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Charlotte Surley

Charlotte specialises in representing those facing serious sexual allegations, including rape and historic sexual offences. She has considerable expertise in relation to autism and mental health.

Charlotte Surley, Solicitor Advocate
Charlotte Surley, criminal defence barrister

Career highlights

Higher rights: 2008

Appointed to sit as Specialist Lay Member in the First Tier Tribunal Health and Social Care (Mental Health) in 2021

See Charlotte’s profile on LinkedIn

Instruct Charlotte Surley for your defence

To instruct Charlotte or for further information, contact our clerks.

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Specialist areas

Mental health

Charlotte has expertise in relation to autism and mental health, with particular skills in representing defendants with mental health challenges and intellectual disabilities.

Serious sexual offences

Charlotte has a history of consistently returning positive results in unusual or particularly distressing cases involving complex defences and/or vulnerable defendants or witnesses.

Notable cases

R v H 2018 (Serious sexual offences)

The defendant admitted to using false identities online to groom a sibling and a teenage male. Psychiatric evidence of the Defendant’s delayed development, emotionally and physically, was put before the court and led to a substantial reduction in the sentence that was ultimately imposed.

R v L (Serious sexual offences)

The defendant was a transgender woman accused of historic sexual offences and, as such, required respectful and sensitive representation. I ensured that she was not ‘dead-named’, at any stage and by any party, throughout the court proceedings.

R v S 2018 (Serious violence)

The defendant had committed an aggravated burglary which included chasing several victims whilst armed. Initially he was assessed as being mentally well. After sympathetic conferences and a detailed advice, drafted for the purposes of obtaining a psychiatric assessment, S was ultimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had suffered a manic episode at the time of the offence. The mitigatory effect of this afforded him a significant reduction in his sentence as well as treatment for a condition that had lain undiagnosed for many years.

R v B 2021 (Vulnerable defendants and witnesses)

The defendant was accused of child neglect and had a lengthy history of mental health diagnoses. I
suspected that she was, in fact, autistic which was confirmed following rigorous expert assessment. The defendant was acquitted on all counts. She conveyed her thanks afterwards, stating that her diagnosis was an important outcome of the case which would allow her to move on from past trauma and improve her quality of life.

R v P 2014 (Vulnerable defendants and witnesses)

The defendant, a member of the LGBTQ community, was acquitted of the alleged robbery of an autistic
male. This case required particularly sensitive advocacy given the vulnerability of the complainant and
the defendant’s reluctance to put forward his defence because it required him to expose his sexuality.

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