Aston Law School
Visiting Professional Fellows
Steve Allen is a partner and Head of Office for Birmingham at the law firm Mills & Reeve. In December 2019, he was appointed as president of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. Steve will support Aston Law School’s International Commercial Law and Practice module, which is led by Dr Kristie Thomas and is taught to final-year undergraduate students.
A commercial litigation and arbitration lawyer, Steve has been named as Birmingham Law Society’s International Solicitor of the Year and appeared in the Birmingham Post’s influential Power 250 list of the Midlands’ most influential people. He joins a growing list of experienced practitioners from a range of sectors supporting Aston Law School as a Visiting Professional Fellow.
Dean of Law, Jonathan Fortnam, comments: ‘We are delighted to welcome Steve as a Fellow. Steve’s legal and commercial expertise will be of great value to our programmes. His appointment is another example of our strong links with the professions and our commitment to ensuring our students are equipped with the skills required to become successful in their careers.’
Steve adds: ‘I feel very privileged to have been invited by Aston University to become a Visiting Professional Fellow. I have long been an admirer of the university’s ambition to be the UK’s leading university for students aspiring to succeed in business and the professions and I am delighted to have been asked to help in this way’.
Fred joined online harms regulator Ofcom in November 2020 as Principal of Online Tech & Online Harms Technical Programme Director. His work focuses on directing Ofcom's technical requirements in relation to the new regulatory regime. Prior to joining Ofcom Fred was Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer at Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Fred has over 25 years’ experience across a variety of sectors primarily focusing on the internet, its technology, governance, security, safety and regulation. Fred is a Board Member of Video Standards Council, Former Chair of the UK Council for Internet Safety, Technical Working Group (UKCIS TWG), Board Member of the UK Home Office Child Abuse Image Database Strategic Group, Member of the National Crime Agency (NCA) Prevent Strategic Board, a founding Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and is an expert advisor to UK and other Governments, Parliamentarians, The Commonwealth, Police and NGOs.
In 2019 Fred was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Suffolk for outstanding achievement in addition to being a finalist for Digital Leader of the year, and runner-up for New Chartered Director of the Year in 2017.
Hannah is a solicitor in the regulatory team and regularly advises companies, directors and individuals on regulatory compliance across a range of sectors including health and safety, food safety, product safety, fire safety, healthcare, inquests, environmental matters and anti-bribery and anti-money laundering legislation.
Hannah is a member of the Health and Safety Lawyers' Association. Hannah graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2013 and completed the LPC at the University of Law, Birmingham, in 2016. Hannah joined Shoosmiths in 2013 as a paralegal in the Asset Finance department before commencing her training contract in September 2016 and qualifying as a solicitor in September 2018.
Faye is a people-focused business leader who is on a mission to transform how we think about organisational productivity, purpose, profit and people’s happiness, so we can move beyond insular focus on shareholder value. As COO for Vanti, one of the UK’s only Master System Integrators with a Smart Building reference site, Faye is currently working with the best and brightest minds to collaboratively imagine and engineer technology solutions that positively change the way people live, learn and work.
She is Chair of the Silicon Canal ‘Women in Tech’ working group and CompTIA Exec Council, where she is a key advocate for encouraging women and girls to enter careers in technology and helping to develop Birmingham to be the UK’s Smartest City. In Jan 2019, she founded DIDFest (Diversity in Digital) – a month long, city wide festival in Birmingham, made up of incredible events that aim to inspire behaviour change and close the gender diversity gap in digital.
Graeme Cowie is a Senior Library Clerk with the House of Commons Library, specialising in constitutional law and Brexit. He works in the Library’s Parliament and Constitution Centre, which provides an enquiries service for MPs and their staff, giving them independent and impartial expertise and analysis on a broad range of topics in connection with their Parliamentary duties. Graeme also publishes Commons Library briefings on topical issues and legislation going through Parliament, which are made freely available on the Parliament website for the wider public.
His recent published work spans a range of public law issues, including: Prorogation of Parliament; Devolution and legislative consent; Parliament’s role and procedures in various stages of the Brexit process; Public inquiries; Courts and tribunals reform.
Marion Smith QC specialises in complex, high value commercial and construction disputes for UK and international clients. She has extensive experience litigating matters before domestic courts and tribunals as well as in international arbitration where she has appeared before institutional and ad hoc tribunals, including under the Rules of the ICC, LCIA, LMAA and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. She has significant expertise in arbitrations where the law of the contract is not the law of England & Wales. She has been appointed as sole and co-arbitrator and as an expert determiner. She has provided expert evidence in foreign proceedings on English law. Marion is a Visiting Senior Lecturer in the School of International Arbitration, in the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London and a Professional Fellow of Aston University. Marion is ranked in Chambers and Partners in Construction and Legal 500 in Construction and Professional Negligence. Marion is also ranked in Construction in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific.
Mary Prior QC has a reputation for being a powerful, persuasive advocate who gets results. She has especial expertise in representing or questioning those who would be described as vulnerable. That includes people on the autistic spectrum, those with ADHD, learning difficulties, addicts, sex workers, those in care or who grew up in care. She is regularly instructed to prosecute and defend cases where the key witnesses are vulnerable either because they are children or because they have special needs of some description. Mary teaches advocates how to question vulnerable witnesses and defendants. Mary prepares her cases thoroughly and ensures that they are presented in a jury friendly way to provide the best prospects of success. She pays attention to detail and takes great care to ensure that all relevant material is considered and utilised. When prosecuting she gains the trust of the families of the deceased and works well as part of a team of officers and lawyers. When defending she regulalry visits her clients to ensure that they develop a relationship of trust with her and that they are able to understand the case against them.
Mary runs the RASSO training programme for the Midland Circuit and produces a newsletter each quarter with updates and developments in the law. She has especial expertise in serious sexual offences. She regulalry lectures on advocacy and other aspects of law. She is often instructed in complex, historic sexual offences which involve the control of people and sexual exploitation. She is also often instructed in serious sexual offences against those in professions which involve contact with children and young adults.
Iain Geddes studied Law and Computer Science at DeMontfort University and went on to complete an MBA at Birmingham University. Iain has recently completed an MSc in Financial Regulation and Compliance at Aston.
He joined Forward Trust, originally part of Midland Bank, based in Birmingham in 1996. Shortly afterwards, Midland Bank became part of HSBC and Iain has been part of their Regulatory Compliance team ever since. During his career, Iain has worked for the UK Bank but also internationally with roles supporting Compliance Teams in over 30 countries. He spent 2 years as Head of Regulatory Development for the US, based in New York. Iain is currently the Head of Regulatory Affairs for the HSBC UK managing Regulatory Engagements and Regulatory.
Martino is a Partner at law firm Mills & Reeve, and he won The Legal 500 UK Award 2019 for the best Real Estate partner (outside London). He holds a Doctor in Laws degree and is recognised by Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a Leading Individual in construction, engineering and energy. Martino was voted a tier 1 client partner by clients in Legal Week.
Martino has acted for clients in some of the defining construction projects of the last decade (including Portcullis House and the Millennium Dome) and the current decade (including the M6 Toll Road and Wembley National Stadium). Martino’s dual qualification means that his practice covers the full range of advisory and drafting work before and after the commencement of proceedings and advocacy in the courts and tribunals concerning claims by or against employers, contractors, sub-contractors and related professionals (architects, engineers, surveyors and project managers).
Bernard Richmond QC, Head of Chambers QC Year: 2006 Year of Call: 1988 Practice Group(s): Crime, Public & Regulatory Appointments: Recorder 2002 Bencher, Middle Temple 2005 Assistant Coroner (Inner West London) 2012 Deemster (panel), Isle of Man 2017 Deputy High Bailiff, Isle of Man 2017 Education: Stratford Comprehensive School, London E7 LLB (Hons) Business Law, City of London Polytechnic Practice Profile: Bernard is committed to ensuring that people have a voice in the justice system. He is a very experienced advocate with substantial experience of dealing with cases of sensitivity and complexity. Bernard specialises in Criminal Defence work (in the widest sense) and Inquest work. His criminal work involves a range of serious offences, in particular homicide, serious sexual or violent offending, serious organised or complex crime, regulatory offences and crimes which occur in the prison environment. He also undertakes disciplinary cases, including sports disciplinary work. His degree in Business Law has also given him a highly useful grounding in subjects relevant to conducting fraud trials. His ability to explain complex matters clearly and simply are of particular value in this area. His inquest work is generally for families or vulnerable individuals, usually in cases of complexity or sensitivity requiring experienced and precise advocacy and forensic skills. He has particular expertise in cases involving vulnerable people, particularly clients (or complainants). He has substantial experience in cases which involved mentally disordered individuals, individuals with learning difficulty or individuals who need particularly sensitive care, for example very young clients or witnesses. He is an approved facilitator (and facilitator trainer) for the Bar's training course on handling vulnerable witnesses. Bernard is engaged in many cases which require an understanding and testing of the evidence of experts, in particular pathologists, forensic experts, scientific or medical experts and psychiatrists. His regulatory and inquest work also brings him into contact with experts from the Health and Safety and regulatory fields. Bernard is an accomplished trial advocate. He is not afraid of hard work or challenging cases and is often instructed in large multi-handed cases, particular where emotions may run high. He has been involved in a number of high profile trials and, as such, is used to dealing with cases which attract a good deal of publicity. Consequently, he has experience of dealing with issues of publicity and contempt of court. Bernard also undertakes a substantial amount of appellate work, some of it pro bono, in cases where he was not trial counsel. This work is both national and international and he has advised on, prepared and appeared in cases in the appeal courts in this country (including Privy Council) and overseas (including Isle of Man, Trinidad and Jamaica). His overseas work includes applications to the European Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Arbitration in Sport. He is also consulted regularly on cases which involve potential applications for judicial review. As a public lawyer, Bernard has been involved in a number of interesting projects advising government, public or sports bodies as to legal or disciplinary issues. He was heavily involved in drafting the Court Rules relating to the recent introduction of Committal Proceedings in Jamaica. The project required him to visit Jamaica on a number of occasions, discussing the proposals with stakeholders, drafting the rules, training practitioners and judges on their implementation and monitoring their progress. He was also invited to train Jamaican judges on case management and disclosure issues. He ran sessions on case preparation for lawyers in Jamaica and lectured at the University of the West Indies. His disciplinary work relates both to professionals and sportsmen. He advises sports clubs and bodies on constitutional, procedural and child protection issues. He has represented sportsmen and women who have challenged selection decisions and has represented clients in the International Court for Sport in Lausanne. Bernard is a highly accomplished and respected advocacy teacher. He is the Director of Studies for Middle Temple's Advocacy School as well as the Co-Chair of the Training & Accreditation Committee of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy. He has taught both nationally and internationally on advocacy, case preparation and ethics. Bernard is passionate about equality before the law and also equality of opportunity for those who wish to join the profession. He has undertaken a great deal of work on social mobility and is the current Chair of the Education Committee of the Middle Temple, responsible for education policy and provision for one of the four Inns of Court.