Rebecca Penfold


Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of call: 2012

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Rebecca qualified at a leading London set where she practised until joining chambers in 2020.

Prior to the Bar, Rebecca worked for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) investigating miscarriages of justice. She was involved in the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal, Mateta & Others [2014] 1 WLR 1516, which is the leading case on prosecuting refugees for using false documents to enter the UK.

Rebecca fundamentally believes in access to justice. She co-founded and runs a social mobility scheme intended to broaden access to the profession for young people. The scheme provides workshops, seminars, work experience, advice, and trial training to state school pupils across the country and encourages all young people, whatever their background, to consider a career at the Bar.

Rebecca is Public Access qualified. Rebecca provides pro bono assistance through ‘Advocate’ and the Suffolk Law Centre.

Rebecca currently sits on the CBA Young Bar Committee and the CBA ‘C-21 working group’ set up to examine the criminal justice system.

Whilst at SJB, Rebecca has been invited by various media outlets to provide commentary on hot legal topics:

Rebecca is currently co-authoring a book chapter on contemporary issues in sexual offences with a focus on the admissibility of evidence further to the vigilante activity of paedophile hunters, due to be published by Routledge late 2021.

Rebecca was instructed as Junior Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry from February 2020 – July 2021.



“A fantastic advocate”

Has really made a difference to J’s outlook on life”

“An absolute masterclass in how to control a courtroom…I cannot rate Ms Penfold highly enough


  • Guidance or Law? Fined for exercise during lockdown Rebecca wrote in response to various news reports of people being fined during the pandemic and hosted seminars on this topic.
  • Covid-19 and the Right to Protest co-authored with Aparna Rao of 5 Paper Buildings.
  • ‘Advocacy and Vulnerable Witnesses: 20 years on from the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999’ hosted by the Centre for Advocacy at Nottingham Law School in conjunction with The Advocate’s Gateway – 2019, co-presented a paper on ‘The Operation of Ground Rules Hearings’ 
  • Birkbeck University Symposium: Borders, Racisms & Harm – 2018, co-presented seminar entitled ‘Byron Burgers & Beyond: Private Citizens as Immigration Enforcement Officers’
  • ‘Criminal Appeals Handbook’, 2014, Bloomsbury Professional (contributing author)


  • The South Eastern Circuit Bar Mess Foundation Advanced International Advocacy Course, Keble College Oxford, South Eastern Circuit Scholar – 2018
  • The Inns of Court Pegasus Scholarship Trust, Pegasus Scholar (USA) -2015
  • Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, full scholarship to attend International Criminal Court symposium- 2013
  • The Kalisher Trust, Kalisher Scholar – 2012
  • The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, Major Scholarship: Queen Mother’s Scholar -2011


  • Middle Temple
  • Northern Circuit
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Amicus ALJ
  • Women in Criminal Law
  • Criminal Bar Association


  • Crime


    Rebecca is a defence specialist and is frequently instructed on a range of general criminal matters. Rebecca has a particular strength in representing the more vulnerable client.


    General Crime

    R v B (2021 – ongoing): Led junior in multi-handed money laundering trial.

    R v S (2021 – ongoing): Defending vulnerable client on allegation of supply class A drugs, raising issues of exploitation.

    R v ZM (2021 – ongoing): High-profile case involving police use of taser – represented at first instance trial and secured acquittals on two charges, including a breach of the coronavirus regulations. Appeal pending relating to police obstruction offences.

    R v CW (2021): Represented highly vulnerable defendant for arson causing residential damage in excess of £100,000 and domestic violence offences. Secured a total term of 26 months’ imprisonment.

    R v J (2021): Represented first defendant in a multi-handed conspiracy to supply class A drugs relating to the death of a co-conspirator during the Leeds Festival 2019. Secured sentence of 2 years 8 months’ imprisonment. Case received widespread media attention including in the Daily Mail and the Manchester Evening News.

    R v L (2021): Secured acquittal in multi-handed fraud involving vulnerable complainant and defendants.

    R v NM (2020): Secured SSO for three offences of possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs into a prison.

    R v SK (2019): Successfully represented the defendant on appeal further to four convictions for permitting his car to be used with no insurance. Despite the offences being considered strict liability, the appellant was acquitted of all counts.

    R v G (2018): Secured acquittal in a case of chid cruelty, which required cross-examination of a 6-year-old complainant.

    R v M (2018-ongoing): Led junior in ongoing multi-handed Modern Slavery Act trial.

    R v R (2016): Secured acquittal at trial of Communications Act offence whereby a university was shut down further to receiving a threat identical to that made prior to the Umpqua Community College (Oregon) mass shooting in 2015. Case had international dimension involving evidence from the FBI and Canadian Police Forces.

    R v B (2014): Youth sentenced for arson with intent to endanger life – successful mitigation resulted in sentence of Youth Rehabilitation Order.

    Violent Offences

    R v C (2021 – ongoing): Multi-handed assault emergency worker raising issues of police brutality.

    R v Z (2021 – ongoing): Multi-handed violent disorder due for trial late 2021.

    R v G (2019): Secured acquittal in multi-handed affray.

    R v W (2019): Secured dismissal in a case of football violent disorder, Queens Park Rangers v Millwall.

    R v P (2016): Secured acquittal for client of previous good character involving multiple counts of racially aggravated violent offences which were shown on CCTV.

    R v B (2016): Defended youth in multi-handed s.18 stabbing. Secured DTO of 18 months further to convictions for s.20, affray and possession offensive weapon.

    R v B (2015): Secured acquittal for a youth on a multi-handed robbery charge.

    R v JR (2015): Secured acquittal for client charged with domestic ABH.

    R v B (2014): Successfully defended client charged with taking revenge and possession of offensive weapon, by arguing there was no case to answer at the close of the Crown’s case.

    Sexual Offences

    R v (2021 – ongoing): Allegation of ‘spy cam’ voyeurism, due for trial Autumn 2021.

    R v MS (2021 – ongoing): Allegations of historic sexual assault from multiple complainants, due for trial late 2021.

    R v CG (2021 – ongoing): Multiple counts alleging various child sex offences and indecent images offences, further to the activity of an online paedophile hunter, due for trial early 2022.

    R v PS (2021): Secured suspended sentence where defendant was found to have over 1,000 extreme pornographic images and category A indecent images. The case received coverage in the Manchester Evening News.

    R v GD (2019): Historic sex case attracting significant media attention.

    R v E (2017): Perverting the course of justice: by sending multiple texts and emails to the police purporting to be from a complainant in a child rape trial. Significant aggravating features include that the complainant was the client’s daughter and the original trial was derailed as a consequence of E’s actions. The defendant charged with rape had received a term of 15 years’ imprisonment. Despite the aggravating features, Rebecca secured a sentence of 12-months’ imprisonment, after trial.

    R v M (2016): Secured acquittal on appeal further to conviction of sexual assault on ex-boyfriend.

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  • Regulatory


    Rebecca is instructed to undertake prosecutions on behalf of Government Departments and Local Authorities. Matters for which she has been instructed include fraud, dangerous dogs, trademark offences and environmental nuisances.

    She has particular experience in relation to fitness to practise proceedings for regulated healthcare professionals, including before the NMC and HCPTS. Rebecca has been instructed to act in cases involving the death of patients and often appears in cases concerning complex technical matters. She has significant experience acting in substantive hearings, but also deals with interim order hearing, registration appeals and substantive order review hearings.

    Rebecca has acted for various government departments in substantial disclosure and review exercises including the Bank Mellat litigation, Libor fraud and Undercover Policing Inquiry. Rebecca holds a high-level government security clearance.


    LBW v S: Led junior, £1m fraud by an employee of a local authority.

    LBH v K: Planning enforcement confiscation, successfully secured confiscation order in sum of entire rental income over a property subject to lawful and unlawful use

    NMC v L: Fitness to Practise – represented NMC at substantive hearing involving contested charges of registered nurse causing the death of a patient.

    NMC v M: Fitness to Practise – represented NMC at substantive hearing involving contested charges of registered nurse causing harm to a patient.

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  • Public Access

    Rebecca is accredited to receive instructions directly from members of the public through the Public Access Scheme.

    Click here to view our Public Access pages and details of the process for instructing public access accredited barristers.

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