Nicola Talbot Hadley

Year of Call: 2007
Email Address:
Telephone: 01962 868 884

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Nicola Talbot Hadley has recently returned to the independent Bar following 2 years working as in-house Counsel for the Environment Agency and 3 years working as advisory lawyer for the Government Legal Department attached to the Department for Work and Pensions. Prior to that she undertook pupillage at a leading criminal set of chambers in London and the South East and Western Circuits, and spent 5 years as a criminal practitioner, working for both Prosecution and Defence in all criminal courts. She practises on both the Western and South Eastern Circuits.

Before coming to the Bar, Nicola worked as a teacher and in political consultancy. Her experience as a teacher has given her particular empathy with children which she is able to put to good use in the youth courts as well as questioning young and vulnerable witnesses. She sits as a community volunteer on referral order panels for young people who have committed a first offence and have been referred to the youth offending service.

Nicola has experience in all areas of crime, including as a led junior in cases involving the most serious of sexual offences and fraud. She is also keen to use her skills and knowledge from working for the environment regulator and one of the largest Government departments. She is willing to assist claimants in social security appeals at the First Tier and Upper Tribunals.

Since January 2016, Nicola sits as a legally qualified chair for police misconduct hearings for 5 police authorities in the south east and accepts instructions for either party in hearings for other police authorities. She is keen to expand her practice to other regulated professions.


  • Crime
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    Nicola has defended and prosecuted in serious cases both as junior alone and led junior. She is able to establish a rapport with and gain the confidence of the most difficult and vulnerable of clients and has particular experience of the youth court. She is valued by those who instruct her for her empathy, diligent preparation and dogged perseverance to ensure the best disposal for her client. She is able to deal with extremely sensitive cases with compassion and care.

    Case experience includes sexual offences and indecent images, violent assaults, drug supply, dishonesty and fraud, road traffic law, extradition law, proceeds of crime/civil forfeiture, local authority regulatory work, mental health disposals and cases under Dangerous Dogs and Animal Welfare legislation. She has been instructed as led Junior in cases of particular complexity involving the most serious of sexual abuse and multi-handed frauds running to millions of pounds.

    Notable cases include:

    • R v Moyo, Aylesbury Crown Court, prosecuting a wife who had stabbed her husband
    • R v Polak, Isleworth Crown Court, defending a Polish man accused of physical and sexual assaults upon his wife
    • R v Ahmad and others, Basildon Crown Court, defending alone in ten-handed conspiracy to defraud involving numerous elderly victims
    • R v Brock and others, Cambridge Crown Court, defending in multi-handed conspiracy to burgle, which involved a wide-ranging and lengthy undercover police operation in Cambridge
    • R v Agbomabini, Basildon Crown Court, defending a father accused of assaults causing ABH upon his children
    • R v Opayemi, Barking Magistrates’ Court, defending a mother accused of assaults upon her children
    • R v Armstrong, Cambridge Crown Court), defending young man in s.20 GBH allegation, secured three psychiatric reports which ultimately led to hospital order
    • R v John Roberts Circus Ltd, Holyhead Magistrates’ Court, defending a circus in allegation involving failure to hold operators’ licence and use of tachograph equipment
    • R v Driver, Cambridge Crown Court, defending in arson involving several teenage defendants
    • R v Johnston, St Albans Crown Court, defending in sexual assault upon 14 year old girl
    • R v Foreman, Snaresbrook Crown Court, defending in incitement of a child to engage in sexual activity

    Led cases:

    • Junior defence counsel in R v Roberts, Norwich Crown Court; 3-month fraud trial defending one of six defendants in a case that concerned a fraudulent investment programme worth several million pounds
    • Junior defence counsel in R v Slade, Ipswich Crown Court; historic sexual and physical abuse dating back to the 1980s by headmaster of boarding schools in Norfolk and Suffolk, involving buggery and sadistic physical punishment of young boys
    • Junior defence counsel in R v Mackay and others, Cambridge Crown Court; six-handed conspiracy to defraud, involving the defrauding of an elderly lady to the value of around £1 million. Subsequently handled confiscation proceedings alone.
  • Public and Regulatory
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    Whilst working for the Environment Agency, Nicola was reviewing lawyer for a multi-handed illegal waste case, which involved complex calculation of the volume of waste, expert evidence, directors’ liability issues and analysing a vast amount of unused material. Ultimately, all defendants pleaded guilty. Nicola also has experience of cases involving the transfrontier shipment of waste under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 and European Waste Shipments law, and civil sanctions. She has trained Environment Agency enforcement officers in the conduct of major investigations and disclosure, the handling of waste containers following seizure, and imposition of penalties. Nicola is keen to use her experience to defend and prosecute in environmental cases.

    During her time at the Department for Work and Pensions, Nicola advised on disability benefits, including Personal Independence Payments and Vaccine Damage Payments, and was involved in litigation at the First Tier and Upper Tribunals (Social Entitlement Chamber). She was also lead advisory lawyer in the key case in which the Court of Appeal re-defined the way in which vaccine damage claims should be assessed by DWP, reported as G (a Minor) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2017] EWCA Civ 61. She is happy to assist claimants pursuing their claims for benefits and launching appeals, on a pro bono basis or otherwise.

Academic qualifications

  • Christ Church, Oxford, BA/MA Hons Modern History (Upper Second Class Honours)
  • Bath University, Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (Secondary History)
  • London School of Economics, MSc International Relations (Distinction)
  • College of Law (York), Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction)
    • Winner of end-of-year prizes in EU Law and Public Law, and ‘Best Student at York’
    • Winner (jointly with mooting partner) of York College of Law GDL Mooting Competition
  • College of Law (London) (now The University of Law), Bar Vocational Course (Very Competent)


  • Lincoln’s Inn Lord Haldane Scholarship for Graduate Diploma in Law
  • Lincoln’s Inn Hardwicke Scholarship
  • Lincoln’s Inn Sir Thomas More Bursary for Bar Vocational Course
  • Pegasus Scholar to European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (May to July 2011)

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Member of panel of Chairmen of the Valuation Tribunal for England (June 2017)
  • Legally Qualified Chair for Police Misconduct Hearings (January 2016), for Police Crime Commissioners and Authorities of Thames Valley, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and Surrey
  • Volunteer Panel Member for Youth Offending Service, Referral Orders (2009); formerly at Southwark and now for Tri-borough YOS (Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea); trained in Youth Rehabilitation Orders and Restorative Justice


Professional bodies

  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Legally Qualified Chair Association
  • Howard League for Penal Reform
  • Liberty