Modern slavery and human trafficking law

Southwell’s has established itself as one of the leading firms in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking law. We provide expert and specialist legal advice on all criminal offences linked to human trafficking and modern slavery, as well as related international, public law and human rights issues.

Our team have been involved in most significant and leading cases on this topic, including being lead legal team in the landmark case of R v L & Ors [2013] EWCA Crim 991; [2013] 2 Cr App R 23 and R v VJS [2017] EWCA Crim 36 concerning the non prosecution and criminalisation of victims of human trafficking.

We advise on civil actions against the police and other authorities for failure to investigate and identify victims of trafficking and can assist in securing victims compensation and correct victim identification. Our team is dedicated to protecting the rights of victims of trafficking and the firm is heavily involved in developments and training in many aspects of law in this area.

Throughout the UK victims continue to be exploited by way of forced criminality. Many victims are routinely failed by the system and are prosecuted and convicted. Our team has been involved in most of the significant and leading cases involving raising a section 45 defence and representing victims at appellate level. We represent victims at police station cases, magistrates court, appellant court, crown court, high court, Supreme Court and EU court of Human Rights. We routinely advise on both domestic and international cases particularly relation to child criminal exploitation and county lines.

We also represent victims who are at risk of self crimination who are cooperating with authorities in relation to their modern slavery allegations. We advise on failure to investigate, judicial review proceedings, civil compensation in respect of victim identification. We were involved in the first miscarriage of justice compensation claim for a victim of human trafficking under this scheme.

Our team in cases involving modern slavery and human trafficking at a number of different levels including defending criminal proceedings brought against victims of trafficking, appeals against such convictions, judicial review of decisions by the Competent Authority as to the status of an individual, civil actions against authorities for non-investigation, applications for compensation following convictions being overturned, intervention representation for interested parties in important cases and compliance advice in relation to the obligations of organisations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The firm will accept instructions by interested parties on interventions at the Court of Appeal on cases that raise important legal issues concerning victims of trafficking and in which we are not already instructed for the appellant/s.

Areas of Modern Slavery Law

  • Modern slavery compliance, corporate accountability and supply chains
  • Advising on civil and criminal liability attached to modern slavery law.
  • Crime, including appeals against conviction and CCRC applications;
  • Public law challenges
  • Claims for compensation – Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
  • Claims for compensation under 133 MOJ
  • Police actions, including failures to investigate;
  • Interventions

a fierce criminal defence solicitor, who specialises in defending and representing victims of human trafficking

The Law SocietyRegarding MD, Philippa Southwell


Get in touch

Fulham Park House, 1a Chesilton Road, London, SW6 5AA

020 3940 4741