Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: General crime and fraud

Birkett Long LLP hired Tej Praful Thakkar in July 2021 as head of regulatory law. The practice undertakes a range of regulatory work involving crime elements.

General crime and fraud in South East

ABV Solicitors

The team at ABV Solicitors ‘has established itself as a top legal services provider in white-collar crime, serious fraud and general crime‘ and continues to grow in strength and depth. Practitioners in the team are well-respected and consistently involved with advising individuals, senior company executives and corporations implicated in serious fraud investigations and regulatory matters. Clients hail from a range of sectors, including the financial services, energy, charity and retail industries. The team is jointly led by Deepak Vij, who is an expert in defending serious and high-profile commercial and financial fraud cases, and ‘highly experienced criminal defence lawyerAkhtar Ahmad. The ‘intelligent and astuteAmirah Ajaz is also a key team member.

Practice head(s):

Deepak Vij; Akhtar Ahmad

Other key lawyers:

Robert Borwick; Amirah Ajaz


‘ABV have established themselves as a top legal services provider in white-collar crime, serious fraud and general crime.’

‘ABV are routinely involved in the most high-profile cases, often with an international dimension. They provide an all-round first-class representation for clients and in particular professionals charged with serious fraud offences. Their client care is exceptional. They are respected by others in their field and offer hugely committed individuals at all levels.’

‘Deepak Vij continues to provide outstanding representation for high-profile corporate and individual clients, at an international level.

‘ABV Solicitors is an outstanding firm. Their attention to the detail of their clients’ cases and their client care are exemplary. Their solicitors are divided into teams so that they can offer specialist services to general crime and fraud clients.’

‘Deepak Vij is insightful, dedicated and highly effective at achieving results for clients in large and high-profile cases.’

‘Akhtar Ahmed is a highly experienced criminal defence lawyer. He breathes enthusiasm into every case he deals with and ensures every conceivable point supporting his client’s case is fully investigated and persuasively communicated to the court.’

‘Amirah Ajaz is highly intelligent and astute. She always delivers for her clients due to her formidable ability and outstanding work ethic.’

IBB Owen White

Located in Uxbridge, IBB Owen White has a multi-disciplinary practice which is able to handle matters with both criminal and commercial aspects. Notable for its increasing presence in key financial and corruption investigations in the City, a key area of strength is business and financial crime work. Criminal defence expert Joanne Gibbons, who is particularly well regarded in cases involving children, leads the overall practice alongside experienced business crime practitioner John Milner and ‘premier league criminal solicitorEddie Tang. Gibbons and Milner lead the criminal defence team and the fraud and business crime team respectively, with Tang acting as deputy leader of the criminal defence group.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Gibbons; Eddie Tang; John Milner

Other key lawyers:

Anna Ford; Kam Varaitch; Qaisar Shah


‘IBB are a hard working and efficient firm. They understand the intricacies of criminal law and care about their clients. The firm is well used to dealing with technical and expert evidence.’

‘Eddie Tang has a good rapport with his clients and often goes the extra mile to support them. Qaisar Shah is a hardworking member of the team who has a good understanding of what is required for his cases.’

‘Eddie Tang and the team are super efficient and responsive, and really go the extra mile for their clients. They cover a huge range of offences with expertise, and are very strong at matching the right solicitor with the right counsel for the right cases. An exceptional team right across the board.’

‘Eddie Tang is a premier league criminal solicitor, leading his department from the front.’

‘Anna Ford is a pleasure to work with. She quickly understands the evidence in a case and how proceedings may develop. She has a keen eye for detail, a reassuring manner with clients, a can-do attitude and real skill.’

‘Eddie Tang is well known for his expertise and impressive client care. His experience shows in all of his cases in the results he obtains. Senior Associate Kam Varaitch is another impressive and experienced lawyer with strong client care.’

‘A focus on client care. Diversity in the team.’

‘Anna Ford is extremely hard working.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client in relation to charges of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to commit s18 GBH and possession of firearms with intent to cause fear of violence.
  • Advised a client in relation to a charge of murder where he stabbed an unknown male 30 times in St Mary’s Cemetery in Brent.
  • Advised a client in the SFO investigation into UNAOIL, which was one of the largest SFO investigations undertaken.

Reeds Solicitors

Reeds Solicitors‘ criminal defence work includes both private and publicly funded mandates. The group distinguishes itself by its in-house team of barristers and successful work in a variety of courts, from the magistrates courts and crown courts to tribunals and court martials. The Oxford-based criminal department divides itself into two teams; the private crime team is headed up by Stuart Matthews, who is a founding partner of the firm and ‘manages to deliver realistic advice based on good judgment in private crime and protest work‘, while the complex crime team falls under the leadership of Julian Richards, who is a ‘standout tactician in serious crime‘.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Matthews; Julian Richards

Other key lawyers:

Neil Jarvis; Tom Brymer


‘Stuart Matthews displays outstanding empathy.’

‘A seriously professional and well respected outfit which has maintained a bespoke service at all levels and provides exceptional quality notwithstanding its recent expansion. Proper players in crime across the country.’

‘Julian Richards is a standout tactician in serious crime, rightly enjoys an excellent reputation and is sought out for the most serious and complex cases. Stuart Matthews manages to deliver realistic advice based on good judgment in private crime and protest work.’

‘Reeds is a growing firm. Their in-house team of barristers works to an unusually high level for a solicitor firm. They have extremely able and hard-working teams on all their cases and I have been consistently impressed with their level of client care and support.’

‘Julian Richards stands out. He is able and tactically astute.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a client who was facing court martial proceedings for sexual assault.
  • Represented a client on charges of supply of cocaine.
  • Representing a client in an appeal on a conviction of murder.

Clarke Kiernan LLP Solicitors

Located in Tonbridge, practitioners at Clarke Kiernan LLP Solicitors are Proceeds of Crime Act specialists and experts in confiscation work, which is an area of expertise for managing partner Daniel Bonich. Bonich heads up the firm’s fraud, regulatory and complex crime department and Catherine McCarthy heads up the group crime practice. Overall, the group’s offering includes a full range of criminal defence services, and advice on serious offences including murder, sexual offences, drug trafficking, fraud and extradition matters. Founding partner Dennis Clarke and David Dinkeldein, an extradition specialist, are also key team members.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Bonich; Catherine McCarthy

Other key lawyers:

Dennis Clarke; David Dinkeldein


‘I consider this to be the leading criminal solicitors firm outside London in the South East, and to be on a par with the leading London firms.’

‘Catherine McCarthy has an unrivalled level or experience, intuition as to the prosecution’s next move and motives, an incredible capacity for detail, and prepares cases incredibly thoroughly.’

‘Dennis Clarke is simply outstanding.’

‘They are Proceeds of Crime Act specialists who know the area well. They live and breath confiscation work.’

‘Dainel Borsch has been doing Proceeds of Crime Act work for a long time. He dominates the area and is full of sage advice.’

‘Clarke Kiernan is a superb firm of criminal litigators whom I have worked for over many years. Throughout that time, in my experience, the standard of their preparation and client care has never dipped below the highest water mark.’

‘Daniel Bonich is a pre-eminent and highly respected member of the profession. As a case litigator, Daniel’s reputation is unimpeachable. I have always been hugely impressed by his knowledge and his professionalism.’

Work highlights

  • Handling a fraud prosecution against a man named on the UK’s most wanted list for many years.
  • Acting in Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings for a man charged as part of the largest VAT fraud ever prosecuted by West Midlands Police.
  • Acted for a male accused of being the head of an organisation involving the supply of millions of pounds of drugs via online ordering and delivery.

Jerman Samuels & Pearson LLp

The large Essex-based practice at Jerman Samuels & Pearson LLP is regularly instructed in high-profile cases and offers clients an in-house advocacy department which allows for the continuity of representation in serious Crown Court cases. Experienced criminal lawyers Mark Jerman, Simon Samuels and Ian Clift founded the practice, and consultant solicitor Matthew Bone also has ‘a very good knowledge of criminal law and is an effective advocate in the Crown Court.’

Practice head(s):

Mark Jerman; Simon Samuels; Ian Clift

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Bone


‘Enormous strength in depth. Fine lawyers as well as great at client care. The client really does come first. Supremely professional yet user friendly.’

‘Simon Samuels is a legend among Essex solicitors and clients. Ian Clift is highly professional as well as empathetic.’

‘Matthew Bone has an unparalleled procedural and ethical knowledge.’

‘Every member of the team is enthusiastic and committed to their client’s case. They have an excellent relationship with the client who seems to trust them 100%. No stone is left unturned in the preparation of the case. An absolute go to firm.’

‘A complete knowledge of the case. They wholeheartedly embrace the agreed case strategy and are excellent at offering insight.’

‘The best general crime firm in Essex in my opinion. Hard working, able and dedicated to their clients. Much of their business is repeat business because the service they get is so good. There is always someone at court to assist. They prepare their cases well and from an early stage.’

‘Ian Clift is an excellent instructing solicitor but also a very capable advocate. Very astute. Matthew Bone has a very good knowledge of criminal law and he is an effective advocate in the Crown Court. Simon Samuels engenders loyalty from his clients in the magistrates court due to diligence and hard work.’

‘This practice is excellent as it works as a team. Every client receives a first class service. They are both attentive and diligent.’

Lawtons Solicitors

Specialist crime firm Lawtons Solicitors operates from a network of offices across the South East, with director and solicitor advocate Stephen Halloran the key name in St Albans. He leads a 'hardworking team which will always go the extra mile for their clients' alongside fellow director and solicitor advocate Nick Titchener, whose practice spans the South East, with a heavy emphasis on London. Typical cases handled cover murder, drugs, dangerous driving and sexual offences.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Halloran; Nick Titchener


‘This is a firm that routinely provides the sort of service that I would want for a member of my own family. This level of quality is rare these days in legal aid crime.’

Stephen Halloran – technically brilliant; always up to date with key legal developments.’

‘Nick Titchener – hugely efficient, organised with a great business mind.’

‘Based on my experience of criminal defence solicitors working in this geographical area, I would have no hesitation in asserting that Lawtons are by far the best. The firm is well run, dependable and respected. Clients are well looked after and cases are properly prepared. I have recommended Lawtons to others and would have no hesitation in doing so again.

‘Lawtons continuously demonstrate that they care about the client, going above and beyond to ensure that the client has the best representation for their case.’

‘Stephen Halloran – excellent attention to detail, knowledge, availability and communication.’

Stephen Halloran is an excellent lawyer and provided first-class service to me – he exhibited excellent judgement at every turn.’

‘Stephen Halloran is a superb litigator and provides an outstanding service to his clients, with realistic and comprehensive advice, delivered with compassion and care.’

Work highlights

  • Instructed by one of the defendants in a multi-handed case which involved significant evidence from encrypted devices and surveillance evidence. The conspiracy related to the commercial supply of drugs.
  • Instructed by both youth defendants in connection with a double handed murder trial. One found guilty of murder, the other acquitted of murder and found guilty of manslaughter.
  • Acted for a longstanding client of the firm who was arrested and charged with murder and GBH with intent.

SVS Solicitors

Based in Gerrards Cross, ‘modern and dynamic firm’ SVS Solicitors‘ criminal defence practice ‘attracts a great amount of the most serious kinds of work, especially murders and gang crime.’ Sasha Sidhu specialises in this area, and head of the Crown Court department Anna Hogg is also involved in serious Crown Court cases. The team recently represented a client at Central Criminal Court in a high-profile murder and manslaughter case. Rob Johnson is the key name to note for white-collar crime mandates.

Practice head(s):

Sasha Sidhu

Other key lawyers:

Rob Johnson; Anna Hogg; Shenel Johnson; Junaid Khan; James Ojukwu


‘This a modern and dynamic firm that provides an efficient and expert service.’

‘Sasha Sidhu is a very experienced solicitor who is able to get to the issues quickly and efficiently.’

‘The team attracts a great amount of the most serious kinds of work, especially murders and gang crime. Disproportionately so, for the size of the firm. They therefore have developed a great deal of experience in handling this kind of work.’

‘They take real interest in the results of cases and in choosing barristers that fight hard for the best outcomes for clients.’

‘Sasha Sidhu is fantastic at gaining and retaining the trust of lay clients facing the most serious of charges, and is widely trusted by lay clients. He has a lot of shrewd judgement in tactical decisions about cases and has a strong reputation amongst lay clients.’

‘The firm Sasha Sidhu has built is one that is diverse and enthusiastic about helping lay clients.’

‘Sasha Sidhu leads from the front and heads up a professional team of lawyers and paralegals in serious crime. They prepare briefs properly and nothing is too much for them when they are representing the full interests of clients. They are collaborative and keep all parties very much informed. Technologically advanced and very proactive.’

‘Sasha Sidhu is very well known in his sphere; incredibly smart both in sartorial elegance and more importantly in mental dexterity. He is stand out in his field and has been involved in a large number of leading cases.’

Tuckers Solicitors

Working from the firm’s Kent office, the practice at Tuckers Solicitors ‘represents a long-standing commitment to client care‘. A standout recent mandate involved burglary charges for two paramedics who stole from the NHS and its patients, with the team achieving a reduction in the clients’ sentences due to mitigation. More widely, the group are in a strong position to deal with serious crime and drug-related conspiracies. ‘Extremely knowledgeable‘ managing partner and practice head Richard Atkinson has a wealth of experience in such matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Atkinson

Other key lawyers:

Scott Neilson; Nicola Hall


‘Richard Atkinson was smart, professional, patient and extremely knowledgeable.’

‘The whole firm represent a long-standing commitment to client care.’

‘Richard Atkinson is one of the most highly respected solicitors in criminal law in the country. A tactical master but able to relate to clients from all walks of life.’

‘Tuckers have long been a firm that puts client care beyond all else. They have a close-knit team who are always available.’

‘Nicola Hall is always available and hard-working.’

‘Richard Atkinson is a stalwart of the profession, demonstrating interest and enthusiasm in every case he deals with.’

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

With an office in Harrow, Duncan Lewis Solicitors has seen a steep increase in county line drugs cases and modern slavery defence work, which has led to a niche in this area. More widely, the team is instructed on a variety of serious criminal matters and gang-related crimes. Nicholas De Freitas leads the team, and consultant solicitor Simon Connolly is an ‘absolute star on confiscation law‘.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas De Freitas

Other key lawyers:

Olivia Amy Rose; Simon Connolly; Linda Barker


‘Excellent individual client care, very diverse client base. Experts in dealing with the most complex criminal cases.’

‘Linda Barker – very experienced, loyal client base, would do anything to help clients. User friendly, pleasure to work with.’

‘Olivia Amy Rose is up and coming, very diligent, and focused.’

‘Fantastic expertise on confiscation and fraud. Solicitors who know the law inside out.’

‘Simon Connolly is an absolute star on confiscation law.’

‘The firm covers the full range of criminal work and remains a market-leader in both private and legal aid work. The firm has a wealth of experience with an expertise in fraud work.’

JSP Law Limited

JSP Law Limited is a ‘go-to firm in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire‘, which clients commend for its ability to balance private client and legal aid work. The versatile team is proficient in jury trial work and has a strong reputation for assisting challenging and vulnerable clients, regularly undertaking serious mandates relating to gang-related crime, fraud issues and sexual offences. Matthew Bliss heads up the practice and is well supported by serious crime expert Vinesh Patel as well as experienced criminal lawyer Joanna Barun.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Bliss

Other key lawyers:

Vinesh Patel; Joanna Barun


‘An approachable, highly experienced team headed up by the diligent Matthew Bliss. Strong in client care and case preparation. Highly adept at putting anxious clients at their ease and deservedly gaining their trust.’

‘Matthew Bliss has an incisive grasp of the issues that really matter. His extensive experience and absolute commitment to a case deservedly earn the trust of his clients.’

‘Committed and enthusiastic best describe the team. Extremely experienced criminal lawyers who offer sound and practical advice.’

Work highlights

  • Represented an Italian national accused (with others) of defrauding the Royal Mail.
  • Represented an Albanian national accused of supplying drugs and firearms at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
  • Represented numerous individuals charged with supplying drugs and other serious crimes following the compromise of the ‘Encrochat’ telephone network.

B P Collins LLP

B P Collins LLP's team, which is led from Gerrard's Cross by principal lawyer Jonothan Moss, is described as 'excellent and a true credit to the firm'. Key characteristics of the practice include its solicitor-advocacy service, which means it can handle cases in-house, and its expertise in road traffic law, environmental and regulatory matters. Recent cases of note have concerned sexual assault, controlling and coercive behaviour and driving offences. Matthew Brandis leads the overall dispute resolution group, while senior associate James Constable is a highly regarded member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Jonothan Moss

Other key lawyers:

James Constable; Matthew Brandis


‘James Constable is an excellent solicitor with legal acumen and great interpersonal skills.’

‘I have always been impressed by James Constable’s hard work, exceptional client care and fantastic grasp of criminal law practice and procedure. James is attentive and understanding with new clients and his calm and collected approach reassures them from the outset and no doubt makes the case easier for all involved.’

‘The criminal team at BP Collins are excellent and a true credit to the firm.’

‘Jonathan Moss is an excellent criminal lawyer. He has an excellent knowledge of the law but also understands how to explain it to clients with little, or no, background knowledge. He is approachable, helpful and hard-working.’

‘James Constable is great to work with. He’s always on top of the evidence, and immediately finds a way through it for his client. I find his approach very approachable and understated, yet highly effective. Always polite, helpful and ready to assist.’

‘A fantastic firm with an outstanding reputation.’

‘James Constable provides an excellent service to clients. He’s hard-working and provides clients with accurate and robust advice.’

‘Jonothan Moss is first class and goes above and beyond for his clients. His enthusiasm and attention to detail means no stone is left unturned.’

Blaser Mills Law

The practice at Blaser Mills Law specialises in road traffic law, but undertakes the full spectrum of defence work. Consultant Ben Langley is a name to note as he is a specialist road traffic solicitor. Being based in High Wycombe has enabled the department to regularly undertake work in and around Thames Valley and in Central London.

Practice head(s):

Ben Langley

Levy & Co Solicitors

Based in Essex, the criminal defence team at Levy & Co Solicitors has significant experience with military law and Court Martials, with Steven Levy often representing clients in the Crown Courts and High Courts. Added to this is its ability to handle cases relating to complex fraud matters and violence, rape and murder allegations. Evelyn Hicks has expertise in mental health law, and Paula Fell also contributes. Katie Armstrong-Mason has departed for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Practice head(s):

Steven Levy; Evelyn Hicks; Paula Fell

Other key lawyers:

Paul Block; Sam Nundy


‘Levy & Co offer a high quality specialised criminal service with a strong base in Essex and East Anglia. The excellent service they provide to clients is bolstered by their local knowledge and reputation.’

‘Steven Levy is an excellent lawyer and advocate.’

‘Paul Block is a brilliant tactician and totally dedicated to his clients. Excellent where issues of mental health arise.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a client from police station through to Crown Court sentence for the indictment of murder.
  • Represented a client in a serious sexual offence case.
  • Represented a client in a retrial on an indictment of attempted murder.

Liberty Law Solicitors

Pro bono work for disadvantaged individuals forms an important part of the workload of practitioners at Liberty Law Solicitors in Luton, a recent example of which involved representing the family of a 12-year-old who passed away in a river. Headed up by Attiq Malik, the practice handles a variety of serious crime cases, and Wasef Ali has expertise in defending serious fraud and large-scale drug conspiracy cases.

Practice head(s):

Attiq Malik

Other key lawyers:

Wasef Ali

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in a serious offence which was then appealed by the Attorney General leading to an increase to the sentence being imposed.
  • Represented a client in an attempted murder case which was successfully defended and reduced to GBH.
  • Represented multiple clients in a cannabis production conspiracy case

Old Bailey Solicitors

Old Bailey Solicitors‘ Brighton-based team focuses on general criminal defence work. The group specialises in representing those accused of serious violent, sexual, dishonesty and drugs offences. Clients are often first time offenders and established business people. The team is headed up by the ‘perceptive, intelligent and extremely personableRod Hayler, and Camilla Rents, who ‘provides accurate, thorough and pragmatic advice to clients’.

Practice head(s):

Camilla Rents; Rod Hayler


This firm truly care about their clients. They work as a team.

‘I have worked with Rod Hayler for well over twenty years and can say that I have seen his work on the most complex and challenging cases which is always of the highest standard. He is a perceptive, intelligent and extremely personable man who is approachable for both the professional and lay clients alike. I have recommended him personally on a number of occasions and the feedback has always been excellent.’

‘Camilla Rents is dedicated to getting the best possible result for her clients. She really does go above and beyond the call of duty.’