Gul Nawaz Hussain KC (King’s Counsel) is not your usual stereotypical lawyer.
With his flowing locks, sometimes worn in a bun, his rooms adorned with images of famous celebrities who have had contact with the law, and his working-class past, he is not what many people expect from one of the most popular lawyers. most experienced in the country. But he likes to be different, and his success in his field – specializing in high-level, complex and serious criminal defense work, disciplinary and regulatory issues in sport – has seen him appointed head of a new chamber. in Sheffield, with the official launch last week.
Naz (or Jesus!) as he’s known for his long hair, runs the 33-room Bedford Row Sheffield Annex, which also has offices in London, Leeds, York and Chepstow. Their Sheffield offices are at Steel City House on the corner of West Street and Pinfold Street in the city centre.
Naz, who grew up in Tinsley, is proud of his humble beginnings. He attended Firth Park School and Parson Cross College before studying law at university.
“Moving into Steel City House felt right to me – there isn’t much more to Sheffield than a name like that,” he said. “I’m the son of a steelworker, I was born in Steel City. When we were looking for space for the new rooms, I knew it had to be here.
Naz said he remembered his roots when he attended a dinner for guest judge Lord Justice Males at the Leopold Hotel in Sheffield. He remembers visiting the same building as a child, when it housed the offices of the local school authority. When her father was on strike and the family was short on money, Naz had to line up for a free school uniform.
“I must never forget where I come from and the life lessons I learned.” he said. “I keep them at the forefront of my mind and heart. This is what often helps me connect with clients because they know I understand. »
Mick Mullaney’s Thai Boxing Club in Sheffield is where Naz said he learned many of his life lessons. ‘Never give in’ is the club’s motto and Naz said ‘it’s something I carry with me every day’.
“Thai boxing taught me that there is always a way forward when you face challenges and it is that spirit that allows me to do my job,” he added. “If I’m in a tough spot in court I know I’m not going to get hit, I know I’ve been through worse in the ring,” he joked.
Naz has appeared in some of the highest-profile trials in the nation, alleging murder, terrorism, drug conspiracies, gang violence, high-value fraud, voter fraud and serious historic sex crimes. He has represented high net worth individuals, successful businessmen, professionals and celebrities from the worlds of sports, entertainment and music.
Naz says that when customers call and ask for “Jesus,” he warns them that he “can’t guarantee miracles”…but he’s certainly performed a few over the years.
In a rape trial in Sheffield where the defendant had fled the country, Naz had neither a client nor a statement of defence. Many thought, including their absentee client’s lawyer, that a conviction was inevitable. The defense evidence relied entirely on Naz’s cross-examination of the plaintiff and his closing speech. The jury unanimously acquitted his absent client. “It was like playing a football match at Wembley with one person against a whole team,” he said.
Naz says her life experiences made her realize the importance of standing up and speaking up without fear for those who can’t or won’t do it themselves.
“As a youngster my hero was Muhammad Ali for the stance he had on oppression and human rights, the oppressed against the state excited me, I wanted to fight for what is right “, did he declare. “I grew up wanting to make a difference for individuals and communities and righting wrongs. Law was therefore an obvious career, because one person can make a difference. There is no despair. If you don’t fight, you can never win. If you fight, you at least have a chance. I have an affinity for the underdog, that’s what drives me.
Reflecting on his career to date and the honor he now has of running the Sheffield Chambers and also being appointed deputy manager of London, he said: ‘It’s a huge show of confidence in us and in Sheffield that they chose to invest in the city. I’m very proud.”