2014, Middle Temple
Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Court) - 2017
Recorder - 2019
Criminal Bar Assocation
University of Leicester (LL.B Hons)
Those unfamiliar with Phil's history should not be fooled by the 2014 call date.
By the time he came to take up tenancy here at 9 St John Street, Phil was already a seasoned criminal practitioner with wide experience across the whole range of the criminal justice system – from motoring offences to murder and from the custody suite to the Court of Appeal.
In 2005 he qualified as a solicitor with a thriving regional criminal practice, and by 2008 he was one of Manchester's foremost higher court advocates, spending his daily life before judge and jury in the Crown Courts. Along the way, the head of Cardiff University's law school wrote a letter describing him as “one of the most talented young solicitors we have ever had through the duty solicitor program”.
It was only after having earned his stripes in the eyes of both the bench and the Bar that Phil was offered the chance to join the criminal team at 9 SJS in December 2014.
And he hasn’t looked back.
From his start as a dedicated defence lawyer, Phil’s portfolio has diversified to include a wide mixture of work on both sides of the courtroom and, more recently, on the bench as well.
He is a category 3 prosecutor and a specialist rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) advocate. He is frequently instructed by the CPS complex casework unit, particularly in relation to gangland, firearms and organised crime prosecutions and counter-terrorism work. He has the strongest possible grounding in complex unused material review, disclosure and intelligence handling.
Phil is a lawyer who can play every role in the team, having matured from the experienced solicitor to the diligent junior and the able leader - he has assisted some of the most eminent QCs in the country, and has led more junior counsel to success in complex multi-handed organised crime prosecutions.
But he remains committed to his roots as a defence lawyer too, and Phil has long been instructed to defend in the most serious of cases. He has represented defendants charged with murder, manslaughter, rape, fraud, cyber-crimes, drug importation and supply and fatal driving offences, to name but a few. In recent years he has developed a particular reputation for successfully defending professionals such as police officers, care staff and prison officers accused of abusing those in their care or of otherwise taking advantage of their positions of authority.
He continues to use his experience to progress his career. In 2017 he was appointed as a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Court), and in 2019 he was made a Recorder.
Hailing from a comprehensive school background, and having first-hand experience of all the various facets of the criminal justice system, Phil takes a keen interest in social mobility at the Bar and in encouraging talented individuals from all walks of life to consider a future in the law. He regularly presents to schools and careers organisations and acts as a practitioner mentor for students in the Bar mock trial competition.
Throughout all these roles Phil prides himself on delivering the expertise demanded of the Bar, layered with the diligence, touch and understanding carried over from his years as a solicitor.
And - just occasionally - he finds time to run, ride motorbikes, play and coach football and to mourn the sad demise of Bolton Wanderers.
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