Nicola Carroll

Year of Call: 2016 (Solicitor: 2004)


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  • "I couldn’t have asked for a better barrister to represent me at my 2 day finding of fact hearing. Her ability in court, in particular her cross-examination, deserves praise.”

    Family Law Client
  • “Nicola is ideal to represent me at my upcoming trial. She is able and confident and has set my mind at ease.”

    Criminal Law Client
  • "Nicola is an excellent advocate in Court, who does not back down."

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Defending)
  • “When dealing with an extremely vulnerable female client of mine Nicola showed great patience, compassion and consideration - she spent considerable time with this client and went above and beyond to assist her.

    Because of her exceptionally thorough knowledge of criminal law and procedure Nicola ultimately managed to have the case against my client dropped, which was a fantastic result."

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Defending)
  • "Her client care is excellent. Nicola really cares about doing the absolute best she can for her clients.”

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Defending)
  • “Nicola is an extremely capable advocate who impresses with her robust and can-do approach in difficult and challenging cases. Dedicated and hardworking, she is always meticulously prepared. With her down to earth and approachable manner, she is a pleasure to work with”.

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Prosecuting)
  • "I wouldn’t have any hesitation in briefing Nicola on a variety of cases with varying degrees of complexity as she is always thorough, well prepared, robust and pro-active."

    Instructed by the Prosecution

Education

Staffordshire University - LLB (Hons)
Former Solicitor - Admitted 2004
Solicitor Advocate - 2009
Called to the Bar - 2016 (Inner Temple)


Professional Memberships

Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel (Level 3)
Crown Prosecution Service Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Panel Advocate


  • "I couldn’t have asked for a better barrister to represent me at my 2 day finding of fact hearing. Her ability in court, in particular her cross-examination, deserves praise.”

    Family Law Client
  • “Nicola is ideal to represent me at my upcoming trial. She is able and confident and has set my mind at ease.”

    Criminal Law Client
  • "Nicola is an excellent advocate in Court, who does not back down."

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Defending)
  • “When dealing with an extremely vulnerable female client of mine Nicola showed great patience, compassion and consideration - she spent considerable time with this client and went above and beyond to assist her.

    Because of her exceptionally thorough knowledge of criminal law and procedure Nicola ultimately managed to have the case against my client dropped, which was a fantastic result."

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Defending)
  • "Her client care is excellent. Nicola really cares about doing the absolute best she can for her clients.”

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Defending)
  • “Nicola is an extremely capable advocate who impresses with her robust and can-do approach in difficult and challenging cases. Dedicated and hardworking, she is always meticulously prepared. With her down to earth and approachable manner, she is a pleasure to work with”.

    Instructing Solicitor – Criminal Law (Prosecuting)
  • "I wouldn’t have any hesitation in briefing Nicola on a variety of cases with varying degrees of complexity as she is always thorough, well prepared, robust and pro-active."

    Instructed by the Prosecution

Nicola is an established criminal practitioner with over 16 years’ experience. She is an extremely capable advocate with excellent client care.

She is appointed as a Level 3 Prosecutor on the Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel and has been appointed to the CPS Rape and Serious Sexual Abuse List.

Prior to joining the Independent Bar Nicola spent 14 years as a Prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service in the North West where she litigated the most serious and complex cases including Murder, Death by Dangerous Driving, Rape and Serious Sexual Offences, high value Frauds, and lengthy and voluminous Drug conspiracies and operations.

She now regularly instructed by the Prosecution and the Defence in a vast range of serious cases.

Nicola also has expertise in cases involving youths—prosecuting and defending, particularly those charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 where a careful and sensitive approach to both the defendant and the complainant, and their families, is required.

She has attended Ground Rules Hearings in appropriate cases and is fully equipped to accept instructions in cases involving the most vulnerable of our society, including those cases which will fall within S28 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

Nicola also regularly represents clients with mental health illnesses and has appeared as a court-appointed advocate to represent the interests of clients unable to participate in their criminal proceedings due to their illness.

Training/Other

Nicola has delivered training to GMP, Lancashire Constabulary and the GMC on ABE matters and RASSO topics generally.

In January 2018 Nicola assisted the Crown Prosecution Service during a period of Peer Review of all Rape cases charged in the North West region. This project was necessary and vital following the joint review of the disclosure process in the case of R v Allan and other collapsed rape cases nationally.  Nicola reviewed a vast number of cases and provided advice in respect of disclosure where it arose.

Nicola also previously worked with the Inspectorate of the CPS, HMCPSi, and was a contributor to the report “Achieving Best Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Cases – a Joint Inspection.

Family Law

In 2020 Nicola also started to accept instructions in Family Law cases and she has spent time shadowing experienced family practitioners both in Court and in a Solicitors practice.   She has conducted a number of hearings in her own right including a 2 day finding of fact hearing.    She has acted both for parents and local authorities in child care proceedings and has acted for a number of clients in private law proceedings.

View Notable Cases

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Recent instructions

R v J.  Child Cruelty/Indecent Assault.  Defending.  Listed for 5 weeks, Jan 2021.

Trial.  Multiple count indictment.  11 complainants.  Historic offences of child cruelty and indecent assaults spanning a 30 year period.  Oldest allegation over 50 years ago.   Issues include legal arguments on admissibility of some of the evidence, and vast disclosure review.  22 prosecution witnesses to give live evidence.

R v M.  Rape.  Prosecuting. December 2020

Trial.  Prosecution of historic sexual offence in a care home.

R v B.  Rape.  Defending.  November 2020

Trial.  Single count of rape on former partner.  S41 argument.

R v B.  Serious Assault (S20). Prosecuting.  November 2020.

Trial.  Single count “one-punch” GBH resulting in a broken jaw with life-changing injuries. Legal argument on the admissibility of some of the evidence.

R v J.  Serious Assault (S18).  Prosecuting.  October 2020.

Listed for voire dire and trial.  Prolonged and extremely dangerous machete attack resulting in over 50 wounds.  Victim died within 4 weeks of the attack.  Issues included consideration of murder charge, admissibility of deceased’s account.  2 day successful voire dire resulting in a guilty plea to the indictment.

Operation Horizon.  County-lines drug trafficking.  Defending.  Jan – Feb 2020.

Trial.  Drug-trafficking trial involving 33 defendants. “Operation Horizon” was prompted as a result of a nationwide county-lines drug dealing organising which had led to the deaths of 14 people in the Barrow area.  Represented a “third -strike” drug trafficker, who, after trial received the mandatory minimum tariff of 7 years.

R v G.  Defending.  Dec 2020

Instructed to represent a 50 year old woman with no previous convictions and with a lengthy history of psychotic illness.  Charged with multiple offences arising out of a psychotic episode.  Experts were instructed to assess her.  Although fit to plead, she was said to be experiencing a  psychotic episode at the time of offences.  Ultimately the Crown offered no evidence against her.

Operation Stark.  Prosecution.  July 2020

Listed for trial twice due to covid-19 pandemic. In between those dates further offences came to light which prompted a guilty plea.  Digital evidence was voluminous and required several days to review.

R v H.  Rape.  Prosecuting.  Rape.  2019.

Trial.  Multi-count indictment involving historic offences of rape and serious sexual assault during a marriage.  Issues included S41 argument.

R v B.  Fraud.  Prosecuting.  2018

Trial.  10,000 page VAT fraud involving a female defendant who had a history of being a vexatious litigant.  Nicola was instructed the day before trial and was able very quickly to get the case ready for a jury.  The Defendant pleaded guilty on day of the trial after evidence was called.  She later applied to vacate that plea and a voire dire was held which concluded in the Crown’s favour.

 

Notable youth cases

R v A.  Rape. Defending.  Crown Court.

Trial.  Nicola represented a 16 year old boy with both language and communication issues.  He was assisted by an intermediary for the trial.  Very sensitive stranger rape case involving frame by frame CCTV analysis from a number of city centre venues.

R v A. Rape. Defending.  Youth Court

Trial.  Nicola represented a 15 year old boy for trial who had been charged with the rape of a 14 year old girl, arising out of what he argued was teenage sexual exploration. Issue was consent.  The case involved sensitive and careful cross examination of a number of teenage witnesses and examination of phone evidence, some of which was not disclosed until day two of the trial.

R v C. Prosecuting. Rape.  Youth Court

Trial.  Issue was consent.  The Defendant, a 15 year old virgin, claimed that he reasonably believed that the Complainant was consenting.  S41 application made and successfully opposed.

R v W  Prosecuting. Rape.  Youth Court

Trial.  The Complainant was an adult relative of the youth Defendant.  She was asleep at the time the offence was committed.  The Defendant initially denied any sexual contact at all but in cross-examination he claimed that she had consented to mutual sexual touching, but that no penetration had taken place.

R v C  Prosecuting.  Biological weapons. Youth Court

Nicola was instructed by the CPS Complex Casework Unit in relation to a case being prosecuted under the Biological Weapons Act 1974.  The defendant was a youth and had attempted to purchase abrin from the dark web.  This was the 2nd only prosecution of its type in the UK.  The case came down to legal arguments on the definition of the term “peaceful purpose”.  Nicola successfully argued that the defendant did not have a defence of peaceful purpose pursuant to the Biological Weapons Act 1974.  Guilty plea following successful legal argument.

 

Other notable cases

R v C, H and M.  Prosecuting.  Robbery.

Trial.  Ds 1 and 2 pleaded guilty. Trial for 3rd defendant.  She was the inside intelligence on a cash in transit robbery of a betting shop employee.  Evidence was technical and voluminous.  Nicola skilfully cross-referenced phone data, cell siting, telemetry data, and timings on CCTV footage.

R v Mann.  Prosecuting.  Wounding with intent.

Trial.  Several issues arose including fresh statements being taken from the almost hostile complainant on the morning of the trial following STWAC.  Full disclosure made.

R v Michael Friel.  Prosecuting.  Drug Smuggling.  NCA case.

Trial for Fraudulent evasion of cocaine.  Defendant attempted to smuggle over 120g of cocaine into Abu Dhabi where it would have held a street value of over £24,000.  Jury sworn and case opened. Overnight, Nicola assisted the NCA in creating a sequence of events of the most incriminating phone messages.  Thousands of pages of data to consider.  Once served, the D was re-arraigned on day 2 of the trial and pleaded guilty.

R v Senghore. Prosecuting.  Wounding with intent.

Trial for S18 wounding.  Self-defence. Prosecution witnesses all required witness summonses and had to be carefully managed on the day as a result of their reluctance to be there.  Issues involving bad character.

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For a short time in 2014 Nicola worked for the Inspectorate of the CPS, HMCPSi, and was a contributor to the report Achieving Best Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Cases – a Joint Inspection.

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