Alan’s reputation is for prepared, realistic and persuasive advocacy. He is regularly instructed in a wide range of criminal cases including offences of: Arson with intent to endanger life, blackmail, child abduction, child cruelty, criminal damage (in particular large-scale graffiti cases), drugs importations and supply, illegal use, sale and possession of firearms, fraud and money laundering, facilitating breaches of immigration law, robbery and serious violent and sexual offences. Alan has defended in a number of the August 2011 disorder cases in various matters of riot, violent disorder, affray, burglaries and assaults.
Prior to his call to the bar Alan had the benefit of six years experience as a Police Station Representative defending people suspected of all levels of criminal activity from shoplifting to regular instruction in cases of murder and serious sexual offences. He is therefore well aware of the pressures facing instructing solicitors in the current climate. Alan is experienced and remains qualified to defend suspects at the Police Station. Please speak to his clerks for further information. He is also Duty Police Station and Magistrates Court qualified.
Alan attained a First Class LLB Law Degree (London South Bank University) and an MSc in Criminal Justice and Criminology (University of Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall). His Masters included a dissertation on the discretionary exclusion of evidence (section 78/abuse of process) supervised by Professor Andrew Ashworth QC. Alan was rated outstanding in Criminal Litigation on his BVC.
He was awarded the Sweet and Maxwell Prize and an Exhibition Award by the Inner Temple.
Alan has written for and lectured on undergraduate and postgraduate law degree courses, subjects including: advocacy, criminal law, criminal litigation, evidence and contract law.
Alan has delivered a number of CPD lectures and training sessions on criminal law, procedure, evidence and advocacy. In 2013 Alan prepared and presented two CPD events: 1) LASPO 2012 and criminal practice A criminal practice update training session, covering the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and recent updates on procedure, sentencing and new offences. 2) People with Mental Health Issues and the Criminal Justice System Alan Birbeck and Dr Neil Boast (a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist) delivered a lecture on the Law and Practice regarding People with Mental Health issues. This covered: diagnosis, impact, practice points, the concepts of capacity and fitness; the fitness hearing; the fact finding hearing; insanity; diminished responsibility; adaptations to trial and disposal.
Alan has significant experience of defending young clients, clients with psychiatric issues and personality disorders, clients with learning difficulties and drug and alcohol addictions. He has argued submissions on areas of law as diverse as abuse of process, bad character, confiscation, the discretionary exclusion of evidence, fitness to plead, hearsay, mental capacity, sexual offences prevention orders, special reasons, ASBO’s and Restraining Orders.
He is also a practitioner feedback contributor to Oxford University Press on publications including Blackstone’s Criminal Practice and English Public Law.