Stephen Spence

Year of call:

1983 (Door Tenant)


1982 - University College Cardiff BSc (Econ)

1983 - Inns of Court School of Law


2018 - Door Tenant at Park Square Barristers

1989 - Tenant at Drystone Chambers

1985 - Returned to 4 Brick Court and was then offered a tenancy at 4 BC and East Anglian Chambers.

1983 - 1984 - Pupillage at 4 Brick Court and 4 Paper Buildings


South East Circuit Criminal Bar Association

Stephen Spence has considerable experience both prosecuting and defending in all aspects of serious crime, particularly sexual offences, fraud, Internet crime, murder and cases involving historic child abuse. He has acted as leading counsel in a number of high profile cases including recently prosecuting would be serial killer Alex Palmer. Stephen is a grade 4 and RASSO list prosecutor and vulnerable witness training trainer/facilitator.

Chambers and Partners state: “He is absolutely brilliant – very honest and very professional.” – 2018

“He balances the gravitas of a very experienced member of the Bar with a friendly accessibility, and an ability to make my clients feel very comfortable with him. His ability to talk to the jury rather than at them is also very good indeed.” – 2017

Legal 500: “…is known for his aviation practice and is very highly rated for his criminal practice”

Sports Law

Stephen is a former Board member of the British Bobsleigh Association, and the Special Advisory Committee of the FIBT (Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing). He has advised a number of sports governing bodies on disciplinary procedures and drug testing, appearing in numerous disciplinary tribunals involving a variety of sports Stephen has sat as Chairman in both sports disciplinary proceedings and Olympic selection appeals. Stephen is on the Sports Disputes Resolutions panel of approved lawyers to provide pro bono advice to athletes who are accused of anti-doping or other disciplinary offences.

Notable Cases:

  • CAA v Amazon – leading counsel (leading Eleanor Sanderson) for the defence. The company was charged with 11 counts of shipment of dangerous goods by air, relating to lithium ion batteries and flammable aerosols which were destined for flights within and outside the UK. Click here to be re-directed to the news item and press reports.
  • R v Hoyle – leading counsel (leading Edward Cole) for the defence in a 4-week gross negligence manslaughter trial, arising from a light aircraft crash – acquittal. BBC article.
  • GMC v X Defence – successfully defending GP in three day fitness to practice hearing before the General Medical Council.
  • R v Collins Prosecution – new DNA evidence used to catch rapist twenty years after offence committed. One of the first trials to use LCN and YSTR DNA.
  • R-v-Robson and others Prosecution – Leading counsel prosecuting teachers from a special school. Trial –convicted.
  • R-v-Roe Prosecution – Prosecuting foster parents charged with abuse of children over a number of years. Trial– convicted.
  • R-v-Bailey Defence – Leading counsel. Bailey was charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit GBH. Trial – convicted of ABH.

Public Access

Stephen may accept Public Access work, where he can be instructed directly by a member of the public rather than a solicitor.

Contact Stephen’s clerks

Andrew Thornton on 0113 213 5202

Gina Hawkins on 0113 213 5205

Rebecca Wilson on 0113 213 5203

Hannah Dempsey on 0113 213 5211

Robyn Nichol on 0113 213 5253

Lucy Finney on 0113 213 5220


Stephen is recognised for his specialist aviation practice. An RAF trained pilot with flying experience ranging from gliders to fast jets and rotary he has an enviable reputation for defending aviation related prosecutions. These have ranged from regulatory issues to allegations of gross negligence manslaughter. His clients have included aircraft engineers, pilots (private and commercial), aviation businesses and international airlines. He acted as leading counsel for Internet giant Amazon in their recent prosecution for shipping dangerous goods by air. He is currently instructed in the Shoreham Air Show crash prosecution.

Stephen is instructed in Inquests and in High Court civil claims arising out of aircraft accidents. He is able to advise on aircraft leasing and operating agreements. He has written for a number of aviation publications on legal topics and was a guest speaker, at a Royal Aeronautical Society legal conference, on the admissibility of AAIB reports in legal proceedings.

Notable Cases:

  • CAA-v-L Defence – Magistrates’ Court defence of pilot charged with reckless endangerment – found not guilty.
  • CAA-v-M Defence – Crown Court defence of ATPL charged with reckless endangerment – found not guilty.
  • R v W Defence – Crown Court defence of aircraft inspector charged with manslaughter following fatal aircraft crash. Nolle Prosequi entered by the Attorney- General following legal argument.
  • CAA v G Defence – international airline charged with operating transatlantic flight with invalid C of A and AOC.

Public Access

Stephen may accept Public Access work, where he can be instructed directly by a member of the public rather than a solicitor.

Contact Stephen’s clerks

Senior Clerk – Andy Reeves on 0113 213 5252

Talia Webster on 0113 202 8609

Joshua Duree on 0113 213 5246

Mike Alexander on 0113 2135268

Ben Ellison-Tope on 0113 2135207