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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.

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