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Stephen Downing

Expertise and key strengths

I have dealt with a wide ranging number of criminal offences as both a defence and a prosecuting advocate. I worked for the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) and its predecessors for over 32 years dealing with the full range of offences, from drink drive to rape and murder. I have trained CPS advocates for many years in matters of advocacy and specific offences such as stalking, social media offending, road traffic, public order allegations, rape and sexual offences, and domestic violence allegations. I have also recently developed and delivered training for CPS Lawyers in youth court work, identification issues and the disclosure of unused material. I have devised and delivered week long advocacy training to advocates in Belfast, conducted training of Prosecutors and Police in relation to human trafficking cases in Prague at the request of the Home Office and I have delivered advocacy training to defence advocates.

I qualified as a solicitor in 1983 and achieved higher rights of audience (criminal proceedings) in 1998.

I was the first solicitor advocate to conduct a jury trial in the North of England, back in 2002, and regularly appeared in the Crown Court as an advocate in the following years.

I have managed several offices in the CPS and I possess training and coaching qualifications.

Most recently, I was heavily involved in devising and delivering training to newly employed lawyers in the CPS (an organisation with over 2000 lawyers) in the fields of advocacy and essential law learning. These lawyers are responsible for deciding whether to prosecute cases, and represent the Crown in many hearings in the courts.

My career

Having qualified with an Honours Degree in Law from Hull University in 1980 I obtained experience in several areas before joining the Crown Prosecution Service in 1986. This was the start of a rewarding career with the CPS regularly appearing in courts and advising the Police on the most serious of matters. My most recent role with them was as a CPS National Advocacy training lead, developing and delivering numerous advocacy courses over the years to both experienced Crown Court and Magistrates’ court advocates and to new entrants to the Service and to legal trainees and paralegal officers.

I have been commended on many occasions regarding my production/delivery of training products (face to face/webinar/e learning ) relating to topics such as sexual offences, rape prosecution work, disclosure, stalking and harassment, cybercrime, youth court work, charging issues, identification evidence and advocacy related courses.

Over recent years in the CPS I have assisted with the development of a “better case management “project in the Crown Court and a “Transforming Summary Justice “project in the Magistrates’ Court. In 2017 I devised and delivered a national youth specialist course and a national course on the cross examination of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses prior to trial for the CPS.

I also deliver lectures on law to the School of Law and Politics at the University of Hull.

Proudest professional achievement

My proudest professional achievement has probably been the appointment by the CPS as advocacy lead some years ago charged with the advocacy training of advocates in both the Magistrates’ and in the Crown Court , a responsibility which continued until leaving in November 2017. I have since trained hundreds of advocates and produced notes on performance to assist their development with messages of thanks and approval received on innumerable occasions.

Client comments

Steve embodies fully the qualities I wish to see in lawyers in a world class prosecuting authority.  He has a zest to learn and develop his own potential to the full and to use his great knowledge and experience to inspire and help others realise theirs. 

Lord Ken Macdonald QC (DPP 2003-2008)

You have been an advocacy star without whom CPS advocacy would be nowhere near where it is today.

Michael Kennedy, then Chief Operating Officer of the CPS

Stephen’s confident, knowledgeable and approachable manner quickly earned him the respect of colleagues and opponents at the independent bar alike. He gained the confidence of the judiciary in both Leeds and Bradford from the outset by his clear, thorough and mature presentation at court. 

Sheila Aldridge former head of the West Yorkshire CPS Crown Court team

Qualifications

  • LLB Honours Degree in Law
  • Qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court
  • Higher Rights of Audience (Criminal Proceedings)
  • Designated as a “qualified person” by the General Council of the Bar (for the purposes of paragraph 203 of the Bar Code of Conduct)
  • Advanced Professional Diploma in Training & Development

 

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Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90