Michael Gupwell

Michael Gupwell

Partner & Notary Public

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Michael Gupwell

Partner & Notary Public

Split between Crime and Notary Public


Michael offers a bespoke, personal and proactive service to his defence clients. He does not undertake any legally aided defence work.

He specialises in a number of key areas of criminal defence including Road Traffic Offences, Food Safety, Hygiene and Labelling Offences, Trading Standards Prosecutions, Council Prosecutions, Environmental Offences and Health and Safety Offences.

He also has experience dealing with general criminal offences including Violent Offences, Public Order Offences, Theft, Fraud and Sexual Offences.

"Michael Gupwell was exceptionally knowledgeable and professional throughout the case. I can only thank you all for the effort you put into the case and undoubtedly would not hesitate to recommend Michael and your practice to others."

Michael understands the huge impact that even an allegation of criminal offending can have on someone’s life, at home and at work, and the importance of managing a case throughout, from the initial interview under caution to a verdict and possible sentencing.

He strongly believes that taking an holistic approach can make all the difference in defending prosecutions and recommends always having a lawyer present at an initial interview under caution, whether voluntarily or following an arrest.

This is particularly important as people often feel they don’t need a lawyer to begin with as they ‘haven’t done anything wrong’ but any upset at the interview stage can have potentially devastating effects on the rest of the case.

Examples of Michael’s work include:

Road Traffic Offences

  • Acting for drivers who exceed the speed limit and are facing either an immediate ban or a ban under the ‘totting up’ provisions for totalling 12 points within a three year period.
  • Representing those facing a ban for ‘totting up’ to 12 points to avoid the usual six month ban.
  • Twice defending clients accused of drink driving and avoiding a conviction, ban or any penalty points.
  • Mitigating guilty pleas for drink driving cases and reducing the length of the disqualification and the level of the fine.
  • Representing clients for failing to provide a specimen when suspected of drink driving.
  • Successfully defending a client accused of driving with no insurance.
  • Acting for clients in Dangerous or Careless Driving cases and avoiding a ban or reducing the number of penalty points and the level of fine.
  • Defending those accused of failing to stop and/or failing to report an accident.
  • Avoiding charges of failing to respond to a Notice of Intended Prosecution.

Food Safety and Hygiene

  • Representing clients at the interview under caution stage and steering a pathway to avoid prosecution for offences involving undercooked chicken.
  • Dealing with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) breaches at interview and at court. HACCP is a system that helps food business operators look at how they handle food and introduces procedures to make sure the food produced is safe to eat.
  • Acting for clients where there have been repeated food labelling mistakes.
  • Working on cases involving the storage of fresh, frozen and dry foodstuffs.

Trading Standards

  • Avoiding a custodial sentence for a car trader accused of four counts of fraud in relation to selling a used vehicle that had been previously written off.
  • Negotiating an agreement for an undertaking instead of a prosecution for companies accused of unfair or aggressive trading.
  • Acting for a client in relation to the destruction of her herd of Dexter cattle after allegations under the Animal Welfare Act.

Council Prosecutions

  • Acting for clients accused of benefit fraud in relation to Council administered benefits (as well as similar offences prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions).
  • Defending breaches of Planning Enforcement Orders.
  • Successfully representing clients accused of illegally dumping waste, also known as fly tipping.

Environmental Prosecutions

  • Avoiding Court for a client accused of illegally dismantling engines and polluting the ground with waste oil.
  • Achieving a non-custodial sentence for an individual found guilty of allowing pollutants to escape into a river course.
  • Representing a waste management company accused of allowing waste material to escape from its vehicles and preserving its licence.

Health and Safety Prosecutions

  • Successfully representing a landlord and avoiding a custodial sentence after they were found guilty of allowing carbon monoxide to escape into a rented property where death was a foreseeable consequence.
  • Dealing with breaches of the Health and Safety Regulations where there is a criminal element of culpability.


Michael is an experienced Notary Public in Bristol and acts for a mix of individual and commercial clients in all aspects of notarial work.

He can advise on the format, execution and legalisation of documents for use in jurisdictions all around the world including:

  • Powers of Attorney
  • Oversees Property Documents
  • Foreign Estates
  • Consents to Travel
  • Applications to Marry Overseas
  • Job Applications and Visas
  • Criminal Records Checks
  • Certifying Copy Documents
  • Verifying Company Documents
  • Trademark and Patent Applications
  • Authorities for Taking Proceedings in Foreign Jurisdictions
  • Ships’ Protests
  • Legalisation of Documents

Qualifications and Experience

  • Philosophy degree 1997
  • Qualified as a Solicitor in 2007
  • Qualified as a Notary Public 2007
  • Higher Courts (Criminal Advocacy) Qualification 2013
  • Past President of the Association of SW Law Societies
  • Past President of the Bristol Law Society
  • Has specialised in Criminal Defence work since 2009

Supervised by Elizabeth Fry