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Tim Forte

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Tim Forte has a well-established practice in large, complex and serious crime specialising in heavyweight violence, fraud, drugs, terrorism and firearms offending. Notably, of the 5 on-duty police officers alleged to have been murdered in the UK since 2010, Tim has been instructed in the murder trials relating to 3 of them.

He has built a strong reputation with a wide spectrum of professional clients, both increasingly as a leader and as junior (alone or led). In common with his colleagues at 3 Temple Gardens, he combines outstanding client care, thorough preparation and acute legal acumen. Tim is respected as a fighter with very sound judgment, who can be relied upon to take the initiative in the case and to carry the fight to the prosecution. He has, over the years, conducted numerous, complex legal submissions, often taking the lead in and succeeding in arguments overlooked or forsaken by others. As an experienced appellate advocate, Tim is often singled out to take over complex and substantial proceedings on appeal.

Solicitors value his hands-on approach and his willingness to take ownership and control of cases, especially in the numerous VHCC cases, including Individual Case Contracts, in which he has been instructed. He has established a good working relationship with a wide number of contract managers, which almost invariably leads to a smooth-running contract, with virtually all required hours being authorised.

Tim is particularly sought after in cases involving telecoms and computer evidence, both probe and telephone intercept evidence and substantial telecoms data re pattern, attribution and cell site, as well as, now, decrypted PGP devices - his computer and technological expertise making him the ideal man to brief. He has been instructed in numerous such cases, and can be relied upon to manage and master voluminous and complex material with time to spare.

Notable Cases:

Operations Somerville, Mirato & Redwing (Dale Cregan & others) 2013 - 2014

Tim was instructed for the only defendant of Cregan's nine co-defendants who actually discharged a firearm, in this four murder, four attempt murder and explosives trial that lasted for 4 months before Holroyde J. at Preston Crown Court. This unparalleled case involved the murder of two on-duty PC's and the first ever use of live hand grenades in a domestic context within the UK.

With unprecedented security, this trial was a public spectacle from beginning to end - with media scrutiny from the outset. Numerous novel legal arguments were necessary involving hearsay, bad character, etc involving victims, witnesses, co-defendants, on the same indictment but on different murder allegations. Much of the evidence was electronically presented with substantial cell-site and CCTV evidence often presented in animation on computer screens before the jury. Tim was instructed by Nadeem Ullah of Abbey Solicitors.

R. v. Clayton Williams - 2015 - 2016

Tim, led by Adam Davis QC, secured the acquittal of Clayton Williams on the counts of murder and attempted s.18 GBH. In October 2015, PC David Phillips was killed in the line of duty when he was hit by the Mitsubishi SUV driven by Williams. The media coverage and local sensitivities involved in this case have been substantial, so much so that the trial was moved to Manchester, presided over by the new Presider of the Northern Circuit, Hon Davis J. This was the second trial involving the alleged murder of police officers in which Tim had been instructed in 2 years. Tim and Adam were instructed by Andrew Egerton at DDE Law.

Operation Hobart 2003 - 2011

Colombian drugs conspiracy, Special Counsel, Court of Appeal etc
Massive cocaine conspiracy originating in Colombia, involving Security and Intelligence (Sigint) Agencies in USA, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Switzerland, as well as GCHQ, MI6, NCS (SOCA) and ECHELON in the UK. First trial lasted almost one calendar year. The appeal is believed to have been unique, in that Tim was instructed as Junior Counsel in the Court of Appeal for all three appellants, to three different leaders. The appeal, after Special Counsel was appointed and "closed" hearings conducted, was successful on the back of the legal arguments, first led by Tim at the Court below over the preceding 6 years. The retrial proceedings before a Presiding High Court Judge were abandoned by the Crown in the face of legal arguments, again led by Tim - (VHCC) Winchester Crown Court. Instructed first by Simons Muirhead Burton and on the retrial by Edward Hayes Partnership.

Court of Appeal re Confiscation [2008] EWCA Crim 2953

Court of Appeal re PII / Disclosure [2009] EWCA Crim 1527

Court of Appeal re Conviction [2009] EWCA Crim 1960

Operation Opal - 2013 - 2014

After an eight-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court, Tim's analysis, dissection and scheduling of thousands of pages of central telecoms evidence secured the acquittal of the defendant on this escape conspiracy of one of Britain's most wanted men (accused of murder and serving a sentence for drugs supply after a conviction in absence).

The case was transferred from Birmingham Crown Court to Woolwich Crown Court due to the security concerns as all were High Risk Category A prisoners. Tim was instructed by DDE Law, Liverpool. 

R. (ex p.DR) v. Luton Crown Court [2012] EWHC 1064 (Admin); [2012] 1 WLR 2777; [2012] 4 All.ER. 1238; [2012] Crim. LR 703

Tim Forte successfully obtained the Judicial Review of an extension of Custody Time limits in an alleged kidnap and torture case, leading to the release on bail of Tim's lay client. It also led, in the following week, to the release of a number of defendants in a substantial international fraud trial in Manchester Crown Court.

In quashing the Crown Court's order to extend, the President of the QBD, Lord Justice Thomas, agreed with Tim's "well formulated submissions", and delivered a trenchant judgment that provides the clearest possible guidance to practitioners and courts in Custody Time Limit cases. The ramifications of the ruling are clearly being felt on a daily basis in Crown Courts across the various circuits. Only truly exceptional cases - long frauds, murders requiring High Court Judges or specially-ticketed judges - will entitle the Crown to rely on lack of courtroom or judge as a good and sufficient cause. The duty and burden lies firmly with the State - the Court and the Crown - to ensure that defendants are tried within the statutory maximum. There is no burden or duty on the Defence - even bearing in mind the Criminal Procedure Rules - to be proactive or pre-emptive in CTL cases. Only in cases of clear and express acquiescence by the defence will the State be absolved of its CTL responsibility. Tim was instructed by Gordon Young LLP 


conversational French
conversational Italian


Gray's Inn
Amnesty International
Bar Pro Bono panel of advocates
Criminal Bar Association
International Bar Association
Public Access
South Eastern Circuit Committee
Public Access


Call October 1994
Pupil Supervisor

London Bar

Crime (general crime)

Within: Crime (general crime) – Leading juniors

Tim Forte - 3 Temple GardensA natural orator and communicator, he commands respect in court when he speaks.

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Fraud: crime

Within: Fraud: crime – Leading juniors

Tim Forte - 3 Temple GardensA first-class, authoritative advocate who fights on the front foot.

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