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Zoë Chapman

Zoë Chapman

Call: 2014

T: 020 7520 6000    E: chambers@18rlc.co.uk

Zoë enjoys a busy practice both defending and prosecuting in the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts. She has experience across a wide range of cases, including those involving dishonesty offences, drugs, RTA, violence and sexual offences, as well as confiscation and forfeiture proceedings.

Prior to coming to chambers, Zoë worked for the law reform and human rights charity, JUSTICE (having initially joined as an intern funded by a Kalisher Trust scholarship), and in particular was rapporteur of its Mental Health and Fair Trial working party report, chaired by Sir David Latham. She brings her insight into the law and procedures relating to mental health (including the use of intermediaries, other special measures, and the relevant defences and disposals) to bear when working with vulnerable clients. The JUSTICE Mental Health Working Party was reconvened in April 2019 to consider the draft CPS Guidance on mental health, which the CPS is developing in response to the recommendations made in JUSTICE’s report.

She was previously Assistant News Editor at Just Security, an online forum for the analysis of US national security law and policy run out of the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University. Prior to that, she gained experience in fraud and financial crime whilst assisting a campaign group of SMEs with the private prosecution of bank employees who had fraudulently mis-sold its members Interest Rate Hedging Products ahead of the 2008 financial crash.

Zoë was awarded the Sibel Dedezade Pro Bono Award for her work establishing and running City Law School’s free legal advice clinic, which was recognised nationally in the Times Higher Education. She has also volunteered for the Free Representation Unit, the UCU, and various other organisations. Before pursuing a legal career, Zoë worked in the financial services industry.

Zoë has completed the ICCA Vulnerable Witness training.


Recent cases include:

  • R v R (2019) – suspended sentence for vulnerable client for fraud and theft offences totalling c.£40k committed against her employer over several years.
  • R v M (2019) – client acquitted for possession of Class B following successful half time submission of no case to answer.
  • R v A (2019) – client acquitted of domestic assault by beating.
  • R v S (2019) – following change of plea to driving offences, persuaded court to go far outside sentencing guideline and endorse license with only 3 points so that client could pursue career aspirations.
  • R v B (2018) – client acquitted of PWITS x 2.
  • R v S (2018) – client acquitted of racially aggravated criminal damage and prosecution application for a Restraining Order successfully resisted.
  • R v E (2018) – client acquitted of ABH and prosecution application for a Restraining Order successfully resisted.
  • R v C (2018) – successful appeal against conviction for a racially aggravated public order offence following a half-time submission of no case to answer.
  • R v D (2018) (youth matter) – client acquitted of robbery following successful submission of no case to answer (ID evidence weak where co-Ds were identical twins).

Zoë also prosecutes on behalf of the CPS and the National Probation Service.

Publications, Lectures and Training


‘A failure to engage’, opinion piece on the Met’s response to the Sarah Everard vigil, Law Gazette, March 2021

‘Moral philosophy’s lessons for law’, review of The Possibility of Norms by Christoph Mӧllers, September 2020

‘Diversity in lockdown: threats and opportunities’, with Francesca Kirby, Counsel Magazine, August 2020

‘The fallacy of ’24-hour’ justice’, Counsel Magazine, July 2020

‘Time to ‘kickstart’ criminal justice’, letter to The Law Society Gazette, July 2020

‘Is the criminal justice system doing enough to tackle racism?’, with Francesca Kirby, Lawyer Monthly, June 2020

Assisted David Malone with ‘At the Cliff Edge … Should Defendants Remain Anonymous Pre-Charge?’, Lawyer Monthly, August 2018

Contortions in the UK’s Arms Export Regime – and Costs of the Yemen War’, Just Security, April 2017

J6 Series, ‘A new defence for victims of domestic violence who offend’, 26 November 2020

J5 Series, ‘Draft mental health sentencing guideline and the draft CPS mental health guidance’, 3 October 2019


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BPTC, City Law School
GDL, University of East Anglia
MA Modern and Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, University of London
BA (hons) English Literature, QMUL


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Criminal Bar Association
Young Legal Aid Lawyers


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Sibel Dedezade Pro Bono Award 2014
Kalisher scholarship for a 4-month internship at JUSTICE, 2015