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Clare Wade QC

Year of Call: 1990 | Year of Silk: 2018

"Her knowledge of the law surrounding cases with defendants with mental health issues is second-to-none."

Legal 500 UK

“Supremely knowledgeable on the interface between mental health and crime, and a great tactician. She is reassuring, calm and supportive to lay clients.”

Chambers UK

"Her client care is excellent and her cross-examination is a masterpiece."

Legal 500 UK

"Her decision making is astute and her execution unerring."

Legal 500 UK

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Clare Wade QC is experienced in all types of criminal defence work including murder, manslaughter and serious sexual offences at trial and at appellate level in the Court of Appeal where she has a successful track record. Before taking silk she often acted as leading junior.

Clare is ranked at Tier 1 and  was shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year 2020 by the Legal 500.

Criminal Defence

Overview

Clare has a busy trial practice. Her recent work consists of murder, manslaughter and serious violence (in the context of domestic homicide or gang associated killings) as well as serious sexual offences. Ongoing work includes gang murder and  domestic homicide as well as serious historical sexual offences. She combines excellent client care with legal acumen and attention to forensic detail.

Clare is a highly experienced and successful appellate advocate. She advises on out of time appeals against conviction and sentence often where trial counsel have advised that there is no prospect of a successful appeal. She has been instructed in some of the most high profile appeals of the last few years.  She represented Sally Challen in her out of time appeal against her conviction for the murder of her husband. The case was ground breaking; the first time the Court of Appeal had considered coercive control in the context of the partial defences to murder. The case changed the way in which domestic abuse is viewed in the Criminal Justice system. It was widely reported and the appellate process was the subject of a 90 minute BBC2 documentary. Clare is also representing Farieissia Martin in her forthcoming appeal against her murder conviction read about it here, see also here.

Clare is a specialist on women and the criminal justice system. She is often instructed to provide pre-charge advice or to advise on one- off matters such as drafting representations.  She was on the Prison Reform Trust Advisory Group panel in relation to amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill. She has worked on Law Commission projects on the reform of the law of homicide. She is on the advisory committee for research commissioned by the Centre for Women's Justice into women who kill  including the practical effects of loss of control and diminished responsibility as introduced by Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

Clare has extensive experience of representing defendants or acting in cases where witnesses are vulnerable either because of age, mental illness, learning disability, neuro-developmental conditions and deafness.

Clare led the Law Commission consultation on Unfitness to Plead Law Com CP 197, which addresses the question of a 'capacity' based test for fitness in criminal law. She was a member of the external  reference panel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into access to justice for disabled defendants which preceded the report “Inclusive Justice A System Designed for All.”.

Notable Cases

Murder

R v Martin [ongoing]
Seeking permission to appeal the murder conviction of Farieissia Martin, who killed her violent partner. Widely reported in the national press.

R v X  [ongoing]
Murder by stabbing.

R v H  [ongoing]
Murder strangulation.

R v S  [ongoing]
Murder stabbing.

R v Sinclair (2019)
Stabbing and strangulation.

R v Uddin (2019)
Multiple stabbing.

R v Pateco Te (2019)
Gang related murder.

R v Tripp (2018)
Stabbing - defendant suffering from personality disorder re-tried having previously been found unfit to plead.

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

R v Challen
Successful appeal against murder conviction out of time on the basis of coercive control amounting to provocation. Coverage in all national media, e.g. The Independent, and The Guardian. See also article in Counsel Magazine by Clare Wade QC on 'Coercive control post-Challen.

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 trial counsel having advised there was no appeal and a retrial ordered 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. Inference from silence - special measures for young defendant with ADHD and learning difficulties. 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.

Manslaughter

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

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 MF and others (ongoing)
Historical sexual offences

R v KH and others (2018)

R v KH (2017-18)
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. Reported in The Guardian.

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. Acquitted of all counts. 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 Standardand 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. This was appealed by the prosecution as a terminating ruling in the Court Martial Appeal Court. After a successful out of time defence cross-appeal against preliminary ruling on admissibility of bad character. The Services Prosecution offered no evidence in respect of a 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 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 two rapes. Acquitted all counts.

R V H
Historical sexual offences. Acquitted all counts.

R v KH (October 2014)
Multiple counts historical sexual offences. Defendant with previous convictions for sexual offences. 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 and defendants. 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 after ‘cut- throat’ trial.

Other

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

Contact Clare

Criminal Appeals

Overview

Clare regularly advises on appeals against conviction and has successfully appealed against convictions where she did not represent the appellant at first instance.

Notable Cases

R v Wilkins (ongoing)
Out of time appeal GBH on baby.

R v Martin (ongoing)
Out of time domestic homicide.

R v H and others (2019)
Grooming case.

R v Challen 
Sally Challen walked free on Friday 7 June 2019 after prosecutors accepted a lesser plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, for killing her abusive husband after decades of psychological abuse. Coverage in BBCGuardian and ITV News.

R v Emma Jane Magson
Granted leave to appeal murder conviction out of time on basis of fresh psychiatric evidence. Reported in The Independent.

R v Emma Jane Kurtz [20019] 1 Cr.App.R 19
Solicitor convicted of willful neglect of elderly mother who died. Conviction was quashed on appeal. Case is the first case on s44(1)(b) Mental Capacity Act that involved statutory construction of  s.44(1)(b) Mental Capacity Act 2005 (donee of Enduring Power of Attorney). 

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. Inference from silence - special measures for young defendant with ADHD and learning difficulties. Leading authority on s35 (silence) intermediaries and importance of ground rules hearings.

R v Jackson [2013] EWCA Crim 613
Murder appeal. 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 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.

R v S [2014] EWCA Crim 2919]
The appellant was a victim of human trafficking. 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. 

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.

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. Initial appeal refused, applied to CCRC for the conviction to be referred to Court of Appeal.

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.

Violence

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'.

Contact Clare

Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

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
7 month trial. 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 BBC, The Independent and the Manchester Evening News. Acquitted of sexual assault and GBH, convicted human trafficking and benefit fraud.

Contact Clare

Latest News

Clare Wade QC shortlisted for Barrister of the Year & Woman of the Year by Women in Law Awards 2020

Congratulations to our Clare Wade QC of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team who has been shortlisted by Women in Law Awards 2020 for Barrister of the Year and Woman of the Year!

10 September 2020

Sally Challen walks free after prosecutors accept lesser plea of manslaughter for killing abusive husband in coercive control case

Clare Wade QC and Lucie Wibberley of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team represented Sally Challen, instructed by Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce & Partners.

10 June 2019

Emma-Jayne Magson granted leave to appeal against conviction for killing boyfriend in light of “fresh evidence”

Clare Wade QC is instructed by Louise Bullivant, Aitken Harter Solicitors on behalf of Emma-Jayne Magson.

23 November 2018

Sally Challen granted leave to appeal conviction for killing husband in "coercive control" case

Garden Court's Clare Wade QC instructed by Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce.

2 March 2018

Clare Wade, Sonali Naik, Amanda Weston and Brenda Campbell appointed Queen’s Counsel

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to congratulate our four new silks appointed as Queen's Counsel on 26 February 2018.

26 February 2018

Clare Wade, Sonali Naik, Amanda Weston and Brenda Campbell to be appointed Queen's Counsel

Clare Wade, Sonali Naik, Amanda Weston and Brenda Campbell will be appointed Queen's Counsel in February 2018.

21 December 2017

Garden Court wins Legal 500 crime set of the year award

The winners in these awards are chosen by the Legal 500 as a result of thousands of interviews with firms, sets and counsel.

8 October 2015

Trial collapses after defence submissions in £40million fraud case

Four of the defendants were represented by Keir Monteith, Clare Wade, Nerida Harford-Bell and Shahida Begum of Garden Court Chambers.

27 July 2015

Stacey Hyde cleared of murder in retrial

Stephen Kamlish QC and Clare Wade of Garden Court Chambers were defending.

22 May 2015

All related news

Publications

'Coercive control post-Challen', Counsel Magazine (January 2020)

Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa participant in consultation on Women in the Criminal Justice System (2019)

'Making special measures special; reasonable adjustments for deaf witnesses and defendants' in Addressing Vulnerability in Justice systems Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing 2016.

Contributor to Blackstone's 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.

'Competence to Stand Trial and the Nature of the Offence' paper at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health Congress in New York (2009).

Training and Seminars

Clare has given seminars and written on subjects such as the Serious Crime Act 2007 and the partial defences to murder, unfitness to plead, special measures for vulnerable defendants, representing deaf defendants the use of intermediaries and the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, coercive control and appealing the convictions of women who kill.

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.

Education

  • BA (Hons) English Language and Literature, Durham University (First Class)
  • Diploma in Law, City University, London
  • BVC, ICSL

Professional Membership

  • Amnesty International
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Justice for Women
  • Member of Bar Council Law Reform Committee (2003-2011)

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