Samantha Cohen


Samantha is an unflappable, pragmatic and shrewd barrister, experienced in all areas of criminal advocacy.

She is excellent with lay clients, offers timely and pertinent written advice, and is both approachable and a pleasure to work with.

She leads in serious cases, sits as a recorder, and has formed part of an independent inquiry appointed by the Bishop of Rochester to investigate historic abuse allegations in a children’s home. She is a grade 4 CPS prosecutor.

Background and Expertise

Samantha has enjoyed a busy and substantial London practice for over two decades.

She is widely respected for her ability to effectively question the most vulnerable witnesses – including children, those with psychiatric disorders, and those fearful of the criminal justice system. Her client handling is a calming influence and puts the most nervous at ease.

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She is a specialist prosecutor of both organised crime and rape and serious sexual offences, and is a panel advocate for the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

She is instructed to lead for the defence regularly in fraud cases, where her diligent pre-trial preparation and meticulous cross-examination of expert accountants has impressed – as has her approach to pre-trial disclosure, where her tenacity and perseverance have paid dividends for her clients.

She provides timely, thorough and acute advice pre-trial (sometimes pre-charge for the Crown) on a range of issues – for example, directing a professional client to an appropriate expert in a field such as blood pattern analysis, accountancy evidence or the significance of injuries.

She has a particular interest in shaken baby cases and the complex, nuanced and frequently changing medical evidence relating the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome from the classic 'triad' of injuries.

Notable cases

R v M and others, 2015
Samantha led Richard Paton-Philips, defending, in a multi-million-pound land banking fraud case. Client was acquitted of fraud, and received a suspended sentence in relation to an unregistered collective investment scheme. Confiscation proceedings concluded, with a nil order, in late 2016.
R v L, 2015
Samantha prosecuted a serving police officer for assaulting the mother of a very sick child whilst she was at the child’s bedside at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Read more Notable cases

R v S, 2016 (and retrial 2016)
Samantha’s client, a woman of good character, was first on the indictment in a multi-handed conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life. She was alleged to have been part of a plot to sell a handgun to a gang, and was present at the sale. As a result of cooperation with co-defending counsel, a cut-throat defence was avoided – and acquittals secured for all defendants.
R v B, 2016
Samantha prosecuted B for a series of very historic buggery and sexual assault allegations in respect of two sisters. She dealt with extensive disclosure of medical and psychiatric material, ensuring the three vulnerable witnesses were not unfairly exposed. Sentencing was a complex exercise because of the age of the matters and the multiple statutory regimes involved.
R v M and others, 2017
Samantha is being led (by Adrian Waterman QC) in a land banking fraud case involving around £5 million in losses. M was a solicitor at the time. There are extensive issues of admissibility including Solicitor’s Regulation Authority material, legally privileged material and ‘expert’ opinion evidence.
R v L, 2017
Samantha successfully defended L, a 15-year-old who was accused of the rape of a 13-year-old. This case demanded sensitive but effective cross-examination of a very distressed complainant. There were substantial issues of law relating to a section 41 application to lead evidence of the complainant’s previous sexual behaviour.
R v S and others, 2016
Samantha successfully represented S who was charged with attempted murder and section 18 GBH. Her client was first on the indictment. The case was alleged to have been a revenge gang attack, when the victim was stabbed 15 times in 30 seconds. Samantha persuaded the jury that only one person was responsible for the stabbing and her client knew nothing about the knife.
R v C, 2014, 2016 and 2017
Samantha prosecuted C for a series of sexual assaults on a family member, 15 years before. Her consistent approach allowed a very vulnerable complainant to give their best evidence.

Other Activities and Interests

  • In another life Samantha would live on a smallholding and produce her own cheese; instead, she keeps chickens in Hackney.
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PROFILE: Samantha Cohen

‘She handles complicated cases like baby-shakings and serious sexual matters with a total eye for detail.’

Legal 500, 2019

Year called



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Financial Crime

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Sexual offences

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Inquests / public inquiries

Direct access



020 7489 2727


BA (Hons) in English and Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dip Law, City University


South Eastern Circuit, CBA


Recorder, 2016

CPS RASSO Accredited


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