Noël Sweeney Profile
I have been a practising barrister for over twenty years. The main areas of law I practise in are animal law, criminal law and human rights, plus a tinge of employment law.
My practice involves dealing with complex and serious cases of a wide variety for both the Prosecution and Defence. The areas I cover include animal cruelty, armed robbery, confiscation, discrimination, drug-dealing, white-collar crime and murder. Many of my cases involve technical issues which in turn necessitate the use of experts such as Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Forensic Scientists.
3. I also represent mentally-ill Defendants in the Crown Court and occasionally in the Mental Health Review Tribunal.
4. I have a wide experience in the Court of Appeal and a developing practice in Judicial Review. Recently I applied for Judicial Review of a decision of the Governor of X Prison and the Governor of Y Prison, respectively. I claimed the first Governor had arguably wrongly moved the convicted Prisoner while the second Governor had now refused to move him back from whence he had come. Initially he had had visits from his wife and his mother. After he was moved to the new Prison it was so far away the result was his neither his wife nor his mother could physically and/or financially could visit him. I applied for a review of their joint decision as each and both of the Governors’ breached his right to a family life as neither his pregnant wife nor his ailing mother could visit him. Indeed his mother was grieving for her only other son who had been murdered.
5. I recently appealed to the Court of Appeal in a Case that turned on the interpretation of the Civil Partnership Act 2004. That area is due to become even more important with the change in the status of same sex marriages and challenges on moral and ethical as well as legal grounds.
6. Human Rights:
I have taken a special interest in the Human Rights Jurisprudence because of the impact of it on all areas of English Law. I was a Facilitator for the Bar Council on the Human Rights Courses for fellow barristers. That role entailed holding seminars where there was an in-depth discussion of the principles and practice of the new legislation.
7. Allied to that I have given lectures on the Human Rights Act to local Solicitors and to charitable groups on its impact generally and specifically on the Mental Health Act.
8. I tend to use the Convention in all areas of practice as it impinges on so many aspects of animal law and criminal law when interpreted and used creatively. It has a direct relevance to the welfare and rights of all of us and no less whether an animal has a right to live.
9. Animal Law:
I have had a long-term interest in Animal Law. In connection with that I have appeared on both local and national radio including Radio 4, BBC Bristol and Radio Scotland to discuss the legal aspects of animal and human rights. The other participants included Professor Peter Singer, the foremost authority in the world on the philosophy of ‘animal rights’. I have also participated in a live debate on legal issues relating to animal welfare on television. The audience included experts from many different organisations and professions such as the R.S.P.C.A. and L.A.C.S. and philosophers and police officers.
10. I have written a study of the major criminal legislation affecting animals. As a result I have had articles commissioned by the BBC Wildlife Magazine and the then Justice of the Peace. I was a guest speaker at the Annual Conference of the Police Wildlife Liaison Officers where my chosen subject was Violence and Speciesism. Similarly I was a guest Lecturer at Bath Spa University and the University of the West of England on The Cycle of Cruelty: The Connection between Animal and Child Abuse. An example of my writing on this subject can be seen at: A Bird’s Eye-View of Cats and Dogs and Murder: www.criminallawandjustice.co.uk  Vol. 174 p.393.