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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Pat Mungroo

Pat’s mental health training and work experiences over the past forty years have invovled working in both hospitals and communities, treating, and supporting patients who suffered from multiple of diagnoses such as learning difficulties, learning disabilities, Bipolar, psychosis, personality disorders, psychopathic disorders, Schizophrenia, and substances use and abuse. His duties included providing one-to-one personal counselling, assessing, and developing treatment plans, managing patients’ behaviour in and out of treatment environments.

Pat originally registered as a Mental Health nurse and then gained diplomas in Business Management and Law, and in Mental Health from Anglia Ruskin University. Later he successfully completed an MSc in Clinical Criminology from Leicester University, and a PhD from Jindal Global University. He also served as a Magistrate for twelve years.

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Chris Blewitt

Chris is the Crisis Navigator at Commons and he works alongside out legal team as part of our holistic defence approach. Chris has a background in Mental Health Act and Care Act advocacy, working in secure mental health settings and in the community.

Chris has experience of supporting people with varied and complex needs to secure access to their rights, maintain their dignity and have their voices heard in secure hospitals and in community care settings. This has seen him support people with challenging detention under sections of the Mental Health Act, secure access to appropriate housing, challenge inadequate care provision and deprivations of liberty, and navigate complex safeguarding cases, as well as working with parents and children engaged in Family Court proceedings.

In mental health settings, Chris has also worked on projects focused on violence reduction, facilitating group-based conflict resolution and mediation work. Chris also continues to work alongside people with learning disabilities and autism to establish better understanding of their rights to care and welfare support, and advocate for their own independence and self-determination. 

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Anna Thomson

Anna is the Impact Lead at Commons and evaluates the impact our projects and services have on our clients, other stakeholders, and the wider community.

Anna collects and analyses client feedback, and monitors and reports on data for our services. She is particularly focused on learning from clients’ experiences to develop our services and increase our impact. The insights she has gathered about gaps in support for people who come into contact with the criminal justice system have helped to inform the design and development of our Crisis Navigation service.

Anna has a background in co-production, community engagement, research, and campaigning. Most recently, she worked in the co-production team at the British Red Cross, where she advised and supported teams across the organisation to involve service users in strategy, service and product development. Prior to this, she managed research, consultation and community engagement projects on behalf of local councils and has carried out evaluations of programmes and services in the charity and public sectors. Her interest in working in the legal sector began at CrowdJustice, where she helped grassroots campaigns on public interest legal cases and crowdfunding.

Anna studied history at the University of Cambridge and since joining Commons has been inspired to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Law School.

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Rebecca Trout

Rebecca joined Commons in 2022 and works as a paralegal, providing litigation support to our lawyers, as well as helping to deliver the firm’s criminal justice project work. She is in the process of gaining her Legal Practice Certificate from BPP University and aspires to train and practice as a criminal solicitor.

Prior to studying law, she graduated from the University of York with first class honours in Politics and holds an MA in International Security from the University of Sussex. She gained her Graduate Diploma in Law in 2020.

Before joining Commons, Rebecca worked in the private client department at Mishcon de Reya, as well as volunteering for the Citizen’s Advice Witness Service, and a Legal Advice Clinic focused on housing law issues.

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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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