Elena is specialist in serious crime, youth justice and protest rights.
Elena is regularly instructed in the most complex cases involving young defendants, trafficking victims and cases involving human rights. She has expertise in relation to cases involving gang evidence and she has appeared on numerous times in the Court of Appeal with leave in relation to conviction and sentence. She has had recent success in the cases of R v Wiltshire 2022 and R v Khan Brown 2023 and has been instructed to advise on fresh appeals against conviction.
She has experience as a led junior in multi-handed fraud, drug trafficking and judicial review.
Elena has a keen interest in judicial review arising out of criminal matters and was a led junior in a successful judicial review case of Manchester v DPP involving protest rights.
Elena Papamichael is a crime and youth justice specialist, regularly instructed in complex and serious cases representing children in the Youth Court and Crown Court.
Elena co-authors the youth justice update for Legal Action (the legal magazine published by the Legal Action Group) and worked on a youth justice research project with Newcastle University & the Youth Justice Legal Centre where she provided expert advice. She has worked to develop the youth justice assessment for pupils in chambers.
Elena achieves particularly successful outcomes for child victims of criminal exploitation / trafficking though her forensic understanding of the guidance and case law.
Her practice has a particular focus on racial injustice in her work and was on the Advisory Board to the Racial Bias and the Bench report. Elena was previously the Chair of Directors to 4front, a youth justice and racial justice youth led project.
Elena has written extensively on topics about children’s rights, including on the age of criminal responsibility; drill music and gang injunctions and alternatives to criminalisation for children and young people. Elena is also a contributor to the Youth Justice Legal Centre's legal updates.
Elena is part of the specialist protest law team.
In DPP v Manchester City Magistrates Court  EWHC 2938 (Admin) Elena was led by Tom Wainwright representing the first Interested Party. They were successful in the High Court in a judicial review by the DPP of an acquittal in relation to protest rights.
Elena has appeared with leave in relation to appeal and sentence.
In R v Wiltshire  EWCA Crim 1034, Elena argued that the court’s duties to protect the welfare of her client’s children and their Article 8 ECHR rights, as well as the principle of totality, meant that her client should not have received an immediate custodial sentence for serious fraud offences. The Court of Appeal, allowing the appeal, halved the sentence imposed by the sentencing judge and would have considered a suspended sentence, except for the time already spent, by the defendant in custody. The successful appeal allowed for her client’s immediate release.
In R v Amaan Khan Brown 2023 EWCA Crim 99 the Attorney General referred the sentence of 3 years and 3 months to the Court of Appeal after Elena persuaded the sentencing judge not to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years for a third Class A drug trafficking offence.
In the Court of Appeal, Elena successfully argued that the sentence imposed was not unduly lenient, and significantly the Court of Appeal accepted her submission that her client’s young age was an important aspect to the consideration of whether the imposition of the minimum term would be unjust. This marks a different approach to minimum terms for young adults post R v Clarke.