Joe Bird

Call: 2012

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A top tier and very strong set which stables a great deal of talent that encompasses all areas of crime, fraud and regulatory work.

Legal 500, 2022
Joe Bird

Personal profile

Joe maintains a busy, solid practice, both alone and as led junior, prosecuting and defending across the full range of criminal offences.

Joe’s practice is predominantly in the Crown Court but he also maintains a Magistrates’ and Youth Court practice, delivering effective advocacy in those fast-paced jurisdictions. Joe is a Grade 3 prosecutor and a RASSO panel advocate.

He brings focused preparation, robust advocacy, a down to earth approach and sensitive interpersonal skills to all his cases.

In April 2015, he moved to independent practice at Red Lion Chambers after a successful two-and-a-half years with the CPS, where he gained experience and skills that continue to serve him today.

Based in Red Lion Chambers’ Chelmsford Annexe, Joe regularly appears across East Anglia, but also accepts instructions in London and nationally.


Joe’s breadth of experience encompasses the full range of criminal offending including serious Sexual Offences, substantial conspiracies, Serious & Organised Crime, Serious Violence and Murder & Manslaughter. He continues to build a busy prosecution and defence practice and is regularly instructed in contested trials and hearings in all areas of crime.

Featured cases

  • R v W and others (Op. Elf) (ongoing) – Instructed as prosecution junior in a large scale, multi-handed drugs conspiracy involving a range of drugs and multiple drugs supply lines.
  • Post Office Enquiry (2020-2021) – Instructed on behalf of the Post Office as part of a team of counsel engaged in conducting a large-scale post-conviction disclosure exercise.
  • R v C, S and F (2020 and 2021) – Instructed as prosecution junior in this three-handed, one punch manslaughter alleged to have been committed by three 16-year-olds. After careful analysis of the expert evidence, a guilty plea to the main offence was accepted from the principal, with successful prosecutions of the secondaries for violent disorder following.
  • R v S (2021) – Successful prosecution of a stranger sex attacker who targeted lone females early in the morning. Identifying the pattern of the defendant’s attacks, some of which only became apparent during evidence, led to the defendant’s conviction.

Proceeds of Crime and Confiscation

Joe accepts instructions for both the prosecution and defence in a wide range of confiscation proceedings. He is fully aware of the advantages which can be achieved through negotiation and avoiding a full contested hearing.

Featured cases

  • R v G and others (Op. Elsfield) (2022) – Instructed as prosecution junior in a four handed POCA prosecution. The case relies heavily on the expert interpretation of the four defendants’ financial accounts.
  • R v M (2019) – Successfully secured a confiscation order in contested proceedings where the defendant sought to diminish the value of a number of his assets as well as arguing against his possession of further assets.
  • Operation Twilight (2017) – Instructed as disclosure junior in a multi-handed, multi-million pound conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
  • R v P (2017) – Instructed for the prosecution of a multi-agency benefit fraud that took place over a number of years. The defendant eventually pleaded guilty.

Serious Violence

Joe is regularly instructed by the prosecution and defence in cases of violence and has particular experience in cases of domestic violence. He is familiar with the sensitivities and vulnerabilities that are typical of these cases. His experience allows him to approach such cases with confidence and to advance apparently unattractive arguments sensitively but firmly in both cross-examination and submissions.

Featured cases

  • R v R (2021) – Instructed for the prosecution of the alleged attempted murder by the defendant of his elderly grandmother in the middle of the night in her home. The case involved a number of sensitive issues including managing a serious case where the defendant sought to represent himself but was assisted by a court appointed advocate for cross-examination of the main witnesses. Ultimately the defendant was convicted of a collection of lesser offences and a restraining order was imposed.
  • R v B (2021) – Instructed to defend in a multi-handed affray involving four youth defendants. On a detailed analysis of the case papers and chronology, it became clear that an application to dismiss and targeted request for voluntary disclosure of material explaining the considerable delay was required. This resulted in the CPS offering no evidence against this client and co-defendant, remitting the remaining two to the Youth Court for sentence.
  • R v M and S (2019) – Instructed for the prosecution of two defendants charged with multiple counts of possessing prohibited weapons, one had pleaded guilty and the other held a contested trial. Careful deployment of the forensic evidence led to the successful conviction of the remaining defendant at trial.
  • R v M and others (2019) – Instructed as prosecution junior in a multi-handed conspiracy to burgle commercial premises. The conspirators constructed a sophisticated operation in which they targeted petrol stations and shops across the South-East of England using stolen, high powered vehicles. During their offending they were prepared to use those cars, and the industrial tools employed in the break-ins, in a highly dangerous manner to evade capture. All bar one defendants were successfully convicted.
  • R v K (2017) – Instructed to defend in an aggravated burglary where it was alleged that K had attended the premises of a bankrupt business and stolen assets in lieu of an outstanding debt. Careful cross-examination of the complainant reframed the prosecution case entirely and led to K’s acquittal.
  • R v F (2017) – Instructed to defend a youth in the Crown Court where the original allegation was robbery of a pizza delivery vehicle where a weapon was used. Following a focused, realistic basis of plea the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to vehicle taking and possession of an offensive weapon in place of the original robbery charge.
  • R v M (2016) – Successfully defended a charge of ABH in a domestic context where the only direct evidence came from the complainant and defendant and where his subsequent convictions for offences against a new partner were admitted in evidence.
  • R v S (2015) – Successfully defended an allegation that the defendant attended his ex-partner’s home and threatened her with a knife.

Military Law

Joe has prosecuted and defended service personnel in the civilian courts on a number of occasions. He has a practical understanding of the often sensitive background to these offences and is aware of the consequences a conviction will have on a defendant’s continued service. Joe accepts instructions in the civilian and military courts, both in this country and abroad.

Road Traffic Offences

Joe has dealt with a wide range of road traffic offences and is experienced in marshalling the combination of technical, expert, and factual evidence that can arise in road traffic cases. He understands how to conduct a case in line with the principles that underpin road traffic legislation in the summary jurisdiction, an often overlooked area of practice. He well understands that avoiding or minimising a disqualification can be the most important result for a client. He always strives to achieve that objective and is well placed to make focused arguments and tactical decisions to achieve that aim

Featured cases

  • R v P (2021) – Successfully advanced an exceptional hardship argument and avoided disqualification for a delivery driver who had amassed seven separate speeding offences on the same stretch of road. He had not realised his vehicle was subject to a lower speed limit in a national speed limit zone and was the main carer for a vulnerable, elderly friend.
  • R v G (2016) – Persuaded the prosecution to accept a guilty plea to careless driving where the original charge had been driving whilst unfit through drugs. The defendant’s licence was endorsed with the minimum number of penalty points and he kept his licence.
  • R v S (2014) – Instructed for the prosecution of an extremely unusual case where a youth defendant had been charged with careless cycling which resulted in a fatality. A patient and empathetic approach, coupled with appropriate early disclosure led the defendant to plead guilty.

Regulatory & Professional Disciplinary

Joe maintains a practice in regulatory matters and accepts instructions in Professional Discipline.

Joe has first-hand experience of the work and demands of a heavily regulated industry, having worked as the senior instructor at an outdoor centre in Essex before joining the Bar.

He accepts instructions on behalf of both prosecuting authorities and defendants.

Featured cases

  • Ipswich Borough Council v P (2017) – Instructed for the prosecution of a landlord who had repeatedly failed to comply with an improvement notice. An appropriate fine was imposed, and a substantial amount of the local authority’s costs were recovered.
  • W v Chief Constable for Essex (2016) – Successful appeal against the imposition of a criminal behaviour order, which had been drafted in terms that reflected a sexual harm prevention order and imposed following a civil application, without any related criminal proceedings. The amended order was substantially redrafted properly to reflect the limited evidence relied on by the Chief Constable.


  • General law BPTC: very-competent
  • Sound Design LLM: with merit
  • BSc (Hons): 2.1

Professional appointments

  • CPS Panel Advocate (Grade 3)
  • CPS RASSO Panel Advocate


  • CBA
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Inner Temple

Other expertise