Jennifer has been involved in a number of high-profile cases involving the rights of children within the criminal justice system at all levels up to the Supreme Court. She also undertakes criminal appellate work including referrals to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
She co-authored 'Youth Justice Law and Practice' and sits as a Deputy District Judge in the Magistrates’ Court. She also regularly provides training to professionals on youth justice issues.
Jennifer has expertise in strategic litigation, having been Head of Strategic Litigation at Just for Kids Law for seven years before joining Chambers. She has led a number of successful campaigns involving the use of children as spies, children in police custody and reforms to the criminal record regime.
She has experience intervening in cases, as well as running campaigns and policy work alongside litigation.
Jennifer has been involved in a number of high-profile cases, primarily involving the rights of children. She has expertise in campaigning and media work alongside litigation and has given interviews on BBC News, radio and to other press.
Jennifer’s work predominantly involves the rights of children, although her cases include those arguing discrimination, and other arguments under the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.
Many of her cases involve children or young adults involved in the criminal justice system, ranging from issues to do with the disclosure of criminal records, along with other data held on children to protect children from being publicly named. She was involved in the Supreme Court case which led to a change in the disclosure regime for criminal records and represented one of the girls who killed Angela Wrightson in her successful bid to remain anonymous.
Jennifer worked as a criminal barrister for a number of years and now sits as a Deputy District Judge in the Magistrates’ Court. She, therefore, has a sound knowledge of the criminal justice system and acts in crime-related judicial review proceedings.
R(P,G, W) v SSHD  UKSC 3
The landmark judgment in the Supreme Court, which heard three linked cases, found that the criminal records disclosure regime was unlawful, and, in the case of G, the disclosure of youth reprimands or cautions in criminal record checks was a breach of his rights under Article 8 ECHR. Jennifer litigated the case on behalf of G, a young man who had reprimands on his criminal record from when he was 12 years old.
Having won the case at the Supreme Court, Jennifer then led Just for Kids’ further campaign and policy work, alongside Liberty and Unlock, in following up the decision with the government which led to a change in the law in November 2019.
R(CL) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester  EWHC 3333 (Admin)
Jennifer was junior counsel, led by Amanda Weston KC, in two linked judicial reviews challenging the retention of data involving unproven allegations on a child’s police record. See media coverage in The Independent here.
R(RD) v SSHD and SSJ  EWCA Civ 1346
Jennifer was junior counsel in Just for Kids’ intervention in this Court of Appeal case. The case concerned a young woman whose youth reprimand for shoplifting aged 13 had been disclosed when she applied for a job within the police force. The Claimant argued that this was unlawful under Article 8 ECHR.
R(AR) v London Borough of Waltham Forest  EWCA Civ 1185
The Court of Appeal held that there was a systemic failure by the local authority to provide secure accommodation for children who are otherwise held in police cells. Whilst the challenge was against a single local authority the ruling has ramifications for all London Councils as there is no secure accommodation available in the London area. Jennifer litigated the case, representing AR, a child, who had been held in police cells for two days. The challenge was taken as part of Just for Kids Law’s 'nochildincells' campaign. See media coverage in Local Government Lawyer, Just For Kids Law and Social Work Today.
D and F v Persons Unknown  EWHC 157 (QB)
The High Court granted lifelong anonymity to the two women who were convicted of the murder of Angela Wrightson when they were thirteen years’ old. Now adults, the original order of the judge that prevented them from being named in the press, expired on their 18th birthdays. The High Court found that naming them publicly would breach their rights under Articles 2 and 3 ECHR. Jennifer acted as a litigator for D in the case. See BBC News coverage here.
R(Just for Kids Law) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1772 (Admin)
Just for Kids challenged the policies relating to the use of children as covert human intelligence sources. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, Jennifer litigated the challenge on behalf of Just for Kids. Whilst initially unsuccessful in the High Court, the Secretary of State for the Home Department agreed to change the guidance shortly before the case was due to be heard in the Court of Appeal, importantly agreeing that children could only be used in exceptional circumstances. See The Guardian coverage here.
Following this, Jennifer further worked on the Child Spies campaign for Just for Kids Law, arguing against the inclusion of children in the bill that allows spies to commit criminal offences (Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct Bill)) on the bill that was passed in 2021 concerning the use of spies, successfully securing an amendment to the bill which gave further protections to children. See news coverage: Spy Kids: New intelligence law allows CHILDREN to work as secret agents - even against their parents
R(M) v Hammersmith Youth Court  EWHC 1359 (Admin)
Just for Kids intervened in this case involving age assessment in the magistrates’ courts. An unaccompanied minor had appeared before the Youth Court, who questioned his age, deemed him to be an adult without allowing an adjournment for further enquiries and remanded into custody in an adult prison. Jennifer litigated the intervention which argued that there needed to be clearer guidance for Magistrates faced with age-disputed individuals. The High Court found that the magistrates’ court had erred in failing to allow further enquiries to be conducted, and remanded the individual to local authority accommodation whilst such enquiries were carried out, establishing an important precedent that the benefit of the doubt needs to be afforded in these situations. See Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC)'s article here.
Previously a criminal barrister, Jennifer has extensive experience defending children in the Youth Court, Crown Court and Court of Appeal.
She undertakes criminal appeal cases and works on referrals to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and crime-related judicial reviews, especially those involving children.
She is instructed in judicial reviews against decisions of criminal courts as well as case-stated matters.
She co-authored Youth Justice Law and Practice, published by LAG and sits as a Deputy District Judge in the Magistrates’ Court.
At Just for Kids’ Law, she litigated the intervention in the Supreme Court case of R v Jogee, which changed the law on joint enterprise, and represented Joseph McGill in the case of R v Grant-Murray, Hewitt and McGill.
R(TI) v Bromley Youth Court 2020 [EWHC] 1204 (Admin)
A successful challenge to a District Judge’s decision not to grant an intermediary for a 14-year-old boy with learning disabilities for his trial in the Youth Court. The case involved applying for emergency interim relief to prevent the trial from going ahead before the application before the High Court was heard. The case was ultimately successful with the court confirming that it has a duty to consider the welfare of the child, which requires careful consideration of whether a child needs an intermediary. The case has led to a change in the practice directions for intermediaries.
R v Jogee  UKSC 8
Jennifer litigated the intervention for Just for Kids Law in the landmark Supreme Court case which overturned the previous definition of joint enterprise. The intervention focused on the disproportionate effect of the principle on young black men.
R v Grant-Murry, McGill and Hewitt  EWCA 1228
The conjoined appeal against both conviction and sentence of three of the defendants who had been convicted of murder was ultimately unsuccessful, but the Court of Appeal did consider a number of concerns raised about how trials are conducted involving young defendants. As a result of these concerns, the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee instigated changes to the PTPH form, ensuring that Crown Courts fully consider the modifications available to them when trying young defendants. Jennifer was the litigator in the case, representing Joseph McGill who had been 13 at the time of the incident, and 14 when he faced trial for murder.
Case of J – Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC)
Jennifer represented “J” who had pleaded guilty at the youth court to possession of indecent images found on his computer after his mother had called the police concerned that he was exploited online. The CCRC concluded that there was a potential defence, as well as an argument that he should never have been prosecuted and so referred the matter back to the Crown Court to allow him to make those arguments. See the CCRC article here.
Jennifer has been involved in a number of age assessment cases involving unaccompanied age-disputed individuals. At Just for Kids, she was involved in an important case establishing that local authorities in London are in breach of their statutory duties under the Children Act.
R(AR) v London Borough of Waltham Forest  EWCA Civ 1185
The Court of Appeal held that there was a systemic failure by the local authority to provide secure accommodation for children who are otherwise held in police cells. Whilst the challenge was against a single local authority, the ruling has ramifications for all London Councils as there is no secure accommodation available in the London area. Jennifer litigated the case, representing AR, a child, who had been held in police cells for two days. The challenge was taken as part of Just for Kids Law’s 'nochildincells' campaign.