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Mel Stooks

Partner and Supervising Solicitor
020 8299 6000


Mel qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and has spent her career defending young and vulnerable people. She understands the importance of building a relationship of trust and the need for continuity, so frequently represents clients from the police station through to trial. Mel is an experienced trial advocate in the Youth Court and regularly defends children charged with serious sexual and violent offences. She conducts her own appeals from the Youth Court to the Crown Court as well as cases that are committed to the Crown Court for sentence where the Youth Court finds its sentencing powers are not sufficient.

Mel regularly represents children who are charged with murder and works with a wide range of other professionals in order to ensure that her clients are able to effectively participate in their defence and navigate their way through the criminal justice system as simply as possible.

She has a particular interest in neurodiversity; she receives referrals from The National Autistic Society and often obtains expert evidence to ensure that children are afforded a defence where their mental health or other vulnerabilities may be a relevant factor. Mel is especially successful in defending children who are the victims of criminal exploitation.

Mel was a member of The Rook Committee that produced the Advocacy and Vulnerable Witness Training provided by Inns of Court and The Law Society. She contributed to the ICCA guidance : Advocacy for Children in Conflict with the Law. She was a contributor to the Good Practice Guidance on Certificates for Assigned Counsel in the Youth Court and has lobbied for better funding for lawyers who specialise in the representation of children both at police stations and court. Mel has co-authored guides for the YJLC and delivers training on their behalf. She is a committee member of the Youth Practitioners’ Association and a member of the LCCSA Law Reform Sub Committee.

Mel provides training in youth justice to other professionals as well as training for Appropriate Adults who may be required to attend the police station. Mel also runs legal advice clinics at London Youth Clubs and attends schools, where invited, to discuss childrens’ rights and the legal implications of some teenage behaviours.

Memberships and Accreditations

  • London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association
  • Youth Justice Legal Centre
  • Youth Practitioners’ Association
  • Alliance for Youth Justice

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