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Leading Silks

Richard Atkins KCSt Philips Chambers 'Richard is a strong jury advocate who can powerfully argue whilst being able to speak in common sense. He is an impressive figure in the court.'
Michael Duck KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers 'Michael is calm and courteous in court, makes the complex accessible without being condescending but has immense authority. He is liked and respected by his opponents, judges and juries. He is a well-prepared prosecutor and tenacious but also sensible and reasonable.'
Michelle Heeley KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers 'Michelle is incredibly hard-working and very responsive. She has a wonderful manner with clients and strong advocacy.'
Mary Prior KCThe 36 Group ‘Mary is a very eloquent advocate. She has particular strengths in dealing with vulnerable clients and builds a powerful rapport with her clients. She has great empathy with the jury and is down-to-earth, clear and punchy.’
Michael Burrows KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers ‘Michael is one of the best prosecutors in the Midlands. His preparation is second-to-none, and his charm in court ensures he gets results where others wouldn’t.’
Jonas Hankin KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers ‘Jonas is an exceptional and skilful barrister who is meticulous in his preparation.’
Kevin Hegarty KCSt Philips Chambers 'Kevin is a very accomplished KC. He can provide his client with strong and valuable advice. He is an attractive court advocate, well respected by judges.'
Mark Heywood KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers 'Mark is an extremely polished advocate with a calm, measured and careful approach to all aspects of his work. He has high professional standards.'
Adrian Keeling KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers ‘Adrian can distil considerable amounts of complex information simply and succinctly and, most importantly, in a way in which it makes sense to a lay jury is particularly impressive. He is fiercely bright and wins the unwinnable.’ 
John Lloyd-Jones KC – The 36 Group ‘John is a very clear thinker who plans his cases in detail from the outset. He identifies the principal issues and plans to deal with potential difficulties to avoid them becoming problems. His witness care skills are excellent: a balance of calm authority with human empathy.’
Andrew Vout KC – Castle Gate Chambers 'Andrew is a very accomplished advocate, who is clear and precise in his advocacy, also bringing humour to proceedings where appropriate. His written work is detailed and thorough. He has a good manner with clients, being honest and reassuring.'

2022 Silks

Harpreet Sandhu KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers ‘Harpreet is extremely responsive to his professional clients and has impeccable communication skills with lay clients, often explaining technical and complex areas of law. The delivery of his advocacy in the court is second to none, and his preparation of written submissions is outstanding.’ 

2023 Silks

James Horne KC – Castle Gate Chambers ‘James is a well-prepared and dedicated barrister. His attention to detail is second-to-none. He has a brilliant manner and charm with clients, judges and jurors alike. His advocacy is clear, precise, accurate and inventive.’
Philip Rule KCNo5 Barristers’ Chambers 'Philip has a good ability to engage with the issues. He is alive to the weaknesses and addresses them with the client, and while when dealing with opponents, his argument is well formulated and often novel.'
Rebecca Wade KCSt Philips Chambers ‘Rebecca is an excellent barrister. She is hard-working and committed. Her cross-examination is forensic and highly effective.’  

Leading Juniors

Jonathan BarkerSt Philips Chambers ‘Jonathan is a very hard-working and capable advocate. He obtains the trust of the lay client immediately through his thorough preparation and gentle manner. He is impeccable in court. He is genuinely respected by all at the bar and judiciary. His closing speeches are engaging and persuasive to a jury, and his cross-examination is on point.’ 
William Douglas-Jones – St Philips Chambers ‘William is a diligent and hardworking barrister. His spoken and written advocacy is outstanding. He is passionate about getting results. He can marshal large amounts of material.’
Justin Jarmola - Chambers of Justin Jarmola ‘Justin works phenomenally hard for his clients and has excellent client care skills. He is robust in his advocacy and not afraid to take an unpopular position with a judge if it is the right thing to do.’
John O’HigginsNo5 Barristers’ Chambers ‘John is very thorough and approachable. His attention to detail is remarkable. When he speaks, he ensures the entire court notices.’ 
Ben CloseSt Philips Chambers ‘Ben is hard-working, bright and industrious. He is always amiable despite sometimes very stressful situations. He is always on top of the case to the smallest detail. He is sharp and decisive.’ 
Sharon BahiaNo5 Barristers’ Chambers ‘Sharon is hard-working, knowledgeable and tenacious.’  
Marcus Harry - St Philips Chambers ‘Marcus is the most natural advocate. He can hold a jury’s attention without unnecessary theatrics. He is utterly smooth, persuasive and extremely conscientious. He commands the respect and trust of lay clients even in the most difficult of cases.’
Nadeem HollandThe 36 Group ‘Nadeem has complete command of the court. He is an impressive performer.’
Amy Jackson – St Philips Chambers ‘Amy is an exemplary advocate. She is calm and measured and works well under pressure. She has excellent client care skills. She is operating well above her level of call.’  
Andrew JacksonSt Philips Chambers ‘Andrew is an extremely competent and experienced barrister who fights his client’s corner with vigour and determination.'
Sarah KnightThe 36 Group ‘Sarah is very good with vulnerable witnesses, putting them at ease and getting the best from their evidence. She is meticulous in her preparation and presents cases in an understated manner, which can be devastating in its effect.’ 
Sophie Murray – St Ives Chambers ‘Sophie has a real presence in the courtroom. She has vast experience in dealing with cases involving serious sexual offences.’  
Nadia SilverThe 36 Group ‘Nadia has a forensic approach to case preparation. Her advocacy skills are second to none and she is well-received by juries.’
Matthew Iain BoltCornwall Street Barristers ‘Matthew is incredibly technically-minded and grasps the factual nuances of each case. He is tenacious in court. He is highly respected by his peers and the judiciary.’ 
Simon Burch – St Ives Chambers ‘Simon works tirelessly and expeditiously and is highly commended for his business-like manner, eye for strategy, strength of advocacy, cross-examination and closing submissions. He is a realist who understands how best to use all resources to undermine the prosecution case brick by brick.’
Stefan Fox – Castle Gate Chambers ‘Stefan’s advocacy is clear and concise. His persuasive advocacy, excellent preparation and execution of legal arguments are his key strengths.’
Claire Fraser – The 36 Group ‘Claire is a down-to-earth and capable advocate. She successfully deals with challenging cases showing an excellent eye for detail, the ability to build a rapport with vulnerable witnesses and handle the legal arguments that arise when involved in offences of this nature.’
Laura Hocknell –Castle Gate Chambers 'Laura is excellent at attention to detail and excellent rapport with clients. She is very persuasive in advocacy and is received well by the Judges. She is excellent in delivering tough and necessary advice to clients in difficult situations.'
Michael Tanney - St Ives Chambers 'Michael is a go-to junior barrister for prosecuting and defending sexual offences. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of complex areas.'
Dharmendra Toor - 5 St Andrews Hill  ‘Dharmendra goes the extra mile to get the job done. He leaves no stone unturned in case preparation and presentation.’
Carl Templar-Vasey – St Philips Chambers 'Carl has a great ability to speak with clients of all social standing. He comes across as a down-to-earth, genuine and caring individual. He is a barrister who goes the extra mile.'  
Tom Walkling – St Philips Chambers ‘Tom can digest vast amounts of evidence quickly and identify the issues in the case. He always responds promptly to any queries by his professional clients and is always present and willing to assist when needed. His manner with clients is fantastic, and he soon gains their trust.’
Karen Walton Drystone Chambers ‘Karen's attention to detail is brilliant. Her manner with clients is exceptional. She is always in control of the situation and puts clients at ease. Her speeches are effective and persuasive.’
Sara WyethSt Philips Chambers ‘Sara is a calm and measured advocate. Her legal knowledge and written advocacy are sublime. She has exceptional interpersonal skills.’

Rising Stars

Chloe Ashley – No5 Barristers’ Chambers ‘Chloe has excellent client care skills. She does a detailed review of all material and instructions. She is very competent in court, always protecting clients’ interests.’
Callum ChurchSt Philips Chambers ‘Callum is thorough, patient and extremely well-prepared. He is unflappable in difficult situations.’
Queenie Djan – St Ives Chambers ‘Queenie is a strong advocate with an outstanding presence in court.’
Tom Parker – The 36 Group ‘Tom is a talented junior. He has exceptional knowledge of financial crime and associated quasi-criminal proceedings.’
Catherine Rose – The 36 Group ‘Catherine is a calm and tenacious advocate, performing beyond her year of call. She is particularly good at handling vulnerable clients and witnesses.’
Lachlan Stewart  - No5 Barristers' Chambers ‘Lachlan provides straightforward and clear advice to the client, and shows impressive client care skills. He is a well-prepared and focused counsel who engages well with the jury and court.’
Sebastian Walker – The 36 Group ‘Sebastian has an extraordinary ability to analyse, retain and deal with complex details in a case. In court, he is both forensic and sympathetic to his tribunal. His ability is far beyond his year of call.’

Crime (general and fraud) in Regional Bar

No5 Barristers' Chambers

No5 Barristers’ Chambers has expertise in handling high-profile criminal cases, including murder, financial crime, sexual abuse and drug offences, and is praised as one of the ‘leading chambers of barristers in the Midland Circuit’. Michael Duck KC has an established criminal practice and recently successfully prosecuted two young adults and a teenager who were convicted of the attempted murder of a thirteen-year-old boy in Birmingham’s Hockley Circus using an improvised firearm modified to fire shotgun cartridges; the case involved issues as to cell site analysis and the naming of the seventeen-year-old convicted. Michelle Heeley KC, who is regularly instructed for both the defence and the prosecution, prosecuted an eighteen-year-old who was convicted of killing a seventeen-year-old in Smethwick with what was referred to in the press as a “Rambo knife”; the matter involved issues of rap lyrics evidence. Ian Bridge specialises in criminal defence and has appeared in cases involving death by dangerous driving, while John O’Higgins advises on cases concerning terrorism and sexual offences.


‘Andrew Trotter is very helpful and is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the case referred to them are managed well and barristers are allocated according to their skill and knowledge to each case. Michael Powell is very efficient and liaises with courts to accommodate listing dates for the client and barrister.’

‘No 5 Chambers have excellent clerks. In particular, Andrew Trotter is very responsive and clear.’

‘No5 Chambers is a powerhouse of a set. It is forward-thinking, progressive, diverse and inclusive.’

‘No5 Chambers is a very good chamber, always helpful and communicates very well, and responds promptly to urgent requests.’

‘No 5 Chambers are a very strong Birmingham set in criminal law.’

Work highlights

St Philips Chambers

St Philips Chambers is ‘one of the best set in the West Midlands’, which ‘offers a high-quality service’ across the criminal law space. The team has significant expertise across a wide range of criminal matters, including drug conspiracies, fraud, murder, sexual offences and regulatory crime. Richard Atkins KC is highly adept at handling serious crime and murder matters – he prosecuted a woman for stabbing her mother to death. Jonathan Barker is regularly involved in multi-handed murder cases and currently represented a TikTok personality accused of being part of a group who murdered two men by forcing their cars off the A46 – the prosecution’s case is that the deceased were blackmailing the defendants. Jennifer Josephs successfully appealed a sentence for attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity (the “child” being an undercover police officer posing as one) – at issue was how to approach sentencing for a second similar offence when the law had changed between the first and second convictions. In September 2022, Andrew Smith KC, as was, was appointed as a circuit judge, and in July 2023 Marcus Harry and William Douglas-Jones joined from St Ives Chambers, and in October Rebecca Wade KCAmy Jackson, Sara Wyeth and Callum Church followed.


‘Hannah Rae is progressing extremely well. Andrew Rourke is reliable and always on hand if there is an issue. All of the clerks are easy to reach.’

‘Andrew Rourke is always friendly, efficient, available and willing to help.’

‘St Philips chambers have a comprehensive set of criminal defence barristers able to cover all aspects of defence work.’

‘St Philips Chambers are the best sets offering criminal defence work.’

‘St Philips Chambers are excellent. It will go above and beyond to assist clients with covering work.’

Work highlights

St Ives Chambers

The criminal practice group at St Ives Chambers has expertise in prosecuting and defending across a wide range of serious crime cases involving homicide, human trafficking and sexual offences.


‘James Harte is highly commended for his down-to-earth nature, responsiveness and communication with clients.’

‘St Ives Chambers offers an exceptional service. Criminal clerks go above and beyond to ensure that desired counsel is available to conduct both hearings and attend conferences.’

‘St Ives are excellent. It has a strong body of juniors dealing with some heavyweight work.’


Work highlights

The 36 Group

The 36 Group stands out as a ‘strong circuit set with strength in depth’, which is active across the spectrum of serious criminal cases. ‘An excellent trial advocate’, Mary Prior KC garners praise for her ‘ability to grasp facts and immediately identify the real issues in the case’ and represented the stepmother of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, first at the original trial for his murder and then in the Court of Appeal, defeating an appeal by the Attorney-General that the original tariff of 29 years was "unduly lenient" and should be replaced with a whole life order. Sarah Gaunt appeared for the prosecution in a case concerning a cybercrime fraud conspiracy matter amounting to £9m, while Nadeem Holland prosecuted seven defendants who conspired to supply shotguns stolen in a burglary.


‘Excellent service offered by the clerks’ room. Michelle Simpson is a real asset to chambers, will go out of her way & beyond expectations to assist.’

‘The 36 group is a welcoming set that maintains high standards of excellence. It prosecutes and defends at the highest level in the Midlands.’

‘The 36 group is a very strong set of criminal practitioners who excel in complex and serious crime, further supported by a strong and proactive set of clerks.’

‘The 36 are an outstanding set, with excellent counsel of all years of call.’

Work highlights