Stephen KnightYear of Call: 2011

Stephen moved to Mansfield Chambers after having previously practised at the Government Legal Service (as a pupil) and Garden Court Chambers. He works primarily in criminal law, specialising in protest law, but is happy to accept briefs in other areas of chambers work. Stephen comes to the law from a background in political activism, and his approach to his cases is closely related to his work with the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, where he helps to co-ordinate the legal observing project.

Stephen has been involved in high profile criminal appeals both in the Court of Appeal (successfully appealing ASBOs imposed as part of Operation Zeus) and in a number of extremely long running cases with the CCRC. Stephen has also been involved as a junior in cases in the Crown Court and Court of Appeal which have received significant media attention.

Stephen has had considerable experience dealing with private driving matters, helping defendants to contest trials for motoring offences and to argue for special reasons for people to keep their driving licences.

Solicitors regularly instruct Stephen to advise on and draft PAP letters and grounds for judicial review in immigration cases.

Stephen’s work is mostly publicly funded but he is also prepared to accept privately funded or pro bono work in appropriate cases, including on a direct access basis.

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Main Areas of Practice

Criminal Law

  • General crime
  • Criminal appeals
  • CCRC applications
  • Protest law
  • Motoring offences


Immigration, Asylum, and Nationality Law

  • Asylum
  • Family reunification
  • Immigration bail


Public Law

  • Human rights claims
  • Public law and judicial review


Notable Cases

Criminal Law

Rotherham 12 [2016] Crown Court at Sheffield.  Stephen was instructed as part of the defence team led by Michael Mansfield QC in the successful defence of the Rotherham 12.  The case was covered by Channel 4 and the Guardian among others.

R (on the application of Michael Luvaglio) v Criminal Cases Review Commission [2016] QBD (Admin).  Stephen is currently instructed to represent Michael Luvaglio in his ongoing attempts to overturn his conviction for the One-Armed Bandit Murder.  A judicial review of the refusal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer the case to the Court of Appeal is currently under consideration by the High Court.

R (on the application of MA) v Criminal Cases Review Commission [2016] QBD (Admin).  Stephen is also currently instructed on a direct access basis in a judicial review of the CCRC's consideration of alleged juror bias in a murder case.

R v EC [2016] Criminal Cases Review Commission.  Preparation of an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for a review of a historic joint enterprise manslaughter conviction.  The application followed the judgment of the Supreme Court in Jogee.

London Borough of Harrow v Namachchivayam [2016] Crown Court at Inner London.  Successfully defended a local authority prosecution of a woman with limited English skills and learning difficulties accused of housing benefit fraud.

R v S [2016] Crown Court at Croydon. Represented a vulnerable survivor of torture experiencing PTSD, charged with theft, who had admitted the offence in interview.  As a result of detailed work in the preparation of the case to demonstrate that the admission was unreliable the prosecution offered no evidence.

R v Valujevs and others [2016] Crown Court at Huntingdon. Acted as junior counsel to Mark McDonald in a multi-handed prosecution lasting approximately 11 weeks.  The case arose out of a large-scale police operation targeting allegations of fraud and sham marriages.

R v Ben Geen [2016] Criminal Cases Review Commission. Pro bono case involving historic convictions for murders and GBH. Obtained permission for judicial review of the decision of the CCRC not to refer the case to the Court of Appeal on the grounds of considerable fresh statistical evidence which undermined the original prosecution case.  This led the CCRC to concede the case and agree to make a fresh decision about whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.

R v X [2015] Criminal Cases Review Commission. Pro bono case with the London Innocence Project pending before the CCRC, involving a historic conviction for murder. The original application was refused along with further representations. A pre-action protocol letter and grounds for judicial review led the CCRC to reconsider its position and agree to properly investigate the allegation of a miscarriage of justice in the case.

R v Robinson [2015] Crown Court at Leicester. Represented a student protester accused of assaulting a security guard at a university occupation. Successful submission of no case to answer on the basis of the complainant’s account being thoroughly undermined in cross-examination.

R v Hashi, Idle, Khalif, and Pirabakaran [2014] Crown Court at Isleworth then Court of Appeal. Represented two defendants convicted of supplying class A drugs in an application for post-conviction ASBOs, as part of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Zeus targeting over 30 drug dealers. The ASBOs were imposed with substantially less onerous conditions than applied for. Instructed to represent the original defendants and two further clients at the Court of Appeal, and successfully obtained variations in the terms.

R v Jones [2014] Maidstone Magistrates’ Court. Represented a defendant accused of a s 4 public order offence against a police officer at an anti-fascist demonstration. Secured an acquittal after extensive evidence of police violence shown to the court.

R v Morris [2014] Brighton Magistrates’ Court. Represented a defendant accused of 6 counts of fraud. Obtained acquittals on all counts based on forensic analysis of detailed computer records.

R v Kahllon [2014] Staines Magistrates’ Court. Represented a defendant accused of harassment of his former partner. Acquitted at half time on the basis of a legal argument on the nature of harassment.

R v Atkins and others [2014] Brighton Magistrates’ Court. Represented 5 of 11 protesters on trial for obstructing the highway at the Cuadrilla fracking site in Balcombe. All defendants were acquitted after trial involving detailed legal argument on reasonable use of the highway and proportionality of prosecution. Stephen also appeared in 6 other cases arising out of the same fracking protests.

R v Q [2013] Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court. Represented a defendant suffering from severe paranoid psychosis on allegations of harassment. Obtained a non-conviction disposal without hospital order or guardianship.

Immigration Law

Stephen has recently been consulting with French lawyers assisting people in and around Calais to explore their legal options for entering the UK.

R (on the application of Sehwerert) v ECO Cuba [2015] EWCA Civ 1141. Junior counsel led by Mark McDonald on an intervention by a group of MPs in an entry clearance application at the Court of Appeal, appealing against the decision of the Home Secretary to refuse entry to one of the Cuban Five. The application was successful and established a firm precedent on the value of parliamentarians' Article 10 ECHR rights including their entitlement to have information imparted to them. The Applicant was represented by Shivani Jegarajah.

SH v SSHD [2015] FTT (IAC) then [2016] Upper Tribunal. Instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit on an Article 8 ECHR appeal on the grounds of private life for a destitute 18 year old Kenyan national with no extant leave. Successfully obtained leave, thereby enabling the client to continue his education by attending university.  The SSHD appealed but following representations she withdrew her appeal and the matter was settled by consent.

DC v SSHD [2015] FTT (IAC). Represented a client accused of having falsified English language test results to obtain a visa. Detailed analysis of the evidence demonstrated that this could not have been correct. Client’s leave was restored as a result.

Public  Law

London Action Resource Centre v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2016].  Along with Natalie Csengeri of Farringdon Chambers undertook pro bono the case of a social centre providing facilities for activist organisations in Whitechapel, which had its exemption from paying non-domestic rates unexpectedly removed.  Following successful pre-action communications the defendant council agreed to rescind its original decision.

R (on the application of D) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2015] QBD (Admin). Successfully obtained accommodation for a child and their mother (a Zambrano parent) in London, through a judicial review involving an emergency out of hours injunction. The case was eventually settled by a consent order when the defendant agreed to a section 17 Children Act 1988 assessment and the provision of accommodation and subsistence to the family pending the outcome.

R (on the application of G & G) v London Borough of Southwark [2015] QBD (Admin). Undertook an emergency judicial review under section 17 Children Act 1988 to compel the defendant to accommodate and provide subsistence to a family where there were issues of child endangerment through inappropriate exposure to sexual behaviour. The case settled with the defendant agreeing to accommodate and provide subsistence to the family pending the outcome of a section 17 assessment.

Publications and Training

“A Critique of Law and Legal Education” (invited talk at the Law on Trial series by the Law School at Birkbeck College, University of London, 18 June 2013, and at the Radical Lawyering in Theory and Practice Conference, 13-15 September 2013).

Libertarian Critiques of Consent in Sexual Offences”, UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 2012, 1(1) p 137.

“Blasphemy after Jerry Springer - The Effect of R (on the application of Green) v City of Westminster Magistrates Court” (presented at the Lord Mansfield Student Law Society Conference, 29 March 2008).

Regular contributor to Socialist Lawyer, the magazine of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.


Jurisprudence and Legal Theory LLM, Distinction, University College London.

Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School.

Law with French LLB, First Class with distinction in spoken French, University of Sheffield.

Awards, Scholarships and Prizes

Harmsworth Scholarship, Middle Temple, 2010.

John Grosse Prize in the Common Law of England, University of Sheffield, 2010.

Professional Memberships

Executive Committee of the Criminal Bar Association

Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers


  • English (native)
  • French (working knowledge)


News about Stephen Knight

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