Hussain Hassan

Hussain is a committed criminal defence solicitor with experience of a wide range of matters, ranging from theft and violence; to firearms and large-scale drug importation conspiracies. He specialises in criminal matters relating to protests and Unlicensed Music Events (raves) as well as investigations involving HM Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

 

Hussain represents clients from across England and Wales. Here’s what they say:

  •        “Hussain in particular was very empathetic when listening to details, structured and clear on legal processes and options available, which was of great relief in an unknown and stressful situation. Hussain supported me in person at the interview, and subsequently the case has been cleared and will not proceed.”
  •        “Hussain Hassan went above and beyond and secured my release from prison after I was charged with a serious offence and remanded in custody”
  •        “Throughout my experience there was a high standard of professionalism, consideration and communication. I had a few potential Solicitors to represent me but the respect, honesty and kindness that was so clearly portrayed in our conversation assured me that choosing Hussain was in fact the right decision. Every aspect was handled with the appropriate care and it was obvious my wellbeing was a main priority. Could not recommend enough.”
  •        “Polite and conscientious service. Hussain handled my case professionally with subtlety and respect. Many thanks”
  •        “Hussain Hassan would be highly recommended. Very punctual and clear guidance”

 

Hussain’s notable recent cases include:

R v R (2021) – suspended sentence secured for an American national charged with a multi-kilogram importation of class B drugs, following the litigation and agreement of a basis of plea with the Crown, supported by documentary evidence of extensive mitigation.

R v O (2021) – conditional discharge secured for a vulnerable teenager charged with possession of a bladed article at a Black Lives Matter protest following successful plea in mitigation.

R v B (2021) – secured the return of thousands of pounds’ worth of seized sound equipment after opposing the Crown’s application for a deprivation order. The client was charged with being involved in the organisation of a rave in breach of Covid-19 regulations. He had entered a guilty plea on the full facts, when represented by previous solicitors, before seeking assistance from Hussain. An application to vacate the guilty plea was made and duly granted. The matter was resolved by way of a detailed basis of plea litigated with the Crown. At the sentencing hearing, Hussain successfully opposed an application made by the Crown for the destruction of the man’s sound equipment.

R v R (2021) – secured the intervention of the Crown in a private prosecution for theft, following detailed representations, with the matter resolved by way of a caution being administered. The private prosecutor had previously expressed their intention to proceed with the prosecution.

R v T (2021) – charge of carrying on an unauthorised licensable activity withdrawn by Crown following representations made at court. The client was alleged to have performed at an illegal rave. 

S (2020) – no further action taken by the Crown following advice given to the client at the police station in relation to the offer of a caution for the alleged importation of 1.3kg of cannabis.

 

Hussain is a member of the Criminal Bar Association Working Group on Court Capacity and has previously served on the executive committee of the trade union Legal Sector Workers United. Prior to qualification as a solicitor, Hussain conducted a range of charitable work. This included being a trustee at Bristol-based charity Salaam Shalom; producing fundraising events which enabled the direct delivery of aid to areas affected by conflict in Iraq; and presenting the findings of research into access to medical treatment in Iraq to the Fourth Session of the Conference of State Parties, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

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Commons Sense 06 – the State of Innocence?

In July 2016, in her first address as Prime Minister, Theresa May stood on the steps of Downing Street and promised to address racial and social inequalities in Britain. “If you’re Black” she said “you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white.” She vowed to make Britain a country that “worked for everyone”.

Shortly afterwards, May extended plans, initially begun by David Cameron’s coalition government, to create a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants to Britain. As part of that drive, some of the harshest immigration policies in British history were introduced, including the controversial “right to rent” scheme – which was blamed for a wave of discrimination in the housing sector against Black and minority ethnic groups, and whose legality is now being battled out in the Supreme Court. Such policies were also blamed for creating the Windrush scandal.

A lesser-known part of the hostile environment drive came into effect in November 2017, just a few months after Theresa May had lamented racial inequality in the justice system. The clause, which attracted almost no public or Parliamentary attention at the time, made it mandatory for criminal defendants to state their nationality in open court at the start of their case. The stated intention of this law, (breach of which could result in up to 51 weeks in prison) was to remove “foreign national offenders as quickly as possible”. The government had been successfully deporting people for years and, in any case, can only do so when someone is given a custodial sentence of a year or more. It was not clear why this additional requirement, that applied to everyone regardless of guilt or innocence, was necessary.

We had an inkling – from our experience in court and from talking to peers in the criminal justice system – that the nationality requirement was not as innocuous as it might, to some, have appeared. We set out to dive deeper and find out what impact it was having on the criminal justice system. In May 2020 we published our report The State of Innocence which found that – far from making Britain a country that “worked for everyone” – the policy was entrenching racial inequalities by undermining the perception of fairness in the justice system.  

Nationality and race may be distinct concepts but they are intrinsically bound up together. We found that 22% of defendants thought they were being asked for their race or ethnicity rather than their nationality. Almost 80% of the lawyers surveyed had their client provide the Court with their ethnicity and/or race instead of their nationality and almost 60% of those practitioners said this happened at least once a week.

It is impossible to know whether answers given by defendants had an impact on the outcome of their case – i.e. whether there was actual discrimination as a result of the policy – but it is clear that it introduced an element of doubt into the fairness of proceedings, particularly for those from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Our client Ravina (not her real name) revealed to us that “the question made me feel uncomfortable. Growing up in the UK I have faced a lot of discrimination in my life and that question just felt like a continuation of that.” Trust in the justice system is key and the nationality requirement eroded that trust further.

Thankfully, our research reached decision makers on the Criminal Procedure Rules. In August 2020, courts were advised to stop asking the nationality question and in February 20201 the Rules were finally changed to abolish the question being asked at the beginning of every case.

This is a good result, however we are only too aware of how much further the British justice system has to go. Few of the Lammy Report recommendations have been implemented and the situation has, according to Lammy, in fact deteriorated.

There is still too much fear of ‘immigrants’ and ‘foreigners’, we need to fight even harder to call out policies that impact on the fairness of the justice system towards Black and minority ethnic groups.

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Tom Walker

Tom is a researcher with a focus on the intersection between human rights, transparency and accountability, and environmental issues. He has worked with organisations ranging from Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross to grassroots organisations in Indonesia and Myanmar, helping them design strategies for using technology and data effectively in their work. Previously, he co-led research at The Engine Room, where he conducted the first global review of how technology is being used to increase access to justice. Before that, he worked as a journalist, political risk analyst and programme officer in an international electoral support NGO.

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Dan Hully

Dan qualified as a chartered accountant at PwC, where he helped setup a new service providing Finance Director support to startups.

Since then he’s been involved in everything from creating bicycle panniers to supporting VC backed startups. Dan is passionate about using technology to improve professional services and is the founder of Quantico, a new type of accounting firm for entrepreneurs.

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Jago Russell

Jago has been the Chief Executive of Fair Trials since September 2008. Before joining Fair Trials, he worked as a policy specialist at the human rights charity Liberty and worked as a Legal Specialist in the UK Parliament, assisting the Human Rights, Home Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Select Committees.

Jago is a qualified solicitor and has published and lectured widely on a range of criminal justice and human rights issues.

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Haleema Bashir

Haleema is a legal administrator at Commons and assists the firm’s solicitors with casework. 

Haleema holds a BA in English Language and Linguistics from King’s College London and a Graduate Diploma in Law from BPP Law School. She hopes to commence the Legal Practice Course alongside her work at Commons. 

Before joining Commons, Haleema volunteered with the Greater London Authority Employment Rights Hub as a legal translator and the Free Representation Unit as a tribunal case assistant. She has also worked with Depilex Smile Again Foundation, Edhi Foundation, and other charities in Pakistan aiming to provide aid to the underprivileged and victims of injustice.

 

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Anna Thomson

Anna is a researcher at Commons, focused on working with our clients to measure our social impact. Anna also works in co-production at the British Red Cross where she supports and advises teams looking to involve service users in designing, shaping and reviewing services.

Anna has a background in research, community engagement and campaigning. She has managed large-scale research projects as well as facilitated consultation events on behalf of local councils and evaluated conflict management programmes in prisons. At CrowdJustice, she worked with grassroots and professional campaigners to develop strategies to raise funds for legal cases through online crowdfunding. At Freedom from Torture, she supported refugees and asylum seekers who have survived torture to use creative writing in order to raise awareness of the asylum system in the UK and to campaign for survivors’ rights. Anna is interested in helping people to understand their rights and has previously volunteered at her local Citizens Advice.

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Amanda Crutchley

Amanda (she/her) is the Crisis Navigator at Commons, where she helps clients with a variety of practical, non-legal related needs. This will be achieved through holistic assessments and creating personalized client plans, connecting clients to specialist care, providing emotional support and advocacy, and conducting ongoing community outreach.

Amanda holds dual citizenship from the USA and UK, with a Masters in Clinical Social Work degree from Smith College. She has worked in a variety of settings, including HIV medical casework, community mental health, LGBTQ anti-violence support and advocacy, substance misuse treatment, trauma counselling and crisis support for incarcerated clients.

During her time in London, Amanda has worked for Galop as a sexual violence advisor and as a senior caseworker at St. Giles Trust, supporting people with complex needs into work and education opportunities. She is currently studying Integrative counselling and coaching part- time alongside her work at Commons.

Amanda believes that clients should always be at the centre of the care they receive, as they are the experts in understanding their own lives. She utilizes an anti-racism and anti-oppression framework, as well as harm reduction and trauma-informed approaches when supporting clients. She is passionate about addressing systemic barriers that are impacting clients’ abilities to build meaningful lives, and strives to work collaboratively with clients, communities and organisations to best improve social impact for all.

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Rosie Worster

Rosie first joined Commons as a paralegal in January 2020 and became the firm’s first trainee solicitor in September 2021. She is a fee earner and also supports our solicitors with their Magistrates Court, Crown Court and appellate casework, as well as with the firm’s social justice and community project work. She is in the process of becoming an accredited Police Station Representative. 

Rosie holds a BA in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford and an LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice from SOAS, University of London. She completed her Legal Practice Certificate with the University of Law whilst working as a paralegal at Commons.

Before joining Commons, Rosie was Director of Programmes at The Fair Justice Initiative, a non-governmental organisation fighting for prison reform in Accra, Ghana. She has experience as a paralegal with a focus on asylum and immigration detention at Turpin & Miller LLP and has volunteered with several organisations with a focus on human rights and access to justice, including Justice Defenders (formerly African Prisons Project) and RELEASE.

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Sashy Nathan

Sashy practises in criminal cases with human rights, civil liberties and international issues to be pursued on behalf of his clients. His work ranges from advising organisations and individuals on international criminal law, to helping the increasing amount of people who face criminal proceedings arising from civil law orders. He regularly appears in the Magistrates’ Courts in criminal proceedings on a range of offences for clients with complex needs, and also undertakes contempt of court proceedings including:  

Specialist Hygiene Solutions v Marsh [2019] 4 WLUK 400 

Representing the respondent in contempt proceedings at the High Court arising from breaches of a Tomlin Order and concerning allegations about a company working in the NHS. The case included obtaining key medical evidence (a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, a personality disorder and major depressive disorder) leading to an eight-month custodial sentence being suspended for two years. 

R v  Attorney General v Scarth [2013] EWHC 194 (Admin) 

Representing the respondent, a World War 2 veteran, in an application for committal brought by the UK Attorney General which led to a suspended sentence for multiple contempts of court. 

“Speaking to Sashy you know he instantly knew, you could tell that he knew what he was talking about and he’d dealt with cases like this before and that immediately put my mind at ease.” 

“I’ve had solicitors before and out of all of them I think Sashy was the most efficient the most professional […] definitely. He was just a very compassionate person […] you can see that he thought it was ridiculous and it was unfair.” 

Prior to setting up Commons, Sashy practised criminal defence and civil liberties law at Bindmans LLP where he concentrated on representing defendants in politicised cases including members of Occupy, Greenpeace, the UK Tar Sands Network, UK Uncut, No Borders and protestors against the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He represented many vulnerable individuals in the criminal justice system who were referred from organisations such as Stonewall, Deafhope, Re-think, and Galop.  

Sashy has a wealth of experience working in charities and the international non-governmental sector, including at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Save the Children International. He is currently also the Director of Advocacy at 89up, a purpose communications agency designed for civil society issues and organisations. He regularly writes and broadcasts on rights issues that affect freedoms and legal protections that benefit us all.  

You can watch Sashy being interviewed on BBC News here:

You can see Sashy’s appearance on the panel on Citizenship and Immigration at The Convention event by scrolling to minute 32:18 on this video: 

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