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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) – 2017 silks
  4. Crime (general crime) – 2018 silks
  5. Crime (general crime) – 2019 silks
  6. Crime (general crime) – Leading juniors

Crime (general crime) – Leading silks

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Crime (general crime) – 2017 silks

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Crime (general crime) – 2018 silks

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Crime (general crime) – 2019 silks

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Crime (general crime) – Leading juniors

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Who Represents Who

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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 modern slavery offences, significant drug conspiracies and other serious non-financial crime, both for the defence and prosecution. It does not cover criminal fraud or corruption and sanctions-type offences: please see the Crime: fraud and Business and regulatory crime sections for coverage of those specialisms. International crime and extradition and POCA and asset forfeiture are also covered separately. 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 β€˜remains at the top of the Premiership for this area of the profession, with enough stars to field three or four first teams’. Defence highlights include Stephen Vullo QC and David Patience representing disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris in his third sexual offences trial, in which he was cleared of several counts of indecent assault after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The set includes a number of heavyweight prosecutors as well; Brian Altman QC prosecuted Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali, who was convicted of preparing terrorism acts in London having been arrested on Whitehall with three knives tucked into his clothes, in addition to the construction of bombs for the Afghan Taliban several years prior.


Red Lion Chambers (Chambers of Max Hill QC)

Red Lion Chambers is acknowledged by both judges and lawyers as leaders within its fields of expertise. The setҀ™s main practice areas include crime, business crime, regulatory, international law, inquiries and appellate work. It is home to some of the best barristers in the country at every level of experience from its Silks to its most junior member.

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2 Hare Court, which has a track record of handling heavyweight prosecution and private defence work, is β€˜a set with an excellent reputation in criminal law with some of the best barristers at the Bar’. Jonathan Rees QC prosecuted Darren Osbourne, who was convicted of murdering one and injuring eleven by driving a van at a group of worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque. Brendan Kelly QC is also qualified in Northern Ireland, where he successfully defended USA Perpignan fly-half Paddy Jackson (then playing for Ulster and Ireland), who was acquitted of rape in a case that attracted significant media attention.

Best known as a prosecution set, 6KBW College Hill has a record of having a strong presence in the Treasury Counsel room, but also handles a significant amount of defence work. Sarah Whitehouse QC is instructed to prosecute six individuals involved in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, including several former senior policing figures, for gross negligence manslaughter and misconduct in a public office. As far as appellate work is concerned, Duncan Atkinson QC represented the CPS in the Criminal Cases Review Commission-referred appeal of Wang Yam, a Chinese dissident and former MI6 informant who was convicted of murder in 2009 in a trial held partially in secret.

25 Bedford Row is β€˜among the best for general crime, with a large pool of good trial advocates’. The set exclusively defends in criminal cases, including a significant proportion of the most challenging publicly funded work alongside private work for a diverse range of solicitors. Jeremy Dein QC represented grime musician Kano, who was acquitted of GBH with intent and affray after an alleged attack at a private members club in Shoreditch, while Paul Mendelle QC and Michael Neofytou represented a man who was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter after admitting to beating a man to death with a bicycle lock.

QEB Hollis Whiteman both defends and prosecutes, and has strong relationships with leading private defence firms and the CPS. William Boyce QC and Philip McGhee prosecuted a former television producer who was convicted of attempting to pay an undercover policeman Β£150,000 to murder his partner. Meanwhile, Philip Stott prosecuted far-right serial internet troll Joshua Bonehill-Paine, who received the statutory maximum sentence of two years for racially aggravated harassment directed to Luciana Berger MP.

Doughty Street Chambers handles a range of work for individuals, with particular strengths in terror-related work and criminal appeals. Tim Moloney QC handles a number of cases involving terror offences, including defending a woman who was convicted of forming a terror plot after striking up a relationship with a man on dating website. Piers Marquis defended a prisoner, who was acquitted of murder on charges regarding the stabbing to death of an inmate; the defendant’s case was that due to a state of anarchy in the prison he had to protect himself by arming himself with a knife.

Garden Court Chambers exclusively defends, with particular expertise in gang-related homicides, as well as protest and terrorism-related cases. Judy Khan QC successfully defended a homeless drug dealer, who was one of several parties in a multi-defendant joint enterprise stabbing of another homeless man near Trafalgar Square. Elsewhere, Henry Blaxland QC and new silk Brenda Campbell QC represented an appellant in R v Grant-Murray & others, which concerned joint enterprise cases and the consideration of adolescent brain development.

Red Lion Chambers enjoyed a successful round of silk appointments in 2018, with Jennifer Dempster QC and Adam Wiseman QC appointed. Among the existing silks, Riel Karmy-Jones QC prosecuted 11 Irish Travellers convicted of modern slavery offences in the first of several linked trials under the Operation Pottery umbrella; the 11 convicted received sentences aggregating 79 years. Max Hill QC has been appointed the new director of public prosecutions.

β€˜A very good set with strong advocates’, Three Raymond Buildings handles a range of private defence work as well as prosecutions. Due to the set’s strong relationship with the Police Federation, the set often defends rank-and-file police officers facing criminal charges – Neil Saunders was successful for the former Metropolitan Police Inspector, who was acquitted of charges that he assaulted a Tottenham Hotspur supporter while escorting Arsenal fans prior to a North London derby. For the CPS, an unled Luke Ponte prosecuted Arthur Collins, the former partner of a The Only Way Is Essex personality, who was convicted of injuring 14 by throwing acid in a nightclub.

5 Paper Buildings, which also handles defence work, has a strong workload of prosecution matters. Miranda Moore QC prosecuted Tony and Julie Wadsworth (collectively dubbed the β€˜Richard and Judy of local radio’), who were convicted of outraging public decency and indecent assault after, among other offences, having sex in public and inviting under-age boys to participate. New silk Ben Douglas-Jones QC represented the CPS in appeal by an absconded prisoner, who was sentenced to additional imprisonment by both the prison discipline system and the criminal courts in violation of the prison rules; the CPS and the prisoner disputed which sentence should be voided.

23 Essex Street appears on both sides of cases, including prosecution in a number of serious sexual offence cases. In 2018 Kate Lumsdon QC, Eloise Marshall QC and Rossano Scamardella QC all took silk. As far as work highlights are concerned, John Price QC and Madeleine Wolfe prosecuted Jemma Beale, who was convicted of perjury, among other offences, after making several fabricated allegations of rape; one of her victims was convicted and sentences to seven years imprisonment.

At Carmelite Chambers, Alan Kent QC prosecuted four defendants in a trial concerning a fatal stabbing in Croydon; two were convicted of murder and a third for manslaughter, with the jury hung on a fourth. On the defence side, Mark Harries successfully defended the former Northamptonshire Policing and Crime Commissioner, who was accused of violations of the Data Protection Act arising from the release of information concerning a fraud investigation of a Conservative MP.

β€˜A noted top set with strength and depth throughout’, Furnival Chambers prosecutes and defends in a range of cases across the crime spectrum. Giles Cockings QC represented key defendants in two of the Operation Pottery trials concerning the Rooney family of Irish Travellers, eleven of whom were convicted of luring homeless men into forced labour. As far as prosecution work is concerned, Caroline Carberry QC prosecuted Darryl Rowe, a hairdresser who deliberately infected several men with HIV. Among the junior ranks, Julia Smart represented Liam Allen, a student charged with six counts of rape whose trial was aborted after the CPS failed to disclose messages which undermined its case.

Primarily a defendant set that is β€˜particularly strong for cases with political or human rights elements’, Matrix Chambers has great expertise in criminal appeals and cases with protest elements, as well as terrorism. Blinne NΓ­ GhrΓ‘laigh represented a Methodist minister, who on the basis of necessity to prevent war crimes was acquitted of charges of criminal damage to Panavia Tornado multirole combat aircraft destined for the Saudi Air Force in its military intervention in Yemen.

3 Temple Gardens is a β€˜stand-out set with good silks and juniors’. Nadine Radford QC represented the first defendant in a trial of an alleged child sexual exploitation ring in Oxford arrested as part of Operation Nautical – all defendants were found not guilty by the jury after a number of defects with the evidence were found, including an identity parade during which an accuser was accompanied by another witness.

5KBW is β€˜an up-and-coming set’, handling both defence work as well as significant prosecutions. In a retrial, and as an unwed junior, Charlotte Newell successively prosecuted an ultra-orthodox Jewish man who was convicted of abducting his wife and raping her in a purpose-build sex dungeon; the case was complicated by the fact that the complaint withdrew her allegations for fear of ostracism from the Haredi community, resulting in the retrial. Mark Heywood QC – the First Senior Treasury Counsel – and Jonathan Polnay prosecuted Theodore Johnson, who was sentenced to 26 years for the murder of his former partner; the defendant had two previous manslaughter convictions from the 1980s and 1990s.

9 Bedford Row is β€˜a good set with a number of good barristers’, handling both defence and prosecution work. A number of members have experience in defending before courts martial. Daniel Higgins, as an unled junior, prosecuted numerous defendants in a case concerning hooliganism at a South London derby match in the 2015-16 League Cup in which, a Charlton Athletic supporter punched Kayla, Crystal Palace’s eagle mascot.

Charter Chambers handles a range of criminal cases, including both defence and prosecution work. Nicholas Rhodes QC and Martin Goudie QC represented a man sentenced to ten years for importing 2.4 tonnes of cocaine cutting agents, while Darren Snow represented a defendant who was acquitted on a submission of no case to answer after being accused of the theft of Β£300,000 of Hublot and Rolex watches from the home of a Russian oligarch.

Foundry Chambers’s work includes a range of prosecution and defence matters in violent and sexual offences. Among the junior ranks, Alastair Smith advised an individual who was convicted of having pretended to be a barrister to provide immigration tribunal advice. Mukul Chawla QC has left the independent Bar to lead Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's UK corporate crime team in London.

Among a range of other work, sexual offences work is a particular niche among the members of Six Pump Court. In an unrelated area, however, Simon Taylor prosecuted in a legally unusual case where a man was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter; the defendant failed to contact authorities for two hours after his companion fell off a sea wall into the English Channel.

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