Deans Court Chambers

Expert legal advice and advocacy, delivered by an outstanding team of Queen’s Counsel and barristers.

The Barristers at Deans Court are regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

Zoe Dawson

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Zoe Dawson - Deans Court Chambers


  • Law LLB (Hons) University of Manchester - First Class
  • Bar Professional Training Course – Outstanding


Professional Associations

  • Member of the Northern Circuit


  • Queen Mother Scholarship – The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
  • BPP Excellence Scholarship
  • BPP Highest Performing Professional Award



Zoe specialises in Crime and Regulatory, having previously enjoyed a Common Law practice (Crime, Civil / Commercial, Family) on the Western Circuit.


As a busy Junior, Zoe deals with a range of cases in the Crown Court covering those involving dishonesty (theft, robbery, fraud), to driving, drugs, offences against the person, public order and sexual offences. She has experience conducting both jury trials and appeals, and is commended for her thorough approach to the preparation of cases and commitment to client care. Zoe receives instructions in ‘paper-heavy’ cases such as those involving offences of fraud, blackmail, or the supply of controlled drugs, as well as more sensitive cases involving mental health concerns.

Zoe is a CPS Level 2 Panel Advocate and undertakes work for both defence and prosecution.

Recent examples of Zoe’s prosecution practice include prosecuting a 4 handed case concerning the supply of Class A drugs; a 2 handed blackmail case involving ‘loan sharks’; a 2 handed fraud by false representation case, and a case involving causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Similarly, recent examples of Zoe’s defence practice include defending: a young mother in a case involving causing serious injury by dangerous driving where the complainant was left paraplegic; a client within an 8 handed violent disorder involving multiple stabbings; an aggravated burglary, and a youth in a case involving a number of sexual assaults on a child under 13.

Zoe has been commended for her ability to present robust legal arguments in complex cases, and has successfully raised novel points of law to secure client’s acquittals. Zoe is currently instructed in a claim for Judicial Review of a decision of the Crown Court in an appeal against conviction.

Regulatory / Licensing / Other:

Zoe acts for both the General Medical Council and Social Work England in fitness to practice proceedings involving doctors and social workers respectively, and also has experience defending professionals within fitness to practice proceedings involving other regulatory bodies.

Zoe is regularly instructed by government bodies (including the Home Office and HMRC) in proceeds of crime and customs and excise matters (e.g. Forfeiture, Restraint, Condemnation (forfeiture of goods), and Freezing Orders). She is currently instructed in an appeal to the High Court by way of Case Stated in a matter concerning the condemnation of goods under CEMA 1979.

Zoe also receives instructions to prosecute and defend in cases involving Health and Safety, Environmental Licensing, Trading Standards, Taxi Licensing, Television Licensing, Firearms Licensing, and School Non-attendance. She is regularly instructed to act on behalf of local authorities in such matters.

Zoe has extensive experience both prosecuting and defending RSPCA matters concerning offences of animal cruelty and breaches of disqualification orders, and has previously successfully represented a client in an 8 handed RSPCA prosecution involving allegations of animal cruelty concerning 100 animals kept by a Reptile Charity in Bolton.

Notable Cases

  • Crime

    R v B

    Zoe defends in case involving multiple indecent exposures to women and girls near to a school in Eccles.

    The client was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court for 5 charges of indecent exposure, occurring over the period of 1 year, near to a school in Eccles, and avoided an immediate custodial sentence. He recieved a 2 year community order.

  • Crime

    R v K

    Zoe acted for a client charged with assault. The case had a complex backdrop, involving a successful application to the Family Court for disclosure of relevant material, in which the Defendant was not a party, into the Criminal Proceedings.

    Despite repeated s.8 CPIA applications and repeated directions from the Court to disclose additional material over the course of a year, the Prosecution failed to adhere to it's disclosure duties until the morning of the third trial listing.

    The Prosecution sought a short adjournment to allow review of and disclosure of this material. The Defence successfully opposed this application, in light of the history of non-compliance, and thereon referred the court to R v Petrie [2015] EWHC 48 - where the Crown fails in its disclosure obligations it should offer no evidence.

    In line with this, the Prosecution offered no evidence.

  • Health & Safety

    Zoe, instructed by McHale & Co, represented a company who entered a guilty plea to 1 charge of failing to protect the health and safety of employees contrary to s.2 Health and Safety at Work Act. The case concerned failures by the defendant company to adequately protect an employee against the risk of contracting Silicosis - a respiratory disease affecting the lungs as a result of exposure to dust. Zoe referred to medical evidence in mitigation, showing that whilst Silicosis had been diagnosed, the complainant was currently a-symptomatic and the risk of progression of the disease was low. The Court accepted that whilst a move upwards in the range was necessary to reflect actual harm caused, the percentage risk of progression was relevant to the degree of uplift required.

    Once mitigation was accounted for, the Defendant company received a sentence below the range provided for in the guidelines.

  • R v W defended s.47 ABH trial – victim had retracted due to purported intoxication at the time of preparing their statement – Judge withdrew case from Jury after voire dire and legal argument.

  • R v C – defended s.47 ABH trial involving stabbing – jury acquitted, despite hearing no evidence from D.

  • R v M and othrs – successfully defended (Led by Andrew Scott) in a 10 handed conspiracy – criminal damage with intent to endanger life

  • R v G&K – multi-handed affray – successful submission of no case to answer.

  • R v A – prosecuted sentence for s.18 GBH – submissions on dangerousness – D received 12 years imprisonment

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