Areas of Specialisation / Areas / Criminal Defence


Criminal Defence

"Garden Court North has a strong reputation for advising claimants on all areas of domestic and international human rights law. Its members have acted on some of the highest-profile miscarriages of justice, inquests and prison law matters of recent years."

Chambers and Partners 2016

"Well known for its ethos of protecting civil liberties and defending human rights, ‘helpful set’ Garden Court North Chambers has a focus on defence work within the crime arena."

Legal 500 2015

"The calibre of counsel at Garden Court North was described as 'truly outstanding'. Known for their 'matchless dedication to cases', they enjoy the support of some of the most 'friendly and supportive' administrative staff on circuit."

Chambers and Partners 

members of the crime team

Chambers possesses a substantial body of criminal advocates with experience at all levels. In keeping with our founding principles we specialise in defence work and have a particular interest in cases with civil liberties implications . All members of the team are committed to defence work and will actively seek to ensure that a defendant's fundamental rights are protected.

The core of our criminal defence work is in the Crown Court involving all types of serious crime including murder, serious assaults, firearms offences, theft and serious fraud, drugs manufacture, importation and supply, proceeds of crime proceedings and confiscation hearings, IPP sentences, public order offences and sexual offences. The criminal team also has a strong presence in appellate work at all levels including the Divisional Court, Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the Supreme Court. Members of Chambers have brought cases before the European Court of Human Rights . A number of members are experienced in miscarriage of justice cases , especially those referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. We have a strong commitment to pro bono work where public funding is unavailable.

Work in the Magistrates Court is undertaken, particularly in cases arising from political protests and demonstrations. Members of the team are regularly instructed in cases involving Anti Social Behaviour Orders ( ASBOs ).

Members are also experienced in defending gang injunctions (" Gangbos "), in which the proceedings take place in the County Court, acting for both adult and juvenille respondants. more

We take a particular interest in cases with implications for civil liberties and the right to protest . Our more experienced practitioners have appeared in cases arising out of the miners strike of 1984-5, the struggle by print-workers to save their jobs in the dispute with union-busting employer Eddie Shah in Warrington in the 1980s and many other cases involving the struggle for workers' rights as well as activities carried out by environmental campaigners. In more recent times our practitioners have appeared in cases involving animal rights campaigns, cases arising out of the disturbances in Oldham and Burnley in 2001, climate change and anti-road widening protests.

Members of the crime team are also instructed in Inquests, particularly involving deaths in custody and in actions against the police. Practitioners have considerable experience in the Administrative Court in case stated appeals and judicial reviews concerning custody time limits and natural justice. We have successfully taken numerous cases concerning the rights of prisoners.

Criminal law updates

The crime team produce regular legal updates in order to supplement their seminar training activities. These are available on the website.

Click here to view criminal law updates and how to subscribe by email .

Experienced criminal team

Chambers has an experienced criminal team, and is able to provide Queen's counsel, leading junior or junior counsel as appropriate. Members are instructed by firms from all over the Midlands and the North of England and regularly attend Crown Courts throughout these areas and are highly regarded in terms of experience, reputation, credibility and trust . Each member of our criminal team shares a common determination to pursue vigorously the interests of every client through the achievement of forensic excellence, and we take a particular pride in our proven ability to provide skilled and committed representation at each stage of the criminal trial process.

Members' professional credentials are enhanced by a distinct  approachability  whereby both instructing solicitors and lay-clients are put at ease. Instructing solicitors will be contacted by telephone prior to any court hearing and the outcome of a case is fed back promptly upon return wherever possible. In relation to lay-clients, members pride themselves on an excellent 'bedside manner', particularly with difficult clients, and will ensure they fully explain the process and prospects of success.

Recommendations

"Down to earth yet rigorous approach with political clout" (BB, instructing solicitor)

"The calibre of counsel at Garden Court North was described as  'truly outstanding' . Known for their  'matchless dedication to cases' , they enjoy the support of some of the most  'friendly and supportive'  administrative staff on circuit." (Chambers & Partners 2009)

"...counsel noted for an  unswerving commitment to civil liberties " (Legal 500 2007)

Members are recommended in  Chambers & Partners  (2008 edition) more and  Legal 500  (2008 edition)



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8.9.16 Hillsborough Law launched

16/8/16 Manchester Peterloo Massacre anniversary - GCN and others challenge UAE Human Rights record

15/8/16 Landlords behaving badly - damages for dispossession

15/8/16 Pete Weatherby QC on renewed critique of IPP sentences

27/7/16 3-Judge Upper Tribunal panel allows Tax Credit Appeals test case

26/7/16 Tribute to Bryan McGuire QC 

20/7/16 Tenants and borrowers subjected to unlawful evictions (defective N325 forms)

8/7/16 LALY16 outstanding achievement award for GCN Hillsborough team

29/6/16 Tom Royston speaking at LAG Housing Law Conference

24/6/16 Certifying asylum and human rights claims as “clearly unfounded”  

17/6/16 GCN immigration team response to MoJ consultation on tribunal fees

GCN sponsors PLP JR North conference 14.7.16 Manchester

Immigration and EU law for housing lawyers - the new Immigration Act, Brexit and more | Housing seminar | 6.7.16

The Immigration Act 2016 | Immigration seminar | 1.7.16

GCN to host INQUEST Conference and fundraising quiz 16.6.16

Mark George QC speaking at YLAL North meeting 15.6.16

20/5/16 Joe Markus shortlisted for LALY Legal Aid Newcomer Award

GCN Criminal Law update May 2016

26/4/16 Truth Justice Accountability | Hillsborough 22 Families Press Conference

26/4/16 A landmark day in legal history - Hillsborough Inquests

11/4/16 Recompense for the wrongfully convicted (Nealon)

22/3/16 Supreme Court grants permission in Kiarie

18/3/16 Not guilty verdict for Chetham violin teacher

4/3/16 GCN wins Barristers' Chambers of the Year at MLA 2016

29/2/16 Permission to appeal in relation to adult dependent relative rule

17/3/16 GCN launches new Appeals and Miscarriages of Justice Team

18/2/16 Considering Jogee: Joint Enterprise, Retrospective Effect and Fresh Appeals - Mark George QC and Matt Stanbury

11/2/16 CART-style JR of Upper Tribunal succeeds  

9/2/16 Appeal allowed in "police officer on jury" case after CCRC referral  

8/2/16 Permission granted in best interests (grandchild) immigration appeal

5/2/16 Repeated acquittals in historic cases

3/2/16 Housing allocation scheme - discrimination challenge by Irish Traveller

27/1/16 Bedroom Tax victory

GCN barristers present PLP "How to JR"

Matt Stanbury presents "JR for criminal practitioners"

25/1/16 SSHD failure to apply own policy to Victim of Trafficking

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5/1/16 GCN members elected to BHRC Exec Committee

18/12/15 GCN remains totally committed to first class representation through legal aid

17/12/15 Permission granted in trafficking JR

16/12/15 Natalie Wilkins writes in  Family Law

15/12/15 Gary Willock on delay in obtaining Legal Aid

12/12/15 Extension of Workers Registration Scheme 2009 Appeal now listed for Feb 2017

11/12/15 Court of Appeal quashes extended sentence

23/11/15 Sentence reduced (serious health problems and delays)

12/11/15 GCN Housing Bulletin: disrepair and injunctions

3/11/15 Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks GCN in Band 1

Tom Royston speaking at CPAG seminar

30/10/15 Transgender prisoners

26/10/15 Successful out of time sentence appeal

Anti-Slavery Day event

30/9/15 Acquittal in Operation Pallial

28/9/15 Immigration FTT recognizes appellant as Victim of Trafficking (VOT)

24/9/15 Immigration FTT relies on Trafficking JR

17/9/15 Legal 500: Counsel "easy to work with and quickly engage"; Clerks "consistently very helpful"

11/9/15 FGM Protection Order to safeguard 13 year old taken to Sudan

9/9/15 Ben McCormack Court of Protection talk for YLAL North

14/7/15 GCN crime team support Rally to Save Criminal Legal Aid

30/6/15 GCN crime team "It's time we took action"

12/6/15 Mark George QC on IPCC Orgreave report

Kate Stone chairs PLP "Private Law for Public Law Practitioners"

4/6/15 Art 8 defences for Canal and River Trust  

Lucy Mair speaking at "Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law" 7.7.15 (Lancaster)

28/5/15 Lucy Mair discusses Eve Ensler's "Avocado" human trafficking monologue

27/5/15 Lucy Mair on trafficking JR (Free Movement)

13/5/15 Abuse of process argument succeeds

Pete Weatherby QC  at Haldane "Child Sex Abuse Inquiry" Lecture 

Pete Weatherby QC at Prisoners' Advice Service panel discussion

20/4/15 Matt Stanbury on Bad News for Good Character

20/3/15 Sex Offender Notification Reviews Guidance

4/3/15 Joe Markus appointed to EHRC Panel of Counsel

26/2/15 S222 injunction to restrain begging in Leeds City Centre

16/2/15 Extension of Workers Registration Scheme was unlawful

13/2/15 Rory O'Ryan appointed as Deputy Upper Tribunal Judge

27/1/15 Permission granted in homelessness affordability appeal

13/1/15 Kate Stone on Human Rights and Arms Trade Treaty

5/1/15 GCN move to Blackfriars House profiled in M.E.N

15/12/14 Gudanaviciene (exceptional funding)   

10/12/14 Landmark Supreme Court decision on ISP Prisoners

5/12/14 UT decision on Bereavement Benefits and telephone marriage

13/11/14 Permission to appeal granted in benefits case

10/10/14 Pete Weatherby QC wins Legal 500 Regional Silk Award 2014

3/10/14 Clerks  "first class " in Legal 500 2014