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Emma Fenn

  • Call: 2010
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner
"Unfazed in court, showing tenacity and quick thinking on her feet."

Legal 500, 2019

"Outstanding with her paperwork and case preparation, which is reinforced by her advocacy."

Legal 500, 2017


Emma Fenn is a specialist criminal defence practitioner with a particular interest in child abuse cases and representing young defendants. She brings her experience of working in a criminal and human rights solicitors’ firm and at the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to her defence-based practice. She is regularly instructed in a wide range of criminal cases in courts across London and throughout the rest of the country and also conducts advisory work in relation to appeals and CCRC applications. She is ranked tier 3 in the Legal 500 (2017).

Notable Cases

Child Abuse – Non-Accidental Injury and ‘Baby Shaking’

R v JS, Isleworth Crown Court (2017)Led by Anya Lewis in four-week baby shaking trial at Isleworth Crown Court dealing with novel medical evidence relating to fractures and brain injuries.

R v BS, (2017) 
 Application to the CCRC in relation to a murder conviction given new medical evidence available

R v SA, Norwich Crown Court (2016)
 Child abduction case with international and cross-disciplinary elements including Brussels II and Hague Convention civil proceedings and enforcement proceedings in America and Lithuania

R v JS, Court of Appeal (2016)
 Led by Anya Lewis. Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of a shaken baby case involving finely balanced medical evidence.

R v Karissa Cox and Richard Carter, Guildford Crown Court (2015)
 Led by Michael Turner QC in trial at Guildford Crown where parents innocent of child abuse three years after baby was removed from their care and subsequently adopted. This case was extensively reported in the press, including by The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Mirror, ITV, The Daily Mail and The Independent.

R v SA, Wood Green Crown Court (2015) Client acquitted of causing actual bodily harm on child complainant (step-son) where injuries documented

R v JS, Isleworth Crown Court (2015)
 Led by Anya Lewis in case where the Crown alleged injuries caused by baby shaking.

R v CD, Bexley Magistrates’ Court (2013)
 Secured acquittal of a foster carer accused of assaulting her autistic foster son. Main prosecution witness was a social worker with no connection to the family.


R v SI, (2017) Application to the CCRC in relation to new evidence linked to a gang-related murder in London

R v DC, Central Criminal Court (2016) Determinate sentence in the context of an armed robbery of a cash converters using an imitation firearm

R v CM, Isleworth Crown Court (2016) Non-custodial sentence imposed for allegation which began as a grievous bodily harm with intent charge

R v JM, Isleworth Crown Court (2016) Prosecution offered no evidence in relation to violent disorder charge

R v SR, Stafford Crown Court (2016) 6 week violent disorder trial involving two sides of a warring family culminating in a conviction for attempted murder for one of the members of the opposing family

R v AH, Wood Green Crown Court (2015) Client acquitted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent on a child complainant where there were multiple facial fractures

R v SC, Snaresbrook Crown Court (2015) Assault trial with related breach of non-molestation order proceedings. Dealing with expert evidence relevant to causation

Financial Crime / Proceeds of Crime

R v TL, St Albans Crown Court (2016) Successful argument relating to partner’s beneficial interest in a property resulting in extensive reduction to the available amount

R v TA, Reading Crown Court (2016) Benefit figure reduced to around £250,000 from just under £1million sought on basis of rebuttal of the statutory assumptions and successful argument relating to wife’s beneficial interest in a property vastly reducing the available amount

R v REK, Southwark Crown Court (2015) Led by Bernard Tetlow QC in confiscation proceedings. Proceedings discharged after Crown asked for a benefit figure of just under £200 million and an available amount of £7 million. The original case was reported in The Daily Mail

R v SR and others, Stafford Crown Court (2015) Ten day confiscation hearing dealing with novel arguments relating to the use of a drugs telephone. The case was reported here. Leave granted for appeal to the Court of Appeal. To be heard in February 2017

R v DC, Winchester Crown Court (2015)
 Led by Bernard Tetlow QC in complex confiscation proceedings dealing with property and trusts legal argument relating to the beneficial interest in a property

R v JW, Guildford Crown Court (2015) Trial relating to receiving the criminal proceeds of a fraud.

R v IA, Isleworth Crown Court (2015) Suspended sentence imposed where extensive benefit fraud across a number of years and with an overpayment of around £70,000.

R v JS, Croydon Crown Court (2015)
 Confiscation hearing where it was successfully argued that there were no available assets as a car in the defendant’s name belonged to another

R v TA, Southwark Crown Court (2015)
 Confiscation hearing where it was successfully argued that the defendant did not have hidden assets and the lifestyle assumptions should not apply

R v IA, Manchester Crown Court (2014) Three-day confiscation hearing arguing novel point of law linked to human trafficking. This case was reported by the BBC and the Manchester Evening News.

General Crime

R v GC, Peterborough Crown Court (2017) Client avoids immediate prison sentence after supplying Class A drugs at the Secret Garden Party festival

R v DD, Isleworth Crown Court (2016) Prosecution offer no evidence after legal argument in relation to perverting the course of justice charges

R v MM, Kingston Crown Court (2016) Client acquitted of sexual activity with a child when defence was that he had a reasonable belief the complainant was 16

R v DS, Blackfriars Crown Court (2016) Prosecution offer no evidence in firearms and drugs trial after defence legal argument submitted. Co-defending with Alex Rose

R v MA, Blackfriars Crown Court (2016) Client sentenced to a conditional discharge having initially been charged with robbery

R v CS, Wood Green Crown Court (2016) Client sentenced to referral order having pleaded guilty to a robbery with allegations relating to knives

R v SK, Southend Crown Court (2016) Client acquitted of burglary having broken into a premises fleeing a perceived threat

R v AM, Isleworth Crown Court (2016), Defendant sentenced to a community order for drugs supply

R v NM, Worcester Crown Court (2015) Defendant sentenced to limited prison term after supply of drugs at a festival in breach of suspended sentence. The case was reported here

R v WW, St Albans Crown Court (2015) Working with Icah Peart QC in relation to manslaughter case where jury accepted punch by defendant did not cause the death

R v TB, Basildon Crown Court (2015) Prosecution offer no evidence after successful application to exclude cell site evidence and DNA evidence

R v NB, Newcastle Crown Court (2015) Successful application to dismiss for possession of an offensive weapon on basis base of champagne glass had not been adapted to cause injury.

R v LC, Isleworth Crown Court  (2015)
 Prosecution accepted plea to simple possession of class A drugs after representations made. This case was reported in The Daily Mail.

R v DJ, Harrow Crown Court (2015)
 DJ unanimously found not to have committed the act of sexual assault after he was found unfit to plead

R v FS, Guildford Crown Court (2014) Prosecution offer no evidence after representations made once client with severe learning difficulties was found unfit to plead

R v PN, Isleworth Crown Court (2013)
 Successful application to dismiss where the allegation was a violent robbery in the home and the only evidence to link the defendant to the allegation was his DNA on an item of clothing found near the getaway car.


Police Misconduct / Protest Cases

R v AJ, Southwark Crown Court (2017) AJ fined for an offence of section 4 public order after initial violent disorder charge after protest in Brixton

R v LO, Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court (2016) Successful half time submission in relation to alleged assault on a  police officer during Trafalgar Square protest

R v MGG, Redhill Magistrates’ Court (2016) Crown offer no evidence after caution for lesser offences accepted after fracking protest

R v AB, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court (2016) Crown offer no evidence after alleged assault during a fox hunting protest

R v LH, Isleworth Crown Court (2015)
 Prosecution discontinued case after representations after police officer mis-used stop and search powers to induce a voluntary search

R v ZM, Stratford Magistrates’ Court (2015)
 ZM acquitted of assaulting a bailiff after protest relating to illegal evictions

R v GO and others, Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court (2015)
 Kurdish anti ISIS protesters acquitted of assaulting the police after peaceful protest in Parliament Square

R v SH, Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court (2015)
 Protestor outside HMP Brixton acquitted after Crown unable to disclose CCTV of alleged scene of incident

Road Traffic Offences

R v GH, Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court (2016) Client fined after guilty plea to multiple charges of ‘drug driving’

R v BS, St Albans Magistrates’ Court (2016) Client fined and avoided disqualification after initial charge of driving whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit

R v IB, Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court (2016) Client acquitted after Prosecution unable to prove effective service of notice requesting driver information.

R v UP, Ealing Magistrates’ Court (2016) Client acquitted of careless driving after collision with vulnerable pedestrian

R v JB, Bexley Magistrates’ Court (2014)
 Special reasons hearing with charges of dangerous driving and drink driving where defendant received a suspended sentence despite dangerous circumstances and high reading

R v SB, Maidstone Magistrates’ Court (2014)
 Client avoided prison where convicted of drink driving with reading at top of the scale


From September 2013 to June 2014, Emma worked at the Criminal Cases Review Commission during which time she investigated a number of potential miscarriages of justice and referred cases back to the Court of Appeal. She reviewed cases of murder, serious violence, sexual offences and cases where the applicant was an asylum seeker who was not properly advised of defences available to him as a result of protections afforded by the Refugee Convention. This included the recent referral of Sadeghi. Emma hopes to bring this valuable experience back to Garden Court Chambers in developing an appellate and CCRC-based practice. Whilst at the CCRC, Emma also presented at an Innocence Network UK Conference and worked with JustforKids Law to try and increase the profile and number of applications to the CCRC from young people.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Emma worked as a paralegal at Hickman and Rose Solicitors under the supervision of Jenny Wiltshire and Ross Dixon. She was involved in a wide variety of criminal cases including ‘baby-shaking’ cases, murder, serious drugs and violence and the case of R v Gooding and Others, where the defendants were convicted of a sophisticated boiler room fraud. She has since spent time at Hickman and Rose on secondment in their financial crime and regulatory department.

Emma completed her degree in Law and French Law at Worcester College, University of Oxford. As part of her degree she completed a year-long certificate in French Law at University of Paris II Pantheon-Assas.  This year involved studying and being examined in French, in subjects such as European Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law.

Emma is a trained Social Security Representative with the Free Representation Unit and has volunteered for the National Centre for Domestic Violence and the London Innocence Project.

Conferences and Publications

  • When exoneration comes too late to keep a family together” writing with Stephen Lue of the Garden Court Family team, Legal Action Group December 2015 edition
  • Contributing author to the impending edition of the practitioner’s text “Miller on Contempt”
  • Co-author of “Criminal Disclosure Referencer“, Wainwright, Fenn and Begum (Bloomsbury – Second edition published December 2017).
  • Conferences and seminars in association with the CCRC at the Law Society, Garden Court Chambers and Innocence UK nationwide conference


  • Pegasus Scholar (2017)
  • Everard Ver Heyden Foundation Prize, City Law School, BVC (2009-2010)
  • Oxford University Press Prize for Excellence in Advocacy and Procedure, City Law School, BVC (2009-2010)
  • ICLR Busfield Prize, City Law School, BVC (2009-2010)
  • Middle Temple Certificate of Honour (2009-2010)
  • Middle Temple Astbury Scholarship (2009-2010)
  • Middle Temple Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition (2009-2010)



Emma is an avid Spurs supporter, having gone to games for over 20 years and outlasted more managers than she can count.