The Crime Team at Doughty Street Chambers offers a genuinely holistic advice and advocacy service for all issues relating to criminal justice including trials, appeals, business crime and fraud, extradition, international crime, and civil and public law issues arising from criminal proceedings. Few other sets offer such broad experience in criminal law and the domestic and international criminal justice systems. Our team is ranked as a leading set by the industry directories Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500; we were named "Crime Set of the Year" at the Legal 500 Awards 2019. Many members of the team are also ranked, and we house more Queen's Counsel ranked as "Star Individuals" than any other set.
Our multi-disciplinary approach to casework sees us drawing on the varied expertise found in all practice teams across Chambers to provide you with an offering that meets all the legal needs of your clients. Our Crime Team regularly works closely with colleagues from our Actions Against the State, Public Law, Media, and other teams, and we have expertise at all levels of call, meaning that we can help at all stages of proceedings:
- As soon as an operation becomes overt we can help by challenging search warrants, arrest, and detention.
- We undertake all forms of trial work, advising pre-charge through to the Magistrates’, Crown and appellate courts, and field specialist experience at all levels of call in terrorism, sexual offences, murder, drugs and firearms conspiracies, and the full spectrum of offences.
- Our specialist Appeals Unit can assist with proceedings in the Court of Appeal, Divisional Court, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Supreme Court, Privy Council, and European Court of Human Rights, and we author a number of the leading practitioner textbooks in this field.
- We can assist with fraud and white collar matter, Proceeds of Crime Act and Asset Forfeiture proceedings, and author one of the leading practitioner textbooks in this field. You can read more about our Business Crime and Investigations Team by clicking the button to the right.
- Our work is not just domestic, and we appear in courts around the world, arguing cases in the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, and elsewhere, as well as advising overseas clients on the criminal law of England and Wales. We also have extensive experience in international criminal justice, with an office in The Hague, and a market-leading team of extradition barristers.
- We also work with colleagues from our civil teams for clients who wish to bring claims against the police, public authorities, investigators and others for failed or malicious prosecutions, misfeasance in a public office, or other issues. We also act in related proceedings such as inquests, public inquiries, and judicial review, and we often represent professionals who face proceedings brought both in the criminal courts and by their professional regulator.
We are particularly proud that almost a third of our Crime Team has been appointed as Queen’s Counsel - a much higher proportion than most other criminal sets - reflecting the genuinely deep and well-regarded expertise of our barristers.
For more information please contact our practice managers on 020 7400 9088.
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.
Instructing our Barristers
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.
Criminal Appeals Advice Line
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].
The Appeals Bulletin
The monthly Bulletin aims to highlight recent changes in case law and procedure in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, the Caribbean and Hong Kong and to provide practical guidance to those advising on appellate matters. Our monthly case summaries illustrate when an appellate court is likely to interfere with conviction or sentence, as well as looking at the courts’ approach to procedural matters. The featured article provides an in depth commentary on a current appeal topic.
To receive our monthly appeals bulletin direct to your email, sign up here.
Issue 1: Appeals to the Crown Court in road traffic cases, increasing responsibilities of appellate lawyers, Financial Crime Appeals, Remedies for wrongly convicted refugees, Relying on fresh evidence as a ground of appeal, Gunshot Residue and The Cardiff Innocence Project.
Issue 2: The defence of “loss of control”, whole life tariffs and the ECHR, the approach of the ECHR to disclosure of “in camera” material, ground criticising the trial lawyers.
Issue 3: CACD’s approach to the Sexual Offences Guidelines in historic cases, when can a privately paying appellant can recover defence costs in the CACD, the Supreme Court’s consideration of joint enterprise, convictions arising from cases involving vulnerable witnesses, when will CACD interfere with a guilty plea, the ECHR’s approach to the “right to silence”, CACD’s increasingly restrictive approach to the use of hospital orders.
Issue 4: The consequences of Johnson and others, challenging forensic expert evidence on appeal, the unfitness to plead doctrine, CACD's approach to non-disclosure at trial, compensation for miscarriages of justice, “second appeals”
Issue 5: The discriminatory effect of the extended sentence; Out of Time Appeals, abandoning an appeal, loss of time, disclosure requests by media, costs.
Issue 6: Defects in an indictment, prejudicial publicity, extreme old as a mitigating factor, criticism of trial counsel, the investigation into data tampering at Randox.
Issue 7: CACD’s contentious approach to appeals based on fresh evidence; post-trial evidence relating to a defendant’s ability to participate effectively in a trial, post-Jogee appeals, and post-sentence mitigating factors, NICA sentencing for gross negligence manslaughter and breaches of an ASBO.
Issue 8: Indictment errors, jury irregularities, post-Jogee appeals, inappropriate judicial behaviour during a trial, impact of a sentence on the children of the offender, dangerousness in extended sentences, incompatibility of the NI abortion laws and the ECHR.
Issue 9: Manslaughter sentence appeals post Jogee, impact of judicial interventions at trial, substitution of hospital orders, specific mitigating and aggravating features in sentencing, CCJ considers the admissibility of confessions obtained in violation of statutory safeguards.
Issue 10: Guidance on the prosecution of a defendant who was a victim of “modern slavery”, post-Jogee appeals based on fresh evidence of autism, effective participation in a trial, duties of appellate advocates, bad character, a deterioration in the relationship between judge and counsel, and mitigating factors in sentence appeals; NICA decisions dealing with trial in the absence of the defendant, and the review of a conviction following trial by judge sitting without a jury. ECSC on abuse of process (arising from the Saint Vincent general election), CFA grant of leave in 2014 protest cases in the Final Court of Appeal in Hong Kong.
Issue 11: Post trial jury irregularities, fresh evidence, self-defence in “householder” cases, prosecution appeals against acquittal where the respondent is unfit, loss of the recording of first instance proceedings, Supreme Court of Bermuda addressing disparity of sentences and prosecution appeals, NICA murder, specific Intent, self-Induced intoxication, accomplice warning, and sentences for rape. Hong Kong cases dealing with freedom of expression, offences by non-refoulement claimants, increases in a sentence on a failed appeal, and loss of time directions.
Issue 12: A personal plea to the Court of Appeal to take on digital media organization and “fake news” outlets, the improper use of ABE transcripts, directions on an absent witness’s evidence, substitution of hospital orders for imprisonment, the impact of changes in the law since sentence, the meaning of “unduly lenient” in AG references; NICA’s approach to post Jogee appeal following a guilty plea, and minimum terms for murder. Hong Kong cases involving the mens rea for bribery, aggravating factors in sentencing and the extent of a costs application.
Issue 13: Trinidadian appeal against nine murder convictions based on the retraction statements; CACD decisions dealing with good character misdirections, fresh evidence in historic sex offences, “fundamental departure” post-Jogee, and inconsistent verdicts; dangerousness arising from a single sex offence. NICA’s latest guidance on the admissibility of bad character evidence; ECSC on jury vetting; Hong Kong cases involving sentencing in civil disobedience cases, murder and provocation and warnings about accomplice witnesses
Issue 14: Potential impact on appeals of the recent “non-disclosure” cases of Liam Allan and Issac Itiary; CACD cases when a misdirection affects safety, the relevance of mental disorder to “circumstances of the defendant” in loss of control, and fresh evidence from Facebook. Hong Kong cases on criticism of trial counsel and alternative defences, and non-disclosure.
Issue 15: Appeals arising from financial crimes, Supreme Court decision in R (on the application of Gibson) v SS for Justice; CACD cases on trial proceedings that are declared a “nullity”, bad character evidence, sentence for encouraging support for a proscribed organisation; NICA sentencing appeal relating to causing gbh to a child; Hong Kong conviction appeals involving hearsay evidence, failure to properly leave the defence case in the summing up, and sentencing appeals relating to investment scams and defendants giving assistance to the authorities.
Issue 16: Attorney General References and double jeopardy, latest guidance to new lawyers who take over at the appeal stage, CACD cases on whether a magistrate’s court hearing can be declared a nullity, when an appeal can be re-opened and a combined AG Reference and appeal against conviction. NICA conviction appeal arising from a jury irregularity; ECSC on voice recognition and the need for a Turnbull direction; financial crime appeals - criminal lifestyle and conduct; Hong Kong appeals involving demonstrations, diminished responsibility, the best evidence rule and sentencing for drug offences.
Issue 17: Victims of modern slavery and the statutory defence; criticism of trial counsel as a ground of appeal, a post Jogee appeal, terrorism and article 10, challenging rulings in preparatory hearings, whether a writ of venire de novo is a standalone remedy, and sentencing mentally disordered offenders and top end drug conspiracies. Hong Kong appeals involving challenges to convictions based on errors in the summing up, and against sentences for unlawful assembly, robbery, and increased sentences involving mandated refugee status. Privy Council appeal from Trinidad and Tobago based on fresh psychiatric evidence raising diminished responsibility – contrary to the defence run at trial. Financial crimes and the tainted gift provisions of the POCA.
Issue 18: CACD cases based on grounds alleging improper cross-examination and errors in the summing up; Rana – a rare example of a successful appeal based on fresh evidence; Hong Kong appeals involving challenges to convictions based on lies directions, hostile witness and conspiracy to defraud. Court of Appeal of Bermuda dealing with police destruction of evidence and abuse of process; CACD’s jurisdiction to hear an appeal by the prosecution against the terms of the default order made in confiscation proceedings pursuant to POCA 2002.
Issue 19: The new CACD Guide to appealing in the context of the continued underfunding for the criminal justice system; CACD appeal based on grounds alleging an unbalanced summing up, and sentence appeals involving young offenders and manslaughter and AG references arising from a failure to pass a minimum sentence and finding a sentence to be unduly lenient but not increasing it. Hong Kong appeals involving challenges to a sexual offence conviction based on strict liability, and conspiracy to defraud. CCJ decision - the “Lusignan massacre” and dealing with the test to apply in prosecution appeals and the meaning of “material irregularity”.McCool and Harkin, the latest Supreme Court decision on POCA.
Issue 20: The CACD’s treatment of challenges to safety based on the use of anonymous witnesses, grounds criticising the summing up, an attempt to re-open an appeal after the final hearing, LCJ’s consideration of an appeal against Crown Court reporting restrictions; NICA’s approach to fresh evidence challenging the reliability of a confession statement. Hong Kong appeals involving challenges to convictions based on criticisms of the translator, and of trial counsel. CCJ decision declaring the mandatory death penalty in Barbados unconstitutional.
Issue 21: Lane and Letts - the Supreme Court’s latest decision on the Terrorism Act; CACD decisions dealing with self-defence and psychosis “attributable to intoxication”, the failure to leave infanticide as an alternative to murder, fresh evidence of autism, whether a non-state party can “entrap” a defendant, and victims of human trafficking. Financial Crime Appeals - the CACD and the realities of POCA; Hong Kong’s CFA in which the question raised was whether the prosecution has a right to a closing speech in the magistracy where the defendant is unrepresented. CCJ decision on when can an appeal can be “re-opened”; NICA’s approach to “contemporary standards of fairness” that post-date the trial.
Issue 22: Important changes to procedures in the CACD, and the latest appellate decisions on, non-disclosure, inconsistent verdicts, meaning of “possession” of child pornography on WhatsApp, Tommy Robinson / Yaxley-Lenon contempt judgement and an historic appeal in the NICA based on breaches of the Judges Rules. Highlighting important Scottish decisions, Paul Harvey comments on a successful appeal based on prosecution counsel’s prejudicial remarks to the jury.
Issue 23: Analysis of the approach of the NICA to “unduly lenient sentence” appeals. The latest CACD decisions on failure to ensure that an unwell defendant can give evidence, direction on adverse inference, admissibility of bad character evidence to correct a false impression, admissibility of a conviction obtained in a first trial in a re-trial and appellate sentencing decisions from Hong Kong on retroactivity and unlawful assembly and drug drafficking and remorse.
Issue 24: The CACD’s approach to disclosure failings by the Crown and abuse of process applications. The latest appellate decisions on loss of control (CACD), a prejudicial prosecution closing speech (NICA), hearsay evidence (CCJ), sentencing for drug possession (Hong Kong), and the latest instalment from our Financial Crime Appeals section (reconsidering confiscation orders).
Issue 25: The latest CACD decisions on improper judicial interventions, Jury irregularities, Jogee misdirections, failure to leave alternative count raised on the evidence, an AG reference on sentencing for a campaign of street robberies and a prosecution appeal arising from abuse of process / non-disclosure; appellate decisions from Hong Kong on sentencing for money laundering and drug trafficking, the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal approach to re-opening a decided appeal, and important guidance from the NICA on criminal appeal practice. The latest instalment of our Financial Crime Appeals section looks at the use of a co-defendant’s guilty plea in a forgery trial.
We have also included some useful links for those thinking of pursuing an appeal, or who work in this field:
- A Guide to Commencing Proceedings in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division): The Guide to the CACD
- About the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division): About the CACD
- Criminal Procedure Rules: Crim Proc Rules
- Criminal Cases Review Commission: CCRC
- CPS website – useful legal guidance: CPS
- BAILLI (free transcripts of judgements): BAILLI
- The Supreme Court: The Supreme Court
- The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council: JCPC
- European Court of Human Rights (search for cases): ECHR caselaw
- HM Prison Service: HMP
- Find the location of a prison: prison-finder
- Howard League for Penal Reform Howard League
- The Judiciary (biographies and information about judges): Judiciary
Doughty Street’s criminal practitioners offer a wealth of experience in defending allegations of sexual crime, including rape allegations of the utmost gravity, non-recent allegations arising from families and institutions, and allegations against individuals in the public eye. We have been involved in significant sex cases in the changing climate including cases arising from Operation Yewtree (Saville and linked cases), Operation Bullfinch (Oxford Grooming cases) and Operation Moccasin (Norfolk paedophile ring headed by a woman). We are experienced in managing the consequences that arise from sexual accusations including reputation and financial issues. We are able to offer a comprehensive service from pre-charge advice, through to trial, and new appeals/CCRC referrals.
Specialists within the crime team regularly undertaking this work include:
Isabella Forshall QC is hugely experienced in dealing with cases with vulnerable defendants and witnesses and arising from institutional settings such as hospital and care homes. Instructed in both Operation Bullfinch and Operation Moccasin.
Kirsty Brimelow QC has over two decades experience defending against allegations of serious sexual offences at all court levels. She is experienced in the application of international law to sexual offences allegations and has led fact finding missions. She has led training in cross-examining complainants of sexual offences to the Service Prosecuting Authority, Bar Council and for UNICEF.
In 2016 Sarah has successfully defended a celebrity business man accused of paying a child for sex and a member of the ruling family of a Gulf State on charges of rape.
In 2015 she acted for the principal defendant in the Operation Moccasin Norfolk paedophile ring, defended a 24 complainant trial of four decades of rape at ‘Swaylands’ care home, and acted for the music teacher accused of abuse at Ampleforth College and Westminster Cathedral Choir School.
Paul specialises in criminal appeals. He is editor of Taylor on Criminal Appeals. He has extensive experience in sexual offence appeals involving non-disclosure, fresh evidence, as well as the specific sentencing issues that often arise
Katy Thorne has long standing and extensive expertise in sexual allegations in relation to children, men and women, including child sex rings, historic inter-family and gang rapes. She has co-authored "Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers" including the chapter on sexual offences.
Emma Goodall specialises in both serious historic and contemporary allegations. She has considerable experience in dealing with young and vulnerable defendants and witnesses. Her recent instructions include allegations of gang rape, systematic abuse within a care home, and cross generation family abuse.
Liam is regularly instructed across the full spectrum of sexual offences. He understands that allegations of a sexual nature are the most toxic and life altering allegations that can be made against an individual. As a consequence he is often instructed by individuals whose lives and careers depend on the outcome of a case. Liam is a trained ‘lead facilitator’ for the vulnerable national training programme and is a speaker, for Lexis Nexis, on serious sexual offences.
David is highly experienced in defending the most serious allegations of sexual offending, including cases attracting publicity and requiring careful case strategy and delicate conduct both in and out of court.
Benjamin Newton is consistently instructed in the most serious and high profile sexual offences cases. He regularly writes and lectures on the subject, but is also recognised for his compassionate and client-centred approach to cases.