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United Kingdom > London Bar > Crime (general crime) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Crime (general crime) – Leading sets
  2. Crime (general crime) – Leading silks
  3. Crime (general crime) – 2016 silks
  4. Crime (general crime) – 2017 silks
  5. Crime (general crime) – Leading juniors

Crime (general crime) – Leading silks

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Crime (general crime) – 2016 silks

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Crime (general crime) – 2017 silks

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Crime (general crime) – Leading juniors

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Most work taken into account in this section will concern violent and sexual offences such as murder and rape, but this table also covers human trafficking, significant drug conspiracies and other serious non-financial crime. It does not cover criminal fraud or corruption and sanctions-type offences: please see Crime: fraud and Business and regulatory crime for coverage of those specialisms. International crime and extradition and POCA and asset forfeiture are also covered separately in new practice areas. That said, many barristers are likely to have practices that do not neatly fit within these boxes and so may be ranked in more than one practice area. Criminal prosecutions relating to motoring are covered as part of Health and safety.

2 Bedford Row prosecutes and defends the gamut of serious criminal cases, and some say it is β€˜arguably the premier defence set in London’. Stephen Vullo QC and David Patience defended Rolf Harris in two trials, one in 2016 and a retrial in 2017 – in the latter, Harris, highly unusually, attended his own trial via video-link for health reasons and the matter ended after two hung juries. Richard Whittam QC prosecuted Thomas Mair, who was convicted of the murder of MP Jo Cox.

At 2 Hare Court, β€˜every barrister is very good or better’. Its members handle a range of private defence work, while some are instructed in top CPS prosecutions, including complex terrorism cases. Jonathan Rees QC prosecuted Stephen Port, a serial killer who preyed on users of Grindr, a dating app aimed at gay and bisexual men. Orlando Pownall QC and Martin Hicks QC separately defended Constance and Patrick Adams, husband and wife and members of the notorious β€˜Adams Family’; both were acquitted of attempted murder.

While 6KBW College Hill’s members both prosecute and defend, it has a particular reputation for prosecution work, including some of the most high-profile terrorism cases. For example, Alison Morgan is leading the prosecution of the parents of a young man dubbed β€˜Jihadi Jack’ by the media, who are charged with funding terrorism by sending him money after he travelled to conflict areas in Syria. As far as defence work is concerned, Sasha Wass QC represented Colin Gregg, a former head teacher and son of the founder of Greggs, who was convicted of child sex offences dating back to the 1960s.

At defence set 25 Bedford Row, members have strengths in serious and complex violent crime cases, sexual offences work and terrorism matters. Paul Keleher QC represented a transgender woman, who was convicted of a mercy killing of her father but was sentenced to only a four-year tariff. Paul Hynes QC secured the acquittal of a man – who reportedly named his pet cat β€˜7/7’ – accused of involvement in a conspiracy to behead a Royal British Legion fundraiser; the other defendant was convicted.

β€˜Undoubtedly one of the elite group of top criminal sets’, QEB Hollis Whiteman’s members prosecute and defend, with a strong portfolio of serious private defence work (including sexual offence matters) and some private prosecutions. Eleanor Laws QC represented a Cirencester College student, who was acquitted of rape in a high-profile trial; unusually, private costs were awarded to the defence. Edward Brown QC successfully prosecuted the parents of Ellie Butler for murder; her father had an earlier conviction for assaulting her quashed by the Court of Appeal.

5 Paper Buildings handles heavyweight prosecution and defence work. Among the recent caseload, Miranda Moore QC successfully prosecuted a former West Midlands Police officer, who was convicted of sexually abusing boys over four decades and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

β€˜A gold-medal set’, Garden Court Chambers has β€˜a great variety of top-notch silks and juniors’. For example, Judy Khan QC and David Emanuel successfully represented footballer Ched Evans, who was acquitted of rape, in a retrial following the quashing by the Court of Appeal of an earlier conviction.

β€˜A large set with a broad criminal practice’, Red Lion Chambers has particular strength in prosecution work. For example, Rosina Cottage QC prosecuted a number of teachers formerly employed by St. Paul’s School for a range of sexual abuses in several trials as part of Operation Winthorpe.

Three Raymond Buildings is β€˜a top-class set with a friendly approach’ and members who are frequently instructed to defend on a privately funded basis. Michael Borrelli QC represented a Police Community Support Officer in a trial for gross negligence manslaughter following the murder of disabled refugee Bijan Ebrahimi by his neighbour; Ebrahimi reported of threats by the neighbour to the police but was himself arrested.

23 Essex Street is β€˜a very strong set with excellent barristers to choose from’, and is β€˜particularly strong at the junior end’. At silk level, John Price QC prosecuted several men who sexually abused children at a boys’ home near Bedford run by the Roman Catholic Church.

Carmelite Chambers is β€˜an outstanding set with a substantial number of experts’. Following on from acting for Ameen Jogee in his seminal Supreme Court case, Felicity Gerry QC represented him in the subsequent retrial, securing acquittal of murder.

Doughty Street Chambers primarily represents defendants, and members have particular niche strengths in terrorism, criminal appeals and cases that crossover with prison law and broader civil liberties matters. Rebecca Trowler QC represented a former British soldier, who was convicted of attempting to purchase automatic weapons to fight in Syria for the so-called Islamic State.

Furnival Chambers is β€˜a go-to set for quality, efficiency and care’. Prior to taking silk in 2017, Caroline Carberry QC prosecuted a 17-year-old, who was convicted of the murder of a senior HMRC civil servant he knew, but arranged to meet on Grindr.

Matrix Chambers has particular strengths in matters at the interface of public law and crime, as well as criminal appeals. Mark Summers QC and Blinne NΓ­ GhrΓ‘laigh represented Anjem Choudary, co-founder of al-Muhajiroun, who was convicted of encouraging support for Islamic State.

5KBW has β€˜very accomplished advocates at all levels of call’. Mark Heywood QC, for example, prosecuted Arthur Simpson-Kent, who was convicted of the murder of his two children and partner, former EastEnders actress Sian Blake.

β€˜An ambitious criminal set’, 9 Bedford Row has β€˜great strength in depth’, β€˜the perfect blend of youth and experience’, and broad criminal and military law expertise. Lee Karu QC represented a prisoner who killed a court security guard by kicking her in the head; the defendant was found to be unfit to plead and received a hospital order.

Charter Chambers covers a range of work across the criminal space, including drug offences and serious violent crime. New silk Martin Goudie QC prosecuted Amazon for illegally sending lithium-ion batteries and aerosols via air mail.

Six Pump Court includes a number of members with strengths in sexual offences cases. In other work, Oliver Saxby QC prosecuted a man who murdered a book seller to steal a Β£50,000 first edition of The Wind in the Willows.

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