Michael Brown

Barrister - Head of Criminal Team
01752 221551
Practice Overview

Michael was called to the bar in 2010 and is a specialist in criminal law.

Michael is a meticulous, quick-thinking and pragmatic advocate who prides himself on his ability to build and maintain a professional relationship with those who instruct him throughout each stage of the litigation process. He is recognised for his personable nature and adopting a sensitive manner towards the needs of his clients. He firmly believes that thorough preparation, coupled with the proactive management of cases, is crucial. To that end he aims to complete a full file review promptly and consistently offers advice, guidance and support to those who instruct him.

Prior to being called to the Bar Michael completed a Master’s degree at King’s College London and achieved a distinction. He was heavily involved in providing pro bono legal advice via the Free Representation Unit and went on to practise as a County Court Advocate.

Michael is the Head of our Criminal Team.

Legal 500 Recommendations
Recommended by Legal 500 2024 - Leading Junior in Criminal Law Tier 2

‘A compelling and charismatic advocate who can adapt to every professional and lay client. He is able to explain the most complex points in understandable and relatable language and builds relationships with lay clients from any walk of life.'

Michael Brown‘s experience includes cases involving rape, firearms offences, drug conspiracies, armed robbery, blackmail, and false imprisonment

Recommended by Legal 500 2023 - Leading Junior in Criminal Law Tier 2

'A charismatic advocate who is skilled beyond his year of call. He has a superb ability to form relationships with professional and lay clients and a wonderful manner with a jury.'

Practice Areas

General Crime

Michael maintains a busy crown court practice and appears for both prosecution and defence in all areas of criminal law.

Michael is routinely instructed to attend trials, Plea and Trial Preparation Hearings, sentences and appeals. In recent years he has been instructed in more serious and complex cases including rape, historic sex, significant ‘county line’ drug conspiracies, armed robbery, arson with intent to endanger life, blackmail, false imprisonment and high-value fraud. He is currently instructed as a led junior to defend in a highly complex murder, a case which will involve a plethora of expert evidence ranging from pathology, neuropathology, psychiatry, toxicology, amnesia, loss of control, insane/non-insane automatism and crime scene investigation. He is further instructed as a led junior to represent a high-profile Olympic swimmer charged with no fewer than twenty-nine counts of historic rape and associated sexual offending. The case has attracted considerable local and national media attention. Prior to this, he received instructions as a led junior in a multi-handed murder involving cut-throat defences and equally complex expert evidence extending to forensic biology and vehicle examination.

Michael is well-versed in Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings and asset forfeiture.

Michael has undertaken the vulnerable witness training and is experienced in dealing with ground rules hearings and intermediaries.

Michael is a Category 3 Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service and a member of the Criminal Bar Association

Regulatory and Environmental

Recent instructions have seen Michael prosecute and defend in the following:

• Maritime regulatory breaches

• Fisheries offences

• Breach of local planning regulations

• Non-attendance at school.

Michael is keen to expand this area of practice.

Cases of note

R v J [2024] - multiple sexual offending

Michael is currently instructed to represent the Defendant as a led junior.

The Defendant, a former Olympic swimmer and trainee police officer, faces allegations of twenty-nine counts of historic rape and associated sexual offending.

The case has attracted considerable local and national media attention.

The case will raise highly complex issues surrounding the defences of knowledge and consent and, more pertinently, cross-admissibility and severance arguments.

Michael is currently in the process of mastering thousands of pages of unused material including a 382 pageMG6C schedule. Such material will require a forensic level of examination and both careful and sensitive handling in light of the trial issues

Rv L [2024] - murder

Michael represented the Defendant as a led junior.

The case involved a plethora of expert evidence including pathology, neuropathology, psychiatry, toxicology, blood spatter evidence, amnesia, loss of control, insane/non-insane automatism and crime scene investigation. Cause of death was ultimately unascertained and the Defendant pleaded guilty on an acceptable basis to unlawful wounding.

Rv H [2024] - conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs

Michael successfully defended a client indicted along with twenty other co-accused as part of a national county line prosecution known as Operation Harbinger.

Michael successfully defended the defendant who was indicted along with twenty other co-accused as part of a national county line prosecution known as Operation Harbinger.

The evidence and unused material ran to hundreds of thousands of pages and included multiple pieces of cell site/mast data.

The prosecution submitted that the Defendant undertook a significant role in a category 1 conspiracy, the starting point for which was one of ten years. Following lengthy mitigation and reliance on the authority of R v Khan[2013] EWCA Crim 800, the Learned Judge was persuaded to take a truly exceptional course in his case and suspend sentence.

The Defendant received a custodial term of two years suspended for two years.

Rv R [2023] - murder

Michael represented the Defendant as a led junior.

The Defendant was charged with matricide stemming from brewing hostility between himself and his mother over the course of many years.

Prior to the involvement of leading counsel, Michael identified from an early stage that this was a case in which psychiatric input was crucial. The Defendant had a significant mental health history; he had previously been admitted under the Mental Health Act 1983 on two separate occasions, there had been MAPPA involvement and no fewer than fifteen previous referrals to the Mental Health Liaison and Diversion Team. Following careful examination of his medical history (which was both complex and extensive) and third-party unused material(including MAPPA documentation, segregation unit logs, inmate prison records and other multi-agency minutes of meetings), both leading and junior counsel secured his immediate transfer from prison to a secure facility and, there after, a detailed assessment of fitness to plead and stand trial.

Ultimately, the psychiatric evidence secured by both leading and junior counsel was such that the prosecution agreed to accept a plea to manslaughter by virtue of diminished responsibility.

The Defendant received a hospital order with restriction accordingly.


Michael was a led junior instructed to defend a man charged with murder and conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

The Defendant, alongside three others, was alleged to have conspired to have a ‘straightener’ at a local beauty spot. There were no eye witnesses. The prosecution relied largely, but not entirely, on extremely complex expert evidence from a pathologist, neuropathologist, forensic biologist and a vehicle examiner in order to piece together what happened on the night of the murder. Michael was heavily involved in the preparation of his client’s defence, which included liaising with the defence’s own experts in pathology, forensic biology and accident reconstruction.

R V J [2021] - RAPE

Michael successfully defended a young man charged with two counts of rape.

The Defendant and the female, both university students, met on a night out. The two of them had been drinking throughout the evening, although the Defendant remained comfortably within his limits. The Defendant effectively ‘blacked out’ and recalled nothing from a certain point that night. The case raised questions concerning non-insane automatism (drink-spiking) and consent. Michael examined thousands of pages of unused material. These included hundreds of texts and social media exchanges that the complainant had engaged in both in the leadup to, during, and following, the alleged rape. Michael was able to successfully deploy this material in cross-examination in order to show that the complainant had, in fact, consented to sexual intercourse and/or that the Defendant would, at the very least, have had a reasonable belief that she consented. The Defendant was acquitted after a week-long trial.


Michael was instructed by the Complex Case Unit and successfully prosecuted a Defendant charged with an extensive class A drug supply operation.

The Defendant was charged with six counts of supplying a class A drug (cocaine).The case against him was that he was essentially running his own drug’s operation in the West Country and relied heavily upon the evidence of an undercover police operative, together with mobile phone data and bank account activity. The matter was complicated further by the fact that the Defendant was facing similar charges for a drugs conspiracy in the West Midlands. Michael was required to review highly sensitive unused material in order to ensure that neither investigation would be prejudiced by disclosure of the same. Michael successfully argued against the Defendant’s basis of plea and was able to resist attempts by the Defence to ‘tie up’ the local matter with that due to becharged in the West Midlands. This resulted in the Defendant being sentenced at the top end of significant role in the sentencing guidelines for running his own separate, and distinct, drug’s operation. The Defendant received a custodial term of 45 months.