Biography of James Rickard
I was admitted to the Roll in 1988 and have practiced law in Exeter since that date. In the early years of my career I dealt with all manner of litigation matters, specifically child care work, mental health work, and youth court work. This is in addition to general criminal litigation.
I was originally articled in Plymouth, moving to Exeter in 1986 initially finishing my training at Ford Simey Daw Roberts and working as an assistant solicitor with that firm (they were then known as Ford Simey and Ford). I then went to Crosse and Crosse where I remained for a few years and became a partner at that firm. I was then head hunted to work at Stephens Scown and continued in practice there with my current business partner Stephen Nunn and we then founded the firm Nunn Rickard Solicitor Advocates 14 years ago continuing to develop our practice as a niche criminal practice with a great deal of success over the past two years.
As my career has progressed I have specialised in specific areas of criminal law, gaining Higher Rights of Audience, and have dealt with extensively the serious cases relating to youths charged with serious sexual offences, youth court trials, Crown Court trials where the defendant is unfit to plead and generally where defendants are vulnerable through mental impairment or youth. Further, as my career has progressed I have involved myself in regulatory offences dealing with corporate manslaughter cases where company directors are facing charges of manslaughter on the basis of alleged negligence, defending cases brought by both the police and the Health and Safety Executive. I have dealt with allegations of environmental pollution prosecuted by the Environment Agency, as well as prosecutions of farmers in respect of environmental breaches and the importation of veterinary medication illegally. I have also dealt with high profile cases relating to false allegations of sexual assault and historic allegations of sexual assault.
I have conducted cases in the South West and as far away as Durham and even Spain. I often instruct expert barristers to represent my clients by people who I consider to be the best in their field who work for me because they trust me and my team. I work with my clerk, Christopher Seamark, with whom I have worked with for over 25 years and between us we are able to coordinate our resources and instruct the finest lawyers and experts in order to secure the best possible outcome we can for our clients.
I think that we have been particularly successful in securing an acquittals of clients falsely accused of crimes they have not committed and where there has been wrongdoing we have been able to explain to the court the background and circumstances of the case and properly mitigate and put our client’s case before the court. However we specialise in trials, and where possible winning those trials, providing a robust and intelligent defence that is very well respected by the legal community at large and by our clients.
Whilst criminal legal aid has been a matter of great dispute with the Government we have managed to maintain our presence within Exeter and I am a well-known advocate in the area and throughout the South West. I hope that I am able to inspire confidence in clients and give them practical and sensible advice and not give false hopes to anybody in respect of their case but tell it as it is. I think I have a reputation for plain speaking and telling people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear and so I think I have developed a reputation for straightforwardness in my professional life that people can rely upon.
In September 2018 I was appointed an an Independent Qualified Legal Chair for Police Misconduct Hearings by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall and Dorset Police. These panels are there to ensure that the highly skilled and trained police force maintains public credibility and scrutiny in the event that a complaint of misconduct is made.