Member of Chambers Profile

Hannah Duncan

Year of Call: 2002



Duncan, Hannah

Hannah was called to the Bar in 2002 after obtaining her law degree, completing her Bar Vocational Course and enjoying a short stint teaching human rights law at the University of Kathmandu, Nepal. 

Hannah practices exclusively in criminal law where she has earned a reputation as a formidable and persuasive advocate across the whole spectrum of criminal offences. In the last 8 years she has built an expertise in all sexual offences (both prosecuting and defending) including rape. Hannah's effective communication skills and sensitivity has led her to being instructed frequently in cases involving very young children, as both defendants and witnesses. She has also prosecuted and defended in cases involving vulnerable defendants and/or witnesses; for example children as young as four years old, severely autistic children and victims of torture. 

Hannah is frequently instructed in cases alleging serious violence up to and including murder. She has prosecuted large-scale drug importation cases and she is on the list of prosecutors for HM Customs and Revenue. She is a Grade 3 prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service as well as being a member of the CPS panel of rape specialists.  

Member of the Criminal Bar Association

Appointed Recorder (Crime) 2016

Notable recent cases:

Junior alone:

  • R v Maguire 
    Defending a male accused of sexual assault on a boy of 14 years.   Defence of malicious allegation.  The issue of the admissibility of evidence of untruthfulness arose.
  • R v Huggins
    Defending a 13 year old male.  Sexual assault by penetration.  Complainant was 5 years of age.  Evidence of propensity to lie and section 41 argument (previous sexual conduct of complainant).
  • R v Hamblett
    Defending a 45 year old male who was the father of the 6 year old female complainant with learning difficulties.  Sexual assault and witness intimidation.
  • R v Hills
    Prosecuting sexual assault by penetration and incitement to engage in sexual activity.  14 year old defendant and 3 year old complainant.  Case involved the use of an intermediary for the complainant.  Section 41 argument regarding previous conduct of the complainant.
  • R v Bull
    Prosecuting sexual assault by penetration.  15 year old defendant and 13 year old complainant.
  • R v Mead
    Prosecuting incitement of a child to engage in sexual activity and possession of indecent images of children.  Ages of children in images in dispute.   Defendant was autistic.
  • R v Clarke
    Prosecuting sexual grooming and inciting child pornography.  25 year old defendant and 14 year old complainant.
  • R v Edmund-Smith
    Defending a series of robberies on young victims.  The defendant had autism.
  • R v Chandler
    Defending grievous bodily harm (section 18).  The complainant's lips had been bitten off entirely.
  • R v Dudley
    Prosecuting grievous bodily harm.  The deliberate facial glassing of a model in a revenge attack.
  • R v Olivares
    Defending grievous bodily harm (section 18).  Horrific injuries – issues of self defence in the context of a homeowner.
  • R v McCarthy
    Prosecuting tobacco smuggling for HMRC.  
  • R v Kavanagh
    Prosecuting drug importation for HMRC.  Complex and sensitive issues of P.I.I.

Led Junior:

  • R v Pegg
    Prosecuting multiple defendants for child abuse and neglect over a five year period.  Lengthy and sensitive issues of PII dealt with solely by Junior Prosecution Counsel.
  • R v Tesfamicheal
    Gang related murder.  Multiple defendants.  PII issues.
  • R v Ali
    Rape, sexual assault by penetration by a careworker.  The young complainant was severely autistic and had acute cognitive difficulties; 15 years of age with the communication skills of a 5 year old.  Extensive research into autism leading to the national expert in Autism attending conferences and giving evidence in pre-trial hearings.  Legal arguments as to the admissibility of ABE's.  Use of intermediary.  Complex medical and competency issues.