Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: General crime and fraud

Dan Stowers joined the team at Brabners LLP from Shoosmiths LLP in December 2022. Specialising in financial crime and regulatory advice, the team operates nationally from its office in Leeds, and is experienced in working for high-profile corporate clients.
Tyr‘s regulatory, fraud and financial crime team is spearheaded by Lyn Dario and Marie Bourke, and handles representation for clients facing allegations of offences relationg to environmental matters, as well as acting in local authority enforcements and business compliance matters.

General crime and fraud in Yorkshire And The Humber



Practice head(s):

Marie Bourke


‘Marie Bourke is an outstanding practitioner. She has brilliant interpersonal skills, she is caring, compassionate and extremely hard working for her lay client. She has a fantastic understanding and knowledge of crime and fraud from many years in practice dealing with some of the most serious and complex cases.’

‘Marie Bourke is the stand out performer. I am always impressed at the dedication and effort she puts into an individual case.’

‘Marie Bourke is an exceptional lawyers who combines exceptional tactical ability with approachability and warmth.’


Work highlights

ABR Solicitors

ABR Solicitors‘ Leeds offering is led by managing partner Rob Rode, who is known for dealing with the full spectrum of fraud, crime and regulatory cases. The team is well placed to offer support with all stages of procedures, from initial interviews though to appellate courts. James McAulay has specialist expertise regarding mental health issues.

Practice head(s):

Rob Rode

Other key lawyers:

Anna Moran; James McAulay; Andrew Stewardson


‘ABR have always maintained a strong reputation, headed by Rob Rode.’

‘Rob Rode is a very well known figure, with a wealth of knowledge in his field.’

Howard & Byrne

York-based Howard & Byrne offers specialist regulatory defence and court-martial advice to clients. The team is jointly headed up by the ‘exceptionalColin Byrne, an expert in bribery and corruption matters with extensive international experience, and Kevin Blount, a member of the Private Prosecutors’ Association with particular expertise in confiscation matters and Church of England disciplinary and safeguarding investigations.

Practice head(s):

Colin Byrne; Kevin Blount

Other key lawyers:

Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks


‘The firm provides amongst the highest level of partner input I have seen in any law firm, and the partners are of an exceptional quality, in particular Colin Byrne who is in my view one of the leading lawyers in the North of England.’

‘Colin Byrne is not only a very technically skilled lawyer but is utterly dedicated to the pursuit of success in the cases in which he is instructed – he has an incisive and intuitive approach to the law; highly experienced; highly competent; very dedicated; very driven. He’s truly an exceptional lawyer when measured against his peers.’

‘Howard & Byrne has a level of expertise and client base well beyond its size. I regularly refer clients to them and just as regularly receive glowing reports from those clients. The whole team is strong, providing robust advice and advocacy as well as emotional intelligence and support.’

‘Colin Byrne is a one-off. His determination to get the best possible outcome for clients is a force to be reckoned with. I referred him to a family member who described him as “so experienced, calm, thoughtful and helpful” – he was absolutely brilliant.’

‘Kevin Blount is a great lawyer. He has an incisive intellect and a calm and reassuring manner. I would recommend Kevin without hesitation to anyone.’

‘Colin Byrne is a tenacious and creative lawyer who can identify issues/develop arguments others have not considered and will explore all avenues of enquiry to seek to achieve the best outcome for his clients. He is accessible at any time of the day or night and his speed of response and client care is in my view exceptional.’

‘Big regional presence. Good reputation for excellent results.’

‘The big name here is Colin Byrne, for good reason. He is a prominent and well-regarded practitioner. Committed and strategic.’

O’Garra Cohen Cramer

Noted for its dedicated Proceeds of Crime act team, Leeds-based O’Garra Cohen Cramer is best known for its expertise in the fraud, sexual offences, murder, and animal welfare spaces. John Goodwin leads the practice, with clients benefiting from his ‘formidable intellectual calibre’. Michael O’Garra is another key team member.

Practice head(s):

John Goodwin

Other key lawyers:

Michael O’Garra


‘John Goodwin is of formidable intellectual calibre but with a down-to-earth ability to communicate with clients, gain their trust, and give effective advice.’

‘John Goodwin is widely known as a solicitor of choice for organised crime groups nationally and internationally, as well as professional clients. He is regularly instructed by other firms in the most complex of frauds where his encyclopaedic knowledge of tax law across different jurisdictions is well known. He is approachable and above all listens to his clients. He is a tactical master.’

‘John Goodwin – a veritable Rolls Royce of litigators. Highly experienced and tactically astute. A great team leader. Michael O’Garra – tenacious and absolutely committed to his clients.’

Work highlights

  • Acted in a joint enterprise murder case, in which the client’s co-defendant was tried separately and was convicted of murder.
  • Successfully acted to remove an account freezing order in the context of a multi-million pound investigation.
  • Acting for the directors of companies in the waste industry alleged to have conspired to evade landfill tax in excess of £70m and VAT in excess of £15m.

Rahman Ravelli

Genuine powerhouseRahman Ravelli operates regionally, nationally and internationally. The firm has particular expertise in civil recovery proceedings, multi-jurisdictional civil fraud claims, and worldwide asset recovery cases. Clients also benefit from the team’s international sanctions experience. Managing partner Azizur Rahman - a ‘brilliant tactician’ known for complex sanctions work and multi-national fraud investigations - leads the team. ‘Star quality operatorNicola Sharp has an extensive track record in handling major financial investigations, while Syed Rahman is recommended for both sanctions work, and the developing area of cryptocurrency fraud.

Practice head(s):

Azizur Rahman

Other key lawyers:

Syed Rahman; Nicola Sharp


‘Over the last ten years or so, Azizur Rahman has built the firm into a genuine powerhouse in the field of crime and fraud. What sets them apart is both the breadth of work they undertake but also the jurisdictions in which they undertake it. Many firms advertise themselves as having an international presence, but Rahman Ravelli genuinely does.’ 

‘An outstanding firm which deals with a broad range of crime from homicide to company fraud.’

‘Nicola Sharp is a star quality operator who provides the best service to her clients.’ 

‘In the field they service, they are at the top of the tree. The first call in civil and criminal fraud. They have a diverse team all totally committed to giving their clients value for money.’

‘Azizur Rahman – a brilliant tactician who gives clear and well structured advice.’ 

‘Nicola Sharp – a truly great commercial litigator. Very brave and hard working.’

‘Rahman Ravelli has become one of the fastest-growing and most highly-regarded, market-leading legal practices in its field and the firm strives to provide conflict-free, market-leading financial crime, cross-border investigations and complex commercial litigation advice.’

‘Azizur Rahman is the orchestrator of strategy and the clear and focused driving force behind the firm, always seeming to identify and fulfil client needs almost before they themselves appreciate that they need a policy on a topic, or advice on a matter. His skill in leading and managing legal teams, both in the UK and overseas, through all stages of a case has been proven to produce the strongest bespoke defence for the corporates, executives and UHNWIs that are his clients.’

Ashmans Solicitors

With offices in both Dewsbury and Sheffield, Ashmans Solicitors is well placed to carry out criminal defence work across Yorkshire, as well as nationally. ‘Highly sought after practitionerRaja Atif Afzal has particular strength working with vulnerable defendants. Afzal jointly heads up the practice with Imran Ali, who is recommended for his expertise in financial crime, extradition and money laundering issues.

Practice head(s):

Raja Atif Afzal; Imran Ali

Other key lawyers:

Arshad Ali


‘A very hands-on approach to cases providing an excellent service to its clients.’

‘Arshad Ali is an extremely competent and provides an excellent service to his clients.’

‘Ashmans offer their clients the best service possible and always instructs the best counsel for that client’s needs. They have highly experienced and skilled solicitors allowing them to navigate any criminal case that clients may have.’

GT Stewart Limited

The team at GT Stewart Limited is well placed to defend clients charged with a variety of serious criminal offences, from the police station through to the Court of Appeal. The group has specific expertise regarding youth crime. Patricia Walker leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Walker

Other key lawyers:

Philip Mahoney; Ed Youlton; Michelle Stewart


‘The firm is responsive and easy to reach, which is not always the case in criminal law. You get the impression they are always willing to go above and beyond what is necessary to ensure their clients’ cases are as well prepared as possible and they receive the best possible outcome.’

‘Ed Youlton had a real grasp of the case and was meticulously prepared throughout the Crown Court case management process.’

‘Terrifically hard working and responsive team. Just fantastic. Willing to go the extra mile or three. Always pick up the phone, and deal.’

‘Ed Youlton – responsive, efficient, and a no-nonsense approach. Works incredibly hard, thinks outside the box, and delivers. Always follows up on calls/emails. Comes forwards with constructive ideas, and assimilates a deluge of materials with ease, and extracts what really matters.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a client before the High Court for a writ of habeas corpus.
  • Represented a youth who was charged with a s18 wounding with intent.
  • Represented a youth who was charged with an offence of aggravated vehicle taking.


The Harrogate-based McCormicks team handles the full spectrum of criminal defence work, with particular specialisms in historic sexual abuse, drug conspiracy, and corporate manslaughter cases. Additionally, the group has significant experience working with pharmacists and sports bodies. Peter Minnikin leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Peter Minnikin


‘Tremendous firm, and has been for a long time.’

‘Peter Minnikin – responsive, efficient, no-nonsense approach. Works incredibly hard, thinks outside the box, and delivers. Knows his law. Always follows up on calls/emails.’

Key clients

National Pharmaceutical Association

Leeds United FC

Professional Games Match Officials Ltd

City Football Group Ltd

The Dawson Group

Work highlights

  • Representing the National Pharmaceutical Association in a number of cases relating to gross negligence manslaughter and other serious criminal offences.
  • Acting in a range of regulatory matters for Leeds United FC, and criminal matters for the players.
  • Advising the parent group of Manchester City Football club on health and safety legislation and other regulatory matters.

Opus Law

Opus Law, based in Bradford, has experience across a range of serious crime and fraud cases. Its particular specialisms lie in the sporting sector and in representing insurance companies and their clients in coroner court enquiries. Additionally, the firm has notable expertise in money laundering cases. ‘Excellent tactician’ Ben Jones leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Ben Jones


‘Excellent all-round firm, but particularly strong as a private crime practice.’

‘Ben Jones is enormously hard working.’

‘They are a firm that specialises in fraud work and are probably one of the most respected in this particular field. They have siginifantly more experience that other firms in Bradford and Leeds. Clients will get a full service together with experts who are hand picked. They also have a top class general crime department.’

Key clients

Bradford City Football Club

1511 Sports Agency

Netscaff Services Limited

Smith & Butler Accountants

Mitton Group

Work highlights

  • Successfully secured a not guilty verdict in a major money laundering case.
  • Acting in a significant money laundering case where it is alleged that accounts were used in order to conceal cash from a large advertising scam.
  • Acting in a major VAT fraud case in which large VAT reclaims were made on the basis of legitimate construction work, followed by the cross-jurisdictional laundering of the monies received from those claims.

Shoosmiths LLP

John Hartley leads the business crime and compliance team at Shoosmiths LLP which operates predominantly in the Leeds region, but also has strong ties nationally. Cross-departmental expertise is leveraged in order to handle contentious defence work, internal investigations work, and non-contentious preventative compliance work. Principal associate Lauren Bowkett has extensive Proceeds of Crime Act expertise, and advises clients from both a civil and criminal perspective.

Practice head(s):

John Hartley

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Bowkett


‘Good team with wide-ranging commercial experience.’

‘Lauren Bowkett is a good lawyer with a great knowledge in the field.’

‘A very strong all around team. Very focused and provide clear, sensible, logical representation.’

‘Lauren Bowkett is very impressive. Hard working and totally client committed.’

Switalskis Solicitors

Solicitor advocate Michael Devlin leads Switalskis Solicitors‘ crime team, bringing his particular expertise working with vulnerable defendants to bear; mental health and mental capacity law, and child and adult abuse claims are areas of particular strength. The team also includes barrister Jim Littlehales.

Practice head(s):

Michael Devlin

Other key lawyers:

Jim Littlehales

Wilford Smith

Sheffield-based Wilford Smith specialises in defending complex criminal cases, from matters relating to football violence, through to murder. In addition, the team has expertise in handling cybersecurity, social media and telecoms-related criminal offences. The team is co-lead by senior director Rebecca Smith-Bains, who notable expertise defending duty evasion and tax fraud matters; Mark Bates, who has particular strength defending misconduct prosecutions and data protection breaches; and Dapinder Singh KC, an expert in cartel and fixed-price cases.

Practice head(s):

Dapinder Singh KC; Rebecca Smith-Bains; Mark Bates


‘There simply cannot be a more down to earth, honest and approachable legal practice in South Yorkshire. This is a firm that knows its market, its clients and delivers in a way that no others can. They carry a wealth of serious fraud cases at any given time, as well as covering the entire spectrum on criminal cases. They are skilled and honed in providing the very best advice.’

‘The criminal team is expertly run my Rebecca Smith-Baines with the assistance of Mark Bates who is utterly tenacious. This is a well run team of competent and straight-talking individuals who deliver law with utter compassion.’

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell‘s regulatory and criminal investigations team is led by Jason Newall, who works across the firm’s Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester offices. The group's workload includes high-profile financial crime and fraud cases, alongside a core roster of serious and organised crime matters.

Practice head(s):

Jason Newall

Other key lawyers:

Kathryn Pitters


‘The team are always a pleasure to work with, they are very well briefed and always deliver a quality product.’

‘We work with Jason Newall who has a great knowledge of his area and a real passion for what he does.’

‘A polished, friendly and skilled team of solicitors, more than justifying their enviable position within the ecosystem of private white-collar criminal and regulatory firms.’

‘Jason Newall is all understated polish and unflappable charm, a steady hand on the tiller and a pleasure to be instructed by. It is always a pleasure to be briefed by Kathryn Pitters, who combines a steely-eyed realism with down-to-earth legal nous and easy charisma.’

‘The team are hardworking, efficient and very approachable. They have very good legal knowledge and are very pro-active in the preparation of cases.’

‘I would like to mention Jason Newall, who I am very impressed with. He is bright, hardworking and always prepares his cases extremely well. I am impressed by his calm approach to cases and his efficiency in dealing with issues that arise.’

‘The team are very responsive and well prepared. They are all very pleasant to deal with.’

Lupton Fawcett

The team at Lupton Fawcett has bases across York, Sheffield and Leeds, and is particularly known for its criminal regulatory and corporate defence work. The group represents both corporate and private clients, and also advises on compliance policies and staff training. Jeremy Scott  heads up the department, ably assisted by senior associate Meghan Waldron, has notable expertise representing agricultural sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Scott

Other key lawyers:

Meghan Waldron; Jonathan Cripwell


‘An excellent firm, with strong values and excellent personnel at all levels.’

‘Jeremy Scott is utterly reliable; a good strategic thinker; pleasure to work with.’