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CALA member firms

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APPEAL is a legal action charity. Our mission is to fight miscarriages of justice and demand reform.  The lawyers and investigators at APPEAL focus solely on appeal cases, screening applications for assistance and identifying cases where we believe a miscarriage of justice has occurred. 

We analyse the case papers and conduct street level investigation as well as consult with experts on any technical or scientific issues in the case. We then work with counsel to ensure a comprehensive presentation to the Criminal Case Review Commission and the Court of Appeal.  For men we are only able to consider applications from prisoners seeking to challenge convictions and where the applicant is in custody and has at least 2 years to serve - more details can be found here. For women, we consider applications from prisoners seeking to challenge sentence or conviction under certain circumstances, which our outlined on the Women’s Justice Initiative page of our website.

As a charity, APPEAL only represents people who cannot afford to pay for legal representation themselves - we do not take on cases for private clients or ask prisoners or their families to pay fees. 

Ashley Smith & Co

Ashley Smith & Co was set up in March 1988 and deals exclusively with criminal defence work including appeals and review (CCRC) matters and prison law cases. The firm currently holds a category 1 Peer Review rating and Ashley Smith is currently a Peer Reviewer for the LAA and a member of the IFA/ICA LAA Appeals Panel.

The firm has a considerable amount of appeals and reviews work together with prison law and parole matters and on a regular basis applications for leave to appeal conviction and sentence are referred to the full Court of Appeal and further applications are sent to the CCRC on an equally regular basis seeking a review of an Applicant's conviction and/or sentence.

Ashley Smith & Co

020 8609 6711/6710

Birds Solicitors


Birds Solicitors are criminal defence specialists with expertise in regulatory and fraud matters and a growing involvement in sports law, especially related to football. We were members of the Legal Aid Agency's now abandoned Serious Fraud and VHCC Panels and are Privy Council agents.

The firm was established on 2nd October 2000. Both Steven Bird and Richard Locke were previously partners at Simons Muirhead & Burton. Steven Bird had established a branch office for Simons Muirhead & Burton in Wandsworth specialising in criminal defence work in March 1998. That office was taken over as Birds Solicitors from 2nd October 2000.

The firm specialises in criminal defence work and deals with general crime, serious fraud and a large amount of appellate work and applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Although the firm deals largely with criminal law, we also advise in regulatory matters and in prison law. We are developing a sports law department focussing on representation at disciplinary panels and advising on player contract terms.

Our criminal cases range from the minor to the most serious, from the police station to the Magistrates Court, the Crown Court and into the Appellate Courts. We also represent claimants in applications for compensation from the Home office for miscarriages of justice.

We are highly recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories as one of the top firms in London for criminal and fraud work. Both Steven Bird and Tim Greene are highly recommended in Chambers & Partners as individuals and Steven Bird is also listed as a leading individual in the Legal 500.

We have a Facebook page and you can follow us on Twitter


Hickman & Rose Solicitors

Hickman and Rose is a firm committed to justice and the rule of law. We are renowned for the work we do in holding governments and their police forces to account. Our service to individuals and businesses is both national and international.

The firm was established in 1991 by Jane Hickman and Ben Rose. It is listed in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and in Legal 500 for its criminal, human rights and civil liberties work. In 2009 the firm was commended in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report for its work in the crime and universal justice categories.

We are the leading firm nationally on international criminal jurisdiction. We have special expertise in police law, surveillance tactics, and data protection.

We employ an array of exceptionally bright and talented lawyers. Our expertise and training crosses department boundaries so that our civil lawyers are up to date with criminal law, and our criminal lawyers “think outside the box”.

GT Stewart

The appeals team at GT Stewart is led by Greg Stewart who is the co-author of the Criminal Appeals Handbook (Bloomsbury 2015). He has specialised in criminal appeals for over a decade and his experience includes regular appeals to the Court of Appeal and the High Court by was of case stated and judicial review as well as the Supreme Court (and House of Lords). He heads a team that specialise in this work which is very different to running a case to trial.


The team accept both publicly funded and private cases and work with a select group pf barristers who are well versed in the particular challenges of successfully pursuing appeals. The firm is recommended in both Chambers UK and the Legal 500.     


Commons Legal


Commons is a criminal defence firm with a founding commitment to social justice. We carry this ethos into our extensive appeal work: our team conducts boots-on-the-ground investigation to demonstrate our clients’ innocence; we don’t shy away from creative, bold legal arguments; and we challenge the structural inequalities of the investigation and the court room which so often result in unfair processes – and thus in unsafe case outcomes. 


Our team is headed by renowned appeal lawyer Rhona Friedman. We act for people at all levels of the criminal justice system who believe that they have been wrongly convicted. This includes submissions to the Criminal Case Review Commission, the Court of Appeal and in ‘Case Stated’ appeals from the Magistrates’ Court. We also defend clients in the High Court for Contempt of Court proceedings. We pursue miscarriages of justice all the way to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.


Commons accepts instructions from both legally-aided and privately paying clients. 

Dominic Bullen, Peters & Peters 


Dominic has extensive experience in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and Southwark Crown Court in connection with the Post Office appeals, described by many as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history.

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