255 Research and Investigation is a Social Enterprise founded in 2012 with the aim of providing the highest level of investigation and research services to those facing criminal charges and their legal teams.
Our aim is to improve fact and mitigation investigation and in turn raise the level of legal representation being provided to those facing criminal charges. By raising those levels we hope to bring defendants closer to a fairer space within justice systems around the globe and reduce the risk of injustice.
Outside of individual casework, and in regards the wider mission of 255 we train people to be criminal defence investigators, we also train established investigators and those conducting criminal defence investigation, and we have developed best practice guides for frontline investigation. Another simple equation: the more people investigating well = more people being represented well.
Founder, Mitigation Specialist and Fact Investigator
255 Research and Investigation was founded in 2012 by Chris Chang. Chris worked for over 7 years as Senior Investigator at the London-based legal action charity Reprieve. During his time there he worked both in Reprieve’s Secret Prisons and Death Penalty teams. He has worked on over 50 cases of individuals detained in Guantanamo and over 40 Death Penalty cases.
Chris was part of the first Guantanamo defense team to travel to pre-revolution Tunisia, where he and others conducted groundbreaking investigation on behalf of the Tunisian Guantanamo detainees. Investigation work that he conducted on behalf of one of the youngest prisoners in Guantanamo contributed largely to the victory in his habeas corpus case and his subsequent release from Guantanamo. Chris’s investigation work on behalf of Guantanamo detainees who were in a factual and legal black hole has been a major factor in the release of many prisoners held there.
His capital case investigation has contributed to death sentences being averted in several cases, and also helped to obtain new sentencing hearings for some individuals. He has led capital case investigation missions in the US, Europe and the Caribbean and in his role as senior investigator at Reprieve Chris co-wrote a chapter on investigation for a manual produced by Reprieve, with financial assistance from the EU, to instruct US attorneys representing individuals facing capital charges or those already on Death Row in the US that have ties to Europe.
Chris has extensive experience conducting fact investigation and mitigation investigation across Europe, North and Central Africa, the U.S and the Caribbean.
In addition to being a skilled investigator Chris is a skilled advocate with experience conducting multi-level advocacy for the individuals whose cases he has worked on: from grassroots public speaking at press conferences,conferences, rallies and campaign events, to multi level government advocacy.
Chris has also had extensive media experience and has appeared on Sky News, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Radio France International, France 2, Russia Today, and on local Television and Radio broadcasts, and in Internet and print media in Germany, Italy, Norway, Chad, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
Chris possesses a very natural understanding of cultural competency and its undeniable necessity in the field of criminal defense investigation and moves effectively through diverse communities, gains trust with ease and gets results, plain and simple. A natural communicator, upon his graduation from university in 2000 he was awarded the European Institute of Education and Social Policy Prize for the best interpreter of the year.
Chris now continues his investigation work through 255 Research and Investigation but is also working actively to address the challenges in the field of criminal defense investigation through partnerships with other legal professionals, academics and NGOs.
Investigation continues to be conducted badly, Chris is committed to changing that.
Frontline Investigator + 255 Content Creator
Farid is a highly skilled frontline investigator and has conducted ground-breaking mitigation and fact investigation in the UK and North Africa. His London background allows Farid to move with ease in and out of difficult environments and work effectively within insular communities. He is skilled at gaining trust quickly and building relationships that allow him to gather vital information needed for the defence cases that we work on.
He also also conducted extensive and vital family liaison work.
Farid has a strong background working with young people in London areas as a community arts tutor and a mentor. He has led film, theatre, photography and digital arts projects in some of the city’s most difficult areas working with young people to harness their talent and creativity and work with them towards positive outcomes.
Farid is also a graphic designer and a talented artist and illustrator. In addition to his investigation work with 255 he is working with us to develop innovative and exciting investigation materials and content.
Farid is a graduate of Buckinghamshire University where he studied Design/Graphic Design and is a fluent Arabic speaker.
Victoria studied music performance (oboe) & academic music at the Royal Academy of Music & Kings College in London. She worked for many years as a professional freelance orchestral musician in the Netherlands. Due to upcoming cutbacks in the artistic sector in 2010, Victoria decided to re-train in Law and quickly obtained a certificate in English Law and Legal Research from The Open University. In 2013, Victoria won a prestigious London Inns of Court Scholarship (The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn.) She is currently in the final stages of her legal studies at BPP Law School in London (distance learning) and hopes to receive the qualification of GradLLB (Bachelor) in 2017.
Since 2000, Victoria has also taught Business English and has worked both in-company and at language institutes for companies such as ABN AMRO, ING, SHELL, MAERSK, SKF, ASR & RDC.
Victoria has taught Legal English courses at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and to individual legal academics at the University of Leiden.
Victoria remains very dedicated to her legal pro bono work. From 2014-2015, she was Student Director of the Criminal Appeals Project (former Innocence Project) at BPP Law School and worked extensively on a joint enterprise murder case from 2013-2015. She was a recipient of the BPP Pro Bono & Inclusion Scholarship and the selected candidate to represent BPP Law School at the National Pro Bono Award.
Now Victoria is conducting research and frontline investigation as part of the team at 255 Investigation, committed to improving the standard of investigation as a means to improving legal representation.
Mitigation and Fact Investigator
Daria Reaven is an investigator and mitigation specialist with over four years of experience working on both civil and criminal cases, specializing in death penalty cases. She began her training at the Public Defender Service in Washington D.C. through their rigorous investigative fellowship program, where she investigated parole cases, juvenile cases, and serious felonies (such as sexual assault, attempted murder, etc.)
Following this year-long fellowship, she went to New Orleans where she worked on a large class action lawsuit against the Orleans Parish Prison on the basis of its horrendous conditions. She investigated the insufficient medical and mental health services in the facility, staff shortages, security concerns, as well as the frequent violent incidents and assaults that occurred inside the facility. She also advocated for the removal of all children from the facility.
Daria then joined the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans as mitigation specialist on death penalty post-conviction cases throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. While at this office, she conducted both fact and mitigation investigation. She worked closely with experts, conducted trauma informed interviews, and worked to find new evidence that might help to release clients or spare them from execution.
While completing her masters degree from the University of London, Daria worked as an investigative consultant and researcher with Reprieve. She conducted multiple investigation trainings with Reprieve staff and conducted mitigation investigation throughout Europe for several foreign nationals on death row in the U.S with the assistance of translators.
Daria continues her frontline investigation work with 255 working to ensure a high standard of investigation on 255 cases and developing our training programmes and materials.