Susan Wright

Year of Call: 2013

“Susan is a fearless fighter, defending the underdog and insisting their rights are protected. A sharp and clever advocate.”

Liz Sargeant, Needham Poulier

“The most outstanding very junior advocate at the Bar. She deals with the most difficult of clients with respect and care. I really couldn’t recommend her enough.”

Lydia Dagostino, Kellys Solicitors

Contact Susan

If you would like to get in touch with Susan please contact the clerking team:

+44 (0)20 7993 7600

You can also contact Susan directly:

+44 (0)20 7993 7871

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Susan Wright is a crime and human rights barrister and an American lawyer whose career has included representing one of the first accused at the war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone as well as the first accused in the United States facing the death penalty after a cold hit DNA match.

In addition to crime she has a practice which developed as a result of her previous roles as the head of Rights Watch (UK) and Director of Médecins du Monde UK. She acts for defendants, NGOs and other organisations on a range of public law matters.

Criminal Defence

Overview

Susan Wright's criminal defence practice has included representing one of the first accused at war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone and the first accused in the US facing the death penalty after a cold hit DNA match.

Notable Cases

R v BO, Court of Appeal (2017): 7-year default sentence reduced to 4 years after the Court of Appeal agreed the judge erred in applying the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (as amended) when calculating the default sentence in confiscation proceedings.

R v MM, Oxford Crown Court (2017): Led by Di Middleton QC, successfully defended on the basis that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 'Battered Person Syndrome'. The case received national news coverage, including the BBC, ITV and Metro.

R v JM, Lewes Crown Court (2017): Youth charged with multiple counts of rape of 4-year old complainant. Sentenced to Youth Rehabilitation Order.

R v. TA, Harrow Crown Court (2017): Youth charged with kidnapping and rape of 12-year old stranger. The case received national news coverage, including the BBC.

R v MA, Bournemouth Crown Court (2017): Represented defendant charged with 7 counts of anal and vaginal rape.

National College of Teaching and Leadership v WH (2016): Represented teacher charged with professional misconduct as a result of his role in the 'Trojan Horse' affair. All but one allegation dismissed, no further action taken despite NCTL seeking lifetime prohibition. [1]

R v NW, Westminster Magistrates' Court (2015): Represented first defendant prosecuted for flying drones in violation of Air Navigation Order. [2] Susan was interviewed by Joshua Rozenberg on the subject of drones and was featured in Law in Action. [3]

R v ZS, Luton Crown Court (2016): Defendant acquitted of GBH with intent despite evidence from complainant, eyewitness, contemporaneous 999 call and extensive medical evidence.

R v ST, Chelmsford Crown Court (2016): Defendant charged with GBH. Despite life- changing injury and significant previous, negotiated plea to ABH and suspended sentence.

R v KB, Southwark Crown Court (2016): Prison officer charged with 6 counts of smuggling heroin, cannabis, and 30 phones.

R v SU, Chelmsford Crown Court (2016): Represented defendant in POCA proceedings, successfully negotiating reduction of benefit figure from £782,000 to £38,000.

R v AS, Maidstone Crown Court (2015): Represented defendant at 3-day POCA confiscation hearing, resulting in reduction of benefit figure from £2.2 million to £450,000.

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Mental Health Law

Overview

Susan Wright is a crime and human rights barrister who specialises in representing vulnerable defendants with complex mental health needs.

Notable Cases

R v AA, Inner London Crown Court (2017): Mentally unwell defendant convicted of Sec 18 GBH, Aggravated burglary and ABH, sentenced to Hospital Order.

R v MA, Croydon Crown Court (2016): Mentally unwell defendant charged with dwelling burglary granted bail and released from civil commitment.

R v FW, Croydon Magistrates' Court (2016): Assault conviction of vulnerable and mentally unwell defendant successfully reopened and defendant given absolute discharge.

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Administrative and Public Law

Public law - terrorism and countering extremism

  • Acted for individual subjected to torture while in detention for Terrorist offences
  • Advised GPs on applicability of Prevent duty in specific cases
  • Drafted Prevent Referral Policy for charity with 75 frontline staff
  • Advised parents of children subject to Prevent referrals
  • Advised charity in connection with ongoing Charity Commission investigation
  • Advised medical professionals relative to their Prevent obligations
  • Advised individuals subject to Security Services harassment
  • Delivered training on Rights and Obligations Under Schedule 7
  • Delivered training on Preparing to Travel Abroad as Part of a Humanitarian Convoy

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Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Susan has a wealth of human rights experience, most recently as the head of Rights Watch (UK) where she was responsible for advocacy, campaigning and strategic litigation to hold the UK government to account for human rights abuses in conflict settings. Her evidence to the Select Committee on Inquiries Act 2005 was repeatedly cited in their report and recommendations.[5]

As Director of Médecins du Monde UK she oversaw delivery of humanitarian aid and submitted evidence at the UN level (Human Rights Commission, Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants) and European level (Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights).

Susan has a wealth of human rights experience, most recently as the head of Rights Watch (UK) where she was responsible for advocacy, campaigning and strategic litigation to hold the UK government to account for human rights abuses in conflict settings. Her evidence to the Select Committee on Inquiries Act 2005 was repeatedly cited in their report and recommendations.[5]

As Director of Médecins du Monde UK she oversaw delivery of humanitarian aid and submitted evidence at the UN level (Human Rights Commission, Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants) and European level (Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights).

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International Human Rights

The Prosecutor v AK, Special Court for Sierra Leone (2007): Represented client accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. Had primary responsibility for preparation of research memoranda and pleadings, including trial brief.[4]

As Head of Rule of Law for the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia, advised the Bosnian government on the applicability of human rights standards on domestic criminal legal framework and helped developed the policy and legal framework which enable national courts to try war crimes case in conformity with national and international standards.

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Background

Susan is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts. She worked for five years as a court-appointed lawyer in the US where she represented a juvenile charged with capital murder in a trial that raised novel DNA issues.[6] She represented defendants in over 500 trials, on charges ranging from sexual offences to complex financial conspiracy. She was often required to research, brief, and argue issues of first impression.

Publications

Chapter author on Health and Human Rights textbook The Right to Health, Theory and Practice (Studentlitteratur) 2012.

Training and Seminars

Gaza: a legal analysis and response (The School of Law at Queen Mary University, London 2014).

International Obligations to Investigate Human Rights Violations (Doughty Street, London 2014).

Represented Israel in debate on legality of Gaza conflict, Society of Asian Lawyers (2014)

Fulbright Professor, University of Sarajevo Law School, International Criminal Law (2002-2005)

Awards

Fulbright Scholar

Marquand Prize

Harvard University Merit Scholar

Howard University Merit Scholar

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Education

  • Harvard University (Master's)

  • Howard University (Juris Doctor)

  • Muhlenberg College (First degree)

Languages

  • French
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian

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