East Anglia:
01245 280 880
020 7520 6000
Joanna Hardy

Joanna Hardy

Call: 2010

T: 0207 520 6000    E: chambers@18rlc.co.uk

Joanna is ranked in the 2019 and 2020 editions of the Legal 500 as a leading junior in general crime. She is listed in the Law and Order category of the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000, a list of the most influential people in London.

Joanna is an able and popular jury advocate with experience across the full spectrum of criminal allegations. She is described in the 2020 edition of the Legal 500 as having “a sure touch with clients and the court alike.” Joanna has been instructed as sole counsel in relation to allegations of attempted murder, rape, sexual assault, death by dangerous driving, firearms, high level frauds and allegations of serious violence including gang-related incidents and stabbings.

Joanna is also an efficient, diligent junior. She has been led in multiple allegations of murder and historic sexual offending.

Joanna is a robust trial advocate. She advances cases with measured advocacy and an eye for detail. She was praised in the 2019 edition of the Legal 500 for “the work she puts into each cross-examination”.

Joanna is approachable and skilled in representing young and vulnerable defendants. She is experienced in the use of intermediaries and undertook one of the first pre-recorded cross-examination trials.

Joanna is an accomplished appellate lawyer. She is regularly instructed to advise and act in first-instance cases involving difficult points of law. She has appeared before the Court of Appeal on behalf of both appellants and respondents. She appeared before the Lord Chief Justice in the leading authority establishing the correct approach to inconsistent verdicts [F and others [2016] EWCA Crim 550]. She has also appeared for the respondent in an appeal against conviction regarding a bad character application relating to a deceased complainant [E [2016] EWCA Crim 839]. Joanna has experience of Attorney General’s Reference proceedings and has been led for the defence in relation to an unduly lenient minimum term of a life sentence imposed for the offence of conspiracy to murder [R v W [2017] EWCA (Crim) 1353].

Joanna is able to provide prompt written advice as to evidence and sentence. She is happy to hold conferences prior to trial. Joanna updates her instructing solicitors in writing on the same day as each hearing.

Joanna is approved to prosecute cases for the Crown Prosecution Service at Level Three.

Joanna came to the Bar following a solid academic background. She read Law at King’s College London where she graduated with First Class Honours. She was awarded a postgraduate scholarship to read for her LLM Master of Laws, graduating with Distinction. She was the recipient of the Harmsworth Scholarship from Middle Temple.


Sexual OffencesSerious ViolenceDishonesty

Joanna has particular expertise defending allegations of sexual offending. Recent instructions have included rape, sexual assault, historic offending and offences committed over the internet. Joanna has experience of the pre-recorded cross-examination of multiple child witnesses. She is well-versed in the s41 cross-examination regime.

Recent cases include:

  • R v H (2018) Defended a complex allegation of attempted rape. The sole issue was capacity in the context of a complainant diagnosed with dementia. The case turned on complex and interrelated evidence from four prosecution experts. Applied to exclude the entirety of the capacity evidence on the basis that the experts had either used the incorrect legal test and/or had only assessed the complainant posthumously. The entirety of the evidence was excluded and no evidence then offered.
  • R v C (2018) Defended an allegation of aiding and abetting rape in circumstances where the principal defendant had pleaded guilty.
  • R v F (2018) Acquittal of serving police officer accused of sexual assault in a nightclub.
  • R v H (2018) Represented an employee of a primary school accused of indecent exposure.
  • R v B (2017) Represented a defendant accused of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act over the internet following a covert operation undertaken by a US Homeland Security officer.
  • R v Z (2016) Represented a taxi driver who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a young female passenger.
  • R v O (2015-2016)Represented the first defendant accused of multiple counts of rape against a young woman over the course of one evening. Following mixed verdicts [one conviction and three acquittals] Joanna appeared in a conjoined appeal which established the correct approach to inconsistent verdicts [F and others [2016] EWCA Crim 550].
  • R v T (2015) Represented a young defendant on the Asperger’s spectrum accused of sexually assaulting his neighbour. Successfully raised reasonable belief in consent.
  • R v T (2014 Counsel for a female defendant accused of an historic 25 year old allegation of sexual offending against a male child.
  • R v M (2013) Led junior for the defence relating to 25 counts of historic rape and sexual offences involving 10 complainants.

Joanna is regularly instructed in relation to allegations of serious violence. She has experience as a led junior in matters of murder and as junior counsel alone in allegations of attempted murder, section 18 GBH, firearms, aggravated burglary and arson. Joanna has been instructed in cases involving gang-related violence and stabbings.

Recent instructions are as follows:

  • R v R (2018) Appeared for a teenage defendant in a gang-related conspiracy to wound case allegedly driven by ‘drill’ music online.
  • R v C (2017) Led by Max Hill QC in relation to a ‘cold case’ conspiracy to murder trial.
  • R v W (2017) Led junior in a multi-handed conspiracy to murder trial and related aggravated burglary proceedings. The minimum term of the life sentence imposed at first instance was subject to an Attorney General’s Reference.
  • R v D (2017) Represented a female defendant accused of orchestrating the stabbing of two complainants.
  • R v S (2016) Appeared for a defendant accused of possessing a loaded sawn off double-barrelled shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence. This involved the rare defence of necessity of circumstances. The defendant was acquitted of the most serious charge and convicted of simple possession.
  • R v S (2015) Led junior for the first defendant accused of murdering his neighbour by stabbing. The matter involved a contested confession, DNA, cell site and ANPR evidence
  • R v N (2015) Counsel for the first defendant in a multi-handed knife attack in the street caught on mobile telephone footage from an anonymous source.
  • R v P (2014) Defence counsel relating to a serious allegation of aggravated burglary including the presence of a knife and alleged threats of rape.
  • R v M (2014) Defence counsel in relation to an allegation of arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Joanna has experience prosecuting and defending high-value dishonesty allegations. She can digest and present voluminous evidence in a cogent fashion and is experienced in instructing independent forensic accountants in relation to complex financial evidence.

Recent instructions include:

  • R v L and nine others (2018) Prosecuted alone a ten-handed conspiracy to defraud [three to trial] and related POCA proceedings. The defendants were accused of selling ‘phantom’ tickets to high profile sporting events.
  • R v G (2016) Represented a defendant accused of manipulating the Power of Attorney provisions to commit a six-figure fraud against his father who had been diagnosed with dementia.
  • R v M (2016) Prosecution counsel for a six-figure fraud committed through complex identity theft.
  • R v D (2015) Appeared alone for a female defendant accused of laundering over £150,000 cash said to have been from a widespread class A drugs conspiracy. The crown were represented by leading and junior counsel.
  • R v W (2014) A complex conspiracy involving over eighty dwelling burglaries with a total value in excess of £400,000. The matter involved cell site, ANPR, and forensic evidence.
  • R v P (2011) Widespread conspiracy to commit fraud against the DVLA in relation to “impersonation” attempts at driving test centres.


  • “She has a sure touch with clients and the court alike.”
    Legal 500 (2020)


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Law LLB [First Class Honours], King’s College London 2008

LLM Master of Laws [Distinction], King’s College London 2009


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Criminal Bar Association

Professional Appointments

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Crown Prosecution Service, Level Three Advocate


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King’s College London Postgraduate Alumni Bursary, 2008-9

Harmsworth Scholarship, Middle Temple 2009