Blackfords LLP > Cardiff, Wales > Firm Profile

Blackfords LLP
8 St Andrew's Place
CF10 4DQ

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

Active across a wide range of criminal cases, although perhaps best-known out of its Cardiff office for its ‘exceptional knowledge of and experience in fraud and regulatory law’, Blackfords LLP is a market leading criminal defence outfit in Wales and also regularly forms a key part of cross-office offering in cases throughout the UK. Team head Philip Williams  has ‘exceptional tactical nous‘, which he brings to private prosecutions, as well as in cases brought by prosecuting authorities and is recognised for his aptitude at being able to ‘ruthlessly exploit‘ any weakness in the opponent’s case. Nicola Mitchard provides ‘joined up support to counsel’ and is thereby able to facilitate a fluid and holistic service to defendants in fraud and money laundering offences, among other broader criminal cases.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Excellent client service, with dedicated fee earners across a range of specialism within criminal practice. Good use of technology to support clients and counsel. Real strength in depth within regulatory crime.’

Exceptional knowledge of and experience in fraud and regulatory law. They really are market leading in this field.’

‘Philip Williams has impeccable strategic judgement.’

Philip Williams has exceptional tactical nous; if there’s a weakness in a case against a client Phil will see it and exploit it ruthlessly to his client’s benefit.’

Philip Williams is quite simply one of the finest lawyers at the moment in the country in this area of white collar crime and serious crime. His 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 is excellent. Providing joined up support to counsel and to faciliate a truly joined up professional service for clients.’

Nicola Mitchard is a perfect fraud defence solicitor, with an exceptionally soothing client manner backed up by an enormous capacity for detail work.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for an individual in relation to a major fraud investigation by HMRC concerning a recycling / plant hire business.
  • Representing an individual alleged to have been part of an OCG involved in the operation of “drugs lines” in order to supply large quantities of class A and B drugs.
  • Acting in various cases involving allegations of sexual offences in care settings.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general Tier 1

Blackfords LLP is active on the full range of high-profile cases, extending from murder, serious assault and gangland violence to money laundering, drug offences and sexual crimes. The department has an aptitude for defending professional clients, including police and army officers, healthcare professionals, and company directors. ‘Ferocious’ co-head Gary Bloxsome has a history of significant international scale work, with experience handling all areas of serious crime, including war crime allegations. Co-head Trevor Francis‘ practice covers high-profile murder and homicide cases, in addition to expertise in the area of financial crime. Gary Rubin specialises in regulatory law, and is experienced in gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter. Counsel Rachel Wilson is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Gary Bloxsome; Trevor Francis

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Cundy; Gary Rubin; Jennifer Richardson; Rachel Wilson


‘A great team headed by Trevor Francis & Gary Bloxsome – total leaders in the field. Slick and professional.’

‘Trevor Francis knows all there is to know about running a criminal defence. Gary Bloxsome is ferocious. Rachel Wilson is super talented and super dedicated.’

‘Blackfords are a highly professional and efficient firm who are regarded as one of the best in this practice area. They have no weak links at their firm so every client is assured of high level legal assistance.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is as close to royalty as the legal profession can offer. He has a direct and confident manner which is respected by clients and opponents alike.’

‘An extremely professional organisation that go out of their way to provide the best service to their clients.’

‘They are a very well respected and thorough firm, pleasure to work with.’

‘The firm are tough uncompromising defenders, with a diverse work force and impeccable use of technology.’

‘Gary Bloxsome is a senior partner who retains a keen interest in all the firm’s cases.’

Work highlights

  • Represented an electrician in relation to charges of gross negligence manslaughter and breach of s.3 Health and Safety at Work Act.
  • Acted for a high-net-worth client in a high-profile Death by Dangerous Driving case.
  • Acting in the defence of a nurse in relation to allegations of wilful neglect and mistreatment of residents at a hospital for adults with severe learning difficulties.

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

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

Blackfords LLP’s Woking-based family and children law team is ‘amazingly hardworking, committed and provides great client care’. The team has particular expertise in children matters, across private and public law children cases. Team head Nicola Chamberlain, who is ‘an excellent solicitor with superb judgment and tactical acumen’, advises on all matters of family law, including private law children matters, care proceedings, and divorce and financial applications.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Chamberlain

Other key lawyers:

Helen Worden; Kim Wintle; Terri-Anne Taylor


‘Blackfords undertake a great deal of complex family cases, often in the High Court with difficult legal and factual issues. They are a strong bespoke team who are responsive and efficient offering high level legal advice.’

‘The family law team contains some outstanding lawyers. They are all dedicated to achieving the best outcome for their clients and are widely respected for fighting their clients cases with diligence and dedication. They provide their clients with realistic advice that is tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of the individual case. This is not a team or a firm that sees their clients as numbers but as distinct individuals. They each work very hard on all their cases, often going more than the extra mile.’

‘I am impressed with how they work together as a team often reviewing complex cases to debrief how they have been managed. Excellent with complex work. The quality and value of the leadership of the family team is what makes the whole of the team stand out right down to associate level.’

‘Nicola Chamberlain is an excellent solicitor with superb judgment and tactical acumen. She is hardworking, empathetic and a joy to work with. I highly recommend her.’

‘Nicola Chamberlain is a real team leader, ensuring that there is a focus on core values which underpin every aspect of the service they offer. A real delight to work with, always bringing insight and experience to each case. Whatever the pressures of case preparation or the complexity of the issues, Nicola thinks strategically, immaculate preparation.’

‘I have worked with Terri-Anne Taylor on a number of matters. I consider her to be a very efficient and pragmatic, client-focused solicitor.’

‘Helen Worden – Helen is a very warm and dedicated family law expert. She represents her clients with the utmost integrity and care and local authorities and judges rightly respect her and her standard of work.’

‘Kim Wintle – She is a master of detail and quickly commands the client’s respect.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a husband in divorce proceedings involving assets of over £7m and complicated by the client having had vulnerable mental health.
  • Representing a father in relation to a Care Order in respect of three children, the application arising from unexplained injuries to the youngest child.
  • Advising a mother in relation to private law Children Act 1989 proceedings concerning her daughter, who has been the subject of five separate applications during her nine years.

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

Offering notable litigation and general criminal law expertise, Blackfords LLP represents individuals facing white-collar criminal proceedings throughout investigation, charge, trial, and appeal, acting both for executives and high net-worth individuals privately as well as for legal aid clients. The firm is regularly involved in high-profile investigations by the SFO, FCA, and police forces relating to bribery, serious fraud, and corruption, and has also increased its involvement in complex, multi-jurisdictional cases, often involving engagement with international law enforcement. Daniel Cundy and Gary Bloxsome head up the ‘hard nosed and tough‘ team, both offering civil and criminal fraud and financial crime expertise, while ‘first class‘ managing partner Trevor Francis is a key senior figure in the team for serious fraud and money laundering cases. In-house barrister Rachel Wilson takes the lead on litigation and advocacy work, while senior associate Jennifer Richardson is noted for her expertise in mortgage fraud, Ponzi frauds and carousel frauds.

Practice head(s):

Gary Bloxsome; Daniel Cundy

Other key lawyers:


Hard nosed and tough defenders, not interested in Linked In posts praising the SFO or FCA, but in doing their job defending against those authorities. They still do both legally aided and private work in an era where more and more good lawyers avoid legal aid.’

‘Trevor Francis is a really first class defence lawyer for white collar crime, he takes no prisoners and gives 100% to his clients. Gary Bloxsome, astute and tactically brilliant.’

‘I have worked alongside Danny Cundy for over 20 years. He is exceptional within this field. He is both tireless and committed. He is tenacious and there is no hill too steep to climb. His comprehension of the subject matter leaves the lay client with absolute confidence.’

‘As above and assisted by both Naureen Shariff and Rachel Wilson both of whom impress to a level beyond their years’ experience.’

‘A fantastic firm committed to providing the best service whether private or legally aided.’

‘Gary Bloxsome. The team leader and best pre charge lawyer out there. Great tactician Trevor Francis. Superb lawyer Jen Richardson – amazing associate with unlimited capacity for work. No nonsense approach very good for clients. Rachel Wilson – exceptional in house barrister.’

‘Extremely able and helpful led by the huge capable Gary Bloxome he treats every client like Royalty and he has been in some of the most amazing cases. They find solutions and put in the time to be proactive and make the client feel respected and engaged.’

‘I have worked with Gary Bloxome in particular on two major matters, Danny Cundy, Gary Rubin I know well, Rachel Wilson and Jennifer Richardson are also two individuals who I have worked with on a major international on data protection, fraud and money laundering and cases.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a key individual from a major mining company which is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the SFO in relation to suspicions of corruption of foreign Government officials and of breaches of EU and US sanctions.
  • Representing a senior trader who is facing an FCA investigation in relation to Danish Cum-Ex trading and who is also a named suspect in the German Cum-Ex criminal investigation.

Dispute resolution > Professional discipline Tier 3

With ‘a fantastic understanding of client pressures‘, Blackfords LLP houses health and social care sector specialists. The group also has notable expertise in representing serving police and Ministry of Defence Police personnel in misconduct proceedings; the group also acts for football professionals and assisting those facing sexual abuse allegations of a historic nature is a fast-growing area for the firm. Group head Gary Rubin, Trevor Francis and Gary Bloxsome are all experienced in professional discipline matters; director Philip Williams in Cardiff represents social care clients; and solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson‘s recent work includes acting for social care and medical professionals.

Practice head(s):

Gary Rubin


‘A very hands-on team dealing with the medical/legal area of professional discipline, coupled with acting for police officers accused of gross misconduct.’

‘The team works well together and is very proactive in its approach to case preparation. Extremely experienced, and has an in-depth knowledge of this area of law.’

‘The team is highly professional, extremely diligent and very hands-on with case files. Quick to grasp the needs of its professional clients, and has a fantastic understanding of clients’ pressures and stresses.’

‘Gary Rubin – Simply a class act! Keeps a strong focus on the key issues in his cases. Works commendably well, both alone and as part of a wider team. Always goes the extra mile for clients.’

‘Director Philip Williams has impeccable strategic vision and manages a highly efficient team.’

Solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson is a first-rate lawyer who achieves outstanding results for clients.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a nurse in proceedings before the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which concerned the alleged forcible administration of medication to a patient.
  • Acting for a healthcare professional, who had fitness to practise proceedings brought against him for failing to assess a service user adequately – including appealing to the High Court against the decision of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service.
  • Handling a series of instructions on behalf of clients serving in the Ministry of Defence Police and the Metropolitan Police, which involve allegations of gross misconduct.

Employment > Health and safety Tier 3

Blackfords LLP‘s health and safety law team has a very active practice, handling cases with a criminal dimension and broader regulatory and other non-contentious matters. In particular, this involves investigations, gross negligence and corporate manslaughter and coroners’ inquests. The team is nationally well known for its expertise in the rail sector, displayed by team head Gary Rubin , a longstanding specialist in health and safety and regulatory law. Gary Bloxsome has a considerable amount of experience across the spectrum of criminal and regulatory investigations, particularly with gross negligence manslaughter cases.

Practice head(s):

Gary Rubin


‘Gary Rubin is at the top of his game. Knowledgeable and experienced he leads the team superbly.’

‘I only know of Gary Rubin for Health and safety at Blackfords. Gary has the ability, skills personality and opportunity to represent individuals facing prosecutions under Health and safety legislation and is not so bound by corporate and Insurer considerations’

‘As above, Gary Rubin has the ability, skills personality and opportunity to represent individuals facing prosecutions under Health and safety legislation and is not so bound by corporate and Insurer considerations. His ability to represent individuals is second to none.’

‘Blackfords is noted for dealing with complex and challenging criminal cases. Gary Rubin, the Head of the Regulatory Team has developed a team that specializes in defending health and safety and gross negligence (work related) manslaughter prosecutions.’

‘Gary Rubin knows health and safety law like the back of his hand. He is a shrewd and tenacious lawyer. Over the years he has acted in a number of high profile work related prosecutions.’

‘They are very sensitive towards clients and their circumstances, and fantastic communicators. They explain things simply and clearly whilst setting out considered strategies for cases.’

‘I have worked with Gary Rubin predominantly. Firstly, there is very little he doesn’t know about he law of health and safety. Secondly, he has an ability to instantly put clients at ease through empathy, confidence and clear communication.’

‘Gary Rubin and Gary Bloxham are superb, very committed to the clients and offer a level of support comparable to the very highest profile firms. The support by their associates is excellent.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a train driver in relation to the Inquest into a workplace fatality: the death of another driver who was crushed between two trains which were in the process of being coupled in a depot.
  • Acted for a client who was subject to an HSE investigation in which he was alleged to have breached regulations concerning safety at work requirements after a man conducting work at his request fell from a ladder and died in 2020.
  • Acting in a series of investigations into alleged health and safety offences arising from the Grenfell Tower fire.

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

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
Philip Williams photoMr Philip WilliamsPhil specialises in dealing with high net worth clients facing the whole…
Number of UK partners : 6
Number of other UK fee-earners : 45
Total staff : 65