Advisory Board

Philippa Southwell

Founder and Managing Director

Philippa founded the Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery Expert Directory in 2015, after identifying a desperate need for a single resource for professionals working in the counter human trafficking and modern slavery sector. Since its launch the initiative has established itself as a leading global directory.

Philippa is recognised as a leading lawyer working in the counter human trafficking sector and is an expert practitioner. Throughout her legal career she has advised on several hundred human trafficking and modern slavery cases. She is a published author on modern slavery law and co-author of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Law and Practice (Bloomsbury 2018). Co Autor of “Does the new Slavery Defence Offer Victims any Greater Protection” (Archbold Review 9th November 2015 issue 9).

Philippa specialises in cases concerning victims of human and forced criminality. She has acted on several hundred slavery and human trafficking cases throughout her career. Philippa drafted the Law Society practice note on human trafficking and was advisor to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in relation to the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. She regularly delivers training to law enforcement and legal professionals on many areas of modern slavery law, including modern slavery regulatory compliance, both in the UK and internationally. Philippa has acted in most of the significant and leading cases involving victims of modern slavery and forced criminality of the last decade, including R v L & Ors [2013] EWCA Crim 991 and representing five of the six applicants in the specially convened victims of trafficking court before the Lord Chief Justice R v VSJ et all [2017] EWCA Crim 36. She has acted at all levels, representing the interests of victims of trafficking, including during police station investigation stage, as well as in the Magistrates Court, Crown Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.

Philippa also represents victims of human trafficking in statutory compensation claims via the Miscarriage of Justice Application Scheme. Where victims have been wrongly convicted and punished pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act 1988. She secured the first landmark compensation in 2017 for a victim of trafficking under this scheme.

Philippa was also called to give oral evidence as a legal expert in the Home Affairs Committee modern slavery inquiry. She also submitted written evidence during the inquiry.

Philippa has a particular interest in child criminal exploitation and regularly defends both British and foreign national children prosecuted for forced criminality offences, she was one of the first lawyers in the country to raise a s45 Modern Slavery Defence. She is regularly instructed on county lines exploitation cases.

She also has a large appellate case load and regularly advises on appeals against conviction and sentence in relation to applications to both the Court of Appeal and the Criminal Cases Review Commission. She was highly commended in the Law Society Excellence Awards for her work in defending victims of human trafficking and is recognised by the Law Society as the leading lawyer in this field. They have described her as ‘a fierce criminal defence solicitor, who specialises in defending and representing victims of human trafficking who have been prosecuted for criminal offences. She is a leading criminal solicitor in this field’.

Philippa sits on various advisory boards, she is advisory member for working group on Children and Young People in the Justice System for the Inns of Court College of Advocacy Grays Inn. She is advisory member of the Unaccompanied Migrant Children’s Court Steering Group- for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and child victims of human trafficking. She is also an advisory board member for Tackling Child Exploitation and board member of the Criminal Appeals Lawyers Association.

Philippa regularly lectures on all many aspects of modern slavery law, forced criminality and child criminal exploitation and has been invited as guest lecturer at numerous Universities.
Philippa also provides inhouse training to the Crown Prosecution Service on human trafficking and modern slavery law. She regularly trains law enforcement, defence and prosecution lawyers, Social Services, NGO’s and the National Crime Agency. Philippa also provides training to lawyers in other jurisdictions, including France, Germany, Malta and Netherlands.

Felicity Gerry QC

Felicity Gerry QC is admitted in England and Australia and has had ad hoc admission in Hong Kong and Gibraltar. She specializes in serious and complex criminal law, often with an international element and increasingly with a corporate overlap, particularly in the context of fraud, money laundering, forced labour, slavery and servitude. She led the defence team in R v Jogee, the ground breaking murder appeal in the UK Supreme Court which held that the form of accessorial liability known as ‘joint enterprise’ was an erroneous tangent of law. She also assisted in the reprieve from execution for Filipino national Mary Jane Veloso facing the death penalty in Indonesia in the context of human trafficking in the drug trade and appeared in the ABC Foreign Correspondent documentary Saving Mary Jane. She is on the Management Committee of The Advocate’s Gateway currently leading the working party on a toolkit for trauma informed courts.

Felicity has provided training to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as part of the The Modern Slavery Project which is a two year multilateral project providing practical advice and support to Commonwealth legislatures in the pursuit of combatting modern slavery. Her submissions and Evidence on behalf of Civil Liberties Australia were accepted by Parliamentary Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. She also led a four year project on women in prison for Halsbury’s Law Exchange (part of the Lexis Nexis group) and recently spoke on a Global Criminal law Act at the IBA conference litigation panel in 2017.
Felicity is Professor of Legal Practice in the School of Business and Law at Deakin University where she lectures in Criminal law and Evidence and is involved in the clinical programs. She is also an Adjunct Fellow at the University of Western Sydney where she teaches Independent Study on Terrorism, Cybercrime and Sexual Offending and has provided training in the Bangladesh Judiciary Management Project on Terrorism and Money Laundering. She is a PhD candidate at Charles Darwin University researching the use of technology to combat human trafficking.

Felicity’s publications focus on the fields of women & law, technology & law and reforming justice systems. This includes co-authoring or contributing to The Sexual Offences Handbook (3rd Ed forthcoming), Modern Slavery Law and Practice (2018), Human Trafficking Emerging Legal Issues and Applications (2017) and theFourth volume in the European Integration and Democracy Series, devoted to Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Relations as a Challenge for Democracy (2017). She has a forthcoming book chapter on the future for Women in International law.

Steven Bird

Steven Bird founded Birds Solicitors in October 2000. He has been involved in criminal defence work since 1988 and qualified as a solicitor in 1990. He specialises in serious criminal cases including serious fraud, murder and other serious offences of violence, serious sexual offences, large drug cases and confiscation proceedings. He has been involved in appellate cases involving victims of human trafficking through Birds Solicitors since 2010.

He is the current Chairman of the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association and has a busy appellate practice both in the Court of Appeal and by way of applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. He represents previous victims of miscarriages of justice in claiming compensation from the Home Office.

He is rated as a star individual in the Chambers and Partners directory and a leading individual in the Legal 500.

He contributed two chapters to Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Law and Practice published in 2018 by Bloomsbury. He is the co-author of the “Police Station Advisers Index” first published in September 1995 and contributed chapters to the second edition of Taylor on Criminal Appeals dealing with the funding regime for appellate work. He has also contributed the chapter on Restraint and Confiscation to the Drugs Offences Handbook also published by Bloomsbury.

He co-wrote the article “Does the new Slavery Defence Offer Victims any Greater Protection” in Archbold Review 9th November 2015 issue 9.

He has lectured extensively and has appeared occasionally on educational podcasts.

Shannon Schott

Shannon Schott was raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended The Bolles School and matriculated to the University of Florida, from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a certification in Public Affairs. She went on to Stetson University College of Law where she interned with a local Personal Injury law firm, an ERISA and Personal Injury law firm in Clearwater, the Attorney General’s Office, Children’s Legal Services Division and the State Attorney’s Office for the 4th and 6th Judicial Circuits. She interned with the Honorable Philip J. Federico in the 6th Judicial Circuit.

She received the Blews Pro Bono Award for logging more than 300 hours of service while at Stetson Law, and received a certification in Trial Advocacy. Shannon has practiced law in Jacksonville since her admittance to the Florida Bar in 2010. She is admitted to practice in Florida and the Middle District of Florida. She has tried more than 30 trials to verdict and represented more than 2000 clients. Shannon is actively involved in the legal, civil and philanthropic organizations. She serves on the Board of the Florida Association of Criminal Lawyers Northeast Chapter, and she is the Chairperson of the Criminal Litigation Section of the Jacksonville Bar Association. She is a member of the Jacksonville Justice Association for Personal Injury Attorneys.

She previously sat on the board of Junior League of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Women Lawyer’s Association. Shannon volunteers her time with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the Women’s Board, benefitting Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital, regularly. Shannon is a member of the Florida Bar and is licensed to practice law in all Florida State Courts and in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. She is a Board-Certified Specialist in Juvenile Law.

Neena Samota

Neena teaches Criminology at St. Mary’s University where she is the Programme Director for the BSc in Criminology and Sociology and the MA in Human Trafficking, Migration and Organised Crime. Prior to joining St. Mary’s, Neena taught Criminology at the University of Westminster. As an applied, critical criminologist, Neena is interested in researching how race, gender and age intersect to better understand the lived experience and outcomes for those involved in the criminal justice process. Her teaching and research interests include human rights, justice, punishment, race, gender and youth justice. She has worked in criminal justice research, evaluation and policy development for over 15 years. Her work has involved influencing criminal justice policy on policing, prisons, youth justice and probation at both local and national levels. She has experience of working with the Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Youth Justice Board and the National Offender Management Service.

Neena maintains extensive engagement with the voluntary sector through research, governance and campaigning work. She is Chair of Voice4Change England (V4CE), a national infrastructure body supporting the black and minority ethnic voluntary and community sector. She has been a member of StopWatch since it was formed in 2010 to campaign for effective, accountable and fair policing. Neena is also a steering group member of the Reclaim Justice Network which campaigns to promote alternatives to criminal justice. Through these activities Neena remains committed to promoting and strengthening the voluntary sector because of its ability to make positive and practical contributions to civil society.

As an applied criminologist, Neena also engages on a number of advisory groups to offer expertise on stop and search, black and minority ethnic prisoners and ethnic disproportionality in the criminal justice system. She sat on the Home Secretary’s Policing and Diversity group and the PEEL Effectiveness and Legitimacy Advisory Group on policing. Neena also contributed to the recent Lammy Review. She is a member of the Young Review which seeks to improve outcomes for young black and Muslim men involved in the criminal justice system. As an independent member, Neena also sits on the London CPS Scrutiny Panel to help scrutinise the work of the CPS decision-making process in relation to hate crime cases.