The Legal 500

Chambers of Sarah Forshaw QC and Mark Heywood QC

Work 020 7353 5638

5KBW is a leading London barristers’ chambers, with a wealth of expertise in all areas of criminal law, appearing in and advising on cases involving commercial crime, serious and organised crime, terrorism and regulatory offences. Chambers also provides expert legal assistance in children law matters and related family proceedings, licensing, prison law, matters of professional discipline and judicial review.

The set: 5KBW is a long-established leading barristers’ chambers, founded in 1966. With nearly 50 barristers, including Queen’s Counsel, it is able to provide high-quality advocacy and advisory services to clients in its specialist criminal areas, and its members appear in all levels of court throughout the UK and other jurisdictions. Chambers is also well placed to accept work on a public access basis in appropriate cases.

Members of the set have appeared in many high-profile cases, including some that have attracted considerable media attention. Recent notable cases include R v Kuntal Patel [2014] (first ever prosecution under the Biological Weapons Act); R v Bolton [2014] (sale of fake bomb detectors); appeal of Goldie Coats [2013] (battered women syndrome appeal case) and R v Pallant & 2 ors [2013] (successful defence of businessman in the Eddy Shah historic sexual abuse trial).

5KBW is proud of the friendly and professional approach of the clerking and administration team in chambers. The clerking team is headed by Lee Hughes-Gage, who joined chambers as senior clerk in 2005.

Types of work undertaken: Crime: 5KBW provides expert legal assistance in all areas of criminal law and at all levels, appearing in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and Crown Courts throughout the UK. Work undertaken includes arson, burglary, death by dangerous driving, drugs, extradition, firearms, kidnap, military law, money laundering, murder, robbery, sexual offences, terrorism and violent disorder.

Commercial crime: 5KBW’s fraud and commercial crime barristers offer a wide range of expertise in financial crime cases from initial advice through to conclusion. Chambers act in all types of serious fraud from initial advisory work to representation at trial or appeal, in cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office, the Inland Revenue, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Crown Prosecution Service. Members have experience in acting on behalf of individuals and companies accused of fraud and related offences, and in advising prior to charge and at the investigatory stages on such matters as the seizure of privileged material, legality of search warrants, and the approach to be taken upon receipt of orders issued under s2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987. 5KBW also has expertise in ancillary fields such as money laundering, asset forfeiture and confiscation and directors’ disqualification proceedings. Recent cases have included R v MM & ors [2011 and 2012] (£8m evasion of import duty and VAT on gold jewellery).

Family: 5KBW’s family law group has experience and expertise in all applications relating to adoption, contact and residence, local authority intervention in family life, child abduction and violence in relationships. The set advises and represents parents, children and guardians, and is able to provide dedicated barristers specialising in this area to suit the needs of each client and the demands of each case. Members also have expertise in all matters relating to ancillary relief and other financial disputes, such as applications for financial relief for the children of unmarried parents, Inheritance Act claims, financial claims following overseas divorces, and property claims between unmarried and same-sex couples.

Inquests and coronial law: chambers provides advice and representation for claimants and defendants. Work undertaken includes deaths in custody, deaths in the workplace and in military action, allegations of medical negligence and fatal road traffic accidents.

Licensing: 5KBW’s licensing team can undertake all new Licensing Act and Gambling Act matters, at all levels. Its provisions have already thrown up a myriad of complex issues which require expert advice. Chambers provides expert advice and assistance in this area, and has a track record of challenging Westminster Council. Clients have included Spearmint Rhino UK, Chinawhite, Vendome and Crystal.

Above material supplied by 5KBW (Chambers of Sarah Forshaw QC and Mark Heywood QC).

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

    Government moves to force people to justify the source of their wealth will make the right legal representation even more crucial.

    How to build an investment fraud defence case that disproves prosecution allegations of dishonesty.

    With a town council now officially facing a fraud investigation, we examine what individuals in such a large body should do if they come under suspicion.
  • The risks of liberation

    The dangers that pension liberation and money laundering pose to those involved in pension funds and management.

    What has been achieved since the introduction of the Act that was intended to tackle bribery in business?

    Five banks being fined £3.6 billion in the US for manipulating forex is a stark reminder of the legal risks involved in currency trading. Here, Aziz Rahman of Rahman Ravelli examines how the brokers and the traders in forex can avoid legal problems.
  • Foreign Intercepts

  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m.