General crime and fraud in South East

Blackfords LLP

Blackfords LLP remains a market leader in the crime space, with a proven track record in handling the most serious cases, including violent crime, drug-related offences and sexual assault. Preeminent practitioner Gary Bloxsome jointly leads the team with Trevor Francis and handles an assortment of complex matters including financial crime and fraud with an international aspect. Diana Payne oversees the 'exceptionally good' general crime practice and is noted for her decades of expertise in criminal proceedings. The core group also comprises Hannah GilesLucinda Shand, and counsel Rachel Wilson. On the fraud side, Daniel Cundy is the key figurehead with specialisms in white-collar crime, fraud, corruption, tax and money laundering cases. He also handles cross-border matters.

Testimonials

‘They are the standout private crime firm, both for general crime and fraud. They provide an exceptionally good service. They are highly committed and resourceful.’

‘Gary Bloxsome – I cannot speak highly enough of him; he is a brilliant tactician, hugely committed and can speak to anyone; he is little short of a legend. Daniel Cundy is quite exceptional. Rachel Wilson and Jen Richardson are both quite exceptional and real stars for the future.’

‘An exceptionally good all-round firm. They have expertise in handling private criminal clients as well as those being investigated or charges with white-collar crime. As many firms who have cornered that part of the market are beginning to become complacent, Blackfords retains its fresh enthusiasm for each case, no matter how small or large.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is a fierce and dedicated solicitor. An asset to any team.’

‘They have an exceptionally good group of people who work in all their branches who provide an excellent service both to the Bar and to their clients. I have genuinely not come across anyone who works for them who does not come within that description and it makes them a pleasure to work with.

‘Gary Bloxham is the senior partner whom I have known for many years. He has been very much the guiding force behind the development of the firm but still maintains a fierce interest ad concern for every aspect of their work which has a very positive effect on all those who work with him. Lucinda Shand and Anne-Marie Geraghty are both long-standing members of the firm who demonstrate all these qualities in abundance.’

‘Gary Bloxsome. The boss, the governor. Superb. One of the pre-eminent ‘pre charge’ lawyers – the person to get if you want to avoid being charged in the first place.’

‘Rachel Wilson is a dedicated lawyer. She handles clients very well and has very good judgement.

Work highlights

  • Advised one of three individuals charged with murder in relation to a gangland killing of a leader of a fellow Romanian gang involved in the importation of drugs and people trafficking in Ilford.
  • Acting for a defendant accused of the rape of an old friend with whom he had recently become reacquainted.
  • Represented a banker in an 18-defendant case concerning two multi-million-pound conspiracies to commit fraud and money laundering.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)'s 'first-class' practice has considerable expertise in the serious crime and high-value fraud arena, acting for both public and private clients. Joanne Gibbons leads the team, which handles a range of matters concerning serious sexual assaults, murder, drugs, and gang-related crime. Eddie Tang is the other practice head and is highly rated for his skill in acting in high-profile criminal defence matters, particularly in attempted murder, serious assaults, drug conspiracies, and sex offences. Elsewhere, John Milner oversees the fraud sub-group which has a strong financial crime practice and continues to attract top-end instructions relating to high-value SFO and FCA investigations. Kam Varaitch heads up the crown court team and represents clients in defence proceedings.

Other key lawyers:

Kam Varaitch

Testimonials

Eddie Tang is a busy, skilful lawyer who brings a lot to their practice.’

Eddie Tang is a dynamic and clever individual who goes the extra mile for his clients. He is a pleasure to work with.

John Milner is one of the best ‘spirit guides’ in the business. His client skills, knowledge of the market and ability to navigate a case are second to none.’

‘IBB is a well established and highly regarded criminal law firm. My contact with them is through the fraud practice of John Milner who is an excellent lawyer – first-class judgement, great with clients and has the easy lightness of touch combined with deep experience which makes him of the best in his field. His reputation amongst others active in the area is excellent, and deservedly so.’

‘Eddie Tang leads the team and has an extraordinary amount of experience in dealing with criminal cases. He is still very much hands-on with clients and their cases and has great judgement and tactical ability. I often refer work to him and perhaps he deserves the greatest of all accolades in that he is someone I would turn to if I had an issue I needed advice on.’

They offer a first-class service at a reasonable price.’

‘John Milner is one of my go-to people for referring senior individuals for representation in SFO and other criminal investigations.  He has excellent criminal law instincts as well as a high level of emotional intelligence, making him the perfect choice for difficult cases where the client faces a real risk of imprisonment if convicted. ‘

Work highlights

  • Representing a client charged with five counts of conspiracy to corrupt in the largest SFO investigation into UNAOIL.
  • Advising and representing two clients charged with conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life (under the Explosive Substance Act 1883) by targeting and blowing up vehicles with improvised explosive devices (IED’s).
  • Advising a client on an SFO prosecution into allegations of bribery and corruption in the Oil and Gas sector in Angola and the UK involving international freight-forwarding company FH Bertling, with suspected global corruption in Azerbaijan, India and West Africa.

Reeds Solicitors

Spanning across several offices, the criminal defence practice at Reeds Solicitors is 'agile and modern', according to clients, and offers the full spectrum of services. 'Class act' Stuart Matthews, who is based in Oxford, oversees the team and is experienced in complex criminal matters pertaining to serious sexual offences and drug-related crime. Other practice co-heads Neil Jarvis and Tom Brymer in Basingstoke also comprise the core team. Julian Richards is highly praised by clients and is recommended for murder cases and large-scale drug conspiracies. Elsewhere, Jayne Wilkinson from the Magistrates Court team is also a key contact.

Other key lawyers:

Julian Richards; Jayne Wilkinson

Testimonials

‘A forward-thinking firm with its finger on the pulse of the market. Head and shoulders above a lot of the competition. Agile and modern.’

‘Stuart Matthews offers excellent client care coupled with a terrier-like determination to go after the prosecution and get what he wants for his clients.’

‘Tom Brymer is amazing – life could’ve been very different for me now if he and the team hadn’t treated me with such dignity. The courts gave me the most ridiculously short lead time to prepare and Tom didn’t flinch!’

Stuart Matthews is a class act who radiates calm confidence and has an ability to put people at ease, command respect, and get the job done without unnecessary fuss.’

They show great compassion and professionalism in dealing with clients. As is quite often cases can involve different aspects of law and they were able to get expert advice from a range of different colleagues. The communication from all members of the team was superb. They set the standard for customer service and professional knowledge.’

Tom Brymer assisted me in an extremely complex and emotionally difficult situation I faced after the death of my wife. Throughout Tom consistently kept me up to date and provided strategies and advice over and above what I had experienced previously. Nothing was too much of an ask for Tom. Other firms I don’t believe look at the whole picture as Tom did. I do not use this term lightly, but Tom in my eyes is a true hero.

Stuart Matthews is a firm client favourite. His ability to listen and understand leaves clients in no doubt that he is on their side and fighting their corner. He has a particular strength in digging out details for a defence and doggedly pursuing them, to great effect.’

Julian Richards is one of the smartest men I know, his strategy when dealing with complex legal cases is impeccable and produces results that are in my opinion unrivalled.

The team at Reeds is, without doubt, the most professional and well-organised team I have had the pleasure of working with. They always have the best advice.’

Work highlights

  • Defended a client charged with murder in high profile proceedings before Oxford Crown Court.
  • Represented a client who was acquitted at trial, having been charged with an alleged gang related murder.
  • Secured acquittal for a client charged with two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a road traffic collision.

Taylor Haldane Barlex Solicitors LLP

Taylor Haldane Barlex Solicitors LLP has a large criminal law offering spanning five locations. The practice has considerable expertise operating across all levels of the court system and is led by Peter Barlex. Founding partners Matthew Taylor and Russell Haldane remain key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Peter Barlex

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Taylor; Russell Haldane

ABV Solicitors

ABV Solicitors is widely considered 'one of the major players in the criminal defence world' and handles a spectrum of complex matters pertaining to international fraud, financial crime, and serious sexual offences. The crime team is jointly led by Akhtar Ahmad and Robert Borwick, who are based in Hayes, while all fraud matters are overseen by Deepak Vij, who is singled out for his expertise. In the white-collar crime space, Amirah Ajaz is the recommended contact. The practice has extensive cross-border experience and acts for a host of private clients and legal aid work. Terrorism-related mandates and extradition matters also feature in the caseload. Other core members of the group include associates Rohit Sharma and Sunita Mehta.

Testimonials

The team provide a service akin to that of a City firm. strength across all departments. They have a particular skill in white-collar fraud and general crime. One of the major players in the criminal defence world.

‘Deepak Vij is highly specialized in the business crime area. Has a huge following, and is trusted and knowledgeable. Rob Borwick runs a tight ship and is very cerebral in his approach to cases.

‘Deepak Vij is a very experienced white collar crime lawyer. He is excellent with clients and clever. Akhtar Ahmad deals with heavy general crime. He is a lawyer who is interested in the law and a good lateral thinker.

‘They are in my opinion, presently one of the very best criminal firms. Their reputation in the industry is that of a firm full of talented and conscientious solicitors who do their jobs incredibly well. The solicitors are dedicated to each client they represent, whether they are privately funded or legally aided.’

‘Zahir Ahmed is a senior solicitor at the firm. He is a remarkably astute and clever lawyer. His case analysis is razor-sharp. He is very well-liked and respected by clients. They immediately trust him which is a unique skill. He is a hugely impressive solicitor working in the area of serious fraud and general crime.’

‘Amirah Ajaz is a rising star in my view. Her interest and enthusiasm in every case is palpable and she has an excellent eye for detail. All her cases are well prepared which in turn instills confidence in the service ABV provides to their lay clients, no matter how big or small the matter.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in Operation Surging who faces charges of laundering money of at least £40m.
  • Acting in a cross-border case involving a senior member of a political party who is said to have assets beyond his means and faces proceedings under ‘Unexplained Wealth Orders’.
  • Representing a client facing charges by the Financial Conduct Authority of a land banking fraud.

Blaser Mills Law

Blaser Mills Law fields a team of experts who handle the full scope of matters on serious crime, sexual assault, and drug offences. Practice head Daniel Martin is singled out for his expertise in financial and corporate crime expertise, including cybercrime and financial crime. The group acts for regional and international clients, and undertakes work for legal aid clients. Skilled associate Ben Langley has a focus on prison law and lawyer Emily Harman is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Martin

Other key lawyers:

Ben Langley

Testimonials

‘They are great. They have a high level of ability and deal with practical issues quickly.’

Clarke Kiernan LLP Solicitors

Clarke Kiernan LLP Solicitors stands out in the market as 'one of the best firms' in the region for its crime offering and provides the full spectrum of criminal defence services. Catherine McCarthy leads the practice and has over twenty-five years of expertise in this field, with a speciality in prison law. The group handles serious crime mandates including murder and drug trafficking.  The fraud team covers the full gamut of white-collar crime and is led by managing partner Daniel Bonich who has extensive criminal and civil litigation experience, working with Dennis Clarke and David Dinkeldein, who has specific expertise in extradition.

Other key lawyers:

Dennis Clarke; David Dinkeldein

Testimonials

‘Without exception or deviation, Clarke Kiernan always represents its clients and prepares its cases to the highest standard. I am always struck by the speed with which the firm identifies the key issues in a case and takes decisive action to address them. In my lengthy experience, Clarke Kiernan’s clients are guaranteed to receive first-class representation from start to finish.’

Without doubt, Daniel Bonich is as able and dedicated as any litigator I work with. He is passionate about the criminal justice system and represents and supports other litigators in a variety of roles. His professionalism is unfailing and his legal acumen is as acute as any individual I work with. If I ever found myself under suspicion in a police station, I would call Daniel.’

A very hands-on approach from the leadership at the top.

‘Daniel Bonich works extremely hard and is meticulous in his case preparation. He assesses legal argument with great intellect and has the capability of delivering it with finesse and power when conducting his cases. Above all, his client care is to an extremely high standard. He goes over and above for his clients whilst at all times being professional and assisting the court and others working with him.’

Dennis Clarke is a superb lawyer. He approaches any problems from all angles, rejecting nothing until the best possible approach is unearthed. Daniel Bonich is a very safe pair of hands. He is user-friendly and works hard fighting for clients. Ruth Lees is also a fantastic member of the team. She gets on very well with clients and can see problems before they even arise. Clarke Kiernan is one of the foremost criminal fraud firms in the South East.’

‘Dennis Clarke is a class act. What he doesn’t know about the law isn’t worth knowing and he has an endless amount of “fight” in him. His experience is invaluable. He particularly stands out because he provides a Rolls-Royce service for clients who may not otherwise be able to afford such outstanding representation.’

Clarke Kiernan provides an excellent service in a highly competitive market. The lawyers I have worked with have been determined, knowledgeable and totally committed to providing the highest quality service to their clients and professional colleagues.’

Clare Kiernan are without doubt one of the best firms within its geographical framework. Their ability to secure clients through the service they give is a credit to the individuals who work within the firm. Working across the spectrum of general crime, fraud and civil work they are able to advice and represent clients be hey private or legally aided.’

Daniel Bonich is at the top of his game and is one of the go-to solicitors in his area. The work he undertakes is as good as any central London firm, be that in the general crime or fraud arenas.

Key clients

Police Federation

National Union of Teachers (now renamed as National Education Union)

Unison

Police Federation of Wales

Work highlights

  • Acted in a fraud prosecution against a man named on the UK’s most wanted list for many years. He was wanted in connection with multiple frauds in the UK, Spain, Switzerland and across Europe.
  • Acting in Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings for a man charged as part of the largest VAT fraud ever prosecuted by West Midlands Police.
  • Represented a man accused of operating as ‘the Deliveroo or Amazon of the drug trafficking world’ and also accused of money laundering the proceeds of that offence.

Jerman Samuels & Pearson LLP

Based in Essex, Jerman Samuels & Pearson LLP exclusively practises in criminal defence and has a large offering spanning the region, servicing clients in connection with violent crimes and serious drug-related crimes. Overseen by founding partners Mark Jerman, Mark Pearson and Simon Samuels, the team undertakes both privately funded and legal aid work and has expertise in undertaking work on motoring prosecutions and fraud.

Lawtons Solicitors

Lawtons Solicitors has a strong cross-practice approach and focuses on serious sexual offences, drug-related crime, and matters pertaining to modern slavery. Operating out of the South East with an office in London to service their wide client base, the team acts on a private basis, on legal aid cases, and is also instructed by high-net-worth individuals. Practice head Stephen Halloran and Nick Titchener are the key contacts, specialising in complex criminal defence issues.

Practice head(s):

Nick Titchener; Stephen Halloran

Work highlights

  • Advised on a case concerning historic sexual offences in which the client had been convicted following trial and received a sentence of six and a half years. The sentence was quashed, with a sentence of three years imposed in its place.

Sternberg Reed

Sternberg Reed has strength in depth in the serious fraud space and has extensive expertise in criminal defence services. Operating from Romford, the group is overseen by Ben Thomas and handles a gamut of fraud mandates for a wide client base. Richard Cooper is described as 'first-rate' by peers and is the key contact in the crime group, skillfully handling serious and multi-defendant matters pertaining to drug-related violence and assault. David Barbone handles homicide investigations and Kenneth Carr has experience in international criminal defence work. The team has expanded its offering with the recruitment of Rhiannon Cole who is noted for her experience of serious drug and violence offences.

Practice head(s):

Ben Thomas

Testimonials

‘The team is both extremely experienced and committed. They go above and beyond for every single case.’

‘Richard Cooper is absolutely stellar. He combines great criminal acumen with a heartfelt personal touch. No task is too big or small. He is as diligent and thorough on all of his cases – which are usually serious, heavy frauds – and I do not know how he manages to get everything done whilst retaining a great sense of humour.’

‘Richard Cooper is one of the most complete solicitors practising in crime.’

‘Rhiannon Cole is a very good up-and-coming solicitor.’

Richard Cooper is one of the best criminal solicitors that currently practises. He is the complete article – intelligent, incisive, subtle and nuanced in his approach yet capable of robust advice when the circumstances demand. He has impeccable judgement and will always go the extra mile as standard for every client. A very impressive individual indeed, with the practice to show for it. He is the man that you would want in your corner if you were ever in need. I cannot recommend him highly enough.’

‘Richard Cooper works tirelessly for his clients; he knows the case before anyone else and immediately identifies its strengths and weaknesses; he is always on hand to sort out problems and ensure that his clients get the best possible service.

Work highlights

  • Acted in the acquittal of a client in a multi-million-pound drug importation matter.
  • Secured acquittal of the second defendant in four-week money laundering trial involving the laundering of funds obtained by a corrupt solicitor who defrauded a charity.
  • Successful appeal against conviction relating to the inappropriate use of bad character evidence in the cross-examination of the defendant.

SVS Solicitors

The criminal defence practice at SVS Solicitors 'punches above its weight' and is led by 'superb tactician' Sasha Sidhu. The team has vast experience handling complex gang-related crime and serious offenses. Rob Johnson is a white-collar crime expert and oversees the team alongside Shenel Johnson. Other key members of the team include solicitor advocate Junaid Khan and duty solicitor James Ojukwu.

Practice head(s):

Sasha Sidhu

Testimonials

‘SVS has emerged and established itself as one of the leading providers of representation in the criminal justice system.’

‘I have worked with Sasha Sidhu, the firm’s managing partner, for a number of years now. He is a talented and formidable litigator who rightly enjoys the complete faith and confidence of all his clients. Sasha’s dedication and professionalism is matched by his eye for detail and tactical prowess. I love working with him and his firm.’

Junaid Khan seems to be continually in demand by clients in serious cases: murder, large-scale drugs, rape, gang-related activity and the like. He is always on hand to counsel and clients and always fully up-to-date and read into his cases, so conversations with him are always productive. Always goes the extra mile to do as requested by clients/advised by counsel at the drop of a hat – matters get dealt with as soon as they are raised.’

The firm has highly capable solicitors dealing with serious, heavyweight cases, with a much higher level of input and than counsel normally sees from solicitors – especially in such serious cases. The firm harvests continuous, top-end, criminal cases and clients.’

The firm consistently punches above its weight, when compared with other firms, in terms of instructions, serious cases, and acquittals.’

Sasha Sidhu is, in my experience, quite outstanding as a criminal solicitor. Clients venerate him as he is dedicated to fighting for their interests and going that extra mile. He is a superb tactician who is adept at uncovering hidden points. In short, a superlative lawyer and tactician who has become the market leader in gang and related murder cases.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a client charged with attempted murder, causing GBH with intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
  • Acting in a case where the defendant was charged with murder following the fatal stabbing of a male in broad daylight on Edgware Road.
  • Advising on ongoing dispute between the victim and a former friend. The victim had been shot through the letterbox and sustained superficial injuries to his abdomen.

Gerard Maye Legal

The practice at Gerard Maye Legal handles a spectrum of criminal issues spanning from violent crime and sexual offences to multimillion-pound fraud matters. Overseen by managing partner Gerard Maye, the criminal defence practice, which is housed in Brighton, has experience in complex financial crime, investigations, and road traffic accidents.

Practice head(s):

Gerard Maye

GT Stewart Limited

GT Stewart Limited has a large criminal defence offering for clients and stands out for its specialism in youth crime and prison law. Managing partner Greg Stewart heads the practice and is noted for his litigation experience which spans over twenty-five years. Julie Anne Boyle oversees the team from the Dartford office.

Practice head(s):

Greg Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Julie Ann Boyle

Gullands Solicitors

At Gullands Solicitors, the criminal defence team is overseen by managing partner John Roberts and is experienced in handling cases relating to violent crimes, serious fraud, and homicide matters. Based in Maidstone, the team is also skilled in defending clients against sexual offences. Associate Michelle Pibworth has  litigation expertise and handles drug-related offences as well as road traffic accidents.

Practice head(s):

John Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Pibworth

Wells Burcombe LLP

Wells Burcombe LLP fields a team of 'impressive' criminal defence practitioners based in West Drayton. The team has extensive experience across the spectrum of criminal law with a focus on serious and historical sexual offences, modern slavery, and people trafficking. Founding members David Wells in St Albans and Alan Burcombe are experienced in handling multimillion-pound fraud matters and large-scale drug offences. White-collar crime expert Ravinder Khumra is highly rated by clients and acts in criminal and regulatory law issues.

Testimonials

‘Ravinder Khumra’s attention to detail is exemplary and she works on really high-profile cases like historic sexual offences, money exchange bureau fraud, deaths involving children and parental neglect. She ensures her clients understand what is happening at every stage.’

‘Alan Burcombe is incredibly experienced and really devoted to his clients who feel fully supported through their case.’

‘Ravi Khumra provides a client-focused, attention-to-detail approach with an emphasis on remarkably attentive service. She is unusually client-focused in a very positive way. She demonstrates expertise in sex and financial cases in particular.’

Alan Burcombe has a wonderful calm and sensitive style and is impressively well organised.’

Alan Burcombe was a City lawyer and David Wells was a barrister – what a team. They are both comfortable undertaking any task and due to their different experiences are able to bring a new perspective to all cases and all issues.’

David Wells is always prepared to go the extra mile on his client’s behalf. He is an excellent criminal lawyer but his finest quality is his determination to leave absolutely no stone unturned in ensuring the very best outcomes for his clients.’

Ravinder Khumra and Alan Burcombe routinely go the extra mile to provide top-level service and advice.’

Alan Burcombe has instructed me on numerous cases, mainly fraud work but also some general criminal appeals. Alan stands out as combining great experience with ample energy. He has good judgement and is great with the clients. He gives realistic advice and is good at identifying the issues that might matter.

The practice works together seamlessly. There is constant communication and appraisal. Requests for actions to be taken or evidence to be obtained are dealt with almost instantaneously. There is an obvious rapport between the team, this translates into total efficiency.’

David Wells works tirelessly on behalf of his clients. He takes a very proactive approach and leaves no stone unturned.’

B P Collins LLP

At B P Collins LLP, the criminal law group is led by Jonothan Moss and handles an array of matters spanning from white-collar crime to road traffic accidents. Litigation expert Matthew Brandis is recommended for his expertise in complex contractual disputes. The practice also has experience handling inquests work.

Practice head(s):

Jonothan Moss

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Brandis; James Constable

Testimonials

‘James Constable is excellent. He is also tech and social media savvy. A great communicator.’

The team is knowledgeable, has attention to detail, and provides confidence.’

Jonathan Moss guided and supported me over a period of about 14 months. He intervened on my behalf on at least three significant occasions with the police and Crown Prosecution Service when they were failing to do their job correctly or putting barriers in the way. He identified ways of getting results at each stage that I would never have been able to identify myself and was persistent in trying to achieve my goal.’

Work highlights

  • Defended an online vlogger who reviews supercars from disqualification after police obtained edited footage of the client driving at 93mph.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

At Duncan Lewis Solicitors, the criminal law practice is equipped to handle serious crime and drug-related offenses. Jointly led by Rubin Italia, who has over twenty years of experience in this field, and Nicholas De Freitas in Harrow, the team has a niche expertise in drug confiscation matters where 'hard-working and thorough' duo Laurence Grant and Simon Connolly are the key contacts. Consultant solicitor Linda Barker handles murder, fraud, and serious assault cases.

Testimonials

‘Specialist fraud and confiscation firm. Increasingly, they are cornering the confiscation market.’

‘Laurence Grant and Simon Connolly have created a niche confiscation department over the last 10 years, providing a dedicated service. Laurence is also a go-to for local authority enforcement notice prosecutions and private motoring cases.’

I have worked for Duncan Lewis for over 10 years and know the firm well. They are particularly skilled in dealing with fraud cases and have a team of warm and extremely committed solicitors.’

‘I have worked with partners Rubin Italia and Nick De Freitas on two large fraud cases over the last year. I have know Rubin for many years. He is fantastic with his clients and always wins their total confidence and trust. Nick lives and breathes his cases and brings real energy to case preparation. Both are a joy to work with.’

Good team. They are dedicated to their clients – available day and night.

The team dealing with financial crime is diligent, proactive, and well-informed. Significantly more so than any other financial crime team that I work with.’

Laurence Grant and Simon Connolly are hardworking and thorough as they come.’

Simon Connolly has great knowledge of the law and just gets what needs to be done on a case to achieve the best result for the client.’

Rubin Italia is a very good lawyer and hard working.

JSP Law Limited

JSP Law Limited has significant expertise across the criminal defence space with a focus on serious gang-related crime and sexual offences. Led by Matthew Bliss in St Albans, the practice has a large offering and acts for clients in fraud and murder cases, with founding partner Vinesh Patel the key contact. Elsewhere, Vinod Jumnoodoo has a specialism in defending serious Crown Court cases.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Bliss

Other key lawyers:

Vinesh Patel

Levy & Co Solicitors

At Levy & Co Solicitors, the criminal defence team has a speciality in military law headed by founding partner Steven Levy. The practice, which is housed in Essex, has expertise in mental health law and acting for the most vulnerable in society. Evelyn Hicks is the key partner for this, while the Braintree-based Katie Armstrong-Mason handles serious criminal offences. The team has expanded with the recruitment of prison law expert Kristina Smith from ITN Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Steven Levy

Work highlights

  • Acted in a 40-day trial involving the hijack of a ship at Central Criminal Court.
  • Represented 10 defendants in a bribery, corruption and fraud case.
  • Advised client who faced a murder charge and later pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.  

Noble Solicitors

At Noble Solicitors, Paul Millan heads the complex crime team which handles criminal defence matters on a privately funded and public basis, including some international matters. The practice deals with a range of serious crimes such as murder, fraud matters and motoring offences. Parm Sidhu specialises in extradition matters and is based in the firm's Bedfordshire office.

Practice head(s):

Paul Millan; David Noble

Other key lawyers:

Parm Sidhu

Work highlights

  • Defended client accused of a £2.5m lottery fraud.
  • Defence prepared for a client charged and found guilty of the torture and sexual abuse of an 18 month-year-old child.
  • Defence of client accused of numerous charges of rape – including rape of a child, false imprisonment and kidnap.

Woodfines LLP

Woodfines LLP's criminal defence and regulatory practice undertakes privately funded work and is led by Mike Hayward, who specialises in dealing with serious offences. The team handles serious motoring offences, regulatory matters, and other road transport issues, which a key sector strength. Charlotte Hunt and senior associate Michelle O’Gara also comprise the core team.

Practice head(s):

Mike Hayward