Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

United Kingdom > Regional Bar > Northern Circuit > Crime > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Leading Silks
  2. Leading Juniors

Leading Silks

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Leading Juniors

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

The criminal barristers in 23 Essex Street's Manchester office primarily defend, with recent cases including allegations of fraud, serious violence and both recent and historical sexual offences. One particularly notable matter is Bob Sastry's defence of an individual said to be the leader of a gang which trafficked women from Romania into Luton, Preston and Manchester for purposes of forced prostitution.

7 Harrington Street is home to a wide range of criminal practitioners, with a spectrum of members including those who have fully prosecution and defence practices as well as some who operate more balanced workloads. Key areas of work include gang-related crime, drug conspiracies and serious violent crime. Notably, Nicholas Johnson QC prosecuted former Manchester City youth football coach Barry Bennell, who was convicted of multiple sexual offences against children.

Members of 9 St John Street are instructed on behalf of both prosecution and defence in a wide range of cases, covering all areas of serious crime including appellate work. Vanessa Thomson is a key figure within the practice, having recently defended an octogenarian man charged with the murder of his wife, who was suffering from severe dementia, in a "mercy killing"; the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter and a suspended sentence was imposed. Jaime Hamilton QC  took silk in 2019.

Cobden House Chambers is home to members with specialisms in serious sexual offending, fraud and drug cases, as well as violent crime. Other key areas of work include cases with vulnerable complainants and defendants, including children.

Deans Court Chambers is home to several strong criminal practitioners and is considered 'a first-class set' for criminal work by some clients. Notable areas of specialism include historic sexual abuse allegations, recent serious sexual offences, and large-scale drug conspiracies. Virginia Hayton recently prosecuted in a grooming case which arose out of the actions of "North West Predator Hunters", an anti-paedophile vigilante group which lured the defendant via an adult pretending to be a child online. Additionally, Joseph Hart is particularly notable for his criminal work in the British Overseas Territories, recently prosecuting an historic sexual abuse case in the Falkland Islands.

Amos Waldman at Doughty Street Chambers specialises in defendant work, including serious drug-related crime. Additionally, Waldman has expertise representing professionals facing criminal prosecution, as well as appearing in the International Criminal Court, recently representing former child soldier Dominic Ongwen.

Exchange Chambers is home to one of the strongest criminal teams in the region, with barristers regularly appearing in serious and complex cases. According to one client, the set 'has some real quality barristers and great strength in depth', a sentiment which was echoed by several others, who praised the sets 'great ability to provide alternative counsel' even at short notice. High-profile instructions include Gordon Cole QC's representation of England cricketer Ben Stokes, who was acquitted of charges of affray concerning what the defence argued was Stokes' and a team-mate's intervention in a homophobic attack. Among the juniors, Mark Ainsworth was instructed as the leading junior in a three month trial to prosecuted the Liverpool-based Fernhill Gang, who supplied class A drugs within the city. David Potter was appointed to the circuit bench.

Members of Garden Court North Chambers' criminal practices focus entirely on defendant work, with members involved in some of the most complex and high-profile cases both on circuit and nationally. One notable recent instruction is Brigid Baillie's defence of an individual charged with historic sex offences alleged to occur within a close-knit religious community in which the defendant was a leading figure. The set is also instructed on several leading appeal cases, such as Pete Weatherby QC's successful appearance for the appellant in the Supreme Court case R (Gibson) v Secretary of State for Justice, which considered whether, when determining how much credit should be given for a part-paid confiscation order, if interest should be applied to the size of the order.

Kenworthy's Chambers includes several strong juniors, who are instructed to prosecute and defend in a wide range of criminal cases including drug-related offences, serious violence and sexual offending both recent and historic. David Morton recently represented an individual convicted of offences under the Explosive Substances Act in their appeal against sentence, securing a one year reduction.

Considered by many to have 'top-class practitioners from the bottom up', Lincoln House Chambers is a fixture in courts across the circuit and nationally. In addition to violent, sexual and drug-related offences, the set houses practitioners with more niche specialisms, such as Richard Dawson who handles some of the most serious and legally complex motoring cases. Recent notable cases include defence specialist Simon Csoka QC's defence of the first prison officer to be charged with gross negligence manslaughter, in which he secured an acquittal after a prisoner took his his own life in HMP Woodhill, a Category A prison near Milton Keynes.

With members both prosecuting and defending in a range of serious cases, St John's Buildings is a strong contender across the circuit for criminal work. Key areas include sexual offences cases, fraud and violent crime. Of recent note, Mark Connor prosecuted two separate individuals for multiple historical sexual offences, securing prison sentences of 22 and 25 years.

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in Regional Bar for Crime

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Court of Justice rules on source of income for Derivative Residence applications

    On 2 October 2019, the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in Bajratari v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Directive 2004/38/EC) Case C-93/18 which concerns Chen applications and the source of funds for self-sufficiency. 
  • End of the ‘centre of life test’ in Surinder Singh cases?

    In the recent case of  ZA (Reg 9. EEA Regs; abuse of rights) Afghanistan   [2019] UKUT 281 (IAC ), the Upper Tribunal found that there is no basis in EU law for the centre of life test, as set out in Regulation 9(3)(a) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (the “Regulations”). It further found that it is not to be applied when Judges assess  Surinder Singh  cases that appear before them.
  • Terms of employment as a sole representative

    In this article we examine the working arrangements of sole representatives, looking at the terms and conditions of employment that the Home Office will expect a sole representative to have in order to qualify as a representative of an overseas business.  
  • Can Sole Representatives Be Shareholders?

    The Immigration Rules require that an applicant for a  sole representative visa  is not “a  majority shareholder in the overseas business”.
  • Immigration Skills Charge - A Guide for Employers

    As a Sponsor, you may be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) each time you sponsor a migrant in the  Tier 2 General  or  Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Long-term Staff  subcategory.
  • 5 FAQS about paragraph 320(11)

    In applications for entry clearance where the applicant has a negative immigration history in the UK, the application may be refused under the general grounds for refusal, which are found in part 9 of the Immigration Rules. Where an applicant has  ‘previously contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the Immigration Rules’,  the application could be refused under paragraph 320(11). In this post we look at five frequently asked questions about paragraph 320(11). 
  • Multiple nationality and multiple citizenship (including dual nationality and dual citizenship)

    British nationality law permits multiple nationality and multiple citizenship, including dual nationality and dual citizenship.
  • Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the Exceptional Talent or Promise Category

    The  Exceptional Talent  and Exceptional Promise categories are for individuals who are recognised leaders or emerging leaders in their field of expertise. There are a number of endorsing bodies for lots of different fields of work, including  artists and musicians ,  architects ,  digital experts ,  scientists  and  academics . While there isn’t an endorsing body for every expert, the growing list means that many individuals could enjoy the flexibility that this category has to offer. 

    Syedur Rahmanconsiders the factors that determine when civil proceedings can go ahead before,or at the same time as, criminal proceedings relating to the same circumstances.
  • Rights of appeal after the Immigration Act 2014

    The Immigration Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”) reduced the circumstances in which the refusal of an immigration application will give rise to a right of appeal. The  explanatory notes  to the 2014 Act state that the Act was intended to restructure rights of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal. Previously, a right of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal existed against any of the 14 different immigration decisions listed in s.82 of the  Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002  (“the 2002 Act”). As explained below, whether or not the refusal of an immigration application currently generates a right of appeal depends on the subject matter of the application rather than its categorisation.

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to