Martha joined Apex Chambers in September 2019 following the successful completion of her pupillage. She was supervised by Jonathan Elystan Rees QC and Alex Greenwood respectively. 

Prior to commencing her pupillage, Martha studied for both her undergraduate law degree and Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at Cardiff University. 

She was awarded the grade of ‘Outstanding’ for the BPTC and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2018.

Martha accepts instructions across all areas of criminal and regulatory law. She regularly prosecutes and defends in the Crown Court, Magistrates’ Court and Youth Court. Her practice includes defending professionals charged with criminal offences while working in the public sector. She has also represented the National Midwifery Council  at tribunals in appeal proceedings.


Alongside her current practice, Martha is instructed by West Berkshire District Council to work on secondment. She is involved at all stages, from pre-charge advice to hearings in Court. Martha has experience in prosecutions for a wide variety of offences including those under The Licensing Act 2003, The Housing Act 2004, The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015, the Food Hygiene Regulations (in both England and Wales), The Animal Health Act 1981, The Education Act 1996 and Taxi Licensing offences.


Inquest - Touching the death of AB (2020 - ongoing)

Instructed to represent an interested party at an inquest with a jury.

R v X (ongoing)

Martha is currently instructed as junior defence counsel led by Susan Ferrier in a case involving allegations of historic child sexual abuse.

Inquest - Touching the death of SW, Bristol Coroners Court (2020)

Instructed to represent an interested party at an inquest into a death of a resident in a care home.

R v Badman, Newport Crown Court (2020)

Defended in a trial involving allegations of domestic violence. The defendant was charged with false imprisonment by holding his girlfriend hostage at his home. During this time, he was alleged to have made threats to kill, assaulted her and sprayed her in the face with CS gas. The defendant was also charged with perverting the course of justice. 

R v T, Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court (2020)

Defended in the trial of an NHS employee charged with sexual assault.

R v Midgley-McDonald and Midgley-McDonald (Operation Cassie), Leeds Crown Court (2020) 

Martha was led by Christopher Rees in defending the first defendant. The defendants were charged with fraudulent trading and an offence contrary to the Consumer Protection and Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The case required consideration of over 35,000 pages of evidence served by the prosecution and involved legal argument relating to the power of the prosecuting authority to issue proceedings.

Operation K (2020) 

Martha was instructed by Trading Standards (City of York Council) as Independent Counsel to conduct an extensive review and advise on matters of legal professional privilege. 

R v Balfe, Bristol Crown Court (2020) 

Martha represented a defendant charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply cocaine and heroin. Following written submissions as the admissibility of hearsay evidence at trial, a plea to a lesser offence was accepted by the prosecution.

Martha Smith-Higgins


General crime

Regulatory law



Member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

CPS Advocate Panel - Grade 2

Member of the Criminal Bar Association


Jules Thorn BPTC Scholarship (Middle Temple 2017)

Certificate of Honour (Middle Temple 2018)

For any enquiries, please contact the clerking team:

Email: clerks@apexchambers.net

Phone: 02920 23 2032

Apex Chambers, Harlech House, 20 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9LJ

029 2023 2032

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