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United Kingdom > North West > Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: fraud > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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    • Bridgette Hibbert - Farleys Solicitors LLP

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Farleys Solicitors LLP  is ‘in the premier league; the hardworking and totally professional team puts clients first and the quality of the team’s work is second to none’. Paul Schofield   heads the department and ‘takes great pride in his work’. Schofield is a Very High Costs Panel Supervisor and a Higher Courts (Criminal) Advocate with vast experience of defending clients from professional backgrounds. Another key member of the team is the ‘exceptional’  Bridgett Hibbert  who has considerable experience in proceeds of crime applications and in all aspects of confiscation proceedings. The ‘outstanding’  Laura Walmsley has expertise in MITC carousel and VAT fraud cases in addition to other serious fraud matters. The excellent team is skilled at advising on a broad array of issues including complex fraud and conspiracy to defraud cases. Other areas of expertise include defending company directors facing disciplinary proceedings as well as those who have failed to comply with their statutory obligations. The firm ‘sets the yardstick for other criminal firms in fraud and for general crime matters’. Sian Hall has retired.

An ‘excellent firm from top to bottom', Garstangs Cartwright King LLP provides 'quality advice and representation, and is one of the foremost firms for criminal fraud in the UK’.  The ‘very smart’ Richard Cornthwaite  heads the fraud team and is a ‘clever tactician who quickly detects any weaknesses in the prosecution case’. Michael Balmer is a ‘no-nonsense pragmatist’ who is praised for his ‘great client skills’. The ‘outstanding’ Balmer is immensely experienced in representing professional clients such as company directors who are facing prosecutions by prosecuting authorities. The ‘hardworking and experienced ‘team continues to act in some of the most high-profile and complex white collar crime cases currently being prosecuted in the UK and is skilled at defending investigations and prosecutions brought by the SFO, NCA, HMRC and the FCA. The practice works on a mix of privately paid, legally aided and insurance backed complex fraud work. Lesley Burrows  is also recommended. The group ‘continues to operate at the highest level when it comes to financial and regulatory crimes’, and was joined by the ‘much sought-after’ Richard Holliday from Olliers. Gary Broadfield joined Barnfather Solicitors.

At JMW Solicitors LLP, practice head Peter Grogan ‘puts clients at ease from the outset; He stays fully on top of the detail and can spot any issues immediately’. He is ably assisted by the 'superb' Evan Wright, who ‘always goes that extra mile for his clients and is always well prepared’; and Mike Rainford, who is experienced at dealing with complex fraud and tax investigations (in particular those involving film tax fraud) as well as investigations/prosecutions led by the FCA, HSE, Trading Standards and the Environment Agency. Key work included acting for an Indian restaurateur who the HMRC alleges has dishonestly evaded in excess of £100,000 of VAT over a five year period. The team as a whole is praised for its ‘excellent attention to detail’.

MSB Solicitors  is ‘extremely strong in this area. The team has an excellent work ethic and understanding of all aspects of fraud. It is one of the premier criminal solicitors in the North West and continues to go from strength to strength because of its commitment to excellence and its constant drive to improve even more’. Sean Sexton  (a qualified Solicitor Advocate (Higher Court Criminal Proceedings) and a supervisor on the specialist fraud panel) is a ‘consistent leader in his field’ who ‘combines a sharp intellect with ruthless hard work, leaving no paper unread and no legal angle unexplored’. The ‘very experienced’ Andrew Pearson is ‘recognised throughout the UK for his work with young defendants with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome’. Pearson is adept at advising on white-collar crime, serious fraud and regulatory matters. The practice is particularly recommended for its skill at representing individuals who are subject to major criminal investigations by the HMRC, and has 'a very well-deserved reputation for dealing with heavyweight financial crime’.

Olliers is an ‘excellent firm’. Key members of the team include the ‘very professional’Matthew Claughton  who is ‘really comfortable when dealing with high value fraud cases’ and the ‘very competent and experienced’ Alex Preston . Claughton is also a known-name for his substantial experience of advising on restraint orders during the course of complex investigations. The active practice routinely acts for clients facing investigations by various authorities such as the SFO, HMRC and the specialist fraud divisions of the police. It acts for professionals and has also acted for politicians in both Houses of Parliament. Richard Holliday joined Garstangs Cartwright King LLP.

Slater and Gordon   is ‘excellent in fraud. It has an outstanding and well-earned reputation in this field’. ‘The firm has a long history of having excellent experienced lawyers in fraud so it comes as no surprise that the firm remains one of the first ports of call for anyone who has been charged with a serious fraud or a financial crime’. There have been some changes at senior level in the team; the ‘tenacious, thorough and patient’ Rachel Adamson  joined the team from Stephensons Solicitors LLP, while Helen Simm departed for Clyde & Co LLP. Adamson is ‘very sensitive to her clients’ needs, sets rigorously high standards for her team and is a powerhouse for complex fraud cases; she has all the qualities that are needed to deal with long and difficult cases’. Other members of the ‘superb team’ include the ‘tenacious and hardworking’ associate Alan Greenidge  and solicitor Jonathon Enston, who is ‘dedicated and leaves no stone unturned’. Tim Coolican  is well regarded for his work in complex cases of business crime. The skilled team has recently acted in numerous SFO investigations and prosecutions and currently has two active VHCC contracts. The group conducts legal aid work as well as servicing a large number of private clients. ‘This is one of the top firms in the country for crime and is certainly a first stop for clients arrested with serious financial offences’.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP  fields a ‘very professional and committed team’ that include the ‘highly knowledgeable and experienced’ Correna Platt, and John Greenwood, who is an accredited supervisor under the Legal Aid Agency panel for Very High Cost Cases. Platt is praised for her ‘tenacity, work ethic, incisive thinking and dedication to ensuring that she gets the best possible outcome for her clients; she has a thoroughly well-deserved reputation for excellence and she is a top tier criminal solicitor when it comes to defending those charged with serious offences’. Also recommended is Sean Joyce, who has ‘built up a very good name for himself in this field’. The team regularly acts in the most high-value and substantial cases such as land-banking, Ponzi and VAT fraud as well as other areas such as investment fraud, the proceeds of crime and money laundering. In addition the team has been appointed to the Bar Standards Board interventions panel, to the Solicitors Regulation Authority interventions panel and to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers interventions panel. The group is currently advising the defendant on an ongoing fraud case spanning a number of jurisdictions involving significant sums of money. It is alleged that the defendant fraudulently missold pensions investments. Rachel Adamson joined Slater and Gordon.

Burton Copeland LLP's  ‘approachable, hardworking and efficient' team is headed by Erin Cowley, whose ‘knowledge of restraint and POCA proceedings is second to none’. The team regularly acts for both corporate and individual clients in relation to high-profile commercial crime matters. Other key members of the department include consultant Mike MacKey, who is also recommended for his work on white-collar crime. Kim Holden recently left the firm and is now a Senior Crown Prosecutor at the Specialist Fraud Division of the Crown Prosecution Service.

At Cunninghams Solicitors  head of department David Caplin  (a ‘fantastic tactician who really cares about his clients’), director Philip Lythgoe  and associate James McDermott  have an ‘ability to inspire client confidence which is second to none, borne in part through experience but also through a clear sighted determination to secure the best possible outcome for their clients’. The ‘highly competent’ team includes senior caseworker Sarah Bull, who ‘thoroughly prepares for her cases and develops excellent relationships with her clients’. The group is skilled at handling serious fraud matters in addition to complex and high-value confiscation and restraint proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The group routinely defends its clients against allegations of fraud that are brought by the main prosecuting agencies such as the SFO, HMRC and the complex case units of the Crown Prosecution Service as well as the serious and economic crime units of the police.

Forbes Solicitors is a 'leading firm for fraud cases in Lancashire', and its expertise extends beyond the county borders to provide coverage into the North East and the Midlands. According to clients, the firm is 'without equal in respect of the thoroughness of its case preparation, clarity of thought and its tactical approach to complex fraud cases'. Head of team Daniel King  is an 'experienced trial advocate' and 'has long been regarded as a leader in financial crime in Lancashire'. The 'very diligent' Craig Liversidge garners praise as an 'excellent analyst' – his 'preparation of complex fraud cases is unparalleled'. David Ryan  is 'particularly accomplished and respected'. The team deals with all types of financial crime such as large scale fraud, tax and cyber crime and has considerable expertise in mortgage fraud. The firm's 'level of skill and its reputation in complex fraud matters is now well-established'. As well as being adept at advising on investigations by the major serious crime agencies and the police it also has considerable regulatory experience and can advise on complex investigations and proceedings that have been intiated by bodies such as the DTI.

Paul Haycock  heads an experienced team at Irwin Mitchell  . Senior associate Emma Windle  is adept at defending individuals in complex and large scale commercial fraud and financial fraud. The team regularly advises individuals, companies and boards on criminal liability, compliance and multi-jurisdictional investigations. The department is also well regarded for its extensive experience in assisting clients with internal investigations over issues of internal theft and fraud as well as bribery and corruption. In addition the broad practice also advises on other major issues of financial crime such as insider dealing and breaches of the financial services regulations.

Keoghs LLP  is a ‘major fraud defence firm that has excellent technical abilities’. The ‘extremely personable and approachable’ Damian Ward  is a ‘true expert in this field’. Other well-known insurance fraud experts include Ruth Needham  and James Heath  who splits his time between Bolton and Coventry. There have been some additions to the team at a senior level Ben Leech  was made partner and Peter Oakes  and Lisa Kelly  both joined the team from Hill Dickinson LLP. It is one of the largest providers of counter fraud defendant services in the market and acts for the vast majority of the UK’s biggest insurers as well as corporate clients. The group handles the full array of fraud services including motor, employers’ and public liability, healthcare and disease matters. Clients include LV=, RSA, Zurich, MS Amlin.

Tuckers Solicitors  specialises in all aspects of criminal defence work including fraud and regulatory matters. The ‘excellent, professional and supportive’ Leigh Wright  heads the proceeds of crime and complex case unit and ‘always thinks outside the box’. Other key figures include Franklin Sinclair, who has higher rights of audience, and Stuart Sutton. The team is acting for the defendant in a £30m money laundering and duty evasion case concerning the illegal importation of cigarettes and alcohol on an allegedly industrial scale. The team has been given a VHCC contract.

3D Solicitors  is a newly established boutique firm that is praised for its ‘excellent preparation, advice and client care’. Founded by Daniel Berke, formerly of LHS Solicitors LLP, the firm specialises in general crime and fraud work as well as regulatory and professional discipline law. It has acted for professionals and businesses in investigations by their professional bodies including the Care Quality Commission and the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.

BLM  has considerable claims fraud expertise in the insurance sector and also supports its corporate clients in tackling issues of fraud. Raymond Southern manages a team of lawyers that specialises in the defence of fraudulent insurance claims and regularly acts for the top ten insurance companies and leading corporate businesses. Naomi Grant  covers all aspects of motor claims fraud, including cross-industry fraud investigations. Grant also has experience of dealing with home policy fraud claims and casualty claims. The team acts for some household names such as Allianz Insurance, QBE Insurance, Ageas Insurance and LV.

DWF fields a large team with a broad range of expertise across a number of sectors. Jamie Taylor  has considerable expertise in the niche area of telematics as well as counter fraud. Nigel Teasdale heads the motor fraud and claimant practice group and is skilled at handling all types of insurance claims. David Crank is another name to remember. The team acts for most of the major insurers such as the RSA and Amlin. Other key clients include Markerstudy, Insure the Box and Towergate.

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