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Bobbetts Mackan  is praised for its ‘very professional, but friendly and helpful approach’. It is increasingly instructed on offences involving allegations and charges of serious sexual abuse, rape and historical sexual abuse. It also now has a contract to undertake prison law and represents clients nationally in parole board hearings. The firm has recently been involved in high-profile local cases such as a double attempted murder. It also acts in cases against the police and other public bodies. Practice head Giles Tippett ‘handles a heavy crime case load with confidence and professionalism’. Senior partner Tony Miles is noted for his ‘outstanding client-care’ and is ‘conscientious and tactically very astute in all areas of crime’.

Ashfords LLP's team prosecutes and defends cases, and has extensive experience of road traffic offences, in particular dealing with speeding, drink driving and cases involving death or injury caused by dangerous driving.  Jeremy Asher heads the team and works closely with the dispute resolution team, and also investigators and the police to ensure convictions are secured. Recent work includes representing CC Construction in a dispute after carrying out noisy building work at the home of Robbie Williams, in contravention of a notice imposed by the local authority. The fine, which had the potential to be unlimited, was settled at £3000 after a guilty plea.

DAC Beachcroft LLP specialises in defending drivers involved in serious and fatal road traffic collisions resulting in police investigations and criminal proceedings. It is instructed by major insurance companies across the UK such as Aviva, NFUM, AXA, Zurich and also logistics companies such as Knights of Old, Gist and Yusen Logistics. The team is ‘utterly professional, thorough, engaged and caring in its approach to its work’. Partner Lili Oliver, who is ‘razor sharp in this area’ and is ‘not afraid to stand up to investigating authorities’, leads the team and regularly represents drivers at PACE interviews. Recent cases include a fatal road traffic collision that occurred on the M6 where the defendant was charged with 5 counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of serious injury by dangerous driving. The firm has a 24-hour national helpline which is open to drivers requiring representation at police stations and also instructs highly-regarded independent expert witnesses.  

Kelcey and Hall  specialises in criminal defence in relation to all areas of crimes including sexual crime, drug-related crime, youth crime, violent crime and also regularly handles high-profile murder cases. It also covers the full range of motoring offences as well as computer and internet related crimes including advising those investigated in relation to Computer Misuse Act offences. Its case preparation is ‘meticulous and great care is taken in instructing counsel’. Senior partner Ian Kelcey is ‘a larger-than-life solicitor with boundless energy’ and is ‘an impressive advocate and is completely focused on achieving the best possible results for his clients’. The team handles representation from the police station through to Magistrates Court and also the Youth Court and Court of Appeal. Recent cases include defending a client against a high-profile prosecution from the Environment Agency in which the client was acquitted in all but two of the charges and received a suspended sentence and also defending

Mowbray Woodwards Solicitors  (‘a very solid, reliable criminal firm that cares about its clients’) regularly defends clients in cases concerning motoring offences, sexual offences and drug-related crime. It also handles firearms licensing work and regulatory crime, as well as having extensive experience in dealing with sexual crimes in relation to children and indecent images cases. Team head and partner Matthew Graham deals with all types of criminal cases, he has specific experience in matters of sexual offences, internet crime and also in representing people with mental health issues. He is ‘a good lawyer and also persistent in his desire for a good outcome.’ Recent cases include securing the acquittal of a teacher accused of sexually assaulting a pupil at a private school, and representing 16 vulnerable defendants in a county lines drug-running operation where many were given suspended sentences or rehabilitation orders.

Reeds Solicitors  is a growing firm that specialises in criminal defence and prison law, and which recently launched specialist teams dealing with private actions against the police, military, corporate crime and regulatory law. It also deals with sexual offences, violent crimes, drug-related crimes and fraud. The firm is ‘exceptional in its approach to the tough world of criminal legal aid work’. Director and solicitor-advocate Stephen Clifford heads the team, he is supported by solicitor-advocate Andy Lee who provides round-the-clock representation at the police station as well as at the Magistrates Court and Crown Court. Recent cases include defending a client arrested under Operation Scottsdale and charged with conspiracy to keep and manage brothels; the client was given a non-custodial sentence. In another key matter, the practice represented a vulnerable woman charged with assisting an offender linked to murder; she was acquitted of all charges.

Sansbury Douglas specialises in criminal defence work, with areas of expertise covering violent crime, murder/manslaughter, drug-related offences, terrorism, sexual offences and regulatory crimes. the team handles representations at police stations and its Youth Court advocates have strong connections with youth justice agencies. Another area of work is prison law where it represents prisoners at adjudications and also in licence recall, parole hearings and release on license. The firm also deals with issues in relation to motoring offences and has acted in cases involving dangerous driving, drink and drug impaired driving, and disqualified driving.

Stone King LLP  specialises in regulatory breaches; clients include schools, care homes and businesses. It deals with sexual offences, motoring offences, fraud and other regulatory work in areas such as environmental prosecutions and the road transport sector. It has also recently introduced a specialist health and safety sub-team. Head of department Andrew Banks, who has over 20 years' experience and is a higher courts advocate, is ‘courteous, knowledgeable, polite and helpful’. He advocates in the Magistrates Court and Crown Court and conducts private prosecutions, criminal defence, civil proceedings, criminal proceedings, standalone POCA applications and disciplinary proceedings before the Traffic Commissioner. He has prepared cases for Courts Martial and also prepared numerous complex cases of murder for trial. Recent cases include a number of sexual offences which have led to Crown Court trials and also being instructed by an insurer with regards to a coach driver accused of dangerous driving.

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