Firm Profile > Blackfords LLP > Woking, England

Blackfords LLP
GU21 6HJ

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

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Cundy; Diana Payne; Hannah Giles; Lucinda Shand; Rachel Wilson


‘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.’

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


‘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.’

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


‘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.’

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


‘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.’

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


‘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.’

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

Other key lawyers:

Trevor Francis; Gary Bloxsome; Philip Williams


‘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. ‘

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

Other key lawyers:

Trevor Francis; Gary Bloxsome; Philip Williams; Jennifer Richardson


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.

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

Department Name Email Telephone
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
Photo Name Position Profile
 Nicola Chamberlain  photo Nicola Chamberlain Partner, Head of Family Team Nicola is known for providing clear, practical…
Number of UK partners : 6
Number of other UK fee-earners : 45
Total staff : 65