Elena Papamichael

Year of Call: 2021, Solicitor with higher rights of audience since 2018

“In court, Elena was incredibly erudite, knowledgeable, and persuasive. Her passion for youth justice is genuine and obvious. I cannot recommend Elena highly enough.”

Lay Client, Crown Court

“Elena is a pleasure to instruct. She is precocious beyond her years in terms of legal knowledge and strategy. She is an impressively capable, resourceful and likeable advocate.”

Kath Jatter, Senior Associate, GT Stewart Solicitors

"My barrister was amazing! Completely thorough, didn't miss anything and ultimately brought the prosecution to it's knees."

Lay client

"Miss Papamichael presented her client's case with impressive diligence and real flair. Her pre-trial preparation was manifest. I have no doubt that the acquittal of her client was as a direct result of the tenacity and ability with which she fought her client."

Circuit Judge

"Her cross examination was targeted and effective, demonstrating a great deal of preparation and real judgement. Her closing submissions to the jury were excellent. I was very impressed with Miss Papamichael and consider her a substantial talent."

Circuit Judge


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Elena is specialist in serious crime, youth justice and protest rights.

Elena also accepts instructions representing families in inquests and actions against the police.

Criminal Defence

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.  

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Children's 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. 

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Protest Rights

Elena is part of the specialist protest law team.  

In DPP v Manchester City Magistrates Court [2023] 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.  

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Court of Appeal

Elena has appeared with leave in relation to appeal against conviction and sentence.  

In R v Wiltshire [2022] 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.

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Notable Cases & News

Director of Public Prosecutions abandons application to take Iain Duncan Smith ‘Tory Scum’ case to Supreme Court

Tom Wainwright and Elena Papamichael, both of the Garden Court Protest Rights Team, represented Ruth Wood, instructed by Lydia Dagostino of Kellys Solicitors. Owen Greenhall, of the Garden Court Protest Rights Team, represented Radical Haslam, leading Mir

20 March 2024

Elena Papamichael secures unanimous acquittal for child modern slavery victim after six-week trial

Elena Papamichael is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence and Children's Rights Teams. She was instructed by Darrell Ennis-Gayle at Hodge Jones & Allen.

8 March 2024

High Court Dismisses DPP's Appeal Against Acquittal of Protestors Who Called Iain Duncan Smith “Tory Scum”

Tom Wainwright led Elena Papamichael. Owen Greenhall led Mira Hammad. Tom, Elena and Owen are members of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Rights Team.

21 November 2023

Kate Aubrey-Johnson and Elena Papamichael contribute to Legal Action Youth Justice Update

Kate Aubrey-Johnson and Elena Papamichael of the Garden Court Children's Rights Team have written for Legal Action Magazine.

5 September 2023

Elena Papamichael successful in Children's Rights case

Elena Papamichael, of the Garden Court Chambers Children's Rights Team, instructed by Rukhsana Hyatt of Rukhsana Hayat & Co Solicitors.

24 April 2023

Garden Court Chambers and Garden Court North remember Ian Macdonald QC

Garden Court Chambers and Garden Court North were honoured to host a memorial event for Ian Macdonald QC 1939-2019 at Middle Temple Hall on Tuesday 7 February 2023.

17 February 2023

Elena Papamichael successfully persuades CPS to discontinue proceedings against her 15-year-old client

Elena Papamichael of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team represented the defendant.

3 February 2023

Elena Papamichael successfully resists Solicitor General's Reference in mandatory minimum case

Elena Papamichael of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team represented the defendant.

3 February 2023

Elena Papamichael comments on clearing the court backlog and moving away from mass imprisonment

The massive delays in criminal trials reaching court are now widely known. The reality is that the government has deliberately underfunded the criminal courts system for many years.

15 November 2022

New report uncovers ‘institutional racism’ in the justice system

A new report by experts from The University of Manchester and barrister Keir Monteith KC has raised urgent questions about racial attitudes and practices in the justice system in England and Wales.

19 October 2022

Garden Court secures top tier rankings in the Legal 500 2023

Garden Court Chambers is proud to be recognised as a Top Tier set again in the Legal 500.

30 September 2022

Members of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team support escalating proposed CBA action to include days of action

17 June 2022

Stephanie Harrison QC, Chair and Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers, comments on the Nationality and Borders Bill receiving Royal Assent

29 April 2022

Garden Court Crime Team statement on no returns action

30 March 2022

Crown court proceedings in commercial scale cannabis production case stayed as an abuse of process

Lee Sergent and Elena Papamichael, both of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team, acted for two of the defendants instructed by GT Stewart Solicitors.

11 February 2022

Elena Papamichael joins Garden Court Chambers Crime Team

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to announce Elena Papamichael is now a member of the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team.

4 January 2022

Garden Court secures number one rankings in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2022

21 October 2021

Garden Court Chambers Crime Team shortlisted for Crime Set of the Year by Chambers Bar Awards 2021

We are delighted to announce that the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team has been shortlisted by the Chambers Bar Awards 2021 for Crime Set of the Year.

27 August 2021

All related news


Prior to joining Chambers, Elena worked as a solicitor at Hodge Jones and Allen in the Specialist Youth Team, Protest Law Team, General Crime Team and as a Higher Court Advocate at GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates.

Whilst studying for her law qualifications, Elena volunteered for the School Exclusions Project, representing young people who had been excluded from school. She also interned for Release, a drugs and Human Rights Charity and Runnymede Trust, a race equality think tank. Elena was a mentor at a youth project for several years and has run workshops for young people in schools, youth clubs and for the youth offending service about stop and search and the law and rights. She was previously a director of 4front, a social enterprise that seeks to tackle the root causes of youth violence.


Social justice and racial equality are at the heart of Elena’s work and she has written several articles on topics such as racism, youth justice, protest rights and drill music. 

Cut Short: Youth Violence, Loss and Hope in the City by Ciaran Thapar - Elena contributed to the criminal justice chapter by way of an interview

The Times - Extinction Rebellion: Climate crisis in criminal courts

Elena has been quoted in The Guardian in relation to the use of Criminal Behaviour Orders and their implications for our civil liberties

Criminal Law & Justice Weekly – Getting to the heard of knife crime in the UK

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