Barrister Category: DPA

Michael Chambers

Michael has a mixed general criminal and civil practice.

His criminal practice covers all areas of crime including gang related serious violence, public order disturbances and drug related allegations; fraud, including benefit fraud; domestic violence and sexual offences including rape and serious sexual assault.

His civil advice draws upon his 15 years’ experience of working in the commercial sector, before retraining as a barrister in 2003. He has advised and represented clients in defamation suits, applications for injunctions and several breach of contract cases.

He also has a rapidly developing family practice including private children law, financial orders and confiscation proceedings.

He is a witness and case preparation trainer for the UK’s leading legal training company where he has run numerous courses for professionals involved in the legal system as witnesses and/or investigators.

Before qualifying as a barrister Michael spent over 20 years in advertising in London and New York where he was responsible for the negotiating, planning and buying of multi-million pound television advertising campaigns for major companies including Fiat, Twentieth Century Fox Films, Procter and Gamble and Nationwide Building Society.

He also undertakes public access work.

Cynthia McFarlane

Cynthia is particularly favoured by both the professional and lay client for her approachability and her ability to effectively communicate or relay complex legal issues and/or procedures.

Cynthia has a diverse history of experience.  Not only does Cynthia possess academic and vocational skills essential to the English Bar but has acquired academic, vocational and practical knowledge of other common law and civil law jurisdictions.

In civil, Cynthia appears for both claimants and defendants. Her range includes contract, tort and personal injury.

In family, Cynthia’s range includes private law, public law and financial proceedings after divorce (domestic and international).

Cynthia is an accredited mediator in all areas of law. Please see for further information.

Cynthia is qualified to accept direct access instructions.

Cynthia is a mentor for Kingston University’s Beyond Barriers Mentorship Scheme.  She also volunteers for the homeless charity, Crisis, each year.


Having worked with Cynthia on many cases, I have always been impressed by the quality of her advice. She has excellent skills in client care. Cynthia has a constant eye to detail and knows every inch of her cases. I have had the pleasure of instructing Cynthia on some complex matters and in each and every instance it has been a pleasure to work with her. She is proactive in her preparation of cases. She is reliable and very efficient in her responses. She offers a quiet and calm assurance.

Cynthia is not only excellent as a Barrister, but she is also amazing as a Mediator. Having attended some mediation sessions that were conducted by her, I can certainly say that she takes a pragmatic approach for all the parties concerned and she does not over complicate things but rather makes the process easy to understand by all parties. Having said that, if a matter is complex, she is capable of handling it. I refer my clients to Cynthia when they need to attend a Mediation and I do that without any hesitation, knowing that they are in good hands.

My experience with Cynthia has been excellent, and she is my first choice. I would have no hesitation in recommending her both as an outstanding Counsel and Mediator.” Zehra Tamkan, Solicitor, Connaughts

Anna Watterson

Anna has a busy and varied practice. This allows her to maintain real expertise across multiple areas of law and in different forums from the First-tier Tribunal and County Court up to the Court of Appeal. Her cross-cutting knowledge means that no aspect of her client’s situation is overlooked. She is approachable to clients and clearly explains her legal advice. In court she is persuasive and is able to respond with agility as a hearing develops, because of her thorough grasp of the law and careful preparation.

Anna joined 1MCB as a tenant in 2009 after successfully completing her pupillage in chambers. She is committed to chambers’ ethos of ensuring that all members of society can enjoy access to justice through first-class representation. She therefore accepts instructions from legally aided clients and particularly prides herself on ensuring vulnerable clients have the best possible experience of the justice system.

She accepts instructions on a direct public access basis in appropriate cases.

Before coming to the Bar she both worked at a leading immigration & human rights solicitors’ firm (Wesley Gryk LLP) and volunteered with Camden Community Law Centre, the Immigration Advisory Service and the Free Representation Unit. She continues to undertake pro bono work for Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID).

In 2019 Anna was appointed as a First-Tier Tribunal Judge, sitting in the Social Entitlement Chamber.

Gwawr Thomas

Gwawr combines a heavyweight criminal defence practice with expertise in litigating claims against the police and other public authorities.  With her meticulous attention to detail, sound tactical judgment and tenacity in pursuing a just result for all those she represents, she is a much sought after leading junior who is equally at home making an engaging jury speech as she is arguing a creative point of law.

The breadth of her practice across a number of inter-related spheres not only allows her to take a holistic approach to any particular case, but also offers continuity of representation to clients whose problems straddle more than one area of law.  Accordingly, Gwawr is able to offer a seamless service to criminal clients raising complaints about their treatment in prison or by the police.

Gwawr excels at client care.  She prides herself on her approachable and down to earth manner and is quickly able to secure the confidence of clients, including those who may be vulnerable on account of youth, mental health difficulties, or experience of trauma.

Alongside her domestic practice, Gwawr regularly provides advice and representation to individuals, community organisations and NGOs on issues involving international human rights.  She has significant experience of advising and representing those facing the death penalty in sub-Saharan Africa, having worked with Reprieve, the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide and the Evolve Foundation for International Legal Assistance on the resentencing exercises which followed the abolition of the mandatory death penalty in Malawi and Uganda, respectively, in many cases securing the immediate release of clients who had spent more than a decade on death row.  In addition, Gwawr has developed expertise in strategic litigation, having worked within the public interest litigation department at Kampala-based law firm Onyango & Co Advocates, where she contributed to a number of important constitutional challenges.

Gwawr was recently invited to join the Detention ExPEERience Network, a panel of experts in international detention law co-ordinated by Avocats Sans Frontières.

In appropriate cases, Gwawr is able to accept instructions directly from members of the public, community based organisations, charities, NGOs and businesses, through the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme.

Alex Chakmakjian

Alex has established a reputation for exceptional attention to detail, assiduous client care and an imaginative style of advocacy.  His range of abilities has allowed him to conduct the most challenging cases, including representing prisoners on death row before the Supreme Court of Uganda.

Alex came to the Bar after completing his Masters degree in human rights law.  Prior to this, he accumulated substantial experience in human rights with work ranging from voluntary legal advice in Southall to missions to gather evidence from witnesses in Nepal.  His further education and earlier experience frequently inform his established multi-disciplinary practice.

He is also qualified to accept instructions from members of the public directly.

David Parvin

David specialises in all areas of criminal law, both prosecution and defence, with significant experience of Crown Court and appellate advocacy involving serious and complex cases.

David has an approachable manner and is well liked by clients. He takes pride in thorough preparation and is prompt at communicating outcomes and advice.

Before joining 1MCB Chambers in April 2016, David worked for a number of years as an in-house advocate at a busy criminal law firm where he was a criminal litigation supervisor, head of the in-house advocacy department and duty solicitor.

Bernadette Smith

Bernadette has a busy practice with a focus on immigration, asylum and judicial review. She is committed to representing publicly funded and vulnerable clients and is experienced in doing so in all areas of her practice.

Bernadette is ranked as a leading junior in the Legal 500, which notes that “She really is a people’s barrister’, with empathy and making sure clients are comfortable” (2020).

Before coming to the bar, Bernadette volunteered in immigration and housing for two and a half years at Lambeth Law Centre. For the final year she worked as a senior immigration caseworker as well as being involved in providing outreach immigration advice to a domestic violence charity.

Prior to pupillage Bernadette developed an interest in restorative justice and mediation while volunteering on youth referral order panels for a couple of years as a panel chair, facilitating discussions with young people about reparation and minimising the risk of reoffending.

She was involved in the launch of Evolve – Foundation for International Legal Assistance and has been involved in its ongoing work, preparing written submissions for criminal appeals and re-sentencing in Uganda.

Benjamin Hawkin

Ben practises in immigration & asylum, mental health, prison law and public law, with a particular emphasis on human rights issues. He has appeared at every level of the tribunal and court system, representing victims of human rights violations, leaders of political groups, high-ranking military officers, diplomats, terrorists, financiers and long term serving prisoners.

He is ranked as a Leading Junior in The UK Legal 500, which noted that “He wins near-impossible cases by identifying new arguments (2016) and has “specialist knowledge of a range of areas including asylum, deportation and entry clearance” (2015).

Ben has been involved in a number of groundbreaking cases in the Higher Courts, including R (Q and Others) v SSHD [2003] EWCA Civ 364 (challenging the controversial withholding of benefits from asylum seekers), R (Iran) and Others v SSHD [2005] EWCA Civ 982 (the leading case on material errors of law) and ZH (Tanzania) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 4 (the landmark Supreme Court ruling on the rights of children and British citizens).

He is also a member of Amicus, and took part in its work on the Kenny Richey case.

Ben has been the Deputy Head of 1MCB Chambers since 2014.

Shashi Jaisri

Shashi was called to the Bar in 1995 by Lincoln’s Inn and has dedicated his practice to human rights, public and administrative law and civil liberties. He has built a considerable reputation experience in these areas. He has been described as very approachable and thorough in his preparation and attention to detail and, importantly, tactically aware.

He has particular interests in immigration and mental health related issues, appearing regularly in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and is committed to publicly funded work.

With a predominantly science background, Shashi read law at Queen Mary’s College, before completing the Bar Vocational Course.

Shashi is accredited to accept instructions directly from members of the public, through the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme.