Karen is a practising barrister with an extensive, and arguably unique, experience of the use of forensic science within the UK criminal justice systems, spanning the last decade.
Unusually, she holds dual practising status (employed and self-employed) and has established her own chambers, specialising in providing independent services regarding the use of forensic sciences, technology, expert witnesses, commercialisation, procurement processes, regulation and quality assurance mechanisms within the UK criminal justice context, including:
- Legal advice
- Legal representation
- Strategy & Policy guidance
- Individual & organisational training + materials
- Conference / plenary speaker
- Communications & Media support /presentations
From 2004 – 2013 she was based at the Crown Prosecution Service headquarters and was the national lead for prosecution policy in cases involving scientific evidence, expert witnesses and disclosure. In this role she was responsible for briefing, supporting and advising both the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions on strategic policy developments and legal issues within her specialist portfolio topics.
Karen regularly worked with Ministers and their senior advisers at the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General’s Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the judiciary at all levels including the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and Senior Presiding Judges, leading forensic scientists and providers, as well as experts from a range of specialist fields, leading academics and the Forensic Science Regulator. She has given written and oral evidence at Parliamentary Select Committee inquiries, and was a key member of the cross-government group responsible for creating the Forensic Science Regulator post.
Her experience includes: Chair of the DNA Specialist Working Group for the Forensic Science Regulator; a member of the Home Office Forensic Transition Board, the Home Secretary’s Pathology Delivery Board, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Forensic Science Portfolio Board, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) Crime Scene working group and the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). Karen has also been involved in a several Metropolitan Police ‘Gold Group’ Strategic Reviews examining the forensic science issues arising from a number of very high profile cases.
In particular, she is well known for being a critical driving force in the development and implementation (in 2013) of Streamlined Forensic Reporting (SFR), enabling effective compliance with the Criminal Procedure Rules (CrPR) for all participants.
Karen is an independent practising barrister with an extensive, and arguably unique, experience of Forensic Science and Expert Evidence within the UK criminal justice systems, spanning the last decade.
Unusually, she holds dual practising status and, after a 12 year career at CPS Headquarters, in 2013 she established Acorn Chambers, specialising in providing high level independent services regarding the use within the UK criminal justice context of:
- Forensic Sciences
- Expert Evidence & Expert Witness obligation
- Procurement Processes in the CJS
- Regulation and Quality Assurance Mechanisms