Jane Bickerstaff QC

Introduction

Jane is a first-class advocate who prosecutes and defends in all areas of serious crime. She has been instructed in complex fraud and financial crime, and has particular expertise in sexual offences.

Background and Expertise

As a criminal barrister, Jane owes her reputation to her abilities in cross-examination, particularly of children and vulnerable witnesses; to the way she builds trust with clients, the judiciary and juries; her methodical preparation; and her feel for the tactics of a case.

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Prosecuting, she is regularly instructed by the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Major Crime Unit, to prosecute murders and complex crime on the borders of the Metropolitan area.

Defending, she is regularly instructed privately by both professional and high-profile defendants. Her expertise in sexual offences has seen her appear for the defence in a number of high-profile and complex historical allegations.

She regularly appears at the Central Criminal Court in cases of homicide.

Beyond her criminal practice, Jane has for many years appeared before police disciplinary boards, acting for regulated individuals – and continues this work as a QC.

She sits as the chair of child safeguarding panels for the Rugby Football Union and England Boxing.

Notable cases

R v M and others, 2016

Successful defence of university student accused of taking part in the gang rape a woman at a college ball at the Royal Agricultural University. Gloucester Crown Court.

See Guardian news article.

R v W, 2014–15
Defence of a former headmaster, aged 84 at trial, charged with offences of the utmost seriousness: sexual abuse and breach of trust against many former pupils. Allegations dated to 1959–71. Barely any records existed and there was an extensive abuse of process argument. Previous allegations had been stayed in 2003, but admitted as bad character evidence. Defendant was convicted on retrial after a hung jury at first trial. Extensive argument before the Court of Appeal on the above issues and on sentence.

Read more Notable cases

R v CW
Jane defended a vulnerable defendant with autistic spectrum disorder and depression, accused of the murder of his four-year-old daughter. St Albans Crown Court.
R v R, R and others
Jane successfully prosecuted this four-handed murder of an elderly man during a planned robbery at his home. Luton Crown Court.
R v B and others, 2014
Prosecution of four teenagers for kicking to death a young man with mild learning disabilities in a Peterborough underpass. This case involved extensive issues of joint enterprise, where there only one fatal blow. Cambridge Crown Court.
R v M, 2016

Successful defence, at Warwick Crown Court, of 21-year-old for stabbing his mother's abusive partner through the heart.

R v C and others

Successful defence, at Central Criminal Court, of a teenager accused of being part of a gang-related stabbing to death of another teen gang member in east London. Fought off sustained cut-throat defence from another accused.

Other Activities and Interests

  • Jane is Head of Pupillage at 9 Bedford Row, and runs the in-house advocacy training programme
  • Outside of work she enjoys good food and is a passionate supporter of Everton Football Club

Professional commentary and attribution

"A hard-working and dedicated silk who is regularly instructed in high-profile criminal cases. She is highly regarded by market sources for her expertise in sexual offences and is noted for being very approachable."
"A tenacious barrister who is great at cross-examination."
"An extremely hard-working advocate who is great with juries."
"Successfully defended a university student accused of gang rape of a female student following a college May Ball at the Royal Agricultural University."

Chambers UK, 2018

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PROFILE: Jane Bickerstaff QC

"She is an intensive cross-examiner, who leaves no stone unturned."

Legal 500, 2017

Year called

1989

Silk

2012

Contact

020 7489 2727

Memberships

Criminal Bar Association, Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers, Appointments

Recognition

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