Catherine Ravenscroft specialises in criminal and regulatory law. She has a straight-forward and friendly approach to advising and representing clients in all types of proceedings and has quickly developed a strong practice in her specialist areas. Her skills as an advocate appeal to individuals, working professionals and organisations alike and she welcomes instructions from all types of client.
Catherine is regularly instructed by both prosecution and defence in the Crown Court, Magistrates Court and Youth Court. Her criminal practice exposes her to a variety of cases and experiences including serious violence, drugs, serious motoring offences, offensive weapons and firearms. She is also experienced in defending clients with particular vulnerabilities including mental illness, age and disability.
Her practice has been expanded by secondments to various organisations including the Government of St Helena, Cadent Gas Ltd, and Birmingham City Council. In particular, her time as Crown Criminal Counsel to the Government of St Helena provided Catherine with considerable trial experience and a mature understanding of criminal investigations beyond her year of call.
In her regulatory practice, Catherine undertakes instructions in all areas including food safety, housing, taxi licensing, education, alcohol and late-night entertainment. She regularly appears before local authority licensing committees, magistrates’ courts and crown courts. She has also been instructed as independent legal advisor to the local authority in a number of high-profile decisions.
As independent counsel, Catherine has also advised organisations and clients in relation to disclosure and legal professional privilege. She has been instructed in major criminal investigations for organisations including HM Revenue and Customs and National Crime Agency.
Outside of work, Catherine is a keen dancer and violinist with a history of public performances at venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall and the International Military Tattoo. She is also a Land Rover enthusiast and enjoys spending her free time under the bonnet.
Catherine has quickly cultivated a varied criminal practice and is regularly instructed both to defend and prosecute in the magistrates’ and crown court. She has a pragmatic approach to case preparation which is driven by detailed analysis of the case brief. Recent instructions include representing a medical professional accused of sexual abuse of 2 patients and a residential nurse accused of harming elderly residents in their care.
Catherine also prosecutes both on her own and as a led junior in cases such as large drug conspiracy trials.
Catherine has also advised on the investigation and charge of a number of criminal offences, including sexual offences and conspiracies to steal and defraud. As Crown Counsel to the Island of St Helena, she acted as senior prosecutor to the government in a variety of trials and provided advice during the conduct of police investigations. She also advised island government on the amendment of legislation and the development of a new fixed penalty regime. Catherine brings this experience to her advocacy and advice in order to obtain the best outcome for her clients.
Catherine prosecutes and defends in respect of all types of hearings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 arising from criminal and regulatory offences.
Catherine has represented both individuals and organisations in respect of road traffic offences. She recently secured the acquittal of a care worker accused of failing to provide the details of a driver at the time of an offence in circumstances where proper records had not been kept by his employer; and secured the acquittal of another individual accused of dangerous driving against the evidence of 4 prosecution witnesses.
She also prosecutes and defends in hearings for exceptional hardship arguments or appeals to the Crown Court, and is experienced in legal arguments in respect of these areas.
Catherine has a specialist interest in licensing and is experienced in a variety of matters, including taxis, alcohol, late-night entertainment and refreshment. She regularly appears in licensing committee hearings and in the magistrates’ and crown court on appeal. She advised prospects of appeal as well as on various points of legal argument, including costs and disclosure.
She also acts as an independent legal advisor to local authorities during committee hearings and emergency reviews, often advising on various points of legal argument. These have included the review of nightclubs following incidents of extreme violence and serious conspiracies to supply class-A drugs. She has written on particular points of interest for the St Philips Regulatory Group newsletter, and is a member of the Institute of Licensing.
Catherine has experience in prosecuting and defending “rogue traders” and those accused of unfair commercial practices. Her experience includes defending an aerial tradesman accused of unfair commercial practices in a trial involving expert evidence on the components of aerial technology and prosecuting a builder involving expert evidence on the structural mechanics of an outbuilding. She has also been instructed as a led junior in a 3 week long trial of fraudulent trading against a lettings company.
Catherine has acted in a number of food safety matters in both the magistrates’ and crown court, including the prosecution of a restaurant for numerous serious and repeated hygiene breaches resulting in a £20,000 fine. She also has experience with cases including allergens.
Catherine has acted in cases across the spectrum of environmental law including breach of duty of care, breach of abatement notice and “fly-tipping”. She has recently prosecuted a business for industrial fly-tipping in the West Midlands and defended a commercial farm for offences under the Clean Air Act 1993.
Catherine has advised pre-charge on matters of animal welfare and has also represented farmers and owners accused of animal welfare offences. She has knowledge of issues relating to the movement of farm animals including offences related to licences or passports, as well requirements for the care of such animals.
While seconded to Cadent Gas Ltd, Catherine advised the organisation on their approach to and preparation for the General Data Protection Regulations. She acquired detailed knowledge of this area and utilises her experience to defend clients accused of offences under data protection legislation including police officers and other professionals.
Catherine has advised organisations and clients in relation to disclosure and legal professional privilege. She has an in-depth knowledge of this area and has been instructed by HMRC during an investigation into a large-scale VAT fraud involving multiple defendants and by private organisations to advise on their response to a National Crime Agency disclosure order under POCA 2002.
Catherine has also acted as disclosure junior to the prosecution in cases of murder and serious sexual offences.
CPS Advocate Panel for General Crime, Grade 3
Institute of Licensing
Women in Criminal Law
Midlands Circuit Women’s Forum
Criminal Bar Association