Emma Heath


Emma practices in various areas of criminal law, including serious violent crimes, sexual offences, drugs, firearms and financial crimes. Emma is known for her excellent attention to detail and is recognised as a popular jury advocate with a no-nonsense approach.

Emma has developed a niche practice specialising in defending youth clients charged with serious offences. Emma’s representation of youth clients with mental health disorders and complex needs highlights her dedication to addressing the unique needs of young people involved in the Criminal Justice System.

Emma is known for her capacity for sustained hard work and has excelled in various aspects of her practice, including her broad legal knowledge, trial advocacy skills, and a particular focus on youth clients. Her recognition by Legal 500 underscores her standing as a leading junior.

Youth Crime

R v U, 2022

Emma represented a youth defendant charged with a multi-handed aggravated burglary before the Snaresbrook Crown Court. Emma’s client was 17 at the time of the offence but 18 at the time of sentence. The judge took a starting point of 10.5 years for an adult which was successfully reduced to 8.5 years for the mitigation Emma put forward. Having successfully argued credit for plea and the appropriate reduction for age at the time of the offence,  the judge was persuaded to pass a sentence of 38 months of detention under section 250 of the Sentencing Act 2020.

Emma was instructed by Naoimh Hughes of Macauley Smith Solicitors.

R v J, 2022

Emma secured an Intensive Referral Order  for a youth defendant who was convicted of s.18 GBH and sending malicious communications, to the same complainant. The defendant was 15 years of age.

Following mitigation, the Judge was persuaded to take an exceptional course and passed a sentence of an Intensive Referral Order.

Emma was instructed by Leah Connolly of SMW Solicitors.

R v AK, 2021

Emma represented a 16-year- old before the Harrow Crown Court, involving five defendants, charged with attempted murder, s.18 GBH and violent disorder. Emma was instructed by Leah Connolly of Sonn MacMillan Walker.

R v RB, 2021

Emma represented a 15-year old charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or violence. Emma’s client was jointly charged with youths and adults but was arrested some months after the alleged offence date. Emma was successful in an application to dismiss before the Snaresbrook Crown Court. Emma was instructed by Gerry McDonald of EBR Attridge.

R v SA, 2020

Emma successfully defended a 16-year old client charged with possession with intent to supply and possession of a bladed article. The allegations dated back to September 2019 and were tried in October 2020 before the Highbury Youth Court. The defence advanced at trial was under s.45(4) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.  Emma was instructed by Richard Brown of Baxter Brown McArthur.

R v MK, 2020

Emma represented a 15-year-old charged alongside an adult and one other youth defendant charged with s18 GBH offence on a joint enterprise basis.  Emma was successful in reducing the charge against her client to one of Affray and secured a sentence of a YRO with ISS before the Woolwich Crown Court. Emma was instructed by McQueens Solicitors.

R v D, 2020

Emma represented a 17-year-old youth client charged with robbery on a joint enterprise basis. The issues for the court involved a positive identification of the youth defendant by the complainant and a PCSO.  After trial, Emma secured his acquittal. Emma was instructed by Elena Papamichael of Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors.

R v F, 2019

Emma was instructed from the first appearance to represent a 16- year-old who was charged with possession with intent to supply class A and possession of a bladed article. The facts of the case and the circumstances in which her client was arrested and presented in court were such that Emma advised those instructing her than an NRM referral was made. The matter was committed to the Wood Green Crown Court, together with an adult co-defendant, who was believed to be his trafficker. Emma’s client also suffered from learning difficulties.  Following a  conclusive grounds decision and legal argument before the Wood Green Crown Court, all the charges were withdrawn against her client. Richard Cronin of O’Keefe Solicitors instructed Emma.

R v A, 2019

Emma represented a youth client, who,  having been remanded to the Crown Court on unrelated matters faced a Detention and Training Order (DTO)  being passed by way of a  sentence in the Youth Court for lesser offences. The starting point for the court was that only a DTO would be available by way of sentence for the lesser offences given his circumstances of being remanded.  After several weeks of engagement between those instructing and the Southwark Youth Offending Service (YOS) and following detailed submissions in court,  the District Judge was persuaded to allow a Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) to be undertaken within the custodial environment as it was conceded that were it not for the Defendant's circumstances, the lesser offences would not have attracted a DTO.   The District Judge observed in her sentencing remarks that this was the first case of its kind where such a course had been taken and that it would be looked on with interest regarding its success. Emma was instructed by Leah Connolly of Sonn Macmillan Walker.

Sexual Offences

R v T, 2024

Emma represented a client charged with rape, sexual assault, non-fatal strangulation and false imprisonment. He was also charged with controlling and coercive behaviour and ABH. The allegations were made by a former partner.

After a 7-day trial the jury unanimously acquitted Emma’s client of rape, sexual assault, non-fatal strangulation and false imprisonment. The case was prosecuted by King’s Counsel and was heard before the Oxford Crown Court.

Read more on Oxford Mail

R v JC, 2022

Emma was instructed to represent a defendant charged with the rape of his daughter who was an adult at the time of the alleged offence. The case involved sensitive cross examination of a witness who was vulnerable due to mental health issues. Emma was instructed by Gerry McDonald of EBR Attridge. The jury could not reach a verdict and were dismissed after a 7 day trial. Wood Green Crown Court.

R v MC, 2021

Emma, led by Anthony Berry KC, represented a 21-year-old charged with multiple counts of rape, violence and controlling and coercive behaviour against three ex-partners. Guildford Crown Court. Emma was instructed by Richard Cronin of O’Keefe Solicitors.

R v G, 2019

Instructed as junior counsel, defending a Lubavitch Rabbi on 14 counts of serious indecent assault against 4 boys in the 1990s. The prosecution was part of Greater Manchester Police’s extensive investigation into allegations of sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish  Community in Manchester.

The case took 3 years to come to court with three previous trial listings vacated,  with both leading and junior counsel involved in all three trials and wasted costs order made against the CPS and GMP for disclosure failings.

Following a three week trial, the jury took a day and a half to acquit the defendant of all 14 counts alleged by the complaints. Emma was instructed by David Sonn of Sonn Macmillan Walker.

See the full article here  https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/daniel-golomb-chabad-manchester-not-guilty-acquitted-trial-1.481063

Notable cases

R v N, 2023

Emma was led by Karl Volz and instructed by Richard Cronin of O’Keefe Solicitors. The case involved eight defendants facing allegations of conspiracy to defraud that spanned a two-and-a-half- year period. The prosecution’s case (North Yorkshire Trading Standards) focused on various authorities, including Police Forces Local Authority Trading Standards Departments and financial institutions. The fraudulent activity targeted 28 members of the public who had allowed the defendant to carry out building work on their properties.

R v I, 2023

Emma, led by Simon Stirling, acted for a client charged with conspiracy to facilitate travel with a view to exploitation under s.2 of the Modern Slavery Act, 2015, known as Operation Supermarine. The prosecution case centred around prostitutes working in the Swindon area who had come from Romania. Following a submission of no case to answer by Simon and Emma. the jury was directed to return not guilty verdicts in respect of their client.

Emma was instructed by Raymond Shaw of SGK Solicitors.

R v D and others

Emma, led by Ruth Becker of chambers, secured an acquittal for their client who was charged with a conspiracy  to produce over 10 million pound of counterfeit currency. Emma represented the first of five defendants in an 8 week trial before the Woolwich Crown Court. Emma was instructed by Lisa French of Foxes solictors.

R v M, 2021

Emma, who was lead, represented the first defendant on a multi-handed indictment alleging conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and possession and transference of firearms in an 8-week trial before the Stafford Crown Court. Following a successful s8 application a severance argument was pursued in respect of the firearms counts which the court upheld. The Crown proceeded only on the drugs counts. Emma was instructed by Nadeem Majid of M&M Solicitors.

R v A, 2021

Emma represented a 15-year-old charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or violence who was jointly charged with others but arrested some months after the alleged offence date. Emma was successful in an application to dismiss before the Snaresbrook Crown Court. Emma was instructed by Gerry McDonald of EBR Attridge.

JUUL Labs UK Holdco Limited v VP and MK, 2020

Emma, along with Scott Smith of 9 Bedford Row and Ruta Mikailaite of McMillan Williams Solicitors successfully defended in a private prosecution brought by Edwards Marshall McMahon on behalf of JUUL Labs UK Holdco Limited for offences under the Trades Mark Act 1994 , Registered Designs Act 1949 and the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. The case concerned the prosecution of sales assistants who unknowingly sold counterfeit goods and their alleged breaches of regulations in relation to electronic cigarettes. After a full days trial before Westminster Magistrates Court, both individuals were acquitted.

R v K, 2019

After a three day trial before the Croydon Crown Court, Emma successfully secured the acquittal on two counts of Assault against an Emergency Worker, an offence which came into force in November 2018. The allegation concerned assault by beating on two police officers, which the Crown alleged was captured on body worn video footage. The jury unanimously acquitted the defendant after 50 minutes in retirement. Emma was instructed by Leah Connolly of Ewing's Solicitors

R v KM, 2019

Emma represented a 19 year old client who came before Kingston Crown Court for sentence of his third Possession with Intent to Supply (PWITS)  Class A drugs offence, having pleaded guilty to two previous PWITS, Class A offences. The Crown initally argued that the defendant fell to be sentenced to a minimum mandatory sentence of 7 years imprisonment. At the sentencing hearing, Emma persuaded the CPS and the Court that the provisions  of s.110 PCC(S)A 2000 did not apply and secured a sentence of 30 months imprisonment for the two drug charges. The court was “ grateful to Ms Heath for her detailed sentencing note and her pragmatic and helpful oral submissions, both of which assisted the court in the sentencing exercise. Kingston Crown Court.

R v K, 2019

Emma successfully defended an individual who was accused of assaulting a police officer whilst being detained for the purposes of a strip search. The case was thrown out after successful legal argument that the grounds for the strip search were unlawful and the officers were not acting in the execution of their duty. The Crown continued to trial on the second charge of drunk and disorderly in a public place which, after a successful half time submission, was thrown out by the District Judge. The matter has since been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. (IPCC)

J v Department for Work & Pensions, 2019

Emma represented an Appellant who appealed against a decision of the DWP in relation to benefit overpayment that was alleged to have taken place over a period of 10 years. The overall benefit figure was reduced by 25% following successful representations that the Appellant had properly notified the relevant department of a change in circumstances and therefore the benefit figure was not recoverable.

R v S, 2018

Instructed as defence counsel in a matter involving alleged domestic violence. Following extensive arguments about disclosure,  which involved two court hearings and a separate section 8 hearing before a District Judge, the Crown offered no evidence against the Defendant.

R v KM, 2018

Following a committal to the Crown Court for breach of a Suspended Sentence Order (SSO),  Emma successfully argued that activation of the 18-year-olds SSO was unjust in all of the circumstances, despite the breach matter being committed only a matter of weeks after the imposition of the original SSO.


In support of her dedication to youth work, Emma was elected as the Chair of the Youth Practitioners Association (YPA) in October 2022 for a three-year tenure.


Legal 500 2022 – Leading Junior
‘Emma is a formidable advocate and a favourite with juries.’





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PROFILE: Emma Heath

Legal 500, 2024

Year called




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Youth Crime

Road Traffic

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Road traffic


Bar Professional Training Course, University of Law – (2016) (Very Competent)

Honourable Society of Middle Temple, Joseph Jackson Scholar (2016)

Inns of Court Advocacy Training

Middle Temple Inn (Very Competent) (2017)

University of Kent. LLB (Hons) Law (2:1) (2015)


Honourable Society of Middle Temple

Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association

Association of Women Barristers

Criminal Bar Association

Southeastern Circuit

Young Legal Aid Lawyers Association


Current Chair of the Youth Practitioners Association (3-year tenure)

CPS Panel (Grade 3)

The Inns of Court, Advocacy and the Vulnerable Course

The General Council of the Bar Council Representative


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