General crime and fraud in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP fields a team with broad expertise in the fraud space, having been bolstered by the arrival of Guy Bastable from BCL Solicitors in May 2021. Bastable works across the firm’s London, Bristol and Edinburgh offices and serves as head of corporate crime; he jointly leads the fraud practice alongside head of disputes David Hall. Together, Hall and Bastable provide proactive advice to clients on complying with anti-financial crime regulations, including the Bribery Act 2010, Criminal Finances Act 2017 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. On the contentious side, the practice handles interactions with regulators including the FCA, SFO and NCA as well as internal investigations, and also acts on shareholder disputes involving allegations of fraud. The practice continues to stand out in the market for its experience handling cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):

David Hall; Guy Bastable

Other key lawyers:

Sam Aldous; Laura Beament

Testimonials

‘Guy Bastable is excellent – he is well known for his health and safety expertise and environmental crime practice.’

‘This is a very sophisticated and forward thinking firm with good vision. They are dedicated professionals who are committed to their clients. They are friendly and sympathetic.’

‘The most experienced South West firm in fraud and corporate crime; strong associate support; capable of delivering in large and complex cases.’

‘David Hall – excellent knowledge and experience, good judgment, the best in the South West for this sort of work.’

‘Laura Beament works very hard and has exceptional attention to detail, she will often be the one to spot a key point. A real asset to any case.’

‘Guy Bastable is excellent. He delivers at every level – technical, strategy and practicalities. He also drives patiently towards a resolution. He understands the client’s position and provides objective analysis.’

‘David Hall is an excellent solicitor with a fine tactical brain.’

‘A well oiled machine.’

Work highlights

    Clarke Willmott LLP

    Clarke Willmott LLP continues to have a strong presence in acting for agricultural clients, defending them against allegations of breaking environmental, health and safety, and animal welfare laws, and is increasingly active in matters involving housing standards. In addition to its work defending clients, the practice is developing an active prosecution-side practice, acting for local authorities in the South West. Practice head Daniel Gill offers further expertise in crimes against persons and sexual offences. Gill took over as practice head following the retirement of Tim Hayden in October 2021, and is praised as a ‘shrewd operator’ who offers clients ‘a wealth of experience’.

    Practice head(s):

    Daniel Gill

    Testimonials

    ‘In-depth legal and procedural knowledge. Provide sensible clear and appropriate advice. Hard working and available when needed.’

    ‘Daniel Gill is very good.’

    ‘Daniel Gill blends in depth legal knowledge with an abundance of common sense and understanding of the client’s goals. He is a very competent advocate. His confident calm manner ensures he is trusted and listened to by benches.’

    ‘The team have an unrivalled reputation in dealing with criminal actions against individuals and businesses based on alleged breaches of regulations or fraud. Strength across the board ensures the firm are able to provide clients with a full service, including defending actions from regulators or criminal prosecutions.’

    ‘Daniel Gill is a shrewd operator with experience beyond his years, and sound commercial judgment. He puts clients at ease and delivers reassurance and reliability during what can be the most stressful time in their lives.’

    ‘The team has an excellent level of client care. Defendants can expect attendance from someone at the team at almost every hearing throughout the trial process, which is increasingly rare.’

    ‘Daniel Gill is a smart, dedicated partner with a wealth of experience who is always ready to discuss tactics and case management with counsel.’

    Key clients

    South Somerset District Council

    Roland Bugler, Heather Bugler and Simon Bugler

    Mears Housing

    John Sampson

    David Crossman

    Ireosa Limited

    F Drury & Sons Limited

    Mr X

    Work highlights

    • Conducted a number of prosecutions on behalf of South Somerset District Council.
    • Continuing to advise Mears Housing on housing matters, particularly relating to the House in Multiple Occupation regime and also in relation to housing health and safety matters.
    • Represented the Buglers in respect of their dispute with Natural England, which resulted in Natural England taking no action against the Buglers.

    Michelmores LLP

    Michelmores LLP focuses on white-collar crime, acting for an international client base in multi-jurisdictional cases related to claims of fraud, corruption and breaches of anti-money laundering regulations. As well as helping clients to defend against allegations, the team also acts for claimants in civil litigation involving these issues, such as professional negligence claims related to alleged fraud. Practice head Andrew Oldland KC has deep experience in financial services regulation, including previously prosecuting cases in this area. In addition to his contentious expertise, he is engaged by clients to provide proactive advice on compliance with regulations. Oldland QC is supported by Sara Chisholm-Batten, who also heads up the firm’s private wealth disputes team, and head of commercial and regulatory disputes Jonathan Kitchin.

    Practice head(s):

    Andrew Oldland KC

    Other key lawyers:

    Sara Chisholm-Batten; Jonathan Kitchin

    Testimonials

    ‘It is rare to have as a senior partner a person who has attained the rank of silk at the Bar and who continues to sit as a Recorder. This gives him, and through him the firm, an edge that many others lack.’

    ‘Andrew Oldland KC is very well informed on financial matters, especially fraud in the context of Europe and Central Asia.’

    Key clients

    AIFCA

    Bijou Weddings

    W Stevenson & Sons Ltd

    Schools Company Trust

    Norfinance AS

    Work highlights

    •   Leading case against the Competition & Markets Authority on cancellations and refunds following the cancellation of the 2020 wedding season due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Andrew Oldland KC led the negotiations with the CMA which reached a settlement reported in the national press.
    • Representing fishing fleet owner W Stevenson & Son Ltd in respect of investigations by the police, HSE, MCA & MAIB into two separate incidents where fatalities occurred.

    Reeds Solicitors

    Reeds Solicitors acts in the defence of clients facing a range of serious criminal allegations, ranging from murder, to sexual abuse, to drug trafficking. The team is jointly led by the Stephen Clifford, who heads up the crown court side of the practice, and the 'absolutely superb' Nicola Hutchinson, who focuses on magistrates’ court cases. The practice has a strong track record in handling complex matters, such as cases involving defendants with mental health issues; Hutchinson is also particularly noted for her work in gang-related cases. Andy Lee is a 'first class litigator' with a varied workload, including fraud and organised crime, and has carved out a niche in representing defendants from the Chinese community.

    Practice head(s):

    Stephen Clifford; Nicola Hutchinson

    Other key lawyers:

    Andy Lee

    Testimonials

    ‘Nicola Hutchinson is absolutely superb, she is very easy to communicate with and always picks the correct tone depending on who she is dealing with. Andy Lee has an excellent client base and always shows grand judgement.’

    ‘An experienced and well-organised team of practitioners providing a very professional service across the whole range of criminal law and procedure.’

    ‘In an incredibly difficult market place for Crime over the past 10 years Reeds have managed not only to survive (which is an achievement in itself) but also to prosper and expand (which is little short of miraculous). They have achieved this whilst maintaining incredibly high standards of service. In a world where others cut corners they refuse to do so.  The same work ethic exists across the firm.’

    ‘Reeds has strength and experience across the board. They are well set up for the difficult task of criminal litigation in a digital age and always adopt the most thorough of approaches. ‘

    ‘I work almost exclusively with Andy Lee.  He is a solicitor who attracts substantial clients nationally.  We have worked on large complex frauds together as well as drugs conspiracies.  Andy is thorough, intuitive whilst remaining realistic and practical.  He is a first class litigator and confident in his negotiating skills.’

    Stephen Clifford is responsible for setting the tone right from the top. He has incredibly high standards and insists on the same throughout the firm. He is utterly driven to make sure the firm delivers for its clients. He leads by example and has a ferocious work ethic.’

    ‘The people are very supportive at all levels from partners to secretary. They are very thorough in their approach and showed empathy to my situation.’

    ‘I was very grateful to Nicola Hutchinson, one of the partners. She listened to me and made me confident in Reeds’ ability to help me.’

    Work highlights

      Stone King LLP

      Stone King LLP has a varied practice which encompasses advising clients on regulatory and criminal prosecutions, as well as on inquests and inquiries. The group continues to be recognised for its work in safeguarding, where it draws on the wider firm’s experience in the education and charity sectors to advise clients in these areas on matters involving allegations of sexual crimes. Andrew Banks is particularly known for his work in the education sector, while Matthew Graham leads the firm’s national criminal law team and is noted for his experience representing individuals experiencing mental health issues. Senior associate Nicholas Wragg focuses on cases involving alleged sexual offences.

      Practice head(s):

      Matthew Graham

      Other key lawyers:

      Andrew Banks; Nicholas Wragg

      Testimonials

      ‘This team has knowledge of the niche area of sexual offences and indecent images law and also the psychological needs of clients, moreso than I have come across before. They organise professional development conferences and make these accessible to the legal field and wider professionals, inviting guest speakers who are highly regarded in the field. This innovative practice and knowledge really stands out.’

      ‘Matthew Graham has led on innovation in terms of a psychological assessment pathway/contacts for his clients to consider, as well as promoting wider awareness of the risk reduction and support needs of people with indecent images offences including adults and young people.’

      ‘Myself and clients have found all staff across the business, to be welcoming, knowledgable and professional in their approach. There is no such thing as a silly question.’

      ‘I was cared for by Andrew Banks, particularly attentive and supportive. His service occurred right in the middle of Covid lockdown, but he made things work constructively and fruitfully. He accompanied me to interview most helpfully.’

      Work highlights

        Osborne Clarke LLP

        Osborne Clarke LLP‘s fraud practice represents clients in commercial disputes involving allegations of fraud, handling cases involving sectors including real estate, financial services and energy. The practice’s recent work including acting on cases before the High Court and Commercial Court, and it is regularly engaged on cross-jurisdictional cases. Tom Ellis leads the team and works across the firm’s London and Bristol offices. Peter Clough and Charles Crowne are also key names to note in Bristol, with significant experience in commercial litigation.

        Practice head(s):

        Tom Ellis

        Other key lawyers:

        Peter Clough; Charles Crowne; Charlie Wedin

        Work highlights