Clare is an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defence practitioner


Clare specialises in all aspects of criminal law together with inquests and prison law. Her wealth of knowledge and experience in these areas has been gained not only in practice, but also when Clare taught criminal law, public law and tortious liability of public authorities at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She gained a D.Phil for her thesis regarding sentencing policy, theory and practice.



Criminal defence & appeals


Clare’s criminal practice encompasses all aspects of serious allegations from large-scale fraud and serious sexual offences to armed robbery, importation and supply of Class A drugs and murder. Clare’s approachable and empathetic manner has seen her repeatedly instructed to represent vulnerable individuals with a myriad of psychological and mental health difficulties. She has considerable experience in communicating with and advising individuals who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Clare has gained enormous experience in the use of intermediaries and other special measures during court proceedings, including the cross-examination of young and vulnerable individuals. As a result of this, Clare has developed particular knowledge and expertise in the areas of fitness to plead, insanity and disposals under the Mental Health Act 1983 (including the use of so-called Hybrid Orders). Clare also has experience in the area of individuals who have been trafficked and the NRM process.

Clare does not shy away from complex legal arguments; she has successfully applied to dismiss charges of manslaughter and attempted murder brought against a member of the armed forces. Clare successfully argued that the prosecution of an individual for public nuisance was an abuse of process when the statutory offence of aggravated trespass would have amply reflected the behaviour (demonstration on the Manchester Wheel). Further, she has successfully applied to exclude hearsay in circumstances where this formed the basis of the Crown’s case; successfully applied to sever Indictments in cases where anything less would have been prejudicial to her lay client and; successfully applied for stays of proceedings where it was submitted that to continue the case would have been an abuse of process. Clare’s approach to each of her cases is to ascertain whether matters can be resolved by way of legal argument prior to trial.

Clare has appeared before the Court of Appeal on numerous occasions, both for appeals against conviction and against sentence. She has also successfully responded to the Attorney General’s application to review the sentence of a vulnerable individual in respect of serious sexual offences. Clare’s knowledge of and interest in sentencing law means that she is particularly equipped to deal with any matters relating to sentence.

Inquests & public inquiries

Clare is instructed to represent bereaved families during inquests. She has experience representing those whose relatives have died in custody or otherwise in the care of the state. Clare’s experience of police and criminal law has enabled her to consider the wider issues that arise in such cases.

Prison law

Clare is frequently instructed to represent and advise upon prison law matters. The same encompasses everything from representation at Parole Board hearings through to advice regarding judicial review.

Public law (judicial review)

Clare is experienced in pursuing prison law related judicial reviews.

Notable cases

  • R v LW (2018) defence of historic sexual offences when D was a child; D suffered from complex psychological needs.
  • R v AE (2018) defence of vulnerable individual accused of child sexual offences. Intermediary for client and witnesses.
  • R v AG (2018) defence of large scale armed robbery conspiracy.
  • R v NA (2017) successful defence of historic rape allegations.
  • R v AA (2017) multi handed fraud, client received considerably shorter sentence than the co-defendants following Clare’s submissions.
  • R v PY (2016) defence of historic rape and sexual offence allegations; 16 complainants reduced to 10 complainants following successful applications to dismiss and hearsay arguments.
  • R v JP (2016) Court of Appeal (Lord Chief Justice) guidance on IPP sentences and fresh appeals – R v Mark Roberts and Others [2016] EWCA Crim 71.
  • R v DLF (2015) successful application for case to be stayed for abuse of process. The client had climbed the Manchester Wheel and had been prosecuted for public nuisance.
  • R v GR (2015) successful application regarding disclosure resulted in the offering of no evidence regarding multi-complainant allegations of abuse.
  • R V MG (2013)  murder; diminished responsibility defence which later went before the CACD and the SC regarding the definition of “substantial impairment.”
  • R v M. AB (2013) Defence of a vulnerable individual accused of rape of his partner. The case involved the question as to whether belief in consent could be reasonable in circumstances where the complainant had acquiesced in the face of the defendant’s unusual behaviour caused by his mental illness.
  • R v SM (2013) Defendant accused of murder; the Crown did not accept his plea to manslaughter. Acquitted of murder (led).
  • R v DH & Others (2013) Acted for first defendant in 12-handed conspiracy to supply £53 million of cannabis.
  • R v SA (2012)  Defendant (32 year old foreign lawyer) accused of stranger rape of a child. Acquitted.
  • R v DE (2009 to 2012) Represented a vulnerable then- 15 year old male in respect of attempted murder of his identical twin brother. These were exceptionally protracted proceedings; both brothers suffered a serious neurological condition and linked learning/behavioural difficulties. He was deemed unfit to plead and of exceptionally low IQ by 8 experts. Following a trial of issue, the matter was further complicated by further expert evidence to the effect that although the Defendant suffered from a mental illness within the meaning of the MHA 1983 as amended, there was a question mark over whether this could be treated. During the course of an interim hospital order, the then-treating psychiatrist suggested that the Defendant had become fit to plead. This led to further expert evidence being adduced and tested before the court before finally it was concluded that the defendant remained unfit to plead and a hospital order was imposed.
  • R v AS (2011): Successful application to dismiss a charge of attempted murder against a former soldier who suffered PTSD;
  • R v BP (2011): Successfully represented a young male with learning difficulties accused of sexually assaulting a child;
  • R v TL (2010): Led, represented at trial a vulnerable female jointly accused (along with her partner and his friend) of murdering her neighbour. Acquitted;
  • R v L NH (2010): Successfully responded to Attorney-General’s Reference regarding sentence imposed upon a vulnerable male in respect of sexual offences;
  • R v GH (2010): Successfully defended at trial a male with learning difficulties accused of rape;
  • R v DF (2010): Successfully defended at trial a juvenile accused of raping a much younger family friend;
  • R v MO (2010): Successfully defended a custody sergeant accused of s.18 upon a detainee in custody;
  • R v DN (2009): Successfully defended a custody sergeant accused of s.18 upon a detainee in custody;
  • R v LB (2009): Successfully defended a foreign national female accused of importation of significant quantities of cocaine;
  • R v SD (2009): Represented a foreign national lorry driver accused of importation of cannabis and cocaine. Following submissions and a s.8 application for want of disclosure, the case was dismissed; and
  • R v JM (2008): Acted for first defendant in respect of importation of 150kg of heroin.

Privacy Notice

Clare’s Privacy Notice may be viewed by clicking here.


I first came across Clare at a training event when she delivered an excellent lecture to fellow professionals. I was impressed with both her delivery, confidence and knowledge. I have since asked her to represent a significant number of my clients charged with a range of offences from sexual offences through to complex conspiracies. I have no hesitation in saying that she is without a doubt one of the best barristers in Manchester. She has a light touch with clients but when it comes to working on cases, particularly complex legal argument, her attention to detail and hard work is very evident. She has the respect of the judiciary as well as other professionals but remains very unassuming and self-deprecating. I would recommend her without hesitation.Helen Richardson, RH Law
Clare is an outstanding criminal defence lawyer. Case preparation is thorough and robust. Advice always provided to a very high standard. No stone left unturned. Highly skilled and very competent advocate.Helen White, Howells


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