Set Profile > Cloth Fair Chambers > London, England

Cloth Fair Chambers
Cloth Fair Chambers

Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations) Tier 1

Cloth Fair Chambers is 'a powerhouse set when it comes to business crime', housing 'high-calibre counsel' who are recognised as 'financial crime experts' by clients. Members of the set continue to act in the Barclays trial concerning its 2008 fundraising from Qatari investors; recent developments include Nicholas Purnell QC and Clare Sibson QC successfully defending John Varley, the former bank CEO, against charges of conspiracy to commit fraud. In the junior ranks, Jonathan Barnard acted for Robert Hallett, the former director of Alstom, in the Serious Fraud Office investigation concerning alleged bribery and corruption offences; the defendant was acquitted of all charges.

Leading Silks

John Kelsey-Fry QC - Cloth Fair ChambersThe breadth of his lateral thinking is astonishing.
Ranked: Tier 1
Nicholas Purnell QC - Cloth Fair ChambersA consummate advisor and advocate.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ian Winter QC - Cloth Fair ChambersHe cross-examines like a ninja.
Ranked: Tier 1
Tom Allen QC - Cloth Fair ChambersIn the courtroom he fights his corner fearlessly, with a winning touch of charm and wit.
Ranked: Tier 2
Alison Pople QC - Cloth Fair ChambersIncredibly hardworking and able to devastate the most difficult witnesses in cross-examination.
Ranked: Tier 2
Clare Sibson QC - Cloth Fair ChambersHighly intelligent and discerning.
Ranked: Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Jonathan Barnard - Cloth Fair ChambersHe is a silk in waiting.
Ranked: Tier 1
Kathryn Arnot Drummond - Cloth Fair ChambersShe combines excellent attention to detail with a great client manner.
Ranked: Tier 2
Rachel Kapila - Cloth Fair ChambersHer work ethic is second to none.
Ranked: Tier 2
Aaron Watkins - Cloth Fair ChambersA dextrous junior.
Ranked: Tier 3

International crime and extradition Tier 1

Leading Juniors

Aaron Watkins - Cloth Fair ChambersHe has considerable experience in extradition matters.
Ranked: Tier 1
Rachel Kapila - Cloth Fair ChambersShe has a razor-sharp mind.
Ranked: Tier 3

Fraud: crime Tier 2

For some instructing solicitors, Cloth Fair Chambers is the 'go-to set for the most complex financial crime matters', thanks to its members' expertise which includes a solid track record in providing pre-charge advice to professional individuals concerning tax evasion investigations.

Leading Silks

John Kelsey-Fry QC - Cloth Fair ChambersHis ability to establish and maintain respect from often demanding clients is truly admirable.
Ranked: Tier 1
Nicholas Purnell QC - Cloth Fair ChambersA silk well liked by his clients.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ian Winter QC - Cloth Fair ChambersHe has an incredible strategic insight into cases.
Ranked: Tier 2

Leading Juniors

Rachel Kapila - Cloth Fair ChambersA no-nonsense junior; judges love her.
Ranked: Tier 4
Aaron Watkins - Cloth Fair ChambersVery experienced in financial crime cases.
Ranked: Tier 4

Set overviews: England and Wales

Among the best for business and regulatory crime’, the ‘powerhouseCloth Fair Chambers remains the ‘go-to’ set for the most complex financial crime matters. The ‘high-calibre’ counsel are ‘without exception extremely hardworking, great with clients and solicitors, highly intelligent, committed, and have a huge depth of experience’. Instructing solicitors welcome the addition of new junior tenants to chambers, including, most recently, Rachel Kapila and Aaron Watkins from Three Raymond Buildings and Matrix Chambers respectively. Integral to the set’s success is the ‘endeavour of excellent’ clerks Adrian Chapman and Mark O’Neill, who are described as ‘commercially minded, efficient, and eternally patient, this duo are widely known and respected throughout the solicitors’ profession; they can always be counted on when exigency strikes’. Sarah Finlayson is chambers manager. In recent news, Nick Newman, former senior clerk from the creation of chambers until his retirement in 2016, sadly passed in May 2019. Offices in: London

Chambers was founded in 2006 by seven QCs at the top of the criminal Bar. Its bespoke and focused set was created to meet the market’s growing demands for strategic advice and litigation experience in the developing interface between criminal/civil-commercial fields. Its members have been hand-picked for their proven performance in the very top tier of the criminal, fraud and regulatory Bar.

The set: Chambers’ unparalleled litigation expertise in these areas attracts considerable market attention from companies and company directors, City professionals and other high-profile individuals with a view to either avoiding litigation altogether or to ensuring the adoption of the best strategic position in preparation for it. The continuity that expert strategic advice provides from the earliest possible point pre-charge throughout the process often has a direct correlation to the achievable result.

Often working in tandem, members of chambers have been heavily involved in most of the large fraud, cartel, corruption and corporate crime cases as well as the most high-profile cases of general crime that have been investigated or prosecuted in this country and several of those investigated and prosecuted abroad.

In addition, members of chambers regularly advise potential defendants, companies and their directors globally across several jurisdictions in relation to pre-charge tactical strategic options; internal whistle-blowing inquiries; money laundering investigations; anti-bribery system requirements; CMA investigations and prosecutions; civil settlement negotiations; and DOJ investigations.

Types of work undertaken: Financial and corporate crime, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings, and high-profile general crime.

Department Name Email Telephone
Head clerks Adrian Chapman
Head clerks Mark O'Neill
Members of Chambers PURNELL QC, Nicholas (1968)
Members of Chambers KELSEY-FRY QC, John (1978)
Members of Chambers WINTER QC, Ian (1988)
Members of Chambers POPLE QC, Alison (1993)
Members of Chambers ALLEN QC, Tom (1994)
Members of Chambers SIBSON QC, Clare (1997)
Members of Chambers BARNARD, Jonathan (1997)
Members of Chambers KAPILA, Rachel (2006)
Members of Chambers WATKINS, Aaron (2006)
Members of Chambers ARNOT DRUMMOND, Kathryn
Photo Name Position Profile
 Tom Allen  photo Tom Allen
 Kathryn Arnot Drummond  photo Kathryn Arnot Drummond
 Jonathan Barnard  photo Jonathan Barnard
 Rachel Kapila  photo Rachel Kapila
 John Kelsey-Fry  photo John Kelsey-Fry
 Alison Pople  photo Alison Pople
 Nicholas Purnell  photo Nicholas Purnell
 Clare Sibson QC photo Clare Sibson QC
 Aaron Watkins  photo Aaron Watkins
 Ian Winter  photo Ian Winter