General crime and fraud in East Anglia


With more than 30 years' experience, specialist criminal law firm Belmores in Norwich handles the full range of criminal matters, both legal aid and privately funded. Known for defending celebrities and high-profile sportspeople, particularly in motoring matters, it also defends clients in cases concerning robbery, drugs offences and murder. Key partner Simon Nicholls and Dave Foulkes also deal with cases of theft from employers, false accounting, money laundering, mortgage fraud, conspiracy to defraud and fraud related to VAT, tax and duty.

Practice head(s):

Simon Nicholls; Dave Foulkes

Birketts LLP

At Birketts LLP, 'the empathy, understanding and overall client care demonstrated by the team is outstanding'. The firm handles all manner of privately funded criminal defence work, including traffic-related cases for national motor groups and individuals. Its work also encompasses trading standards, food safety and financial crime. Partner and barrister Matthew Gowen leads the practice from Ipswich, where senior associate and barrister Daniel Irving is a key practitioner. ' Very approachable and realistic' legal director Julie Gowland in Norwich frequently defends complex criminal matters, both as an advocate in the Magistrates’ Court and alongside counsel.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Irving; Julie Gowland


‘The empathy, understanding and overall client care demonstrated by the team at Birketts was outstanding. The depth of understanding demonstrated, coupled with willingness to spend time explaining options in layperson’s terms, really stood out.’

‘We were incredibly impressed with the empathy and understanding shown by Julie Gowland, which gave us immense comfort in what was a very stressful time for my family. Julie went out of her way to spend time explaining our options in great depth and in simple terms, she was always accessible and willing to spend time with us – which really made her stand out from all the other firms we contacted.’

‘Julie Gowland was very approachable and realistic with the advice given.’


The crime and business defence practice at Fosters in Norwich is 'friendly but always very professional and confidence-inspiring'. The firm handles a diverse mix of criminal cases, among recent examples being a high-profile case concerning a computer hacker accused of cryptocurrency fraud, and matters involving clients accused of fraudulent betting and match-fixing. The 'incredibly helpful' Chris Brown 'shows high intelligence and has always been flexible and supportive'. He works closely with Damien Moore who frequently represents professionals from the healthcare and education sectors, as well as personnel from the armed forces.

Practice head(s):

Chris Brown

Other key lawyers:

Damien Moore


‘Ready access to specialist knowledge and advice.’

‘Nice approach – very human, lots of empathy – friendly but always very professional. Confidence-inspiring, good communication, both verbal and written. Special mention of Damien Moore.’

‘I have been with Fosters Solicitors for approximately six years, their team is fantastic and have helped me through various legal dealings within those years. I have primarily had Chris Brown as my solicitor and think very highly of him. Their team takes each obstacle at a time, they always give me options and in-depth explanations of what I may not understand. Fosters have always been friendly, dealt with every situation in a professional manner and I have felt they have been enthusiastic with my dealings. ’

Chris Brown has been incredibly helpful to me and my family – he has always shown high intelligence, has always been flexible in each case and supportive. His communication skills are excellent, keeping contact with me if anything in the case has evolved and also keeping contact with the other party. Chris is a great listener and never makes any drastic choices without taking his time and coming to logical conclusions. I am forever thankful for Chris’ help and support – if I have any issues in the future I wouldn’t think twice about picking him and his team.’

Gotelee Solicitors

Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich is 'amazing, not only for its knowledge and experience but also its ability to treat clients as human beings'. Hugh Rowland leads the practice handles a broad range of criminal matters but has particular expertise in advising victims of crime who find the criminal justice system hard to navigate. Howard Catherall has a strong presence in private client crime, which intersects with his transport and logistics practice.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Rowland

Other key lawyers:

Howard Catherall


‘Howard Catherall was utterly professional at every stage. We always felt very informed and felt very comfortable in asking if there was something we didn’t understand. Howard was very thorough in getting together all the information necessary. He talked us through every aspect in detail.’

‘On the day of the trial, we were invited to meet Howard Catherall before the trial time. He explained what we could expect when entering the courtroom; this made us feel as totally prepared and that there should be nothing that would be a surprise to us, that may make things more stressful. We felt like we had every confidence in Howard and that we were in very good hands. The whole situation was very stressful for us, as it is not something that we had had to do before, but seeing how professional and calm Howard was, made us both relax as much as possible. I could not praise Howard enough for his professionalism and thoroughness at every stage. I would most definitely recommend him to anyone needing a top quality solicitor.’

‘The team at Gotelee are amazing not only for their knowledge and experience but also there ability to treat us as human beings, as individuals and support and deliver a legal service tailored to our needs. There was a need for us to work across departments and the way they ensured that all departments understood not only our case but the needs of those involved was amazing and put us all at easy.’

Howard Catherall and his team always ensured that I was fully briefed so I could support my son. Howard’s knowledge of my son, the case, and the right barrister was excellent.’

‘Friendly, kind, straightforward and trustworthy.’

‘Honest, clear, straightforward and empathetic.’

‘Hugh Rowland and his team’s expertise and professional manner helped so much in giving me the confidence to deal with a very traumatic Crown Court trial. Hugh Rowland’s support extended way and above the many case meetings we had, I received many updates that ultimately are very supportive, along with telephone calls to ensure I was fully aware of procedure.’

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP in Peterborough is 'the market leader in Cambridgeshire and offers an unparalleled service in mental health work'. The firm has extensive experience in advocacy in a diverse range of matters, among them complex crimes including murder, corporate manslaughter, people trafficking and rape. The 'dynamic, creative and charming' Andrew Cave and Simon Milburn, who has more than 20 years' experience in court representation, lead a vastly experience team of solicitors. The firm has a Crime Duty contract and a Mental Health contract, the latter managed by Richard Boucher.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cave; Simon Milburn

Other key lawyers:

Richard Boucher; Glenda Hair


‘Hunt & Coombs is the market leader in Cambridgeshire and offers the full suite of legal services. They have particular experience in mental health work and can offer an unparalleled service for those clients who find themselves drawn into the criminal justice system. ’

‘Andrew Cave is dynamic, creative and charming. He immediately puts clients at ease and is very supportive of counsel when he is needed. Glenda Hair is the backbone of the team with years of experience and extremely well known and liked within the Cambridgeshire area. She is outstandingly competent and diligent and her involvement in a case is always an indication of smooth progress. ’

‘By far the best criminal team in Peterborough. Highly respected in all the local courts. ’

‘Glenda Hair is the powerhouse who has Hunt & Coombes running like a slick machine.  Andy Cave is an active criminal solicitor, with a no nonsense approach to representing his clients best interests. ’

‘The team are focused, hard working and dedicated. ’

‘The team at Hunt & Coombs are are amongst the best I have worked with. They are extremely organised, prepared and go the extra mile for their clients. Their client care is second to none. Their status and reputation in the Cambridge/Peterborough area means that they are extremely well respected within the courts and the judiciary there.’

‘All of the partners in Hunt & Coombs are extremely knowledgeable and experienced. As compared to their competitors they are prepared to do whatever work it takes to achieve the best outcome for their client. The standout individual at Hunt & Coombs is Glenda Hair who keeps everything running smoothly.’

‘An extremely busy firm that achieves a very high level of service across a wide spectrum of general crime and fraud cases.’

Metcalfe, Copeman & Pettefar

Metcalfe, Copeman & Pettefar is 'a class act, committed, friendly, approachable and thorough'. The firm has a heavyweight criminal practice that handles cases across the region but it most dominant in West Norfolk. It is one of the few firms with a large criminal contract with the Legal Aid Agency, and it has a large team of experienced police station representatives. Alison Muir and head of police station investigations Nigel Taylor in King's Lynn, along with head of prison law Julie Massen in Wisbech, are the key practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Alison Muir; Nigel Taylor; Julie Massen

Other key lawyers:

Ruth Johnson


‘A long-established firm with branches across East Anglia. Their reputation among clients speaks volumes: they remain loyal! Despite the restrictions of lockdown, they managed to keep their level of service up to a remarkable degree. A class act.’

‘They are committed, friendly, approachable and thorough. I have most dealings with Alison Muir who is a pleasure to deal with and very helpful. I would also commend Ruth Johnson.’

‘A dominant force in East Anglia, with a strong team across the board. They provide a high level of service and attention to each case, and sound and realistic advice. Their quality work has continued unabated throughout recent upheaval.’

‘Alison Muir in particular is extremely hardworking, and never puts a foot wrong. ’

‘This is a dedicated criminal team with a wealth of experience. They are the main player in West Norfolk.’

‘Alison Muir is very hard working and empathetic with clients. Nigel Taylor has a great deal of experience. He is outstanding as a police station rep and has extensive knowledge in Service offences/Courts Martial. His instructions are always comprehensive and spot on.’

‘Their case preparation is second to none. This firm, despite the challenges facing the criminal justice system and the pandemic provide nothing short of an excellent service to their clients.’

‘Alison Muir is a remarkable lawyer. She has the ability to quickly digest through heavy amounts of information highlighting the relevant issues. Her client care and advice is second to none. In dealing with very complex cases she is always able to streamline the process. One of the best solicitors I have had the pleasure to work with.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a defendant charged with a series of sexual offences against their one stepchild by contacting them on social media and pretending to be a youth in order to incite them to commit serious offences.
  • Representing a client who, together with others, is charged with conspiracy to murder.
  • Representing a senior professional charged with fraud, in breach of trust, from a client account of several millions of pounds.

Greenwoods Legal

Greenwoods GRM in Peterborough has a nationally renowned corporate defence practice, which handles matters as diverse as health and safety prosecutions, property guardianship disputes and complex corporate crime.  The firm has particular expertise in the hospitality, SME manufacturing and construction sectors. Head of regulatory Kathryn Gilbertson has a stellar reputation for cases across the UK. Kirstie Goulder leads on property guardianship matters.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Gilbertson

Other key lawyers:

Kirstie Goulder

Work highlights

  • Application by property guardians to obtain an order requiring the former managing director of a company in liquidation to pay £40,000 for failure to obtain an HMO licence.