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Clare Wade QC

  • Call: 1990
  • Silk: 2018
Clare Wade
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner 
"Her client care is excellent and her cross-examination is a masterpiece." "Her decision making is astute and her execution unerring."
Legal 500 UK


Clare is experienced in all types of criminal defence work including murder, manslaughter and serious sexual offences at trial and appellate level. Before taking silk, she regularly acted as a leading junior.

Much of Clare’s recent work has included representing defendants who are vulnerable either because of age, mental illness, learning disability, neuro-developmental conditions and deafness. She recently led in a five-month multi-handed grooming case, a murder where the (previously unfit) defendant was severely personality disordered, and acted as leading counsel for a solicitor charged with willful neglect of a person lacking capacity.

Ongoing work includes includes murder at trial and appellate level. Clare has a particular interest in representing abused women who kill their violent partners. Her work includes the appeal of Sally Challen (coercive control as provocation) and the appeal of Emma Jane Magson (fresh evidence going to diminished responsibility).

She assisted in written submissions to the House of Lords in Smith (Morgan James) [2000] 4 All ER 291 in a third party intervention on behalf of Justice for Women and Southall Black Sisters. She has also worked on Law Commission projects on the reform of the law of homicide with particular reference to abused women who kill (now ss [52-56] Coroners and Justice Act 2009). She is on the advisory committee of research commissioned by the Centre for Women’s Justice into the practical effects of the above legislation.

Other areas of interest include unfitness to plead and special measures. Clare led the Law Commission consultation on Unfitness to Plead Law Com CP 197, which addresses the question of a ‘capacity’ based test for criminal law. She has conducted numerous fitness to plead and section 4A hearings (including hearings where the defendant was charged with an inchoate offence and where the accused suffered from Down’s Syndrome, and one involving incitement to sexual activity, where the accused suffers from autism and learning disability). Clare is assisting the Human Rights and Equality Commission’s project on special measures/ reasonable adjustments for defendants in the Crown Court.

Clare was a contributor to Blackstone’s Criminal Practice 2016.

What others say

“Her judgement is excellent, as is her client care.”
Legal 500 2019 (Crime)

“Her client care is excellent and her cross-examination is a masterpiece.”
The Legal 500 2017 (Crime)

“Her decision making is astute and her execution unerring”
The Legal 500 2016 (Crime)

Significant Cases


R v Emma Jane Magson
Granted leave to appeal murder conviction out of time. Reported in The Independent

R v Sally Challen
Granted leave to appeal murder conviction out of time. Reported in The Guardian and The Independent.

R v Stacey Hyde (re-trial – Winchester Crown Court) April-May 2015
Stacey was convicted of murdering a violent man in 2010 when she was aged 17 and he was aged 32. Her conviction was quashed and a retrial ordered in 2014 on the grounds that fresh medical evidence showed she may only have been guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. At her retrial she was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter on the grounds of self-defence. This case was reported widely by the media, including by the Guardian, the BBC and the Telegraph.   

R v Hyde (Stacey) [2014] EWCA Crim 673
Successful out-of-time murder appeal of a teenager with ADHD and mental health problems, who had previously been advised there was no appeal.

Dixon (Jordan) [2013] EWCA Crim 465
Murder. Out of time appeal for young defendant with ADHD and learning difficulties. Inference from silence – special measures. Leading authority on s35 (silence) intermediaries and importance of ground rules hearings.

R v Jackson [2013] EWCA Crim 613
Fresh evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and ADHD. Diminished responsibility 20 years after the original trial.

R v Scamp [2010] EWCA Crim 2219
Murder. Abused woman who killed. Out of time appeal on the basis of inadequate direction on provocation after client advised by original legal team that there were no grounds to appeal. Murder conviction quashed and conviction of manslaughter by provocation substituted.

R v Akers [2007] EWCA Crim 2066
Murder. Abused woman who killed. Out of time appeal against conviction.


R v O (Southwark Crown Court) June 2015
Historical manslaughter trial. Acted as leading junior. Acquitted after trial.

Human Trafficking  

R v S [2014] EWCA Crim 2919]
The appellant was a victim of human trafficking. The case engaged Article 26 (non-punishment provision) of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Conviction quashed.

Attorney General’s Reference (Nos 76/77 2014)
Sentencing for human trafficking.

R v Okedare [2014] 3 ALL E.R 109
Guidelines on leave to appeal for absent appellants. Applicant was child victim of trafficking believed to have been re-trafficked. Application stayed.

R v HXN CET s 197 Arts 26, linked to R v L [2013] EWCA Crim 991
Vietnamese child trafficking victim believed to have been re-trafficked. Leave to appeal against conviction granted. Absent appellant.

R v Tallat Ashar (Minshull Street Crown Court) 2012
The complainant was deaf and without speech, all cross-examination was conducted through three signers, a deaf without speech intermediary and a clinical psychologist. This case was widely reported in the national press, including the BBCThe Independent and the Manchester Evening News. Acquitted of  sexual assault and GBH, convicted human trafficking and benefit fraud.

Drugs and money-laundering 

R v Mohan and others (Central Criminal Court) July 2015
£40 million-pound money-laundering case. Acted as leading junior. Prosecution offered no evidence after voir dire and submissions on legality of search warrants.

R V Henry [2014] EWCA Crim 980
Importation of Class A drugs. The appellant was an abused woman.

R v Haxihaj and others 2013 Wood Green Crown Court
Conspiracy to supply 70 kilos of Class A drugs.

R v Smith and others [2012] EWCA Crim 11
£500 million cocaine importation. Out of time appeal against sentence.

R v Djahit (1999) 2 Cr App R (S) 142
Successful appeal against sentence. Guideline case. Supply drugs.

R v Esat and others (1999)
£100 million heroin conspiracy.

R v Simsek, Kaynak & Honz (1998) 2 Cr App R (S) 283
Heroin conspiracy. Successful appeal against sentence.

Sexual Offences

R v KH (2017-18)
Leading junior in five-month multi-handed Oxford Grooming trial. Acquitted of conspiracy to rape and of multiple rape convicted of one count of rape and one count multiple indecent assault.

R v G (2017)
Historical sexual offences 5 complainants spanning many years. Elderly defendant with previous convictions.

R v L (2017) (2017)
Rapes, assault by penetration. Press coverage in the The Daily Mail.

R v L
Rape defendant with autism and learning disability, acquitted on all counts. Coverage in national press including The Evening Standard and The Sun.

R v S (2017)
Multiple historical rapes. Acquitted on all counts.

R v V (2017)
Multiple historical sexual offences defendant suffered from personality disorder and learning difficulties. Acquitted on all counts.

R v Dawson (2016)
Historical sexual offences in the Court Martial, offences allegedly committed outside the jurisdiction by defendant when he was a child. Successful submission of doli incapax. Appealed by prosecution as terminating ruling in the Court Martial Appeal Court. Successful out of time defence appeal against preliminary ruling on admissibility of bad character. Acted as leading junior. No evidence offered before re-trial.

R v C (2016)
Historical rapes allegedly committed when defendant was a child. Acquitted on all counts.

R v H (2016)
Defendant with autism and learning disability accused of conspiracy to rape 2 year old child.   

R V K (2016)
Child accused of rape. The complainant was a child who has Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD. Acquitted on all counts.

R v R (2016)
Multiple sexual offences alleged against young complainant. Vulnerable defendant confession evidence excluded, defendant evidence on live link, exclusion of linked evidence. Acquitted on all counts.

R v D (2016)
Woman accused of historical sexual offences.

R v BR (2016)
Young woman accused of sexual offences and child cruelty against 6 year old child. Successful submission of no case to answer.

R v D (2015)
Man suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome accused of 2 rapes. Acquitted all counts.

Historical sexual offences. Acquitted all counts

R v KH (October 2014)
Multiple counts historical sexual offences. Defendant with previous convictions. Acquitted of all counts

R v H and another (June 2014)
Historical sexual offences: complainant, defendants and witnesses all profoundly deaf or deaf. Cameras used in court for the first time to visually record the evidence of deaf witnesses. Acquitted of all counts.

R V J (2015)
Oxford student accused of rape. Acquitted.

R v J (2013)
Sexual offences. Five-year-old complainant. Acquitted.

R v B (2012) 
Historical sexual offences. 30 years’ delay. Acquitted of all except count of sexual assault.

Child cruelty

R V L (November 2015)
Young woman accused of failure to prevent serious harm and child cruelty in circumstances where her violent boyfriend had caused life-threatening injuries to 9-month-old baby. Acquitted of all counts.


Re C
Juror charged with contempt of court. Suspended sentence imposed.

Other Appellate work

R v Turner (Jennifer) [2015] EWCA Crim 1249
Successful out-of-time appeal against imprisonment for public protection (IPP) for mentally-ill woman.

R v IA TA FA [2013] EWCA Crim 1308
Special measures, intermediaries, racism in the jury room.

Dixon (Hainsley) [2013] EWCA Crim 601;R v Dixon [2011] EWCA Crim 924
Women, firearms and the minimum term amid history of depression and domestic violence.

R v Stratford [2011] EWCA Crim 888
Successful appeal against sentence. Mortgage fraud disparity sentencing.

R v Williams [2010] EWCA Crim 2226
Identification – vulnerable defendant with severe learning difficulties. Successful appeal against conviction. Acquitted on a re-trial.

R v Barrat [2009] EWCA Crim 1069
Attempted murder.


R v Miah and others (2016)
Multi-handed violent robberies. Defendant found unfit to plead sentenced to supervision order.

R v C (2016)
16-year-old charged with armed robbery. Guilty plea.

R v Black and others (1995) CCC
Armed robberies. The client escaped during the trial, and was described in the national press as Britain’s ‘most dangerous man’.


  • ‘Making special measures special; reasonable adjustments for deaf witnesses and defendants’ in Addressing Vulnerability in Justice systems Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing 2016.
  • Contributor toBlackstones Criminal Practice 2016 edition (Oxford University Press)
  • ‘The Criminal Procedure (Insanity and Unfitness to plead) Act 1991 and the Juries Act 1974: Irreconcilable Problems’,CLR1999, 656 (article cited in B and others [2009] 1 Cr.App.R 19 and Crim.L.R 2009 608-610).
  • ‘Prevention of Harm: Legislative Strategies for Law Reform,’The Journal of Criminal Law Vol 72.3 2008.
  • ‘Partial Defences to Murder’Law Commission Consultation Paper No. 173 (contribution).
  • ‘Partial Defences to Murder’Law Commission Consultation Paper No. 290 (contribution).
  • ‘A New Homicide Act for England and Wales?’Law Commission Consultation Paper No. 177 (contribution).
  • ‘Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide’Law Commission Paper No. 304 (contribution).
  • ‘Conspiracy and Attempt’Law Commission Consultation Paper No. 183 (contribution).
  • ‘Conspiracy and Attempt’Law Commission Consultation Paper No 318 (contribution).
  • ‘Unfitness to Plead’Law Commission Consultation Paper No 197.
  • ‘Reforming the test for unfitness to plead (a capacity based test)’Legal Action, November 2010.
  • ‘Reforming the law on unfitness to plead’CBQ Dec 2010.

Seminars and Training

Clare has given seminars and written on subjects such as the Serious Crime Act 2007 and reform of the law on provocation, unfitness to plead, special measures for vulnerable defendants, the use of intermediaries and the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

She presented a paper entitled ‘Competence to Stand Trial and the Nature of the Offence’ at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health Congress in New York (2009) and assisted on the Feminist Judgments Project (2010). She recently spoke at the CALA conference.

Clare acted as quality assurance commentator for the Advocacy Training Counsel Toolkit 11 “Planning to question someone who is deaf” and has recently been involved in updating this toolkit. Clare presented a paper on deaf witnesses and defendants at the TAG International Conference on vulnerable defendants June 2015.