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Birds Solicitors specialises in criminal defence work and deals with general crime, serious fraud and a large amount of appellate work and CCRC applications.

The firm: Birds was founded in October 2000 and is predominantly a criminal defence practice with experience in large complex cases involving fraud and appellate cases. It has grown from a starting point of seven staff to 20 solicitors at present.

The firm has a large general crime department dealing with crime at all levels of severity, from motoring offences to murder, and is on the local duty solicitors scheme. Its regulatory work has expanded in recent years and includes advising in relation to the Libor and Forex rigging investigations. It established a prison law department and is developing in sports law, specifically in relation to disciplinary hearings and contractual advice.

The firm has represented clients prosecuted by all of the main agencies including the FCA and SFO, and its fraud experience stretches back beyond the start of the firm for over 20 years. The firm is often instructed in POCA confiscation and restraint proceedings in complex cases where it is not always instructed at trial, and this is a particular expertise of the firm.

Birds is prominent on the local duty solicitors scheme, regularly appearing at Magistrates' and Crown Courts in London. The firm has an experienced team of higher courts advocates and has been involved in a number of high-profile criminal cases over the years. The appeals department is well known and Birds has firmly established itself as the UK's leading law firm in defending victims of human trafficking who have been forced into criminality. The firm also has an expanding prison law department representing those serving sentences or on remand in relation to adjudications, parole hearings and other such matters.

The firm's client base is nationwide and includes a large amount of protest work. Birds is the firm of choice for most animal rights protestors, particularly anti-vivisection, anti-fur and protests against the cull of badgers. The firm has also acted in anti-Nazi demonstrations cases, environmental protests and was the lead firm involved in representing those arrested at the closure of the Dale Farm travellers site. Birds attracts referrals in serious crime and fraud matters from City firms and many barristers chambers. The firm is establishing itself in sports law, representating professional sportsmen, in particular footballers, in relation to disciplinary and contract advice. The firm has also represented and advised families in inquests concerning deaths in custody, at the hands of police or in other circumstances which raise issues of public importance.

Types of work undertaken:Fraud and regulatory investigations: the firm's clients in cases of fraud and dishonesty are often professional people who are not familiar with the criminal justice system. The firm does its best to ensure that clients are kept fully informed of the progress of their case throughout the often lengthy procedure, and that their case receives the level of attention it requires at all times. Any serious fraud case will be handled by a senior solicitor. Most serious fraud cases require work from other members of staff, working as a team under the supervision of the senior solicitor, to ensure that the case is fully and thoroughly prepared for trial. Examples of the types of fraud cases in which the firm has acted include: insider dealing; VAT 'missing trader' frauds; boiler room frauds involving the sale of shares or other commodities such as diamonds; land banking; money laundering cases; frauds by solicitor clients; corruption and bribery cases; and regulatory investigations.

Serious crime: serious cases are often complex legally, factually and in relation to the amount of documentation produced. Birds Solicitors is experienced in marshalling large volumes of material and will often make papers available to its clients in electronic format. The firm has considerable experience in running what the Legal Aid Agency calls 'very high cost cases' which are administered by its Complex Cases Unit. Any serious case will be allocated to a senior solicitor to supervise. Usually that solicitor will actively work on the case on a daily basis, but is likely to be assisted by other staff who will be carrying out specific tasks as requested by the supervising solicitor.

  • Number of UK partners: 2
  • Number of other UK fee-earners: 19
  • Breakdown of work %

  • Fraud: 25
  • Regulatory: 7.5
  • Appeals: 15
  • General crime: 45
  • Prison law: 5
  • Sports law: 2.5

Above material supplied by Birds Solicitors.

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