Blackfords LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Blackfords LLP
20 Farringdon Street
EC4A 4EN
England

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general Tier 1

The criminal defence, serious crime and serious fraud team at Blackfords LLP is jointly led by 'class actGary Bloxsome and managing partner Trevor Francis  - 'one of the most savvy players in the marketplace'. The practice handles the full range of criminal cases, covering murder, serious assault, gangland violence, theft and money laundering, drugs, rape and other sexual offences, In recent years the firm has looked to build up its focus on cases which sit at the intersection of regulatory and criminal law, an area of specialism for regulatory head Gary Rubin, who defends professionals including police and healthcare workers. Other key team members include the 'thorough and innovative' Daniel Cundy.

Practice head(s):

Gary Bloxsome; Trevor Francis

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Cundy; Gary Rubin; Jennifer Richardson; Rachel Wilson

Testimonials

‘Daniel Cundy and Gary Bloxsome are at the very apex of the profession.  Daniel has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and his approach to litigation and trial strategy often demonstrates an unrivalled ability to plan far in advance of anyone else in the room and to predict dangers and possibilities in the most challenging of circumstances. 

‘Jennifer Richardson is one of the most tireless and efficient solicitors in the profession. There is no fact in any case which escapes her eye for detail. Her ability to convey difficult advice – particularly in cases involving matters of substantial legal and factual complexity – make her an invaluable asset to any team at all stages of the process.’

‘Gary Rubin is a smart cookie and a clever lawyer.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is a class act. Highly experienced, he exercises exceptional judgment and is able to read between the lines in a case. He is highly trusted by his clients. He is a pleasure to work with, easygoing but always ensuring that he gets full effort, commitment and performance from those he works with – he brings out the best of those he works with. He is bright, trustworthy, discreet.’

‘Trevor Francis is shrewd, versatile, patient and precise; someone who understands the long game.’

‘Danny Cundy is a joy to work with. He is very hands on, very tactical and good with nervous or difficult clients. An iron fist in a velvet glove.’

‘Rachel Wilson is able to pick up cases at very short notice and handle them with confidence and competence. She is great at taking the heat out of litigation and keeping the focus on the issues.’

‘Rachel Wilson is an exceptional lawyer and advocate. She is very impressive in court. She is affable, but always a formidable in her client’s defence. A superb lawyer all around.’

Work highlights

  • Representing an ex-major in the army in the Iraq Fatality Investigations, a set of proceedings pursuant to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Helped to secure the acquittal of a Conservative Peer who faced charges of sexual assault.
  • Acted for a client who was charged with two counts of blackmail as well as possession of class A and B drugs. The client received full credit for an early guilty plea, and his sentence was reduced further following submission.

Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 1

Blackfords LLP continues to stand out in the market as one of the leading criminal practices in the South East, operating from offices in Croydon, Woking and London. Led by Gary Bloxsome and Trevor Francis, the team handles serious mandates including gang-related offences, violent crime, drug trafficking and sexual assault. Daniel Cundy oversees the financial crime team and has expertise in a range of matters often with an international element, from white-collar crime to money laundering offences. Diana Payne heads the general crime department and handles serious crime cases pertaining to murder, sexual offences and drug-related matters. Other key team members include Hannah Giles, Lucinda Shand and counsel Rachel Wilson.

Practice head(s):

Gary Blossom; Trevor Francis

Testimonials

‘Blackfords maintain a busy private crime practice but have not forgotten their social responsibility to still conduct legally aided cases. They are a tough and no-nonsense defence outfit, who fight their client’s corner vigorously and fearlessly. They are equally prolific in fraud and general crime.’

‘Hannah Giles is an energetic, skilled and committed lawyer. She has a razor-sharp strategic eye which she deploys to the advantage of every client. She rarely stops working and is always available to discuss a client’s case.’

‘Daniel Cundy is hands on, very tactical and good with nervous or difficult clients. An iron fist in a velvet glove.’

‘Blackfords are a leading firm in criminal defence and the entire team is experienced, approachable, industry-savvy and talented.’ 

‘Trevor Francis is shrewd, versatile, patient and precise; someone who understands the long game.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is a no-nonsense lawyer, who relates to clients from all walks of life.’ 

‘Rachel Wilson is able to pick up cases at very short notice and handles them with confidence and competence. She is great at taking the heat out of litigation and keeping the focus on the issues.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for an individual charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of position.
  • Acted for an individual alleged to have laundered money into their bank account, which was linked to a VAT fraud.
  • Acted for defendant charged with possession of class B drugs and obstructing police, who was acquitted on the basis of a defence under the Modern Slavery Act.

Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 1

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 'brilliantPhilip 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.

Practice head(s):

Philip Williams

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Mitchard; John Oakes

Testimonials

‘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.’

Work highlights

  • 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.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: white-collar crime (advice to individuals) Tier 3

Blackfords LLP houses ‘an exceptionally talented and polished group of experts in the field of financial crime’. The firm maintains a formidable fraud prosecution practice; its caseload is noted for its complex multi-jurisdictional nature, often involving issues arising in the Middle East, Latin America or Africa. Clients specifically refer to the team’s excellence in matters involving the police, HMRC and the National Crime Agency (NCA). In addition, the group is regularly retained for prosecutions by the SFO. Department co-head Gary Bloxsome ‘fiercely represents his clients in a no-nonsense way’; he has specialist experience as a supervisor authorised in accordance with the Very High Cost (Crime) Cases Arrangements, which is also an area of focus for managing partner Trevor Francis. Practice co-lead Daniel Cundy ‘knows every button to press regarding disclosure by the HMRC and the CPS’ and is also experienced in issues pertaining to the Competition Act. Rachel Wilson is a qualified barrister.

Practice head(s):

Gary Bloxsome; Daniel Cundy

Other key lawyers:

Trevor Francis; Naureen Shariff; Rachel Wilson; Jennifer Richardson

Testimonials

‘The team are an exceptionally talented and polished group of experts in the field of financial crime. They are very well-resourced. Nothing is too much trouble. They are regarded in the community as a top rung firm.’

‘Blackfords is a go-to firm for all manner of individuals needing criminal assistance with investigations and prosecutions brought by the police, HMRC, NCA and HSE. Its team covers a range of different personalities, all of whom bring a different skill set to a case.’

‘Trevor Francis is a superb white-collar tactician. First-class and incredibly committed. Knows his cases inside out and with great judgement. A winner.’

‘An amazing fraud department, including for private work as well as legal aid. They are adept at representing people at all stages of a case. Notable successes come in getting people released from investigation, or not charged, so that no one hears about it. If a case is charged, they leave no stone unturned in representing their clients. They have an amazing client base built upon a reputation for quality.’

‘Daniel Cundy and Rachel Wilson are on top of all the evidence and issues, firing letters off to the prosecution on a weekly basis. The detail they uncover and then deploy against the Crown is astonishing. Whenever I advise that anything be done it is always done immediately, despite their heavy workload. They are clever and insightful. Danny Cundy is charming to work with and knows every button to press regarding disclosure by the HMRC and the CPS. Rachel Wilson is very diligent and a pleasure to work with. She knows the answer before you’ve thought of the question.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is a bulldog in a suit. Fiercely represents his clients in a no-nonsense way and is robust with prosecutors. If there is a chance of getting a case dropped, he will find it.’

‘Jennifer Richardson is a very hardworking and well-organised solicitor. She is able to juggle a large workload and provide an excellent client service.’

‘Naureen Sharif is fantastic lawyer, hardworking, pursuing all avenues for client.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for an individual in relation to an investigation into alleged large-scale fraud and money laundering at the Embassy of Kuwait.
  • Acting for an individual charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of position, who is alleged to have been the de facto chairman of a multinational group of companies which developed and sold investments in properties located abroad.
  • Acting for an individual in relation to a large-scale SFO prosecution involving allegations of fraud and fraudulent trading connected to a series of trade finance deals.

Dispute resolution > Professional discipline Tier 3

Regularly representing clients at GMC, GDC, NMC, Social Work England and HCPC hearings, Blackfords LLP is particularly focused on the health and social care sectors. The practice also acts for police and police personnel in misconduct proceedings, and represents solicitors in SRA investigations, while growth areas include assisting football professionals facing sexual abuse allegations of a historic nature. Gary Rubin is a regulatory and professional discipline specialist; the broad practices of Trevor Francis and Gary Bloxsome include disciplinary proceedings; director Philip Williams acts for social care cleints; and solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson is 'particularly good with difficult and vulnerable clients'.

Practice head(s):

Gary Rubin

Testimonials

A very solid firm with a wide field of specialisms.

The team at Blackfords offer an excellent service to clients, not least because of the breadth and depth or their experience.

The junior members’ breadth of experience and practical advice are impressive, and they provide realistic advice and warn of the wider consequences.

Gary Rubin has a fantastic team ethic, and works closely with more junior members of the team to ensure that each case benefits from the experience of the team collectively – in my experience, this happens with all the cases, from the least to the most serious.

Gary Rubin is a very experienced partner, with an excellent strategic feel for large and complex cases.

Solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson is a first rate lawyer, achieves outstanding results for clients, keeps us well informed, and provides exceptional client care.’

Jennifer Richardson is an extremely capable, diligent and personable solicitor advocate, who is particularly good with difficult and vulnerable clients.

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Agar Trust in NMC proceedings against several nurses, which concerned the care received by a mental health patient (both within hospital and in the community), who later committed suicide.
  • Represented a police constable in connection with a disciplinary/misconduct investigation concerning mortgage fraud, failure to declare business interests, failure to declare association with convicted person, and unauthorised access to the police computer system.
  • Acted for high-profile dietician Dr Sarah Schenker after she was reported to the HCPC by a fellow dietician, who had disagreed with her opinion on the effects of caffeine for weight loss.

Employment > Health and safety Tier 3

Blackfords LLP's health and safety team is headed by 'excellent tactician' Gary Rubin , and spans both contentious and regulatory matters. Rubin and his colleagues Gary Bloxsome and Trevor Francis  have experience of gross negligence and corporate manslaughter cases in their wider criminal practices. Cardiff based director Philip Williams supports the practice, regularly involved in proceedings and prosecutions by the HSE, CPS and GLA. The team is known by clients and peers alike for its rail sector expertise, and continues to further solidify its place in this sector, as well as roads and transport more broadly.

Practice head(s):

Gary Rubin

Testimonials

‘Very practical and experienced team who instil confidence in clients from a very early stage. Engage excellent experts and involve the client all through the case.’

‘Unlike many practitioners in the health and safety sector they have a strong reputation in criminal defence – they don’t just know the H&S regulations, they know how to defend in a criminal court. ‘

‘ Whether representing corporations or individuals they are able to communicate complex issues with clear sensible advice and, where required, provide difficult advice whilst remaining supportive and humane. ‘

Work highlights

  • Acting for the tram driver following the highly publicised incident at Sandilands, Croydon in November 2016, in relation to an ongoing ORR investigation and also the inquest into the deaths of seven people killed in the crash.
  • Acting for clients in relation to criminal and health and safety at work allegations arising out of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
  • Representing the licensee of a public house (the Rosehill Tavern) in relation to a local authority investigation following a fatal accident, where a customer was found unconscious at the bottom of the cellar stairs having gained access to the cellar.

Private client > Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 2

Nicola Chamberlain leads the Woking-based family team at Blackfords LLP as a Resolution-qualified mediator; she is recognised as an ‘exceptional practitioner‘. The team handles a broad range of family law matters, including advice on divorce and separation, civil partnerships, financial matters, domestic violence and adoption. The team particularly specialises in public and private law children matters, which can involve serious medial issues, cross-border elements, care proceedings, and learning disabilities. Linda Lusingu, who joined in 2020, is often involved in child abduction cases and wardship proceedings in the High Court, and Helen Worden has expertise in complex care proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Chamberlain

Other key lawyers:

Linda Lusingu; Helen Worden; Elizabeth Cape-Cowens; Natalie Mitchell; Kim Wintle

Testimonials

‘Blackfords are one of the strongest family law teams in the south east. The team stand out in the main for their exceptional pre-hearing preparation and legal advice. The client care is exceptional.’

‘The team work well together, and they prep their cases with thought and a clear strategy.’

‘A very good and reliable family team, it is always good news when you see them on a case with you; they fight hard for their clients and work collaboratively for the best outcome.’

‘I work with the Blackfords Family Team and I am consistently impressed by all of the solicitors I work with. They have a deservedly good reputation. Cases are always meticulously prepared, thoroughly researched and clients appropriately advised prior to me receiving the brief. There are some really stellar solicitors here.’

‘I would particularly single out Nicola Chamberlain as an exceptional practitioner within the department. She has an extremely busy and successful practice, is a joy to work with. I cannot commend her highly enough in terms of her representation of parents in what are difficult and stressful proceedings. She is extremely personable, organised and efficient. The advice she gives clients is always spot on and consistently shows her excellent judgement.’

‘Nicola Chamberlain heads up the private client team and is excellent; experienced, calm in a crisis and hard working.’

‘Kim Wintle is very hardworking and thorough. She provides her clients with sound advice and is able to support them through the legal process.’

‘Helen Worden and Elizabeth Cape-Cowans are partners I would (and have) recommended to others. Both are extremely thorough in preparation and very careful in preparation of client statements. Both have strong public law profiles and particular expertise in children cases involving complex medical evidence. The cross over into private law proceedings is obvious and is a considerable strength when such issues are raised by private clients. Elizabeth has also impressed me in cases involving international elements such as relocation and child abduction cases.’

South East > Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 1

Blackfords LLP continues to stand out in the market as one of the leading criminal practices in the South East, operating from offices in Croydon, Woking and London. Led by Gary Bloxsome and Trevor Francis, the team handles serious mandates including gang-related offences, violent crime, drug trafficking and sexual assault. Daniel Cundy oversees the financial crime team and has expertise in a range of matters often with an international element, from white-collar crime to money laundering offences. Diana Payne heads the general crime department and handles serious crime cases pertaining to murder, sexual offences and drug-related matters. Other key team members include Hannah Giles, Lucinda Shand and counsel Rachel Wilson.

Practice head(s):

Gary Blossom; Trevor Francis

Testimonials

‘Blackfords maintain a busy private crime practice but have not forgotten their social responsibility to still conduct legally aided cases. They are a tough and no-nonsense defence outfit, who fight their client’s corner vigorously and fearlessly. They are equally prolific in fraud and general crime.’

‘Hannah Giles is an energetic, skilled and committed lawyer. She has a razor-sharp strategic eye which she deploys to the advantage of every client. She rarely stops working and is always available to discuss a client’s case.’

‘Daniel Cundy is hands on, very tactical and good with nervous or difficult clients. An iron fist in a velvet glove.’

‘Blackfords are a leading firm in criminal defence and the entire team is experienced, approachable, industry-savvy and talented.’ 

‘Trevor Francis is shrewd, versatile, patient and precise; someone who understands the long game.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is a no-nonsense lawyer, who relates to clients from all walks of life.’ 

‘Rachel Wilson is able to pick up cases at very short notice and handles them with confidence and competence. She is great at taking the heat out of litigation and keeping the focus on the issues.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for an individual charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of position.
  • Acted for an individual alleged to have laundered money into their bank account, which was linked to a VAT fraud.
  • Acted for defendant charged with possession of class B drugs and obstructing police, who was acquitted on the basis of a defence under the Modern Slavery Act.

Blackfords LLP is a leading regulatory and business crime litigation firm, including fraud and serious and high-profile cases. It also provides specialist family law services with notable expertise in child care and international abduction cases. It has offices in London, Croydon, Woking and Cardiff.

The firm: The firm enjoys an excellent national and international reputation and is known for combining creative solutions and success with a friendly, sensitive approach for clients who want a pro-active and combative legal team dealing with their issues.

Blackfords enjoys a large volume of client referrals from the magic circle corporate law firms and accountancy practices. Clients include private individuals, sports and entertainment celebrities, politicians, journalists and a variety of international businesses and international governments. Legal aid instructions are taken where such funding is available.

The firm receives many instructions from ultra high net worth clients who require assistance with reputational issues.

Gary Rubin who is a recognised expert in the fields of health and safety at work and regulatory heads the regulatory team which covers cases throughout the UK and Northern Ireland.

Blackfords is accredited under the VHCC arrangements and its lawyers belong to a variety of legal bodies including: The Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates (SAHCA); London Criminal Court Solicitors Association (LCCSA); Criminal Law Solicitors Association (CLSA); Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA); Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyer (ARDL); Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (POCLA); Financial Services Lawyers Association (FSLA); Extradition Lawyers Association (ELA); Female Fraud Forum; Association of Lawyers for Children (ALC); Resolution Trained Mediators; Law Society’s Children’s Panel; Registered Lawyers under the FA Football Agents Regulations.

Types of work undertaken: The firm handles cases in all courts from the Magistrates or Youth Court to the Crown Court, through to the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice or European Court of Human Rights. Advice is given regarding investigations by a range of official bodies, including the Serious Fraud Office, Financial Conduct Authority, PRA, NCA, HMRC, CMA, Crown Prosecution Service Special Casework Team, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and the Electoral Commission.

The firm specialises in pre-charge advice during the investigation of criminal and regulatory wrongdoing, arrest, complex criminal proceedings leading to trial, handling press intrusion and Proceeds of Crime Act issues.

The firm is involved in defending individuals in many of the largest ongoing cases being prosecuted by the SFO, FCA and HMRC throughout the UK and other British Overseas Territories.

Additionally, the firm deals with disciplinary and regulatory hearings for lawyers, medical professionals, parliamentarians and athletes, health and safety matters, trading standard matters, care home regulation, Coroners’ Inquests and motoring offences.

The firm also has a niche specialist child care and family team, with leading lawyers and mediators in the fields of child care proceedings, international abduction, adoption (national and international), domestic violence and complex matrimonial financial disputes to divorces, separation and mediation. Civil partnerships, their creation, associated pre-nuptial agreements and dissolution are also specialisms.

Other offices: London, Woking, Cardiff

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Managing partner Trevor Francis
Dispute Resolution Team Gary Bloxsome
Dispute Resolution Team Daniel Cundy
Regulatory work Trevor Francis
Criminal Defence Diana Payne
Family and childcare law Nicola Chamberlain
Health and safety at work Gary Rubin
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Gary Bloxsome  photo Gary Bloxsome Partner, Solicitor-Advocate. Gary is recognised and renowned for providing clear, comprehensive and…
Mr Daniel Cundy  photo Mr Daniel Cundy Partner, London office Specialising in white-collar criminal defence, crisis management and the…
Gary Rubin  photo Gary Rubin Partner and Head of the Regulatory & Health & Safety Teams A specialist…
Number of UK partners : 6
Number of other UK fee-earners : 45
Total staff : 65