General crime and fraud in Yorkshire And The Humber

ABR Solicitors

Boutique firm ABR Solicitors provides nationwide defence in fraud, crime and regulatory matters, handling cases all the way from the police station through to the appeal courts. Managing partner Robert Rode is a leading name for Bribery Act investigations and prosecutions, VAT and tax fraud defence, motoring, general crime and white collar defence matters.

Practice head(s):

Robert Rode

Other key lawyers:

Tony Murphy; Andrew Stewardson; Matt Goode; James McAulay; Anna Moran; Adele McBride


‘Rob Rode and his team have a well deserved national reputation. They are extremely experienced and regularly deal with high profile matters.’

‘Excellent partners and staff. Particular expertise in heavy complex crime and mental health. Always available, unfailingly courteous with clients, yet with a steely resolve to achive results.’

‘This firm is particularly strong in Leeds and West Yorkshire. They are really very good at handling major complex defence cases and in particular serious fraud. A first rate firm with strong team delivering one of the best overall services in the area.’

‘Rob Rode and Andy Stewardson are first rate in the field of fraud and POCA work.’

‘The team both collectively and individually, with special mention to Rob Rode, Anna Moran and James McAulay, offer an excellent service to clients charged with general crime matters. it has navigated the difficulties of the past several years under the excellent stewardship of Rob Rode.’

‘Rob Rode and James Macauley are acknowledged market leaders. They are exceptional lawyers and motivators and the teams they lead are dedicated.’

‘Rob Rode will never let the client down. He is utterly tenacious but with top class tactical instincts.

‘Rob Rode is a first rate lawyer and remains a leading figure nationally as well as locally. A skilled advocate and tactician with an astute commercial brain. Andy Stewardson is a highly skilled operator in the field of fraud and POCA work with a deep understanding of both the law and procedure. Anna Moran is a real fighter with a passion for helping the underdog. James McAulay is a nationally recognised specialist in mental health law who brings that expertise to his work in criminal law.’

Work highlights

    Howard & Byrne

    At Howard & Byrne, Colin Byrne is one of the market’s foremost experts for bribery and corruption affairs, having amassed a prominent track record in cross-border proceedings throughout the US, Europe, Africa and the Middle East; he co-leads the team with Kevin Blount, a lawyer whose distinct fields of expertise include murder, multi-defendant proceedings and confiscation matters in addition to Church of England-related safeguarding and disciplinary investigations.

    Practice head(s):

    Colin Byrne; Kevin Blount

    Other key lawyers:

    Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks


    ‘Howard & Byrne are a regional firm with international reach. Without losing the look and feel of a committed local criminal solicitors firm, Howard & Byrne excel nationally and internationally. They remain my firm of choice if ever asked to recommend criminal solicitors.’

    ‘Howard and Byrne is without doubt the strongest criminal law practice in York and beyond. They have a very strong team, all of whom are highly competent and responsive.’

    ‘This practice is without doubt the industry leader in criminal defence and fraud. It has depth in its team, lead by Colin Byrne, himself one of the UK’s foremost criminal defence practitioners. The firm has the ability to deal with significant international matters and national matters while still remaining highly focused on local work, often recognised for this.’

    ‘Colin Byrne is committed to his clients, and his team. Colin works hard for those his firm represent.’

    ‘Kevin Blount is a lawyer’s lawyer. Kevin is confident and able. Kevin has has the respect of his team.’

    ‘Colin Byrne is charismatic and highly persuasive – both excellent qualities in a criminal advocate.  Colin has a creative approach which enables him to challenge even the most fixed mindset.  He is very clear and realistic in his advice to clients at the same time as providing reassurance and a sense of safety – a very difficult balance to strike.

    ‘Kevin Blount is an intelligent lawyer with a calm and reassuring manner.  He is approachable and humane.’

    ‘Colin Byrne has exceptional ability, attention to detail, leadership and vast legal knowledge.’

    Work highlights


      Howells covers the full spectrum of criminal defence work and is particularly accomplished in matters pertaining to extradition, public order law, civil liberties, youth crime, human rights, prison law and judicial reviews. Chris Wong hones his focus on white collar, homicide, large-scale drug, historical allegation and gang-related allegations meanwhile Mary Rose Macadam is a go-to for criminal matters with a mental health component.

      Practice head(s):

      Chris Wong; Mary Rose Macadam

      Other key lawyers:

      Kathryn Lill; Ann Ridge

      Work highlights

        Rahman Ravelli

        Rahman Ravelli, a firm equipped to support on local, national and multijurisdictional proceedings, is home to extensive experience in fraud, white-collar and corporate crime, money laundering and tax evasion. Managing partner Aziz Rahman is a go-to for international bribery and corruption issues and is supported by Nicola Sharp, an acclaimed name for financial investigations, money laundering and cross-border investment fraud. Syed Rahman is a further standout and has developed prominent expertise in a number of emerging areas, including SPAC-related matters and cryptocurrency fraud.

        Practice head(s):

        Aziz Rahman

        Other key lawyers:

        Nicola Sharp; Syed Rahman


        ‘Aziz Rahman is simply top drawer. He runs an impressive practice whilst retaining the ‘human touch’. I have observed the development of his practice over many years from humble beginnings in Yorkshire to a significant presence nationally and internationally. Hats off to him!’

        ‘I regularly recommend the firm as a whole as I know that everyone is first-rate.’

        ‘Aziz and Syed Rahman are first-rate.’

        ‘Syed and Aziz Rahman are two of the most well-respected names in the business. The team is compact, but entirely focussed on delivering results for their clients – there are firms with more staff, there are firms with more offices, but size is nothing without leadership, and Aziz has that is spades.’

        ‘The driving force behind the firm is the senior partner, Aziz Rahman. His passion for the work he does has led to the rapid and successful expansion of the firm. He is the person who draws the clients in and who keeps them.’

        ‘Syedur Rahman is a partner at the firm who has taken incredible steps in the last few years to attract international clients. His enthusiasm for the work he does is infectious.’

        ‘Nicola Sharp – top rated lawyer. Clients love her ability to explain complex legal issues simply. Very hard working and respected.’

        ‘Nicola Sharp as hard as nails and tenacious. A great litigator.’

        Work highlights

          Ashmans Solicitors

          Ashmans Solicitors is home to Raja Atif Afzal, an expert in serious fraud, sexual offences, homicide and proceeds of crime matters; he co-leads the team alongside Imran Ali , a specialist in general criminal law, serious fraud, money laundering, extradition, investment fraud, homicide and drug trafficking.

          Practice head(s):

          Raja Atif Afzal; Imran Ali


          ‘Raja Afzal leaves no stone unturned. Relentless in his pursuit for justice for his clients. A very hard worker, who compels others around him to the same lofty standards.’

          ‘Imran Ali – an accomplished lawyer with encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. His knowledge of civil proceedings makes him ideal in cases where there may be some cross-over.’

          ‘Raja Atif Afzal is extremely professional. Always providing a first rate service to clients. Knows the law very well and always has a mastery of the facts.’

          ‘Both Raja Afzal and Imran Ali are innovators in the criminal defence market. Their knowledge in particular of the law relating to all matters fraud-related place them at the top of the tree in the country in these areas of work.’

          ‘A team of true specialists when it comes to criminal casework, both minor and serious. The experienced staff at the firm hold breadth and depth of knowledge that surpasses most of their peers. Providers of outstanding legal representation on a nationwide level.’

          Work highlights

            GT Stewart Limited

            Expertise at GT Stewart Limited encompasses youth crime, sexual offences, criminal appeals, driving offences, extradition and prison law. The practice is headed by Patricia Walker, who is also active on criminal damage and murder proceedings.

            Practice head(s):

            Patricia Walker

            Other key lawyers:

            Greg Stewart; Philip Mahoney; Michelle Stewart; Graham Whittingham


            ‘This practice goes the extra mile for their clients and tirelessly works to ensure effective case management and efficiency. They handle difficult clients exceptionally well and it is understandable that clients return to their services time and time again.’

            ‘The client care is incredible and in a system where legal aid  fees are being squeezed and many competitors are looking for ways of saving money, these individuals are going the extra mile for their clients.’

            ‘Patricia Walker’s engagement, commitment and quality continue to be exceptional. She is also a supervisory solicitor and I am confident that she is passing on those skills to the next generation of solicitors within the practice.’

            Work highlights


              Though adept in the full array of criminal matters, McCormicks is especially reputed for serious fraud, corporate manslaughter, drug conspiracy and sexual abuse cases. Peter Minnikin, a High Court Advocate, leads the team which also holds distinct track record in representing solicitors, pharmacist and accountants, among other professionals.

              Practice head(s):

              Peter Minnikin


              ‘Sound advice, straight talking, and incredibly hard-working.’

              ‘The people who make up the crime team are all excellent. They deal with the full spectrum of criminal offences and are knowledgeable and confident in their approach to cases.  The lawyers, led by Peter Minnikin, are all approachable and obtain good results for their clients.’

              ‘Peter Minnikin – responsive, efficient, extremely knowledgeable, and he can do the job. Great charm and style, he inspires confidence, and is a great communicator and persuasive advocate. Extremely hard-working, he is the master of his cases.’

              ‘Peter Minnikin leads the criminal team. He is an exceptional lawyer and extremely hardworking.  Peter is supportive of his clients and dedicated to securing a good outcome for them. He is available at all times to answer a clients questions if required to. He ensures that no stone is left unturned when preparing his cases and is a pleasure to co-defend with.’

              Key clients

              National Pharmaceutical Association

              Leeds United FC

              Professional Games Match Officials Ltd

              City Football Group Ltd

              Simon Mallen

              Daniel Ainsley

              Jaroslaw Rutowicz

              Izabel Alves

              Kevin Chandler

              Oliver McBurnie

              Crysencio Summerville

              Nicola Fletcher

              Jon Braganza

              Jake Waudby

              Sarah O’Connor

              Narvinder Nandra

              Denise Milestone

              Yvonne Jones

              Darren Wright

              Work highlights

              • Representing the National Pharmaceutical Association in relation to a substantial number of cases. The pharmacists are arrested in relation to gross negligence manslaughter and other serious criminal offences arising out of their role as pharmacists including investigations by the NHS Fraud Prevention Team.
              • Acing for Leeds United FC Acting in a range of regulatory matters (for the club, management, coaches and players) and criminal matters (for players).
              • Representing the City Football Group, the parent group of Manchester City Football Club, in relation to health and safety legislation and other regulatory matters.

              O’Garra Cohen Cramer

              O’Garra Cohen Cramer provides defence on a far-reaching array of affairs, including fraud, murder and sexual offences and terrorism charges. John Goodwin leads the practice, routinely acting on financial crime, violent crime and animal cruelty matters; he is supported by consultant Michael O’Garra, a POCA case, money laundering and VAT fraud specialist, as well as Nick Hammond, a February 2022 arrival resulting from the firm’s merger with Tates Solicitors.

              Practice head(s):

              John Goodwin

              Other key lawyers:

              Michael O’Garra; Nick Hammond; Lucy Ryczany


              ‘O’Garra Cohen Cramer has an exceptional criminal team with whom I have worked for a number of years. Their case preparation is meticulous and client care second to none. They are always very helpful and efficient at all stages of their cases and leave no stone unturned when it comes to defence preparation.’

              ‘There are few crime teams I have worked with who the prosecution fear when they are instructed, and O’Garra Cohen Cramer are one of them. Particularly on POCA matters, their knowledge is second to none. They know the law, the right arguments and the right way to go about getting the best result for their clients.’

              ‘John Goodwin has an excellent rapport with clients. He can tell them what they have to hear and not what they need to hear. His career history instils a confidence in those who seek to instruct him.’

              ‘John Goodwin is a master in his field. He is able to quickly identify the critical areas in any case and expose any weakness to maximum effect. He is relentless in his pursuit of his client’s objective and he is a strategic expert.’

              ‘I rate Michael O’Garra extremely highly. He is thoughtful and committed and highly experienced. A good strategist.’

              ‘Lucy Ryczany is a future star amongst proceeds of crime solicitors. She provides careful, strategic and considered advice and does not shy away from robust advice where that is needed. Lucy goes above and beyond to provide a first-class service to all clients.’

              ‘John Goodwin – about as good as it gets in terms of a criminal partner for serious clients in serious cases. His record says it all and if there is a large scale case in the North East, one expects his presence.’

              ‘Michael O’Garra- highly experienced, a tenacious litigator.’

              Work highlights

              • Acted in relation to the investigation and prosecution of an individual who during the 2021 lockdown made a racially aggravating video concerning a high-profile public figure that was shared on social media and subsequently re-tweeted.
              • Acted in a high-profile murder case in which the victim was battered to death by two co-defendants.
              • Acted for an individual charged with an allegation of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs as well as conspiracy to supply firearms; two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs; and an allegation of possession of a firearm and ammunition.

              Opus Law

              Operating across Bradford, Birmingham and London, Opus Law defends a wealth of fraud and serious crime cases. The practice is able to leverage the 25 years’ worth of experience through director Ben Jones, a prominent name within the sporting sector who frequently acts for clubs and players.

              Practice head(s):

              Ben Jones


              ‘The team is one of the best criminal defence teams in Yorkshire. The team is proud of being diverse and covers the whole of Yorkshire for serious criminal matters.’

              ‘A truly excellent firm dedicated to heavyweight crime and serious fraud. Their preparation and professionalism was never short of excellent and they rightly pride themselves on providing a first class service. The lawyers are not only extremely hardworking in pursuit of their clients’ interests but possess excellent legal knowledge, fierce negotiating skills and great communication skills.’

              ‘Opus Law embodies all the best traits of a modern criminal law practice. They focus on achieving the best for the client, ensuring no stone is left unturned in identifying whatever argument or point there may be available to defend their clients.’

              ‘Ben Jones is a director and has a deserved reputation in dealing with high-level cases where his thorough, expert approach is crucial.’

              ‘Ben Jones is a dedicated solicitor who works for a full range of commercial and individual clients, including those charged with the most serious offences. I would recommend him without reservation.’

              ‘Ben Jones. No one I know works harder and hard work is what gets good results. He is friendly and approachable and nothing is too much trouble.’

              ‘Ben Jones – Ben has a very considerate and controlled yet determined demeanour, which puts clients at ease. He gets into the smallest cracks of a prosecution case and prizes them open, often to achieve the destruction and downfall of a case before it reaches trial.’

              ‘Great attention to detail and superb client care.’

              Key clients

              Bradford City Football Club

              1511 Sports Agency

              Netscall Services Limited

              Smith & Butler Accountants

              Mitton Group

              Work highlights

              • Advising a client in a large money laundering case; the prosecution allege the client to be the accountant to a firm that laundered over £280m pounds through numerous jurisdictions through the gold trade.
              • Representing a client in a large and serious drug and gun running case in which the client may not be fit to plead.
              • Instructed by a client in a large VAT evasion case where a building company was the front for numerous large VAT reclaims.

              Shoosmiths LLP

              Dan Stowers is Shoosmiths LLP’s key partner in Leeds; he is a white collar fraud specialist, often acting on matters with a cross-border element or prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office. The practice is specifically accomplished in terms of corporate organisation representation and often acts in close tangent with its colleagues in Birmingham, London and Manchester, among other locations. Principal associate Lauren Bowkett also contributes to the practice.

              Practice head(s):

              Dan Stowers

              Other key lawyers:

              Lauren Bowkett


              ‘Dan Stowers heads a team with a national reputation.’

              ‘Dan Stowers is head and shoulders above the competition. He is an outstanding solicitor.’

              Work highlights

                Switalskis Solicitors

                Core expertise at Switalskis Solicitors spans fraud and business crime, police station representation and motoring offences, among other matters. Michael Devlin fronts the practice which demonstrates particular accomplishment in representing young people and those with mental health problems.

                Practice head(s):

                Michael Devlin

                Other key lawyers:

                Jim Littlehales; Rob Fones

                Work highlights

                  Wilford Smith

                  Wilford Smith covers a broad range of criminal matters, from fraud prosecutions through to sexual offences. Rebecca Smith-Bains is a specialist in homicide, manslaughter, misconduct in public office, tax and VAT prosecution matters; she co-heads the practice alongside Mark Bates, an expert in cash seizure and confiscation, as well as Dapinder Singh KC whose fields of expertise include cartel, fixed price prosecutions, voluminous fraud and financial crime prosecutions.

                  Practice head(s):

                  Dapinder Singh KC; Rebecca Smith-Bains; Mark Bates


                  ‘They are an exceptional team who are very hard working and go the extra mile. They do not leave any stone unturned and get the confidence of every client they represent. They are proactive in their approach and are strategically exceptional.’

                  ‘A dedicated and clever team with a down to earth approach to client care. A firm to have in your corner.’

                  ‘Wilford Smith are a superb firm. The lawyers are hard working, meticulous in their preparation but most importantly they are amazingly user friendly. A very approachable, user friendly firm that represent all their clients with the same skill, dedication and devotion. ‘

                  ‘Rebecca Smith-Bains is an exceptional lawyer and exceptional with large fraud cases and complex crime. Her attention to detail is next to none and she is a powerhouse opponent.’

                  ‘Rebecca Smith-Bains is dedicated and runs the practice with aplomb.’

                  ‘Rebecca Smith is a brilliant lawyer. She fights hard for her clients with a common sense approach that makes her extremely popular with clients, barristers and judges.’

                  Work highlights

                    Irwin Mitchell

                    Jason Newall  leads Irwin Mitchell’s local regulatory and criminal investigations group, splitting his time between the Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester offices; his team is equipped to support on financial crime, fraud, criminal liability, compliance and cross-border investigations.

                    Practice head(s):

                    Jason Newall

                    Other key lawyers:

                    Kathryn Pitters


                    ‘Jason Newall leads a very strong team with, in my experience, particular emphasis of financial crime and financial services regulation. They are well established and considered to be the leading practice in this area of work in the north east.’

                    ‘A strong, knowledgeable but approachable team, with a real depth of experience and talent.’

                    ‘The team are well led by Jason Newall and always give a thorough product to counsel as well as providing a quality service to lay clients.’

                    ‘Jason Newall is always a pleasure to work with, bringing with him a combination of attention to detail and solid, reassuring and diligent client care. I have never felt less than confident and supported when working alongside him.’

                    Work highlights

                      Lupton Fawcett

                      Lupton Fawcett is geared to support on the full spectrum of fraud and bribery investigations, motor offences, assaults, sexual offences and corporate defence matters, among many others. Jeremy Scott  leads the department, notably providing representation to a number of national company clients; he is supported by associate Meghan Waldron  who is an emerging authority on agricultural health and safety affairs.

                      Practice head(s):

                      Jeremy Scott

                      Other key lawyers:

                      Meghan Waldron; Jonathan Cripwell

                      Work highlights