Blackfords LLP's 'hardworking and professional' Cardiff office forms a key component of the firm's deep and broad coverage for defendants accused of serious crime and fraud cases across the UK. As well as working in a cross-office capacity, including alongside the firm's market-leading London office, the 'stellar' team, which is headed by the 'brilliant' Philip Williams, handles a raft of very high-profile work in its own right, including in cases involving allegations of modern slavery, drug trafficking and corporate manslaughter. Williams himself, is, however, perhaps best-known for his aptitude at defending clients in complex fraud/white collar cases, which often involve overlapping regulatory investigations and criminal proceedings. Nicola Mitchard is also a key member of the team and is appreciated for her 'unstinting work ethic' on behalf of defendants accused of fraud and money laundering offences, as well as in relation to broader criminal matters, including drugs, murder and sexual offences.
General crime and fraud in Wales
Other key lawyers:
Nicola Mitchard; John Oakes
‘The stellar team provides realistic, cogent and effective advice but remains formidably loyal to a client’s case even with the most difficult instructions. They attract some of the highest profile work in the country because they defend every inch of a case and clients know they will not be let down.’
‘The Cardiff office of Blackfords boasts a superb team of highly-able and well-supported litigators. The firm’s reputation as a leader in the field of criminal representation and litigation is well-established and richly-deserved.’
‘The team is unique in South Wales as being highly specialised in regulatory criminal law and one of the few firms that also conducts private prosecutions.’
‘Philip Williams is a font of knowledge and his ability to convey difficult, complex matters whilst maintaining a true rapport with his clients underlines his true skill.’
‘Philip Williams is the ultimate rainmaker. It is remarkable that he generates such country-wide, high-profile work whilst based on one side of it! ’
‘Excellent litigator Nicola Mitchard deserves high praise for her unstinting work ethic.’
‘John Oakes is dedicated, organised and good with clients.’
- Acting for an individual in relation to a major fraud investigation by HMRC concerning a recycling/plant hire business.
- Acting for an individual charged in relation an alleged international scheme to facilitate large-scale commercial deals in the aviation fuel sector.
- Representing an individual alleged to have been part of an Organised Crime Group involved in the operation of“drugs lines” in order to supply large quantities of class A and B drugs.
Led by the 'methodical and thorough' Huw Bowden, Bowden Jones Solicitors' 'superb' eight-strong team has the strength in depth to resource a wide range and volume of criminal and fraud cases for private/corporate defendants and publicly-funded clients. Himself a solicitor advocate, Bowden 'is very much the complete criminal lawyer' and undertakes a wide variety of work, including serious fraud matters, as well as boasting a unique offering for clients subject to investigations in the Hague by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers relating to alleged war crimes committed during the war in Kosovo in the late 1990s. Stephen Jones is the other partner in the team and as well as regularly leading on high-profile serious fraud and white collar crime cases, is also recognised as one of the UK's leading lawyers in cyber law. 'Incredibly hardworking' associate Abhinav Mohindru is gaining prominence in the market as a result if his willingness 'to attentively listen to challenging clients and to provide advocacy and assistance where others may seek to disengage'.
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Jones; Rhiannon Palmer; Abhinav Mohindru; Mark Church
‘The firm is a Welsh powerhouse in the field of serious crime and fraud. They are the complete criminal outfit. ’
‘Every member of the team maintains corporate high standards in customer service and up-to-date legal knowledge. There is an overall approach to clients that reinforces the importance of the client to the firm as something more than a client/solicitor relationship.’
‘The firm undertakes a wider variety of work than most of their competitors, and enjoys an excellent reputation in all areas. It is constantly looking for ways to broaden its areas of expertise, and is currently developing a strong cyber-crime practice.’
‘The team at Bowden Jones, is well equipped to deal with many types of cases. They range from work in the Magistrates Court to proceedings in the International Criminal jurisdiction, based in The Hague. They handle things with the greatest of professionalism and adapt to the very different needs of the clients.’
‘Huw Bowden is one of the most experienced and capable criminal solicitors in Wales. He frequently features in cases with multiple defendants facing lengthy sentences. His practice specialises in the largest cases of the highest complexity (including work before the International Criminal Court in the Hague).’
‘Huw Bowden is a skilled operator, bringing experience together with verve and courage. Willing to expand into new areas of work, Huw brings the same methodical and thorough approach to all cases, leaving no stone unturned.’
‘Huw Bowden is very much the complete criminal lawyer. He will deal with cases from beginning to end, as a highly respected higher court advocate and Specialist Counsel. Working on many cases with Huw, he never fails to impress with his ability manage the case and I would never hesitate to recommend him to others.
‘Abhi Mohindru, whilst relatively new to the scene in Cardiff, is willing to attentively listen to challenging clients and to provide advocacy and assistance where others may seek to disengage. He is not afraid of hard work and relishes conducting trials.’
- Continuing to represent various defendants as suspects of war crimes, allegedly committed during the Kosovo War in the late 1990s, in cases heard before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague.
- Continued involvement in a high-profile investigation into the money laundering of an organised crime gang, operating both in the UK, in mainland Europe and in Ghana.
- Continued representation of a defendant in a longstanding investigation into an organised crime gang operating in South Wales, which has involved additional investigations into drug supply, money laundering, fraud, and murder.
Well-established in the local market, de Maids Solicitors & Advocates is 'hardworking and committed to achieving the best result for the lay client' throughout the life-cycle of a criminal case, from initial instructions and representation at the police station, through to trial, and if necessary on parole applications and judicial reviews, at the post conviction stage. 'Impressive' team head Matthew de Maid is 'capable of dealing with difficult and complex cases', including those relating to drug conspiracies, money laundering and bribery, both locally and outside of Wales. Stephen Jones is also recommended and 'works assiduously' for his clients' and is 'never phased by unusual or complicated cases'. 'Able to put clients at ease with her professional approach', Sarah de Maid heads up the prison law department and has 'an encyclopaedic grasp of that area of law'.
Matthew de Maid
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Jones; Sarah de Maid
‘The team is inculcated with the philosophy of its senior partner, Matthew de Maid, namely, to leave no stone unturned in its preparation and to go the extra mile for all clients, no matter their background, ethnicity or gender. Such a quality is invaluable and makes the practice exceptional, if not unique.
‘Matthew de Maid is particularly impressive. He is totally reliable; has an in-depth working knowledge of his cases; and through his experience demonstrates that he is capable of dealing with difficult and complex cases, and the issues that arise with them.’
‘Matthew de Maid and Stephen Jones are exceptionally efficient and user-friendly. It is wonderful for Counsel to be able to rely on those instructing to do the required work from their own initiative, and if anything is needed it is done with no fuss but all due expedition.’
‘Matthew de Maid is a criminal lawyer who takes on highly complex cases with ease. He is a talented lawyer who has very good people skills, and is able to explain issues to clients in an straightforward and logical manner.
‘Stephen Jones is solicitor totally committed to his clients. He works assiduously on their behalf, and takes every legal point, when the need arises. He has a balanced logic about his approach, and is never phased by unusual or complicated cases.’
‘Sarah de Maid specialises in prison law, and has an encyclopaedic grasp of that area of law. She has a tremendous bed side manner, and is able to put clients at ease with her professional approach. ’
‘Matthew de Maid is a leading figure in crime in Wales. He is generally acknowledged to be an outstanding criminal practitioner, who is widely admired and respected by clients and colleagues alike. He has sound judgement, and is incredibly hard working and industrious.’
‘A great team who support each other and create a professional environment to support clients from all walks of life. Each one gets the same high quality service. This team really do care about the service they provide and do everything they can to ensure clients are properly looked after in all aspects of the criminal justice system. ’
‘Matthew de Maid is painstaking in his preparation of cases and client care is exceptional. He also exercises his higher rights of audience and is equally as impressive there. Without doubt one of the leading practitioners in his field. ’
M & M Solicitors
Led by the 'hugely accomplished' Nadeem Majid, M & M Solicitors's 11-strong team has developed a reputation as a 'real national powerhouse', both locally and throughout the UK, for its 'ability to effectively handle serious and complex criminal cases', including drugs conspiracies and matters involving sexual offences. The team is also well-versed at handling white-collar crime cases, including money laundering and Ponzi type financial fraud schemes, and is able to bring a unique perspective by virtue of the firm's former role on the prosecution side for the financial regulator. 'Respected throughout the jurisdiction', Mike Prosser is 'hugely experienced in large cases' and is also pivotal to the firm's success for clients accused of complex fraud-related criminal offences. Catherine Davey heads up the Magistrates Court department.
Other key lawyers:
Mike Prosser; Anthony Abrahams; Catherine Davey
‘This is an outstanding practice. Handles the highest calibre criminal work and has nationwide presence in major criminal cases.’
‘The team is phenomenal, a real national powerhouse. There is a cohesive atmosphere at the firm with a clear strategy and approach for all cases, large and small.’
‘A diverse team, that is able to manage the a variety of issues faced in criminal litigation. The team are experienced both in handling complex cases and analysis.’
‘Very efficiently run practice able to handle effectively serious and complex crime’.
‘Nadeem Majid is tireless and pursues opportunities across the country.’
‘Nadeem Majid is a powerhouse of a lawyer. Hugely committed to his clients and providing an excellent service- drawing on his wide expyand knowledge of criminal law.’
‘Michael Prosser is hugely experienced in large cases and respected throughout the jurisdiction.’
‘Anthony Abrahams is a gifted advocate with first-class legal knowledge.’
Wrexham-based firm GHP Legal has an excellent reputation throughout north Wales across a wide range of criminal defence work, from more minor cases involving road traffic infringements, through to matters of the utmost severity, including murder and rape. Euros Jones mirrors the breadth of the firm's criminal expertise, with work encompassing both Magistrate Court hearings, as well as Crown Court matters. Jones is one of several lawyers within the team who has higher rights of audience, and along with the very experienced Stephen Edwards , is notable for his ability to conduct proceedings and receive instructions in Welsh, should the need arise. Emma Simoes rounds out the team at a partner level and has developed particular expertise for her representation of young defendants in the Youth Court, as well as those with learning difficulties. Simoes also heads up the firm's Prison Law department which handles a considerable amount of work, including as it relates to parole review and transfer requests to inmates in the UK's largest operational prison, HMP Berwyn, which opened up just outside Wrexham in 2017.
Emma Simoes; Euros Jones; Stephen Edwards
Other key lawyers:
- Successfully secured a reduced sentence (further to the mitigation advanced) on behalf of a very vulnerable female, suffering from complex mental health issues, for offences of arson with intent to endanger life.
Although Hugh James does handle some defence work for private individuals and corporate clients of the firm, including in relation to potential fraud, health and safety and money laundering infractions, the core focus of its three-strong regulatory team, which is headed by Martin Jones, lies in its prosecution work for central and local government and various non-police prosecution agencies. Senior associate Justin Davies is pivotal to much of this work, and as well as continuing to represent Wales-based Fire and Rescue Authorities in fire safety law matters, has also developed niche expertise in prosecutions brought by the Welsh government relating to breaches of UK, Welsh and European fisheries legislation.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very extensive knowledge of procedure and practice. Exceptional professionalism.’
‘Justin Davies is of the highest calibre. He has a wide knowledge of the legal issues in a case and ability to see the aspects that need attention. He is a skilled advocate and negotiator. Without question a great asset.’
The Welsh Government
Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency
South Wales Fire & Rescue Service
Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service
- Representing the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency in a significant number of fraud cases prosecuted by the Agency, having previously trained its new-entrant Counter-Fraud Investigators.
- Instructed by the Counsel General for Wales (the Welsh Government’s chief legal adviser) to prosecute all cases of alleged breaches of UK, Welsh and European fisheries legislation.
- Continuing to represent South Wales Fire & Rescue Service in all prosecutions brought by the Service under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and has represented the Service in appeals brought against Enforcement Notice and Prohibition Notices issued by the Service.
Martyn Prowel Solicitors
With offices in Cardiff, Bridgend and Newport, Martyn Prowel Solicitors has a 'longstanding reputation in south Wales as the go-to place for high-quality criminal advice and representation' on behalf of both privately and publicly-funded clients. 'Exceptionally bright and hardworking' team head Aled Watkins regularly defends prosecutions brought by the CPS, local authorities, and government departments (including the Department of Work and Pensions) and is able to provide advocacy in court hearings, should the need arise, by virtue of his higher rights of audience accreditation.
Other key lawyers:
James Lynch; Geraint Richards; James Harris; Kate Lingley; John McCarthy
‘The firm has a longstanding reputation in south Wales as the go-to place for high-quality criminal advice and representation. They maintain consistently high standards over a range of cases from the police station through to the higher courts.’
‘A compact but highly competent criminal practice. Brilliant briefs. Almost pedantic attention to detail. Driven by a desire to ensure lay clients receive the best possible service.’
‘Martyn Prowel Solicitors provides real quality in criminal law. Approaching every case with real care and scrutiny, they stand apart in Wales when it comes to deal with complex regulatory prosecutions. ’
‘Aled Watkins is a thoughtful and polished solicitor who brings analysis and focus to his cases. He is a pleasure to work with and always has the interests of the client to the fore.’
‘Aled Watkins has an eye for detail and a court manner that is perpetually unfazed. He advises and advocates with a sense of authority and precision. He maintains a professional distance whilst striving hard for every client.
‘James Harris sees the positive in every case. Through hard work and thorough preparation he obtains results beyond those of others.’
Under the guidance of Andrew Manners, Morgan LaRoche has developed a market-leading reputation for its regulatory compliance and enforcement-related defence work for independent early years and adult social care providers. Manners is also adept at handling white-collar investigations and litigation, and has developed a strong niche in relation to private prosecutions of commercial frauds.
‘They provide a very useful mix of both civil and criminal work – claimant and private prosecution at the same time. ’
‘Andrew Manners has a wide range of expertise, excellent client care skills and his knowledge of procedure is second-to-none.’
Gomer Williams & Co
Led by the 'extremely professional and friendly' Laura Sherwood, Gomer Williams & Co's 'forward thinking and highly motivated' four-partner Llanelli-based crime team has an excellent reputation across south west Wales as a result of its ability to provide robust representation for clients across a wide range of criminal offences, including those of the most serious nature before the Crown Court. The firm also has a number of fluent Welsh speakers in its ranks, including Gareth Jones, who has an 'excellent reputation of dealing with clients', from the initial representation at the police station, through to trial, if necessary, where he is able to conduct the advocacy himself, in either Welsh or English.
Other key lawyers:
Gareth Jones; Richard Morgan; Andrew Isaac; Matthew Ridler
‘Excellent client care. Friendly and approachable. The Crown Court team is very professional. Case preparation is second-to-none.’
‘Laura Sherwood deals with clients in an extremely professional and friendly way that inspires confidence.’
‘Gareth Jones has an excellent reputation for dealing with clients.’