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Laura Saunsbury

Consultant Solicitor

020 3811 5143 lsaunsbury@lewisnedas.co.uk

Laura joined Lewis Nedas as a consultant in 2007, having previously been a founding partner in a successful criminal defence practice.

Background

Qualified as a solicitor in 1993, Laura’s background is in criminal defence work. She was a duty solicitor at courts and police stations for over 20 years from 1994 until 2017 and has considerable experience of handling the whole spectrum of criminal offences including murder, drugs and sexual offences. Prior to joining Lewis Nedas, Laura spent six years as a partner in her own firm, Saunsbury & Co, a specialist criminal defence practice with an excellent reputation. 

Having taken up shooting as a hobby, Laura began to develop a professional interest in firearms law. Over the past 15 years Laura has built a niche practice specialising exclusively in firearms licensing law and associated areas. An enthusiastic advocate of the shooting sports, Laura has in the past tried her hand at most types of shooting and has particularly enjoyed practical pistol and practical shotgun, as well as clay pigeon shooting. Laura can therefore bring practical understanding as well as her legal expertise to cases involving firearms law. 

Key Advice Areas 

Laura gives advice and representation to individuals, clubs, and registered firearms dealers in relation to firearms licensing and also criminal offences involving firearms. Laura receives regular referrals from national shooting organisations such as the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association, the Sportsman’s Association, the Country Land & Business Association and the Gun Trade Association to advise and represent their members throughout England and Wales.

In addition, Laura is regularly instructed to defend investigations and prosecutions brought by the Health & Safety Executive against businesses involved in the manufacture and supply of firearms, explosives and bladed weapons. Her work in this area includes defending fatal accident investigations. She likewise deals with challenging HMRC seizures of such items via condemnation proceedings.

Appointments 

In 2009 Laura was appointed as Honorary Solicitor to the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association, the governing body in England for the sport of clay target shooting, due to her ability to give expert advice to the Association and its 24,000 members. Since 2015 Laura has also held the position of Honorary Solicitor to the Deactivated Weapons Association, the UK trade body for dealers and collectors of deactivated weapons.   Laura was also consulted by the Law Commission in 2015 as part of their comprehensive review of the law relating to firearms and proposed reforms, some of which have now been incorporated into the Policing & Crime Act 2017.    

Notable Cases

Reported cases in which Laura has been involved include;

  • R v David Evans (Ct of Appeal) [2006] EWCA Crim 87
  • R v Cyrus Shahabi Shack (Ct of Appeal) [2014] EWCA Crim 2842
  • R v Paul Heddell (Ct of Appeal) [2016] EWCA Crim 443

A number of trials of Laura’s clients have received considerable coverage in the national and local press, including the prosecution in 2016 of a fireman who was one of the country’s most well-known collectors of militaria and had a small museum in his garage at his home in St Albans.  His case was featured in an episode of the BBC Countryfile programme in December 2015. Laura’s careful preparation on the case and selection of expert witnesses was instrumental in securing her client’s acquittal on the vast majority of the charges.   

Other cases which were unreported but brought as test prosecutions and have informed police firearms licensing policy nationally include;

  • R v JC Ltd 2010 re selling of shotgun ammunition by mail order
  • R v W 2010 re definition of ‘rifle’ and types of firearms which can be held on a club firearms certificate
  • R v W 2011 re restricted pistols for humane dispatch of sick & injured animals
  • R v D 2013 re question of whether a firing pin is a component part of a firearm.

Funding

The majority of Laura’s cases are privately funded or though legal expenses insurance. While Laura no longer undertakes publically funded work herself, she has experienced colleagues who can provide an excellent Legal Aid service.

Other Achievements

Firearms Law Handbook thumbnail 1Laura co-authors “The Firearms Law Handbook” together with leading firearms barrister Nick Doherty, published in 2011, and then substantially revised and expanded in 2019. This latest edition was published by Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing and has received excellent reviews from the shooting and legal press.  The book is widely recognised as the leading work for lawyers, the Police and the public regarding firearms licensing law in Britain.

Laura also presents legal training webinars and seminars for MBL to other lawyers on firearms licensing and criminal offences involving firearms.  in addition, Laura writes articles for newspapers and magazines, and gives broadcast interviews on radio and television when asked to provide expert commentary on firearms law. She is a regular contributor to the CPSA magazine “Pull!” and was herself profiled in the April 2017 issue of the magazine. Read some of Laura's recent articles here:

Honours & Awards

Excellence Awards shorlisted buttonIn 2015 Laura was shortlisted by the Law Society in their annual excellence awards for the Solicitor of the Year in Private Practice award, a fantastic achievement for such a niche area of law.

In 2019 Laura was made a life Vice President of the CPSA in recognition of her service to the Association and its members over the past 10 years.

Personal Interests

Laura is a fluent French speaker. She enjoys getting out in the countryside, whether its to go shooting, skiing or for long walks with the family.   

Top Ranked Lawyers: Legal 500 

Celebrating our 35th anniversary in 2017, we are leaders in criminal defence, serious fraud, serious crime and many other areas of legal practice. We have been involved in many leading cases over the last 35+ years and are well known for our genuinely high acquittal rate and overall success rate. Please click the Legal 500 logo below for more information about our rankings.

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“I was put in touch with Lewis Nedas Law through a mutual friend and I was not disappointed. The team were nothing but straight forward, honest and realistic about the nature of my case and the expected outcome from the minute I got in contact and were willing to take over from the previous company at very short notice. With their unrivalled experience and expertise in their profession the outcome was even better than expected and I couldn’t recommend them enough.”


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Accreditations and Awards

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