Barrister Category: Tenants

Gwawr Thomas

Gwawr is dedicated to promoting human rights and defending civil liberties, and is especially committed to publicly funded practice.  She prides herself on her approachable and down to earth manner, her fastidious attention to detail and her tenacity in seeking a just result for those whom she represents.

Gwawr’s practice extends across a number of inter-related areas.  This 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; to defendants who may be facing deportation proceedings upon conviction; and to immigration clients seeking redress for unlawful detention.

In appropriate cases, Gwawr is able to accept instructions directly from members of the public, community organisations and NGOs, 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.

Janette Haywood

Janette is a highly experienced practitioner who has always been passionate about family law.

Solicitors and clients regularly comment that she has a friendly and personable approach and provides clients with a professional and sympathetic service, while also being tenacious when necessary.

Her considerable experience provides valuable reassurance to clients, which is based on realistic advice founded on many years of being able to anticipate judicial determinations.

Jeffrey Yearwood

Jeffrey practises exclusively as a defence advocate in the Crown Court, principally on the South Eastern Circuit.

He practises in all areas of criminal law and has a particular expertise in serious assaults, sex offences, drug trafficking, proceeds of crime and fraud cases.

Jeffrey was called to the Bar in 1975 and is a member of Inner Temple. He has practised solely as a defence barrister for over 40 years. He currently holds a part-time judicial appointment as a Recorder. Jeffrey is a certified pupil supervisor.

His significant cases include representing the Commission for Racial Equality in the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry.

Moira Sofaer

Moira is a well-established practitioner with a specialised practice in family law.

As soon as Moira receives papers she looks at how to obtain the best evidence in order to settle the case, relying on her considerable experience in court. Moira’s background includes a degree in international relations, in which she focused on psychology (basic and social), conflict resolution and decision making in a crisis. These skills are important with helping people to make life-changing decisions in stressful circumstances.

Litigation is a stressful experience and putting clients at ease is an important part of helping them to participate in the process.

Moira regards a full trial as the option of last resort.

Caroline Gassman

Caroline provides pertinent advice and ruthless advocacy in serious criminal offences. She represents defendants in all criminal areas but is well known for her experience with more serious offences.

Roger Daniells-Smith

Roger is a very experienced leading junior practising crime on the South Eastern Circuit. Roger defends in serious criminal cases only, specialising in sexual offences. He prosecutes and defends, and is a specialist rape list prosecutor at grade 3.

James Cartwright

James joined 1MCB as a set that is notable for its crime work. Over the years he has done almost every type of criminal case, both prosecuting and defending. He has military experience. His approach is professional. He will do his utmost to represent his client and is acutely aware of the importance of each case to the people involved.

John Benson QC

John Benson QC is a multi-disciplinary Silk with expertise and extensive experience in serious crime and civil litigation (mainly clinical negligence and personal injury). He has particular expertise in the cross-examination of expert witnesses.  He sits as a Recorder of the Crown Court and County Courts and is ticketed to sit on serious sex offences.

John is also a member of Atlantic Chambers in Liverpool.


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.