East Anglia:
01245 280 880
020 7520 6000
Helena Spector

Helena Spector

Call: 2019

T: 020 7520 6000    E: chambers@18rlc.co.uk

Helena is a relentlessly determined advocate with an interest in criminal, regulatory and public law.

Helena has experience across a range of offences in the Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court, including sexual and violent offences, offences involving fraud, dishonesty and financial crime, drugs offences and firearms offences.

Before practising at the Bar, Helena worked in the field of asylum and human rights in South Africa and the UK, assisting on cases involving Boko Haram, statelessness and conflict in Sierra Leone. She has worked with the Death Penalty Project on the appeals of death row prisoners in Trinidad and Tobago. While studying for the Bar, Helena worked for a solicitors’ firm dealing with Core Participants in the Grenfell Inquiry.

Helena has an excellent academic record, obtaining a Double First and Distinction from the University of Cambridge, graduating with the highest mark awarded for Criminal Law in the Graduate Diploma for Law and graduating with the grade of ‘Outstanding’ from the Bar Professional Training Course.

Helena has edited a chapter of the 2021 edition of Archbold (Chapter 20: Sexual Offences), a chapter of the fifth edition of Abuse of Process in Criminal Proceedings (Chapter 12: Abuse of Process Doctrine in International Criminal Proceedings) and a chapter of the fifth edition of Health and Safety Enforcement: Law and Practice (Chapter 12: Coroner’s Inquests and Work Related Deaths).

Notable Cases


  • R v L (2020) – Successfully applied to dismiss several serious charges of domestic violence against a 12 year-old witness by highlighting central inconsistencies and fabrications across an hour-long ABE interview. In giving his judgment, the DJ conceded that the child’s ABE was “deeply misconceived.”
  • R v M (2020) – Client acquitted of a racially aggravated public order offence.
  • R v K (2020) – Youth client acquitted of several robberies involving a ‘zombie knife’ despite compelling CCTV evidence, clear evidence the youth had committed two similar robberies that same day in the same area, and the fact that the defendant was arrested hours later in possession of the stolen items.
  • R v A (2020) – Youth client acquitted of possession of a bladed article where the defendant on arrest had made several significant comments accepting knowledge of the knife and seemingly accepting possession.
  • R v D (2020) – Successfully applied to dismiss several charges of assault at halftime despite the evidence of five independent prosecution eye witnesses of the assault and res gestae evidence of the complainant telling officers what the defendant had done to her neck on BWV.
  • R v Z (2020) – 17 year old youth sentenced for a string of robbery offences with 12 previous convictions and 5 previous YROs, with several breaches of those YROs. I mitigated at length on the implications on gang culture and educational exclusion on childhood development and persuaded the bench to sentence to a further YRO as opposed to a DTO.
  • R v A(2020) – Obtained a conditional discharge for a nurse who had defrauded the NHS of over £3,000 in a fraud spanning three years.
  • R v P(2020) – Successfully obtained bail for a client despite three previous unsuccessful applications, evidence of current evasion from an outstanding European Arrest Warrant, previous convictions and 17 earlier breaches of his bail.

Publications, Lectures and Training

Spector, H. (2020) “SFO v Barclays: Elusive corporate criminal liability in the UK” Archbold Review, Issue 10.

Mehta, S. & Spector, H. “Questionable justification for the killing of General Soleimani” The Law Society Gazette (29 Jan 2020)

Spector, H. “Legal aid ‘justice gap’ reinforces the poverty trap and costs more, new study finds” The Justice Gap (8 Oct 2019)

Spector, H. “Local justice ‘invisible’ as a result of collapse in court reporting” The Justice Gap (5 Sept 2019)

Spector, H. “The ’50 shades’ defence: are the courts allowing women to consent to their own deaths?” The Justice Gap (31 Jul 2019)

Spector, H. “First-time child abuse viewers should avoid prosecution, argues Justice report” The Justice Gap (13 Jun 2019)

Spector, H. “Renewed calls to divert women away from justice system for shop-lifting and non-payment of TV licences” The Justice Gap (7 Jun 2019)

Spector, H. “Detention in HMP Liverpool a breach of human rights, Dutch court rules” The Justice Gap (14 May 2019)

Spector, H. “Nicola Stocker wins libel battle against ex-husband” The Justice Gap (4 April 2019)

Spector, H. “Sally Challen appeal: conviction quashed and retrial ordered” The Justice Gap (28 Feb 2019)

Spector, H. “Sally Challen appeal: a ‘watershed moment’” The Justice Gap (25 Feb 2019)

Spector, H. “Upskirting: genuine reform or the thin end of the wedge?” The Justice Gap (13 Feb 2019)

Spector, H. “EASO, EU Law and Life in the Margins.” Rights in Exile Newsletter (31 Aug 2016)

Spector, H. “When a Refugee Isn’t.” Rights in Exile Newsletter (31 Aug 2016)


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Bar Professional Training Course, Outstanding
City, University of London

Graduate Diploma in Law, Commendation
City, University of London (Highest mark awarded for Criminal Law)

MRes Hons. Social Anthropology, Distinction
University of Cambridge, Trinity Hall

MA Hons. Social Anthropology, Double First
University of Cambridge, Trinity Hall


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Inner Temple


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Inner Temple Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship and Exhibition Award, 2018-2019

Inner Temple GDL Exhibition Award, 2017-2018

Academic Scholarship, City, University of London 2018-2019

Academic Scholarship, City, University of London 2017-2018

Trinity Hall Bateman Scholar, University of Cambridge, 2017

Clare College Scholars’ Award, University of Cambridge, 2015

Clare College Scholars’ Award, University of Cambridge, 2014