Russell Cooke Putney London 2

About iLSE

I am the only one in my department who does exclusively legal aid work. When someone has been arrested by the police and/or charged with a crime and qualifies for legal aid, my aim is to assist them through the criminal litigation process efficiently and to obtain the best possible result for them in the given circumstances.

iLSE is an experienced trial advocate and represents clients both in the magistrates’ court and crown court. She is also frequently instructed to represent clients at police stations during the initial stages of police investigations. Early advice and assistance provided by iLSE has often resulted in no further action being taken by the police against clients who may otherwise have been charged.

As iLSE is a fully qualified duty solicitor, she regularly represents those who lack the mental and/or physical capacity to speak for themselves and/or have limited means and support. She has a high rate of success in dealing with matters which involve young and vulnerable people, those who are arrested for the first time, and individuals with mental health issues.

Throughout her career, iLSE has represented clients facing a very wide range of allegations including murder, manslaughter, conspiracies, serious drugs offences including cultivation, armed robbery, sexual offences, complex financial and tax evasion offences, child cruelty and offences of serious violence.

She takes pride in representing clients tenaciously, from fearlessly presenting their defence or persuasively mitigating on their behalf.
iLSE first qualified and worked at a busy criminal litigation practice in South Africa, where she gained invaluable experience by being involved in the defence of a large number of clients facing allegations of murder and causing death by dangerous driving. In 1998 iLSE participated in the International Legal Exchange Program, where she practised criminal litigation and advocacy in Los Angeles, California.

She immigrated to the UK in 1999 and re-qualified as a solicitor of England and Wales in 2000. Having had previous associations with other firms in London where criminal litigation is exclusively practised, she joined Russell-Cooke in April 2016.

She attended the police station on the day I got arrested and she has literally been by my side the whole time since. She has helped me so much, not only with all the hard work she (has) done to get the truth finally out, but she has been so supportive at such a difficult time. She has literally worked her socks off the past 4+ years.
Client (2022)


  • R v S: successful defence of a client arrested on suspicion of rape
  • R v A: successful defence of a client arrested on suspicion of fraud, receiving wrongful credit and money laundering
  • R v L: successful defence at trial of a client charged with s4 harassment – put in fear of violence
  • R v C: defendant charged with revenge pornography
  • R v G: representation of a client suffering from serious mental health issues
  • R v R: successfully persuaded the Crown Prosecution Service to discontinue two separate and unrelated matters involving a vulnerable client
  • R v Z & Z: successfully defended a couple investigated by the police on suspicion of allegations of child cruelty
  • R v H: successfully defended a client arrested on suspicion of sexual touching
  • R v K, R & R: successfully defended three young people arrested on suspicion of a serious assault
  • R v M: client charged with possessing a firearm
  • R v G: successfully defended a client investigated by the police on suspicion of perverting the course of justice
  • R v D: successfully defended a client arrested on suspicion of large scale supply of drugs
The service I received from you was outstanding. I felt so supported by you. I was kept informed every step of the way, and you explained everything to me in a way that I could understand. Your exceptional professionalism ensured that my anxiety was kept at bay; I felt very fortunate to have you on my side. You ensured that I had the best representation at court, and subsequently the best outcome.
Client (2021)


  • Higher Rights of Audience Accreditation at University of Law, London
  • Criminal Litigation Accreditation at Swansea University School of Law
  • Qualified Lawyers’ Transfer Test at BPP Law School, London
  • Law degree at University of South Africa
  • Business degree at University of Pretoria
Extremely helpful, friendly and professional service received from iLSE Gifford on behalf of our son. As a result of iLSE's total commitment and dedication from the start, ours son was not faced with the expected lengthy prison sentence and was sent to hospital temporarily instead for further treatment, with home leave being allowed and a view to discharge him shortly! We cannot thank iLSE enough.
Client (2017)


  • Criminal Litigation Accreditation (The Law Society)
  • Higher Rights of Audience (Criminal Courts) Accreditation (Solicitors Regulation Authority)
  • Member of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association (LCCSA)