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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 > Crime: general > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Crime: general
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

The Cardiff office at Blackfords LLP is a key component of the firm's national network of offices which has experience handling a range of serious crime matters, running the gamut from sexual offences and human trafficking to multi-handed drugs conspiracies. The 'first port of call for many high-profile matters', team head Philip Williams' broad cross-section of work has recently included an increasing focus on the representation of professional clients and company directors. Nicola Mitchard  is also recommended; she recently worked alongside Williams in the first child trafficking conviction under the Modern Slavery Act as part of a county lines operation.

Practice head(s):Philip Williams

Other key lawyers: Nicola Mitchard

Testimonials

'Extremely efficient in all respects, meaning that all of their cases are immaculately prepared.'

'The firm goes the extra mile and fights tooth and nail to achieve the best result.'

'Provides sound commercial advice'

'An absolute pleasure to work for'

'Very strong on Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 work, civil recovery and third party orders.'

'Philip Williams is tactically gifted with a strong grounding in the law pertaining to serious crime, fraud and regulatory matters'

'From the largest companies or richest individuals to the poorest of society, Philip Williams is able to convey the most complex issues and ease the most troubled minds'

 

 

 

 

Work highlights

  • The firm represented a private individual as one of the defendants in a case brought before Birmingham Crown Court alleging his involvement in facilitating the movement of vulnerable children and transporting them to various locations around the country in order to deal drugs on behalf of the Castro line. Notably, this case was the first child trafficking conviction under the Modern Slavery Act as part of a county lines operation.
  • This client was prosecuted in relation to allegations of modern slavery across the north of England and Scotland. Referred to to the firm by a family member (who it had also represented), it was able to take over conduct of the matter on the eve of trial due to its familiarity with these types of proceedings. Issues included jurisdiction, exclusion of prejudicial evidence and directions to the jury.
  • Defending a client accused of being involved in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and a conspiracy to rob. The case involved an extensive covert police operation of alleged drugs gangs between Nottingham and Leicester, and allegations that gangs responsible for the supply of Class A drugs combined forces to kidnap and rob members of competing drug-dealing enterprises.
  • Representing the client in a trial set for June 2019 before the Birmingham Crown Court in which the client faces an allegation of conspiracy to supply over 100 kilos of cannabis with a financial value of £500,000.

de Maids Solicitors & Advocates is 'one of the best criminal firms operating in Wales' and has an excellent success rate acting for clients in the most serious Crown Court cases, including murder, drugs conspiracies and money laundering. The firm is able to guide clients throughout the life-cycle of a case,  from representation at the police station through to trial, appeal and prison law work, an area that Sarah De Maid has a particularly strong reputation. The 'outstanding' Matthew De Maid heads the team that also includes founding partner Bernard de Maid , who has a well-deserved reputation for overturning miscarriages of justice, and the 'fantastic' Stephen Jones , who is noted for his 'client care and attention to detail' be it at the police station, Magistrates Court or Crown Court.

Practice head(s):Matthew de Maid

Other key lawyers:Sarah de Maid; Bernard de Maid; Stephen Jones; Bernard de Maid

Testimonials

'The firm is well-established in South Wales, and enjoys a reputation as a leading regional player.'

'The firm has genuine care for and interest in clients' cases, whether a minor offence or a murder.'

'Matthew de Maid, is widely regarded as a lawyer of outstanding ability and judgement.'

'Matthew de Maid is very bright and hardworking - a go-to solicitor if you're in real trouble.'

Sarah de Maid gives total commitment to her cases, provides excellent advice and client care.

Stephen Jones searches for the smallest details which may help his clients.

Work highlights

  • Successfully acquitted a client accused of murder, following a six week trial in a four defendant joint enterprise case.
  • Successfully secured the acquittal of a client as part of an alleged conspiracy to supply cocaine following a trial in a multi-defendant case.
  • Judicial review (prison law) test case dealing with the under provisions of the Secretary of State for life sentence prisoners on release.
  • Secured the acquittal for a client accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine after being deported from Holland to face trial in the UK.
  • Proceeds of crime/confiscation proceedings following a drug case, whereby the prosecution alleged a benefit of £15m, which was successfully reduced to just over £100,000 and avoided an order for hidden assets.

'Among the top flight of criminal solicitors in Cardiff', Bowden Jones Solicitors handles legal aid matters, as well as work on behalf of privately paying clients. The scope of work handled by the firm is broad, running the gamut from niche areas including cyber crime, through to large-scale international drugs conspiracies. Clients also benefit from access to numerous lawyers with dual solicitor-advocate qualifications - ensuring a high degree of continuity throughout any given matter. Higher court advocates Huw Bowden and Stephen Jones head up the firm's criminal law team which also include fluent Welsh speaker Sian Brain, who has developed an excellent reputation dealing with youths and vulnerable adults, and the 'thorough and sensible' Tim Lewis .

Practice head(s):Huw Bowden and Stephen Jones

Other key lawyers:Tim Lewis; Sian Brain; George Shelley

Testimonials

'The criminal team are all very experienced and pro-active in defence preparation.'

'The team is very competent with regards to the care of individual clients, including protecting their interests and progressing their cases.'

'Huw Bowden's  level of knowledge of the applicable law in any given case is always impressive, as is his detailed knowledge of his client's case.'

'George Shelley is superb in his approach to tasks and is very personable in court and to clients of all walks of life.'

Work highlights

  • Operation Redwood: This case involves the alleged distribution throughout the UK of Class A and B drugs, and involves the analysis of a large amount of telephonic evidence together with surveillance and audio evidence
  • Representing a youth with mental health issues in a multi-handed murder allegation involving multiple scenes of crime.
  • Operation Georgia: This case was the first case of human trafficking dealt with by the regional organised crime unit in Wales and involved the trafficking of people using false names and passports and through various European countries.

One of the largest criminal law specialists in north Wales, Wrexham-based¬†GHP Legal¬†has expertise across the gamut of criminal defence work, including as it relates to road traffic infringements, drug offences, murder and rape. The team includes numerous higher court advocates (thereby minimising the need to instruct barristers unless absolutely necessary) including the 'vastly experienced'¬†Stephen Edwards , who co-heads the team with fluent Welsh speaker¬†Euros Jones , enabling him to conduct proceedings in Welsh should the client request it. Emma Simoes handles core criminal defence work, and also heads the firm‚Äôs prison law practice ‚Äď which has been particularly busy representing clients in the newly established ‚Äúsuper prison‚ÄĚ in Berwyn, in Wrexham County Borough.

Practice head(s):Stephen Edwards and Euros Jones

Other key lawyers:Henry Hills; Emma Simoes

Led by Nadeem Majid, who 'brings an entrepreneurial approach to winning work', M & M Solicitors defends clients across a wide range of crime including very serious cases relating to murder, drug trafficking, Proceeds of Crime, and extradition. Although it is based in Cardiff, the team is not restricted geographically and regularly handles cases throughout the UK, including in major Crown Court matters.

Practice head(s):Nadeem Majid

Other key lawyers:Mike Prosser; Catherine Reed; Anthony Abraham

Testimonials

Very client-friendly team

Organised and thorough

Cover the most serious cases and are not restricted geographically

Nadeem Majid has drive, knowledge of the the job and extensive contacts

Anthony Abraham works tirelessly on behalf of the client and leaves no stone unturned

 

Somewhat of an anomaly in the ranking, although Hugh James does handle some defence work for corporate and private clients of the firm, it is best-known for its prosecution work for central and local government and various non-police prosecution agencies. 'Tenacious and determined' solicitor-advocate Justin Davies regularly takes the lead on enforcement actions initiated by the Welsh government and is also noted for his fire safety work where he regularly represents the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service on its prosecution work. Team head Martin Jones has a focus on business crime and health and safety defence work.

Practice head(s):Martin Jones

Other key lawyers:Justin Davies

Testimonials

Justin Davies has valuable and extensive experience in the fire safety arena, and regularly displays an excellent knowledge of this area of law.

Key Clients

Welsh Government

British Broadcasting Corporation

Capita Business Services

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Welsh Ministers in a successful prosecution of a company and its director for carrying on (in the case of the company) and managing (in the case of the Director) an unregistered medical agency.
  • Represented the Welsh Government (instructed by the Counsel General for Wales) in a prosecution of a commercial fishing operator and the Masters of the vessels in question, in respect of a number of fisheries-related offences.
  • Instructed by Capita Business Services to provide Welsh-language advocacy services in criminal proceedings taken by the TV Licensing authority in Wales against a Welsh-language activist refusing to pay his TV Licence

Strengthened in recent years by a number of lateral hires, Reeds Solicitors has a strong and growing reputation in Cardiff across the full spectrum of cases, including those of the utmost severity. Benefiting from its own integrated chambers, as well as being able to call upon the expertise of numerous lawyers with rights of audience, clients benefit from a holistic approach which enables their cases to be very effectively managed from the earliest opportunity.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Wilkins and Chris Lacey

Testimonials

Chris Lacey has a no-nonsense approach and excellent client manner.

Cannot think of any better lower court general crime advocate in Cardiff than Chris Lacey

Work highlights

  • Represented a company director who was charged with assault
  • In a rare and unusual case, the firm defended a private individual charged with murder and secured a special verdict: ‘not guilty of murder by reason of insanity’.
  • Representing a defendant charged with murder on the basis of joint enterprise.
  • Represented a youth defendant accused of sexual assaults.
  • Represented a teacher charged with child sexual offences.

The 'empathetic and knowledgeable' team at Slater and Gordon is primarily focused on representing police officers facing criminal investigations and misconduct proceedings. Benefiting from an 'encyclopaedic knowledge of the law of police misconduct together with his extensive experience of the high level crime', Ian Wilson is a leader in the field whose work has recently included a high-profile matter successfully defending a police officer accused of misusing her taser. Associate Jon Nutman  is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Ian Wilson

Other key lawyers:Jon Nutman

Key Clients

Jan Kingshott

Claire Boddie

Work highlights

  • The firm represented Acting Sergeant Claire Boddie who was prosecuted in relation to taser misuse. The officer was acquitted at court but she was still required to attend a misconduct hearing, where the allegations were unproven.
  • The firm successfully defended a Devon & Cornwall police sergeant who was prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter following the death of an individual who was taken into custody when he was the custody sergeant on duty.

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