Hamish is a very impressive advocate, comfortable with complex cases and displays a depth of preparation that inspires confidence in clients and persuades judges and juries alike.

Overview

Hamish McCallum specialises in Protest Rights, Inquests & Public Inquiries, and Public Law. He has extensive experience acting on behalf of protestors, bereaved families and in actions against the government and state bodies.

Hamish is currently instructed on behalf of CBFFJ-UK in the Covid 19 Public Inquiry, recently acted (unled) in a six-week jury inquest concerning a police shooting, and is defending in several high-profile protest-related trials in the Crown Courts.

Before coming to the bar, Hamish worked in inquests, inquiries and judicial review at Hickman & Rose Solicitors. He was also part of the team representing the bereaved, survivors and residents in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Hamish previously had a successful career in politics, during which he was a senior adviser to a Member of Parliament and was elected as a local councillor. He is particularly passionate about human rights, civil liberties and environmental issues.

Crime and Protest Rights

Criminal defence and protest rights is an important area of Hamish’s multi-disciplinary practice.

Hamish accepts instructions nationwide and defends in the full spectrum of criminal cases (including murder, serious assault, fraud, drug supply and theft offences) as well as specialising in protest-related trials.

Hamish has an established record of success in the Crown Court, Youth Courts and Magistrates’ Courts. He has also advised in anticipated appeals to the Court of Appeal and High Court (including two proposed appeals by way of case stated, which were abandoned by the CPS following Hamish’s written representations).

Hamish also accepts instructions to advise pre-charge and has drafted representations which have led to out of court disposals and to proceedings being discontinued.

Protest Rights

Hamish has considerable experience defending the rights of protestors in the criminal courts, having secured acquittals in dozens of Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court trials and achieved favourable outcomes for hundreds of clients.

He is adept at dealing with legal argument and evidential issues across the full range of public order and protest-related offences, including Public Nuisance, Criminal Damage, Highway Obstruction, Aggravated Trespass, Public Order Act offences, and Theft Act offences committed in the course of protest.

Hamish has also represented protest clients in contempt proceedings and has advised in two anticipated High Court appeals, which were abandoned by the CPS following Hamish’s successful written representations.

Hamish welcomes instructions nationwide on behalf of protestors. He also welcomes instructions in contempt proceedings and public law challenges related to the policing of protests or the imposition of injunctions.

Notable Cases:

R v GS: Hamish represented the first defendant to be tried in the Crown Court for low value criminal damage following s.50 PCSC Act 2022 (damage to memorials) after ketchup was thrown at a statue in Parliament. Trial involved lengthy legal argument around Article 10/11 ECHR and lawful excuse. The jury unanimously acquitted both defendants.

R v ES: Successfully defended an animal rights activist charged with conspiracy to steal animals. They were charged following an investigation by counter terrorism police into a group linked with the Animal Liberation Front. The protestor was acquitted after five-week Crown Court trial involving extensive legal argument on law of conspiracy.

R v SS: Secured acquittal for a protestor who caused significant damage to the building of a company which supplied the cladding used on Grenfell Tower and which manufactures parts for warplanes used by the Israeli military. The protestor was acquitted of Criminal Damage on the basis that he had a lawful excuse, acted to protect property and/or in necessity to save lives.

Insulate Britain: Instructed to defend in several public nuisance and highway obstruction trials arising from Insulate Britain’s 2021 protests on the M25 and City of London. Recent acquittal in R v Carter & others (published) following a successful argument to exclude evidence from National Highways.

Extinction Rebellion: Acted for numerous XR protestors in trials for obstruction of the highway, aggravated trespass and failing to comply with conditions under the Public Order Act.

Palestine Action: Ongoing instructions in several high-value criminal damage trials concerning protests at arms factories and associated premises. Cases invariably involve lengthy legal argument as to availability of defences and expert evidence.

R v CF: Secured acquittal following six-day jury trial for two counts of assault of an emergency worker (police officers) at a protest during covid restrictions. Forensic cross-examination showed officers to have exaggerated or lied about the assaults.

R v SA: Acted for defendant facing contempt of court proceedings related to conduct during an Insulate Britain trial at Inner London Crown Court. Hamish successfully persuaded the judge to impose no sanction.

R v FZ: Successfully defended anti-HS2 protestor charged with aggravated trespass following a 48-hour occupation of a crane within the Euston Station HS2 site.

Forge Farm 10: Successfully defended in a five-day trial for aggravated trespass concerning the occupation of an abattoir. Acquitted on the basis of a prevention of crime defence raising issues of animal welfare offences.

Arla Dairy 8: Secured acquittal on the basis of an ECHR Articles 10/11 defence for obstruction of the highway (linked trial with that appealed in DPP v Bailey [2022] EWHC).

Camp Beagle 5: Single counsel for all five defendants charged under s.14 Public Order Act, secured acquittals having successfully argued that the policing of the protest was itself unlawful, thus rendering the conditions imposed unenforceable.

HS2 (Wendover Tunnels 5): Effective plea in mitigation secured conditional discharges following guilty pleas to aggravated trespass arising from an HS2 ‘tunnelling’ protest which caused an estimated £3m loss to HS2 and two-month delay to construction work.

Inquests & public inquiries

Hamish has a growing practice in inquests and public inquiries, having been instructed for the families of the deceased in several recent inquests concerning police and mental health related deaths.

In 2022, Hamish acted (unled) for the partner and children of Yassar Yaqub, who was fatally shot by a covert police officer (V39) following a ‘hard stop’ on a slip road off the M62. Hamish was instructed pro bono in the six-week jury inquest before the Recorder of Leeds (sitting as a coroner) and to advise in relation to a civil action.

Before coming to the bar, Hamish worked in inquests and public inquiries at Hickman & Rose Solicitors where he acted for the bereaved in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and various inquests, including police related deaths and the high-profile death of Emiliano Sala (professional footballer who died in a plane crash in 2019).

Notable Cases:
Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Seconded counsel to the legal team acting for the bereaved, survivors and residents during Phase 2 of the Inquiry, with particular focus on the failures of the multi-agency approach in the aftermath of the fire.

Re Yassar Yaqub: Six-week jury inquest concerning a police shooting in 2017. Acted pro bono for the partner of the deceased and his children, instructed by Hudgell Solicitors.

Re AW: Represented mother of deceased care leaver who committed suicide following considerable mental health difficulties and extensive contact with local NHS services.

Re KM: Acted pro bono at preliminary stage to make Article 2 representations at inquest concerning mental health death following extensive contact with both NHS and police.

Public law

Hamish is actively developing a practice in public law and human rights. He has advised in proposed actions against the police (AAP) and has represented clients in education challenges and in social welfare appeals.

Hamish has experience of judicial review and has been instructed to draft letters before action for his clients.

Hamish’s political experience makes him well suited to cases challenging decisions of both local and national government, as well as other state bodies.

Human rights

Hamish is actively developing a practice in public law and human rights. He has advised in proposed actions against the police (AAP) and has represented clients in education challenges and in social welfare appeals.

Hamish has experience of judicial review and has been instructed to draft letters before action for his clients.

Hamish’s political experience makes him well suited to cases challenging decisions of both local and national government, as well as other state bodies.

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