Chris is a barristercalled to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 2005, and In-House Counsel at Bird and Co, based in Newark. Chris became a Member of Bird and Co Solicitors LLP as an equity partner on 1 July 2014.

Chris practices both criminal and civil law, and has experience of appearing before almost all of the Courts of England and Wales. He was awarded his Red Bag for exceptional advocacy by Tim Spencer QC in 2011.

Chris takes the lead on Business Development at the firm, and is responsible for web design and the project management of our conveyancing team. In addition Chris has numerous clients across Asia and the Far East, whom he advises primarily in respect of property transactions.

Chris has dealt with cases before the Crown Court and the High Court, as well as the Magistrates’, Youth, and County Courts nationwide. Chris has also appeared in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (before five Supreme Court Justices), the Court of Appeal and before numerous tribunals (SENDIST, Employment Tribunals, the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, and before local authority licensing committees). Chris appears particularly regularly at the Nottingham and Lincoln Crown Courts.

In the course of his professional practice Chris has dealt with all levels of crime, up to and including murder and serious sexual offences, and has dealt with all aspects of civil law from multi-million pound commercial contract disputes, to contested wills, judicial review, employment cases, personal injury and road traffic accidents.

After qualifying in 2006, Chris practised at the Bar from Chambers in Leicester, until leaving in 2009 to spend a year working in London in the Government Legal Service, at the Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) advising the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison Service on civil and personal injury cases.

In early 2010 Chris decided to return to his home town and joined this highly-regarded local firm as In-House Counsel.

Notable Recent Cases:

R. v. Goodwin: multi-handed conspiracy to steal motor vehicles. Only defendant acquitted after trial.

R. v. Thurgarland: appeared as sole counsel against a QC prosecuting, in this tragic case of murder by an elderly gentleman suffering mental health problems. Ultimately declared unfit to plead and sentenced to Hospital Order with restrictions, after a Jury determined that he had done the act alleged.

Operation Collingsworth: two-handed allegation of murder, as junior counsel. Both defendants acquitted unanimously after 15 minutes’ deliberation by the Jury, after 12 day trial.

S. v. The Queen [2013] UKPC 7: Groundbreaking human rights appeal before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Appeared as sole counsel and not, as usual for the highest court in the Commonwealth, led by a QC.

Operation Crosscut: complex case relating to an organised crime group conspiring to steal ATMs.

Operation Latious: multi-handed nationwide conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (Cocaine). Defence of the only defendant who held out for a trial, against Leading Counsel. Prosecution discontinued on the day of trial.

Operation Hauberk: defence in three-handed murder, as junior counsel. Only defendant to be acquitted.

R. v. Frostjunior counsel, led by Tim Spencer QC, in this complex internet pornography trial. Represented the only defendant to be acquitted. Complex issues of statutory interpretation and European law, as well as complicated computer issues. Chris was awarded his Red Bag by Mr Spencer for his work on this case.

R. v. Kinsella[2011] EWCA Crim 1275: successful appeal to the Court of Appeal in a proceeds of crime confiscation case arising from a gang robbery

R. v. Winter: prosecution on behalf of DEFRA for commercial importation of unauthorised veterinary medicines

R. v. Lasas: junior counsel, led by Tim Spencer QC, for the defence in this multi-handed murder (client acquitted of murder)

R. v. Mitchell: successful appeal against a three year sentence for theft of railway signalling cable

R. v. Tyler: successful appeal against a 15 month sentence for handling stolen four wheel drive

R. v. Dean: defence of a driver who drove the wrong way up the A1 dual carriageway

Farrington (Trustee in Bankruptcy) v. Clifton: Chancery list application by Trustee in Bankruptcy for order of sale. Difficult issues of constructive trusts after sale of property in previous bankruptcy proceedings

R. v. Halliday: for Revenue & Customs. Prosecution of £1M proceeds of crime case

R. v. Da Silva: death by dangerous driving

R. v. Williamson: fatal careless driving case. Refusal by Justices to state a case overturned on judicial review

R. v. French [2008] 2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 13: only decided appeal on sentencing in unlawful veterinary medication cases

Publications

Highly Charged?, New Law Journal 20 April 2007, on the campaign to recover unfair bank penalty charges

Education

  • B.Sc. Politics and Modern History – First Class Honours & winner of the University Prize (Brunel University 1997)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Law – Distinction (Nottingham Trent University 2001 – 2003)
  • Bar Vocational Course – Very Competent (BPP Law School 2003 – 2005)

Awards

  • 1997 – Brunel University Prize
  • 2003 – Lord Justice Holker Award
  • 2005 – Mould Scholarship
  • 2011 – Red Bag

Memberships

Further Information

Chris grew up in Newark, Nottinghamshire, and attended the Thomas Magnus Upper School (now the Magnus C of E School).

Between 1992 and 1997 Chris studied politics and history at Brunel University, graduating as the top student in his year with First Class Honours and the University Prize.

Having decided to follow a career in law Chris initially worked as a solicitors’ outdoor clerk for numerous firms in London, attending at the Inner London Crown Court and the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court) on a regular basis. He also spent a period working for the Court Service as Clerk to His Honour Judge Anthony Diamond QC, then head judge in the Business (now Mercantile) List at the Central London Civil Trial Centre, until the learned Judge retired from the Bench in 1998.

In 1998 Chris qualified as an Accredited Police Station Representative, and gained experience representing clients at police stations throughout the Metropolitan Police area.

In 2000 Chris moved back to the Midlands, and worked at a large city centre Nottingham firm of solicitors, initially as a police station representative and latterly as Crown Court Caseworker and then Senior Caseworker.

Whilst in that position Chris dealt with all aspects of serious crime, including conduct of the defence of a company director who was accused of manslaughter arising out of breaches of the drivers’ hours regulations. Chris also drafted grounds of appeal against sentence in the Court of Appeal in R. v. Sweeney (John Patrick) [2003] EWCA Crim 687, and R. v. Delroy Carl Melady [2004] EWCA Crim 1015 (which he persuaded the CCRC to refer). Chris was also instrumental in persuading the High Court to reduce the tariff of a “lifer” prisoner currently serving a sentence for murder: R. v. Dean Saunders [2006] EWHC 2861 (QB).

Whilst working in Nottingham Chris studied for the Postgraduate Diploma in Law at Nottingham Trent University, graduating as the top student with Distinction in 2003. Chris then went on to study the Bar Vocational Course at BPP Law School in London, graduating as Very Competent (and with Outstanding grades in Criminal and Civil Procedure) in 2005.

Chris was Called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in July 2005, having been awarded a Lord Justice Holker Award during the Bar Course and later in 2005 the Mould Scholarship, one of only four awards for students of exceptional merit.

In 2005 Chris took part in, and won, the inaugural Gray’s Inn Mooting Competition, the final of which was a Hague Convention child abduction case involving human rights arguments, presented before two High Court Judges and Lord Justice Potter, President of the Family Division.

Following that success, Chris represented Gray’s Inn in the Inter-Inn Mooting Competition, and in September 2005 accompanied three other Gray’s Inn mooters with Hon. Mr Justice Ouseley on a mooting tour of the United States, visiting PACE University (New York), University of Georgia (Athens & Atlanta), Pepperdine (Malibu CA) and Santa Clara (CA). The high point of the tour was presenting an argument on international arbitration law to two Justices of the Supreme Court of Georgia including the Presiding Judge (sitting with three other senior US judges).

Between 2005 and 2006 Chris undertook pupillage at the highly prestigious Blackstone Chambers, in London. Chris undertook a wide variety of work for his pupil supervisors (Tom Croxford, Jane Collier, Javan Herberg and Tom Weisselberg), including:

  • Advising company directors on a claim for non-payment of bonuses worth $2m
  • Resisting a TUPE claim brought by 35 employees
  • Claiming a search order against ex-employees to recover a company’s core computer IP which was suspected to have been covertly copied and removed
  • Advising an aerodrome on the powers of the CAA to regulate airport safeguarding
  • Advising the Assets Recovery Agency in a number of claims for civil recovery orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act
  • Advising and drafting grounds for the Secretary of State for Health in a healthcare judicial review claim: R. (Smith) v. NE Derbyshire PCT [2006] EWHC 1338 (Admin), reversed on appeal in [2006] 1 WLR 3315
  • Numerous Court of Appeal cases, particularly Administrative Court, immigration, and human rights appeals, including (for Liberty, child curfew powers) R. (PW) v. MPC & SSHD [2006] EWCA Civ 458, [2006] 3 WLR 1098; and (for the Treasury Solicitors, homosexuality, Article 8 and immigration controls) J. v. SSHD [2006] EWCA Civ 1238, [2006] All ER (D) 382 (Jul)
  • Multi-jurisdictional commercial claim in the Chancery Division: Global Multimedia International Ltd v. AMS [2006] All ER (D) 324 (Jul)
  • Drafting an application to the European Court of Human Rights for alleged breach of A1P1 and Art.14 in the social security overpayment case (B. v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2005] EWCA Civ 929 refused leave to petition the House of Lords and now being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights – see Child Poverty Action Group for more information)
  • Pre-action protocol letter and grounds of review in the commercial judicial review of a windfarm tendering process: R. (Gamesa Energy UK Ltd) v. National Assembly for Wales[2006] EWHC 2167 (Admin), [2006] All ER (D) 26 (Aug)

From 2006 until 2009 Chris practised from Chambers in Leicester, dealing with all aspects of the common law, and appearing in a wide variety of cases from allegations of fraud in the Chancery Division of the High Court, to Crown Court trials. Chris drafted pleadings for, advised on, and appeared in many different types of cases on all three civil court tracks (small claims, fast track and multi-track). Chris had a particular interest in banking and insolvency litigation, and was regularly used by a major high street bank during the consumer campaign to recover overdraft charges.

During 2009 Chris worked for TSol, defending a wide variety of claims brought against HM Government. Chris dealt with a number of high-value personal injury claims, along with more unconventional cases such as applications made for the Director General of HM Prison Service to give evidence before the Crown Court.

In February 2010 Chris joined Bird and Co.