Profile picture of barrister Lucy Tapper

Lucy Tapper

Call: 2002


Described as being of ‘stellar quality’, Lucy’s experience of working in the criminal justice system spans over 25 years. She is a natural defence advocate (see ‘background’ below) whether instructed as junior alone, led or leading junior and has experience across the spectrum of criminal offences, including homicide, serious violence, arson, forced labour/slavery, child cruelty/neglect, aggravated burglary, robbery, kidnap, fraud,money laundering firearms and large-scale drug conspiracies.

However, Lucy is particularly sought after for her specialism in defending sexual allegations where the combination of her naturally objective nature, humanity and sound judgement, lends itself perfectly to these notoriously sensitive cases and has seen her achieve outstanding results.

Lucy has been instructed in a number of high-profile child sex exploitation (CSE) cases (see‘notable cases’ below). Since securing acquittals on all charges for her client in Operation Bullfinch at the Central Criminal Court (as led junior), she has been specifically requested to act in a number of other, similar cases – most recently in Operation Nautical 1 where (as led junior) her client was also acquitted of all charges alleging CSE. She was also instructed as leading junior in Operation Nautical 2 where all charges were dropped just before trial.

Lucy has successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal on many occasions, including those where she did not have conduct of the original proceedings and has also successfully challenged the imposition of IPP/EDS sentences. She has also appeared in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court where she successfully appealed by way of case stated, establishing an important clarification of the remit of s.17 PACE 1984 (see ‘notable cases’ below) and continues to undertake a significant amount of advisory work as a result.

Lucy is a persuasive, thorough lawyer and engaging jury advocate, with a keen tactical eye. She is held in high-regard by her clients (both lay and professional) as well as by senior members of the judiciary. She has an established reputation for her absolute commitment to her cases, providing sound and honest advice but always fighting her clients’ corner fearlessly. Her manner is calm, confident and straight-forward, and her refreshing ‘personal approach’ engenders a strong relationship of trust with both professional and lay clients alike.

Lucy’s defence background also informs and underpins her approach when prosecuting. She has expertise in issues relating to disclosure, and in court, she presents each case cogently, persuasively and fairly. Lucy’s exceptional client care skills readily translate into an ability to relate to and reassure anxious witnesses.

As a qualified police station representative and duty solicitor, Lucy is also experienced in dealing with providing advice to clients from the point of arrest and during the difficult ‘pre charge’ stage.

Lucy is a registered pupil supervisor

"Lucy is a deeply committed advocate. Clients are attracted to her ability to communicate complex ideas easily and succinctly in a manner that is easily digestible. She is always fully prepared for any conference or hearing and always has a comprehensive grasp of the case. Her advocacy is fluent and accomplished." -Legal 500, 2024
"Lucy is a superb advocate and a formidable opponent to be against in court." -Legal 500, 2023

2002 – 2010 Counsel at the Independent Bar

2010 – 2018 Director, Barrister and Head of ‘Chambers’ at Reeds Solicitors; building a successful Crown Court Advocacy Department and attaining Pupil Organisation Accreditation, conducting advocacy and litigation at the highest level in addition to managerial and directorship responsibilities.

Pupil Supervisor, Police Station Representative and Duty Solicitor qualified. Vulnerable Witness and Youth Justice Advocacy qualified.

Notable Cases

Syed v DPP [2010] EWHC 21 (Admin) – Appeal by way of case stated. Successfully challenging police power to enter property under s.17(1)(e) PACE 1984.

R v S – Female Radio DJ accused of sexual activity/incitement with child; acted alone – acquitted.

R v H – ‘Operation Bullfinch’ (led junior). 6 month trial before HHJ Rook at the Central Criminal Court involving serious grooming/trafficking/CSE. Nine co-defendants. Acquitted of all charges.

R v T – (led junior) a single defendant, charged with CSE in relation to three complainants and would have been tried as part of Operation Bullfinch but was not located by police in time.

R v I – (instructed junior) 11-handed CSE. Instructed on basis of Operation Bullfinch result. Prepared case for trial but had to return due to Nautical trial overrunning.

R v S – Operation Nautical (1) – (led junior). Defendant accused of multiple CSE offences. Acquitted of all charges.

R v Sz – Operation Nautical (2) – (leading junior). Defendant accused of CSE. Case dropped just before trial was due to commence.

R v F – Veterinary surgeon accused of multiple sexual assaults. Complex issues relating to bad character and hearsay. Instructed by Veterinary Defence Service (led junior). Acquitted of all charges.

R v R – Defendant who was profoundly deaf and without speech, accused of rape. Intermediaries, sign-language interpreters and deaf-relay (led junior). Acquitted.

R v B – Defendant accused of campaign of rape and sexually violence against his seriously ill wife over many years (for whom he was primary carer) – (acted alone) acquitted of all charges.

R v G – Oxbridge student accused of incitement/sexual assault, sexual activity with child. Acquitted of all charges following extensive examination/deployment of social media material. Acted alone.

R v S – Stepfather accused of sexual assault, incitement, rape of his 10 year old daughter on numerous occasions. Acquitted on all counts. Acted alone.

R v B – Allegation of male rape at a party. Acquitted. Acted alone.

R v W – Death by Dangerous Driving. Established detailed chronology to demonstrate that sent text message could not have been sent while driving (as alleged). Acquitted. Acted alone.

R v Salah – (led junior) double murder of retired couple, involving an extensive background of fraudulent conduct. Defendant was PhD student.

R v M – father accused of the manslaughter of his 19 month old son. Led by Sally O’Neill QC – negotiated plea to chid cruelty on basis of defendant’s delay in disclosure of facts to hospital.

R v L – Defendant killed his manager while working at a golf club, decapitating him with a cheese knife. Complex mental health issues – eventually established manslaughter on basis of diminished responsibility (led junior).

R v B – Defendant strangled his pregnant girlfriend, hid her body in a suitcase in a field, then moved it to bury it in family grave (led junior).

R v E – Female defendant accused of murdering her abusive partner while heavily intoxicated. Acquitted of murder, convicted of manslaughter (led junior).


  • 1 st Class LLB (Hons) – Linnell’s Prize for highest marked law degree in year.
  • Jules Thorn Major Scholarship.
  • Blackstone Entrance Exhibition.

Professional Memberships

  • Middle Temple
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Thames Valley Bar Mess
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Women in Criminal Law (Founder Member)
  • Female Fraud Forum
  • Fraud Lawyers Association

Other Professional Engagements

  • Member of the Justice Working Party – Prosecuting Sexual Offences (current)
  • Associate Lecturer – Oxford Brookes University School of Law
  • Retained Guest Lecturer – Santa Clara Summer Law School (hosted by Magdalen College, Oxford).
  • Associate – Headington School Law Association, Oxford

Client Testimonials

  • “We can never thank you enough for your dedication, professionalism and expertise in proving X’s innocence.”
  • “Lucy Tapper was brilliant from the start. She was understanding and considerate to the whole family. I could not have asked for any more of her and most of all, I felt like she truly cared.”
  • “Lucy was perfect.”
  • “It is rather hard to put into words just how grateful we are, not only for the incredible job you did but for your kindness throughout the whole process. You were, in short, amazing. We have had a few family meals since the verdict and each time we have raised a glass to you and I imagine we will continue to do so for many years to come… You have given the ultimate gift of liberty to X. Thank you.”

  • Legal 500 leading junior 2024