Karen Squibb Williams
Karen Squibb-Williams, Barrister, Head of Chambers
Acorn Chambers, Oxford, UK
Karen is a senior practising barrister with an extensive, and probably unique, high level experience of the use of forensic science within the UK criminal justice systems, spanning the last 19 years.
She was the National Strategic Policy Adviser to the UK government for Prosecution policy in her specialist areas from 2004 – 2013.
She then established her own chambers, providing independent legal services in the use of forensic sciences, technology, expert witnesses, domestic/ gender abuse, commercialisation, procurement processes, regulation and quality assurance mechanisms within the UK and International criminal justice contexts.
In 2015 Karen added International Consultancy in Fragile & Sensitive States to her range of services; specialising in Rule of Law, Human Rights, Judicial Governance systems, Prosecution Policy and Practice and Empowerment processes.
Karen has commenced an independent PhD research programme, exploring the attrition rate of criminal investigations in England & Wales, using forensic science analyses, but never reaching the courtroom.
She is also a Visiting Professor for Queen Mary’s, University of London, and lectures at a number of UK and International fora, including:
The College of Policing (Durham & Ryton)
The UK Defence Academy (Cranfield)
Nottingham Law School, Northumbria University, Newcastle
At the Crown Prosecution Service headquarters she was the national lead for prosecution policy in cases involving mainstream and innovative forensic sciences, expert evidence and disclosure issues.
She was responsible for briefing, supporting and advising successive Attorney Generals and Directors of Public Prosecutions, on strategic prosecution policy developments and legal issues within her specialist portfolio topics.
Karen worked with Ministers at the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General’s Office, the then Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the judiciary at all levels including the Lord Chief Justices, the Masters of the Rolls and Senior Presiding Judges, leading forensic scientists and commercial forensic analyses providers, as well as experts from a range of specialist medical fields, leading academics and the Forensic Science Regulator (FSR).
She has given evidence at Parliamentary Select Committee inquiries, on behalf of the CPS or Attorney General’s Office, and was a key member of the cross-government steering group responsible for creating the role of the UK’s Forensic Science Regulator.
Her strategic experience includes: membership (10years) of the UK Home Secretary’s Pathology Delivery Board, Chair of the Register of Forensic Pathologists Disciplinary Review panel, the Home Office Forensic Science Transition Board, Chair of the DNA Specialist Working Group for the FSR; a member of the then ACPO Forensic Science Portfolio Board, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) Crime Scene working group and the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI).
She ia a trained Trainer (Advocacy, CJS Disclosure, Expert Evidence) and Mentor.