Crime: general in East Anglia


Belmores is a leading specialist criminal law firm based in Norwich that handles a diverse caseload for clients across the UK. Dave Foulkes and Simon Nicholls, who handle both Legal Aid and privately funded cases, frequently act in high-profile matters ranging from motoring offences to murder. Recent cases for Nicholls have seen him represent household names from the television in motoring matters in London Courts, as well as acting for high-profile footballers.

Practice head(s):

Simon Nicholls

Other key lawyers:

Dave Foulkes

Work highlights

  • Acting in a Midlands court for a  consultant surgeon caught driving at 120mph on the M6 and ensuring that he retained his driving licence.
  • Securing the acquittal of a Norfolk Sculptor who had erected a large metal sculpture of an offensive gesture facing his neighbour’s property.


The 'very knowledgable, helpful and responsive' criminal defence practice at Fosters. The firm has a stellar reputation for handling criminal cases both in East Anglia and nationwide. The Crown Court team deals with high-profile and complex matters, and the firm has a strong regulatory practice that represents professional bodies and their members. Practice head Chris Brown and higher court advocate Damien Moore are the firm's leading lights. Recent cases include the gross negligence manslaughter of a baby and numerous county lines drug conspiracies.

Practice head(s):

Chris Brown; Damien Moore


“Chris Brown was exceptional – he really assisted and guided me through the whole process, including pointing me in the direction of my household policy for legal fees cover for my motoring issue.”

“The specific task I asked the team at Fosters to help us with, they handled very professionally and efficiently and I would recommend them.”

Key clients

National Probation Service

Work highlights

  • Client acquitted of murder following a contested Crown Court Trial.
  • Representing co-defendants accused of the gross negligence manslaughter of a baby.
  • Representing a member of prison staff accused of supplying drugs into a prison.
  • Representing a defendant in matters of historic multiple rape allegations.
  • Advising a member of police staff concerning allegations of misconduct in a public office.

Gotelee Solicitors

At Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich, Hugh Rowland leads a diverse practice that handles all aspects of criminal law but is best known for its service to victims of crime who can find the criminal justice system confusing. Rowland also has a niche practice advising on the enforcement of Tree Preservation Orders. Higher court advocate Howard Catherall handles private client crime, notably in the transport and haulage sector. He has a particular expertise in issues arising from Trading Standards and HMRC investigations into the importation of goods from outside the EU.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Rowland

Other key lawyers:

Howard Catherall


“They are a charming efficient group of people who always make time for you no matter how small your query or how busy they are. If I was ever arrested in East Anglia – this is the firm I would call!”

“Howard Catherall is the ‘go-to’ solicitor I would turn to if in trouble. His gentle quiet manner covers a very tough, experienced, no-nonsense lawyer, who always goes the extra mile for his clients.”

“Howard Catherall is one of the most hardworking and diligent people I know, which combined with his delightful manner, his years of experience and insight into the law, always makes it a pleasure to read anything he has prepared. He is a true professional and an excellent solicitor.”

“Hugh Rowland has been approachable, professional and thorough in all matters. He has been active with both the family and our grandson, keeping us informed on all matters.”

Work highlights

  • Securing the acquittal of a serving soldier in the Crown Court charged with GBH.
  • Representing an employee accused of a million-pound arson of his work premises.
  • Advising a victim of blackmail, including liaising with the police.
  • Defending a client accused of breaching an export licence.
  • Acting for the owner of a recreational entertainment business accused of assault by an employee.

Hunt & Coombs LLP

'What makes this practice unique is the depth of experience in the team and how closely they work together', remarks a client of Hunt & Coombs LLP, which is regarded as 'one of the leading firms in the Peterborough/Cambridge area and deservedly so'. Andrew Cave and Simon Milburn, who has particular expertise in prison law, lead the practice. Cave and senior associate Richard Boucher are mental health law specialists. The firm handles Legal Aid and privately funded cases, which last year included motoring offences, proceeds of crime matters and serious violent crimes. Criminal law clerk Glenda Hair also plays a pivotal role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Simon Milburn; Andrew Cave

Other key lawyers:

RIchard Boucher; Glenda Hair


“The firm has a strong criminal and a strong mental health department. This makes the firm particularly well disposed to helping mentally vulnerable clients facing criminal allegations.”

“Andrew Cave is a natural leader with an ability to put clients at ease very quickly.”

“Simon Milburn has outstanding judgment and provides excellent advice.”

“Glenda Hair has enormous experience and provides unparalleled support to clients, counsel and the firm generally.”

“The team is incredibly dedicated, hardworking and creates a positive bridge between lay clients and counsel through their sound judgment and pragmatic approach to cases.”

“Glenda Hair the Criminal Law Clerk at Hunt and Coombes is fantastic. She is well known and liked by the list offices, CPS and judiciary on the Cambridge/Peterborough circuit and able to ease the burdens on counsel and the court through administrative resolution of problems at an early stage.”

“Senior solicitor Martin Shelbourne instructed me in a tricky youth court rape which turned on expert evidence as to the defendant’s ADHD, ADD and autism. Martin built a good rapport with the young, vulnerable client and dealt with enquiries and routes of investigation from counsel expeditiously and thoroughly.”

Work highlights

  • Representing a Senior Detective Inspector charged with historic domestic violence.
  • A Complex Court Martial where the defendant was charged with rape, unlawful imprisonment and indecent assault.
  • Representing a prison officer accused of causing Actual Bodily Harm.
  • A Section 18 Grievous Bodily Harm case involving slashing with a knife.
  • A multi-handed conspiracy to cause Grievous Bodily Harm.

Metcalfe, Copeman & Pettefar

Metcalfe, Copeman & Pettefar is regarded as one of the heavyweight criminal law practices in East Anglia and is the dominant player in West Norfolk. Handling both Legal Aid and privately funded work, the firm has experienced police station representatives including Nigel Taylor and Lisa Cross. The firm is one of the few to have a niche prison law department. The practice led by Alison Muir handles a variety of criminal offences from motoring matters to murder and everything in between. Duty solicitors Ruth Johnson and Charlotte Winchester, and veteran solicitor Tim Bartlam are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Alison Muir

Work highlights

  • Representing a defendant youth who was charged with  serious sexual offences against young children.
  • Representing a youth defendant who was charged with assaulting an Olympic gold medallist.
  • Representing defendants accused of over 100 residential burglaries.
  • Representing a defendant charged in a multi-handed case involving the manufacture of medicinal products without a medicinal licence.
  • Representing a defendant charged with kidnap.

Birketts LLP

The regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP is known for its broad range of high-value work and its the high quality of its advocacy. Led by barrister Laura Thomas, the practice represents companies and individuals prosecuted nationwide by the CPS, the HSE, local authorities, the RSPCA, DVSA, the FSA and the Environment Agency. Defending national motor groups, companies and individuals in road transport and traffic-related crime is a key part of its workload, as are Trading Standards cases and financial crime. Barrister Matthew Gowen and senior associates Philippa Dyer and Julie Gowland are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Laura Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Gowen

Greenwoods GRM

The Peterborough office of Greenwoods GRM has a leading business defence practice and Kathryn Gilbertson is highly respected for handling corporate crime. The firm also provides a specialist prosecution service to private and public prosecutors who are not served by the Crown Prosecution Service. In 2018, the firm acted for large corporate clients including a national hotel chain, a major retailer, a local authority, and a national animal charity.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Gilbertson

Key clients

Dacorum Council

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service

Principal Hayley Hotels

McColl’s Retail Group PLC


Crown Golf


Unite Students

Work highlights

  • Providing advice and assistance following an incident in which a trespasser fell from the roof of an iconic heritage hotel and was found dead in the adjacent river.
  • Advice following poor food hygiene inspection of a grocery store.
  • Advising on a Food Safety investigation and prosecution following a food poisoning outbreak.
  • Instructed to prosecute national supermarket chain following a major accident.
  • Defence of business for disrepair and fire safety issues at a House in Multiple Occupation.

Hegarty LLP

Hegarty LLP has an active criminal defence practice that performs well in Crown Court cases and is also recommended for Parole Board hearings. It regularly deals with matters relating to sexual assault, drugs, violence, murder, theft and traffic offences. It also which operates a 24-hour police station callout service. Recommended practitioners include traffic and prison law specialist Julie Murtagh and solicitor Martin Newton, who has among the first solicitors to gain Higher Rights of Audience and has a 20-year track record that includes high-profile cases relating to murder, serial rape and conspiracy to import drugs.

Leathes Prior

The criminal defence practice at Leathes Prior handles privately funded cases. Regulatory specialist Tim Cary leads the practice, in which associate Tej Thakkar plays a key role. They support the firm's Traffic Lawyers service, which acts for clients across the UK in cases involving traffic and motoring offences. Thakkar also handles matters involving careless driving, drink driving, overloading, driving without insurance and speeding.

Practice head(s):

Tim Cary

Other key lawyers:

Tej Thakkar