Mentally Disordered Offenders; The new regime for vulnerable witnesses; The Right to Silence and the ECtHR
We have also included some useful links for those thinking of pursuing an appeal, or who work in this field:
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