Viewing: Crime for Philip Rule KC

Philip is listed as a leading junior barrister practising in Crime in London, and recently also on the Midland circuit courts, with the recognition that: ‘His undoubted talent in appeal work has complemented his already strong criminal defence practice’ and ‘A criminal appeal specialist’ (Legal 500, 2017). ‘His ability to form the most complex legal arguments is outstanding’ (Legal 500, 2016). He ‘Goes above and beyond…’ the work of others (Legal 500, 2015).
Please see below for a description of Philip’s practice, appointments, and further information concerning:
Murder cases: Appeals and trials
Supreme Court criminal cases
Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) including CCRC reference work
Judicial Review in criminal cases and Appeals by way of case stated
Criminal first-instance work
Practice Overview
Philip is a criminal appeal specialist with considerable experience in drafting and advocacy in matters that have gone before the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Divisional Court, and Administrative Court. He is frequently instructed on behalf of the defence, providing advice and representation where the client is seeking a second opinion from an appeals specialist, or is unhappy with previous counsel. Philip is often instructed to provide privately-funded representation, or to draft advice or grounds for potential or ongoing appeals. On occasions he is also instructed by the specialist CPS Appeals and Review Unit in criminal appeals where he did not act at first-instance.
His considerable experience of, and expertise in, appellate work complements his busy practice in the Administrative Court. He is particularly interested in human rights and public international law as aspects of his criminal practice. He has extensive experience of taking cases to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in relation to both sentence and conviction, and to the Administrative Court on behalf of either party to criminal proceedings. Many of Philip’s cases have established points of law of general application and are cited in the leading practitioner textbooks.
Philip also has an extensive criminal plea and trial practice in which he accepts private client instruction to advise and to represent in all manner of criminal and regulatory proceedings, and will also accept instructions in the most serious matters that are tried before the Crown Court. Philip primarily defends at first instance, though has in the past also been instructed by the CPS Homicide Team in London in particular.
In 2017 Philip was called to the Bar of the Cayman Islands. His work there has included trials by jury before the Grand Court and settling grounds before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal. One such appeal concerned a death caused by driving offence and on appeal the sentence was reduced from a term of 40 months to one 30 months’ imprisonment. He also has conducted actions brought under the Bill of Rights and by way of judicial review in the Cayman Islands.
Alongside his advocacy and trial work Philip also advises private clients on legal issues related to criminal proceedings. For example he has been instructed and retained by a leading global firm to advise a member of a foreign royal family regarding matters arising from a criminal trial of other persons with whom it was alleged there had been business dealings. Issues included legal professional privilege, access to the court and the ability for members of the public to take notes of proceedings, witness summonses, etc. Philip also regularly accepts private-client work from non-criminal firms and solicitors whose longstanding clients primarily occasionally require assistance with regulatory or road-traffic matters, including deaths caused on the roads. Philip guides the professional client through the criminal litigation process so that they may maintain conduct of the matter for their existing client.
Philip’s public law work in judicial review and appeals by way of case stated often involve cases that have a civil law and criminal law overlap or elements of both affecting the individual client, and he has expertise in conducting concurrent proceedings or litigation. Throughout practise he has also undertaken both civil law and criminal cases and is comfortable in each jurisdiction. Details of his public law practice may be seen
Philip has experience of representing and advising those seeking licences, or appealing the loss of licences for work purposes providing door supervisor or taxi services, and liquor licensing. He also has experience of inquest proceedings. Further details of his regulatory work and inquest work are here and
Criminal first-instance work
Philip has specialist expertise and experience in criminal offences involving fatalities, drugs, firearms, sexual offending and violence. He has expertise in proceeds of crime and fraud work. He is well-experienced with a wide variety of expert evidence particularly including causation of injury, mental health issues, pathology, and road traffic reconstruction.
He has experience and knowledge of confiscation and related proceedings at all stages, including restraint, cash forfeiture proceedings, and following conviction. He has experience of such work under POCA 2002, and the CJA 1988 (as amended) and DTOA 1994.
Philip has extensive experience of dealing with defendants with mental health issues (both psychiatric illnesses and psychological disorders) which are or may be relevant to the offence, available defences, or ultimate disposal of the case. He has dealt with such issues in the context particularly of arson, violent offences and murder, as well as in his extensive prison law experience, alongside much less serious matters e.g. Matthew Sadler (18 March 2005, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror) where a drink-drive automatism defence succeeded. Philip’s expertise includes partial defences, and full defences such as automatism and insanity, arising from a number of potential causes or of particular categories.
His considerable experience in practice of complex trials at first instance gives him a practical insight to the working of such trials in practice, both from the defence and prosecution point of view. He has particular expertise on the law of evidence and is recognised amongst his peers for sound legal knowledge. Even at first instance he is able to take complex legal points others might not recognise, and to provide detailed drafting.
Philip has been instructed as the instructed advocate in six murder trials by four different solicitors’ firms, in a number of large-scale conspiracies concerning facilitation of immigration, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, firearms supply and intent to endanger life, drugs supply including importation conspiracies. Areas of work regularly undertaken include offences of dishonesty including complex deception and conspiracy to defraud, robbery, violence including Section 18 GBH, public order, drugs conspiracies, racially aggravated offences, Firearms Act offences, arson with intent to endanger life, sexual offences of all seriousness, death by dangerous driving, and murder.
Philip demonstrates a thorough, practical and friendly approach with strong advocacy allied to particular expertise on the law of evidence and sound legal knowledge.
His previous performances have caused a number of Instructing Solicitors to choose him for the most serious cases as reflection of his diligence and pain-staking approach to preparation and representation in more complex, paper-heavy and difficult cases.
Philip has been a Grade 3 Prosecutor on the Attorney-General’s list for CPS prosecutions on the South Eastern and Western circuits. In 2013 he was appointed to the CPS specialist lists for fraud and serious crime. Prosecution instructions were received from the Homicide team based at the CPS Headquarters. Philip was instructed regularly as trial counsel for deaths caused by dangerous driving and other similar offences, and instructed by other units to provide remunerated pre-charge advice in large-scale frauds involving mortgage, credit card, and benefits payments frauds on several occasions, and by the Appeals Unit to provide appeal documentation through Respondent’s Notice or skeleton argument particularly in cases raising difficult points of law. As well as the CPS he has worked for the Department of Work and Pensions, and Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (as it was). He has also defended in cases brought by the Department of Work and Pensions, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Environment Agency, Trading Standards, Customs and Excise, and District Councils.
Other notable trials (defending unless otherwise stated):
R v P, Winchester Crown Court, trial. Defended man who walked naked into the home of strangers during a psychotic episode.
R v N, Guildford Crown Court. One-week trial. Defended man accused of sexual offences against relation in 1970s. Acquitted.
R v Hathaway, Reading Crown Court. Three-week trial. Defending a mother accused of neglect of her infant alongside the manslaughter charge against her husband arising from the same incident and sequence of events. Four types or categories of expertise concerning Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and medical conditions and examinations were involved in the trial. Philip secured the services of a QC to lead. Acquitted.
R v Simonson and others, Reading Crown Court. Five-handed conspiracy to supply and import drugs worth 1.5million (six-week trial). Philip secured a representation extension to allow Queen’s Counsel to lead. Philip represented the client alone at a four-day contested confiscation proceeding at which the Crown’s application was rejected by the Judge at ‘half-time’ on the basis of legal argument concerning the ‘courier’ role ascribed to the client and POCA provisions.
R v Niazi, Kingston Crown Court. Eight-defendant people-smuggling conspiracy (conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry to United Kingdom) and money laundering case. Concerning trafficking of Afghans into the UK through several channels in Europe. The case went to retrial and eventually the case was discontinued against the client, whose brother was convicted.
DWP v Hawes, conspiracy to defraud, 3-hander, 2-week trial at Oxford Crown Court. Postmistress of previous good character acquitted of defraud of 100,000 of benefits processed for just two customers over the course of less than one year.
R v Butt, sexual touching of child, 4-days of trial before acquittal upon no case to answer submission.
R v Houghton, death by dangerous driving. Aylesbury Crown Court. Bus driver knocked down and killed an elderly woman on a zebra crossing. Four days of trial, acquitted upon submission at half-time.
R v Kamil Mandes, Aylesbury Crown Court. Death by dangerous driving single-count indictment. Private-hire driver drove on wrong side of road for 1.5 miles, involved in head-on collision killing other driver. Automatism defence raised (“micro-sleep” issues), and issue whether careless or dangerous. First jury (5-day trial) unable to decide, unanimously acquitted at retrial (4-days). The Crown had rejected an offer of a plea to death by careless driving prior to the first trial.
R v Saunders, rape, Harrow Crown Court, five days, acquitted.
R v Gallagher, Winchester Crown Court, two-week trial. Benefits fraud (reported in tabloids)
R v Latus and others, 3-hander, possession with intent to supply class A, Winchester Crown Court. Two-week trial.
R v Rigby large-scale E-bay fraud involving six defendants, Oxford Crown Court. All others pleaded on first day. Philip’s client was acquitted after a 7-day trial.
R v Morgans, Reading Crown Court, 2-week trial, arson with intent to endanger life.
R v Donaldson, arson with intent to endanger life. Five days. Wood Green Crown Court. Philip prosecuted this trial. Convicted relying on facial mapping evidence.
R v Gregory, sexual penetration, Wood Green Crown Court. Philip was prosecuting. Convicted despite complainant denying her original statement.
R v Tesfamichael and Tesfamariam, conspiracy to defraud, 6-days, Wood Green Crown Court. Prosecuting: convicted.
R v Lyefook death by dangerous driving trial at Wood Green Crown Court (12 days). Prosecuting: convicted. Sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment.
R v Cheng, death by dangerous driving, five-days. Prosecuting: convicted. Conviction upheld on appeal also.
R v Phaedonos, possession with intent to supply class A worth 30,000, eight days. Prosecuting: convicted.
R v Syedzadah death by careless driving trial. Croydon Crown Court. 5-days. Prosecuting.
R v Mathieson, death by uninsured driving trial (6-days). Identification issue. Snaresbrook Crown Court. Prosecuting: convicted. The maximum two-year sentence was imposed. An appeal was lodged and Philip drafted the Respondent’s notice. The Court of Appeal refused permission and the appellant did not renew.
Published Articles
Philip has been a consistent contributor to the Criminal Law and Justice Weekly (formerly the Justice of the Peace journal) and to the Solicitors’ Journal. He also writes for other journals and periodicals where the subject matter of the piece is best suited to such publications.
Street Trading and Interpretation of s38 London Local Authorities Act 1990 (2006) 170 Justice of the Peace Journal 604 [170 J.P.N. 604]
Licensing Act Offences (2007) Entertainment Law Review Volume 18 Issue 7 (Sweet and Maxwell) 231, (2007) 171 JPN 50 (at p879) and 171 JPN 51 (at p899).
What it means to be an ambulance (2009) 153 C.L. and J. (Criminal Law and Justice) 86 (concerns regulations on vehicles being fitted with a siren, or blue beacon lights) And Wilkinson’s Road Traffic Law Bulletin Vol 23 No9 March 2009
Proceeds of Crime
An alternative handler: offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (2006) 170 Justice of the Peace Journal 884 [170 J.P.N. 884]
POCA or Handling? [2007] 1 Archbold News 5 (comments on decision in R. (Wilkinson) v DPP [2006] EWHC 3012 (Admin)
Confiscation Orders: Criminal Justice Act 1988 - Enforcement and Extension of Time to Pay (2007) Vol. 171 Justice of the Peace 607, (2007) 151 Solicitors Journal 1178
Prison law and Sentencing
Unlawful Consecutive Sentences: Sentences of Less Than 12-Months’ Length Ordered to Run Consecutively to a Period of Recall Under The CJA 2003 (2008) 172 J.P.N. 499 (also included in Crimeline)
Time on Remand and Maximum sentences (sub editor’s nom: Once punished twice served?) (2008) 152 (35) Sol. Jnl. 18
Crediting the Time spent on remand subject to a curfew to custodial sentences: the impact of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (sub editor’s nom: Getting a full discount) (2009) 153 No 8 SJ p19
Calculation of tariff length for the purposes of pre-tariff expiry reviews in the SSJ’s policy for indeterminate sentence prisoners (sub editor’s nom: When time doesn’t count (2010) 154 (6) S. J. 8 (16-02-2010)
No end in sight? Philip Rule ((2010) 154(16) S.J. 8) (parole/ indeterminate sentences: Bayliss)
Custodial Sentencing (174 C.L. and J. 613) (making allowance for time spent in custody or on bail subject to curfew conditions)
Employing Custody Too Readily. Philip Rule (174 C.L. and J. 745) (sentencing/ theft from an employer)
When Does Time Spent in Custody Really Count? – Part 1, and Part 2. Philip Rule (175 C.L. and J. 461, and 478)
Transparency, Finality and Crediting Time Spent in Custody on Remand (2014) 78 Journal of Criminal Law 286
The reversal of Kaiyam (2017) 181 C.L.andJ 767
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders
ASBO “victim”. Solicitors Journal [S.J. (2007) Vol.151 No.5 Page 151] (comment on R. (on the application of Gosport LBC) v Fareham Magistrates Court)
Sentencing for Breach of ASBOs (2007) 171 Justice of the Peace Journal 420 [171 J.P.N. 420]
"Philip is my first choice of counsel in all serious and complex criminal defence cases. His attention to detail, astute advocacy, calming way with clients and thorough written legal argument are better than any other counsel I instruct."
Legal 500 2022
"Philip is an incredibly bright and talented advocate who is absolutely fearless in court."
Legal 500 2022
Notable Cases
R v Wilcocks (No.2) [2017] 4 WLR 39; [2017] 1 Cr App R 23; [2017] 1 Archbold Review 3; CLW/17/02/3; Arch. 19-63; 19-91 (guidance as to “general capacity for tolerance or self-restraint” in section 54(3) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009)
R v Wilcocks [2015] – appeal against conviction for murder. Case tried prior to CA ruling on treatment of infidelity in new law on loss of control defence; trial judge’s directions wrong in law. Permission granted: [2014] EWCA Crim 2217. Appeal against conviction allowed: [2015] EWCA Crim 296.
R v Wilson – appeal against sentence for murder in 2000; sentenced in 2005.
Grounds of failure to impose a sentence that would have been imposed at the time of the offence under the prevailing guidelines applicable at that time.
R v Edwards
Appeal against conviction for murder following Guilty plea. Appeal on basis of unexplored diminished responsibility and provocation defences. Appeal lodged.
R v Foye [2013] EWCA Crim 475; (2013) 177 JP 449; [2013] Crim LR 839 (Andrew Ashworth QC); [2013] M.H.L.R. 182; [2013] All ER (D) 248 (Apr)
Appeal against murder conviction on the basis that the diminished responsibility burden is contrary to the presumption of innocence and Art. 6 ECHR. A certificate of general public importance was granted by the Court of Appeal (Hughes LJ V-P, as he then was, presiding). Application was submitted to the Supreme Court but permission refused to appeal.
Lotto Williams [2011] EWCA Crim 1889
Appeal against sentence allowed. Minimum term (“tariff”) for murder reduced from 14 years to 11 years.
R v Thompson, Old Bailey.
Two-month trial. One of two trials in which eight defendants were separated into groups of four to be tried. Allegation of conspiracy to murder from prison cell laid against client, and against one other prisoner alleged to be the ringleader, the offence committed by the use of two mobile telephones that has been used by both prisoners in the cell during lock-up time. The murder was committed by gunshot to the head of a young boy whose body was found burnt in the remains of a car set ablaze in south-east London the day before a trial was due concerning the client and the other alleged conspirators for conspiracy to supply firearms, the deceased being a co-accused who had given an unhelpful prepared statement to the police in his interview. Client’s cell-mate tried jointly along with him was convicted, but Philip’s client was not convicted.
R v Wilcocks
Liverpool Crown Court. Re-trial for murder of young girlfriend by strangulation. Defences of loss of control (new law) and diminished responsibility.
R v Foye
Luton Crown Court. Prisoner serving for murder accused of the murder of a fellow prisoner imprisoned at HMP Grendon Underwood therapeutic community prison. Two-week trial. Issue at trial was diminished responsibility.
R v Ghani
Birmingham Crown Court. Stabbing by co-habitee of multiple-occupancy hostel accommodation (Philip and his leader were compelled to withdraw from this case shortly before trial).
R v Roszavolgyi
Reading Crown Court, before a High Court Judge. Double-murder charge concerning ex-partner and her adult son. Four-week trial. Client’s defence raised issues of intention, self-defence, provocation and diminished responsibility.
R v Mustafa
Reading Crown Court, one of two co-accused charged with both conspiracy to rob and with murder. The issue at trial was one of intention. Two-week trial.
R v Williams
Reading Crown Court, one of three co-accused charged with murder arising from an apparent attempted robbery of a drugs-den. Four-week trial.
R v Docherty [2016] UKSC 62; [2017] 1 WLR 181; [2017] 1 Cr.App.R.(S) 31 (234); [2017] 4 All E.R. 263; [2017] 1 Archbold Review 5; (2017) 81 J.C.L. 232.
Point of law of general public importance certified: [2014] EWCA Crim 1582 (Treacy LJ presiding). Queen’s Counsel was instructed to draft the notice of objection for the Crown in reply to Philip’s application but permission was granted in February 2015 (UKSC 2014/0207). The Secretary of State intervened in the proceedings. The appeal determines the application of the rule of “lex mitior” in English law and Article 7 ECHR in its application to sentences of IPP imposed post-abolition date.
R v Foye
Application to appeal against murder conviction on the basis that the diminished responsibility burden is contrary to the presumption of innocence and Art. 6 ECHR. Point of law of general importance certified by Hughes LJ V-P, as he then was. Supreme Court refused permission to appeal (UKSC 2013/0157).
London Borough of Newham v Sumal and Sons
Considering written submissions the Supreme Court refused permission to the Prosecution to appeal against this decision in which Philip successfully obtained the quashing of a confiscation order imposed upon a landlord who had breached a regulatory requirement (UKSC 2013/0020).
R (Massey, Robinson, Haney, and Kaiyam) v SSJ [2015] 2 WLR 76; [2014] UKSC 66; The Times, 15 December 2014; [2014] All ER (D) 114 (Dec); Crimeline Updater 2014/103
R (Sturnham) v Parole Board and SSJ (No. 2) [2013] 2 AC 254; [2013] UKSC 47; [2013] 3 WLR 281; [2013] 4 All E.R. 177; The Times, 1 August 2013; and R (Sturnham); R (Faulkner) v Parole Board and SSJ [2013] 2 AC 254; [2013] UKSC 23; [2013] 2 W.L.R. 1157; [2013] 2 All E.R. 1013; [2013] H.R.L.R. 24; (2013) 157(18) S.J.L.B. 31; The Times, 4 June 2013.
R. v. Knights (Secretary of State for Justice intervening) [2017] 2 Cr App R (S) 33 (288); [2017] EWCA Crim 1052.
Reference by the Criminal Cases Review Commission to the Court of Appeal [Instructed only for the CCRC reference and on appeal]. Raised points of novel importance concerning maximum sentences and IPP indeterminate sentences. Heard by the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, along with a civil appeal concurrently lodged.
R (Shields-McKinley) v Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor [2017] EWHC 658 (Admin); [2017] 1 W.L.R. 3705; [2017] 2 Cr App R (S) 17 (113); [2017] A.C.D. 64 (190); [2017] Crim LR 809; [2017] All ER (D) 22 (Apr)
Application for habeas corpus allowed, application for judicial review dismissed. Concerns days in custody pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant and the application of s243 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
R v Younas [2017] EWCA Crim 1; [2017] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 44
Appeal allowed: life sentence quashed. Determinate term of 10 years imposed (less than 12-year notional determinate term judge had taken in the court below) [Instructed only for appeal]
R v Pacurar [2016] EWCA Crim 569; [2016] 1 WLR 3913; [2016] 2 Cr App R 26; [2016] 6 Archbold Review 3; 181 J.P. 186; (2016) 160 (19) S.J. 37; [2016] All ER (D) 216 (Apr); CLW 16/19/3
Whether it is necessary to specify the intended sexual offence in an allegation of trespass with intent to commit a relevant sexual offence.
R v O’Neill [2016] EWCA Crim 92; [2016] 2 Cr App R 10; (2016) 180 J.P. 252; [2016] 4 Archbold Review 3; 166 N.L.J. 7701(7) [instructed privately initially, only on appeal] Leading Ramya Nagesh.
Successful appeal against conviction for an offence of breach of a non-molestation order contrary to section 42A of the Family Law Act 1996. Guidance as to the correct judicial direction and ingredient of “oppression” concerning an allegation that conduct is harassing.
R v Roberts and 12 others [2016] EWCA Crim 71; [2016] 1 WLR 3249; [2016] 2 Cr App R (S) 14; [2016] Crim LR 510; (2016) 80 J.C.L. 157; [2016] 4 Archbold Review 3; [2016] Crim LR 797 (comment).
[Instructed privately for W, only on appeal] Guideline case issued by the Lord Chief Justice concerning out-of-time IPP (indeterminate imprisonment for public protection) sentence appeals.
R v Wilson
Application to appeal ten years out of time against sentence for murder [instructed only on appeal]
R v Morgans [2016] 3 Archbold Review 3
Appeal against conviction for arson with intent to endanger life. Good character direction not given.
R v G.J.D [2015] EWCA Crim 599 (17th February 2015)
Appeal allowed against IPP imposed in 2006. Sentence was unlawful due to dates of offence pre-dating the implementation of the IPP statutory regime. Determinate sentence with extended licence substituted (the custodial term reflecting the notional determinate sentence identified at the original sentencing date). [instructed only on appeal]
R v Clark [2014] EWCA Crim 2930; [2015] M.H.L.R. 527
Appeal allowed against sentence of 3.5 years’ imprisonment for armed robbery: reduced to 2 years. Co-accused received 5.5 years’ imprisonment by comparison.
R v Gibson [2014] EWCA Crim 2579
Long extension of time granted to challenge IPP imposed for robbery with knife in July 2006. Appeal allowed: determinate 6-year sentence of imprisonment substituted. Prisoner released. [instructed only on appeal]
R v Docherty [2014] 2 Cr App R (S) 76; [2014] EWCA Crim 1197; Crimeline updater 2014/55; [2014] All ER (D) 184 (Jun) Art. 7 ECHR and lex mitior
Concerning sentencing to an IPP post 3.12.12 abolition date. Point of law of general public importance certified: [2014] EWCA Crim 1582 (Treacy LJ presiding) [instructed only on appeal]
Called to the Bar of the Cayman Islands (2017)
Admitted to the International Criminal Court’s list to work on cases proceeding at the Hague
Pupil supervisor (2010)
Appointed to CPS specialist Fraud Panel (level 2) (March 2013); and specialist Serious Crime Group Panel (level 2) (March 2013)
Appointed Grade 3 in the CPS prosecution advocates scheme from its inception in London. June 2012 appointed to the new national list for three areas: South Eastern - London, South Eastern - Non London and Western Circuits (Please note Philip no longer accepts general CPS work).
Appointed after competition to Attorney-General’s Unified List of Prosecution Advocates, administered by the RCPO as it then was, in 2006 (for 3-year term; extended in 2009 and 2010 until the cessation of that list system).
Criminal Bar Association
Administrative Law Bar Association
Bar Human Rights Committee
Human Rights Lawyers Association

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