The team at BCL Solicitors LLP is described as ‘an absolute powerhouse – the go-to firm for anything crime related‘. The firm handles the full range of serious, complex and general criminal matters, and during the pandemic has seen an increase of work for clients accused of online sexual offences and defending those accused of domestic assault. While experienced practitioner Rachel Hubbard has now retired, the team continues to feature a number of heavy-hitting individuals, including the ‘phenomenally good‘ Ellen Peart, and Mark Haslam, who ‘cuts through the nonsense with laser-sharp focus’. Other growing areas of focus include school and university investigations, as well as work for sports professionals facing criminal charges. Associates David Hardstaff and Daniel Jackson are other key members of the team. Serious and general crime head Paul Morris recently left the firm.
Crime: general in London
Other key lawyers:
Mark Haslam; David Hardstaff; Daniel Jackson
‘BCL are a cut above the rest. They are relentless in their pursuit of the best result for the client while maintaining a strong sense of professionalism at all times. They get spectacular results which reflect the total dedication of the patners and associates to their cases.’
‘Mark Haslam’s preparation of his cases is second to none, but for me his greatest asset, shared by very few in my humble experience, is his tactical intelligence. A combination of his hard work, tactical nous and persistence have seen him win many cases before they even come to court and, if they do reach court, see them disposed of favourably at a very early stage of the proceedings.’
‘Ellen Peart is a force to be reckoned with. A bit like a smiling assassin – so incredibly personable and friendly that her opponents don’t realise just how brilliant she is until it’s too late. When it comes to client care, there is really no one better. Who I would go to if I was in trouble. Phenomenally good. Her reputation within the profession for getting incredible results is absolutely deserved and her success rate reflects her hard-work, her tenacity, her experience and the undeniable star quality that sets her apart.’
‘Mark Haslam often represents well-known individuals and quietly, efficiently gives them an excellent service, with no fuss, no stress and no drama. He cuts through the nonsense and has laser-sharp focus. Astonishingly good at getting good results.’
‘Dan Jackson is incredibly organised and always a step ahead of opponents. Clients are so obviously relaxed in his company.’
‘David Hardstaff is really hard-working and brilliant at actively seeking out original lines of defence.’
‘David Hardstaff is very bright; his overall client care is first-class and he is able to instill confidence and calmness in even the most nervous client.
- Successful representation of hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, the founder of Odey Asset Management, in relation to an historic allegation, of which he was cleared.
- Representing a high-profile tech CEO in relation to historic sexual allegations.
- Represented late TV presenter Caroline Flack, during the investigation and prosecution stages of the domestic assault case against her.
Bindmans LLP has a long-established reputation for its involvement in high-profile and high-stakes matters, handling a wide range of cases concerning terrorism, the emergency coronavirus legislation and protest work relating to Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion. The firm attracts praise for 'putting people before profit - their dedication is genuine'. Katie Wheatley heads the crime, fraud and regulatory team, which 'really benefits from a depth of experience in civil liberties and human rights work'. She works alongside Kate Goold, who has a track record of work on politically sensitive cases, an 'excellent forensic mind, superb judgement and interpersonal skills'. Other key members of the team include solicitor-advocate Tayab Ali, who joined from ITN Solicitors in April 2020, and highly experienced associates Jude Lanchin and Jessica Skinns.
Other key lawyers:
Kate Goold; Jude Lanchin; Jessica Skinns; Patrick Ormerod; Tayab Ali; Ella Jefferson; Catherine Jackson
‘Kate Goold is engaging, knowledgeable, well informed and completely on top of her cases. She is an absolute dream to work with in a team, and her contributions are always insightful and telling.’
‘Patrick Ormerod – brilliant attention to detail, a top legal brain. Doesn’t miss anything.’
‘Tayab Ali – complete trailblazer. Never gives up on a case and can always find a way through any legal issue. A ‘once in a generation’ solicitor.
‘Jessica Skinns is a really impressive associate who handles the most serious cases.’
‘Ella Jefferson is a really bright and talented future star.’
‘Hester Cavaciuti is a thoughtful and engaged solicitor, with a really great sense of case strategy. Hester handles cases involving challenging and vulnerable clients with sensitivity and skill.
‘Katie Wheatley has an encyclopedic knowledge of her cases. No detail escapes her attention and clients feel that she lives and breathes their cases.’
‘Catherine Jackson is utterly fearless and tenacious. I really don’t know how she finds the time to do what she does. She has an amazing ability to turn work around quickly and to win the confidence of clients in the process.’
- As part of series of current terrorism instructions, acting for Hisham Chaudhary in what is a very rare prosecution of a UK national accused of being a member of ISIS.
- Handling a series of cases that have arisen under the UK Government’s emergency coronavirus legislation.
- Acted for an 18-year-old accused of murder (the shooting of a senior gang member).
The criminal defence, serious crime and serious fraud team at Blackfords LLP is jointly led by 'class act' Gary Bloxsome and managing partner Trevor Francis - 'one of the most savvy players in the marketplace'. The practice handles the full range of criminal cases, covering murder, serious assault, gangland violence, theft and money laundering, drugs, rape and other sexual offences, In recent years the firm has looked to build up its focus on cases which sit at the intersection of regulatory and criminal law, an area of specialism for regulatory head Gary Rubin, who defends professionals including police and healthcare workers. Other key team members include the 'thorough and innovative' Daniel Cundy.
Gary Bloxsome; Trevor Francis
Other key lawyers:
Daniel Cundy; Gary Rubin; Jennifer Richardson; Rachel Wilson
‘Daniel Cundy and Gary Bloxsome are at the very apex of the profession. Daniel has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and his approach to litigation and trial strategy often demonstrates an unrivalled ability to plan far in advance of anyone else in the room and to predict dangers and possibilities in the most challenging of circumstances.
‘Jennifer Richardson is one of the most tireless and efficient solicitors in the profession. There is no fact in any case which escapes her eye for detail. Her ability to convey difficult advice – particularly in cases involving matters of substantial legal and factual complexity – make her an invaluable asset to any team at all stages of the process.’
‘Gary Rubin is a smart cookie and a clever lawyer.’
‘Gary Bloxsome is a class act. Highly experienced, he exercises exceptional judgment and is able to read between the lines in a case. He is highly trusted by his clients. He is a pleasure to work with, easygoing but always ensuring that he gets full effort, commitment and performance from those he works with – he brings out the best of those he works with. He is bright, trustworthy, discreet.’
‘Trevor Francis is shrewd, versatile, patient and precise; someone who understands the long game.’
‘Danny Cundy is a joy to work with. He is very hands on, very tactical and good with nervous or difficult clients. An iron fist in a velvet glove.’
‘Rachel Wilson is able to pick up cases at very short notice and handle them with confidence and competence. She is great at taking the heat out of litigation and keeping the focus on the issues.’
‘Rachel Wilson is an exceptional lawyer and advocate. She is very impressive in court. She is affable, but always a formidable in her client’s defence. A superb lawyer all around.’
- Representing an ex-major in the army in the Iraq Fatality Investigations, a set of proceedings pursuant to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Helped to secure the acquittal of a Conservative Peer who faced charges of sexual assault.
- Acted for a client who was charged with two counts of blackmail as well as possession of class A and B drugs. The client received full credit for an early guilty plea, and his sentence was reduced further following submission.
Corker Binning has a well-established reputation as a leading firm for complex and high-profile criminal matters, and as such is often involved in cases which explore new areas of law, including securing the first ever authority on the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour. The crime team advises on the full spectrum of criminal matters and has 'real depth of experience and with excellent lawyers at all levels'. Key figures include Edward Grange, who is 'unrivalled in his experience and knowledge of extradition'; highly rated senior associate Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh; and Jessica Parker, who is well regarded for her 'expert handling of tax and banking cases', as well as her experience of police investigations. During the pandemic the firm worked with the charity JUSTICE to develop the world’s first-ever virtual jury trial platform.
Other key lawyers:
Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh; Andrew Smith; Jessica Parker
‘Ed Grange has real depth of experience in the defence extradition world, and is fantastic to work with. Everyone at Corker Binning sees clients as individuals rather than money-spinners. They provide exceptional value for money and offer straight-talking, honest, knowledge-based advice in a way that puts them head and shoulders above the competition. I value their work ethic, their attention to detail, the fantastic support they provide to counsel, and the lack of hot air.’
‘Andrew Smith is exceptional in his ability to cut through knotty legal issues in fraud and corruption investigations.’
‘Jessica Parker stands out for her expert handling of tax and banking cases.’
‘Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh performs with a maturity way beyond her experience, handling the most difficult clients with confident ease and demonstrating impressive strategic nous.’
‘Edward Grange is an exceptional lawyer. He is unrivalled in his experience and knowledge of extradition in particular.’
‘I rate Andrew Smith highly. He is very reliable, very knowledgeable and a great pleasure to work with.’
‘Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh is an up-and-coming star performer in general crime litigation in the private market in London. She combines a street-fighting determination with an in-depth legal and procedural knowledge, and great judgement, which enables her to provide a first-class defence service to her clients.’
‘Edward Grange is a remarkable lawyer. Not only is he preeminent in the field of extradition, but he handles crime and fraud investigations with skill and confidence. His judgement is excellent and clients rightly have total confidence in him.’
- Acted for an investment fund manager who was accused of serious and prolonged controlling and coercive behaviour and assaults by his former wife.
- Representing two separate defendants in the trial relating to the scalding of a care home resident whilst being bathed, and her subsequent death, both of which occurred in February 2015. The company is charged with corporate manslaughter.
- Representing a Russian billionaire who is the subject of an extradition request from the US, after being accused of fraudulently evading tax in the amount of over $200m, connected with the US “exit tax” imposed upon individuals who renounce their US citizenship.
The serious and general crime team at Hickman & Rose represent clients accused of the most serious crimes, including murder, manslaughter and serious sexual offences, ‘offering advice at the highest level across a broad range of disciplines‘. ‘Very well connected and very knowledgeable‘ practice head Jenny Wiltshire has particular expertise with regards to sexual offences, both historic and current; she works alongside founding partner Ben Rose, who represents many of the firm’s highest profile clients and is described as ‘a charismatic performer with a never-say-die approach to every problem‘.
Other key lawyers:
Ross Dixon; Ben Rose; Aileen Colhoun; Peter Csemiczky; Bartholomew Dalton
‘The team uniquely brings together practitioners with coalface criminal experience over many years in a boutique private client environment where they can utilise that experience to provide an exceptional service.’
‘A small but really innovative and well functioning team. They work seamlessly together. They are discreet and undertake really important work and high profile cases – they do it quietly but effectively.’
‘Aileen Colhoun and Peter Csemiczky are standout practitioners.’
‘Always responsive, helpful and professional – they inspire confidence and also take a sensitive and pragmatic approach to cases.’
‘Ben Rose is dynamic and relentless in defence of his clients – a charismatic performer with a never-say-die approach to every problem, no matter how challenging.’
‘Aileen Colhoun – dedicated and thoughtful and endlessly patient with the most complicated clients, she brings common sense and great judgement to everything she touches.’
‘Ben Rose – super slick and able to handle any kind of case. He is utterly practical and strategic in his approach. Reads people and situations well, looking round corners and mapping the desired outcome at the very early stage of a case. Has great connections internationally and so a lot of his cases have an international dimension.’
‘Peter Csemiczky is outstanding. I always refer clients who need criminal advice to him and the feedback I have received from them is reassuring. He has managed to protect them from criminal prosecution or minimise the charges (and penalties) to the minimum.’
- Advised a highly successful pharmaceutical company producing intravenous nutrition for babies for UK hospitals which is facing a series of charges in relation to the Health and Safety and Medicines Acts.
- Acted in the successful appeal of Constantine Boucher, a member of the so-called ‘Oval Four’ who were convicted of attempted theft and assault on police in 1972.
- Acting for a former international triathlete charged with sexual assaults, allegations which arose out of his coaching relationship with a younger athlete.
Hodge Jones & Allen expertly covers a broad range of work, with specialist teams focused on areas such as youth, extradition, protest, sexual offences, terrorism, financial crime, vulnerable clients and high-net-worth individuals. Clients range from politicians to protesters, and the firm is regularly on the front lines in the cases making headlines. The ‘phenomenal‘ Raj Chada now heads the department while continuing to handles cases in the highest courts; he works with protest specialist Mike Schwarz – the duo are described as ‘entirely at ease in high-profile cases, and masterful in managing clients and the media‘. Kerry Spence and Gary Monks were recently promoted to joint deputy heads of the team.
Other key lawyers:
Kerry Spence; Mike Schwarz; Ruth Harris; Graeme Hydari; Caroline Liggins; Gary Monks
‘Ruth Harris is extremely bright, well-organised and focused on her clients’ best interests. She achieves this through a rare ability to work very successfully with members of her own defence team, while delivering the best outcomes for her clients in her effective engagement with the prosecution.’
‘Caroline Liggins is a standout individual because of her excellent client care and her commitment to her clients. She always goes the extra mile. Her knowledge and undertaking of issues affecting children in the justice system is evidence through her work with the Alliance for Youth Justice and founding the Youth Practitioners Association.’
‘Caroline Liggins was a fantastic solicitor who helped me immensely with my legal problems. Her calm and professional advice was invaluable to me. She was immediately responsive to my contact and was happy to spend as long as I wanted explaining the legal issues to me. No other lawyer I have dealt with has been as effective a communicator nor as reassuring a counsellor as Caroline.’
‘Gary Monks is an extremely industrious solicitor whose preparation of cases is second to none. He is an excellent communicator and an extremely able lawyer.’
‘Kerry Spence is a formidable defence solicitor. For any client, instructing Kerry Spence is like instructing a whole team of lawyers to fight their corner.’
‘Raj Chada and Mike Schwarz are standout solicitors, with an incredible wealth and depth of knowledge and expertise. Raj Chada’s client management in particular is second to none. He readily earns the trust of clients, a trust which is entirely well-placed. His judgement in criminal cases is also unfailingly sound. Both solicitors are utterly committed to clients. They are entirely at ease in high profile cases, and masterful in managing clients and the media.’
‘Caroline Liggins – a highly committed and intelligent lawyer and a national expert in youth matters. She has been instrumental in changing the landscape nationwide for young defendants and the training required for those who represent them.’
‘Raj Chada – a huge talent and a giant in the criminal defence world, particularly in high profile cases. His abilities, both as a litigator and as an advocate, are as good as you can get and the service his clients receive is far better than the most expensive private firms.’
Stansted 15 (Thacker)
Ziegler/Cole and others (leading case on human rights)
Claudia Webbe MP
Apsana Begum MP
Chez Copland (leading case on terrorism and autism)
Nazir Afzal OBE
- Acted in high-profile case which resulted in the Court of Appeal overturning the convictions of 15 peaceful protestors who had been accused of a terror related offence.
- Advised defendants in important Supreme Court case which considers how human rights issues apply to protest cases.
- Advising Labour MP Claudia Webbe, who is accused of harassing her partner’s friend.
The market-leading team at Kingsley Napley LLP is 'the pre-eminent criminal defence firm, packed full of stellar practitioners' and is routinely involved in the most high-profile cases, acting for CEOs, whistleblowers, high-net-worth individuals and well-known individuals facing #MeToo allegations. Sandra Paul, 'a formidable lawyer with massive experience' and David Sleight, who is praised for his 'fantastic manner with clients', co-head the serious and general crime team. Paul, who has a strong focus on #MeToo work, also chairs the JUSTICE working party concerning the overrepresentation of BAME youths in the criminal justice system. Rebecca Niblock is widely recognised for her expertise in extradition, boasting 'unrivalled experience' in this area.
Louise Hodges; Sandra Paul; David Sleight; Rebecca Niblock
Other key lawyers:
Matthew Hardcastle; Edmund Smyth; Katherine Tyler; Nicholas Dent
‘Nicholas Dent is extremely clever, very dedicated and with a gentle and natural charm that means clients totally trust him. I cannot rate him highly enough.’
‘David Sleight – sharp, astute and caring. David is reassuring and has a fantastic manner with clients, and his talent for straightforward but effective negotiation provides exceptional results time after time.
‘Sandra Paul was recommended to me by four separate sources and given the complexities of my case, this speaks volumes. From my initial meeting I knew I had come to the right place. Sandra formed a team around me and guided this throughout. Sandra never distanced herself from my case and consistently navigated the team. Her ability to prepare me, taking valuable time out to handle this one on one is something that I look back on with great admiration. She was able to mentally prepare me for what was to come.’
‘Rebecca Niblock is without parallel when it comes to any criminal case with an international edge. She is one of a tiny number of lawyers who can come up with something totally original that can make the difference in a case.’
‘Matthew Hardcastle is a consummate criminal solicitor, with an excellent feel for a case and a determination to do everything that he can for his clients.’
‘Ed Smyth is an up and coming partner – great client care and commitment to his cases.’
‘Rebecca Niblock has an encyclopaedic knowledge of extradition law which makes her a formidable asset in any litigation. Katherine Tyler is another superb asset to the team. She is wonderful to work with, with an excellent personable manner and is very bright with a great insight into cases.’
‘Louise Hodges is experienced and respected in her field.’
Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP acts for an array of high-profile and high-net-worth individuals, and is regularly involved in cases making the headlines, as well as complex, multi-jurisdictional matters. Senior partner Michael O’Kane heads up the business crime department; he is a former senior specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service and is lauded for his ‘excellent understanding of the international dimension of complex multi-jurisdictional cases’ as well as his ‘ability to be legally innovative’. Nick Vamos, who can draw on ‘invaluable‘ experience as head of special crime at the CPS, has been acting for Post Office Limited in relation to over 800 potential wrongful convictions, as case which has attracted huge media attention. Other well-regarded members of the team include ‘superb tactician‘ Jasvinder Nakhwal and senior associate Rachel Cook, who regularly works alongside the team’s partners on key cases.
Other key lawyers:
Jasvinder Nakhwal; Nick Vamos; Neil Swift; Rachel Cook
‘Michael O’Kane’s judgement, insight and experience is exceptional and I am finding him very responsive, creative and pragmatic. Our sitiuation requires some groundbreaking thinking and he is demonstrating his ability to be legally innovative.’
‘The team is absolutely brilliant, great legal minds – they are always looking at a bigger picture with the client’s best interest in focus.’
‘Michael O’Kane and Nick Vamos in particular provide a strong overview of a case, supported by their vast criminal prosecutorial and defence experience. Their specialist knowledge in various areas of the criminal law make them stand out from their competitors.’
‘Nick Vamos’s experience as a former senior CPS prosecutor is invaluable but, most of all, I have complete trust and confidence in his judgement. He gets to the root of any problem incredibly quickly, identifies what has to be done and always delivers a solution. He is not only a brilliant lawyer but his client care is second to none. In my view, he is the best you can get.’
‘Michael O’Kane is the most outstanding criminal lawyer with an excellent understanding of the international dimension of complex multi-jurisdictional cases.’
‘Hannah Laming is seriously impressive. Razor sharp judgement. Dedicated, driven, focused and a truly exceptional team manager. I don’t know how she finds the time to be so good.’
‘Jasvinder Nakhwal is a superb tactician.’
‘Hannah Laming is a cerebral solicitor; first-class mind; thinks through issues; clients love her.’
- Acting for Post Office Limited in relation to over 800 potential wrongful convictions in what has been reported as Britain’s largest ever miscarriage of justice.
- Acting for the son of a prominent Greek businessman, who has been charged with assault, sexual assault, false imprisonment (kidnapping) and three counts of rape of his former girlfriend, also from a wealthy and prominent Greek family.
- Acted for a prominent Knightsbridge property developer who was accused of harassing his ex-partner, Game of Thrones actress Katie Alexander-Thom. He was acquitted, and the court both declined to make a restraining order on acquittal and made a defendant’s costs order in his favour.
Simons Muirhead Burton has a strong reputation for its work on media cases; the team also has a focus on representing fellow lawyers and other professionals, and has expertise in cases concerning serious and complex sexual offences. The firm is praised for its 'modern attitudes and ways of working', and attracts an international client base. Phil Smith heads up the crime and regulatory team, working alongside Anthony Burton CBE - the duo have decades of experience of the highest-profile cases. Burton is also chair of the Death Penalty Project, an NGO providing free legal representation for prisoners on death row. Senior associate Henrietta Ronson is widely praised by clients, who laud her 'ability to see the human aspect' of cases.
Other key lawyers:
Anthony Burton CBE; Henrietta Ronson
‘This is a team that really cares. The staff are modern in their attitudes and ways of working. You really feel that they know what they’re doing and will fight for you. Could not have wanted better.’
‘I was struck by the collaborative style of the team – playing to people’s strengths, involving me in the process and giving thorough and helpful explanations at every stage.’
‘Henrietta Ronson was both professional and also very friendly in her manner. It put me at ease during a very difficult time.’
‘Anthony Burton is a supreme criminal defence solicitor.’
‘Phil Smith has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. Clients appreciate the fact that he provides straightforward advice while making it plain that he is always acting in their best interests. He is confident without talking down to clients.’
‘Henrietta Ronson’s communication is outstanding. She remains level-headed, even in the most extreme crisis situations, which inspires absolute trust in her clients.’
‘Henrietta Ronson – during the most dreadful time of my life, she was on hand, at any time. She is super bright, yet approachable. The combination of her legal brain and an ability to see the human aspect in my case inspired a lot of confidence. She brings clarity and empathy to an emotionless arena.’
‘Anthony Burton worked tirelessly on my defence, with incomparable dedication, resulting in a unanimous acquittal at the Old Bailey. Anthony and his team were thorough and totally focused. Their personal and professional expertise, and support for me, shone through from start to finish. I felt, and know, I was in the hands of masters of their profession. I hold SMB in the highest regard.’
- Advised university professor charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
- Advised award-winning rapper accused of assault and controlling and coercive behaviour by his ex-girlfriend.
- Advised postgraduate student on rape allegations by a fellow student.
The 'premier criminal team' at Stokoe Partnership Solicitors covers a broad spectrum of cases, with longstanding expertise across a wide variety of criminal matters, including drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery and corruption, cybercrime and hacking. Despite the pandemic, the firm saw a record number of new matters opened during 2020, with a strong focus in cases involving drugs charges and allegations of sexual assault. Founding partner Bambos Tsiattalou is regarded as 'a legend amongst criminal solicitors - a workaholic who goes the extra mile for clients'. He works with the 'strategic, clever and precise' Brian Swan, and Maria Theodoulou, who 'has the ability to think around corners'. Amjid Jabbar has notable expertise in money laundering and fraud cases.
Other key lawyers:
Brian Swan; Amjid Jabbar; Maria Theodoulou
‘A boutique firm of solicitors involved in some of the most important and high profile cases in the England. They have a burgeoning private client base which demonstrates the regard in which they are held. Every single case, no matter how great or small, is meticulously prepared.’
‘The Stokoe Partnership has a reputation for being able to deal with the most serious of cases and the most demanding clients. It is a well deserved one. Bambos Tsiattalou engenders huge loyalty among his team of partners and associates and expects total commitment to every case whether legal aid or privately funded. A significant number of their clients are ones who have used Stokoes for years.’
‘Bambos Tsiattalou – a tactical mastermind, he just sees things in a case in an instant that others may never see. Has unrivalled instinct and his preparation is meticulously thorough.’
‘Stokoes continue to attract the best criminal work and have a strong reputation amongst clients for providing a quality service. Strong, knowledgeable partners and good support solicitors allow Stokoes to provide a complete service to clients.’
‘Maria Theodoulou deals almost exclusively with private clients. They love her work ethic and dedication. She is a fighter, the sort of person who inspires confidence by simply just being part of the team.’
‘They are a firm that is used to dealing with the most heavyweight and complex criminal matters. Their solicitors are organised, motivated and have an in-depth knowledge and grasp of the issues which commonly crop up. A real top level firm.’
‘Brian Swan always finds time to communicate, whether it’s face to face, by phone or via Skype during this time. I have always been sure that he has given me the best advice whilst taking into account my full circumstances. He has been a great support and I could not recommend him enough. I am so pleased that Brian Swan represented me as I feel I have been kept fully informed of all of the proceedings and would not have been able to make my decisions without his knowledge and professionalism.’
‘Amjid Jabbar has an excellent sense for tactics, particularly in the pre-trial, and even pre-charge, stages of a case. He too is as personable as he is able, with excellent solicitor/client rapport.’
Tuckers Solicitors is a national criminal defence firm with offices all around the UK – including six across London – ‘providing an equally excellent service to private and legally aided clients’. The firm’s work ranges from fraud to terrorism, murder, sexual assaults and serious organised crime, and it is regularly involved in headline-making cases, such as representing Wayne Couzens, the former Met Police officer who pleaded guilty to murder of Sarah Everard. Key names in the team include senior partner Richard Egan (‘first class in every respect‘) and ‘Rolls-Royce lawyer‘ Jim Meyer.
Richard Egan; Jim Meyer
Other key lawyers:
‘A very large firm with extensive resources, experienced in handling high profile and private client work.’
‘One of a handful of firms left which provides an equally excellent service to private and legally aided clients. A wealth of experience and national coverage because of the geographical range of offices. They cover cases from youth to appeal courts and the full gamut of crime.’
‘The private crime and serious casework team is incredibly efficient. The work is done quickly and exceptionally thoroughly.’
‘Richard Egan is just first class in every respect – he has never lost the ability to communicate. He does this whether representing a businessman or a young person accused.’
‘Jim Meyer is a Rolls-Royce lawyer; always a pleasure to work with.’
- Acting for Wayne Couzens, the former Met Police officer who has pleaded guilty to murder of Sarah Everard.
- Instructed to defend in the FCA prosecution against two individuals for insider dealing.
- Acted for the owner of the haulage firm which was part of a conspiracy to illegally import migrants from mainland Europe into the UK in the back of lorries. Thirty-nine passengers were found to have suffocated in the back of a trailer on arrival at a UK port.
The team at Bark&co take a boutique-style approach to complex criminal matters, with a track record of work on cases involving murder and manslaughter, firearms and drugs offences, serious assault, sexual offences and terrorism. The firm prides itself on appreciating the importance of managing the wider implications of criminal allegations, and works with ex-journalists and comms specialists to draw up public relations defences for its clients. Principal and founder Giles Bark-Jones is 'the powerhouse who drives the firm forward', working alongside a well-regarded team which includes solicitor Vanessa Wiggins , who 'earns the confidence of challenging clients'.
Other key lawyers:
Paul Cameron; Peter Finbow; Pat Wilson; Rajvinder Dayal; Vanessa Wiggins
‘Bark&co deal with full remit of criminal matters and are a long established and extremely well run firm, with resources for huge paper heavy complex cases to more recently some high profile serious sexual offences cases.’
‘The irrepressible Giles Bark-Jones is effectively a household name in the world of criminal litigation. He drives the firm forward, ever looking to improve and keep the firm on the top table.’
‘Paul Cameron has an extraordinary following from clients, many of them who have been with him for over 25 years. He is available at all times for his clients and fights tooth and nail for them.’
‘Giles Bark-Jones remains the backbone of the firm and very much in control of the whole show. He is an excellent lawyer and very much the powerhouse who drives the firm forward and ensures that it provides the excellent quality of service that it does.’
‘Rajvinder Dayal is outstanding. She really cares about her clients’ well-being’
‘Giles Bark-Jones sets the tone for the firm and has a rare talent for being able to step back and see the big picture, and get the big tactical decisions correct.’
‘Peter Finbow has a remarkable deftness of touch in dealing with really tricky issues.’
‘Pat Wilson is unbelievably hard working and able to charm even the most difficult of clients.’
- Successfully acted for an individual as one of four defendants charged in connection with three ‘celebrity’ burglaries carried out by an international criminal gang in December 2019.
- Successfully represented Dr Agnes Reeves Taylor, the ex-wife of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor, after she was charged with torture offences alleged to have occurred during the Liberian civil war in 1990.
- Acting for several individuals/celebrities under investigation for alleged historic rape/sexual offences.
Edward Fail Bradshaw & Waterson prides itself on its commitment to publicly funded work, with a strong emphasis on general crime advice provided by its team of specialists. The firm is also distinguished by its higher court advocacy work; Natalie Berman, who heads up the Crown Court department, is widely praised for her 'compassionate' approach and 'unrivalled dedication to her cases and clients'. Senior partner Paul Harris , who has now spent more than 30 years at the firm, has a broad range of expertise, from inquests and inquiries to health and safety, as well as violent offences, drugs and organised crime. Solicitor Adeela Khan is head of protest law, while managing partner Shila Keshvari also continues to maintain an active practice, with expertise in serious and organised crime.
Paul Harris; Natalie Berman; Adeela Khan
Other key lawyers:
Shila Keshvari; Kirsty Bishop
‘I have worked extensively with Paul Harris, Kirsty Bishop and Natalie Berman. All three are incredibly hard working, highly knowledgeable and very client focused, all prepared to go the extra mile in their client’s defence. All three are a pleasure to deal with.’
‘Paul Harris is an incredibly well respected and experienced criminal litigator. He is hardworking, thorough and gives accurate, realistic advice.’
‘Shila Keshvari as continued to develop a busy and successful practice and maintain her reputation for tactical awareness and 24/7 commitment to her clients. She gains the confidence of her clients in the most trying situations.’
‘Kirsty Bishop is one of the most diligent lawyers I work with. She is constantly working on her cases and always secures the best possible result.’
‘Natalie Berman is streets ahead of her competitors. Having been a barrister she knows the other side of the coin. Her unrivalled dedication to her cases and clients is nothing short of phenomenal. Natalie is a machine when it comes to her efficiency, she is extremely bright and hardworking and provides a first-class service across the board.’
‘Shila Kesvari gave me confidence, support and a belief that she was doing the best for me. I knew her decisions were not taken lightly and that she conferred with other experts for the best results. She is extremely methodical and thorough in her work. She was easily accessible and left nothing to chance.’
‘Natalie Berman has been amazing throughout my stressful time, she has stood by me throughout and has given me the best possible advice that was in my benefit. She is calm, compassionate and always approachable and addressed all my queries thoroughly, ensuring that I understood and explained everything in depth. She was honest and always looked out for the outcome that would be in my best interest. Natalie got me through what was the most difficult time of my life, I would recommend her 100%.’
‘Edward Preston is probably the most experienced criminal defence solicitor in the country. He remains as dedicated today as he was 40 years ago. A colossus who embodies the ethos of that firm.’
- Representing one defendant in an eight-handed retaliation murder.
- Representing a former senior police officer at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Janner Strand.
- Representing and advising a defendant in relation to the admissibility of encrypted phone messages.
The team at IBB Law, which is based in Uxbridge, is led by Joanne Gibbons and deputy team leader Eddie Tang, who is praised for his 'straightforward, user-friendly advice', representing clients throughout the UK. The practice, which has 'a history of working with people from many different backgrounds' represents clients at every stage, from the police station through to the Magistrates Court, Crown Court and up to the Court of Appeal. Gibbons has particular knowledge of the Youth Court, and sits on the National Youth Justice Board as the only defence representative. 'Extremely experienced and effective' advocate Kam Varaitch is another key member of the team.
Joanne Gibbons; Eddie Tang
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm has a good variety of practitioners who complement each other well. They are organised and well structured and act promptly and efficiently for their clients.’
‘IBB is a renowned leader in this sector and has been for some time. They have the resources to best protect the interests of those charged with the most serious and complex criminal offences. They provide a comprehensive, innovative and effective approach to defending such cases. They are a diverse firm who utilise all their assets in an integrated complementary way.’
‘IBB has a hard working and diligent team with a history of working with people from many different backgrounds. The team work well with digital evidence and have a commitment to face to face networking to give support and assistance. Even through Covid, they were prepared go the extra mile for their clients.’
‘Eddie Tang is that rare breed of a partner who works hard at the coalface. Clients love him and return to him for his straightforward, user-friendly advice and assistance.’
‘Eddie Tang is outstanding in his field. His commitment to his clients and the service he provides for them is well known and is evidenced by the consistent supply of high end referrals and heavyweight cases he conducts. His good humoured tenacity inspires enduring loyalty in his clients and respect from fellow practitioners. Eddie provides detailed yet practical advice throughout proceedings and is always available for his clients.
‘Kam Varaitch is extremely experienced and effective. He has an ability to cut through to the important detail and then relay conceptually difficult concepts to clients in a way they always understand.’
‘Eddie Tang always demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the cases he works on and has a can-do approach. He has a keen sense of case strategy and looks for advice at an early stage of case preparation.’
‘Eddie Tang is a great lawyer who understands the system and how to deal with it most effectively for his clients. His very committed to obtaining the best outcome for his clients who really appreciate that he goes the extra mile for them.’
- Advised and represented a defendant charged with murder and s18 GBH. The client pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wounding by reason of diminished responsibility and was sentenced to a hospital order.
- Advised and represented three out of seven defendants charged with murder, attempted murder and s18 GBH. This was a planned revenge shooting between rival gangs where one victim died, and another victim was seriously injured.
Lewis Nedas Law Limited, which is based in Camden, with two other offices in London and another in Oxford, 'punches well over its weight and is very comfortable alongside the bigger firms'. Firm founder Jeffrey Lewis 'has many years of expertise at the top of the market' and a 'superb instinct for fighting injustice'. Notable recent work for the firm has included representing the principal defendant in the high-profile case concerning the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a lorry trailer in Essex. Other clients include white collar professionals, accountants, doctors and dentists, company directors, City finance professionals and other solicitors. Director Siobhain Egan is another hugely experienced member of the team.
Other key lawyers:
Siobhain Egan; Miles Herman; Unan Choudhury; Keith Wood
‘The Lewis Nedas team is particularly strong and capable – the solicitors are extremely experienced and proactive on behalf of the clients.’
‘Keith Wood is hugely impressive. He is clever and hardworking – a joy to work with. I think any defendant would get an excellent service and feel their case was being handled by a real pro.’
‘A high street firm that punches well over its weight and is very comfortable alongside the bigger firms.’
‘Jeffrey Lewis is a top-notch criminal lawyer who has vast experience.’
‘Siobhain Egan is a very experienced and hardworking lawyer who goes the extra mile for her clients.’
‘Jeffrey Lewis has many years of expertise at the top of the market. Superb instinct for fighting injustice.’
‘Siobhain Egan is highly experienced. Will fight your corner like no other.
‘Miles Herman is a top class lawyer and strategist. Incredibly industrious.’
- Represented the principal defendant in the Vietnamese immigrant lorry manslaughter case.
- Acted in a case concerning an alleged organised crime gang murder. The firm represented a defendant extradited from Malta, who had absconded from the UK in 2003.
- Acted in a large sophisticated multi-defendant fraud allegation. The case, centred around a £10m conspiracy to defraud; the defendants are alleged to have obtained and sold UK bank account details on an industrial scale.
Lloyds PR Solicitors is divided into specialist teams, including police station, magistrates' court and extradition (led by Prasad Palihawadana) and Crown Court (supervised by Harsha Rupasinghe). The firm handles a range of complex cases concerning murders, drugs, kidnapping, serious violence and organised crime. Other key figures include managing partner Manoj Rupasinghe, who manages the advocacy needs of the firm and has acted as defence counsel in a range of high-profile investigations, as well as solicitors Moshin Ariff and Natasha Patel, who is 'adept at dealing with younger clients facing the most serious of allegations'.
Prasad Palihawadana; Harsha Rupasinghe; Manoj Rupasinghe
Other key lawyers:
Ieva Giedraityte; Moshin Ariff; Natasha Patel
‘The partners treat the firm very much as a family, which means that everyone who works there feels like they are part of something. That translates to their relationships with their clients, as it is clear that every solicitor working there truly cares about every client and thus their clients feel very well supported.’
‘Mohsin Ariff is an exceptional solicitor constantly striving to achieve the best results possible. He has an eye for detail and litigates cases with passion.’
‘It has been a joy working with Manoj Rupasinghe. He has a wonderful way with his clients who, not surprisingly given his mastery of his cases and engaging personality, have the utmost respect for him. .He approaches his work with a focus and a sense of humour which eases the tensions of clients and renders all the more productive the work he does.’
‘Natasha Patel – clients love her caring approach. Especially adept at dealing with younger clients facing the most serious of allegations.’
‘Natasha Patel is a fantastic solicitor. She gets to the issues very quickly, is excellent with clients and is incredibly organised.’
‘Harsha Rupasinghe and his team have a well earned reputation for meticulous case preparation. He is very approachable and always entirely realistic in the advice he gives to clients.’
‘Harsha Rupasinghe is the star performer at Lloyds. He is a force of nature. With a charming and easy nature that endears him to clients, he is now a major player in the criminal law world.’
‘Ieva Giedraityte is relentless in her work to get the best result for her client.’
- Acted in a three-handed murder case at Inner London Crown Court.
- Represented the lead defendant in a case involving a wide-ranging conspiracy to traffic and hold women in prostitution.
Russell-Cooke LLP has a track record of work for a wide variety of clients, from high-profile individuals and professionals to vulnerable clients and those accused of sexual offences. Practice head Jae Carwardine has 'unrivalled experience and ability'; she has represented politicians, journalists and other senior professionals in an array of high-profile cases. Martin Rackstraw, who rejoined the firm in 2019 after seven years as head of the criminal law team at Bindmans LLP, regularly advises in media-related cases, and is described as 'an intellectual powerhouse'. A key area of growth for the firm is its work advising clients on private prosecutions.
Other key lawyers:
Martin Rackstraw; Jenny Boyden
‘The Russell-Cooke team are absolutely top notch for the discerning client. They get to grips with the detail of any case, understand the intricacies of the evidence and have an impressive knowledge of the law. They manage to balance clear sighted, incisive tactical and strategic advice, alongside fantastic client care. Clients obviously and rightly feel like they are in good hands, and that their lawyers are on their side. Russell Cooke represent fantastic value for money for those they represent.’
‘Jae Carwardine: nothing is too much for her clients. She works tirelessly to achieve the best outcome for them.’
‘Russell-Cooke has the unique advantage of being a big enough firm to cover many different practice areas with a large enough pool of talented solicitors, but small enough to feel like you’re dealing with a boutique law firm.’
‘Martin Rackstraw is a calm and confident lawyer who inspires trust from clients and knows what is best for them throughout the life of a case. He is particularly good at breaking a case down and analysing the work that needs to be done to deal with the key issues.’
‘Jae Carwardine has unrivalled experience and ability. She has been involved in many of the highest profile, most complex cases of recent years. She finds the best experts and best barristers for each case. She makes herself available to clients at any time of day and night. She cares deeply about her cases and her work. It is hard to find anyone more committed to their clients than Jae.’
‘Martin Rackstraw is one of the most experienced and dedicated solicitors in the country. He can deal with any area of crime – he is an intellectual powerhouse.’
‘Jenny Boyden is exactly the solicitor you need on your side when things go wrong. She is more thorough in her approach than any solicitor I have met. She is pragmatic and realistic in her advice, works well within a team, is able to lead when necessary and robust (if necessary) when dealing with prosecution agencies. I would recommend her in a heartbeat to any one under investigation for any offence.’
‘Jenny Boyden – once a client has Jenny on their team, she will go above and beyond to ensure their case is prepared to the highest standard from start to finish. She genuinely cares about her clients – she is an absolute pleasure to work with and any client who is represented by Jenny is lucky to have her.’
Shaw Graham Kersh fields a hugely experienced team of lawyers who act in cases concerning the full range of criminal matters, including gang, firearms and drugs investigations, terrorism investigations, murder, manslaughter and assault cases, allegations of sexual assault (both current and historic), and contempt proceedings. Managing partner Paul Graham, head of general crime Philip Hill and private client head Raymond Shaw are the key figures in the team, and are seen as 'stalwarts of the London criminal market'. The firm prides itself on deploying a more traditional approach to client care that means clients retain the same person running their case from police station through to court.
Paul Graham; Philip Hill
Other key lawyers:
‘A small, committed team with lots of practical experience, they are head and shoulders above most firms for dedication and quality.’
‘An absolutely fantastic criminal defence team who provide the highest quality service to their clients. Many lawyers send clients to them by way of personal recommendation – a testament to the trust they hold with the profession.’
‘Raymond Shaw – a highly experienced litigator who is diligent, creative and devoted to his clients. He is a pleasure to work with and is tactically astute.’
‘Paul Graham has an excellent and well-deserved reputation amongst the legal profession and clients alike. He runs his firm like he runs his cases – with tact, focus and sound judgement.’
‘Highly committed to outstanding levels of service to all clients. Courageous approach to defence strategies and imaginative approach to problem solving in difficult circumstances.’
‘Philip Hill is an outstanding solicitor. He is extremely hard-working, knows his cases back-to-front and there is nobody better with clients. His kindness and sensitivity is widely recognised.’
‘Both Paul Graham and Raymond Shaw are stalwarts of the London criminal market and should be praised for their client care, especially with regard to legally aided clients.’
‘A strong and diverse team of lawyers, led by four very able partners. Despite the pressures placed on them by the criminal justice system, Shaw Graham Kersh continue to represent clients at all levels with the utmost professionalism in both the private and legally aided markets.’
- Acted for a barrister facing potential contempt of court proceedings for her part in allegedly improperly disclosing documentation relating to the Horizon Post Office Appeals in contempt of Court.
- Successfully appealed against a conviction for rape of the client’s former girlfriend, and then secured his acquittal at retrial.
The 'extremely professional, modern and well managed' ABV Solicitors handles public funding work alongside a notable private client practice. The group has expertise across a variety of high-profile mandates, handling terrorism, murder, firearm and drug offences as well as large-scale immigration and fraud issues. Robert Borwick and Akhtar Ahmad jointly lead the team; Borwick 'has the gravitas and experience to deal with the most serious of cases', while Ahmad 'is a star individual who always puts his clients are the forefront of everything'. Clients also single out 'hardworking lawyer' Hanisha Godhania and 'standout name' Sunita Mehta; both made partner in early 2021.
Robert Borwick; Akhtar Ahmad
Other key lawyers:
Hanisha Godhania; Sunita Mehta
‘They are an extremely professional, modern and well managed firm.’
‘Rob Borwick has the gravitas and experience to deal with the most serious of cases. He brings a no nonsense approach to advice and can quickly identify and address the most significant issues in any prosecution case and works hard to solve problems before they develop.’
‘Akhtar Ahmed is a dedicated lawyer who combines a real sense of commitment to his clients with a practical approach towards assessing the evidence. He is the consummate profession – clear, precise and sensible in his advice.’
‘Akhtar Ahmad is a star individual who always puts his clients are the forefront of everything. He is very clever and reliable.’
‘Hanisha Godhania is a hardworking lawyer who is meticulous in her preparation, and superb with clients.’
‘Sunita Mehta is a standout name in homicide cases. Incredibly hands-on and dedicated to the client’s cause. She fosters a strong working relationship with counsel and her tactical judgment is exceptional. An exceptional criminal litigator with a growing following.’
‘A team with all-round strength and a real depth of expertise in serious crime. The firm’s philosophy places the client at the heart of everything they do. It is hard to think of a firm that works so hard for their clients. From my experience they are particularly strong in allegations of homicide and serious sexual offences. Each case has a dedicated team allocated to it and the firm particularly encourages a high level of collaboration with counsel.’
‘ABV Solicitors is a hugely respected criminal firm. Their solicitors have an exemplary work ethic and tirelessly fight their client’s corner. They have separated their firm into specialist teams so that each client is served by an expert in their field. ABV’s market share of serious and high profile general crime cases as grown considerably over the past few years. They are undoubtedly a leader in this area.’
Iraq Fatality Inquiry
- Advising on the highly publicised investigation into the death of a civilian in Iraq during the war.
With ‘exceptional individual client care‘, Duncan Lewis Solicitors is a key name in the market for serious crime issues including murders, sexual offences, drug importations and fraud matters. The team also has niche expertise in country line drug cases and modern slavery mandates. Rubin Italia (who also has experience in public law and immigration work), fraud specialist Hardeep Dhaliwal and Nicholas De Freitas, who focuses on violent offences, jointly lead the group. Consultant Linda Barker is also praised by clients.
Rubin Italia; Hardeep Dhaliwal; Nicholas De Freitas
Other key lawyers:
Daniel Dilein; Linda Barker
‘This practice offers exceptional individual client care, especially to vulnerable defendants in serious cases.’
‘Duncan Lewis have developed a strong reputation for giving high quality representation, which we completely agree with. They are a conscientious with their work, deliver a top quality service and understanding of the case issues.’
‘Hardeep Dhaliwal – excellent Solicitor, explains everything in detail. very easy to get on with.’
‘Linda Barker – brilliant with young and vulnerable defendants. Very sympathetic, thorough and hard-working.’
‘Hardeep Dhaliwal in particular stands out. He is heavily involved in his cases, having a big involvement in the defence strategy ensuring the best possible result.’
‘Hardeep Dhaliwal epitomises the team – very approachable, hardworking and diligent. Also has an excellent feel for a case.’
‘Approachable, very hardworking and diligent with particular experience and expertise in serious crime.’
Edwards Duthie Shamash is praised as 'a first-rate London criminal law firm', which acts for the Labour Party in a range of investigations and prosecutions. The team also counts the National Education Union (NEU) on its client roster, representing teachers involved in a variety of offences. Shaun Murphy in Ilford and Rakesh Bhasin and Robert Dynowski in the firm's Waterloo office jointly lead the department, which also includes Shabaz Ahmed, who has recently focused his practice on murder cases.
Shaun Murphy; Rakesh Bhasin; Robert Dynowski
Other key lawyers:
‘A first rate London criminal law firm which, unusually nowadays, is multi-disciplinary. Very good resources and expertise among a broad spectrum from the magistrates courts to serious crime to breaches of parliamentary/electoral law.’
‘Rakesh Bhasin (partner) is a first rate lawyer. He works diligently on all his cases whether as a litigator or an advocate. His client care has been exemplary. A stand out solicitor.’
‘They are very well established and respected firm particularly for “heavyweight” crime.’
‘Rakesh Bhasin – is enormously experienced, has great judgement and is very highly thought of.’
‘A strong team of lawyers, who conduct their work to a very high standard. In very difficult times for criminal lawyers who practice within the legally aided market place, Edwards Duthie Shamash continue to represent clients at all levels of criminal cases with the upmost professionalism. One of their major strengths is the quality of the solicitors employ, who all have good reputations within their peer group and the market place in general.’
‘Rakesh Bhasin, is one of the best and most versatile criminal solicitors I know, whose ability with both client care and case management is first class.’
‘Robert Dynowski is the key criminal partner. Bob has a huge amount of experience and understands the issues in cases very quickly. He is very impressive.’
‘Bob Dynowski – partner in firm. Good judgment, very hard working, tireless for the cause. An exceptional “old style” solicitor.’
The Labour Party
The National Education Union (NEU)
Michael Field and Kishoree Kotecha-Pau jointly lead the practice at Freemans Solicitors, which is praised by clients as ‘an outstanding firm with amazing people‘ and acts in a wide range of serious crime cases including murders, sexual offences and fraud issues. The team has also developed notable expertise in housing investigations and prosecutions, particularly HMO cases. In April 2021, Leo Martin joined the group from Hodge Jones & Allen and Peter Bedingfield was promoted to the partnership.
Michael Field; Kishoree Kotecha-Pau
Other key lawyers:
Leo Martin; Peter Bedingfield
‘Amazing team and staff of impeccable honesty and standards. Utter dedication to work and service. A level of empathy and standards I did not know human beings were capable of. Outstanding firm with amazing people. You have to see them and you still won’t believe your eyes and ears. Awesome beyond words.’
‘Freemans are a superb firm of dedicated, client based and highly skilled criminal solicitors. Compared with other firms, my experience is that their solicitors work very hard, are extremely committed to their clients and cases and give excellent advice and support throughout the case.’
‘Michael Field is an amazing Barrister. His knowledge, dedication and service level is incredulous. He leaves no stone unturned to help uncover the truth. Dedication unparalleled. The whole team is staffed by utterly dedicated and honest people from top to bottom.’
‘Kishoree Kotecha-Pau (partner) always goes the extra mile for her clients, no one could do more to fight a client’s corner. She really understands the human psyche and her instincts as to case strategy are superb. When it comes to fraud, she is meticulous in her attention to detail and always ensures her cases are properly resourced. I could not recommend her more highly.’
‘Excellent crime team with first class support. Proactive in defending. Ability to deal with complex work.’
‘The Freemans Fraud and Crime team are superb.’
‘Michael Field is an outstanding barrister and partner of this firm. He is an extremely gifted and skilled advocate and criminal lawyer. Totally dedicated to his client’s case and very gifted with the jury. I cannot recommend him highly enough.’
‘Kishoree Kotecha-Pau is a first class and highly skilled criminal solicitor and partner of the firm. She has a vast amount of skill, judgement and experience and is someone clients have complete confidence in.’
At GT Stewart Limited, the criminal defence group is divided into distinct specialist teams: Greg Stewart leads the appeals team, Mel Stooks heads up the youth crime practice, Claire Dissington is the key name in the City of London, Will Russell leads the private client group and the South East London team, Sophie Smith heads up the South West London group, and Ronnie Manek focuses on higher courts advocacy work. The firm acts for legal aid and private clients and covers the full spectrum of criminal mandates.
Greg Stewart; Mel Stooks; Claire Dissington; Will Russell; Sophie Smith; Ronnie Manek
‘They provide excellent client services and always go the extra mile to ensure that their clients receive a high standard of representation.’
‘This legal practice offers outstanding service. The client automatically feels that their voice is being heard and the legal team are always at hand to offer guidance and advice.’
‘The team go to great lengths to thoroughly understand their clients’ circumstances holistically. This means exploring with them not just the nature of the matters at hand but a full and detailed personal history, sequence of events and the motivations, decisions and stressors that influenced decisions and actions.’
‘Greg Stewart was extremely knowledgeable and had an in depth understanding of the law and procedures.’
‘My solicitor was Greg Stewart. He was professional, approachable and his attention to detail outstanding. He was always available for a conversation and made me feel like I was indeed his only client. I knew that his dedication and commitment to my case at no time wavered. I had the utmost confidence in him and his team.’
Led by Tania Francis, Hempsons' regulatory and crime team is skilled in representing professional clients - including police officers and health professionals - facing criminal investigations. The firm's London presence was significantly expanded by its merger with Eastwoods in January 2020, a combination which brought together Hempsons' health and social care expertise and Eastwoods' experience of defending professionals. The combined practice was also subsequently bolstered in late 2020 by the additions of Rob Newbould from Slater and Gordon and Paul Parsons from Cartwright King, both of who focus on police law. Of the former Eastwoods team, Surjit Dubb is a specialist in misconduct and disciplinary proceedings, Adam Smith also focuses on police law, and Simon Eastwood continues to work with the team as a senior consultant.
Other key lawyers:
Surjit Dubb; Paul Parsons; Simon Eastwood; Rob Newbould
‘The team has a particular focus on (and real expertise in) defending professionals in prosecution proceedings and police officers especially. They understand the wider impact of the proceedings for the individual’s career with the ability to look beyond just the prosecution itself to potential future disciplinary proceedings also.’
‘Hempsons maintain a consistently high level of service. They are very client focused, very good at communicating with all stakeholders – opponents, courts and clients alike.’
‘Rob Newbould is an exceptionally good solicitor with an excellent knowledge of police regulations and police misconduct. He has a huge amount of experience representing police officers in criminal cases, misconduct and inquests.’
‘The team are hard working and dedicated to their clients.’
‘Paul Parsons has many years of experience in defending police officers charged with criminal offences. He knows his way around the criminal courts nationally and is adept at getting officers to focus on the real issues to hand giving realistic and straightforward advice.’
‘Simon Eastwood stands out for his combined regulatory and criminal background. His depth of knowledge in both areas are ideally suited for crossover allegations. He digs in deep and sees a case and is often able to see thing from a fresh angle.’
‘Rob Newbould is hard working, thorough, calm and knowledgeable – everything an officer facing serious allegations needs.’
‘Surjit Dubb gives his time and energy to his clients and nothing is ever too much hassle.’
The business crime and regulatory team at Howard Kennedy LLP focuses on private criminal work for high-net-worth individuals, primarily handling financial matters or cases involving harassment and blackmail rather than other work more typically handled by legal aid practices. The team, which is led by the ‘super experienced and confident‘ Ian Ryan, works in tandem with the firm’s reputation management and fraud lawyers to provide a tailored service to its high-end clients.
‘Ian Ryan is well-known as one of the top solicitors in the field.’
‘Ian Ryan is super experienced and confident. Knows exactly how to try to solve his client’s problems.’
‘Ian Ryan is a star. Enormously experienced, unflappable and always immaculately prepared, he inspires confidence in the client and the team. Moreover, he is a supreme strategist and tactician.’
‘Vast experience of dealing with privately funded clients and going the extra mile to provide a full and complete service.’
‘Led by Ian Ryan, the team has deep experience in high profile serious fraud, corruption, cash forfeiture and money laundering including those with international components. In almost every high profile serious case, this team brings outstanding experience and insight to the work it does.’
‘The firm is highly professional and effective. They are well resourced both in terms of high calibre lawyers and facilities. They provide a first rate service in fraud and financial crime cases. ‘
- Advising a high-net-worth individual in relation to allegations of criminal wrongdoing against them and of which they are a victim.
- Representing an estate agent to provide advice in relation to regulatory and criminal compliance matters.
- Representing a high-net-worth individual in relation to a long-running FCA investigation.
The ‘intelligent, friendly and determined‘ team at ITN Solicitors is led by Simon Natas – ‘a leading solicitor in protest law who really gets stuck in on behalf of his clients‘. He works alongside managing partner Nadeem Thanvi, who expertly handles cases involving serious organised crime, fraud and homicide and has ‘in-depth knowledge of all aspects of terrorism law’. Much of the firm’s recent work has involved terrorism-related allegations, although the firm also handles cases concerning conspiracy to defraud, murder, drugs, protests and sexual offences.
Simon Natas; Itpal Dillon
Other key lawyers:
Nadeem Thanvi; Hilary Doherty
‘It is a strong criminal team. They are instructed in really big cases, often with interesting points of law involved in areas like terrorism, fraud and protest. The quality of staff, including support staff, is very good and you generally know that anyone you deal with will be sharp and on top of things.’
‘ITN are one of the top firms in country, well know for their protest work but also renowned for terrorism, serious crime and fraud. Intelligent, friendly and determined. Absolutely brilliant.’
‘The firm have a unique mix of criminal solicitors with services in related areas of human rights and public law. They have a particular expertise in Protest Law. They act in criminal cases at the highest level.’
‘Simon Natas is a very experienced criminal practitioner. Extremely knowledgeable with excellent judgement. He is also a lovely person to work with, always incredibly friendly and kind.’
‘Simon Natas is simply fantastic and a leading solicitor in protest law who really gets stuck in on behalf of his clients.’
‘From the least serious charge to the most serious allegation, Nadeem Thanvi’s case preparation is immaculate and his client care unwavering. He knows his cases inside out, carefully identifying issues well in advance, marshalling legal arguments, grappling with all factual issues and demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of terrorism law. With his help, defendants approach the court with confidence, knowing they and their case are in very safe hands.’
‘Itpal Dhillon is smart, thorough and determined to get the best outcome.’
‘Hilary Doherty is a stand out solicitor. Her knowledge is second to none. Grounded and sound advice.’
Recent work for Janes Solicitors has included major cases involving drugs, financial crime, money laundering and murder - the firm is known for handling 'incredible work for such a small team.' The hugely experienced Robert Berg heads up the crime department; he is a Higher Courts Advocate and is praised for his 'very winning way with clients'. Other key members of the team include criminal litigator Fiona Gavriel. The firm prides itself on offering direct contact with partners and operating an "open door" policy with the whole team.
Other key lawyers:
Alex Mincoff; Fiona Gavriel; Alex Chapman
‘Janes has huge depth of experience in serious crime and fraud. Their preparation is meticulous.’
‘An interesting firm that have incredible work for such a small team.’
‘Robert Berg has huge experience and has seen it all. Better, he is able to deploy this to his client’s advantage. He has a very winning way with clients, always being able to put them at ease.’
‘Robert Berg – there is nothing that can surprise him, or throw him off course.’
‘Fiona Gavril continues to excel in financial crime. She provides excellent legal skills with a real personal touch. She attracts those who want a down to earth lawyer with superb strategic case management skills.’
‘David Janes – the best criminal solicitor in the sector bar none. His knowledge of the law and recent law is unparalleled.’
- Acted for a defendant charged with conspiracy to supply 400 kilograms of cocaine valued at £32m.
- Represented James Stunt, Bernie Ecclestone’s former son-in-law, in a police investigation relating to his gold bullion company.
The 'extremely reliable team' at Reeds Solicitors has three leads: joint heads of crime Stuart Matthews and Julian Richards are based in Oxford, while Abigail Ashford leads the London team. The firm, which specialises in criminal defence, prison law, family law, and mental health matters, benefits from a large network of offices across the UK, including a recently opened base in Manchester. Ashford - 'an excellent solicitor with an unrivalled work ethic allied to an excellent analytical mind' - represents clients accused of the full spectrum of criminal offences in the Magistrates Court and Crown Court. Other key names in London include solicitor and Crown Court litigator Mark Abbott.
Stuart Matthews; Julian Richards; Abigail Ashford
Other key lawyers:
‘The crime team at Reeds go above and beyond – their client care is exceptional and they are truly collaborative‘.
‘A professional and efficient team providing excellent, realistic and timely advice. Excellent client handling skills. An extremely reliable team‘.
‘Reeds has a large, national team that is more than able to service all levels of work to a high standard, wherever it might arise in the country‘.
‘Abigail Ashford is the solicitor I would want if I were accused of a crime. She is bright, diligent and extremely capable. It is a pleasure to work alongside her because she knows what needs to be done in a case and she does it expeditiously and to a high standard. Her unwavering client care often leaves me wondering how she manages to also analyse her cases in the detail that she does. Her time management and the dedication she shows to her work must surely make her a future if not current star of the legal profession‘.
‘Mark Abbott is a superb solicitor. His work ethic is second to none and he is extremely approachable.’
‘Abigail Ashford in particular is exceptional. Her manner is professional yet warm. She is able to deal with clients from all walks of life. She works tirelessly for her clients and achieves great results for them against the odds‘.
‘Mark Abbott is a first-class solicitor – he approaches each case with care and dedication.’
‘Abigail Ashford is an excellent solicitor with an unrivalled work ethic allied to an excellent analytical mind. Her client manner is fantastic and engenders confidence and trust from the most weary and wary of clients, won over by a calm, methodical and painstaking approach to doing everything that can be done to assist them in their case.‘
'Unflappable' solicitor-advocate Piers Desser and seasoned litigator Rakeebah Rahim lead the 'exemplary' offering at Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP. The firm, which handles all types of criminal matters including sexual assault, drugs matters and financial crime, is praised for having 'real coalface experience, but with a professionalism rarely found in the legal aid sector'. Solicitor advocate Priya Patel and 'highly approachable and reassuring' associate Adebola Mayungbe are other names to note. The firm has bases in London, Manchester and now Exeter.
Rakeebah Rahim; Piers Desser
Other key lawyers:
Priya Patel; Adebola Mayungbe
‘RFB have the benefit of real coalface experience, but with a professionalism rarely found in the legal aid sector. They really care about their clients and will go over and above to ensure the best result for their clients. They also are one of the most diverse firms I know, appropriately reflecting the community they serve. Their experience of serious and violent crime is second to none‘.
‘I trust the criminal team at RFB completely. Communication between the firm and clients is exceptional, and they are diligent in case preparation‘.
‘RFB are a quality criminal law firm in an area that is ever shrinking. They are committed to providing an excellent service to their clients‘.
‘The professionalism of the team is exemplary. I have worked with the team on a very sensitive case involving diplomatic immunity, and the level of client care and the technical expertise of the team was exceptional‘.
‘Piers Desser is unflappable and his long experience in the sector is evident. He creates a safe and supportive environment for clients, and always identifies the key issues in a case. His client care is second to none‘.
‘Piers Desser is an assiduous investigator and litigator. He is realistic in his approach to cases which means far more is achieved and clients are well prepared for the case they have to meet. His practical approach means that the necessary work is done in good time-which in turn yields the best results for the client‘.
‘Adebola Mayungbe is a key asset to RFB. He has an excellent rapport with clients, and makes the time for them to ensure they feel their case is being dealt with fully. He makes careful decisions, and ensures that the best possible team is built for each case. He works tirelessly on his caseload, with a keen eye for identifying the individual needs of each client‘.
‘Ade Mayungbe is a highly approachable and reassuring solicitor who handles a wide variety of cases with the same level of care‘.
- Acted in murder trial with complex evidence and novel legal issues.
- Acted in case concerning conspiracy to murder with multifaceted and data-heavy evidence.
- Advised client on money laundering allegations, with cross-disciplinary aspects.
Shearman Bowen & Co
Operating in the areas of general and serious crime, the team at Shearman Bowen & Co handles both legal aid and privately funded work. In particular, the firm's expertise extends to drug trafficking, sexual offences, acts of violence and terrorism charges. The firm recently represented a defendant in a multi handed murder case at Croydon Crown Court, securing acquittal after a five-week trial. The team lead is the 'fantastic' Mark Bowen with associates Arlene Mansoor and Rebecca Cooke being additional names to note.
Other key lawyers:
Arlene Mansoor; Rebecca Cooke
‘A first-rate firm with renowned prowess in the field of fraud and commercial crime. It is their experience over many years that makes them a go-to firm to clients needing top advice and direction in this very specialized area . There are very few genuine experts in this rarified field – Shearman Bowen are one of the few‘.
‘Shearman Bowen are, in my view, one of the best crime and fraud firms in London and the country. They combine excellent case preparation and attention to detail with superb client care. They are often involved in very high profile criminal cases in London and elsewhere. I have worked with them many times over the years and I hold them in the highest regard. There is no better crime team anywhere‘.
‘A truly wonderful firm – big firm expertise, experience and talent with small firm client care and attention to relationships. They are committed, diligent, hard-working, sensible, focused and impressive. A real joy to work with. They richly deserve their extremely good reputation in a competitive and challenging market‘.
‘Shearman Bowen is an exceptional boutique firm which provides high quality representation to individuals and companies. They have an impressive portfolio of high profile clientele. The staff are hardworking and effective. They are one of the most impressive boutique firms dealing with general crime and white-collar crime cases‘.
‘Mark Bowen – the driving force of the firm. Has all the attributes of a top table solicitor. Work ethic, commitment to the client, unflinching but always the best advice and a sense of humour. At the top of the game where he will always remain‘.
‘Mark Bowen is an exceptional criminal lawyer. His intelligence and analytical ability are second to none and he is absolutely brilliant at looking after his clients and working hard to always ensure the best outcome. I have also recently worked with Arlene Mansoor who is an up and coming solicitor with a huge commitment to her clients and brilliant case preparation‘.
‘Mark Bowen is one of the greats in the business. A charming man with a great ability to inspire confidence and respect in his clients. His judgment is excellent and he has a very keen sense of what is possible in a case. Very intelligent, sensible and subtle. He is a joy to work with.
‘Rebecca Cooke is excellent. She is totally dedicated to her clients and goes the extra mile as standard. Nothing is too big or too small a task for her. Very impressive indeed‘.
Sonn Macmillan Walker is known for handling serious and complex cases, covering a range of crime and extradition work. Recent matters have included murder, violent crime, drugs cases and sexual offences. Key names include firm founder David Sonn, who is known for his expertise in road traffic cases, and 'brilliant and committed' litigation head Amy Cox.
Amy Cox; David Sonn
Other key lawyers:
‘Very committed to their clients, super organised and great judgement, making their advice to their clients the best you can get. Particularly expert in multi-handed conspiracies, of violence and of drugs.’
‘David Sonn is an excellent solicitor, in particular with regard to road traffic cases which is his particular speciality. There are few, if any, solicitors in London with his level of experience and skill in dealing with these cases.’
‘Amy Cox is a first-class lawyer; her reputation with clients is nationwide. Her case management is second to none, and she is also so good at picking the right counsel for the right case, ensuring her clients have the best outcome – whether that’s avoiding charge altogether or getting brilliant results on the most unpromising cases.’
‘If I was in trouble, I’d call this firm. Excellent solicitors, highly committed and very professional.’
‘The firm is very experienced in handling the most serious and complex cases. Client care is a high priority. They provide sensitive and sensible advice to clients to help them through the evidence and procedures, and to overcome the often ill-informed advice clients receive from fellow-inmates while on remand in custody.’
‘This practice stands out due to their exceptional levels of preparation and attention to detail. It is clear that they are dedicated to their clients’ best interests at all times no matter how big or small the case happens to be.’
‘Amy Cox is a brilliant and committed solicitor who does everything she can to get the right results for her clients.’
‘Amy Cox is an excellent solicitor with great organisational skills.’
The team at Stuart Miller Solicitors is staffed by 'incredibly driven people' and is split into into four departments - police station, Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court and serious crime and fraud. Recognised for handling the most serious of matters, its recent caseload includes gang-related murders, conspiracy to supply drugs, possession of firearms, revenge porn and money laundering. Joint team leads Mohammed Zeb ('who has an extraordinary following from clients who are loyal to him') and Abu Kibla ('an outstanding director with a razor-sharp intellect') are assisted by 'extremely bright solicitor' Anna Sidgwick.
Mohammed Zeb; Abu Kibla
Other key lawyers:
Anna Sidgwick; Nawal Asskoumi
‘Stuart Miller focus on client care and deliver a fantastic service, borne out by their continued ability to attract instructions in many complex and high-profile general crime matters. They also show a fantastic level of diversity in their firm‘.
‘The incredibly driven people that make the company stand out from other firms – this is what I believe makes Stuart Miller very unique. The individuals who work on your case will always have you on board with every step ensuring your involvement in the process. I believe their values and service for their clients go above and beyond and are what sets their integrity apart from other firms‘.
‘The team at Stuart Miller are relentless, fearless and ethical experts in the field of criminal law. The firm adapted very quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic because they have their own video subscription for prison visits. This meant that clients in custody were seen as often as possible, ensuring that instructions could be taken for case progression and bail applications made during the height of the pandemic‘.
‘Mohammed Zeb is always available and really does have his finger on the pulse of the firm. He has an extraordinary following from clients who are loyal to him and regularly seek his advice. His gravitas alone is no doubt one of the reasons for the continued success of the firm‘.
‘Abu Kibla is an asset to Stuart Miller, working hard both behind the scenes and in ensuring that clients are receiving the best possible service. His dedication to his clients is notable and an important feature of why we consider him as someone to refer matters to. He has practised criminal law for many years and that experience is demonstrated in his informed, strategic approach towards the defence of his clients‘.
‘Abu Kibla is an outstanding director with a razor sharp intellect. He runs the day to day management of the firm and monitors cases to ensure that all clients are receiving the best advice and representation. He is understanding and realistic, ensuring that the best interests of the client are put above everything else‘.
‘Anna Sidgwick is an extremely bright solicitor with an outstanding level of case preparation – clients are in safe hands with Anna‘.
- Represented client on charge of murder; he was acquitted of the charge after trial at the Central Criminal Court.
- Represented client on charges of murder; he was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter at Reading Crown Court.
- Represented client on charges of grievous bodily harm and violent disorder; he was acquitted at the Central Criminal Court in a case which led to the murder of his brother.
The general crime offering at Advice Wise Solicitors Limited is led by Shahid Khan. Handling a broad spectrum of matters, the firm is particularly strong in allegations of serious violence (including murder, manslaughter and kidnapping), money laundering, possession of dangerous weapons and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. In addition, the team's expertise extends to burglary, benefit fraud, historic sex offences and perverting the course of justice. Director Abraar Ayaz is another key member of the practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘Advice Wise are one of the most approachable team of lawyers I have ever come across. Walking in to their office is like walking in to a family home; they are all extremely welcoming and make people feel at ease when dealing with the most testing of circumstances. Their client care is second to none and their attention to detail commendable‘.
‘Advice Wise are a very close knit firm whose work is of the highest quality. They are a firm that I have recommended to others and will continue to do so in the future‘.
‘The team at Advice Wise is excellent. Led by Shahid Khan, they are very well run, professional, give clients a tip-top service and as well as legal services at a top level, they also provide the personal touch. A very diverse staff of people and one where they combine well‘.
‘Shahid Khan is the stand-out individual at the firm. Always giving service with a smile, behind the soft exterior is a hard worker who will not give an inch when it comes to his clients interests. He sets a very good example for his employees and his firm has a high performance rate that is the benchmark for many firms‘.
‘Abraar Ayaz stands out in terms of his commitment and work rate. He has progressed through the firm rapidly and is a stand out lawyer. Shahid Khan is an excellent leader who commands client respect, delegates well and comes highly recommended‘.
‘Shahid Khan heads the firm with expertise and vast experience in large scale frauds and the most serious crime. Shahid is the calming influence on his office and his friendly and caring demeanor is evident throughout the firm. ‘
‘Abraar Ayaz is the up and coming star in the firm – he makes sure that the most tricky cases are run smoothly – from start to finish everything is extremely thorough and client care is seen as the priority throughout‘.
- Represented the main defendant in a seven-hander concerning the supply of class of class A drugs using a drug line called Tariq.
- Instructed by the accused who had been arrested for the high-profile murder of an NHS worker during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
- Represented the leading defendant and another defendant in a multi-hander conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigration to a member state.
Three leads direct the offering at Clyde & Co LLP: road traffic litigation specialist Ian Walker and medical crime team head Adam Weston in London, and national health and safety head Helen Devery in Manchester. The team is highly regarded for its experience in corporate and individual crime in healthcare and health and safety, and has particular specialisms in abuse and neglect offences, indecent images prosecutions, medical crimes (particularly those falling under the Mental Health Act and Medicines Act) and white collar matters. Iskander Fernandez, Clare Chapman, Peter James and Diana Goldstein are other key names to note.
Ian Walker; Helen Devery; Adam Weston
Other key lawyers:
Iskander Fernandez; Clare Chapman; Peter James; Diana Goldstein
‘Really exceptional client care offered. The work is done to the highest standard, and communications are always answered swiftly and appropriately. A smooth, professional outfit‘.
‘Key experience in corporate and individual crime in healthcare and health and safety make this team go to experts in their chosen fields‘.
‘Adam Weston – a leading disciplinary/regulatory practitioner who can also act in heavyweight criminal cases involving doctors‘.
‘Iskander Fernandezhas long experience in the field and it tells. He is a smooth, charming lawyer who clients really trust. I have worked on cases with him involving highly vulnerable clients, and have seen that his client care is exceptional. His work is of the highest standard, and he really cares about achieving the best results for his clients‘.
‘Iskander Fernandez was superb. On top of the brief at all times and navigated through the complexities with calm and skill‘.
‘Clare Chapman is an absolutely first class solicitor. She is incredibly dedicated and hard working, cares enormously about her clients and will do whatever it takes night or day to ensure that she gets the best outcomes for them. Her cases are always immaculately prepared and she makes sure every angle is covered‘.
Team lead Nick Brett brings expertise in disciplinary law to the general crime offering at Brett Wilson LLP. Defending professionals, corporates and other individuals across a wide spectrum of matters, the firm is notable for handling allegations of professional misconduct, physical abuse, money laundering and fraud. Associates Sharron Boyce and Alistair Parker are respective specialists in historic sexual offences and regulatory prosecutions.
Other key lawyers:
Sharron Boyce; Alistair Parker
‘I was extremely happy I selected Brett Wilson to represent me. They kept me up to date on bills and costs, collaborated well with another firm and maintained regular contact.’
‘The team has many strengths including: the incredible knowledge they have of all areas of criminal law; the dedication with which they act for their clients; the fairness with which they bill. Very adept at dealing with material provided on a variety of digital ways and able to address problems as they arise‘.
‘Nick Brett is very thorough. Comprehensive knowledge of relevant legal principles. Excellent at communicating with the client. Easy to get along with, gentle with confidence and a hugely experienced.’
‘Sharron Boyce has extensive experience in dealing with complex cases. She is tenacious and takes a very hands on approach to her cases from the outset’.
‘Sharron Boyce is highly driven to achieve best outcomes, super bright, knows the law and procedure inside out. Client care is outstanding, her confidence and intuition to challenge injustice is exceptional‘.
‘Alistair Parker is a stand out solicitor. He is brilliant with clients and is always a step ahead preparing cases and anticipating issues‘.
‘Alistair Parker handled my case with exceptional dedication, professionalism and initiative. I felt immediately at ease on my first consultation with him and trusted him entirely throughout my year as his client. At all times I felt comfortable approaching him with any questions, suggestions or anxieties I had‘.
Cantaris Locke Solicitors
Known for its work on high profile cases, the team at Cantaris Locke Solicitors has expertise with regards to murder, serious violence, drugs, people trafficking and offences of dishonesty. Notably, the firm has been instructed on numerous high-profile drug matters, including a major conspiracy and importation case, and has particular experience in EncroChat firearm conspiracies. The joint leads are Costa Cantaris and Natalia Locke.
Costa Cantaris; Natalia Locke
‘Cantaris Locke truly are an exceptional firm of solicitors. They provide a Rolls-Royce service to their clients and are passionate about achieving outstanding results in every case. This firm has earned their high profile reputation and are deserving of their success. This is due to their commitment to justice and doing their level professional best for every client they represent‘.
‘The team are a very strong collective unit or practitioners, with all bases covered and a vast wealth of experience. I have always been impressed by their dedication, hardworking and professionalism‘.
‘Great communication. Excellent knowledge of the law and procedure. Tactically very astute‘.
‘Costa Cantaris is an exceptional lawyer who combines approachability, customer care and a fantastic forensic ability to asses any situation. His partner, Natalia Locke and he make a great team‘.
‘Costa Cantaris is an extremely hardworking, dedicated individual, determined to secure the best results for his clients. He leaves no stone unturned in pursuing his client’s cases and ensures that he is tactically focused and that those around him are‘.
‘They can be trusted to look after clients needs and provide top level advice. Where clients feel all hope is lost they achieve outstanding results. Dispensing intelligent advice with precision. Their advice is spot on while being sympathetic to their clients predicament they are straight talking and offer clients clarity to their differing needs. They work at ground level to top level advice‘.
‘Costa Cantaris is an exemplary solicitor who has an outstanding reputation for providing a first class service to his clients. His attention to detail in the preparation of cases is second to none. He is an exceptional communicator and immediately establishes a rapport with his clients. He is forensic, meticulous, passionate and extremely approachable. A superb example of everything a criminal law firm should be‘.
- Represented client facing charges for conspiracy to supply cannabis on an industrial scale and discharging acid on police officers.
- Represented client for conspiracy to supply multi kilos of Class A drugs and acquisition of firearms on a national scale.
- Represented client for conspiracy to produce cannabis on an industrial scale nationwide.
Characterised as a 'premier league firm', Carson Kaye's team is co-led by the 'formidable pair' of John Carson - 'a true street fighter' - and John Kaye, who 'oozes charm and judgement'. Notably, the firm takes instructions on financial investigations brought by the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue & Customs, the City of London Police Economic Crime Unit and Trading Standards. The firm's recent caseload touches on areas such as conspiracy to murder, bribery and corruption (in sport), as well as drugs cartel cases. The firm is praised for 'offering a first-class service to a private client base and high end legal aid.'
John Carson; John Kaye
‘Carson Kaye is an impressive young outfit which has exceeded expectations to become an outstanding player in the areas they operate in‘.
‘Carson Kaye is a major player in the market of general crime, offering a first-class service to a private client base and high end legal aid. The firm is consistently involved in substantial complex prosecutions across the country‘.
‘A standout criminal firm. The two partners of the firm are personally committed to every case they take on. Preparation of every case is collegiate and thorough. The firm only employs and instructs approachable and able people. In recent times, the firm has taken a lead in advising clients on EncroChat cases, a sign that it has become a top tier criminal firm. Not frightened to provide robust advice where necessary, this is a firm that leaves it all on the pitch, a firm of talented battlers‘.
‘Carson Kaye are a premier league firm. They thoroughly prepare their cases and are very hands on dealing with each case‘.
‘John Carson is consistently instructed in high-profile cases and is a very user friendly lawyer. A tactically astute and thoroughly prepared lawyer who will always endeavour to put his clients best foot forward. John ensures that he knows what is going on at the practice and in the market‘.
‘John Carson and John Kaye make a formidable pair; Carson’s hands-on approach to client care and the key issues in cases paired with Kaye’s tactical nous mean all cases are fully prepared and set in a direction to give their clients the best possible outcome‘.
‘John Kaye is a sharp and bright character with a dogged determination for his clients. He knows his clients, his counsel and his cases inside out and without doubt will develop the firm to great things. He is a class act and highly experienced. He is very bright, sensible and realistic and is supported by an exceptional team. He oozes charm and judgement. John Carson – a true street fighter who will find a pragmatic solution to his clients problems. John is a main player in the field of crime as is rivalling those more established firms. He is highly respected by counsel and hugely experienced in the system. His team evidently cares about clients welfare throughout and he is robust and firm when it comes to his cases. He is devoted and experienced‘.
‘John Kaye is a very bright lawyer. His cases are well prepared and he delivers a quality service to his clients‘.
- Instructed to represent a defendant on the indictment in a case where several defendants are charged with various counts of conspiracy to murder. This organised crime group is alleged to have accepted contracts to kill several individuals on behalf of people based in Dubai.
- Instructed to represent one of football’s most recognised football agents with regards to criminal charges deriving from a lengthy HMRC investigation into bribery and corruption.
Manchester-based firm JMW Solicitors LLP launched a London office in 2019 with the hire of Lee Adams from Hughmans, where he led the criminal department. Adams, who heads up the London office while also leading the business crime and regulation team, has since been joined by former Blaser Mills Law crime and regulatory head Daniel Martin and former Norton Rose Fulbright associate Amy Shaffron, who was promoted to partner in May 2021. The London team, which operates as part of the wider firm's highly rated national practice, has a growing reputation for private prosecutions; other recent work has included drugs cases, organised crime, sexual allegations, burglary and harassment cases. The firm is praised as being 'a big and fast-growing firm which manages to maintain the personal touch, values and commitment to its clients of a boutique firm.'
Other key lawyers:
Daniel Martin; Amy Shaffron
‘Lee Adams is simply unflappable. He remains calm, assured and reassuring regardless of the pressure or situation.’
‘Amy Shaffron works exceptionally hard for her clients and has the unreachable ability to judge how each individual client needs to be managed.’
‘Daniel Martin is a force to be reckoned with. Wise beyond his years, he is vigorous in his case preparation and leaves no stone unturned. Opponents and competitors always need to be on their toes when Dan’s in their case.’
‘Daniel Martin is the epitome of focused professionalism. The energy, wisdom and enthusiasm he brings to each case I have worked on with him, makes him stand out from the competition. I would would and have recommended him to others due to his work ethic, the confidence he instills in clients and his determination to get a result.’
‘Lee Adams is very hard-working, realistic as to outcomes, but persuasive. Sticks up for his client, recognises weaknesses in a case and works out how to address them.’
‘Lee Adams has brought with him his committed client base following his elevation to managing partner of the JMW London office. He continues to provide the top-notch personal client care his clients love, supported by the additional resources and greater power of JMW. He is the guy you call if you get in trouble, period.’
‘Lee Adams is a powerhouse of a partner in the criminal and fraud department. Bright as a button, and incredibly hard working.’
‘Amy Shaffron is a partner with huge experience in the fraud and crime space. Incredibly hard working and client focused.’
- Advising client in respect of large scale conspiracy to supply of Class A and B drugs (Category 1) following the NCA’s hacking of Encro servers which has been subject to a Court of Appeal judgment on the admissibility of evidence.
- Representing the lead defendant in Operation Horizon, the investigation into an organised crime network moving class A drugs across ‘county lines’, between London, Coventry and Cumbria.
TV Edwards LLP
Led by the ‘brilliant and fearless’ Adrienne Wright, the team at TV Edwards LLP has a strong reputation for managing complex and serious cases. Particular matters include gang-related homicides, large scale drug supply, serious sexual offences and multimillion-pound fraud. Notably, the firm has significant experience with young offenders and specialises in representing vulnerable clients with mental health issues and learning difficulties. Mark Ashford, Sean Richardson and Lorraine Ekwe are additional names to note.
Other key lawyers:
Mark Ashford; Sean Richards; Lorraine Ekwe
‘TV Edwards has a range of high quality solicitors, both associates and partners, so have the breadth and depth to assign the right solicitor to a case. All in all, they provide an excellent service and are a pleasure to work with‘.
‘I have worked with the crime team at TV Edwards and I have found their commitment to clients and knowledge of the law exceptional. As counsel of African descent I understand first hand the importance of the need for defendants of African descent to be represented by lawyers/solicitors of a similar ancestry/ethnicity. TV Edwards has that diversity‘.
‘A very professional outfit with loyal clients as a result‘.
‘TV Edwards is a great firm with a loyal client base. Many of my clients are regular clients who return with their new cases, a sign of a good quality firm. The team are very close and there is always someone on hand to assist when I call in. The office is well run by Adrienne Wright and the team very well trained‘.
‘Adrienne Wright is brilliant and fearless‘.
‘Mark Ashford is an outstanding lawyer. He has an excellent legal brain and outstanding client care. He is extremely knowledgeable in dealing with young offenders‘.
‘I am always very impressed with Mark Ashford. He is very dedicated to his cases, carries out all necessary preparation proactively, and knows his clients very well‘.
‘Sean Richards – superb publicly funded , committed , hugely experienced- client care second to none. Lorraine Ekwe – exceptional and shows an indefatigable commitment to the defence of her clients – going over, above and beyond‘.
- Represented a defendant in a multi-handed murder trial at the Old Bailey.
- Represented a client in exceedingly complex contempt of court proceedings and achieved an outstanding sentence for the client.
- Represented a client accused of killing his child by giving them cocaine in multiple sets of criminal matters.
Leading Cartwright King's national team from Manchester, Michael Balmer has a strong track record in high profile and complex criminal cases. The firm handles private, legal aid and insurance-backed work and covers matters such as murder, offences against the person, historic sexual assault, terrorism and cyber crime. The practice also has a specialist military law team and has expertise in extradition, licensing applications and road traffic violations. Sundeep Soor and Gemma Redfern departed in late 2020.
The 'excellent' general crime team at MK Law Solicitors Limited is co-led by Manisha Knights and Hesham Puri. Handling the most serious of offences, including murder, fraud and drug importation, the firm's clients include musicians, models, athletes, doctors, business figures and lawyers. Notably, the practice is also regularly instructed in violent firearms offences and has successfully defended a number of high-profile individuals against white-collar allegations.
Manisha Knights; Hesham Puri
‘I came across MK Law when I was in a situation where I needed a solicitor for a member of my family. We were extremely anxious and out of our depth in a very unfamiliar setting. Not only were we put instantly at ease by their representative, but we were fully listened to; they were focused and took charge in every setting throughout the course of legal representation. We felt fully confident in the whole team of solicitors and office staff‘.
‘This is one of the best firms that I have used, they are always very honest and straightforward, they don’t pull their punches when they are explaining the situation to a client. They also explain everything in great detail. MK Law is my one-stop shop, regardless of the case because I know from experience that they will not give me or my clients a raw deal, and if they are unable to take the case – which is rare – they will always recommend the best person for the job‘.
‘MK Law remain an excellent criminal defence firm. One of their standout attributes is how they bring the same level of thorough preparation, litigation and advocacy to all cases – not just the large or high profile ones‘.
‘MK Law attract a loyal following of clients as they provide a dedicated service throughout. You can tell that every case matters to them and that the firm takes genuine pride in achieving favourable outcomes for their clients‘.
‘Manisha Knights was a particular stand out partner in both empathy of our feelings regarding legal situations and the utmost professionalism when representing us in court. We had complete confidence in her. She made us feel her whole purpose was to just to represent us‘.
‘Manisha Knights completely dedicates herself to her clients’ cases and will fight every inch of the way on their behalf‘.
‘Hesham Puri brings a calm and pragmatic approach to his cases and his advice can be relied on to be sensible and realistic‘.
‘Hesham Puri is simply wonderful and makes even the most gruelling of cases a pleasure to work on. Incredibly hardworking and dedicated to his clients‘.
- Represented Brian Reader, the ring leader of the Hatton Garden Burglary. Successfully argued not to enforce the Confiscation Order of £6m due to ill health. He was the only defendant not to have been returned to prison to serve the default sentence.
Characterised as a 'sleek and efficient outfit', boutique practice Roe Lawyers specialises in criminal and regulatory litigation. Acting for private clients (both individuals and businesses), the team has defended a number of high-profile individuals against allegations of historic sexual offences, conspiracy to supply drugs, white-collar crimes and phone hacking. The team lead is the 'dedicated and fearless' Stephanie Roe.
‘Roe Laywers are a boutique firm which is entirely client-focused. They provide a dedicated service to selected clients which is of the highest standard. They are flexible in their approach and practical in their advice – always seeking the best possible outcome for the client. The service provided is friendly and supportive whilst providing realistic and effective advice at every stage‘.
‘The firm offers a boutique level of service that very few in the sector can manage. They are constantly available to their clients, and tenacious in the defence of their interests‘.
‘A sleek and efficient outfit whose principal embodies professionalism and legal acumen‘.
‘Steph is one of the hardest working individuals I know. She is very accessible, has excellent client care skills and in particular, although a fine lawyer herself, has developed a professional network that is second to none. What that means is that she is brilliantly placed to identify what other resources an individual client needs to succeed with their case, and ensuring that they have access to them‘.
‘Steph Roe has huge experience representing clients in criminal proceedings. She is thorough and completely dedicated‘.
‘Stephanie Roe is a dedicated and fearless lawyer who will leave no stone unturned and no evidence unexamined in representing her client. She has vast experience across multiple areas of criminal law and is able to provide practical advice in the most complex of cases. She has a keen eye for detail and a determination to ensure every possible avenue is explored‘.
‘Stephanie Roe has vast experience from many top tier firms that worked at prior to starting Roe Lawyers. Her commitment and attention to details are second to none, she engages specifically experienced counsel to support her case strategy and management. She is proactive and engaged throughout the length of all of her cases. Client care is outstanding‘.
‘Stephanie Roe is an experienced lawyer who, having honed her skills at a market leading firm, has founded and developed a firm which itself is now recognised as major player in criminal law‘.
Led by 'leading player' Timur Rustem, the general crime team at Rustem Guardian LLP is said to be 'outstanding in client care'. Adept at both domestic and international matters, the firm specialises in murder, sexual offences, county lines drug cases, account freezing orders and forfeiture proceedings. Notably, the practice has established a presence in the Far East and includes Chinese and Thai speaking solicitors within its defence team.
‘Very proactive and diligent. Accommodating and realistic in their approach. Ably led by Timur Rustem, who is always measured and unflappable‘.
‘This firm has very high standards with an excellent record of successful results. The type of cases dealt by this firm are cases at the very high end of the scale of seriousness. Overall the firm is designed to provide a Rolls-Royce service‘.
‘This is a vibrant, diverse team, which has a great track record for nurturing young talent. As a result clients will find that their solicitors are high quality but yet down to earth. Their attention to detail is impressive and they have a solid structure in place to ensure that nothing is overlooked‘.
‘Rustem Guardian are outstanding in client care. Nothing is too much and no stone left unturned. If expert evidence is required, then it is provided. Conferences are arranged expeditiously and are comprehensive. Further, if advice is given, then it is followed up with alacrity, so that thorough trial preparation is always up-to-speed‘.
‘I value their attention to detail, their proactivity and their sound legal analysis. This ensures that the clients are given sound advice from an early stage, so that they have a realistic understanding of their case. It also means that I can be confident that if I advise that something be done to prepare the case, that it will be done in a timely and considered manner. Key stars are Tim Rustem and Katerina Tsibouklis‘.
‘I have worked with Tim Rustem and reckon him to be very wordly-wise and savvy. He is the sort of solicitor I would want to represent me: on top of his brief, and with great tactical awareness. Tim has been a leading player for many years now, but is still top-notch‘.
‘Timur Rustem is the heart of the firm and retains overall responsibility for all matters that are ongoing. Timur Rustem has a robust approach to police interviews and always ensures that the best results possible are obtained. There is always careful analysis of pre-interview disclosure. He is incredibly well regarded in various communities and is regularly approached by those involved in extremely serious matters to consider their cases. Timur Rustem has been properly regarded as one of the leading solicitors in respect of EncroChat work and has dealt with the most serious of those cases‘.
- Represented a Chinese national charged with prostitution, people trafficking and supply of drugs offences. The defendant was acquitted of the most serious offences on the indictment.
- Successfully defended a 16-year old charged with murder and violent disorder in a complex, multi-handed trial before the CCC. The defendant was acquitted of murder, and his co-defendant was convicted, receiving a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 20 years.
- Represented a defendant with a significant role in the largest ever single seizure of GBL in the UK, including over £3m worth of GBL in a professional commercial drugs operation. The defendant received a far lower sentence than his co-defendants following submissions on role and sentence.