Simon Clarke

Simon Clarke

Call: 1997


Simon is a barrister of over 25 years’ experience, practising at the Bars of England and Wales and of Northern Ireland.

Criminal Defence

Simon has maintained a high-level criminal defence practice for over 25-years, representing those charged with a full spectrum of criminal offences. He has represented many defendants in cases involving allegations of murder and manslaughter both at trial and in the Court of Appeal, giving him a vast experience in defending those charged with such offences. He has a similarly wide experience in defending allegations of serious violence, drugs dealing and smuggling allegations, contraband and people smuggling, and vehicle-related deaths.

Simon is known for his detailed and incisive preparation, his determined cross-examination style, his jury-handling skills, and his clear, concise, and practical advice to clients. His advocacy is of a very personal nature, engaging with juries on their level and equating his and his client’s personal experiences with those of the typical juror.

He has had a number of recent successes – in November he secured the acquittal of an 18-year-old defendant from North-west London charged with county lines drugs offences, relying on a defence of Duress. With a trial involving several other defendants, this was a complex case relying on substantial quantities of cell-site, telephone call, and co-location evidence.

In early-December he secured the acquittal of a Dutch national alleged to have been concerned in a conspiracy to import approx. 750kgs of heroin and cocaine – when arrested he was found to be in possession of 140kgs of drugs.

UK Road Transport Law

His practice also covers European and UK Road Transport law, Civil claims with transport-related issues, Judicial Review and criminal defence work involving transport-related allegations.

Before jointly founding SBC he was a director of a national firm of criminal & regulatory solicitors and before that he was a senior member of the independent Bar.

Simon is a recognised expert in European and domestic road transport regulatory law and has advised and represented some of the largest UK and European hauliers, UK Utilities and Non-government agencies and large corporate transport-users. His clients often feature in the FT100 and 250 indices. Simon also advises and represents UK water utilities and NHS Trusts and service providers. He continues to represent clients in Traffic Commissioner and TRU Public Inquiries, the County and High Courts and the Court of Appeal.

All aspects of Road Transport Law including operator licences, European and domestic regulations, vehicle seizure and restoration and UK Border Agency-imposed civil penalties for the carriage of clandestine entrants (illegal immigrants). Simon is authorised to represent clients in all courts and tribunals in England & Wales and in Northern Ireland. Many of Simon’s High Court and Court of Appeal cases have become landmark cases. Some of those cases have directly led to a change in the law, including in the areas of the interpretation of European Regulations, expert evidence, driver disqualification, and drivers’ hours and rest-breaks.
Recent cases include appearing for clients in law-making appeals relating to DVSA vehicle detention and return; the exercise of judicial discretion in civil penalties appeals, MOT authorisations and cessations and the right to be heard; and the removal of disqualification for European-based drivers. Most recently Simon represented 6 appellants in the Court of Appeal in a case in which the Court handed down guidance as to how civil penalties for clandestine immigrants should be dealt with by the Secretary of State and County Courts.

European Hauliers
Simon regularly advises and represents many of the major European hauliers, including industry-leading clients from Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania. This work often involves the restoration of Border Force and HMRC detained vehicles and cargos, appeals against clandestine entrant civil penalties; CMR and customs disputes, DVSA-detained vehicles for cabotage breaches and UK-Operator Licence applications for overseas hauliers. Simon has represented appellants in several of the leading cases on EU regulation interpretation.

Traffic Commissioner (GB) & Presiding Officer (NI) Public Inquiries
He is regularly instructed to represent leading hauliers, retailers, water utilities and NHS Trusts before the Traffic Commissioners and Presiding Officers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Civil Law

Simon has built up an extensive knowledge in the specialist area of Road Transport-related civil claims. Recent cases include success in the High Court and Court of Appeal on the legal test to be applied to allegations of police negligence in LGV vehicle attack and theft cases; the location and effect of the UK Border on Civil Penalty cases; and the Judicial Review of DVSA decisions. Again, Simon has represented claimants and defendants in some of the leading appeals on the topic.

Appellate work

Simon appears in the full range of appellate jurisdictions. He is presently instructed to represent appellants before the Court of Appeal, the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland, and the Upper Tribunal (AAC). Cases range from Civil Penalty appeals; undue administrative delay; Operator Licence revocation and refusals to simple ‘unfair process’ issues.

Judicial Review

Simon is often instructed to represent clients in challenges to DVSA, Dept. of Transport and Home Office decisions. His most recent success was the overturning of an MOT removal of authorisation decision in which the DVSA had failed to conduct a proper investigation and had acted unfairly. Other important Judicial Reviews in the road transport arena include leading decisions on vehicle detention and sale by Border Force, the proper interpretation of EU Regulations on drivers’ hours and rest breaks, retrospective disqualifications of drivers, and the weight to be given to expert evidence.

Before qualifying as a Barrister Simon drove heavy goods vehicles.

Notable Cases

(Water Utility) v DVSA. Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiry, 21 March 2022: Successful representation of major water utility on statutory issue of ‘Good Repute’ following fines of £100m.

Link Spolka Z O.O. & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ. 1830: Court determined the proper approach to appeals against civil penalties imposed in respect of the carriage of clandestine entrants. Represented all 6 appellants in this successful appeal.

DVSA v CPL, Mold Magistrates Ct., 16 March 2021: Successful defence of manufacturer of exhaust systems charged with EU regulatory offences relating to vehicle exhaust emission standards.

Paccar Financial Polska Sp. Zo.O v DVSA [2020] UKUT 325 (AAC): Proper test to be applied by Traffic Commissioner when determining the return of a detained vehicle, where the detained vehicle is owned by a finance house.

St Mickalos Limited and Michael Timinis [2019] UKUT 89 (AAC): Duty of Traffic Commissioner re: warnings for regulatory sanction.

R. v McG H Ltd, McG Otrs., Newry Crown Ct, 6 October 2018: Successful representation of Haulage company and Director charged with £6m tachograph fraud. First such prosecution brought by DVA in Northern Ireland.

Van Der Gaag Transport De Lier BV v DVSA [2016] UKUT 345 (AAC): Proper test to be applied by Traffic Commissioner when determining the return of a detained vehicle.

Bolle Transport BV v Secretary of State for the Home Department – [2016] All ER (D) 153: Court of Appeal. Whether a residual discretion available to Judge when s.32 IAA 1995 defence not made out.

Ian Lambert t/a IKL Transport [2016] UKUT 0289 (AAC): Proper approach to be taken by Traffic Commissioners when giving reasons.

R. (van Ipenberg) v Home Secretary for the Home Office: Judicial review issued; settled by Secretary of State for Transport. Identifying a prejudicial gap in the law relating to non-UK drivers following conviction for Death by Dangerous Driving. Law changed as the direct result of this appeal.

Platje v Vehicle and Operator Service Agency [2011] All ER (D) 274 High Court.: Scope of derogation available under Art 9(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006

Brants v Director of Public Prosecutions [2011] All ER (D) 92 High Court: Abuse of Process; delay; LGV driver charged with multi-jurisdictional tachograph infringements.

Harding v Vehicle and Operator Services Agency [2010] All ER (D) 96: Proper interpretation of Articles 8 & 12 of Reg. (EC) 561/2006 (derogations – drivers Hours and Rest Periods).

R. (Jefferson) v Peterborough Magistrates’ Court [2009] All ER (D) 248; [2009] EWHC 1406:
Admissibility of defence evidence where a Dutch-registered LGV had collided with and crushed an oncoming car.

R. (Doughty) v. Ely Magistrates’ Court – (2008) 172 JP 259; [2008] EWHC 522 (Admin).
High Court. Admissibility of defence expert evidence relating to speed detection devices.

R v S others [2005] All ER (D) 108 Court of Appeal.: Admissibility of evidence in drug-smuggling operation using LGV’s.



Master of the Bench of Lincoln’s Inn
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (FCILT)
Member of the Bar of England & Wales
Member of the Bar of Northern Ireland