Chloe Ashley - Crime
Chloe joined chambers following successful completion of her third-six pupillage under the supervision of Earl Pinnock.
Chloe has developed the natural ability to present complex issues in a detailed, comprehensible manner. She exceeds the competencies expected of a junior of her call and is noted for the persuasive style of her advocacy.
In particular, she is known for her considered approach to trial strategy and tactical acuity in cases involving multiple defendants. She regularly receives praise from those who appear with and against her and from the judiciary who have noted her “superb attention to detail" when presenting legal argument.
From start of her career Chloe has appeared in the Crown Court and has quickly developed a wealth of experience. Her reputation attracts instructions as a led junior and alone. She has appeared as defence counsel in a number of serious cases including: conspiracies to supply drugs and firearms, kidnap, violent disorders, assaults (section 18, 20), sexual offences, stalking and harassment cases and fatal road traffic offences. Chloe has experience of issues such as covert policing to intercept communications and of applications for public interest immunity.
She has also appeared in a number of high profile cases. Notable instructions include representing one of thirty-six men (a lead defendant) charged with public nuisance in Operation Wraithbane. The defendants allegedly formed part of an organised crime ring who converged on Birmingham as an unauthorized gathering involving hundreds of motorcyclists.
Other recent instructions include representing a teenager in a national drug conspiracy involving groups of vulnerable youths used as couriers to supply from cities to rural areas. Many of those couriers were being exploited due to their mental health issues and traumatic upbringings. The case against Chloe’s client was dismissed after successful submissions pursuant to the Modern Slavery Act were made to illustrate that her client had been the deliberate target of gangs.
Chloe is passionately committed to social mobility in the law and speaks regularly at state schools and Inns of Court events, supporting young people from non-traditional backgrounds in their ambition to become barristers.
She is an advocate of women’s rights with significant experience working on behalf of NGOs. Chloe worked with a number of organisations offering intensive pro-bono legal support to vulnerable women involved in street prostitution, those who have been the victims of human trafficking enterprises and women subjected to ‘honour’-based violence. She welcomes instructions in such cases.
Chloe prides herself on her commitment to her clients and has considerable experience representing vulnerable individuals, notably youths and those with mental health difficulties having worked for a number of years both at home and aboard on a range of impressive human rights projects.
She has an outwardly gentle manner and is skilled at putting her clients at ease. She also has a proven ability to gain the trust of even the most justifiably self-protective defendants in order to successfully represent them. As a result, she is regularly instructed in cases which require careful client care.
Chloe offers continuous advice both on paper and in conference throughout proceedings. She favours face-to-face contact early so that issues can be identified swiftly and, if necessary, acted upon.
Chloe balances sensitivity and compassion with a fearless desire to get the best result for her client. She is intellectually rigorous and astute, yet down to earth and personable.
Prior to pupillage Chloe worked in the NGO sector with organisations including Reprieve. There she provided legal and investigative support to those facing execution. Part of her work also involved the representation of those victimized by states’ abusive counter-terror policies, including, rendition, torture, extrajudicial imprisonment and killing. Chloe also assisted on the successful Stop the Lethal Injection Project, engaging with shareholders in pharmaceutical companies whose drugs were being used in US executions
Thereafter she worked in Houston with Texas Defender Service assisting lawyers defending several clients charged with capital murder who were potentially facing the death penalty if convicted at trial. Much of Chloe’s work focused on clemency petitions and mitigation investigations. In addition, she contributed to various proceedings in the Supreme Court of Criminal Appeals including the leading case of Buck v Davis. Following her return to the UK she co-authored an academic research paper with the prestigious Arthur Liman Public Interest Program and The American Civil Liberties Union exploring the deleterious of solitary confinement in US prisons. Since, she has completed additional qualifications in Death Penalty Studies with Yale University.
Chloe therefore retains a strong interest in matters involving human rights and enjoys looking at the intricacies of complex legal situations, especially when considered alongside the effect of political policies on individual lives.
In addition, Chloe is also often sought out to assist corporate clients having previously enjoyed a career in management for multi-million-pound retailer; specialising in human resources. Solicitors instructing in these cases commend Chloe for her excellent client care when dealing with the most sensitive and demanding of issues.
Chloe sits on the CPS West Midlands Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel.
Chloe retains a position on the advisory committee for Rape Crisis Trustees, regularly contributing to the organisation’s publications on the law and its relationship to rape.
In addition, Chloe is a long-standing member (since 2012) of Young Legal Aid Lawyers: a pro-bono group advocating and campaigning on behalf of junior lawyers working in the legal aid sector.
As a member of Amicus, a small death penalty charity, Chloe sits on their interviewing panel considering candidates for internships abroad. She also regularly contributes to their casework program focused on raising awareness of potential abuses of defendants' rights. Her particular focus is on the pending appeal of Stites v Reed.
Chloe also sit as a member of the Birmingham Law Society’s Criminal Committee representing the interests of barristers working in the Midlands legal aid sector.
Further, Chloe is a member of the Board for the Midlands Women in Criminal Law group.
“She is always top of our list when it comes to instructing in complex, serious case. Chloe is extremely hard working, diligent, and leaves no piece of plausible evidence unexplored. She is a workaholic. She has an unrivalled commitment to her clients. She genuinely cares for them and their welfare: to that end she will fight hard for the right result for them.”
“Chloe endears herself to clients almost immediately, she exudes warmth, even with the most challenging of clients she will win them over. Her presentation in court is faultless- she quickly masters the evidence in a way that lends itself well to a jury. Judges she appears before value her commitment to her cases and her opponents respect her for it.”
“She has a real command of the law and evidence in any case I instruct her in- which can only come from a brilliant mind”
“Her preparation is meticulous...I receive nothing but excellent feedback from clients, they all warm to her- especially youths”
“She is a fearless advocate and will always go above and beyond what is expected”
“Her ability to meet and exceed our client’s expectations is second to none. Her relatively junior status is ignored by clients who see her as personable, intelligent and savvy…she is mature beyond her years”
“Ms Ashley has been a credit to your chambers. Despite being the most junior barrister in this case it was she who identified an important point of law upon which to base legal arguments during the course of the trial; this led to the case being dismissed against our client…but it is the quality of her written work I have to comment on- it is superb. The Judge remarked that it was rare she read skeleton arguments as considered as that”
Comments from instructing solicitors
Chloe, led by Phil Bradley QC, represents the lead defendant ZN aged, 39 (who cannot be named for legal reasons), charged with conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm in a suspected ‘acid attack’ on his three-year-old son. He is jointly charged alongside 6 others. The incident took place in the Tallow Hill area of Worcester. It forms part of Operation Lock. They are instructed by Clayton Solicitors.
R v MG, Chloe as a led junior, represented a former professional footballer alleged to have stalked his ex-lover to the brink of suicide. There were significant disclosure failings as a result of inattentive police investigations. Use of that evidence demonstrated relevant credibility issues which led to an acquittal.
R v MB, represented former Army officer in a case involving large volumes of cocaine and heroin. Charged with possession with intent to supply the client maintained the drugs were acquired for personal use despite the volume. Defence enquiries revealed there was no phone evidence, financial transactions or other paraphernalia to emphasise a commercial role. Nonetheless the client would face difficulty at trial due to conflicting expert’s reports regarding the value of the drugs and the use of cutting agents (benzocaine and lidocaine). Successfully negotiated a plea on a favourable basis. Suspended sentence achieved.
R v JF (pro bono case), dual British-Norwegian national who suffered a mental health breakdown having been convicted of murder in the Congo by a military court. Client was tortured, coerced into signing a confession and subjected to a mock execution. prosecution witnesses, who gave conflicting and inconsistent testimonies were paid to appear in court. Having been convicted client was sentenced to death by a firing squad. Case raised both diplomatic issues (there was evidence of an economic motive by Congolese authorities) and jurisdictional difficulties; extraditing Mr French to secure his transfer so that he could receive treatment.
R v QV, sentence of an eighteen-year-old for possession with intent to supply Class B drugs and possession of an offensive weapon. He had several previous convictions for similar offences and had committed the present offences during the currency of a Youth Referral Order. The Court imposed a suspended sentence.
R v LC, Chloe represented a defendant charged with GBH against his ex-partner by breaking her jaw in three places. A plea was accepted to ABH after successful negotiation with the Crown.
R v VT, defendant faced charges of sexual assault. Defendant was blind and deaf, alleged to have inappropriately and touched three women on public transport on two separate dates, in very similar circumstances. Defence was that the touching was not sexual. Argument for separate summary trials contested by the Crown but acceded to by the District Judge following submission of a detailed skeleton argument and lengthy oral submissions. Defendant acquitted of both charges after two separate trials.
R v SD (pseudonym used), Chloe was instructed in a youth court case of racially aggravated assault. Successfully adduced non-defendant bad character highlighting the complainant’s propensity to make false allegations, citing unused material and witness statements to prove inconsistencies in her account. A ground rules hearing was required to pre-draft questions due to the witness’s complex mental health diagnosis. Cross examination reflected this and incorporated special measures. Successful half time submission made.
R v RF, represented the co-accused of the former ‘Miss Russia’, model Marinika Smirnova accused of conspiring to burgle her ex-husband Sergey Kapchuk, Russian oligarch and former politician.
2016 Postgraduate Diploma in Capital Punishment: Race, Poverty and Disadvantage, Yale Law School
2015 Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator
2015 Bar Professional Training Course, University of the West of England
2013 Graduate Diploma in Law, College of Law
2011 Philosophy BA Hons, The University of Sheffield
SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS
2017 Inner Temple Rachel Lawrence Prize
2017 Marshall Hall Trust Grant
2015 Inner Temple Internship Award and Sir Joseph Priestley Scholarship
2015 Worcestershire County Council Post-Graduate Funding Scholarship
2013 Inner Temple Major Exhibition Award
2013 Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship
2011 University of Sheffield Graduate Award, (awarded by the Vice-Chancellor at graduation)
Association of Women Barristers
Criminal Bar Association
Human Rights Lawyers Association
Young Legal Aid Lawyers
CPS Advocates Panel – Grade 1