Simon Natas

Simon Natas

Simon is an award winning Solicitor and Higher Courts Advocate specialising in crime and human rights related work. He is consistently rated as a leading lawyer in Chambers and Partners, which has noted his “intelligence and commitment” and “ability to see a legal point before most.”  The Legal 500 describes him as a "class act".

Simon was named 2016 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the field of criminal defence and was short-listed for the 2012 Law Society Excellence Award for Solicitor-Advocate of the year. 

His work encompasses serious crime, regulatory work, judicial review, professional misconduct, public inquiries and criminal appeals. He has a proven track record in conducting the most challenging and complex cases. These have often included important human rights issues, including freedom of expression, or legal questions of public importance. Many have made national news headlines.

Simon acted for the campaign group JENGbA in the historic Supreme Court appeal of R v Jogee, which resulted in far reaching reform to the controversial law of joint enterprise. He is noted as an expert on joint enterprise and is regularly asked to comment on this, and other legal issues, in the media.

Simon’s other notable recent cases include R v G, the acquittal of former Solicitor accused of fabricating allegations of Police corruption in the course of which Simon brought a judicial review of the revocation his client’s bail and secured him substantial damages; R v BG, the defence of an academic specialising in urban exploration against charges of conspiracy to commit criminal damage and R v TM, a well-publicised murder acquittal.

Simon’s high profile public order cases include R v Richardson and Wilkinson, an appeal to the Supreme Court arising from arrests for aggravated trespass and a number of “mass arrest cases”, such as the defence of over forty people detained during the Critical Mass cycle ride on the opening night of the 2012 London Olympics. He has secured the acquittals of many activists charged with aggravated trespass, highway obstruction and breaches of the Public Order Act as well as numerous people wrongly accused of assaulting or obstructing Police Officers.  Many of Simon’s clients have gone on to bring substantial civil claims for wrongful arrest.

Simon has contributed articles to the Guardian, Westlaw Insight and Legal Voice and his many media appearances include Newsnight, Sky News and Radio 4’s legal discussion programme, Unreliable Evidence. Recent public speaking engagements include the Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime, where he has spoken on the rights of whistleblowers, and the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association conference. 

Prominent Cases

Reported cases include:

  • R v Saw and others [2 Cr.App.R S 54]: Court of Appeal guideline case for sentencing on domestic burglaries
  • D v DPP [2011] WLR 882: Widely reported appeal by way of case stated, dealing with powers of officers to detain and definition of “execution of duty”.
  • Harvey v DPP [2012] 176 JP 265: Successful appeal against conviction on behalf of defendant charged with offence under s.5 Public order Act after swearing at police officers.

Other notable cases include:

  • R v R: Possession of Firearms with Intent to Endanger Life, successful abuse of process argument
  • R v M: S.18 GBH - aquitted
  • R v C: Possession of Firearm with Intent to Cause Fear of Violence - aquitted
  • R v A: Robbery; Possession of Imitation Firearm - acquitted
  • R v T: Possession of Prohibited Firearm - successful "exceptional circumstances" argument
  • R v AB: Successful defence of protester arrested after carrying an allegedly offensive banner
  • Critical Mass arrests: Succesful defence of cyclists arrested during Critical Mass cycle ride on opening night of 2012 Olympics

Reported cases include

  • R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8: Acted for grassroots campaign group, JENGbA as intervener in historic Supreme Court case which reversed over thirty years of case law on joint enterprise.
  • R v Richardson and Wilkinson [2014] UKSC 8: Supreme Court appeal determining the meaning of “lawful activity” for the purposes of the offence of aggravated trespass.
  • R v Garwood and others [2017] All ER (D) 177: Power to certify a point of law of general importance for consideration of Supreme Court where leave to appeal was refused.
  • R v Johnson and others [2016] All ER (D) 13: Acted for JENGbA as intervener in Court of Appeal cases following Jogee , definition of “substantial injustice” in change of law cases.
  • R v Mateta [2013] All ER (D) 19: Asylum seeker’s conviction for possession of false passport quashed.
  • Nero and others v DPP [2012] EWHC 1238 (Admin): Convictions for aggravated trespass overturned in Divisional Court.

Other prominent recent cases include:

  • R v G: Acquittal  of former solicitor charged with perverting the course of justice
  • R v BG: Defence of academic charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage. Simon's client eventually received a conditional discharge.
  • R v TM: Aquittal in murder case
  • R v AB: Succesful defence of protester prosecuted for holding an offensive banner
  • R v A: Succesful defence of teacher charged with breaches of the Data Protection Act in "whistle-blowing" case
  • Iraq Fatalities Inquiry
  • "Sussex 5" - Successful representation of students in internal disciplinary proceedings after they had taken part in an occupation of university buildings