Described as ‘an absolute star’ by the Legal 500, Joanna is an accomplished defence barrister in very high demand.
Joanna enjoys a high-profile caseload defending serious allegations. She is a popular jury advocate who prides herself on attractive advocacy, no-nonsense advice, a personable approach, and the capacity for sustained hard work. The ‘outstanding results she achieves for her clients’ have been praised by the Legal 500.
Recent instructions include double attempted murder [stabbing], attempted murder [shooting], manslaughter, death by dangerous driving, rape, kidnap, child cruelty, firearms, extensive drug operations and high-level fraud.
Joanna has appeared against, and co-defended with, King’s Counsel.
Joanna has experience as leading counsel and enjoys working as part of a team. She is also regularly led by King’s Counsel in murder trials and is known for being a diligent, trustworthy, and hardworking junior.
Joanna enjoys ‘case ownership’ and early involvement in the shape of a case. She encourages early conference with a client and their family to map out a strategy and to provide support. Joanna has had recent success in securing bail for clients in the early stages of murder and conspiracy to murder proceedings.
Joanna is often asked to represent professionals and high-profile individuals in the criminal courts. She has represented teachers, police officers, prison officers, nurses and business owners. She is experienced in handling sensitive allegations of misconduct in a public office. Joanna is discreet and skilled in managing cases attracting media attention.
Joanna is approachable and experienced in representing young and vulnerable defendants. She is proficient in trials involving intermediaries, special measures and the pre-recording of evidence.
Joanna has particular expertise in defending those accused of sexual offending in both the Crown Court and Court of Appeal. The Legal 500 noted Joanna’s skill in the face of cases where ‘the jury may have initially taken against her client due to the nature of the allegations.’ Joanna undertook one of the first pre-recorded s28 cross-examination pilot trials and is able to accept a very limited number of such cases per year.
An experienced appellate lawyer, Joanna is regularly instructed to advise and act in first-instance cases involving difficult or unusual points of law. She has appeared before the Court of Appeal on behalf of both appellants and respondents. She appeared before the Lord Chief Justice in the leading authority establishing the correct approach to inconsistent verdicts (F and others  EWCA Crim 550). She was counsel for the successful respondent in a frequently cited authority as to non-defendant bad character (E  EWCA Crim 839). In a recent appeal against sentence, Joanna successfully argued an extended sentence of eight years was manifestly excessive; it being reduced to a determinate sentence of 40 months (T  EWCA Crim 1378). Joanna is experienced in Attorney General’s reference proceedings. She has successfully opposed applications by the Attorney General to refer her client’s sentences as unduly lenient (C  EWCA Crim 483) and has also been led in relation to an unduly lenient minimum term of a life sentence imposed for the offence of conspiracy to murder (W  EWCA Crim 1353). Joanna recently successfully argued that an ‘interim’ sentence for murder, served between the commission and conviction dates of separate offending, ought to have been taken into account at the point of sentence (D  EWCA Crim 119).
Joanna is an accredited advocacy trainer for Middle Temple and a pupil supervisor within chambers. She regularly volunteers with the Kalisher Trust to widen access and entry to the profession.
Joanna is listed in both of the leading legal directories; the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.
Joanna came to the Bar from a strong academic background. She read Law at King’s College London where she graduated with First Class Honours. She was awarded a postgraduate scholarship to read for her LLM Master of Laws, graduating with Distinction. She was the recipient of the Harmsworth Scholarship from Middle Temple.
Joanna speaks and writes about the criminal justice system. In 2019 she was listed in the ‘Law and Order’ category of the Evening Standard’s ‘Progress 1000’, a list of the most influential people in London. Joanna has appeared on BBC television and radio. She has twice given evidence to the House of Commons’ Justice Committee.
― Legal 500 (2024)
Joanna is a force to be reckoned with. She is incredibly well prepared and grasps very complicated and detailed cases from the first conference. She is very personable and her advocacy is excellent, particularly her cross-examination, which is thorough and incredibly effective.
― Legal 500 (2023)
Joanna leaves no stone unturned. Her hard work and advocacy skills are evidenced by the outstanding results she achieves for her clients. Her legal knowledge is second to none.
― Legal 500 (2022)
Joanna combines the sensitivity and care needed in a case with the firmness, clarity and focus required in order to fully set out her case in a trial in which the jury may have initially taken against her client due to the nature of the allegations.
― Legal 500 (2022)
Joanna cross-examines complainants in an effective and sensitive way. Overall, she is an excellent and very able trial advocate.
― Chambers UK (2022)
An enthusiastic and hard-working star in the making.
― Legal 500 (2021)
An absolute star whose high profile is well deserved. A skilled advocate who works exceptionally hard, winning the trust of judges and juries alike. She is an incredible mentor to many solicitors and barristers; both formally and informally. She is someone I look up to as a person and a lawyer.
― Legal 500 (2020)
She has a sure touch with clients and the court alike.
Joanna is experienced in defending robustly those accused of sexual offending in both the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal. Joanna’s practice encompasses allegations of rape (including multiple allegations and/or multiple complainants), historic allegations, allegations of offending against children and cases involving grooming and abduction.
- R v M (2022) – Successfully represented a teacher accused of sexual offences by a student, including allegations of sexual offending inside the classroom.
- R v W (2021) – Instructed to represent a young man accused of two counts of rape. He was said to have confessed. The defence case was that the confessions were unreliable due to the defendant’s mental health diagnoses and expert evidence was called. Acquitted of all counts.
- R v W (2021) – Instructed as led junior representing a paramedic accused of rape and sexual offending against multiple complainants, including patients.
- R v D (2021) – Successfully applied to dismiss charges of sexual offending said to have occurred in abuse of a position of trust by a member of staff at a school.
- R v A (2021) – Instructed to defend a man of previous good character accused of rape and controlling, coercive behaviour. Material telephone evidence was served during the currency of the trial. The defendant was acquitted of all counts.
- R v C (2021) – Instructed to defend two allegations of rape made by two separate complainants. The matter involved the pre-recorded cross-examination of two witnesses with involved s41 and s100 applications.
- R v D (2020) – Instructed to defend allegations of serious sexual offending from the 1970s. In the interim, and unusually, the defendant had been convicted of a separate offence of murder and served over three decades in custody before the proceedings began.
- R v D (2019) – Instructed as led junior for the defence in relation to historic sexual allegations made against a teacher at a boarding school.
- R v H (2018) – Instructed to defend a complex allegation of attempted rape. The sole issue was capacity in the context of a complainant diagnosed with dementia.
- R v C (2018) – Instructed to defend an allegation of aiding and abetting rape in circumstances where the principal defendant had pleaded guilty.
- R v F (2018) – Acquittal of a serving police officer accused of sexual assault in a nightclub.
- R v H (2018) – Instructed to represent an employee of a primary school accused of indecent exposure.
- R v Z (2016) – Instructed to represent a taxi driver who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a young female passenger.
- R v O (2015-2016) – Appeared for the first defendant accused of multiple counts of rape against a young woman over the course of one evening. Following mixed verdicts [one conviction and three acquittals] Joanna appeared in a conjoined appeal which established the correct approach to inconsistent verdicts. F and others  EWCA Crim 550
- R v T (2015) – Instructed to represent a young defendant on the Asperger’s spectrum accused of sexually assaulting his neighbour. Successfully raised reasonable belief in consent.
- R v T (2014) – Counsel for a female defendant accused of an historic 25-year-old allegation of sexual offending against a male child.
- R v M (2013) – Instructed as led junior for the defence relating to 25 counts of historic rape and sexual offences involving ten complainants.
Joanna is experienced in robustly defending those accused of serious crime. She has defended alone in allegations of attempted murder involving both firearms and stabbings.
- R v B (2021) – Instructed in a two-handed attempted murder allegation involving the shooting of the complainant with a shotgun. The complainant’s car was then shot with a second shotgun. The defence, unusually, raised self-defence and duress of circumstances. The matter involved extensive bad character evidence. Acquitted of all counts.
- R v L (2021) – Instructed in an attempted murder allegation involving a group stabbing attack on a male said to be motivated by jealousy. The defendant was acquitted of attempted murder and convicted of wounding with intent.
- R v S (2021) – Instructed in this attempted murder allegation involving the defendant stabbing his mother multiple times. Following extensive expert evidence as to his mental health diagnoses, a plea was accepted to s20.
- R v H (2021) – Instructed to represent a female defendant accused of ‘glassing’ another woman in a nightclub causing permanent injuries.
- R v C (2019) – Instructed to defend an allegation of attempted murder involving a stab wound to the neck in a London Public House.
- R v S (2019) – Instructed to prosecute a section 18 GBH allegation in which the defendant had bitten off part of the complainant’s tongue.
- R v R (2018) – Instructed to appear for a teenage defendant in a gang-related conspiracy to wound case allegedly driven by ‘drill’ music online.
- R v C (2017) – Led by Max Hill QC in relation to a ‘cold case’ conspiracy to murder trial.
- R v W (2017) – Instructed as led junior in a multi-handed conspiracy to murder trial and related aggravated burglary proceedings. The minimum term of the life sentence imposed at first instance was subject to an Attorney General’s Reference.
- R v D (2017) – Instructed to represent a female defendant accused of orchestrating the stabbing of two complainants.
- R v S (2016) – Instructed to appear for a defendant accused of possessing a loaded double-barrelled shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence. This involved the rare defence of necessity of circumstances. The defendant was acquitted of the most serious charge and convicted of simple possession.
- R v S (2015) – Instructed as led junior for the first defendant accused of murdering his neighbour by stabbing. The matter involved a contested confession, DNA, cell site and ANPR evidence.
Joanna is experienced in defending allegations of high-level Fraud. She is able to condense huge quantities of evidence into a manageable core – and present complex cases attractively to a jury.
- R v F (2019) – Instructed to appear for a high profile individual accused of being party to a high level six figure conspiracy to fraudulently sell rare earth metals.
- R v L and nine others (2018) – Instructed to prosecute alone a ten-handed conspiracy to defraud [three to trial] and related POCA proceedings. The defendants were accused of selling ‘phantom’ tickets to high profile sporting events.
- R v G (2016) – Instructed to represent a defendant accused of manipulating the Power of Attorney provisions to commit a six-figure fraud against his father who had been diagnosed with dementia.
- R v M (2016) – Instructed as prosecution counsel for a six-figure fraud committed through complex identity theft.
- R v D (2015) – Appeared alone for a female defendant accused of laundering over £150k cash said to have been from a widespread Class A drugs conspiracy. The Crown was represented by leading and junior counsel.
- LLM Master of Laws, King’s College London: Distinction (2009)
- Law LLB, King’s College London: First Class Honours (2008)
- Harmsworth Scholarship, Middle Temple (2009)
- Postgraduate Alumni Bursary, King’s College London (2008-2009)
- CPS Panel Advocate (Grade 3)