Crime: general in South West

Clarke Willmott LLP

Based across offices in Taunton and Bristol, the 'very knowledgeable' team at Clarke Willmott LLP represents individuals, businesses and local government bodies in criminal and regulatory matters. The group has particular experience in matters pertaining to the environment and pollution, agricultural and animal welfare issues, breaches in planning law, and traffic and motoring offences. Team leader Tim Hayden, described by clients as a 'steady, calm presence', has expertise in criminal law applying to hunting. The 'tactically very astuteDaniel Gill is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Tim Hayden

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Gill


‘The team are leaders in their field.’

‘In particular, Daniel Gill has an astonishing depth of knowledge when it comes to issues of housing standards and houses in multiple occupation. He delivers good and sound advice and direction to his clients.’

‘Daniel Gill is a partner who provides exceptional service to his clients. He has an eye for detail, is very thorough but retains a strong and perceptive overview of the bigger issues. Very impressive.’

‘Very knowledgeable and connected to their rural client base. ’

‘Tim Hayden demonstrates dogged perseverance on behalf of clients. A steady, calm presence.’

‘Superb preparation and extremely good client management.’

‘Daniel Gill is tactically very astute and has excellent in-depth knowledge of the law in his field.

‘Daniel Gill is very responsive, nice to work with and gives good, concise advice.’

Key clients

Wessex Water Services Limited

Bristol Water Plc

South Somerset District Council

Work highlights

  • Representing members of the Masters of Foxhounds Association’s affiliated hunts on numerous matters, in particular representing both individuals and hunts who are accused of illegal hunting contrary to the Hunting Act 2004.
  • Advising South Somerset District Council on serving several statutory notices to a property owner, prosecuting him for non-compliance with those notices, and prosecuting him for fly tipping.
  • Representing various water utility companies that have carried out street works without appropriate prior authorisation and/or not in accordance with the statutory guidance.

Reeds Solicitors

Based in Bristol, the team at Reeds Solicitors has developed a reputation among its clients for 'outstanding professionalism, expertise in the field, resilience, tact and focus'. Its lawyers are dedicated to criminal and prison law, with substantial experience in criminal defence. The group often works alongside colleagues across the country, with an increasing focus on complex and private crime matters. Jointly heading the group are solicitor-advocates Stephen Clifford, who leads on Crown Court work, and Nicola Hutchinson, who was promoted to partner in 2020, having established herself as an expert in private client and magistrates' court issues. The 'exceptionalAndy Lee, also a solicitor-advocate and accredited duty solicitor, is building a reputation for defending clients against serious criminal allegations.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Clifford; Nicola Hutchinson

Other key lawyers:

Andy Lee


‘The service that Reeds provide to their clients is head and shoulders above that being provided by most criminal solicitors at this time. They have a dedicated team of experienced caseworkers dealing with their Crown Court work which enables them to deal efficiently with case preparation and case management.’

‘They respond speedily to requests for work to be done and, as a result, assist in the smooth running of Crown Court cases. This is of huge benefit to their clients but also to the court and other agencies working within the criminal justice system. ’

‘Stephen Clifford is a well-respected lawyer. He is a businessman who well understands that providing a quality client service is what underpins a successful Crown Court team. Reeds Solicitors do not look to cut corners.’

‘Stephen Clifford always goes the extra mile for his clients and ensures the entire firm is imbued with that same ethos. He cares passionately about his case load. He manages to provide good old-fashioned service levels but within an entirely modern and forward-thinking set up.

‘I was surprised and impressed at how quickly the team were able to analyse a complex issue, synthesise a solution and resolve it, avoiding a court case.’

‘Nicola Hutchinson took care of me. She kept me in the loop and talked me through the case so I was in no doubt about how to approach the time in court in the best possible way.’

‘Andy Lee is exceptional. He is dedicated, hardworking, enthusiastic and good at what he does. He has a fantastic range of national contacts generating good-quality work. First class ’

‘What sets the team apart is its outstanding professionalism, expertise in the field, resilience, tact and focus.’

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP's 'exemplary' Bath-based crime and regulatory team handles criminal defence and appellate work before courts at all levels and has been praised by multiple clients for the assistance it provided in relation to court hearings during the Covid pandemic. Safeguarding is a key area for the group, which works alongside education and charity sector clients in matters arising from allegations of a sexual nature. Other practice strengths include inquest and public inquiry work, led by the 'always responsiveAndrew Banks, and assisting those with mental health issues and developmental disabilities with navigating the criminal justice system, where departmental head Matthew Graham, a veteran solicitor-advocate, focuses his time. Senior associate Nicholas Wragg is increasingly active in defending cases involving alleged sexual offences.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Graham

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Banks; Nicholas Wragg; Ryan O’Donnell


‘Approachable with excellent, transparent communication skills. All staff in my experience offer respect and courtesy in equal measure. Within Stone King, the ethos is not an “us and them”, it is a “we together” offering. Certainly and without question, this practice is an exemplary example of how to manage a sex offending portfolio, to facilitate hopefulness for a better life moving forward. Bravo Stone King.’

‘Matthew Graham and Nicholas Wragg are a formidable duo, and it is always a pleasure to work with either of them. They are highly professional, but are also adept at assisting clients to remain calm. They inject (metaphorically) clients with the will to survive their investigation. That is truly valued by clients. Matthew and Nicholas bring humanity, and that ought never to be underestimated.’

‘With the advent of Covid and my personal social difficulties, the use of technology both between myself and them and their arranging remote court appearances has been immensely helpful. The amount of preparation was appreciated by the court and may well have helped my case.’

‘Matthew Graham has always presented his interpretation of a situation in a clear and straightforward manner with no frills but with understanding and consideration, making sure I was making informed decisions throughout the legal process as well as making suggestions for my preparation for court. Ryan O’Donnell took over the day-to-day running of my situation, referring to Matthew when necessary. His management, preparation and presentation of my case were excellent, leading to the court expressing its gratitude.’

‘Attention to detail. Responsiveness. Plain speaking.’

‘Andrew Banks is always responsive. Excellent strategic advice.’

‘Andrew Banks’ personal availability, his clarity, his sympathetic dialogue and his sense of reassurance when I was experiencing stress were all commendable, of the highest standard.’

‘From the first point of engagement, Stone King (and Nicholas Wragg in particular) put me at total ease with my matter and never made me feel judged or bad about myself. The team, from front of house through to the partners and associates that I worked with, were very pleasant, engaging and supportive to my cause. The atmosphere within the entire building was bright and positive and I am sure that this is a conscious perception that they are keen to offer everyone that engages with them. This is far from many other professional offices where, on entering the building, there is a feeling of foreboding and even fear as you approach the reception counter. Stone King was far better than that!’

Bobbetts Mackan

Bobbetts Mackan in Bristol has a team with experience in the Crown Court. Department head Giles Tippett is noted for his expertise in court martial cases, while Tony Miles is often instructed to defend serious criminal cases.

Practice head(s):

Giles Tippett

DAC Beachcroft LLP

In DAC Beachcroft LLP's Bristol office, Beth Wycherley, who 'leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the preparation of her clients' cases', leads on criminal defence matters and specialises in advising and representing clients in cases involving road traffic offences, receiving instructions from major insurers.

Other key lawyers:

Beth Wycherley


DAC is a slick operation, well resourced and exceptionally good at what they do.’

Beth Wycherley is knowledgeable, thorough and has an excellent manner with clients. She has a can-do, no-nonsense approach, with incisive analysis of key issues. She is focused and utterly professional.’

I have had the pleasure of working with Beth Wycherley who is a standout solicitor in the DAC regulatory and criminal defence team. Beth gives a gold-standard service to her clients.

Beth Wycherley leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the preparation of her clients’ cases. Clients are reassured by her professional and approachable style. She has a real passion for client care and combines this with quality advice.’

The team at DAC Beachcroft are meticulous in case preparation and the attention to detail is second-to-none.’


The nationally based criminal defence team at DWF sits within the firm's commercial insurance group, taking on work from its insurance company clients. In Bristol, the team led by Neil Millard has significant experience in investigations and criminal prosecutions arising from road traffic offences, as well as matters relating to corporate and gross negligence manslaughter and wilful neglect. Associate Jessica Murphy is noted for representing clients in police custody and before the magistrates' and Crown Courts.

Other key lawyers:

Neil Millard; Jessica Murphy

Work highlights

  • Represented a defendant who was originally charged with causing death by dangerous driving in a week-long trial at Merthyr Crown Court, which resulted in the client’s acquittal.
  • Represented a farm worker charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving, after an unsecured hay bale fell from his trailer, in a trial at Exeter Crown Court.
  • Represented a defendant charged with causing death by careless driving following a fatal collision with a motorcyclist at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court.

Sansbury Douglas

Bristol's Sansbury Douglas is entirely focused on criminal defence, representing defendants in investigations and at court. The team is led by serious crime expert David Campbell and David Fanson, who often appears before magistrates' courts.

Practice head(s):

David Fanson; David Campbell