Crime (general and fraud) in Regional Bar
No5 Barristers Chambers remains a key player in Midlands criminal law, housing a large team at both the junior and senior end who 'provide excellent representation throughout the Midlands and beyond'. The set covers the full spectrum of criminal work, with members such as Michelle Heeley QC frequently being instructed in high-profile sexual offences work such as her successful defence of Paul Gascoigne following his sexual assault charge, while Michael Duck QC is highly active in organised crime and POCA matters. From the junior ranks, the 'extremely intelligent and tactically astute' John O’Higgins is highly recommended for cases requiring a leading junior, while Philip Rule is notable for criminal appeals: crossing over with his prison law expertise, he represented the appellant in R v Veysey, which concerned appropriate charges and sentences for offences of throwing faeces and urine at prison officers, known as "potting".
St Philips Chambers remains one of the premier sets for criminal work in the Midlands, with clients and peers alike praising it as a 'go-to' set within the region offering 'professional and well-prepared' counsel across the full spectrum of criminal work. Kevin Hegarty QC heads the crime group, which also houses experienced silks Andrew Smith and Richard Atkins QC, the latter of whom recently returned to full-time practice following a term as Chair of the Bar. The set's junior ranks also feature some of the circuit's most prominent practitioners, with members such as Jennifer Josephs and Jonathan Barker frequently receiving instructions in a wide range of serious cases, including fraud and sexual offences. Josephs is also notable for her work on terrorism cases, and recently acted for the prosecution in the case of Jay Davison, a white supremacist convicted of publishing material with the intent to incite racial and religious hatred in the form of a string of Instagram posts.
Members of London-based set 7BR are active further north, with in particular a strong following in the East Midlands. James House QC has been involved in several of the region's highest-profile cases, recently defending Arkan Ali, who was charged along with two others in the murder of five individuals killed when a shop exploded in Leicester as part of a failed insurance fraud. Elsewhere in the team, Adrian Langdale QC took silk in 2020, while senior junior Gareth Weetman remains active in the fields of serious organised crime, fraud and sexual offences.
St Ives Chambers has a growing reputation for criminal work, with instructing solicitors reporting that 'their investment in the junior criminal Bar has paid off, resulting in impressive strength-in-depth' for the size of the team. Peter Cooper recently acted as junior defence counsel in the case of a woman who was convicted of the murders of her two young children, and Kevin Saunders is a key figure within the set for fraud matters, having recently represented a co-defendant of former Locke Lord LLP partner Jonathan Denton in a £16m investment fraud case. Amy Jackson, Rebecca Wade and Marcus Harry are frequently instructed in matters involving sexual offences.
The 36 Group maintains its strong presence in the East Midlands, with several members spending a significant portion of their practice in the region. William Harbage QC defended and Mary Prior QC prosecuted, in a case concerning a diabetic man accused of murdering his partner, with the defence case that he involuntarily committed the offence during a hypoglycaemic attack. Key names from the junior ranks include cybercrime specialist Sarah Gaunt, who also handles serious sexual offences, and Nadeem Holland, whose recent work has included allegations of organised crime and serious violence.