Michael Mather-Lees QC Announced as New Head of Chambers

Church Court Chambers are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Mather-Lees QC as Head of Chambers with effect from Monday 9th May 2022. Michael follows Kerim Fuad QC who ends his eight year tenure as Head of Chambers and remains a full member of Chambers. 

Commenting on this appointment, Michael observes: “I would like to extend my thanks to Kerim for his hard work, dedication and unwavering passionate commitment to Chambers during his eight-year term. In Chambers our strength does not simply come from our members’ talent but from Chambers’ character and our story thus far. I am honoured that Chambers has passed onto me Kerim’s pen and I look forward to writing the next chapter.”

Kerim led Chambers for eight years and under his stewardship, supported by Members, the Clerks and Staff, Chambers has grown to become a leading London Chambers. Kerim oversaw Chambers’ measured expansion, including the lateral hires of six Queen’s Counsel. 

During his tenure Chambers relocated from the Inns to modern, progressive, accessible, and design-led premises in our current home at the Old Patent Office, Chancery Lane. Kerim led Chambers through the pandemic with strength, stability, a clear long-term vision and much needed humour and compassion. 

During his term, Kerim was also appointed Leader of the South Eastern Circuit and successfully balanced a highly demanding practice, including countless Old Bailey murder trials with his unwavering commitment to leading Chambers and trying to provide a brighter future for the whole Bar. Kerim notes: “it’s been an honour to lead Chambers for the last eight years. I have been immensely proud to see Chambers go from strength to strength. I would like to thank all the Members, Clerks and staff of Chambers for their support, especially the various Management Committees over the past years. After 28 years serving continuously on various committees, including the CBA Executive, Chair of a Mess and Leader of the Circuit, I very much look forward to fewer weekend calls, less Zoom backgrounds and no more agendas – although as everyone who knows me knows, my door always has been and always will remain open. I wish Michael and the Team well and I very much look forward to sharing in Chambers’ continued success.” 

George Hepburne Scott Instructed in Landmark High Court Case Defining the Post-Brexit UK-EU Extradition Arrangements

On 4 May 2022, judgment was handed down in the case of Lucian Florin Badea v Romanian Judicial Authority [2022] EWHC 1025 (Admin).  This judgment provides a thorough analysis of the effect of the specific provisions of the Trade and Co-Operation Agreement between the UK and the EU within extradition law in the UK. The Appellant submitted that the effect of this international instrument was analogous to the preceding EU Framework Decisions concerning the European Arrest Warrants (EAW’s). Fordham J considered the case in light of the following authorities: Konecny v Czech Republic [2019] UKSC 8, 1 WLR 1586; Polakowski v Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2021] EWHC 53 (Admin) 1 WLR 2521 & Saptelei v Romania [2021] EWHC 66 (Admin) [2021] RTR 484.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors.

A link to the judgment can be found here

Lewis Power QC Appears in High Profile Sabina Nessa Murder Case

Lewis represented the Defendant, Koci Selamaj, who pleaded guilty to the murder of primary school teacher, Sabina Nessa. The Defendant, who drove to London in order to attack a stranger, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years.

A Whole Life order was avoided. The case is one of national importance, alongside the recent case of Sarah Everard. The safety of women as they go about their daily business has once again been thrust into the spotlight and, once again, it’s because a woman has been killed in apparently “safe” conditions.



George Hepburne Scott Successfully Defends British Soldier in Extradition Proceedings

On 6 April 2022, George’s client was discharged from extradition proceedings by a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court following the successful deployment of an Article 8 objection to extradition on the grounds of private and family life.

The requested person (RP) was 30 years old. The extradition request made by the French Republic related to an incident in January 2014, at a ski-resort in France where the then 22 year old RP was stationed as a member of the British Paratroop Regiment attached to NATO. 

A snowball fight had broken out outside a nightclub in the early hours and a local man became upset that his girlfriend had been hit by a snowball. He attacked the group of paratroopers including the RP. He was kicked and punched and suffered injuries. The RP and another solider were questioned the next day by French police and claimed self-defence. They were then released.

A short while later, the RP and his co-defendant both returned with their unit to the U.K. Unbeknownst to them, in February 2021, they were tried and convicted in their absence by the local French Court. They were both sentenced to 12 months immediate custody. The French authorities had apparently made attempts to contact the RP through the relevant British authorities to no avail. The RP was blissfully unaware of the ongoing investigation and proceedings. Following the conviction and sentence in absence, in October 2021, a French prosecutor issued an international extradition arrest warrant and the RP was arrested on this warrant at his home address in November 2021.

Interestingly, in December 2021 the RP’s co-defendant, appealed his sentence to the French Court of Appeal who had quashed the sentence of 12 months immediate custody and replaced it with a 3 month suspended sentence. The French CA had stated its reasons for doing this as being, inter alia: (i) the aggrieved started the violence, (ii) the context was an argument at 3am outside a nightclub when all had consumed alcohol and (iii) the paratroopers had used minimum force (ie they were trained to kill and had ‘only’ broken his cheekbone). This judgement was adduced by the defence in the extradition proceedings.

George invited the district judge to take this into account and to also take account of the age of the RP at the time, his lack of offending since, his ignorance of the proceedings (ie his lack of fugitive status), the passage of 8 years and the fact that his fiancé was now expecting their first child. 

In the circumstances, the judge was persuaded that extradition would constitute a disproportionate interference in the Article 8 rights of the RP and his fiancé.

The RP was discharged.

George was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors

Olympian’s Appeal before the Court of Arbitration Of Sports

Yasin Patel will represent a leading International Athlete at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) proceedings in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The charges from the International Olympic Committee are based upon alleged Anti-doping Rule violations at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Despite the Olympics having been completed many months ago, the proceedings will be heard by the highest Sports Appeal Tribunal in the World with leading experts and professionals due to give evidence in relation to the charges brought by the IOC and defended by the Athlete.

Yasin Patel is a barrister and Arbitrator at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM, who deals with all aspects of Sports Law including Anti-Doping, Commercial Rights, Anti-Corruption and contracts and represents some of the leading International athletes, clubs and organisations.

Kerim Fuad QC Defends in High Profile, Sensitive Old Bailey Murder Case, Described as “Shocking” and “Complex” 

Mr Fuad QC represented Donovan Miller, in a highly sensitive case, where it was alleged that in March 2021 he murdered his grandmother, and thereafter defiled the corpse. He faced counts of murder and offences contrary to section 70(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

In what was a highly unusual, disturbing and sensitive case which was initially set down for a murder trial, the Crown were able to agree a plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

Difficult legal issues arose as to the extent to which the defendant’s voluntary large consumption of cocaine led to the offences and therefore whether diminished responsibility was available at all to the defendant as a partial defence to murder. 

Mr Fuad QC relied on his considerable expertise in mental health homicide cases in liaising with the psychiatrists for over a year. There was much consideration not only to whether diminished responsibility was available but whether a standard custodial sentence or a S.45A MHA 1983 Hybrid order was a more suitable sentence, allowing for treatment and then a punitive lengthy term of custody to follow.

After a lengthy hearing with psychiatrists called to give evidence, the Recorder of London imposed a Hospital/Restriction order

Kerim Fuad QC was instructed by Ebenezer Madeinlo of Hanson Woods Solicitors.

The Mirror

Daily Mail

Lewis Power QC Secures Acquittal in Lincoln Murder Trial

Lewis Power was acquitted on all counts in this Lincoln murder trial in which 2 members of the Romany Travelling community had sought to settle their differences with a traditional fist fight. This, however, had ended tragically with one of them hitting the back of his head against a concrete plinth and losing his life shortly thereafter.

Lewis was instructed by Lisa French and Duncan Frost of Foxes Solicitors

Zayd Ahmed Successful in s18 Grievous Bodily Harm Case

Zayd Ahmed, having considered the Crowns case, drafted a detailed basis of plea for a client charged with wounding with intent.  It was alleged by the Crown that the defendant, with others, stabbed the complainant unprovoked.

This basis of plea resulted in the Crown offering no evidence on the charge of wounding with intent.

The client  subsequently pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and after thorough mitigation, received a suspended sentence of 18 months.

Zayd was instructed by Andreas Yiannaki of Stuart Miller Solicitors.

George Hepburne Scott Recent Extradition Successes’

THAILAND V N.R. – Successfully defeated Thai request for the extradition of British business man for alleged global financial crimes

JAPAN V J.C. – Successfully defeated Japanese extradition request for British man accused of involvement in a £1M Tokyo jewellery robbery

SPAIN V P.B. – Successfully defeated a Spanish extradition request for a British accountant accused of masterminding a global multi-£M money-laundering scheme

ROMANIA V A.E.E. – Successfully defeated a Romanian extradition request for a British / Egyptian man convicted of cultivation of cannabis and sentenced to 5 years.

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher Secure Dismissal in Complex Baby-Shaking Case

In a sensitive and complex case Michael Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team carefully conducted a thorough review of the prosecution evidence, including reviewing over 3000 pages of unused medical notes, where several experts had been instructed. That review culminated in a focused, forensic application to dismiss.

The Crown conceded, upon considering the defence skeleton argument and conducting a thorough review of the case, that there was no realistic prospect of conviction in respect to any count faced by the defendant, or any potential alternative.

Michael and Colin have extensive knowledge and experience in this unique area of criminal law. They have recently lectured together to both prosecution and defence lawyers on the effective preparation and presentation of medico-legal cases.

Counsel were instructed by Rebecca Higgins of Credence Solicitors. 

Michael Polak wins the 2021 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Michael Polak wins the “2021 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award” for his commitment to defending human rights across the globe through his professional practice and personal endeavours. 

Described by his nominator as ‘relentless in the pursuit of justice’, Mr Polak has worked on a number of high-profile criminal and human rights cases over the course of his career to date.

Most recently, he represented a young British woman in her appeal against a conviction for public mischief after reporting a gang rape in Cyprus. In a statement from January 2020, Mr Polak said that if the convictions against the woman were not overturned, ‘this matter will go all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice’.

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Yasin Patel Instructed As Counsel In Football Club Purchase

Yasin Patel has been instructed as counsel in the sale of a leading Professional Football Club in the UK.

Yasin is to represent the interests of potential buyers of the club ensuring that all of the necessary steps and criteria are met for the purchase of the club as well as the drafting of the shareholder purchase agreement, review of the club’s assets, property, corporate structures, as well as the personnel meeting the Owners and Directors test of the Governing body.   

The successful purchase of the club and the change of ownership could have huge beneficial effects for the club, its supporters, the staff, the players and management in light of the club’s current position.

Yasin Patel is a barrister at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM: he deals with all aspects of Sports Law as well as other legal topics.

Colin Witcher Appointed Deputy District Judge

Chambers are delighted to announce that Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team has been appointed as a Deputy District Judge by the Lord Chief Justice upon the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Commission. The same follows an open competition.

Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC observes:  “Chambers congratulations Colin on his well deserved appointment. This is a particularly special moment for Chambers in that this is our first home-grown appointment to the Bench, Colin having been my first Pupil in Silk. We have a fantastic selection of Recorders and DDJs in Chambers and a new addition to that group is wonderful news”

Colin will sit several weeks a year as a Deputy District Judge: his busy practice otherwise remains unaffected. 

Amjad Malik QC was Instructed to Defend Ian Stewart in this Complicated Murder Trial.

Amjad Malik QC was instructed to defend Ian Stewart in his murder trial, transferred from the Central Criminal Court to Huntingdon Crown Court before Mr. Justice Bryan.

The defendant now faced a second murder allegation, re-investigated immediately upon his conviction in 2017 for the murder of his then fiancé, the famous Children’s author, Helen Bailey. The Defendant received a life sentence with a minimum term of 34 years imprisonment for that previous conviction.

The Defendant’s wife of 24 years, Diane Stewart, a diagnosed epileptic, had died in 2010 in unwitnessed circumstances. Mr. Stewart called emergency services and his wife was found to be lifeless. The Coronial post-mortem findings found the cause of her death to be SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy). The Defendant then consented to his wife’s brain being retained for research and as a result was available after his subsequent conviction for the murder of Helen Bailey.

The brain was examined by a Consultant neuro-pathologist and showed changes consistent with restriction of blood/oxygen supply to the brain of 35 minutes to an hour. The Prosecution allegation was the Defendant had asphyxiated his wife by placing a plastic bag over her head and left her to die for up to an hour before calling for an ambulance.

The case had an array of defence medical experts in the area of SUDEP and the trial lasted some four weeks. The Defendant was convicted and received a whole life order for the murder of Diane Stewart.

Amjad Malik QC was said to have conducted the defence of Mr. Stewart with great composure, skill and ensured that the jury considered the case with meticulous care.




Zayd Ahmed Secures Acquittal in Record Time for an Offence of Violence During a Football Match

Zayd Ahmed secures acquittal in record time for an offence of violence during a football match which caused the complainants teeth to fall out requiring surgery.

Zayd Ahmed successfully argued self defence in a trial at Maidstone Crown Court where 11 witnesses were called to give evidence of a “vicious and deliberate assault” during a football game.

Zayd argued the accused held an honest and genuine belief he was going to be attacked and struck the complainant causing the injuries including a tooth falling out and another tooth being dislodged.

The jury found the accused not guilty after only 19 minutes.

Lewis Power QC & Michael Polak Achieve Spectacular International Success In Supreme Court of Cyprus in Landmark Case of Teenager Rape Appeal.

On Monday the Supreme Court of Cyprus allowed the appeal of the young British teen who now has had her conviction for ‘lying’ about Cyprus gang rape by 12 Israeli students overturned. This young girl, 18, was thrown in jail for five weeks while her alleged attackers were freed to a heroes’ welcome as prosecutors instead charged the girl with lying to officers. Following a harrowing trial, of which it is now accepted was materially flawed and outrageously unfair rendering the conviction unsafe, the young woman was given a four-month suspended sentence for public mischief last year but the Cyprus Supreme Court has now overturned that ruling, after hearing, inter alia, that the judge ignored expert evidence and did not allow her to present her case. The arguments of the defence, put forward by the crack team of Church Court Barristers ( instructed by Justice Abroad) and their Cypriot Lawyer Counterparts, Nicoletta Charalambidou and Ritsa Pekri, were successful in virtually all their pleaded grounds of appeal.

Lewis Power, QC, states: ‘The Supreme Court of Cyprus have handed down their landmark decision and allowed the appeal of this young woman. In doing so they have quite properly recognised the serious flaws in the investigative and trial process and her unjust treatment. This was the most deplorable of cases in which a myth was created denying the existence of gang rape, a myth which justified the rapists’ behaviour, shifting the blame on to the victim. This is not just a victory and total vindication for the Appellant but for all those woman around the globe who have been both denied and wronged in justice. This case in my view has highlighted the injustice of justice.’

Commenting on the girl’s ordeal, Lewis Power QC added:’ This young lady has had to deal with the most ghastly sexual ordeal, a shoddy Police investigation, an over-bearing trial Judge, imprisonment and strict bail confinement in Cyprus. She has been vilified in social media, yet she has stood firm in her pursuit of justice. Her fortitude, bravery and strength over these past few years has been quite remarkable. Her resilience has been exemplary and she has shown true grit, determination and an unbelievable inner strength and we celebrate her courage. She has had to endure the victim blaming attitude which has oft become entrenched in society and indeed has become institutionalised within many criminal justice jurisdictions.

‘Throughout this case, the old adage came to mind ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced’. This is what this woman has adhered to.

‘We hope today that this ground-breaking decision will send out seismic waves across the world, which we hope will lead to radical legal reform in sexual assault cases and will eradicate injustice where there has been silencing and exclusion.’

Michael Polak has commented to the International Press that the teenager and her female lawyers had been shouted at and “treated with contempt” during the trial. He said : “We have always maintained that our client was not given a fair trial and today the Supreme Court of Cyprus has agreed with us ; Important fair trial provisions, which are in place to prevent miscarriages of justice, were totally disregarded in this case. A young and vulnerable woman was not only mistreated when she reported the rape to the police, but then she was just put through a trial process that was manifestly unfair, as the Supreme Court has recognised.”The defence team are now considering the consequences of this acquittal by the Supreme Court which includes manifestly the failure of the authorities to effectively investigate the rape claims. This is what we will now pursue.

Church Court Chambers : 2022 Recruitment

Pupillage (12 months)  

Church Court Chambers are delighted to announce that we are recruiting two pupils to commence pupillage in September 2022.  Application is by way of an application form, available from Chambers’ Website which must be received by Chambers by 13.59 on 9th February 2022. Please email the completed form to: j.sharpling@churchcourtchambers.co.uk. Furthermore could you please include “Pupilage Application 2022” within the email subject

Please see link to form here

Church Court Chambers is a leading multi-disciplinary set with a proud reputation in Crime (both Prosecution and Defence) together with Regulatory, Family and Immigration law. Our Members, including seven eminent Queen’s Counsel and 43 juniors, enjoy busy and varied practices; collectively they have an enviable back catalogue of high-profile and complex matters. Individually they are all highly regarded and respected by their peers and the judiciary  

We remain committed to recruiting the best and most able pupils offering a structured and effective transition between academia and practice. Chambers considers the development and expansion of Chambers as being inherently linked to our pupillage programme. Applicants should demonstrate an interest in developing a criminal practice together with a willingness to engage with the broad spectrum of potential work available in Chambers.
We look for academic ability, outstanding advocacy skills, evidence of commitment to life at the independent Bar, and hallmarks of character which are reflective of not simply a Member of the Bar, but a barrister who wishes to become in due course a Member of Church Court Chambers.   

Chambers is committed to equal opportunities and acts in accordance with the Bar Council’s Code of Conduct and the Equality Code for the Bar. We do not discriminate, or permit discrimination, by reference to sex, race, ethnic origin, national origin, nationality or citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, religion, political persuasion, disability or age.

Fixed Term Tenancy  

Chambers are also delighted to offer fixed term tenancies (six-months) for those candidates who have completed pupillage at other-sets or in-house.  Our fixed-term tenants do not pay Chambers’ Rent and are provided with a monthly travel grant to ease financial pressure. Application is by way of CV and Covering Letter to c.witcher@churchcourtchambers.co.uk    

Church Court’s Michael Polak Begins Term as Chair of the Young Bar

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak has begun his term as the Chair of the Bar Council’s Young Barristers’ Committee (“YBC”) for 2022. Michael was elected as Vice-Chair of the Young Bar in 2020, a position which results in a term as Chair in the following year.  

The YBC represents the interests of barrister pupils and new practitioners within 7 years post-pupillage and is mandated to: take such steps as seem likely to promote the interests of the Young Bar having regard to the interests of the Bar as whole; advise the representative committees of the Bar Council on all matters which are of particular concern to young barristers, or upon which advice is sought by other representative committees of the Bar Council; and to support the strategic aims of the Bar Council, as published.

For all matters in regard to his role as Chair of the Young Barristers’’ Committee, Michael can be contacted by email (YBC@BarCouncil.org.uk)

Yasin Patel Represents Olympic Athlete At Cas

Yasin Patel has been instructed to represent a leading International Athlete in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Proceedings.

The charges from the International Olympic Committee are based upon alleged Anti-doping Rule violations at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

The matter is due to be heard at the CAS later this year as the question of whether there has been the presence of prohibited substances in the Athletes sample, analysis will be determined by arbitrators.

Yasin Patel is a barrister at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM who deals with all aspects of Sports Law.

Another Important Extradition Victory for George Hepburne Scott

On 17 January 2022, George’s client was discharged by a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court; his extradition having been requested by Romania where he had been sentenced in his absence to 5 1/2 years custody for cultivation and supply of cannabis.

The full extradition hearing had taken place in December 2021. It was a very interesting case where the requested person was a qualified medical doctor who suffered from severe mental illness including PTSD which was attributed to an ‘undisclosed incident‘ that he suffered within a Romanian prison. The requested person was unwilling to go into the details of this horrific incident due to its nature. However, the expert consultant psychiatrist called on his behalf at the hearing gave evidence, that was entirely accepted by the District Judge, that this PTSD was severe and would worsen if the requested person were extradited.

This was a highly unusual case and the District Judge indicated that it was the longest judgment he had ever written.  Ultimately, the requested person was discharged on the grounds that to extradite would be “oppressive” within the mearing of s.25 of the Extradition Act 2003 and also, relatedly, disproportionate in terms of Article 8 of the ECHR.

The client, was, understandably, overjoyed and stated that the judgment had ‘given him his life back.’

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co

Kerim Fuad QC’s Outstanding Murder Acquittal Rate Continues.

Mr Kerim Fuad QC’s client was a 16 year old defendant who was on trial both for the Murder of a 19 year old, and the S.18 attack of the deceased’s father.

On 14th January 2022, after a 10 week, 4 handed trial, which began in November 2021, Mr Fuad QC’s client was unanimously acquitted of Murder and S.18

Two defendants were convicted of Murder.

Mr Fuad QC’s client and one other were convicted of manslaughter/S.20.  

The prosecution case was that his client had participated with 3 other defendants in 2 separate attacks on vans on successive days in February 2021. Both attacks involved tailing the target van for some distance into the same Close and then running out to use machetes and bats, to damage the vehicles and on the second occasion the front passenger was stabbed to death with a machete and the driver had his arm broken by a baseball bat. One defendant attempted to run a cutthroat defence against his client.

Mr Fuad’s client was alleged to have participated in wealding a large machete, which two independent eye witnesses saw, claiming that he sheathed and hid the machete as he ran away. He was captured on CCTV. He was wearing a mask, his DNA was found all over the series of weapons including machetes, knives and sheathes which were all later found. The blood of the deceased was found on his jacket. He had later got rid of his mobile telephone. He answered ‘no comment’ in interview and did not give evidence.

Mr Fuad QC’s incisive and sensitive cross examination, supreme mastery of both the CCTV and telephone material, combined with his trademark opening speech was something from which the prosecution case never recovered. His meticulous cross examination of the crown’s scientific expert shook the foundation of the crown’s case.

Mr Fuad QC led the extremely able Kim Preston of 4 KBW. He was instructed by Heather Howe and Adonis Daniel of “Andrew Storch Solicitors” who put in an equally hard and committed shift.

Glenn Harris Secures Acquittal for Talented Drill Musician

Glenn Harris was instructed by a top defence firm of Solicitors VHS Fletchers in Nottingham and secured an acquittal for an talented drill musician as opposed how he was portrayed by the prosecution – as an alleged gang member charged with conspiracy to supply a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Glenn Harris secured a memorable and much lauded acquittal of a supposed gang member by advancing a defence which included adducing ‘drill music’ which seemed counter-intuitive and contrary to the judges ruling preventing the prosecution from adducing such evidence.

By use of an expert in drill music and adroit cross-examination of the officer in the case, Glenn was able to demonstrate an ignorant and un-objective police investigation. This was relevant to this case and to explain a previous conviction for a similar matter (denied by defendant – for a case before Glenn was instructed) which the prosecution were allowed to adduce in evidence.

By demonstrating that the police had potentially erroneously mistook ‘gang’ membership with lawful involvement  in drill music, and by advancing an alternative explanation for the telephone communication Glenn secured a unanimous acquittal and was able to question whether the defendant was in fact guilty of the earlier conviction.

Jibreel Tramboo Secures Judgment for Defendant in Football Personal Injury Case in Claim Valued up to £150,000

In a Judgement handed down on 7th January 2022 at the Central London County Court by Her Honour Judge Baucher, Jibreel secured Judgment for the Defendant.

In a case concerning a friendly 11 a side game at Middlesex Stadium in 2016, the Defendant accidentally injured the Claimant (resulting in an unfortunate leg break) with a sliding challenge in an attempt to prevent the Claimant scoring a goal.

Amongst other submissions, Jibreel maintained that the tackle was committed late but nothing more than an error of judgment and relied upon case law reinforcing that position. Jibreel further emphasised that the timing of the challenge was crucial in determining the Defendant’s error of judgment.

Her Honour Judge Baucher concluded that [at 74]:

“I am satisfied that this was a late tackle but late in the context of a fast moving football match. I am not persuaded that in acting as he did that the Defendant was reckless or negligent. It was an unfortunate error of judgment and no more.”

Jibreel was instructed by Naresh Kapoor of Kingsfields Solicitors.

Daily Mail

Michael Polak, Submits IOC Ethics Complaint in Regard to the Behaviour of IOC Chief Following the Sexual Assault Allegation by Tennis Player Peng Shuai and Her Subsequent Disappearance.

Church Court Chambers’ international human rights barrister Michael Polak, drafted a formal written complaint which has been submitted to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Ethics Commission through the Ethics and Compliance Officer alleging breaches of the Olympic movement’s ethical principles. Michael was instructed by the NGO Safeguard Defenders.

The submission argued that the actions of IOC President Mr. Tomas Bach, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Ms. Emma Terho, and IOC Member in China Ms. Li Lingwei, in taking part in a virtual meeting set up by the Chinese authorities with the tennis player Peng Shuai, who appears to be subject to a routine form of Chinese Residential Detention, whilst failing to call for an investigation into her sexual abuse allegation against Chinese ex State Council Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli or for her to be able to leave China or speak freely, is a breach of the ethical principles under the IOC’s Code of Ethics.

It was submitted that the IOC’s actions increased the immediate danger that Peng Shuai faces and it was noted that the continued use of Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location, and Residential Surveillance, and forced confessions/retractions used by the Chinese authorities are breaches of international law.  Therefore, the participation of Mr. Bach, Ms. Terho, and Ms. Lin Lingwei, a previous National People’s Congress delegate, was a breach of their duty to uphold the IOC’s Code of Ethics and to “use due care and diligence in fulfilling their mission”, to respect “universal fundamental ethical principles” and to respect “international conventions on protecting human rights”. The complaint also submitted that  Mr. Bach, in failing to call for a proper and full investigation of the sexual abuse allegations, had also breached the duty to reject “all forms of harassment and abuse, be it physical, professional or sexual, and any physical or mental injuries”.

Safeguard Defenders Director, Peter Dahlin, who was once himself subject to arbitrary detention and forced confession in China, stated in a recent open letter that, ‘Peng Shuai’s abrupt disappearance, her inability to engage in her regular life, and the string of ever stranger public statements and/or appearances, indicates beyond doubt that she is under police control’ and that ‘it is likely that Peng is either kept… [under] house arrest, Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location or placed under control outside of any legal measures’. The open letter went on to note that ‘Peng Shuai’s undisclosed video-calls heralded by IOC executives in international media were like clockwork, as they responded to international criticism’ and that ‘everything indicates she is and will remain under strict control […] to ensure her #metoo allegations do not take hold, as such allegations are considered a threat to the CCP’s hold on power.’

Upon submission, Michael Polak stated that, ‘It is clear that the way Mr Bach and the IOC leadership have behaved in relation to the censoring of Peng Shuai and the terrible situation she is in under the control of the Chinese authorities, has fallen below the standard one would expect of an international organisation. The IOC should be safeguarding the rights of athletes rather than purely focusing on seeking to salvage the Beijing 2022 Olympics from being a PR disaster. The Ethics Commission is supposed to hold IOC members and its executive to account. If they are unwilling to do this, then states around the world must call for a proper independent body to do so.’

Michael Polak is available to be instructed for international law and human rights matters by contacting the clerks room on +44 20 7936 3637 or by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk 

George Hepburne Scott Defeats Thai Extradition Request in Landmark Case

On 2 December 2021, George’s client, N.R. was discharged by a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. 

This followed a 4-day extradition hearing in September when evidence was led by the defence as to Thai corruption, prison conditions, abuse of process, no prima facie case, no dual-criminality and passage of time.

However, the district judge ultimately discharged N.R. on Article 3 grounds on the basis of the Thai prison conditions. The Thai government had, at the end of the extradition hearing, sought to persuade the judge to request further information regarding prison conditions and further assurances in this regard. This was strongly resisted by the defence and the judge ruled in the defence favour. Evidence in this regard had included evidence called by the defence of previous breaches of prison assurances by the Thai government, detailed reports from authoritative international bodies and other expert evidence regarding the conditions in Thai prisons.

Therefore, N.R. was discharged; constituting yet another landmark extradition victory for George Hepburne Scott.

George was led by Mark Summers, QC of Matrix and both were instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington

Yasin Patel Instructed by International Cricketers in Cricket Racism “Tsunami”

Yasin Patel of Chambers has been asked to advise and assist a number of International and County Cricketers who have come forward with complaints of racism from clubs, coaches, players and persons in authority.  The players, all of black and Asian origin, have highlighted issues and examples from the 1990’s and up to the current time of what they have experienced at all levels of the Sport and beyond including verbal abuse, institutional racism, direct and indirect discrimination, unfair bias, prejudice, unlawful employment practices etc. 

With a background of advising Government Departments, International Bodies and agencies leading Anti-Racism Initiatives and Projects including Pressure Groups, Premier League Football Clubs, European Football Governing Bodies and International organisations, Yasin has a track-record in relation to Anti-Racism and Equality work and cases.  To contact Yasin, e-mail, y.patel@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone 077 0740 7707.

Michael Polak Speaks at World Uyghur Congress 7th General Assembly Panel in Prague on ‘Uyghur Genocide: Avenues Towards Accountability’

On the 12th November 2021, Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak spoke at the World Uyghur Congress General Assembly panel in regard to the domestic law provisions which may be used to protect individuals from intense repression, such as that faced by the Uyghur people by the Chinese regime and to punish those directly responsible or complicit in such international crimes.  

The World Uyghur Congress is the democratically elected body representing the interests of the Uyghur people. Michael is regularly instructed by the WUC in cases seeking to protect the Uyghur people and other Turkic minorities in the Uyghur Region. Further details of this work can be found here, here, and here.

Michael carries out a wide range of public international and human rights work on behalf of organisations and individuals.  He can be instructed by contacting the clerks room by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone +44 20 7936 3637

Martial Arts World Champion Cleared of Wrongdoing

Jackson Sousa, the World-wide Jiu Jitsu celebrity and distinguished Martial Artist has, been cleared of allegations of misconduct before an Independent Safeguarding Review Committee.  Advised and represented by Yasin Patel, the decorated fighter had been “tried by social media” after accusations and allegations had been circulated and aired on various social media platforms globally leading to loss of sponsors, fights and promotions. 

However, before a Disciplinary Committee in London, the investigators came to the conclusion that Mr Sousa was Not Guilty of any wrong doing after he challenged the accusations against him as false and without merit.  In giving his evidence, he gave a full account to the body. 

Mr Sousa’s barrister, Yasin Patel, made it clear that “Mr Sousa will now endeavour to clear his name before all of the bodies where he has been suspended” as the fighter aims to continue his comeback to the top of his profession.

Michael Polak Wins International Bar Association Outstanding Young Lawyer of 2021 Award

Today, Church Court Chambers barrister Michael Polak was awarded the prestigious International Bar Association Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2021.

The award is presented to ‘a young lawyer who has shown not only excellence in their work and achievements in their career to date, but also a commitment to professional and ethical standards as well as a commitment to the larger community.’ 

Michael was recognised for his international and domestic legal work, which has encompassed some of the most important and high profile cases such as the Cyprus Rape Case (see here) work for the World Uyghur Congress, his work for the Somalia Journalists Syndicate, his work making submission for ‘Magnitsky’ sanctions, and his representation in serious criminal trials as well as his charitable work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Polak acceptance speech video can be viewed here.

Michael Polak can be instructed in criminal and human rights matters both internationally and within England and Wales by contacting Church Court Chambers’ clerking team by phone on 020 7936 3637 or email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak Secure a Retrial Acquittal for Alleged £20m Tobacco Fraud Mastermind

Church Court Chambers’ Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak appeared at Kingston Crown Court for a four-week retrial for the alleged mastermind of a £20 million tobacco duty fraud. Their defendant, the first on the indictment, was the only one out of 8 who was not convicted of the fraud at the original trial in the summer of 2019.

During the retrial, the jury heard evidence about the importation of 75 tonnes of raw tobacco into the United Kingdom, which the prosecution stated was then transferred to buffer companies who turned it into hand rolling tobacco without paying the duty that was due at that point. Power and Polak’s defence included detailed documentary evidence in regard to the provenance and use of large amounts of money that was transferred between several entities in the United Kingdom and abroad along with the cross-examination of tax fraud experts. After just over a day’s deliberation, which was short given the complexities of the case, the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict resulting Power and Polak’s defendant being the only 1 out of 8 defendants to escape conviction.

Lewis and Michael worked alongside top criminal solicitor Dr Tahir Wasti and were instructed by Lloyds PR Solicitors.

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak can be instructed in complex criminal, regulatory, and international law matters.

Permission for Judicial Review Granted on Article 8 Human Rights Grounds

On 8 October 2021, Jibreel Tramboo appeared at the Upper Tribunal before Judge Smith in a claim for Judicial Review (JR) for permission to bring JR proceedings against a decision of the respondent dated 11 February 2021 to refuse the applicant’s asylum, humanitarian protection and human rights claim and certify it as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Permission was refused on the papers by Upper Tribunal Judge (UTJ) Sheridan on 29 June 2021.

In a renewed oral application at the Upper Tribunal, Jibreel argued on 4 grounds in the claim. However, in submissions, Jibreel emphasised particularly on the human rights ground and that the comprehensive evidence submitted by the applicant illustrated his residence within the United Kingdom for 20 years. UTJ Smith expressed that when reviewing a certification under section 94 of the 2002 Act, an applicant’s case must be taken at its highest. As such, Jibreel argued that the applicant could succeed in a human rights claim based on meeting the criteria contained in paragraph 276ADE(1)(iii) of the Immigration Rules.

To that extent, the Court granted permission on the applicant’s human rights grounds.

Jibreel Tramboo was instructed by MT UK Solicitors, Twickenham

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos conclude their 10 week trial at Southwark Crown Court

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos conclude their 10 week trial at Southwark Crown Court, prosecuting the Crossharbour stabbings. The jury unanimously convicted the defendant of murdering a 19 year old man and stabbing an 18 year old with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The trial was presided over by Her Honour Judge Cahill QC and sentence has been adjourned to October 2021. Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos were instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service; the British Transport Police investigated the case.

Ciara McElvogue Represents the British Horseracing Authority at Inquiry Involving High Profile Jockey

Ciara McElvogue was instructed to represent the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) at an inquiry before the Judicial Panel of the BHA on 16 September 2021.  The Inquiry involved a high profile Jockey who was in breach of the rules of racing following the adverse finding of a banned substance, namely cocaine and metabolites in a hair sample taken from him in March 2021. 

The Judicial Panel, which plays a vital role in upholding the integrity of horseracing in Britain, suspended the jockey for a period of 6 months which is the appropriate penalty for a first breach and a positive finding of cocaine. 

The Jockey must now re-apply for his licence following the ruling of the Independent Disciplinary Panel and satisfy the licensing committee of the British Horseracing Authority that he remains a fit and proper person to hold a licence. 

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak take the Landmark Cyprus Rape Case to the Supreme Court of Cyprus

On Thursday 16 September 2021, the appeal hearing was held in the Supreme Court of Cyprus in Nicosia.  Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers assisted in bringing the appeal along with Cypriot lawyers Nicoletta Charalambidou and Ritsa Pekri.

During the hearing, the defence team expanded upon their detailed 154-page skeleton argument to explain to the Court why the conviction was unsafe. The main arguments involved submissions that a retractions statement taken from the teenager without a lawyer after over 6 hours in custody whilst suffering with PTSD should not have been admitted into the trial and that the trial judge incorrectly applied the burden and standard of proof and did not approach the consideration of each element of the offence of public mischief with an open mind.

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak can be instructed to act in international human rights matters by contacting their clerks by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone 020 7936 3637

Please see below links to other relevant news articles:



Evening Standard

Michael Polak Chairs Panels at International Conference: ‘The Xinjiang Crisis: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Justice’ held at Newcastle University

Church Court Chamber’s barrister Michael Polak chaired two panels at the ground-breaking conference hosted by Newcastle University on ‘The Xinjiang Crisis: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Justice’ organised by Dr Jo Riley. Michael Polak chaired a panel on ‘Pursuing Reparations for Xinjiang Harms’ on 3 Sept 2021. On this panel were Rodney Dixon QC, Marie Martin from Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network,  John Packer from the University of Ottawa, James Goldston from New York University School of Law, and Erin Farrell Rosenberg Senior Fellow at the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. This session can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqP3KRVNOfo

Michael also chaired a session on States’ Responsibility to Protect Before Genocide with Tatyana Eatwell, Luke De Pulford from Coalition for Genocide Response and Coordinator of IPAC, Tim Loughton MP, Kate Ferguson from Protection Approaches, Nury Turkel from the Hudson Institute, and Rushan Abbas from Campaign for Uyghurs. This session can be viewed here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_u5gock-ao

Michael is available for instructions in international matters by contacting his clerks on clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or 020 7936 3637

Yasin Patel Represents World Champion

Yasin Patel has been instructed to represent the World Martial Arts Champion in various disciplinary and legal proceedings.

The Word-wide phenomenon has sought Yasin’s advice, expertise and experience to represent him on several legal issues including sports law, disciplinary and governance and other serious matters both nationally and internationally.

The allegations have received a great deal of social media coverage and 100’s of articles in various publications as well as commentary on other media outlets.

Yasin Patel is a barrister at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM.

Guy Williamson Appointed Vice Chairman of the British Boxing Board of Control

We are immensely proud to announce that Guy Williamson BEM QPM of chambers has been appointed as the Vice Chairman to the British Boxing Board of Control. Guy was previously the legal advisor for the board.

The British Boxing Board of Control has been overseeing British professional boxing since 1929.

To learn more please use the following link: bbbofc

Guy Williamson, a former police officer was crowned the ABA Heavyweight and National Super Heavyweight Champion, two times Police Olympic Super Heavyweight gold medalist, Police and Fire World Games Super Heavyweight gold medallist and was also Head Coach of the multiple medal winning British Boxing Team at the 1997 Police & Fire World Championships. His deep knowledge and understanding of the world of boxing and the world of law leave him ideally placed to advise and comment on all boxing related legal matters.

Guy has previously written about the similarities between the ring and the court room and his journey from one arena to another, the article can be read here: Barristers & Boxing – Gladiators in an Alternative Arena

Chambers are Delighted to Welcome Jibreel Tramboo

Jibreel has a broad mixed common law practice bringing added depth and breadth to Chambers’ sports, civil, immigration and family practice groups. Jibreel has a well deserved reputation for strong, robust advocacy coupled with excellent client care and for seeking pragmatic, commercial solutions on behalf of clients. Jibreel spent five years before being called to the Bar (in 2018) working at a solicitor’s firm gaining invaluable experience of the needs and  expectations of professional and lay clients.

Jibreel has a long standing passion for sports, having previously been part of Chelsea’s Elite Training Centre and is a qualified Football coach including currently at the Juventus Academy, London. This leaves him well placed to represent those from the world of sport. Outside of practice, Jibreel has undertaken Human Rights work with a Non-Governmental Organisation on various human rights situations across the world, including Yemen, Kashmir, Alaska, and Palestine.

Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC observes: “Jibreel is a perfect fit for Chambers; professional, driven and hardworking with a natural ability to instill trust and confidence. He joins Church Court at an exciting time considering the growth and development of Chambers’ sports team and we are delighted to welcome him as he continues building his already impressive practice”

For further information and to instruct Jibreel, please contact Chambers’ Senior Clerk Daniel Bartlett 

Success In the Court Of Appeal for Maria Karaiskos

Maria Karaiskos is praised by the Court of Appeal for her written and oral submissions as she successfully defends her client’s sentence.

Luton Crown Court had imposed a suspended sentence of imprisonment on DB – a young man of impeccable character, who pleaded guilty to (1) Trespass With Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence and (2) Sexual Assault on his ex-partner. Maria represented DB in the Crown Court and was able to persuade the sentencing Judge there that there was overwhelming mitigation and a very low risk of any re-offending. There was no abuse of trust and the complainant was not particularly vulnerable.

The Solicitor-General referred this sentence to the Court of Appeal on the basis that it was ‘unduly lenient’ under s.36 Criminal Justice Act 1988. The prosecution submitted that the complainant was ‘particularly vulnerable’ within the sentencing guidelines because she was asleep and had taken a sleeping tablet at the time of the offences. 

Maria referred to a plethora of case law which demonstrated that the issue of ‘particular vulnerability’ was determined on a case-by-case basis. Although the complainant here was undoubtedly vulnerable, there was no evidence that she was ‘particularly vulnerable.’ The sentence was not one which was outside the range of sentences which a Judge, applying his/her mind to all relevant factors, could consider reasonably appropriate.

The Vice-President of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, Lord Justice Fulford, delivered the Court’s ruling. The original sentence was upheld and the prosecution’s application for leave to appeal was refused. His Lordship stated in the judgment:

“We are indebted to Ms Karaiskos for her detailed written and oral submissions, which are to a material extent reflected in our discussion and analysis of this application, to which we now turn.”

The case is reported in full at: [2021] EWCA Crim 896.

Maria was instructed by Angie Deacon of Lawtons Solicitors.

Yasin Patel Helps Secure Acquittal for Teenager Accused of Murder

A young boy has been acquitted of Murder and Manslaughter by a Jury after a 36-day trial at the Old Bailey.

Represented by Sarah Forshaw QC and Yasin Patel, the teenager was accused of murdering a 15-year old.  The tragic event occurred in North Woolwich in December 2020.  CCTV of the incident, showed the incident and all that had occurred in a busy public area in front of eye-witnesses and many passers-by. Although the young boy accepted that he had caused the fatal blow to the deceased, a stab wound to the chest, he had always maintained that he had acted in self-defence.

The investigation in this case involved 8000 hours of CCTV, 1000’s of telephone calls and messages and 100’s of witness statements and was made all the more challenging due to the young age of the defendant: 17-years old at the time of the incident. 

 Yasin Patel was instructed by Max Anwar of McCormacks Solicitors.

Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood Explore the Growing Fraud Under the Furlough Scheme

As the furlough scheme starts to wind down from the start of this month, investigations in fraud under the scheme have started to gain pace. 

In a series of Articles, Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood analyse some of the Key Questions and Answers for those Investigated under the Scheme.

In a follow up article, Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood go on to examine potential criminal offences for anyone found to have made fraudulent claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme “CJRS”.

George Hepburne-Scott Achieves Another Extradition Victory in the High Court

George Hepburne-Scott won another case in the High Court on 22 June 2021.

The Appellant in the case of FT v Hungary was discharged on 22 June 2021. The appeal had been lodged in December 2019 and had then been stayed behind various leading cases relating to prison conditions in Hungary. These culminated in the Supreme Court authority of Zabolotnyi v Hungary UKSC 2019/0210. Thereafter the case was listed for a renewal hearing before Cavanagh J on 10 June 2021. At that hearing, George persuaded the Court to allow the appeal in respect of one EAW. Following this hearing, the Hungarian judicial authority conceded the other EAW and the Appellant was completely discharged on 22 June 2021.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Monumental Extradition Victory in the Divisional Court in Case Involving MI5 and Spanish Intelligence

In the case of PB v Spain, the Appellant had argued no less than nine grounds of appeal.

This was a fascinating case: There was evidence before the Court that the Appellant acted a participating informant over many years for the Spanish intelligence agencies until his cover was accidentally blown in April 2004 and blame for this was attributed to him. 

The Appellant was then arrested in the UK in relation to other criminal matters. At this time, he spoke to Special Branch and MI5, but the Spanish police refused to confirm his status as an informant. After this, the Appellant ceased co-operating with the Spanish authorities.

In April 2007, the Applicant’s status in the Spanish investigation was changed from a prosecution witness to a co-defendant by the examining judge, Judge Garzon. On 29 January 2008 the Applicant was indicted in Spain. He challenged that indictment by way of appeal to the Spanish High Court. On 22 December 2009, the indictment of the Appellant was overturned by the Spanish High Court in Madrid. The extradition request was subsequently made in an attempt to compel the Appellant’s return to Spain to face trial. This was resisted but extradition was ordered at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The Appellant appealed.

The Appellant’s overriding case was that this was a bad faith prosecution and extradition. It was designed to manipulate a prosecution witness/undercover state agent (the Appellant) into providing evidence against co-accused. It was submitted that the judge (Judge Garzon) who orchestrated it had himself later been disbarred for his conduct in relation to another case.

In the event the Divisional Court (Singh LJ and Steyn J) did not find that any such abuse was a bar to extradition, concluding at para 123 that:

The allegation that the police have been guilty of abuse is not sufficient to conclude that the Applicant’s extradition would be an abuse of process. If the Applicant has evidence that the police were guilty of misconduct in 2001-2004 or at another time, he will be able to make those arguments at his trial in Spain and, if they are accepted and are relevant to the issues in the trial, that will be a matter for the Spanish courts.”

However, the Court upheld the appeal and discharged the Appellant on other grounds relating to s.2(4)(c), s.2(4)(d) and s.2(3) of the Extradition Act 2003.” 

Mr George Hepburne Scott, was led by Mr Mark Summers, QC of Matrix Chambers and was instructed by Mr Keith Wood of Lewis Nedas  Law.

Click below for the published report on the case:


Shaun Esprit Secures Acquittal in Sensitive Attempted Murder Trial

Shaun Esprit of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Team successfully secured the unanimous acquittal of a defendant who stood trial for attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

This was a complex and highly sensitive case. The defendant had returned to his family in the UK after working in military prison camps overseas. Having suffered PTSD and psychotic symptoms as a result of his traumatic experiences, he faced trial for stabbing his wife 13 times. Key to the successful defence was the effective cross-examination of the Crown’s internationally renowned consultant psychiatrist. 

Counsel was instructed by Mr Majid Mahmood of City Law Solicitors.

A Hat-trick of Recent extradition victories for George Hepburne Scott

On the 29th April, George secured permission to appeal in an extradition matter which was granted by Chamberlain J at a renewal hearing (C.B. v Portugal). This will now proceed to a full extradition appeal hearing at the High Court in June this year.

On the 1st June, George secured a discharge of a client following a full extradition hearing before District Judge Leong. The case involved a conviction in Sicily for mafia offences and a prison term of 7 years 4 months (Italy v B.T.). The judicial authority (through the CPS) later confirmed it was not appealing the decision.

On the 10th June, George secured permission to appeal at a renewal hearing in an extradition appeal in a case involving a Hungarian conviction for fraud totalling €350,000. On this occasion, Morris J granted permission to appeal and the full extradition appeal hearing shall now proceed before the High Court later in the year.”

Colin Witcher and Claire Anderson Present Sexual Offences and Awareness Seminar at Alleyn’s School.

Colin Witcher of Church Court Chambers was invited to join forces with Claire Anderson of ABV Solicitors to present an open and frank discussion about the law surrounding sexual offences.

The presentation, organised by Alleyn’s School, combined practical real life examples from the perspective of both lawyer and parent through Claire and the legal framework and issues from an academic and practitioner analysis through Colin. The programme formed part of a series of pastural programmes arranged by Alleyn’s School.

Head of Chambers Statement on Joanna Toch’s Tweets

Statement from Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC:  “Joanna Toch is not a Member of, nor associated with, Church Court Chambers having left us 3 years ago in July 2018. Her Wikipedia Page is not accurate.

Given that she is not a Member of Chambers or in any way connected to our business or organisation and that there have been references to potentially reporting Ms Toch to the Bar Standards Board we will not be making any comment on her recent tweets. Church Court Chambers pride ourselves on our diverse membership: there is no place for racism in any context anywhere”

Victory in Sicilian Mafia Case for George Hepburne-Scott

George Hepburne-Scott claims a stunning victory in an Extradition case today, 1st June 2021, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

In the case of Italy v B.T. the defendant was discharged by a District Judge following a fully contested extradition hearing.

The defendant B.T. had been convicted of mafia offences in Sicily in 2000-2003, for which he had received a sentence of 7 years and 10 months.

B.T. had been discovered living in the United Kingdom in 2020 and arrested on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Sicilian Court. In the hearing that followed, George led the legal team that fought extradition.

On 1 June 2021, a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court gave judgment in B.T.’s favour on Article 8 and he was discharged and released from custody.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Yasin Patel Clears International Cricketer Accused of ‘Fixing’

An International Cricketer who was accused of being one of “Cricket’s Match Fixers” has been cleared of alleged spot-fixing and wrongdoing.  The cricketer was advised and represented by Yasin Patel.

The allegations were broadcast on the Al-Jazeera programme, “Cricket’s Match Fixers”, in May 2018 and alleged that spot-fixing had been present in the Test Matches between India and England in Chennai in December 2016 and also against Australia in Ranchi in 2017.  In a programme aired all over the world and watched by tens of millions, the serious accusations brought many questions in relation to the credibility of International sportsmen and the teams as well alleging that the “fixing” had led to millions of dollars being made by those involved.

The allegations from the documentary were thoroughly investigated by the International Cricket Council and they came to the conclusion that the claims lacked “credibility”. 

Further details of the report can be found on the following links:



Yasin Patel is a Barrister at Church Court Chambers who practices in Sports Law and Criminal Defence.

Church Court Chambers stands with Essex Court and Stands Up for the Rule of Law

Church Court Chambers stands united with Essex Court Chambers and its members, following the decision of the Chinese Government to sanction the Chambers collectively and therefore all its Members. 

The trigger for that sanction? An Opinion provided by four members of that Chambers in regard to alleged international crimes being committed against the Uyghur people.  The opinion, which considered the evidence and applicable law was drafted by a team led by Alison McDonald QC. The Opinion concluded that ‘there is a very credible case that acts carried out by the Chinese government against the Uyghur people in XUAR amount to crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.’

History has taught us that individuals must be able to speak up when atrocities are taking place. The sanctioning of barristers and their Chambers simply for providing a written opinion, based on evidence, is an attack on the rule of law and an attack upon us all. 

A fiercely independent legal sector is something to which States should aspire, not seek to attack. 

Michael Polak of Chambers’ International Team and who chairs Lawyers for Uyghur Rights, told The Global Legal Post: “It is disgraceful that China is targeting lawyers who have written opinions based on the available evidence which shows that crimes against humanity and genocide are taking place. This attack on the rule of law, which provides that lawyers should be able to act without fear, or retribution, is also likely to be counterproductive”.

Maria Karaiskos Prosecutes a Prison Officer for Sexual Misconduct in Public Office at HMP Swaleside.

Maria Karaiskos prosecutes a prison officer for Misconduct in Public Office at HMP Swaleside. The prison officer had a relationship with an inmate who was serving a life sentence for murder, and subsequently gave birth to their child.

The Judge stated in his sentencing remarks at Maidstone Crown Court:

“This is not a Court of morals, but the acts you performed in a public office which led to sex in a prison, undermining all that was happening in that institution, make that a very  serious crime.”

“There are many in the community who would want to hold you up and throw stones in your direction.”

“This is probably one of the most difficult sentencing exercises I have had to perform in the course of my 18 years as a Judge.”

“This is an extraordinary case which requires an extraordinary sentence.”

“Justice tempered with mercy is not something that just exists in literature, it must be alive and well in the Courts too….”

The defendant received 16 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

This case was widely reported across the national press: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9403979/Prison-officer-26-gave-birth-convicted-murderers-baby-spared-jail.html

Yasin Patel Secures Acquittal for Young Defendant in Case Where a Knife was Lodged in a Man’s Face

A teenager on trial for serious violent offences was acquitted by a jury following a trial.  

The incident occurred in the home counties. The victim had an operation on his face after he was attacked with a knife, part of which had broken off and lodged in his face.

Leanne Brown of Cartwright King Solicitors who instructed Yasin Patel stated that she “was delighted with the teenager’s acquittal but that it seems grossly unfair that this young man should be in custody for 15 months awaiting trial.  Young people should not be waiting so long in custody. This is wrong.”

The acquitted young man was released from custody at the court. 

Journalist Detained in Somalia Represented by Michael Polak Freed

The client of Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak, journalist Kilwe Farah, was released on Monday 22 March 2021. Michael was instructed in this matter by the family of Mr Farah and was working alongside the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and local lawyer Avv. Mustafe Mohamed Jama.

A day after Kilwe reported on anti-inflation rate protests in Garowe on 27 January 2020, Kilwe was unlawfully detained from a hotel in Garowe town centre. He was then held at an undisclosed PISA (security services) detention centre without access to a lawyer or his family for 16 days where he was subjected to torture. On 11 January 2021, after 16 days held incommunicado in unlawful detention Kilwe was transferred to Garowe Central Prison where he was charged with attempted murder despite the authorities never having identified anyone who he was supposed to have attempted to murder.

These charges then changed. During the court hearing on Saturday 27 February 2021, before the first instance Military Court the military prosecutor put forward five charges: Instigation of Delinquency; Instigation to Disobey Laws; Publication or Circulation of False, Exaggerated, or Tendentious News Capable of Disturbing Public Order; Offence against the Authorities by means of Damaging Posters; and Bringing the Nation or the State into Contempt.  Mr Farah was then sentence to three months imprisonment, despite there being no evidence against him, which should have resulted in him being freed immediately to return to his family. However  subsequently, the Military Prosecutor appealed against the sentence and in a farcical hearing within Mr Farah’s gaol cell the appeal was allowed and Mr Farah was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

After extensive advocacy, in the African media, at the United Nation’s level with submissions to the Working Group and Special Rapporteurs, with Somalia’s international partners, and to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Mr Farah was freed under presidential pardon on Monday.  

Mr Farah stated “I am glad to be freed today. I am doing well and back to my family. I thank SJS and its lawyers Avv. Mustafe Mohamed Jama and barrister Michael Polak for their long efforts to my freedom,” shortly after his release from the Garowe Central Prison.

Michael Polak stated ‘It is fantastic that Kilwe is now free and back with his family. However, it should be remembered that he was seized because of his media work, kept incommunicado in an illegal secret detention centre, then subject to proceedings which were farcical including an appeal which was heard in his prison cell without a lawyer.  Kilwe should not have spent the last three months away from his family in a precarious position and the international community must do more to protect media freedom throughout Somalia.”

The case was covered in the media here:







Michael Polak is available for a range of international law and human rights matters including representation and assistance for journalists and media organisations. Michael can be instructed by contact Church Court’s clerking team on by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone +44 020 7936 3637

George Hepburne Scott Secures Yet Another Extradition Victory – This Time Against the Judicial Authority of Poland

On 22 March 2021, George Hepburne Scott’s client, P.T. was discharged by a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court following a contested extradition hearing earlier in the month. At the hearing, the defence team led by George Hepburne Scott had raised issues under the Extradition Act 2003 as follows: s.2 (was Poland to still be considered a judicial authority, s.14 (passage of time), s.20 (trial in absence), and Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Ultimately, the District Judge discharged R.T. purely on Article 8 grounds on the basis on the nature of the offending, the age of the offending (18 years old) and the impact of extradition upon P.T. and his wife.

George Hepburne Scott commented: ‘an incredibly satisfying result which serves to underline the importance of raising every single objection that you properly can in fighting extradition requests.’

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Michael Polak Speaks on Centre for Turkey Studies Panel “Does China’s Ongoing Persecution of the Uighurs Amount to Genocide, and What Can the International Community Do About it?”

On Thursday 18 March 2021 Church Court Chambers’ barrister Michael Polak spoke on the Centre for Turkey Studies’ Panel on “Does China’s Ongoing Persecution of the Uighurs Amount to Genocide, and What Can the International Community Do About it?”. Other speakers in the panel included Stephen Kinnock, Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director for the World Uyghur Congress, Emily Thornberry, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, and Matthew Turner Chair of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights.

The event was recorded and can be watched here from 9”10.

Michael chairs Lawyers of Uyghur Rights and is on the Advisory Committee of the World Uyghur Congresses’ London Office.  Michael’s work for the WUC has included recent submission in regards to the Beijing 2022 Olympics, work in regards to Huawei 5G tendering, and presenting at their Congress in Washington.

Michael Polak is available for instruction in human rights or international law matters by contacting our clerking team by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone +44 020 7936 3637

George Hepburne Scott Wins Extradition Case Against the Government of the United States of America

On 18 March 2021, George Hepburne Scott’s client, B.F, an Antiguan national, was sensationally discharged from his extradition proceedings at Westminster Magistrates Court following a contested case. 

B.F. had been arrested at Gatwick airport on 20th January 2020. He was arrested on provisional warrant issued by the National Crime Agency under s.74(B) of the Extradition Act 2003 pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice issued by the USA. 

The allegation was that B.F. had committed an offence of possession of a firearm (.32 calibre revolver loaded with two .32 calibre rounds), had been bailed in New York and then, 24 January 1991, failed to appear at his hearing.

The extradition proceedings had then commenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Upon further examination by the defence team led by George Hepburne Scott, it transpired that the Red Notice was not applied for until 4 February 2015, some 24 years after the US domestic warrant was issued. 

This gave rise to powerful arguments that the passage of time and culpable delay had fundamentally undermined the extradition request: B.K.’s life had profoundly changed in the period; He had led a blameless life including having been employed as a police officer in Antigua. 

The defence therefore made repeated and powerful representations to the relevant US District Attorney in New York through the Crown Prosecution Service International Justice and Organised Crime Division. This persistence finally paid off when the US confirmed on 17 March 2021 that it was no longer pursuing the case against B.F. and he was sensationally discharged and released on 18 March 2021.

George Hepburne Scott commented: “we are delighted with yet another stunning extradition victory and will continue to ruthlessly defend our clients with all reasonable force and utilising all legal means at our disposal“. 

The Solicitor in the case was Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak Submits Communication to African Commission on Human Rights for Kilwe Farah, Journalist Detained in Puntland since December Because of his Media Work

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak, who is instructed by the family of the journalist Kilwe Farah and is acting with the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) has submitted a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the “ACHPR”). The complaint concerns the breach of journalistic rights, as Kilwe Farah has has been unlawfully detained and subjected to criminal proceedings simply because of his media activities. 

A day after Kilwe reported on anti-inflation rate protests in Garowe on 27 January 2020, Kilwe was unlawfully detained from a hotel in Garowe town centre. He was then held at an undisclosed PISA (security services) detention centre without access to a lawyer or his family for 16 days where he was subjected to torture. On 11 January 2021, after 16 days held incommunicado in unlawful detention Kilwe was transferred to Garowe Central Prison where he was charged with attempted murder despite the authorities never having identified anyone who he was supposed to have attempted to murder. 

These charges have since changed. During the court hearing on Saturday 27 February 2021, before the first instance Military Court the military prosecutor put forward five charges: Instigation of Delinquency; Instigation to Disobey Laws; Publication or Circulation of False, Exaggerated, or Tendentious News Capable of Disturbing Public Order; Offence against the Authorities by means of Damaging Posters; and Bringing the Nation or the State into Contempt. 

On 4 March 2021, despite no evidence being presented before the Court, the Court found Kilwe guilty of these offences and sentenced him to three months imprisonment in what looked like an attempt to save face for the authorities. This should have resulted in Kilwe being released on Saturday 6 March 2021 however Kilwe’s legal team have found out that the Prosecution are frustrating Kilwe’s release by appealing against the sentence that he was given. It is unclear how long this will take however Kilwe’s family are desperate to have him home after his terrible ordeal. 

Michael Polak, who submitted the communication to the African Commission, stated that: 

‘What has happened to Kilwe is a cautionary tale about the treatment of journalists by oppressive regimes around the world when there are balances on their power. 

The authorities have disappeared Kilwe, held him in illegal detention, charged him with the spurious offence of attempted murder, when the authorities were unable to identify anyone who he attempted to murder, then changed the charges to those clearly related to his work as a journalist. Then the Court, despite there being no evidence against Kilwe on these new charges have found him guilty in order to save face for the authorities. 

We hope that the international submission to the African Commission will shine a spotlight on the repression of journalists such as Kilwe and that shining the spotlight on media freedom in Somalia will improve conditions for the very brave journalists in Somalia who play an important role informing the Somalian people of what is happening in their country.” 

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) Secretary General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin said, 

“The Somali Journalists Syndicate is very pleased to have Michael Polak working with us on Kilwe’s case as this is an egregious example of the repression frequently faced by our brave members across Somalia. 

As well as making submissions to the international bodies specially in relation to Kilwe’s case he has also made submission to the United Nations’ bodies based on the evidence in our extensive reports about the widespread attacks on journalists in Somalia including killings, arbitrary detention, the seizure of cameras and other equipment, and the banning of newspapers and broadcast media. We hope that the international community will finally stand up for press freedom in Somalia which is essential for the development of the country and stability in the region.’ 

This case has been reported in the press:




Successful Applications to Dismiss in Multi-Handed Drug Supply Case

Tomas McGarvey and Yasin Patel of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Team are successful in their respective applications to dismiss in relation to a multi-handed Class A drug supply case. 

Yasin Patel represented a 17 year old schoolboy charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. 

Tomas McGarvey represented an 18 year old university student, also charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. 

The case involved a police search at an address where both defendants were residing at the time. The applications involved a detailed assessment of the evidential value of numerous items seized at the property, which included a significant amount of Class A Drugs, paraphernalia linked to the supply of drugs and mobile telephones. 

The case continues against a third defendant. 

Yasin Patel instructed by McCormacks Solicitors and Tomas McGarvey instructed by Freemans Solicitors.  For more information about instructing Tomas or Yasin, please contact our Senior Clerk, Daniel Bartlett, on 020 7936 3637

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos Conclude an Intense Trial Lasting Almost Four Months at the Old Bailey in Front of The Common Serjeant.

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos conclude an intense trial lasting almost four months at the Old Bailey in front of The Common Serjeant. Four defendants charged with offences arising out of a fatal stabbing in East London in 2019, two of those defendants aged 14 and 16 years old at the time and charged with murder.

Complex evidential issues arose during the trial, which Benjamin and Maria challenged with written and oral submissions at every stage, including:

1- DNA: the reliability and admissibility of Likelihood Ratios based on a mixed profile of four or more contributors; interpretation of statistical match probabilities; relevance of the DNA of a potential female relative to the sample; lengthy cross-examination and s.78 PACE arguments on expert evidence from EuroFins forensic laboratory.

2- Article 8 ECHR: admissibility of electronic tag data inadvertently monitored by curfew units installed at unknown addresses throughout London; Right to Privacy encroached by this intrusive surveillance; defendants subject to tag unaware their movements were being monitored.

3- Bad Character Evidence: admissibility of gang affiliations and previous convictions, s.101(1)(d) Criminal Justice Act 2003

4- Articles 5 and 6 ECHR: custody time limits and listing of trial during the current pandemic; prioritisation of case based on young age of defendants.

Benjamin and Maria were instructed by Emi Puri from Henscott Solicitors. 

Michael Polak, Working with Somali Journalists Syndicate, Acts for Journalist Kilwe and Calls for Puntland Authorities to Drop Charges

MOGADISHU, Somalia/ LONDON, UK 2 February 2021 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Barrister Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers and Justice Abroad strongly condemn the continued detention of freelance journalist Kilwe Adan Farah by Puntland authorities since 27 December, 2020 over politically motivated charges and calls for his unconditional release.

On the evening of 27 December 2020, officers from PISA (Puntland Intelligence and Security Agency) in Garowe, the capital of Puntland State, detained journalist Kilwe, who reports for Kilwe Media Inc, a Facebook news page he co-founded. The arrest came a day after anti-inflation protest hit Garowe town, which Kilwe covered.  Mr Kilwe’s broadcast of the protests were shared widely and it is believed that this is why he was seized. He was held at an undisclosed PISA detention centre without access to his family or a lawyer in contravention of Article 27 of Puntland’s Constitution which provides that an accused person shall not be detained in a facility that is not legally recognized and that the accused be brought before a court of law within 48 hours.

On Monday 11 January 2021, without the knowledge of his family and without the presence of lawyers, Kilwe was transferred to Garowe central prison and was reportedly charged with “attempted murder” by the Puntland military court. This is a charge which can be punished with the death penalty in Puntland.  Family members said they did not see the charge sheet but that the charges were only read to them by a military court official. Further, no information as to who Kilwe was alleged to have attempted to murder was provided and it is understood that no evidence exists.

According to local defence lawyer Avv. Mustafe Mohamed Jama who is working with Mr Polak and the SJS to push for Kilwe’s release, Kilwe appeared before the military court on Tuesday morning,  2 February 2020, but the Prosecution was not able to provide any evidence in regards to the charges he faces for the court to accept the case. The lawyer also wrote to the military court questioning the court’s jurisdiction over Kilwe case.

According to article 87 of the Puntland Constitution, the military court only has jurisdiction over members of the armed forces and therefore the military court has no jurisdiction over Kilwe’s case as he is a journalist and therefore a civilian.  We have requested the court to give Kilwe’s freedom back,” Lawyer Mustafe Mohamed Jama wrote to the military court on Tuesday morning.

Barrister Michael Polak from Church Court Chambers and Justice Abroad who is working as a team with Mr Jama and the Somali Journalists Syndicate has submitted applications to the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.   The legal team has also reached out to Somalia’s international partners to raise Kilwe’s plight.

On 1 February 2021, Kilwe was nominated among the 10 Most Urgent Press Freedom cases for February 2021 by the One Free Press Coalition, which is an international coalition of media houses and organizations that stand up for journalists under attack for pursuing the truth worldwide.

Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers and Justice Abroad said:

“It is frightening that someone like Kilwe can be disappeared for 16 days simply for reporting the news. This is in breach of Puntland’s legal provisions as well as the obligations of Somalia under international law. It is imperative that the Puntland Authorities heed the call to release Kilwe so he can return to his wife and children.”

Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate said:

“Curtailing press freedom through intimidation and false charges is alarming and is against both Federal and Puntland constitutions which guarantee the freedom of the press.  We call for the Puntland authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Kilwe and allow him to freely exercise his journalistic duties without fear or reprisals.”

Success for Alex Balancy Who Secured the Release of His Client In An Honour Based Violent Multi Handed Case.

Alex’s client was arrested together with 2 others for allegations of Conspiring to murder his ex-wife and other offences against her which the Prosecution argued had the hallmark of classic honour based violent crimes. 

He was charged with Attempted Kidnapping, Making Threats to Kill, Assault Causing Actual Bodily Harm and Theft.  The prosecution considered but eventually decided not to add a count of Conspiracy to murder.

Following a jury trial that lasted over a month, Alex’s client was unanimously acquitted of the Attempted Kidnapping and Theft charges. The jury could not reach verdicts on the Making Threats to Kill and ABH charges. The prosecution decided not to have a re-trial on these 2 counts and Alex’s client was immediately released.

Alex Balancy was instructed by Foxes Solicitors.

Kerim Fuad QC features in Sky Documentary

Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC features in a documentary to be aired by Sky Crime concerning a high profile and sensitive murder case recently handled by Kerim. The case concerned the artist and grandmother Valerie Graves, who was murdered in a horrific attack just days after Christmas while housesitting a million-pound property. Kerim’s involvement in the documentary was filmed in Chambers’ new premises within Southampton Buildings. 

Kerim is a highly respected Criminal Silk with one of the leading directories observing that; “He has the jury eating out of the palm of his hand”. He is widely recognised as the go-to Silk for complex Murder cases at the Old Bailey. 

For media enquiries or instructions please contact Chambers’ Practice Director, Rod McGurk.

Please see the following link to view the documentary:

“Killer in my Village – Series 4 – Episode 9 – Valerie Graves”

Multi-Million Pound Confiscation Hearing Begins

Following convictions for serious financial offences totalling £60 million, defendants appeared before the Royal Courts of Justice (“RCJ”) in a lengthy confiscation hearing where evidence from live witnesses, experts and defendants started being considered today.  Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood, specifically instructed for the confiscation hearing, represent one of the main defendants.

The proceedings before the RCJ will consider the Prosecution application to confiscate assets that include property, money, land, houses, jewellery and various other items associated with the defendants.  As well as assets in the UK, a great deal of the items are alleged to be hidden and available abroad in a Prosecution case that has taken many years to prepare.  

Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood are instructed by Rustem Guardian Solicitors

George Hepburne Scott Secures Victories in Six Extradition Cases in Less Than Two Months

George Hepburne Scott continues to enjoy a series of successes for his clients in Extradition cases at Westminster Magistrates’ Court:

On 22 October 2020, following lengthy legal argument, in the case of Romania v G-A.P, George secured the discharge and immediate release of his client by successfully opposing the Romanian Judicial Authority’s application to adjourn to secure an assurance re prison conditions. In the absence of that assurance District Judge Bristow discharged the requested person under s.21 of the 2003 Act. George had relied upon the Divisional Court case of Adamescu v Romania [2020] EWHC 2709 (Admin), Article 17 of the European Council Decision re EAW’s, the Criminal Practice Direction 50.A and Criminal Procedure Rules 50.2. George was instructed by Clement Idowu of Criminal Defence Service.

On 12 October 2020, following a full extradition hearing, in the case of Poland v M.N. George’s client was discharged on a Polish EAW alleging possession of amphetamine and cannabis. The client was discharged on the basis of s.21A proportionality following legal submissions at the extradition hearing. George was instructed in this case by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors.

On 11 September 2020, in the case of Belgium v SH, George’s client, an Albanian national, was sensationally discharged on an extradition request from Belgium alleging triple-murder. The client was discharged following complex legal argument regarding reopening the identity issue after the initial hearing.  On this occasion the client was discharged by District Judge Goldspring. George was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors on this case.

On 4 September 2020, in the case of Greece v RK, George secured the discharge of his client at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a Greek EAW this one alleging large scale drug trafficking. The client was an Irish National. On this occasion the Deputy Chief Magistrate of England and Wales discharged George’s client. George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors on this case.

On 25 August 2020, in the case of Greece v AS, George secured the discharge of his client at Westminster Magistrates’ Court again on a Greek EAW alleging cannabis cultivation. George’s client was an Albanian national. District Judge Ezzat discharged George’s client on this occasion. George was instructed by Russell Nicholson of Tuckers Solicitors on this case.

On 24 August 2020, in the case of Hungary v TK, George secured a discharge of his client at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a Hungarian EAW relating to multiple thefts from employer. George’s client was a Hungarian national. District Judge Snow discharged George’s client on this occasion. George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors on this case.

Andrew Taylor Appears on Times Radio tonight at 7:30pm

Tonight at 7:30pm Andrew Taylor shall be on Times Radio talking about the A G References that are currently before the Court of Appeal for Reynhard & Joseph McCann,  where the Solicitor General is arguing that Life Sentences with 30 years minimum terms are unduly lenient, and is asking that whole life terms are merited.

That of itself is highly unusual, but it may be that it is the first time that conjoined appeals of this type are argued.

Click here to redirect to the times radio site, Times Radio

Success for Mike Fullerton in dog breeding licence case in General Regulatory Chamber.

S v Eastleigh Borough Council

Mike Fullerton succeeds in overturning revocation of dog-breeding licence before First Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber). After negotiations, a week before the hearing, the Local Authority agreed to a Variation of Licence including paying the costs of the Application.

Acquittal for Michael Mather-Lees QC in case involving multiple attempted murders.

Michael Mather-Lees QC successfully defends a man charged with multiple attempted murders, severely injuring 3 innocent members of the public, by repeatedly stabbing them with a large knife. This was a rare and unusual case of a Defendant successfully pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. The Defendant was seriously mentally ill and found not guilty by the jury.

Michael was instructed by Emily Evans of Allen Hoole Solicitors, Bristol

Colin Witcher succeeds in Gold Bullion confiscation case.

Colin Witcher of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Team represented the first defendant NH at a fully contested hearing, over the course of three days before the Bristol Crown Court. The Crown had sought significant hidden assets against the defendant, said to be large cash withdrawals and the purchase of Gold Bullion. 

The defendant was alleged to be the principle defendant and beneficiary of an audacious fraud. The defendant, who was convicted after trial, together with three others (who all pleaded guilty) directed and arranged the sale of a substantial country property, without the true owner’s knowledge. Thereafter, part of the sale proceeds were withdrawn from a bank account and used to purchase Gold Bullion in London. The defendant, after convicton, instructed new solicitors who retained Mr Witcher to represent the defendant in respect to PoCA proceedings.

During the course of those proceedings the defendant and two of the three other defendants gave evidence. All other defendants placed the leading role on NH and denied that they had benefited from their involvement in the crime save for a little over a £1,000 each. In respect to one of those defendants, he was challenged on NH’s behalf, and a cut throat emerged.  

Mr Witcher further had to deal with issues flowing from the defendant previously having given evidence before the Jury which was rejected, and admitted false PoCA statements served prior to Mr Witcher’s instruction.

After hearing all the evidence and final submissons the Judge, who had also conducted the trial, found favour with Mr Witcher’s submissions in respect to hidden assets. The Judge further found that the second defendant had benefited as alleged by NH. 

The defendant was at risk of a significant default term, which was properly avoided due to careful preparation and case presentation.

Mr Witcher was instructed by Kamal Channa of Brooklyn Solictors, St Martins Le Grand, London.

Michael Polak Lodges Written Submissions on behalf of World Uyghur Congress to International Olympic Committee’s Ethical Commission Concerning Beijing 2022

The World Uyghur Congress has instructed Church Court Chambers’ international human rights barrister Michael Polak who also leads Lawyers for Uyghur Rights to draft a formal written complaint which has been submitted to the International Olympic Committee’s Ethics Commission through the Ethics and Compliance Office.

This Complaint, to which the IOC’s Ethics Commission must respond, stated that IOC, its Executive Board, and IOC President Thomas Bach have acted in breach of the Olympic Charter by failing to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing following verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity taking place against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims by the People’s Republic of China.  

Evidence submitted along with the Complaint from numerous sources proves that a number of crimes against humanity are taking place such as mass sterilization, arbitrary detention in internment camps, torture, repressive security and surveillance, and forced labour and slavery.

Annexed to the complaint was also a recent report which concluded that the Chinese authorities actions in the Uyghur Region is likely to amount to genocide.

The submissions provide that not only will holding the Olympic in Beijing be seen as support for the extreme repression suffered by the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims but that given the opaque nature of the supply chains in China, especially in regards to textiles and technology, it is likely that the IOC will be directly involved in the international crimes committed against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim people. This is because the widely documented forced transport and use of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims as slave labour means that it will be impossible for the IOC to ensure that the technology used in Olympic competitions and the hosting of the Games and the textiles used for Olympic merchandise are not tainted by the immense pain of those transported thousands of miles across China to be forced to work in factories because of their religion and race.

Michael Polak stated:

‘I am pleased to have been instructed by Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress to draft this important Complaint.

The IOC, its Executive Board, and its President Thomas Bach are all required to abide by the ethical principles of the Olympic Movement, the Olympic Charter, and the Olympic ideal inspired by Pierre de Coubertin.

It is clear that holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing whilst China carries out genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim people flies in the face of those principles and is contrary to those parties’ obligation under Article 2 of the Code of Conduct not to ‘act in a manner likely to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement.

We hope that the Ethics Commission will engage with the issues we have put before them and call for the 2022 Olympic to be moved if international crimes continue to be carried out against the Uyghurs. We look forward to the opportunity of calling evidence from first-hand witnesses who have fled the horrors of the camps and systematic repression so the Ethics Commission and Olympic Movement cannot say that they were unaware of what was taking place in the Uyghur Region and across China with the forced movement of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims for use as slave labour.’ 

World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa stated:

‘The IOC can no longer claim ignorance of China’s genocide against the Uyghur people. If the IOC allows China to host the 2022 Winter Games, it is wilfully and intentionally abandoning the values and principles that underpin the Olympic Movement.

These detailed submissions explain the evidence of the international crimes being committed against my people, the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and other Turkic Muslim people and how this clearly conflicts with the ethical principles with which the Olympic family is supposed to comply. Further, it is likely that the technology and merchandising used for the Olympic will be tainted by the well reported forced transportation and slave labour against us.

If the International Olympic Committee allows the Chinese government to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, it will go down as a historically shameful decision.’

Multiple press sources including the New York Times have reported on Michael’s work https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/08/14/sports/olympics/14reuters-olympics-china-uighurs.html?searchResultPosition=5

Michael Polak is available to be instructed for international law and human rights matters by contacting the clerks room on +44 20 7936 3637 or by clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk 

Kerim Fuad QC and Maria Karaiskos Secure Sensational Murder and s.18 Acquittals in High Profile and Sensitive Trial at the Old Bailey.

On 10th October 2019 at 3.19 pm, a boy boarded the 241 bus on the way to Stratford wearing a balaclava and armed with a very large hunting knife. He proceeded to knife two 15-year-old schoolboys a total of 4 times, in front of terrified passengers, before running off the bus after B. A. who later died of his stab injuries.

The client of Mr Fuad QC and Maria Karaiskos was also a 15-year-old schoolboy and was carrying an identical hunting knife in his rucksack which he was seen on CCTV to take out on the same bus to inspect. The defendants’ knives had been bought together. He was alleged to have been the look out and the one who “tipped off” his best friend from the top deck via a lengthy phone call, and other phone calls, to know which bus the deceased and his friends were on and pinpointing where the bus was.

There was previous Snapchat talk involving all the boys in which knives were talked about and threats were made, including who was going to “be the first to be on someone’s blade.”

Their client was acquitted of all 4 counts.  

This acquittal adds to Mr Fuad QC’s quite extraordinary record of Murder acquittals, in particular over the last 10 years.

The other defendant was unanimously convicted of the Murder of B. A. He will be sentenced in due course following probationary reports.

This case has been widely reported in the national press, although reporting restrictions apply in respect of child defendants and witnesses.

On a separate note:

Both Mr Fuad QC and Miss Karaiskos are Cypriots who come from each of the island’s communities. The trial was a classic example of the two working as a successful, cohesive and powerful team. 

Mr Fuad QC and Miss Karaiskos both of Church Court Chambers were instructed by Mr Joel Lamptey of Hanson Woods solicitors.

Michael Polak Instructed to Advise in Potential Private Prosecution of Hong Kong Police Officers

Church Court Chambers’ international human rights and criminal law barrister Michael Polak has been instructed to advise in the high-profile potential private prosecution of British national Police Officers working for the Hong Kong Police Force in regards to possible offences of torture contrary to s134 of the Criminal Justice Act which provides universal jurisdiction for this crime before the English courts.  Michael Polak has been instructed by top private prosecution solicitors Edmonds Marshall McMahon who are acting on behalf of human rights activist Luke de Pulford.

Press reports of this case include:




Michael Polak can be instructed for both international and domestic human rights and criminal cases by contacting Church Court Chambers’ clerking team.  

“Having the Grime of their Lives” WEDNESDAY 5th AUGUST 4.30pm

Church Court Chambers are delighted to announce its second webinar of the summer, following on from the hugely successful “Jury really want to hurt me” our next webinar called “Having the Grime of their Lives: What’s the Matter with Modern Music and Why It Matters in Criminal Law” is via zoom at 4.30pm on Wednesday 5th August.

Please email webinar@churchcourtchambers.co.uk to book your place.

Michael Polak Speaks at World Uyghur Congress Seminar on Human Rights and Huawei

On Friday 29 May 2020 Michael Polak spoke as part of a panel of experts on ‘Huawei’s Role in Mass Surveillance & Repression Against Uyghurs’. This panel discussed the technology used for the mass repression of the Uyghur and other Turkic people in Xinjiang Autonomous Uyghur Region and the legal background in regards to involvement by technology companies in providing and operating such technology. The other members of the panel were Rahima Mahmut, World Uyghur Congress’s London Director and a prominent Uyghur artist, and Dr Aris Georgopoulos, Assistant Professor in European and Public Law at the School of Law of the University of Nottingham and Head of the Research Unit for Strategic and Defence Procurement of the Public Procurement Research Group (PPRG). The recording of this event has been viewed more than 1600 times. 

Michael Polak can be instructed for cases involving human rights and international law for individuals or organisations by contacting the clerks room by email or phone +44 020 7936 3637

Pupillage Applications and COVID-19

Church Court Chambers has currently suspended its Pupillage Application Process due to COVID-19.

All recently submitted applications remain valid and candidates will be notified shortly as to whether or not they have been shortlisted for a first round interview.

Those interviews will be arranged when safe to do so for our Members and applicants.

We thank all applicants for their understanding.

Chambers’ Michael Polak Sets Up “Fuel Our Frontline” to Feed NHS Staff During Coronavirus Crisis

In response to the coronavirus crisis and the numerous reports of frontline NHS staff being unable to find groceries after long and gruelling shifts Michael Polak established Fuel Our Frontline. Fuel Our Frontline (www.fuelourfrontline.co.uk) buys groceries from restaurant wholesalers and delivers them to hospitals where they are distributed to frontline staff. This means that they can return home after their shift with food for themselves and their families.

The Fuel Our Frontline team assembled by Michael is made up of people of a range of backgrounds including NHS staff. This team, which is working entirely voluntarily,  has come together to address this problem and their work an immediate impact in supporting those on the frontline fighting the virus. 

For further information please see the website www.fuelourfrontline.co.uk; email contact@justiceabroad.co.uk

https:/twitter.com/fuelfrontline; Instagram.com/fuelourfrontline

If you would like to donate to this initiative please do so here 


Church Courts Plans Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

With the current outbreak of COVID-19, Church Court Chambers has taken precautions and adopted a new plan to help run the business while ensuring the safety of its employees.

We will be operating 3 staff within chambers and 3 staff working remotely. This operation has been conducted so far for 3 weeks with success.

Church Court Chambers will be running at full capacity and this will have no effect on chambers capabilities.

This new procedure will be under constant review and will change relevant to the guidance of the Government and the Bar Council

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos Successfully Prosecute MH and JP at Bristol Crown Court for Fraud.

MH was a senior manager at Great Western Railway and JP was his personal assistant. Over a seven-year period, they were both involved in fraudulently claiming expenses on alcohol from their employer, GWR, by dishonestly concealing the true nature of these expenses.

MH in particular, was responsible for claiming over £10,000 in expenses, including hotel accommodation for him and his wife (a non-employee of GWR), personal items such as dinner suits, social events at Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club, and also a fraudulently awarded payroll amount to another member of staff.

The case arose from a lengthy investigation which started in 2017 following internal complaints at GWR about the conduct of some of the staff.

Please see below for further news articles.

British Transport Police


Devon Live

Swindon Advertiser

Yasin Patel Represents Athlete at CAS in Anti-Doping Case

Yasin Patel is appearing before the top International Sports Court, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Representing a professional sportsman appealing their ban after an alleged anti-doping rule violation, Yasin will appeal to a distinguished Tribunal to try and get the ban overturned.  

The case has drawn international attention and publicity and is being heard in open proceedings after both sided agreed to do so.  Numerous experts from around the world will be giving evidence during the proceedings. 

News Observer

Washington Post

Young Man Not Guilty of Conspiracy to Murder

A young man charged and tried with Conspiracy to Murder, who represented by Michael Mather-Lees QC and Yasin Patel, was found Not Guilty of the charge and a potential life sentence in prison.

In a case that the Prosecution alleged was an organised crime and with meticulous planning and detailed executing of the plan, the defendant faced a trial that included cell-site, forensic, weaponry and CCTV evidence that resulted in him being the number one defendant.  

A sentence just over 11 years was imposed upon the defendant after he pleaded to a lesser charge.

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Maria Karaiskos successfully Prosecute DC at Birmingham Crown Court for Murder

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Maria Karaiskos successfully prosecute DC at Birmingham Crown Court of Murder before the Recorder of Birmingham. This was a complex case involving an in-depth analysis, understanding and presentation of very technical medical issues. DC stabbed her husband with a 7-inch kitchen knife during a domestic argument when both parties were intoxicated. The knife penetrated the left shoulder area of the deceased and punctured the lung.

One of the key issues at trial was causation of death: was there medical negligence by the hospital; did the deceased aspirate the contents of his stomach prior to being stabbed; did the defendant intend to cause serious injury to her husband when she stabbed him. The prosecution carefully examined over 6 medical experts, including leading cardiothoracic surgeons from London, and proved that there was no medical negligence in the treatment and care of the deceased; that the aspiration of the deceased’s gastric contents was caused by the stab wound and it was this stab wound which led to his fatal decline.

Reported in the national press.


Birmingham Live

ITV News

George Hepburne Scott Succeeds in New High Court Extradition Appeal

On 28 November 2019, George Hepburne Scott appeared before Farbey J on an extradition appeal.  He was appealing an extradition order made by a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. 

Having heard and read legal argument and submissions, Farbey J quashed the order for extradition on Article 8 grounds.

Her ladyship also observed that she would have also quashed the order on s.14 and proportionality grounds.

The case is reported here:


George is a specialist in extradition and has developed a particular expertise in human rights arguments.

Please contact the clerks for more details.

Church Court Chambers are Delighted to Announce that we are Recruiting Two Pupils

Church Court Chambers are Delighted to Announce that we are Recruiting Two Pupils. Those pupillages shall start at the earliest date convenient to the successful applicant and Chambers.

Application is by way of an application form, available from this link which must be received by Chambers by 11.59pm on 14th February 2020. Please email the completed form to: j.sharpling@churchcourtchambers.co.uk

New Authority: Court of Appeal Upholds Competition and Markets Authority Decision in Respect to Online Sales Restrictions

In 2017 the Competition & Markets Authority (“CMA”) found that Ping, a manufacturer of golf clubs, had infringed the prohibition in Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In that regard, Ping had entered into agreements with two UK based retailers containing clauses prohibiting those retailers from selling Ping golf clubs online.  Upon considering the same, the CMA found that Ping had been operating an online sales ban, which was not objectively justified. The CMA imposed a financial penalty of £1.45 million on Ping and directed that it brings the online sales ban to an end, and must not impose the same or equivalent terms on other retailers. Ping duly appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”). In a judgment dated 7 September 2018 ([2018] CAT 13) the CAT upheld the finding that the internet sale policy adopted by Ping amounted to a restriction of competition. The CAT however reduced the penalty imposed to £1.25 million. It should be noted that the CMA had accepted that Ping was pursuing a genuine commercial aim of promoting in-store custom fitting in respect to golf clubs, but found that it could have achieved this through less restrictive means.

On the 21st January 2020, the Court of Appeal handed down Judgement in an appeal from the CAT by Ping (available here: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2020/13.html). The Court rejected Ping’s appeal, and provided a helpful analysis of the European Jurisprudence in this area, assessing competing arguments as to the implications and interpretation of previous case law. The case is being described as a “landmark case” which sends an important signal that attempts by manufacturers to impose absolute bans on selling their products online are unlawful. The maintenance of a prestigious image may, in some situations, justify the restriction of competition arising from the use of a selective distribution system, in particular in relation to luxury goods. Accordingly,  companies may be able to prevent those goods from being sold online by distributors. However, crucially, one must examine the economic and legal context of the operation of any such intended  restriction, before deciding whether it is an object restriction or not and thus permitted. 

As the Chancellor of the High Court observed at para 131 of the Judgement “There are many ways in which Ping’s objective can be substantially fulfilled without imposing a blanket ban on internet sales”. Thus, it appears that the ultimate question a company must ask itself is: “is there another way, other than a prohibition clause, in which we can achieve our objective”. That question should be asked and answered as a matter of urgency, or any restrictive commercial practice, even if arguably well intended, could lead to significant fines and lengthy litigation.

Lewis Power QC & Colin Witcher: Business Crime and Regulatory Group, Church Court Chambers. 

(this case comment does not constitute legal advice).

Pamela Brain Secures an Acquittal in a Child Sexual Exploitation Case.

Pamela Brain secured the only acquittal by the jury in a Child Sexual Exploitation Case in Oxford. The case involved 4 defendants and multiple complainants. It was a complex case involving the expert and sensitive cross examination of complainants and other witnesses. Some of whom were particularly vulnerable witnesses with long standing problems.

There were a variety of challenging legal issues particularly in relation to Bad Character evidence. The trial lasted 3 months and Pamela Brain’s defendant was the only one to be acquitted by the jury.  

Pamela Brain was instructed by Irfan Arif of Ainsley Harris Solicitors.

Kerim Fuad QC and Colin Witcher Secure Another Old Bailey Murder Acquittal

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Chambers, leading Colin Witcher of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Group, today secured the unanimous acquittal of a young man alleged to have been involved in a “brutal and savage” murder. The trial before HHJ Leonard QC at the Central Criminal Court began on the 2nd December 2019 and lasted four weeks. It was alleged that the victim was stabbed repeatedly to death with a large kitchen knife in front of horrified eye-witnesses in retaliation for being on the “territory” of the three defendants having threatened two of them with a knife. Counsel were instructed on behalf of the first defendant. 

It was the defence case that the defendant together with a friend were being robbed by the victim, in an unprovoked incident, when another male emerged from nearby bushes and murdered the victim. It was advanced that there were, in effect, two separate incidents and thus the absence of a joint enterprise. Eye witnesses were skilfully cross-examined to establish a punctuation in time between the initial start of the incident, namely an altercation between the victim and the defendant said to be a robbery, and the end of the incident, when the stabber emerged from a hiding position and brutally attacked the victim.

This was a highly emotive case involving four young males and brought under the spotlight the issue of joint enterprise post Jogee, and the sheer brutality and prevalence of knife crime. 

The stabber was duly convicted of Murder, and shall be sentenced at a later date. The defendant and his friend were acquitted, however in such sad cases there are never any winners. Counsel were instructed by Mahomed Ismail, Director of MFI Law, London. 

This case was another acquittal for Mr Fuad QC marking number eleven of the most recent and sensitive murder cases in which Mr Fuad QC has successfully defended. It is the third consecutive acquittal for Mr Fuad and Mr Witcher when defending together in such cases. 

Please click here for further reading.

Yasin Patel is one of the Main Speakers at International Sports Conference in New Zealand

Yasin Patel will be addressing an International Audience in Hamilton, New Zealand at an International Sports Law Conference.  Speaking on the subject of Disputes and Discipline: advising on contractual disputes with players, sponsors, governing bodies and players representatives, Yasin will speak about the importance of player and club contracts and the effect of contractual disputes and litigation.  

Attended by International sportsmen, lawyers, Judges, administrators, professionals, cricket test internationals and many others, the Conference will look at the many pressing issues in the World of Sports in the forthcoming 12 months. 

Lewis Power QC receives Homecoming Ambassador Medal

Lewis Power QC has been described by the Belfast International Homecoming Committee as “a World renowned barrister”. He was delighted to receive a Belfast Ambassador Award from Prof Raffi Folli.

Mr Power addressed the audience in a heartfelt, emotive speech which was well received at the award ceremony. Mr Power was one of the 3 keynote speakers alongside the newly appointed MP John Finucane Mayor of Belfast and the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Church Court Christmas Opening Times

Please see the following schedule regarding the opening times for Church Court Chambers through the month of December and January.

December 23rd: Normal working day.

December 24th: 9am to 1pm.

December 25th: Closed.

December 26th: Closed.

December 27th: Open 9am to 1pm.

December 30th: Open 9am to 1pm.

December 31st: Open 9am to 1pm.

January 1st: Closed.

January 2nd: Normal working day.

Church Court’s Michael Polak Elected as President of Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association

On the 4th December 2019, Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak was elected as President of the Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association (MTYBA) after serving in a number of roles within the organisation. MTYBA represents barristers of Middle Temple up until 7 years post qualification and arranges professional and educational development events as well as opportunities for members to socialise with their peers and to access opportunities to build relationships with solicitors groups and international groups of lawyers.

Michael Polak stated ‘ I look forward to leading MTYBA in 2020 and building upon the great initiatives put in place by the previous committees. I aim to build lasting relationships with other legal representative groups in the United Kingdom and abroad and to run events which enrich the professional lives of our members, bringing them into contact with inspirational people and helping them to develop important skills to enhance their careers. MTYBA gratefully enjoys the strong support of Middle Temple which has a firm belief in the support and development of young barristers which attracts student members to join the Inn.  I invite our members, and members of groups with whom we might collaborate, to get in touch so that we can do everything possible to make the lives of young barristers at Middle Temple as fruitful as possible.’

Glenn Harris Successfully Defends a Woman Charged with Importing over £20 million Worth of Class A Drugs.

Glenn Harris represented a woman, a foreign national, who was charged with importing approximately £21 million of high purity cocaine and methyl-amphetamine. She was arrested following a National Crime Agency operation.

The defendant denied knowing that the contents of an industrial machine she imported contained the drugs. After a 3 week trial, a jury at Kingston Crown Court acquitted the defendant within 2 hours.

A ‘Law Check’ of Conservative Party HQ’s Fake Twitter ‘Fact Check’

For even the most dyed in the wool Conservative voter, Conservative Central Headquarters’ decision to rename their twitter account as factcheckUK during Monday night’s leadership debates would have appeared unedifying.

Michael Polak  and Colin Witcher explore, in their article, the impact of CCH’s decision to rename their twitter account to factcheckUK and the potential this has to mislead the public and how this can be deemed to go beyond party lines.

Please click the following link to view the article: A ‘Law Check’ of Conservative Party HQ’s Fake Twitter ‘Fact Check’

Changes in Practice Statement now Authorises Tribunal Caseworkers First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) to Carry out Functions of a Judicial Nature

A note from Islam Khan; new changes in the “Practice Statement” now give all tribunal caseworkers, working in tribunal cases, a larger proportion of administrative powers rather than the judges.

To read the full Practice Statement from The Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Ryder, please follow the link below

Practice Statement IAC

Colin Witcher Enjoys Back-to-Back Court of Appeal Success.

Colin Witcher, instructed by Lawtons Solictors, appeared successfully before the Court of Appeal in respect to an appeal against sentence. The defendant, a former accounts’ manager had been sentenced for theft following a late change of plea, having previously faced a fraud trial. Colin succesfully argued that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive; the Court reduced the starting point adopted by the sentencing judge by 12 months. Colin was commended for the quality of his written work and his brevity in oral submissions before the Court.

That appeal followed a successful unrelated appeal against conviction. Colin was instructed on behalf of the Appellant in a case where it was discovered, by fresh evidence, that the drugs within his possession were a legal mix of caffeine and paracetamol, and not heroin as thought by the Appellant who was by his own admission a runner. The case highlights the potential dangers of relying upon field testing by the police when advising clients. To that end, it transpires that if legal drugs have been wrapped in clingfilm which has previously been into contact with an illegal substance, a false positive reading may result at the field test stage irrespective of the contents of the wrap.

The Court of Appeal were minded in all the circumstances to substitute the offence of possession with intent to supply for an attempted act of supply. Thereafter the Court were persuaded by submissions described as “admirably concise” and “made with force” to revisit the sentence. The Court were minded to go further than to simply make a deduction to reflect an attempt, but to revisit the corrrect sentence for the appellant based on role in the light of the fresh evidence. Colin was instructed by Bennett and Co, Solicitors.

Colin Witcher is a member of Chambers’ Criminal Appeal Group.

Kerim Fuad QC Instructed in yet Another High Profile Case Dubbed the “Midsomer Murder”

Kerim Fuad QC, head of Church Court chambers, leads Paul Webb of chambers in the representation of a man who is alleged to have broken into a Waterside house in Bosham, West Sussex late at night in December 2013 with a claw hammer. He is alleged to have used the hammer to attack and kill a grandmother who was house sitting. The injuries in particular to her head are described as “extreme and akin to those seen in a road traffic accident.”

He then fled to Dej, Romania from where he was extradited under a European Arrest Warrant 6 years later. 

The case led to the most extensive police investigation in Sussex history. 9,000 people were interviewed and over 3,000 DNA samples were taken in a police hunt for her killer.

The evidence is he confessed  to his ex partner and his dna was found on the bloodied hammer discarded at the scene.

They are instructed by Sef Mani of Bark and Co Solicitors.

Please see below for related news articles.



Daily Mail

Mike Fullerton Recovers Substantial Damages for the Claimants in an Action of Nuisance

Mike Fullerton recovered substantial damages for the Claimants in an action of Nuisance including a 30% Diminution in Value of Claimants’ property at the Brighton County Court. The claim also recovered significant additional damages for Cost of Moving to an Equivalent Value Property, Personal Injury, Trespass and Aggravated Damages. The Part 36 Offer was successful in securing Indemnity Costs including an Additional Amount under Part 36.17(4)(d).

Applications by the Defendant for permission to appeal both the Assessment of Damages and Award of Indemnity Costs were dismissed by the High Court as being wholly without merit. The case is Faull v Bradley. See article “Neighbour from Hell” for further details of claim and awards.

Islam Khan Successfully Resists an Arguable and Well Prepared Strike Out Claim and Deposit Order

Islam Khan acted pro bono for a vulnerable employee in relation to a constructive dismissal claim against a large elderly care organisation in East London. The hearing was listed at the East London Employment Tribunal on 4.11.19. Other issues are whistle blowing and religious harassment.

The issue was whether the claimant had a real prospect of arguing effective resignation leading to constructive dismissal on the date she claimed, having had a number of inconsistencies, of her resignation date. 

Liam Loughlin Secures Acquittal In Relation to the Supply of 10 Kilos of Cocaine

Liam represented H at trial at Basildon Crown Court in relation to the possession with intent to supply of import quality cocaine with a street value of circa £1 million.

Liam’s client had been under observation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and was alleged to be part of an Organised Criminal Network (OCN) involved in the supply of large quantities of Class A drugs.

Mr H was observed handing over 5 kilos of cocaine by undercover officers from the NCA.  Upon arrest a further kilo of cocaine was found under the seat of H’s car in addition to another five kilos found at the defendant’s address along with cash and imitation firearms.

Liam successfully ran duress at trial, satisfying the evidential burden (unusually placed upon the defence in such cases) and persuaded the jury that the defendant had most likely been the victim of threats of unlawful violence and coercion.

H was acquitted.  His co-defendant, who had been receiving five kilos of cocaine from H at the time of arrest, was convicted by the unanimous verdict of the jury and received seven years imprisonment.

Liam was instructed by Shofna Begum of Stewart Begum Solicitors.  

Yasin Patel gets Acquittals in Serious Cases Including Grenfell Tower like Arson

Continuing the chambers trend of representing vulnerable clients facing the gravest and most serious charges, Yasin Patel obtained acquittals for clients facing charges in arson and Section 18 cases.

In the first case, Yasin’s client was accused of attempting arson in a block of flats which could have led to Grenfell Tower like results.  Due to the Fire brigade’s quick response, a tragedy was avoided.  Yasin’s client was acquitted of all charges.

In the second case, a client who was charged with others on serious violence matters walked away from court whilst his co-defendants were sentenced to imprisonment. 

Chambers are Delighted to Welcome Amy Hazlewood as a Tenant.

Church Court Chambers is delighted to announce that Amy Hazlewood has been offered tenancy with immediate effect.

She enjoyed a successful and busy pupillage with chambers culminating in her tenancy.

Kerim Fuad QC Head of Chambers says:

“Amy mixes hard work, passion for the law with with a down to earth, very approachable and friendly manner. She will have a fine career at the Bar.”

Kerim Fuad QC Returns After a Successful Week in Cyprus With Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Founder of EasyJet).

Kerim Fuad QC is proud to be advising Sir Stelios and his wonderful Philanthropic Foundation, on this occasion in Nicosia, Cyprus.

He was engaged in a series of meetings and think tanks with both communities in a bid to further the fantastic work of the Foundation. He enjoyed again meeting with and being impressed with the work of Elizabeth Spehar, Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

The aim is to maintain and inspire more bi-communal relationships and events culminating in lasting peace and prosperity for all Cypriots. Mr Fuad QC spoke passionately at the press conference about the need to “not allow politics to suffocate the island” and that its citizens have so very much in common that already unite them, not least; their ability to make friends and communicate naturally, their love of food, family life, wellbeing, the sun, and the desire for a settlement. (To say nothing of their shared poor driving.)

The reception at the Foundation was incredibly well attended which shows the depth of the two communities’ enthusiasm.

He is very proud to work so closely with Marios Eliades (of Eliades and Partners) and Peter Millett, former British High Commissioner of Cyprus. The work  

Mr Fuad QC was touched, but not surprised at all, by the incredibly warm welcome of all the Cypriot people.

City Insurance Broker Represented by Lewis Power QC Cleared of s18

A city insurance broker, who was represented by Lewis Power QC, has had his s18 charge dismissed at Inner London Crown Court this week. The conflict in this case stemmed from sexual comments made to the Defendant’s daughter by a colleague and resulted in the Defendant lashing out when he thought that he was under attack. The Defendant managed to avoid a custodial sentence because of the result in this case receiving only a community penalty for other offence to which he had pleaded earlier after mitigation was submitted by Mr Power QC.

Press about the incident can be found here Daily Mail


Chambers are delighted to announce the arrival of Mark Harper QC

Church Court Chambers is delighted to welcome Mark Harper QC as a Door Tenant at Chambers joining our Commercial and Business Group. Mark has been involved in some of the largest and most high profile cases to be heard in the Chancery and Mercantile Courts outside of London including his representation of Wayne Rooney in his successful restraint of trade challenge to this Image Rights Representation Agreement and his representation of Sir Bradley Wiggins in defending the claims brought by his former management company following his termination of their retainer. His areas of specialism are Banking & Finance, Civil Fraud, Commercial Litigation, Company, Insolvency, Partnership, Professional Negligence and Sport.

He has been described as the “complete all-rounder” being equally adept at all aspects of the role of the advocate coupled with tactical and strategic acumen and an affable and approachable personality that commends him to his peers, solicitors and clients alike.

Mark has been consistently ranked in Chambers and Partner and Legal 500 for some years.

Mark remains a tenant at Kings Chambers (Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham). He joins Church Court Chambers as his London base.

Michael Polak Speaks on Expert Panel about Bangladesh Human Rights hosted at the House of Lords

On 24 April 2018, Michael Polak, a member of Church Court Chambers who has experience in human rights and international law, was part of a panel discussion arranged by Voice for Bangladesh and hosted by Lord Stunnel OBE at the House of Lords.
Michael spoke about his client, Ahmad Bin Quasem, a Bangladeshi barrister disappeared by the Bangladeshi authorities in 2016, and the fact that this case was unfortunately not unique, given that over 400 people have been disappeared between 2009-2016. Enforced disappearances, Michael explained, can amount to a crime against humanity when committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack, and is one of a range of serious breaches of domestic and international law provisions being carried out in Bangladesh at this time.
Joining Michael on the panel were members of the Lords, MPs, human rights experts, and activists.
Michael Polak is available to be instructed in International Law areas including human rights cases by contacting the clerks: clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com  Tel: +44 020 7936 3637

Robert Newcombe Completes Complex Multi-handed Drugs Conspiracy where Police Utilized Services of Convicted Child Rapist as Informant XY

Robert Newcombe, barrister at Church Court Chambers, represented a defendant in Operation Emerald, (5 handed conspiracies to supply class A drugs). Two co-accused in this complex drugs conspiracy were also defendants in Operation Shelter.

A combined hearing for defendants of both operations took place before HHJ Moreland to determine whether the use by the police of a CHIS (Covert Human Intelligence Source) known as XY amounted to an abuse of the court process by bringing the administration of justice into disrepute. The hearing lasted for 4 weeks in the autumn of 2016. There were numerous complex issues for all parties to make submissions upon.

XY gave evidence and was cross-examined by Mr Newcombe (as leading junior counsel) and many other counsel in a court closed to the public (but with members of the press in attendance). The learned judge ruled in favour of the Crown. The trial of Operation Emerald then took place in the Spring of 2017 and resulted in a conviction and 15 year sentence for Mr Newcombe’s client.





Robert Newcombe Completes Complex Multi-handed Drugs Conspiracy where Police Utilized Services of Convicted Child Rapist as Informant XY

Robert Newcombe, barrister at Church Court Chambers, represented a defendant in Operation Emerald, (5 handed conspiracies to supply class A drugs). Two co-accused in this complex drugs conspiracy were also defendants in Operation Shelter.

A combined hearing for defendants of both operations took place before HHJ Moreland to determine whether the use by the police of a CHIS (Covert Human Intelligence Source) known as XY amounted to an abuse of the court process by bringing the administration of justice into disrepute. The hearing lasted for 4 weeks in the autumn of 2016. There were numerous complex issues for all parties to make submissions upon.

XY gave evidence and was cross-examined by Mr Newcombe (as leading junior counsel) and many other counsel in a court closed to the public (but with members of the press in attendance). The learned judge ruled in favour of the Crown. The trial of Operation Emerald then took place in the Spring of 2017 and resulted in a conviction and 15 year sentence for Mr Newcombe’s client.









Chambers Welcome Three New Tenants

Church Court Chambers are delighted to welcome Patrick Canessa, Yasin Patel and Alex Tinsley.

Patrick Canessa joins our crime, international and military law teams and brings a wealth of experience from his continuing practice in Gibraltar .

Yasin Patel brings a wealth of experience in serious crime, sports, extradition and regulatory law.

Alex Tinsley joins following a successful pupillage with Chambers.  Alex joins our crime, extradition, international and immigration teams and is a recognised expert in Interpol matters.


Success for Pamela Brain

On the 7th April 2017 after a trial which lasted 5 days during which 2 complainants alleged extremely serious sexual misconduct against the defendant (a man aged 48 and of good character) the jury found the defendant not guilty of all counts on the indictment.

The trial required extremely able and sensitive cross examination of both complainants in a case that was fraught emotion because of the gravity of the case.

Pamela Brain was instructed by Paul Watson of Paul J Watson Solicitors. An award winning solicitor who has recently been honoured for his pro bono work by The Law Society.


Shortlist ( )

Criminal Law

Business Crime


Immigration Law

Regulatory and Disciplinary Law

Sports Law