Pre-eminent protest and human rights lawyer Mike Schwarz has joined the Criminal Defence practice at Hodge Jones & Allen (HJA) as a Partner, working alongside Raj Chada and his team.
With nearly 30 years’ experience acting for individuals and organisations involved in protest and political activism, Mike is recognised as a leading criminal lawyer in the industry, acclaimed by legal directories, Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for both his formidable skill and client care.
Mike regularly works with political activists on a range of issues, including the environment, animal rights, peace/disarmament, race and social justice. He is the joint author of a leading text book on protest and public order law. He is reputed for his novel defences and expert evidence in a number of cases. He has represented environmental activists acquitted in Crown Court cases who justified their actions in demonstrations against coal fired power stations, incinerators and genetically modified crops, arguing that they had to take action to protect the environment.
In addition to his activism work, Mike will continue his practice in acting for clients prosecuted for the exposure of misconduct of the State, the police and other authorities. His focus lies in the principles of fair trial, citizens’ freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and correcting miscarriages of justice, especially fresh evidence appeals. He has already secured the quashing of 50 criminal convictions arising from the undisclosed role of undercover police officers. He currently represents almost 100 core participants in the ongoing Mitting public inquiry into undercover policing.
With a post-graduate degree in EU and ECHR law, Mike works on both an international and EU level, representing clients facing cross-border allegations. He has also worked at the EU commission.
Mike commented: “Having worked alongside the Criminal Defence team at HJA for a number of years, I’m excited to be making the move to join them permanently to continue my efforts in defending activists and groups facing complex prosecutions.
“Throughout my career, I have endeavoured to help those pursued by authority after they have challenged it. I have long-admired HJA’s own commitment to securing social justice and I know my work will be strengthened by collaboration with the team there.
“I’m particularly passionate about supporting campaigners and progressive movements seeking to fight against the climate crisis and degradation of the planet. This has been the focus of my work for the last 30 years. The next ten years will be critical in that fight and I am keen to do all I can to provide legal support to the growing number of activists, movements and citizens who are bravely taking action on behalf of our environment in the face of the insufficient response of those with power”
HJA’s Criminal Defence team is widely acknowledged as one of the leading criminal defence practices in the UK, ranked as Tier 1 by Legal 500 and having acted for the defence in some of the most-high profile and serious and complex cases ever prosecuted in the country. They range from the Stansted 15 case to recent terrorism cases before the Supreme Court.
Raj Chada, Head of Criminal Defence at HJA, commented: “Mike’s commitment to defending the right to protest and take action for progressive causes aligns exactly with our ethos at HJA. While the world is currently beset by COVID19, we are awake to the reality that there will still be human rights to defend and misconducts of power to resist. We are delighted and excited to have such a legal mind join our team – Mike’s past successes and accolades are testament to his skill and ability.”
For further information, please contact:
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M: +44 (0)808 239 8378 | T: +44 (0)808 239 5975