Deans Court Chambers

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Joseph Hart

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Joseph Hart - Deans Court Chambers


  • Corpus Christi College Oxford, Paris (Pantheon-ASSAS)
  • MA(Oxon) Jurisprudence and French Law
  • Inns of Court School of Law
  • BVC Qualification


  • Assistant Coroner for Liverpool and the Wirral
  • CPS Advocates Panel - Cat 4 (R)
  • Approved Counsel for the Falkland Islands
  • List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health and Safety and Environmental Law (List B)
  • Governing Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple

Professional Associations

  • Criminal Bar association
  • Institute of Licensing
  • Young Fraud Lawyers in the North


Joseph Hart both prosecutes and defends. He is a grade 4 CPS prosecutor and member of the specialist rape panel. His practice, however, is predominantly defence work. Joseph Hart was recently successful in his application to be included on the government's national list of special regulatory advocates in health and safety and environmental law.

Since joining chambers in 2000, Joseph Hart has been practising in all areas of crime, regulatory crime and associated regulatory areas such as professional discipline and inquests. He has a growing licensing practice. Alongside a successful Crown Court practice in general crime Joseph regularly acts for Defendants in Health and Safety prosecutions in incidents involving death. This recently includes the prosecution of individuals and companies for breaches of regulations including fire safety. He regularly acts for prisoners in prison law matters. Specialising in particular in parole hearings.

In professional discipline cases Joseph has acted before the GMC in both FTP and IOP hearings; before the GDC; advised in cases before the General Pharmaceutical Council and appeared at university disciplinary hearings, and has represented Doctors and other professionals accused of falsifying references, poor performance, sexual misconduct and other egregious behavior.

Joseph’s background in traditional criminal work means that he provides robust trial focused advice and quick thinking to the most complex regulatory cases.

In crime Joseph’s practice includes all areas of fraud and financial crime, particularly money laundering; EBay fraud; frauds involving the infringement of copyright legislation and conspiracy to commit fraud. His clients have included professional people. This background in financial crime ideally places Joseph in the high value Proceeds of Crime Act work that he undertakes irrespective of whether that arises from civil or criminal proceedings. He advises and acts at all stages of PoCA proceedings to maintain a balanced tactical approach to confiscation proceedings.

Joseph also specialises in people trafficking offences; having acted as junior, led junior, and more recently leading junior in a number of complex multi-handed people trafficking cases. He regularly acts in cases involving firearms; all degrees of sexual offences and offences of violence up to and including murder. Joseph continues to provide specialist advocacy in prison law matters particularly in respect of those serving indeterminate sentences.

Joseph has acted as locum Crown Counsel to the Government of St Helena, in the South Atlantic. During his time on the island he prosecuted a number of serious sex cases involving very young victims. Recently he was briefed to return to the island to prosecute a high profile case involving a serving police officer. Joseph is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of St Helena and is a member of the St Helena and Ascension Legal Support Panel.

Joseph has also prosecuted serious sexual cases on the Falkland Islands and is keen to continue and expand his overseas practice.

He maintains a keen interest in complex road traffic cases and has acted in a number of cases involving high profile individuals.

Whilst his practice is mainly defence, Joseph has regularly prosecuted for the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Manchester City Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, United Utilities, Lancashire Fire and Rescue. He has an expanding practice in the area of fire safety law, which is a relatively new area of regulatory law.

Joseph acts regularly for the Defence in cases involving allegations of environmental crime and brings his experience of jury-based advocacy to an area of law often dominated by advocates who lack Crown Court experience. He deals with a high volume of these cases and also ones with significant local interest. He defends in environmental prosecutions with associated high-value PoCA applications. Increasingly acting in waste management cases of the utmost seriousness.

In the regulatory work which he undertakes he is involved from an early stage and accepts instructions in inquests, particularly where there are issues of health and safety offences and questions of professional discipline.

Joseph has conducted a large number of inquests arising out of fatal road traffic accidents and accidents at work, on behalf of Insurance companies as well as Local Authorities. These have included the Spinnigfields Bridge Inquest and the high profile Grayrigg Derailment Inquest.

Joseph Hart is a member of the institute of licensing and acts in licensing matters at all levels.

Joseph Hart regularly lectures in chambers; to solicitors’ firms; to prosecuting authorities, and to specific interest groups. He also teaches on the Bar Vocational Course in Manchester, and is involved in advocacy training through his Inn (Inner). He has acted as a legal advisor to television series, and has appeared on current affairs programmes in his professional capacity.

Joseph has knowledge of both French and Italian legal systems and speaks Italian and French fluently; and basic German and Russian. Joseph regularly attends the International Bar Association Conferences and was recently selected to be a member of the Bar Council’s 2012 trade delegation to China.

Notable Cases

  • Health and Safety

    R v Mohammed Isaq and Haslington Hall Ltd

    Joseph Hart prosecuted in the case which resulted one of the longest sentences imposed under the Fire Safety Order. It was significant in many respects, both in terms of the degree of culpability, the extent of commercial involvement of the Defendants and the unsuccessful legal challenges to the Prosecution. It represents a successful six-year long enforcement regime for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. Counsel and solicitors were involved from the earliest stage to advise in this difficult case.

    Counsel was instructed by Warren Spencer of Blackhurst Budd, a leading fire safety specialist.

  • Inquest

    Inquest into the Death of P

    Represented the security firm in an inquest where the deceased had died from a subdural haematoma. The deceased was a vulnerable patient at Trafford hospital, suffering from the chronic withdrawal from alcohol. There were allegations that the security had behaved inappropriately and there was an allegation of an assault.

  • Crime

    R -v- Dardai and others

    A family of Hungarian Nationals were convicted of a trafficking two girls within the United Kingdom for the purpose of having them employed as sex workers. Counsel for the defence.

  • Health and Safety

    Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority -V- J

    Serious breaches of fire safety legislation result in significant custodial sentences for restauranteur who “hid” workers behind a false wall in room which could have proved to be a fatal trap if there had been a fire.

  • Health and Safety

    GMFRS -V- Oasis Lounge Manchester Ltd & Others

    Custodial sentences for the managers of shisha lounge who failed to heed GMFRS prohibition notices putting 100’s of customers at risk.

  • Crime

    Regina -v- Alexne Breier

    This case involved the operation of a prostitution business in the UK from November 2012 to March 2014. This was a business, set up, controlled and operated by a large Hungarian family, for their benefit financially. To support the business the Defendant Brier brought young women from Hungary into the UK to work as prostitutes. He was responsible for moving them to several premises in Oldham, Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn and at / from these premises he controlled their prostitution. His family were involved in the running of the brothels where the girls worked.

  • Health and Safety

    HSE -v- B

    Joseph Hart and Nicholas Courtney (instructed by Greenwoods, London) secured a conditional discharge for the Defendant company (a charity), who pleaded guilty to a Section 3 HASAWA offence arising out of a serious injury to a pupil at their special school. The prosecution resulted from the traumatic amputation of the boy’s index finger on the sixth day of operation of a newly built school, but the Trafford Magistrates accepted that the combination of the company’s general highly positive attitude to health and safety, its positive good character and the uses to which any financial penalty would otherwise be put, allowed them to draw back from the financial penalty that would usually follow in such a case.

  • Professional Disipline

    GMC -v- Dr K

    Case involving allegations of false references from the Lebanon. Evidence had to be sought from Doctors in Beirut. There were allegations of sectarian bias and political corruption.

  • Murder

    Regina -v- Gareth Curtis

    Led junior for defence in Manchester gangland shooting.

  • Professional Discipline

    GMC -v- Dr W

    Case involving allegations of poor performance, there was significant conflicting expert evidence as the Dr’s training had been carried out in the USA to different standards.

  • Environmental

    DEFRA -V- Smith and Smith

    Case involving the failure to correctly “tag” and identify cattle. First case of its type to result in a custodial sentence. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Environmental Law

    Regina -v- Rodrigues

    A case involving a waste management company that had been dumping waste into the public sewer. Factually the case was relatively straightforward but the PoCA was complex and involved initial benefit figures of many hundreds of thousands of pounds. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Environmental Law

    Regina -v- Hekmat Kaveh

    One of the first prosecutions nationally of a school for breaches of fire safety regulations. A significant case involving a boarding school. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Health and Safety

    Manchester City Council -V- Bangi

    Case involving allegations of unfit premises for food preparation. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Fraud

    Regina -v- Pamela Tickle

    Led junior in large scale NHS fraud in chain of optician shops, involving sums in excess of £1 million.

  • Inquest

    Grayrigg Rail Crash Inquest

    A high profile inquest involving the derailment of a passenger train on the West Coast Mainline.

  • Health and Safety

    HSE -V- Priory Hospitals

    Case involving a fall from an insecure window in a secure unit for the mentally disordered. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Rape

    Regina -V- McGrath and Others

    A case involving multi-count, multi victim historic rape Counsel for the Defence.

  • Sexual Offences

    Regina -V- ONeil

    Case involving allegations of indecent assault by a former monk. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Crime

    Regina -V- Nolan

    Case involving serious attacks on elderly victims; Defendant fulfilling the criteria for a mandatory life sentence. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Trading Standards

    Salford City Council -V- Display Marketing Group

    Case involving allegations of dangerous products being put up for sale. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Fraud

    Cornwall County Council V- Manton

    Case involving misleading representation by a national care finance company. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Crime

    Regina V- Imre Orsos

    Case alleging the illegal trafficking into the UK of women to work as prostitutes and the rape of those women. Leading Junior for the Defence.

  • People Trafficking

    Regina v- Ladislav Kaco

    Case involving a conspiracy to traffic sex workers into the UK. Led Junior for the Defence.

  • Health and Safety

    Regina -v- Nicholas Danby

    Case of breaches of fire safety regulations which led to the death of a hotel resident. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Health and Safety

    Regina v- Excavation and Contracting Ltd

    Fatal accident on a large publicly funded building project. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Murder

    Regina v- Michael Cheetham

    Murder involving complex issues of causation. Led Junior for the Defence.

  • Rape

    Regina v- Mohammed Atif

    Case involving allegations of gang rape of an under-aged girl. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Trading Standards

    Regina v- Norman Williams

    Case involving a factory scale production of counterfeit designer pottery. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Fraud

    Regina v- Peter Kemp and Others

    Case involving a charity tele-marketing fraud, whereby thousands of businesses were fraudulently induced to sponsor a bogus drugs charity. The largest Trading Standards prosecution of its kind. Led Junior for the Prosecution.

  • Murder

    Regina v- Wayne Jackson and Others

    Case involving a serious violent disorder during which someone was killed on St George’s day, there were more than ten Defendants. Counsel for the Defence.

  • Sexual Offences

    Attorney-General of St Helena -V- Terrence Crowie

    Case involving the grooming and subsequent assault of a young girl within a small island community. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Sexual Offences

    Attorney-General of St Helena -V- Patrick Henry

    Case involving the misconduct of a Police Officer who used his position to bully women into sex within a small island community. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Sexual Offences

    Attorney-General of the Falkland Islands V- Simon Reid

    Case involving the grooming of young school girls and the making of indecent images of school girls. 4 victims. Counsel for the Prosecution.

  • Conspiracy to Supply Drugs

    Regina V- Liam Wiper

    A multi-handed case involving the organization of a widespread conspiracy to supply the city of Lancaster with class A drugs.

What the directories say

"He's my go-to because he has an ability to analyse risks in a case, asking what the best outcome we can achieve is and how we should approach the case." "He is a great barrister: he's bright, good with clients, works incredibly hard and is quite happy to check things on a whim."

Chambers and Partners, 2022

"He is tactical and understands the law. He is very diligent and does some unusual cases which take a lot of thought and work." "He is very impressive and inspires a lot of confidence when fighting his client's corner." "He is hugely experienced."

Chambers and Partners, 2022

‘ User-friendly, communicative, accessible, flexible, direct and pragmatic. ’

Legal 500, 2022

"A great jury advocate - the way in which he relates the facts of the case to common sense in everyday life is very effective." "He is highly intelligent and proactive."

Chambers and Partners, 2021

"Brilliant with clients and in court, and he's technically excellent." "He is very pragmatic, which goes a long way, and he's very realistic." "Clients really like his style and he's fearless in court." "He's a very good advocate and is tenacious when prosecuting."

Chambers and Partners, 2021

Top quality advocate who is impressive on his feet. His real skill, and the one that sets him apart from his colleagues, is the ability to assess cases tactically at the outset. Rather than just acting as a hearing advocate he is an indispensable asset when advising the client at the outset of a prosecution (or even during the investigation stage).’

Legal 500, 2021

He easily distills complex issues of fact and law into focused and concise argument.’

Legal 500, 2021

He is customer focused, very quick to respond to requests for advice. He is excellent knowledge of areas of expertise i.e. regulatory crime. Excellent advocate and advice is spot on.’

Legal 500, 2021

"He gets to the heart of the issues with laser-like precision, and he is excellent when dealing with vulnerable witnesses." "He's very approachable and inspires confidence in his clients."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

"Joseph is really accessible, a fantastic communicator, very supportive, approachable and great in front of a jury. He's a real rising star." "He is a confident advocate who is not afraid to take on a challenge."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

"He is a fantastic advocate and his ability to read the decision maker and adjust his advocacy to suit is really fantastic." "He is a really bright barrister and clients really like him."

Chambers and Partners, 2020

'An experienced environmental prosecutor.’ ‘He easily distills complex issues of fact and law into focused and concise argument.’ ‘Does not shy away from difficult issues.'

Legal 500, 2020

"He's hard-working, tenacious and very clever - a first-class advocate. He's a heavy hitter who is knowledgeable on both environmental and criminal matters." "He's one of the outstanding advocates dealing with environmental enforcement in the North." Recent work: Instructed in R v Park and Park, a case involving a waste management company that had repeatedly failed to clean up a waste site that was situated in the heart of the green belt.

Chambers and Partners, 2019

Instructed by both the defence and the prosecution in cases involving breaches of health and safety regulations. His work includes workplace accidents and fire safety matters. He regularly represents parties at inquests. "Takes time to ask the right questions and has excellent industry understanding." Recent work: Acted in an inquest into the death of an elderly lady in care who burnt to death while smoking in bed.

Chambers and Partners, 2019

"Hard-working, has excellent attention to detail, is great with clients and is good at adapting to situations." Recent work: Acted for the defence in a trial relating to the alleged murder of a two-year-old child by the boyfriend of the child's mother.

Chambers and Partners, 2019

‘A dedicated barrister.’ ‘Experienced in cases involving breaches of fire safety regulations.’

Legal 500, 2018

Instructed by both the defence and the prosecution in cases involving breaches of health and safety regulations. His work includes workplace accidents and fire safety matters. He regularly represents parties at inquests. "He has very good client care and is a very good advocate. He knows the relevant legislation inside out and achieves very pragmatic results."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

Offers a broad environmental law practice with niche expertise in the developing field of fire safety law. He has a growing practice in cases concerning waste management and is noted for his work in public inquiries. "He is very good at putting clients at ease. You can put him in front of anybody and he can adapt his approach. He is also an outstanding advocate in court. He's intuitive and his grasp of the law is excellent."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

Experienced counsel who regularly defends substantial cases of high-value money laundering, copyright legislation infringement and fraud. His practice also encompasses the most serious violent crimes, including firearms offences and homicides, as well as human trafficking and sexual offences. "Mr Hart instils confidence in clients and is a very robust advocate." "He is bright, hard-working and personable." "He is particularly strong when cross-examining and his advocacy is performed to a consistently excellent standard."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

‘A redoubtable advocate with a great client manner.’

Legal 500, 2017

‘His natural fluidity means he deals with matters firmly yet diplomatically.’

Legal 500, 2017

Instructed by both the defence and the prosecution in cases concerning breaches of health and safety regulations. His work also includes fire safety matters and he represents clients at inquests. "He is reliable, a really safe pair of hands."

Chambers UK, 2017

Experienced counsel who regularly defends substantial cases of money laundering and fraud. His practice also encompasses the most serious violent crimes, including firearms offences and homicides, as well as human trafficking and sexual offences. "He works hard to get the best for the client and is very thorough." "He's dealing with some increasingly complex work and he's naturally given to the job."

Chambers UK, 2017

'He is exceptional in court - likeable and believable from a jury's perspective'

Legal 500, 2016

Both prosecutes and defends businesses and individuals in relation to regulatory breaches thought to have led to workplace accidents. He also provides representation in inquests. (Health & Safety) "He is a very tenacious advocate. He really fights for his clients and works exceptionally hard. He never takes an unnecessary point."

Chambers UK, 2016

A reputable junior who is experienced in environmental law, among other areas of law. He has a growing waste management practice, and both defends and prosecutes cases. (Environment) "He has a down-to-earth nature and friendly demeanour. Clients and magistrates warm to him."

Chambers UK, 2016

His practice is predominantly spent defending high-value financial crime cases such as money laundering and fraud. He also offers deep expertise in cases involving violence, sexual assault and murder. (Crime) "Excellent attention to detail and an excellent advocate."

Chambers UK, 2016

‘Fastidious in his preparation and prompt in his responses.’ (Regulatory, health and safety, and licensing)

Legal 500, 2015

‘His advice is always sensible and well delivered.’ (Crime)

Legal 500, 2015

An environmental specialist who acts for local authorities and health and safety organisations on general environment matters, including fire safety. His clients include large corporates and private individuals, in addition to law firms, which he advises on compliance. "He has an excellent way of dealing with clients. He has a very patient, kind and genuine manner with people who are under a lot of pressure. He really puts his heart and soul into what he does."

Chambers UK, 2015

Acts primarily as a criminal defence advocate. He has considerable expertise in serious sexual offences, violent crimes and fraud. "He has a practice that belies his relatively junior year of call - he punches well beyond his weight."

Chambers UK, 2015

‘Manages expectations and identifies risks robustly and sensitively.’ (Crime)

Legal 500, 2014

He gets straight to the point, he knows the legislation inside out and he has a friendly demeanour.

Chambers UK, 2014

He is thorough in his preparation and clear in his advice, and has strong advocacy skills.

Chambers UK, 2014

Recommended for his considerable fraud experience.

Legal 500, 2014

'is recommended for his considerable fraud experience'

Legal 500, 2013

‘has an excellent reputation and is recommended’

Legal 500, 2012

has an excellent reputation and is recommended'

Legal 500, 2011

'highly rated in his predominantly defence practice'

Legal 500, 2010

'[Joseph Hart's] defence practice is highly rated'

Legal 500, 2009

'Shows great promise’

Legal 500, 2008

‘Robust, hard-working, thorough’, ‘shows great promise’

Legal 500, 2007


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