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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Wales > Crime, fraud and licensing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Crime: fraud

Index of tables

  1. Crime: fraud
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Crime: fraud clients in Wales using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Aided by practitioners in offices in London and the South East, the Cardiff office of Blackfords LLP has ‘vast experience of complex fraud cases’ including money laundering, duty diversion fraud and mortgage fraud. ‘Dynamic’ and ‘client-friendly’ consultant Philip Williams is an ‘excellent communicator’ and is part of a team led out of London that is defending a client accused of being involved in a multimillion-pound conspiracy to evade the payment of duty on hand-rolling tobacco. ‘Bright and hardworking’ solicitor advocate Emma Harris (who attracts praise for her ‘exceptional client care’) regularly handles fraud and money laundering cases. Harris was also involved in a highly publicised case before Swansea Crown Court in which a professional violinist was found guilty of fraudulently persuading acquaintances and others she had encountered on the Internet to give her more than £350,000 claiming she needed it for cancer treatment abroad.

One of the leading lights of complex fraud in south Wales’, Cardiff-based Bowden Jones Solicitorsacts in some of the most complex matters with aplomb’. It has an excellent reputation for handling complex fraud work including money laundering, tax evasion, and mortgage and investment fraud cases. The team, which includes practitioners with higher rights of audience, is praised for providing ‘honest and forthright advice’. The ‘assiduous, wise and results-focusedHuw Bowden has ‘the skill and intellectual capacity to put the client in the most complex of fraud cases at ease and confident that their defence is being expertly managed’. The ‘calm and personable’ Bowden is also noted for his cyber law expertise; he acted alongside the ‘excellentStephen Jones in a fraud involving "vishing" of accounts leading to multimillion-pound losses. The firm is also on the Legal Aid Agency’s panel for Very High Cost Case (VHCC) matters and recently represented a Birmingham-based defendant in a £35m multi-jurisdictional money laundering case that involved expert witness evidence in relation to money laundering in India, China, the UAE and the US. ‘Exceptionally talented’ solicitor and higher court advocate Sian Brain is ‘able to tackle extremely complex cases and has excellent client handling skills’.

Very strong from top to bottom’, Richard Nelson LLPspecialises in complex fraud’ and is ‘steeped in experience’. Covering a broad spectrum of matters, including high-profile financial crime, and aided by a strong network that includes offices in London and Birmingham, the Cardiff-based practice is well-equipped to handle a wide range of complex cases and ‘leaves no stone unturned in its attempts to achieve the best possible results for its clients’. The ‘very strong and attentive’ Jonathan Wright attracts praise for his ‘technical expertise and excellent bedside manner’, with clients singling out his ‘impressive knowledge of HMRC criminal investigations and prosecutions’. The ‘very switched-on’ Steve Roberts is the other partner in the Cardiff office and regularly handles complex fraud cases, including money laundering and proceeds of crime matters, as well as defending legal professionals against allegations of fraud.

Hugh James is noted for its ‘professional, proficient and trustworthy’ service, and for its balanced defence and prosecution workloads. Firm regularly acts for corporate clients on a range of issues, including those relating to directors’ duties, as well as public sector clients including the Welsh government (which the team acts for in bringing enforcement actions against defendants across a range of regulatory criminal mandates). ‘Knowledgeable, thorough and hardworking’ team head Martin Jones is a ‘safe pair of hands’ with ‘in-depth knowledge of regulatory law’. He leads a team with a strong bench of practitioners capable of handling advocacy; key figures include solicitor advocate Justin Davies and in-house barrister Mark Powell QC. The team is also stands out for its ‘solutions-oriented approach’ on VAT fraud matters.

M & M Solicitors has ‘risen to prominence very rapidly’ since its foundation 12 years ago and has expanded the reach of its client base to include instructions from clients as far afield as Dubai. The ‘dedicated and committed’ team is highly experienced in dealing with large-scale frauds and conspiracies, particularly involving telecommunications and surveillance evidence. ‘Charismatic’ managing partner Nadeem Majid heads the firm’s complex case unit and has a ‘significant nationwide following’ across a broad range of cases including tax and mortgage fraud, as well as large-scale drugs conspiracies. The ‘strategically astute’ Majid attracts praise for his ability to ‘see the bigger picture tactically, particularly in multi-handed cases’; he is representing a number of trustees of a college accused of diverting funds away from the college/charity account and paid directly into the trustees’ accounts. Majid is assisted by the ‘excellent’ Mike Prosser; they recently acted for the lead defendant in a large-scale conspiracy to defraud and money laundering case.

Dedicated criminal defence firm de Maids Solicitors & Advocates has ‘an excellent reputation in south Wales’ and is highly active in fraud, money laundering and bribery cases. Solicitor advocate Simon Evenden has a particular specialism in serious fraud and regularly defends clients in cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO); he recently sought a judicial review challenging the legality of items seized by the SFO and items relating to legal professional privilege with regard to an SFO bribery investigation. Other highlights included successfully dismissing an SFO case brought against a client accused of conspiring to defraud a local authority via offshore companies. Evenden’s ‘success rate is second-to-none; his diligence and commitment enables him to spot fatal flaws in a prosecution earlier than anyone else’.

An established, traditional firm with a thoroughly modern outlook and approach’, Neath-based Hutchinson Thomas has a strong reputation for handling criminal cases, often involving fraud elements. Now operating out of the firm’s new Swansea office, which opened in September 2016, the ‘experienced and well-respected’ Darren Davies has a strong track record across a range of fraud cases and is praised for his ‘excellent approach with clients, who trust him explicitly’. Davies was recently instructed in relation to a call centre fraud and is defending a company which runs a number of dental practices in an allegation of fraud brought by the NHS that dentists and nurses within the organisations had falsely noted on patients records treatment which was not conducted. Senior partner Robert Williams has vast experience within the general crime area and has regularly handled fraud cases during the course of his career.

Martyn Prowel Solicitors has a longstanding reputation in the market for handling a range of fraud cases and is a member of the VHCC panel. Fielding numerous lawyers with significant advocacy skills, including two practitioners with higher rights of audience, the firm is well-equipped to handle cases throughout their lifecycles, from the police station through to court hearing. The team is regularly involved in high-profile matters, including its recent work on a "cash for crash" style insurance scam which involved 80 defendants and a £1m-plus fraud conspiracy brought against the NHS. James Lynch is has wide-ranging experience of serious fraud matters, including those committed against the NHS, and is a key member of the team, which includes consultant Martyn Prowel and James Harris, who has a particular niche in relation to benefit fraud cases.

At Morgan LaRoche, the ‘highly experienced’ Andrew Manners has a national practice which focuses on representing individual, corporate and institutional clients in the private and public sector facing investigations by regulators and prosecuting authorities. While a significant portion of Manners’ practice focuses on care standards work, he is also regularly involved in white-collar matters often involving both a regulatory and litigation angle. He recently handled a number of major private prosecutions, including successfully persuading the district judge at first instance to dismiss the case brought against a defendant in a private prosecution in Manchester for conspiracy and computer misuse offences.

Crime: general

Index of tables

  1. Crime: general
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Crime: general clients in Wales using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


A ‘go-to-firm for general crime and cases of the upmost complexity’, Blackfords LLP’s ‘detailed case preparation and client focus sets it apart’. With numerous solicitor advocates in its ranks, the firm is able to lead cases in the lower courts, as well as being able to do the work of juniors in the serious cases in the higher courts. ‘Dynamic and client friendly’ consultant Philip Williams leads the firm’s Cardiff offering and is well regarded for his ‘sensible and pragmatic advice’. He works alongside the ‘very client-friendly and detail-oriented’ Emma Harris to provide support to cases led out of the firm’s ‘first-rate’ London office; recent matters include defending an individual in a hearing before Newport Magistrates’ Court involving allegations of voyeurism, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, theft and mortgage fraud.

Well regarded for general crime’, Bowden Jones Solicitors’ expertise runs the gamut of work from minor traffic offences through to large-scale international drugs conspiracies and fraud, and is also noted as being ‘excellent at homicide and serious sexual offences defence work’. The firm fields a number of solicitor advocates and its team is praised for its ‘exceptional attention to detail and client manner’. The firm’s strength in the area is underscored by its continued appointment to the Legal Aid Agency’s VHCC panel. Praised for his ‘impressive tactical brain and tireless work ethic’, Huw Bowden heads the team’s serious crime unit and recently acted as solicitor advocate on the first case of human trafficking dealt with by the regional organised crime unit in Wales. Stephen Jones is singled out for his work in relation to violent crime and drug-related offences.

For some, GHP Legal is ‘the standout criminal and regulatory defence firm in north east Wales and the Shropshire borders’, with ‘strength-in-depth and an unrivalled experience in serious crime, including murder and complex cases of historic sexual abuse’. Team head Stephen Edwards is ‘an assured advocate in both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court’; he recently achieved a significantly reduced sentence for a defendant in a mistaken identity case whereby the defendant hit his best friend over the head causing a significant head injury. Edwards also represented a defendant in one of the largest benefit fraud cases in north Wales. ‘Immensely knowledgeable and hardworking’ associate Sallie Stokes ‘fights her clients’ cases with genuine passion’ and is a key member of the team, which includes specialist Crown Court advocate Henry Hills and Welsh speaker Euros Jones.

Newport-based Harding Evans LLP has a strong reputation across an array of criminal defence work including murder, serious sexual offences, drugs conspiracies and fraud. Solicitor advocate Darren Bishop has extensive experience in police station representation, and has also had significant success handling cases before the Magistrates’ Court, recently winning a case involving three police officer complainants. Managing partner Zep Bellavia has a strong grounding in corporate crime and recently defended a client in a multi-defendant insurance fraud conspiracy.

One of the foremost criminal law firms in Wales’, Hutton's provides a ‘first-class service’ to clients in a wide range of cases, ranging from straightforward motoring matters, through to issues of the utmost severity including murder and serious sexual offences. Praised for his ‘very thorough approach’, founding partner Stuart Hutton is a ‘top-flight criminal lawyer, with vast experience of criminal cases at all levels’. ‘Measured, committed and experienced’ legal executive Roger Lewis regularly handles criminal litigation before the Crown Court and recently led the defence of a client in a complex joint enterprise murder case. Rounding out the team is ‘very knowledgeable’ consultant Huw Jones, who has vast experience across a range of matters including serious crime and fraud.

The ‘hardworking, diligent and thoughtful’ team at de Maids Solicitors & Advocates has an ‘outstanding reputation in south Wales’ and is ‘well-equipped to handle all levels of crime, right up to the most serious sexual abuse and homicide’. The ‘vastly experienced’ and ‘formidable’ Matthew de Maid has ‘good strategic vision and is superb at choosing the right advocate for any particular case’. Alongside the ‘diligent and committed’ Simon Evenden, de Maid handles the most serious criminal cases including murder, drugs supplies and conspiracies. Recent cases include securing the acquittal of a defendant in a joint enterprise murder case and successfully representing a client in a multi-defendant case concerning allegations of conspiracy to supply cocaine. ‘Calm and competent’ solicitor advocate Stephen Jones has ‘a level of preparation and attention to detail that is second-to-none’; according to one local barrister, he is ‘one of the most able criminal solicitors working in the south Wales area’. The ‘very efficient’ Sarah de Maid heads the prison law sub-group and regularly deals with complex parole applications and judicial review applications. The team is also noted for its appellate work, where Bernard de Maid has a strong reputation for overturning miscarriages of justice.

Based out of Cardiff, ‘outstanding criminal firmM & M Solicitors enjoys a strong reputation nationally for serious fraud work and complex crime. Led by the ‘outstanding’ Nadeem Majid, the firm has a significant nationwide following and is ‘developing rapidly in the privately funded crime arena’. Majid’s broad caseload includes defending prosecutions brought by the HMRC, NCA and the City of London Police; he recently succeeded in varying a confiscation Order on appeal where the tangible assets were no longer available to sell. In other key matters, Majid acted alongside Mike Prosser representing a defendant before the Birmingham Crown Court in a large-scale conspiracy to supply class A drugs, and acted for three defendants in a case concerning conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

At the very top of the local criminal defence firms’, Martyn Prowel Solicitors has a longstanding reputation as ‘a safe pair of hands’, with expertise in a wide range of cases including serious and organised crime and historical sexual abuse. Clients include legally aided individuals, public bodies and privately paying individuals. Recent work includes successfully defending two solicitors under the Proceeds of Crime Act involving a multi-handed drugs conspiracy case. Key figures include consultant Martyn Prowel, who has experience across a varied caseload of serious and complex cases; Geraint Richards, who regularly acts as an advocate in the Magistrates and Crown Court; the ‘excellent’ Aled Watkins; and Michelle Spencer, who has significant experience in handling murder, manslaughter and serious sexual offences cases.

Now strengthened by the recent move of Ian Wilson from the firm’s Bristol office, Slater and Gordon’s three-strong team has increased strength-in-depth across the firm’s core area of expertise representing the Police Federation facing criminal investigations and misconduct proceedings. The ‘very knowledgeable and organised’ Jonathan Nutman provides an ‘exceptional level of service’ and is praised for his ‘personable, yet steely approach’ and ‘ability to explain things in an easily understandable fashion’. Recent highlights include securing the acquittal of a police officer accused of theft while executing a search under police powers – the team also successfully defended the officer in subsequent misconduct proceedings. The team is also picking up an increased amount of private client work.

Led out of the firm’s Pontypool office, Watkins & Gunn Solicitors has a strong reputation across an array of general crime matters including road traffic offences, fraud and sexual offences. Team head Jonathan Wellington has significant experience representing clients at the police station, as well as the Magistrate and Crown Courts; he recently successfully secured an acquittal for a client in a substantial conspiracy to defraud prosecution heard before Southwark Crown Court. Experienced solicitor Alan Jones also has significant experience across a range of criminal law and recently successfully secured the acquittal of a defendant with learning difficulties who was accused of rape and two counts of sexual assault.


Index of tables

  1. Licensing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Licensing clients in Wales using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Hugh James has a multi-disciplinary licensing practice with ‘an enviable reputation for providing excellent strategic advice coupled with high levels of client care’. The practice has extensive experience in standalone licensing work, particularly in the context of large-scale events relating to festivals and stadia, as well as on matters where licensing considerations are a core part of a transaction. The merger in November 2016 with MLM Cartwright has significantly strengthened the team’s client roster, particularly in light of Aled Walters’ gambling licensing expertise and entrenched relationships with high-calibre clients including Novomatic and Playtech. Team head Martin Jones handles contentious licensing work, as well as having a niche in advising on music festivals and other large-scale events, where he is able to provide additional value to clients as a result of his broader knowledge of health and environmental regulatory issues. Consultant Mark Perry has experience across a range of licensing issues including gambling licences; he recently successfully secured a licence for longstanding family run business Newbridge Amusements in relation to a former adult gaming centre. Other clients include The Welsh Rugby Union, Welsh Government, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Meridian Restaurants.

At Hutchinson Thomas, senior partner Robert Williams regularly represents clubs and other licensed establishments on liquor licensing matters and temporary events notices. Williams regularly works with the firm’s property and commercial teams in providing a cohesive service to the firm’s enviable roster of local hotelier clients.

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