Rustem Guardian Solicitors > London, England > Firm Profile

Rustem Guardian Solicitors
44 Southampton Buildings
London
WC2A 1AP
England

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general Tier 4

Rustem Guardian Solicitors‘ ‘fresh, vibrant, relatable’ team cover the full range of crime work, with expertise in murder, serious sexual offences, county lines drugs cases, and financial crime. The firm is active on both domestic and international matters, with a strong focus on China, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Leading partner Timur Rustem has more than 25 years’ experience in the practice area, and is praised for his ‘outstanding insight and experience’. Cassy, Qing Kang has expertise in a wide range of serious crime, and is head of the Chinese department within the firm. Solicitor Katerina Tsibouklis is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Timur Rustem

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Legal expertise, administrative efficiency, years of experience, excellent results, and a human touch hard to find in the theatre of criminal law, these guys have it all in spadefuls. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. They have literally saved my life.’

‘Tim Rustem is the head of the firm, and as befits his position, a man of inestimable experience ranging from dealing with high end white collar crime to the sharp end of gang warfare. He makes sure that he gets the right people for the firm and allows them to flourish by giving them space to grow and light touch guidance.’

‘The firm is fresh, vibrant, relatable with both youth and experience on its side. Client care is very much at the forefront of the firm.’

‘Katerina Tsibouklis. A new solicitor with an old head. One of the best new additions to the solicitor ranks. To find someone more caring, harder working, forceful and focused is a difficult task. On a pound for pound basis, she can go toe to toe with anyone.’

They regularly appear in the most serious cases and balance expert legal advice with a close focus on client care.’

‘Rustem Guardian are a niche London practice offering bespoke services to clients nationally and internationally, especially in China. They are a highly regarded law firm specialising in criminal law with an International business dimension.’

‘Timur Rustem provides outstanding insight and experience and immediately knows what to do and who to instruct in order to mount the strongest defence possible.’

‘The team at Rustem Guardian go above and beyond for every single client, no matter how big or small the case is. Every case is meticulously prepared and clients are given undivided attention.’

Rustem Guardian Solicitors is a go-to firm for the defence of complex crime cases including murder, serious sexual offences, country lines drug cases, financial crime, account freezing orders, and forfeiture proceedings associated with substantive investigations or proceedings. A high proportion of these cases have an international aspect and multiple agency operation, and are often high-profile, receiving significant attention in the local and national press. As well as securing its place as a formidable criminal defence law firm in the city of London, the team has also established a presence within the Far East, specifically China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Key aspects of our practice: Exceptional expertise in the full range of crime work, including serious crime (murder, drugs, serious sexual offences) and fraud and financial crime.

    • Murder: Over the past year, Rustem Guardian Solicitors has continued to represent a number of individuals who have been charged with murder, including gang murders. Our cases in this category are exclusively dealt with by the senior lawyer Timur Rustem who carefully appoints experienced barristers including Queen’s Counsel and experts where required. He then tactically plans the defence to maximise the potential for an acquittal.
    • Drugs: The firm has become known for its work in a number of multi-handed, county-lines drug cases, often with complex evidence to review, including where youths are used to operate the line raising issues of modern-day slavery.
    • Serious sexual offences: Rustem Guardian is well known for its team of specialist solicitors who provide a dedicated and discreet service to primarily private clients facing false allegations of sexual offences. Our team has recently, and successfully, dealt with a number of high-profile cases, including our representation of an award-winning BBC producer and a number of international clients living in the UK.
    • Fraud and financial crime: Defence of serious fraud and financial crime, advising clients domestically and internationally, including senior members of the legal profession. The offences often involving complex issues of law and jurisdiction, with prosecutions brought by agencies including the Serious Fraud Office, Financial Services Authority, Office of Fair Trading, Serious Organised Crime Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency. We also handle matters involving account freezing orders, cash seizures and asset restraining orders. Notably, we have successfully opposed and limited in time Account Freezing Orders brought by the National Crime Agency against our international clients.
    • Confiscation: Rustem Guardian is well versed in dealing with confiscation proceedings arising from complex substantive proceedings. Rustem Guardian has successfully challenged both the benefit figures and available amounts asserted by the prosecution by conducting in-depth analysis of the substantive offence, while gathering evidence on behalf of clients who are often in custody and have difficulty obtaining documentation to assist with their defence. It also has the expertise to assist clients once the confiscation order has been made – for example where an extension of ‘time to pay’ the confiscation order is required, or where the prosecution commence enforcement proceedings in the Magistrates Court.
    • Substantial experience in handling appeals. Rustem Guardian Solicitors offers a wealth of expertise in pursuing appeals for those who have been wrongly convicted at trial having been represented by another firm or for appealing their sentence. It offers an unparalleled, first-class service with a highly skilled team who leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of grounds of appeal.
    • First-of-their-kind cases: Rustem Guardian was instructed in what is thought to be the first Encrochat case, as the evidence was served prior to the NCA announcement in June 2020. Since this date, it is now a go-to for drug conspiracy cases involving encrypted phone evidence and utilises specialist counsel and the foremost Encrochat phone expert in the UK. It has been instructed on a number of large-scale cases involving vast amounts of telephone data arising from the issuing of warrants in Project Venetic. It has worked closely with clients during the appeals in respect of Operation Sub-Zero (Liverpool CC / Court of Appeal) and is in the process of preparing legal arguments arising out of these decisions.

Growing practice in Asia: An impressive and growing team of solicitors, including a growing practice in Asia and an increased involvement with the Chinese Consulate.  Rustem Guardian Solicitors was founded in 2005 by senior lawyer, Timur Rustem, after a very successful and high-profile legal career, who offers over 25 years of experience in criminal defence. The firm has remained dedicated to growing as a firm and building its team, which now includes Des Jenson, an experienced Grade A senior solicitor and a Crown Court advocate who specialises in international fraud, complex and serious crime and appeals, particularly against miscarriages of justice.

Our international standing is strengthened by the ability to offer clients advice with Chinese and Thai speaking solicitors as part of their defence team. Qing Kang, head of the Chinese department has become the go-to specialist lawyer in the Chinese community with a renowned reputation at both UK and international levels.

An impressive and expanding roster of clients and caseload: We have comfortably increased our caseload by 250% since February 2020. This increase has primarily been in complex crime cases with an international element. Due to the firm’s reputation, a significant proportion of these instructions in the past year have been referrals from previous and current clients, barristers (including Queen’s Counsel), law firms, consultant solicitors and foreign consulates. Alongside British defendants, including companies and their directors, our client base now also includes individuals and families from Chinese, Albanian, Lithuanian, Thai, Spanish, Columbian, Brazilian, Turkish and Polish communities, in both a private and public funding capacity.

Strong track record of successful outcomes

    • Defence of a 15-year-old who was acquitted of murder in a multi-handed case at the Central Criminal Court where our team had just over a month to prepare for his trial.
    • The ‘Deliveroo Drugs Case’ which involved a Columbian organised crime gang operating in Central London, in which we were successful in helping our client secure a sentence approximately one third compared to his co-defendant.
    • Acquittal for our client, one of the defendants in a murder case involving a Lithuanian group, where out of the seven defendants on trial, five of the other co-defendants were convicted of murder and manslaughter.
    • Successful representation of a senior member of the Bar in a multi handed case involving senior members of the legal profession and tribunal judges who are facing allegations of a legal aid fraud involving more than £12m.

Significant experience of handling complex cases: Our cases regularly involve a plethora of written evidence and the instruction of multiple experts. We recently worked with over one million pages of mobile telephone evidence in a large-scale investigation involving charges of controlling prostitution and international people trafficking. Additionally, we are currently representing a South American defendant facing a 23-count indictment and a Chinese defendant facing sex trafficking, prostitution and drugs charges in a case of over 1 million pages of prosecution evidence.

Assembly of bespoke legal defence teams: The senior lawyer, Tim Rustem travels both nationally and internationally in order to meet with his clients and to put together bespoke legal teams in cases. This regularly includes meetings with Queen’s Counsel and where relevant forensic experts and private investigators. Notably, the team was recently instructed by a high-net-worth international businessman accused of millions of pounds of money transfers and money laundering, in which we appointed the foremost Queen’s Counsel in this area along with forensic accountants. Due to successful legal arguments all charges were dropped and replaced with a single regulatory breach.

Instruction in high profile cases and thought leadership: Many of our cases are often featured in the mainstream media, with Timur Rustem often sought by leading news channels for his legal opinion and comment on a variety of areas. Additionally, Qing Kang has been invited to comment in the UK-focused Chinese media and to represent the Chinese community at events. These include:

    • R v MC – a high profile case with racial connotations, which went viral over the internet due to the manner of the arrest and led to officers concerned being suspended by the Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police;
    • R v CC – a high profile armed robbery of jewellery valued at £40m from Graff Jewellery Stores on New Bond Street;
    • R v GD – a high-net-worth Chinese individual and his business in a complex £20m money laundering case with international aspects in Hong Kong and China;
    • R v SS – an accountant involved in a £79m Ponzi scheme defrauding London investors;
    • R v DDP – the largest ever single seizure (worth £3m) in a professional commercial drugs operation whereby the defendant received a sentence of less than one third in comparison to his co-defendants;
    • R v WP – a Chinese national charged with prostitution, people trafficking and supply of drugs offences, working with one million pages of mobile telephone evidence;
    • R v MH – representing the main defendant involved in two prosecutions for complex multi-handed frauds where the accused impersonated police officers to defraud vulnerable victims.
DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Managing Director Timur Rustem
Sexual Offences and Fraud Specialist Timur Rustem
Practice Manager Dylan Gardner
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Des Jenson photoMr Des JensonMr Des Jenson is an experienced Grade A senior solicitor and a…
Qing (Cassy) Kang photoMs Qing (Cassy) KangCassy, Qing Kang completed her Legal Practice Course at Westminster University in…
Timur Rustem photoMr Timur RustemTimur Rustem has over 25 years of experience in criminal defence and…
Number of UK partners : 1
Number of other UK fee-earners : 10
Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
Spanish
Turkish
Thai
Albanian

Rustem Guardian are proud to employ an exceptionally diverse team from a variety of different backgrounds. We regard this as one of our greatest strengths and it allows us to assist many different communities around the country.

We represent anyone accused of a crime regardless of gender, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability, or sexual orientation. We believe everyone deserves a fair, well-prepared, high-level legal service, and it is our aim to provide exactly that. We have been involved in a number of cases which give rise to issues of race and discrimination.

We are proud to be in a position where our diversity as a team has become one of our greatest strengths, allowing us to deliver an exceptional service in a variety of languages. We are also able to quickly identify the needs of our clients and adapt accordingly, putting measures in place to assist our clients in giving instructions if required.


Abhishek Srivastav
2 months ago
I have no hesitation in recommending Timur Rustem and his firm, Rustem Guardian Solicitors, to anyone looking for legal advice. Although I was introduced to a barrister through my network, I decided to go with Tim and am pleased I did. He demonstrated a fantastic balance of genuine interest, knowledge and preparation. He was able to identify angles, and position them in the best possible light, work with the prosecutor to be more amenable and fought to break ground by achieving an outcome that was better than the minimum ban.


AJ
3 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value
For over 6 years now Tim and the team at Rustem Guardian have been at my side. Their dedication to client care, attention to detail and simply getting the job done is remarkable. No request from the most demanding of clients (me!) is too much. From police station visits to securing full acquittal at crown court, they have secured the best possible outcome in the circumstances every time I’ve reached out to them. Most recently they handled a guilty plea sentencing for me and through their brilliant advice from the start to the expert mitigation of one of their leading barristers I received a very reasonable and fair sentence. I can hardly recall an occasion over the years that I’ve not been able to contact the office for support during a case, and the support that office gives is of particular note. Legal expertise, administrative efficiency, years of experience, excellent results, and a human touch hard to find in the theatre of criminal law, these guys have it all in spadefuls. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. They have literally saved my life.


IA IA
2 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness
I would like to thank Katerina and her team on the amazing work they did for me over the course of this year and they definitely helped me relieve my stress. I was charged with two offences and taken to an adult court despite my age, they were able to fight to prove my innocence and get my charges dismissed. They were very helpful over this past year and gave me nothing but hope and great advice , however they were honest in times when they needed to be so I would definitely recommend them as they were such a big help and nothing but kind hearted people.


Ken Hus
3 months ago
Positive: Professionalism
For the past few months I have been plagued by a very stressful case and some nights I found it hard to even sleep. Luckily, Rustem Guardian Solicitors were on hand to help, very professional and Courteous throughout, Tim Rustem seems to think of every possible angle and find a barricade for it. After a month of discussions and tactics, Tim and the team with paralegal Natasha Green put forward a very strong, precise representation for my case and inevitably got it dropped. If it wasn’t for Tim Rustem and Rustem Guardian solicitors the case may

well have dragged out to court. So pleased with the outcome and the way Tim and his team worked so the right decision could ultimately be made. I would usually say on a review I’d love to work with them again but…

I couldn’t recommended them enough!


Ayaz Rafiq
3 months ago
Positive: Professionalism
I would recommend them to friends and family. During the case they spelt out the procedure and kept us informed throughout. Contact is easy and they always respond. I am overjoyed by the outcome and this has been due to their efforts. They deserve more than 5 stars.


Anthony Welcher
9 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness
During what was a very stressful time of my life I consider myself extremely lucky and privileged to have had Tim Rustem and his team there to support me. Having no previous experience of courts and legal proceedings Tim and his team guided and explained every aspect of what was happening throughout and in a manner which was easier for me to understand. His advice and guidance was always accurate and helpful and I will be forever grateful to him and his objective was always to put my interests first and foremost. I count Tim as a personal friend and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him and his team to anyone who needs legal help and have in fact done so.


Imran B
8 months ago
The whole team at Rustem Guardian has been extremely helpful and meticulous throughout the entire process. Can’t stress enough what a relief it is to deal with a competent organisation and individuals who care.


David Mawson
Local Guide·461 reviews·2,206 photos 9 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness
So pleased to have found Tim who has been outstanding since my first telephone contact with him which was at 7pm one evening. I feel I am in safe hands and really appreciate his help.

Five stars to Tim and his team for being so amazing at this current time.


Dr Eyo Inameti
9 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value
I have received a very satisfactory service from Rustem Guardian Solicitors. The legal representation, administration contacts and keeping me informed have been very professional and prompt. I have been very satisfied with the outcome of the case handled and at a reasonable cost. Many thanks to the Senior Solicitor for his legal expertise and reassuring approach.


Gareth Bowes
9 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness
Rustem Guardian Solicitors helped me cope with a very stressful situation in my life earlier this year. First contact was with Tim, who was very professional and understanding whenever I spoke to him. He has the ability to be calm, measured and reassuring which was exactly what I needed at the time. I must also thank Katherina for her help. I would have no hesitation in recommending Rustem Guardian Solicitors.


Bulent Ali
8 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value
Tim and his fantastic team were absolutely brilliant from start to finish. Tim’s professional guidance, advice and amazingly calm manor made an extremely stressful situation bearable.

I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Tim and his fabulous team to anyone as they’re all very knowledgeable & thoroughly efficient.

Thank you so much. Bülent


Damien Carty
11 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Responsiveness, Value
I was very fortunate to have Tim as my solicitor during a very stressful time in my life. And the man is brilliant I really don’t know how to describe him and my experience because it was brilliant everything was on point from start to finish. This firm knows what they are doing and they do it well. This firm looked after me and if I’m ever in a situation or anybody close to me is, Tim and his firm will be my first choice solicitors.


Sig Group
11 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value
Rustem Guardian exceeded my expectations and its legal team is comprised of highly recommended professionals. Best law firm by a mile!.


Andy Cooper
9 months ago
Very professional, very helpful and reassuring. They certainly are very knowledgeable and will help with every aspect of your case. Always there when you need them. Thank you.


Ryan
9 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness
A huge thank you RG solicitor, Help me and Guide me through the most difficult time. They are really professional, Dedication, willing go an Extra mile for their client . I have recommend this company to anyone who need help.

Thank you !


Chen Chen
a year ago
Thanks for the professional and warm service from Rustem Guardian. As an international student, I have spent the toughest time in my life and my parents worried about me a lot. A professional law firm can provide you the truth about what is legal and the guidance about how to protect your legal right. But I think the most important thing is that they accompany with me in my desperate time. During these five months, they told me what we should do in order. The complex case then became more logical. I felt comfort since I knew the direction and we solved the problems together. And finally the case successfully concluded. Wish Rustem Guardian all the best.


Taylor Hanna
11 months ago
Positive: Professionalism, Responsiveness
A Trustworthy and Honest solicitors. Wouldn’t know what I’d have done without these fantastic people.


J K
a year ago
Very good law firm, highly recommended. I want to say a big thank you to Rustem Guardian who showed nothing but patience and dedication to ensure I was dealt with fairly. Her hard work surely paid off and I can’t thank her enough


Suzy Wongche
a year ago
Great team of solicitors. Really took time to work with the family throughout our case. They and the barristers they instructed were professional & dedicated in the care & advice we received…and ultimately we had the best result. Would definitely recommend them to my family & friends.


D B
a year ago
Rustem Guardian Solicitors were recommended to me – I have no hesitation recommending them to others As someone who was falsely accused of a serious historical criminal offence, I felt threatened and extremely vulnerable even though I knew I was innocent. Fortunately for me, I was represented by Rustem Guardian Solicitors and I can only applaud the professional and supportive help I received from the company during the three years of my ordeal. They, together with an excellent barrister, have ensured that I have had my life and dignity restored once more.

My wife and I will always be grateful to them.


Fynn L
a year ago
Many thanks to Ruston Guardians. Mr Xiaoyong Ding’s professional advice and patience made me feel confident in my trial. What I can feel is they are truly caring about me. This helped me not only in the trial but also my life. I am an international student. That was not a easy time for me. I will highly recommend them to all of people I know. Appreciate RG.


Stop. Freeze.

Xiaoyong Ding and Rhys Rosser discuss the consequence of a failure to declare items when the UK Border Agency seize goods upon entering the jurisdiction.

Rustem Guardian were recently instructed on behalf of BZ to challenge the decision of the UK Border Force to seize three high value watches from him at Stanstead Airport. BZ was simply visiting the UK on his return home, however, goods totalling £75,000 were seized and their return was refused. BZ instructed Rustem Guardian to challenge this seizure.

In order to be liable to forfeiture pursuant to Section 78 (and 139) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, the goods must be “commercial” pursuant to The Travellers’ Allowances Order 1994. This means that the goods must be “commercial” as indicated by the nature and quantity of the goods.

There are two routes of challenge. The first of these is to apply to the Magistrates Court on the basis that the seizure of the goods was unlawful. This must be done within one month of the seizure having taken place. Upon goods being seized, an individual will be provided with a Notice 12A which explains the options available to apply to set aside the seizure. If legality is not challenged within the time period, the legality of the seizure the things are duly condemned as forfeit to the Crown by the passage of time under paragraph 5 of schedule 3 of CEMA and any goods are confirmed as having been improperly imported.

Having had an opportunity of raising the lawfulness of the seizure in the Magistrates’ Court, one does not have a second chance of doing so at Tribunal or Statutory Review because the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to consider it.

The only route of challenge once the period has passed is to apply for a restoration pursuant to Section 152 (b) of the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979. A Review will then be carried out in accordance with the provisions of sections 14 and 15 of the Finance Act 1994 which allows a reviewing officer to uphold, vary or withdraw the original decision.

The general policy for seized goods is that they should not be restored. They will not be restored where they have been mis-declared, concealed or there has been a deliberate attempt to evade duty. However, each case is treated on its own merits and there may be exceptional circumstances for which discretion may be used to depart from the policy.

It is necessary to take into account all relevant factors and disregard those factors which are not relevant as was set out Witowski v The Commissioners of HM Revenue & Customs. In light of this, it is important to ensure that individuals who have had goods seized are represented by those with experience of the rules surrounding seizure of goods. It is then

The case of E Rider Ltd v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2021] UKFTT 0209 (TC) provides that the decision not to return property must be proportionate. In the Rider case it was held that a relevant consideration can be the duties that fell due on the items and the question of knowledge on the part of the individual who had possession of the goods. Where an individual is found not to have acted dishonestly it will often be disproportionate to order forfeiture.

One argument pursued by Ding and Rhys was that it was disproportionate to forfeit the entire value of the goods where the only taxable portion of the value would be VAT. This would apply to all goods purchased and brought into the UK that are subject to VAT alone and is an argument that should be deployed in almost all cases. It may also be possible to offer to pay the duties that were due (if they were due) in order to secure the return of the goods.

It is important to be aware that where goods were simply entering the UK before exiting the jurisdiction, there are no taxes that fall due. It is for this reason that Rustem Guardian are particularly well placed to assist with a detailed knowledge of the application of customs taxes upon items being temporarily possessed in the UK rather than technically ‘imported’.

The key thing to be aware of is that this is a complicated area of law. Those who have goods seized upon entering the country should be reluctant to simply surrender those goods. By acting quickly and allowing for a challenge to legality and a subsequent application to restore goods, those who have goods seized can ensure the proper return of items. This is best achieved through the instruction of a specialist legal team at an early stage.