Nicola May

Call: 1993

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Has an excellent reputation for conscientious and excellent advocacy.

Legal 500 (2009)
Nicola May

Personal profile

Nicola is an experienced senior junior who both prosecutes and defends in the full spectrum of Crime cases encompassing Murder & Manslaughter, Sexual Offences (including historical sexual abuse), neglect, and large scale Drugs Offences conspiracies. She is regularly instructed in cases involving vulnerable witnesses or defendants where she is recognised for her excellent witness and client management skills.


Has an excellent reputation for conscientious and excellent advocacy.

― Legal 500 (2009)

Murder & Manslaughter

Nicola has both prosecuted and defended in Murder & Manslaughter cases, many involving multi defendant trials.

Featured cases

  • R v L (2022) – Junior counsel involved in a prosecution of a murder involving an offensive weapon (knife) with a 15-year-old defendant. The defence were running self-defence and were advancing modern-slavery as part of the narrative. The case involved effective presentation of a large volume of CCTV evidence and relevant third-party material.
  • R v G (2021) – Successful prosecution of a one punch manslaughter case. The case involved detailed presentation of CCTV and audio evidence.
  • R v E and others (2013) – Junior prosecution counsel in a five-defendant murder trial where the victim had been kicked to death. Many of the prosecution witnesses were reluctant and/or vulnerable. All five defendants were convicted.
  • R v B and others (2010) – Junior defence counsel in a multi-handed murder where the victim had been stabbed and then subsequently run over. There were complex issues of causation and identification and the defendant was acquitted.

Serious Violence

Nicola has both prosecuted and defended in involving kidnapping, false imprisonment, and aggravated burglary.

Featured cases

  • R v K (2022) – Successful defence of a defendant charged with an aggravated burglary involving a hammer attack. The prosecution case was that the defendant had committed the offence with his brother and introduced evidence of bad character demonstrating previous occasions where there had been joint offending. The defence case was mistaken identification and involved careful cross-examination of a number of eye-witnesses using material obtained from secondary disclosure.
  • R v D (2016) – Instructed to prosecute a domestic violence GBH with intent. The victim woke bleeding and badly hurt with fractures to her hands, possible fractures to cheek, jaw and eye socket and six teeth knocked out, and with no recollection of what had happened. Her children confirmed that the only other person who had been in the premises was the defendant, and they had heard banging coming from the room in the night. The defendant was convicted.
  • R v P and others (2016) – Instructed to defend a multi-handed conspiracy to rob and money laundering.

Drugs Offences

Nicola has prosecuted and defended in a number of serious drugs trafficking cases to include importation cases. Nicola has prosecuted a number of multi-handed county lines operations.

Featured cases

  • R v J (2021) – The defendant was part of a county lines operation charged with two others. One of the defendants had gone missing and the defendant contesting the matter trial was seeking to blame the missing defendant for the drugs and drugs paraphernalia located in the address. The case involved detailed presentation of text messages found on a number of telephones in order to demonstrate that the defendant was in control of the mobile phones located in the property.
  • R v H others (2013) – Instructed as prosecution junior in a three-month trial concerning a syndicate involved in the large-scale distribution of Class A drugs. The case involved evidence from an undercover officer and the analysis and presentation of complex and voluminous telephone material.
  • R v W and others (2012) – Instructed as junior prosecution counsel which dismantled an organised crime group involved in a large-scale Class A drugs conspiracy.


Nicola has both prosecuted and defended in Fraud cases including Benefit fraud.

Featured cases

  • R v P and others (2016) – Instructed to defend a multi-handed conspiracy to rob and money laundering.
  • R v B-F and others (2011) – Instructed as junior defence counsel in a two-month £1m telecommunications fraud prosecuted by Trading Standards.

Sexual Offences

A large proportion of Nicola’s practice concerns both prosecuting and defending defendants charged with rape, historic sexual abuse, and possession of indecent images. Nicola appears in both the Youth Courts and Crown Courts and has also successfully dealt with appeals in the Court of Appeal, against conviction and sentence to include ancillary orders such as Sexual Harm Prevention Orders.

Nicola is experienced at dealing with young and vulnerable witnesses and defendants and in conducting section 28 hearings.

For many years Nicola was instructed by Local Authorities to represent them in disclosure applications involving social services material. Nicola is therefore very familiar in disassembling this type of material.

Featured cases

  • R v PB (2022) – Successful prosecution of a teacher charged with sexually assaulting a pupil in a lesson.
  • R v D (2019) – Successful prosecution of a defendant charged with sexually assaulting a schoolgirl on her way home from school.
  • R v O (2019) – Successful defence of a man charged with rape of a woman who he picked up outside of a night club. The defence successfully excluded DNA evidence on the basis of contamination.
  • R v D (2019) – Successful defence of man charged with child cruelty and sexual assault of a child. The offences were alleged to have been committed when the child was staying with the defendant during contact arrangements. Sensitive cross-examination was required of the complainant.
  • R v K (2018) – Successful defence of defendant charged with a number of sexual offences including rape. The prosecution alleged the male complainant had been targeted on a dating site and lured to the defendant’s address with the intention of committing the offences. The male made a telephone call to the police having barricaded himself in the bathroom. The defendant was acquitted of all charges.
  • R v B (2017) – Successfully defended a historic child abuse, indecent assault of s child between ten and 11 years old. The defendant was acquitted.
  • R v W (2016) – Instructed to prosecute a rape of a vulnerable and disabled victim who had been taking medication which caused drowsiness by her live-in partner. He was acquitted of rape, but convicted of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.
  • R v S and others (2012) – Instructed as leading defence counsel where the defendant was charged with the management of numerous brothels in the Suffolk area.
  • R v W (2012) – Instructed to defend a sexual activity with a child who had ADHD and a low IQ. Application made to exclude the defendant’s interview owing to lack of appropriate adult representation was refused by the trial judge. The subsequent conviction was overturned on appeal with no retrial ordered.
  • R v S (2010) – Instructed as junior counsel prosecuting historical allegations of physical/sexual abuse against a number of pupils during the defendants tenure as Headmaster. The defendant was convicted of 13 of 15 contested charges.
  • R v S and others (2008) – Instructed to defend a woman in a multi-handed trial charged with being concerned in the management of brothels in the Suffolk area. Successful submission of no case to answer.

Road Traffic Offences

Nicola has represented defendants charged with causing death by dangerous/careless driving and accepts private instructions to represent defendants charged with the full spectrum of driving offences.

Professional Discipline

Nicola prosecutes on behalf of Local Authorities including matters arising under Trading Standards, the Housing Acts and the Education Act. She is also instructed to represent Local Authorities where disclosure is sought of material contained within social services files.

Featured cases

  • R v P and P (2015) – Large scale multiple benefit fraud. There was a large amount of material to present including video and audio evidence. The defendants ultimately pleaded guilty.
  • R v P (2012) – Trading Standards prosecution of an Essex contractor charged with fraud by taking money from customers and either not completing the work or completing it to a poor standard. His claim that he was unfit to stand trial was successfully challenged and he was successfully prosecuted.
  • Advising UBS Bank/R v A (2013) – Advising UBS Bank in all aspects of their involvement as third party and witness in a rogue trader case which included large FSA regulatory involvement and FSA /UBS commissioned regulatory investigation report by KPMG.

Professional appointments

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


  • CBA
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Essex Bar Mess

Other expertise