General crime and fraud in Wales

Blackfords LLP

Boasting a team of 'immense strength and talent' and also well-equipped to run litigation in the digital age through an excellent use of technology, Blackfords LLP is well-versed at handling a wide array of criminal matters, from serious frauds and environment cases to magistrates' trials, 'dealing with each with the same level of devoted care regardless of method of funding'. Noted for his 'mental dexterity', team head Philip Williams provides 'sterling advice' to individuals and businesses across a range of white collar/fraud cases, in particular, where clients benefit from his 'encyclopaedic knowledge of regulatory law'. Noted for her ability to provide 'calm and sensible advice', solicitor Nicola Mitchard is also well-versed in handling fraud matters as well as cases relating to drugs, murder and sexual offences. 'An absolute star in the making', chartered legal executive Annie Lawrence  is also a key member of the team and is 'particularly experienced in fraud and valuable in detail-heavy cases’.

Practice head(s):

Philip Williams

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Mitchard; Scott Bowen; Annie Lawrence


‘Blackfords boasts a team of immense strength and talent, from top to bottom.’

‘Blackfords’ Cardiff offering provides a unique service in Wales: a truly boutique criminal firm catering for all cases  and dealing with each with the same level of devoted care regardless of method of funding.’

‘Philip Williams is a rainmaker. A proud Welshman, he knows the Welsh business world inside out and maintains an equally comprehensive knowledge of Counsel and will always match the right barrister to the right case. He’s got huge experience and uses it to reassure and offer sterling advice.’

Philip Williams has an encyclopaedic knowledge of regulatory law.’

 ‘Philip Williams’ experience in large complicated frauds and serious crime is unsurpassed. He combines a mental dexterity in the law with an effortless ability to communicate with clients of all backgrounds.’

Nicola Mitchard has long experience of criminal law and offers calm and sensible advice in a way which is helpful to clients, even when its substance may not be welcome.’

Annie Lawrence has a Stakhanovite work ethic and is particularly experienced in fraud and valuable in detail-heavy cases.

Annie Lawrence is an absolute star in the making.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client facing 19 counts of historical child sexual abuse.
  • Acting for an individual in relation to a major fraud investigation by HMRC concerning a recycling/plant hire business.
  • Acting for a care home subject to a multi-agency investigation following the death of two residents and serious injury of another.

Bowden Jones Solicitors

The 'approachable and well-informed' team at Bowden Jones Solicitors has a 'wealth of experience' across a range of criminal matters for private and corporate clients, as well as for those with inadequate financial means through its work on the Legal Aid Agency's "Very High Cost Case Panel". White-collar defence work is a strength, both in cases brought by the police, as well as in a private prosecution context - as is the case in a current ongoing matter relating to alleged crypto currency fraud. One of several in the team with higher rights of audience, Huw Bowden is appreciated for his 'great advocacy skills' and provides 'thoughtful and insightful advice' to clients engaged in a myriad disputes, including his work before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutors’ Office regarding alleged war crimes committed during the Kosovo conflict. Stephen Jones has significant experience at handling serious fraud and white collar crime defence work, and is also noted for his cyber law prowess.

Practice head(s):

Huw Bowden

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Jones; Timothy Lewis


The team is totally on top of all modern technological advances that insure the experience of working with for them smooth and worthwhile. They stay on top of any changes in the law and take care to ensure that the clients needs are always met.’

‘The team is approachable and well informed.’

Huw Bowden provides thoughtful and insightful advice and representation.’

Huw Bowden is a totally committed and professional solicitor with great advocacy skills.’

‘Huw Bowden is a pleasure to work with. He is thoroughly competent and an accomplished expert in criminal defence.’

Work highlights

  • Continued involvement in a longstanding investigation into an organised crime gang operating in South Wales. The latest aspect of it concerning a drug conspiracy throughout the UK and into Colombia and Costa Rica.
  • Defending a client in a private prosecution in relation to Bitcoin frauds allegedly committed by the defendant against over 30 complainants from various worldwide jurisdictions.
  • 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.

de Maids Solicitors & Advocates

Praised by counsel for its 'thorough preparation of cases' and its 'exceptional client care' - which extends to attending the Crown Court for hearings - de Maids Solicitors & Advocates has a 'long established reputation' for handling the defence of crime at all levels, from summary only offences to long and complex fraud cases and multi-handed serious crime cases. Recognised by one instructed barrister as the 'premier solicitor in this field in Wales', team head Matthew de Maid 's 'input into any case is always pertinent and valuable'. In addition, his leadership skills also filter through to the rest of the 'hardworking' team, which includes head of the prison department Sarah De Maid and Stephen Jones, who continues to regularly represent clients accused of a variety of serious allegations, including murder, manslaughter, drug supply and fraud.

Practice head(s):

Matthew de Maid

Other key lawyers:

Sarah de Maid; Stephen Jones


In my experience they prepare their cases thoroughly, which certainly assists the advocates instructed.’

The team offers exceptional client care, assists counsel with a proactive service and is available around the clock for the client.’

de Maids is a long-established firm of solicitors with an excellent reputation that is also long-established.’

‘My experience of the practice is that they pay great attention to client care. They keep regular contact with all of their live matters. They also attend the Crown Court with their clients for hearings, which is increasingly rare.

Matthew de Maid is a particularly able solicitor, and is someone in whom one can have complete confidence. His input into any case is always pertinent and valuable – even after counsel is instructed he will continue to take a keen interest in the case and will be actively involved in the preparation of the case.’

Matthew de Maid must be the premier solicitor in this field in Wales. Outstanding reputations are hard won and in this case fully deserved.’

The good practice comes from the top. Lazy leadership creates lazy staff. Matthew de Maid has instilled in his practice a genuine hardworking ethic and care for the client.’ 

Work highlights

  • Successfully secured the acquittal of a client accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine as part of an Organised Crime Group.
  • Successfully secured the acquittal of a client against murder, manslaughter, robbery charges in a joint enterprise (gang) murder, following a ten-week trial involving five defendants.
  • Currently involved in a number of cases challenging the legality and admissibility of “Encrochat” evidence that is relied upon by the prosecution in Operation Venetic drug cases. This includes how and by what means the Encrochat evidence was obtained.

M & M Solicitors

M & M Solicitors provides a 'high-quality service' to clients in the defence of high value fraud and financial crime cases, murder, drugs conspiracy and serious sexual offences. 'Relentless in the pursuit of not guilty verdicts for the clients', much of the firm's success and growing recognition in the market can be attributed to the work and leadership of 'excellent tactician' Nadeem Majid, who 'is always ready to take the right steps at the right time to drive the case towards success'. Majid has particular knowledge of white-collar crime and is able to offer a unique perspective to clients, in part by his former role as a prosecutor for Financial Services Authority (now the FCA). 'Detail focused and dedicated', Mike Prosser also has vast experience at handling serious fraud allegations, while at the more junior end of the scale, solicitor Craig Bond  'provides attractive but lawyerly national advocacy cover for the firm's many private clients'. 

Practice head(s):

Nadeem Majid

Other key lawyers:

Mike Prosser; Anthony Abrahams; Catherine Reed; Charlotte Regan; Craig Bond


A strong and committed team who provide high quality service throughout South Wales.’

A firm specialising with truly national reach and reputation in fraud and serious/complex cases working out of Cardiff is not just rare, it is unique.’

The team is relentless in the pursuit of not guilty verdicts for the clients. They are driven to fight and assemble formidable resources to put the clients case in the most favourable light.’

Work highlights

Hugh James

Somewhat of an anomaly in the ranking, Hugh James largely focuses on regulatory and business crime matters, as opposed to conventional crime and fraud. In this context, while it does handle some defence work for existing corporate clients of the firm, the focus remains on prosecution matters for public sector clients including local authorities and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. The 'extremely knowledgeable' Justin Davies handles much of this and is best-known for his representation of the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service on its fire safety prosecution work, an area that he conducts  his own advocacy. Regulatory head Martin Jones  is the key contact for defence work, including in the context of fraud, money laundering and financial regulation matters.

Practice head(s):

Martin Jones

Other key lawyers:

Justin Davies; Leah Ellison


Hugh James’ great asset in criminal work is Justin Davies, who has built a unique practice in regulatory work and in particularly fire safety prosecutions. His knowledge exceptional and he combines that expertise with a friendly and reassuring client facing manner.’

Justin Davies is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in his fields of expertise, which he exudes in his formidable style during the training sessions that he delivers to our new entrants.’

Justin Davies stands out because of his expertise and ability to cut immediately to the core of an issue; he does not waste time (or client money) in pointless arguments or self indulgent pondering, but while he very often will use his skills to disarm an opponent he will always leave them wondering how he did so with such charm and grace.’

‘Leah Ellison is enthusiastic, professional and friendly.’


Key clients

Welsh Government

Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Mid & West Wales Fire Rescue Service

Independent Office for Police Conduct

The City of Cardiff County Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency in its prosecution of a defendant for 26 offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.
  • Acted for Cardiff County Council in its prosecution of Rowshanara Begum, a landlord of a House in Multiple Occupation in Cardiff at which significant safety defects were discovered culminating in the service of an Improvement Notice under the Housing Act 2004.
  • Acting for the Managing Director of a number of leading companies in the international gambling sector, regarding an HMRC-related  criminal interview in respect of allegations including conspiracy to bribe foreign public officials and conspiracy to launder money.

Martyn Prowel Solicitors

Martyn Prowel Solicitors provides 'realistic and clear advice' to defendants across a broad range of criminal offences including, murder, serious and complex fraud, large conspiracies involving drugs and other offences, and historical sexual abuse. As well as handling privately funded matters, much of the workflow is legally aided, with the firm's inclusion on the Very High Costs Cases Panel regularly eliciting some very complex and document heavy mandates. The 'exceptionally experienced' Aled Watkins is one of many in the team with higher rights of audience and in the course of his career has been involved in a myriad cases before English and Welsh courts, including as it relates to terrorism and money laundering. James Lynch, who co-heads the team alongside Watkins and Lynda Rhead , is also a pivotal member of the team and his role as ‘Level A’ Litigator in Very High Cost Cases has seen him involved in many interesting legally aided cases. At an associate level, James Harris  is 'always thoroughly prepared and aware of the details in the case', including as it relates to benefit fraud.

Practice head(s):

Aled Watkins; James Lynch; Lynda Rhead


Other key lawyers:

James Harris; Geraint Richards


The dedication the firm provides to clients and the preparation they provide to counsel in terms of a detailed brief and comments on prosecution witnesses is second to none.’

They provide realistic and clear advice to clients and worked collaboratively with counsel.’

James Harris and Aled Watkins are exceptionally experienced criminal solicitors and are always thoroughly prepared and aware of the details in the case.’

Work highlights

Morgan LaRoche

Different from most of the traditional and often more regional offerings in the ranking, Morgan LaRoche has a UK-wide offering on behalf of independent (early years) education and adult social care providers across a range of regulatory compliance and enforcement matters. Team head Andrew Manners is responsible for developing this practice, work which he combines with a niche offering in financial crime-related private prosecution defence.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Manners

Work highlights

Gomer Williams & Co

At Llanelli-based firm Gomer Williams & Co, Laura Sherwood heads up a 'good young team' that is adept at handling a wide range of criminal defence work, including as it relates to fraud and sexual offences. In this regard, clients are very effectively represented throughout the life cycle of their case, including at the police station, the Magistrates and Crown Court.

Practice head(s):

Laura Sherwood

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Jones; Andrew Isaac; Richard Morgan; Matthew Ridler


‘Good young team headed by Laura Sherwood.’

‘Up-and-coming lawyer Matthew Ridler is very highly thought of for his clear instructions to counsel and overall ability.’


Work highlights