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“Maya is an expert in her field who consistently provides advice and advocacy of the highest quality. She is excellent with clients, robust, tenacious, and a superb advocate.” –Chambers and Partners, 2024

Career profile

Maya has a strong civil liberties and human rights practice, holding public authorities to account through private and public law claims, death in custody inquests, and public inquiries. She is a fearless and highly experienced jury advocate and a natural and accomplished appellate advocate and is well known for her excellent and detailed written advocacy. 

Maya is a leader in the field of police law as well as Human Rights Act (HRA), discrimination, and tortious/personal injury claims against a range of public bodies. She has forged a niche practice on behalf of victims of trafficking and modern slavery charged with criminal offences, overturning their convictions as well as securing both HRA and statutory compensation on their behalf. Maya is ranked in the legal directories for her expertise in police law, civil liberties and human rights, and inquests/inquiries. She was shortlisted by Legal 500 for Public Law Silk of the Year in 2023 and Civil Liberties and Human Rights Junior of the Year in 2020. 

Maya’s past criminal practise focussed mainly on representing children in the criminal justice system, particularly those with neurodevelopmental conditions, alongside the innovative charity Just for Kids Law, of which she was a founding board member. She began her legal career as a paralegal in a leading firm of criminal solicitors before embarking on crime and human rights pupillages at Two Garden Court and Doughty Street Chambers. Earlier in her career, Maya worked in the NGO sector as an advocate and campaigner for women and girls fleeing domestic violence, sexual abuse, forced marriages, and other exploitation. 

What people are saying about Maya

“She is an all-around excellent counsel; she is a safe pair of hands and her strategic mindset is exceptional.” –Chambers and Partners, 2024

“Maya’s advocacy style is very polished, planned, and tactical. She is a huge strength and support to her bereaved clients.” –Legal 500, 2024

“Maya is not afraid to take on challenging cases or explore novel arguments of law to achieve the best results. She is fearless in her approach but sensitive to her clients’ needs.” –Chambers and Partners, 2023

“Great for her meticulous attention to detail and the level of work and effort she puts into every matter, no matter how complex and low-value the case. She has amazing client-care skills and extraordinary client care and humility.” – Legal 500, 2023

“She is highly committed, sharp, utterly determined, and not afraid to take on challenging cases. . . She is really engaged and is involved in every aspect of the case.” – Chambers and Partners, 2022

“Maya is great on her feet, her written submissions are strong, and her knowledge of the law is superb. . . She is brilliant on complex detail, and she leaves no stone unturned.” –Chambers and Partners, 2022

“She really cares about her clients, which shines through. She is dedicated to her cases and brilliant with clients. . . She is a very fair and even-handed advocate who takes good points.” – Chambers and Partners, 2022

“Very bright, exceptionally hard working, has a forensic attention to detail, and is a pleasure to work with. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and can hold her own powerfully in any setting. She provides detailed and nuanced advices, and you can totally trust her analysis.” –Legal 500, 2022

“She gets into all the detail and pre-empts everything, even the tricky points. She is knowledgeable and brings a wealth of experience to any case. She is also direct, realistic, and empathetic with clients. . . She gives pragmatic, straightforward advice and is extremely sound strategically.” – Chambers and Partners, 2021

“An extremely persuasive advocate. . . Her written advocacy is absolutely superb, and she has fantastic knowledge of the area. . . She’s easy to work with, gives clear practical advice, and produces very good pleadings.” – Chambers and Partners, 2021

“Formidable advocate. She is very articulate and persuasive, forcefully putting her client’s case whilst at the same time getting the judge on her side.” – Legal 500, 2021

More recent higher court cases

Ali v Secretary of State for Justice [2023] EWHC 3059 (Admin), 29 November 2023: Maya led Rosa Polaschek in this difficult miscarriage of justice compensation case in which Linden J concluded  that where a third party is implicated in the offending through DNA evidence of their presence at the scene the applicant for compensation would need to show that the DNA showed beyond reasonable doubt that the third party had carried out the offending. The decision reflects the stringent interpretation and wording of s 133(1) and (1ZA) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (the “innocence” test). The judge found, “with some regret”, that the evidence in Mr Ali’s case showed that the other man was “much more likely to have carried out the offending than the Claimant” but that this would not satisfy s 133. Section 133(1ZA) is the subject of an outstanding application before the European Court of Human Rights

R(RN) v First-tier Tribunal [2023] EWCA Civ 882: Maya was lead counsel (leading Shu Shin Luh and Camila Zapata Besso) for the intervener, the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit, in this successful challenge to the meaning of ‘crime of violence’ in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. 

R v AZE [2022], CACD [2022] EWCA Crim 1008: The Court of Appeal Criminal Division quashed a conviction, nearly three years out of time, of an age-disputed Vietnamese minor found in a cannabis factory. The appellant had a trial, relying on the Section 45 Modern Slavery Act defence and the fact that he was a minor. A flawed age assessment asserting he was over 18 and a negative conclusive grounds decision were put before the jury. The judge failed to direct the jury on the under-18 provisions in section 45, which did not require the jury to be satisfied of compulsion. Furthermore, fresh evidence showed that he was in fact under 18 and was now accepted to be a victim of trafficking by the Single Competent Authority. Maya used the retrograde case of Brecani, [2021] EWCA Crim 731, to the appellant’s advantage to argue that the negative SCA decision should never have been before the jury. 

Danny Mansfield v DPP [2021] EWHC 2938 (Admin); [2021] 11 WLUK 20: Maya was instructed as leading counsel in this important appeal by way of case stated on the issue of the magistrates’ court’s jurisdiction in Category 2 abuse of process cases. The Divisional Court found that the judgment in R v Horseferry Road Magistrates Court, ex parte Bennett (No.1) [1994] 1 A.C. 42 did not exclude the magistrates' jurisdiction to stay proceedings for abuse of process in all cases falling within the second category of abuse that it identified (where all the circumstances together offended the court's sense of propriety and justice). Instead, it excluded the magistrates' jurisdiction in cases within a sub-set of that category. The exception Bennett contemplated was a very narrow one, and it was clear that the magistrates' jurisdiction would encompass instances in which the police had given an assurance that was then withdrawn. The Court departed from the two cases relied upon by the Director of Public Prosecutions (Nembhard v DPP [2009] EWHC 194 (Admin) and Woolls v North Somerset Council [2016] EWHC 1410 (Admin)) and found they should not be followed on this point. 

R v JXP [2019] EWCA Crim 1280 - In this case, the CACD once again considered the UK's international obligations to victims of trafficking (VoTs), this time in the context of an adult Vietnamese male arrested in a cannabis factory. In quashing his conviction six years out of time, the Court accepted that the post-conviction decision of the NRM that he was a VoT was one that it would give weight to, notwithstanding the Respondent’s criticism of that decision. The CACD said “We take account of the fact that the Competent Authority is a specialist authority with particular expertise and knowledge in this area of trafficking. The Minute sets out in considerable detail the applicant’s account. It clearly analysed whether that account met the retirements of trafficking and concluded that it did. We accord weight to the decision of this specialist authority”. 

R v N [2019] EWCA Crim 191 - In this case, the CACD again considered the UK's international obligations to victims of trafficking (VoTs) and found that that a Vietnamese boy arrested in a cannabis farm was entitled to the protection of Article 26 of the Trafficking Convention and Article 8 of the Trafficking Directive. His conviction was quashed three years out of time. 

R v L; R. v N [2017] EWCA Crim 2129, unreported, 23 November 2017, CA - In this case, the Vice President of the CACD considered the UK's international obligations to victims of trafficking (VoTs) who are forced to commit crimes integral to their trafficked status and set aside the convictions of two young Vietnamese men convicted of cannabis cultivation. The particular importance of this decision is that it is the first time the question of anonymity and the position of VOTs who have been granted anonymity in concurrent immigration proceedings, has been fully considered. 

PD (by her mother and LF, ZD) v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and Just For Kids Law & CRAE (Interveners) [2015] EWCA Civ 114 - Although the failure to apply it on the particular facts was found not to be a breach of Article 8, Maya successfully argued that Annex A of Code C of PACE (strip searches) applies to the (forcible or otherwise) removal of clothing of suspects in police custody pursuant to s. 54 of PACE (clothes removed for own safety). The police argued that such a removal was not a strip search and thus the protections of Annex A did not apply - in this case to a 14-year-old girl in their custody with documented mental health needs. More information can be found in this post on the UK Human Rights Blog

R v Y [2015] EWCA Crim 123 -The Court of Appeal, in setting aside her conviction many years out of time, accepted that this young woman was a trafficked victim who should have had the protection of Article 26 (non-punishment provisions) of the Council of Europe Convention Against Trafficking in Human Beings 2005. Y was assisted by the Poppy Project , the Helen Bamber Foundation and Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA). One expert wrote "Ms Y is one of the most traumatised young women I have assessed at the Helen Bamber Foundation". Maya also represented Ms Y in a claim for compensation to the Miscarriage of Justice Application Service and in 2017 successfully secured the first award to a victim of trafficking under the amended Section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 that we are aware of. 

R (on the application of WB) (2) W (A Child By His Litigation Friend the OS) v SSJ [2014] EWHC 1696 (Admin) - Successful judicial review of a prison's refusal of a place in a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) to a pregnant prisoner. The baby was taken from her at birth. Her challenge was brought on three bases, the main one being that her procedural rights under Article 8 ECHR had been breached. The High Court made a declaratory order that her and W's Article 8 rights had been breached and a mandatory order that the MBU Board retake the decision. The fresh Board offered WB a place and ultimately the MOJ paid out significant HRA damages. 

R (Colefax) v the First Tier Tribunal & CICA [2014] EWCA Civ 945 - This case involved the novel question of the circumstances in which time limits can be waived in relation to latent injuries inflicted at the same time as patent injuries, where no in-time claim was made for the patent injuries. 

White v Governor of Brixton Prison [2015] EWHC 1886 (Admin) - A successful habeas corpus application; the Claimant was transferred to hospital from the cells despite being remanded in custody by the court; the issue was whether the remand time counted against his eventual sentence; the Sentence Calculation Policy Lead at the MOJ insisted it did not, the High Court found that this administrative transfer without legal sanction did not have the effect of taking the Claimant out of the scope of section 240ZA as interpreted by the section 242 of the CJA 2003 Act and the time did count. 

R (Hoffman) v Parole Board & SSJ [2015] EWHC 2519 (Admin) - A successful judicial review of Parole Board's decision to refuse to recommend open conditions for a recalled, tariff expired indeterminate sentenced prisoner; the High Court found that there was a failure to carry out the correct balancing exercise; decision quashed and sent back to the Parole Board for reconsideration).

Administrative and Public Law

Maya is particularly experienced in the context of criminal justice-related judicial review: for example, prisoners’ rights, challenges to youth court jurisdiction; Crown Court bail decisions; court refusals to appoint an intermediary; police failures to use caution; Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decisions to prosecute; CPS failures to prosecute rape and sexual offences; the Secretary of State’s failure to provide statutory compensation for miscarriages of justice; compensation refusals by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA); Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) refusals to refer cases back to the Court of Appeal; decisions of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC); and decisions of the Single Competent Authority (SCA) in relation to victims of trafficking. 

Maya has advised NGOs on various public law challenges in wider contexts, for example the terms of the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the new voter ID requirements.

Private Law Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities

With over a decade of experience of criminal jury advocacy and an in-depth knowledge of the criminal justice system, Maya is well suited to appearing in contested trials in this area. She regularly advises and appears in relation to civil damages claims against the police and public authorities, such as the Home Office and the prison service/Ministry of Justice (as well as G4S, Serco, Sodexo, and other third-party contractors), in relation to the full range of torts, data-protection breaches, discrimination (Equality Act 2010 and Article 14 ECHR), and a range of HRA claims. She has also successfully settled claims in discrimination and breach of contract against a university on behalf of a black, female junior doctor. 

Maya has particular expertise in statutory compensation claims via CICA and the Miscarriage of Justice Application Scheme and has advised a number of claimants in relation to the Windrush Compensation Scheme. She successfully brought the first Miscarriage of Justice compensation claim for a victim of trafficking under the amended miscarriage definition.

Maya has significant experience in the complex area of negligence claims against public bodies, including post-CN v Poole “failure to remove” cases, as well as in post-DSD HRA claims for failure to investigate serious sexual offences and for failure to identify victims of modern slavery. She has a particular interest in how the HRA can fill the gap where public authority negligence fails to provide a remedy and has published articles on this issue. 

Inquests and Inquiries

Maya has appeared on behalf of bereaved families in numerous prison death inquests, inquests into deaths following police shootings, police contact, police chases, self-inflicted deaths in psychiatric units/acute mental health wards, domestic homicides, where Article 2 of the ECHR is engaged. Sadly, she has acted in a number of inquests into self-inflicted deaths in the community of young people with autism, and other neurodevelopmental conditions, who have had contact with CAMHs and other local authority services . 

Two of her prison inquests are included in the recent INQUEST publication, ‘Deaths in prison: A national scandal’, as examples of inquests that have exposed dangerous failures in the prison system. Recently, she acted for the mother of Aisha Cleary, who gave birth alone in a prison cell in HMP Bronzefield, in the inquest into the baby’s death. For further details, see here and here.

For the last 7 years, Maya has acted for Peter Francis, the whistle-blower and former undercover police officer who exposed activities of the Special Demonstration Squad (including in relation to the Lawrence family) in the long-running Undercover Policing Inquiry, currently leading Laura Profumo. The inquiry is scrutinising the actions of undercover police officers who permeated hundreds of political groups during the past five decades. Further details found here.

Her first involvement in a public inquiry was as junior counsel for the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry (the landmark inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence). In particular, she wrote the closing submissions on the issue of institutional racism.

She was sole junior counsel in the controversial inquest into the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, on behalf of his widow Marina Litvinenko and their son, for over a year and a half, and before it was converted into a public inquiry, and she acted for Marina Litvinenko in Strasbourg. 

Prisoner's Rights

Maya has a wealth of experience in the prison law context, bringing judicial review challenges (often combined with HRA damages claims) to:

  • unlawful detention, recall, sentence (mis)calculation, licence conditions, prison conditions, security (re)categorisation, searches, discipline, HDC refusal, the treatment of foreign national prisoners, and refusal of a place in a prison Mother & Baby Unit; 
  • parole board decisions; and
  • other human rights and discrimination challenges.

Maya regularly advises on civil damages claims for unlawful detention arising out of sentence miscalculation or wrongful recall. 

Criminal Appeals

Maya’s criminal practice is limited to appellate challenges with a focus on CCRC appeals and victims of trafficking cases.

In the past, Maya had a busy and challenging Crown Court practice. She was a junior in more than 20 murder trials, and served as sole counsel in numerous serious and complex cases dealing with child defendants and child witnesses. She also has a long history of representing protestors and those charged with public order offences as well as children and young people charged with serious crime.

Advisory work

Maya advised the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) on the new National Operating Model (NOM), published July 2023, which sets out an approach to rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) investigations that is victim-centred, suspect-focused, and context-led. From 2022 to 2023, she served as a member of the Independent Academic Advisory Panel on Race disproportionality in Taser use (TASERD) led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College on Policing and chaired by Junior Smart. 

Reports and Investigations

Maya is a member of the JUSTICE working group on outsourcing and administrative justice, chaired by former Court of Appeal Judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom, which is expected to publish its findings this year. She recently served as a member of the JUSTICE working party on Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) disproportionality in the youth justice system, chairing the sub-group on biased perceptions and contributing to the overall findings (report can be found here). In 2017, she published a report on pregnant women’s access to prison Mother and Baby Units (MBUs), which saw her gain permission from the Ministry of Justice to interview a range of incredibly vulnerable stakeholders (report can be found here). 

Maya has experience of conducting highly sensitive, and confidential, investigations. She understands the sorts of litigation that could arise from the issues being investigated and can conduct a comprehensive review that brings effective change where necessary.

Maya has a long-established commitment to equality, inclusion, and non-discrimination.  Before joining the Bar, Maya completed an MSc in Race & Ethnic relations whilst also working in refuges for women and children fleeing domestic violence and sexual abuse.  She currently serves as Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer. 

Publications and Editorial Contributions

Maya frequently publishes in her areas of expertise. Her recent work includes:


  • “No better, no worse: Ineffectual interventions by public authorities will not give rise to negligence liability”, co-authored with Laura Profumo, Journal of Professional Negligence, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2023, pp. 53-57. 

  • “Minding the gap: Where does tortious liability for public authorities end and human rights liability begin?”, co-authored with Laura Profumo, Journal of Personal Injury Law, Issue 1, 2019, pp. 44-50.

  • Police law updates in LAG’s Legal Action magazine, written with Stephen Cragg KC and Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

  • Contributor to Police misconduct: legal remedies, edited by Stephen Cragg KC and Samuel Jacobs (LAG, 2022).

  • A chapter on compensation claims for victims of trafficking in the handbook Human trafficking and modern slavery: law and practice, edited by Philippa Southwell, Michelle Brewer, and Ben Douglas-Jones KC (Bloomsbury Professional, 2020). 

  • Author of ASBOs: A practitioner’s guide to defending anti-social behaviour orders (LAG, 2006)