Cloth Fair Chambers > London, England > Set Profile

Cloth Fair Chambers

London Bar > Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations) Tier 1

Cloth Fair Chambers’ high-profile work is closely followed in the market, particularly in relation to SFO prosecutions and investigations. In one ongoing highlight, John Kelsey-Fry QC and a team including Rachel Kapila are acting for the chairman of Balli Group as a defendant in an SFO prosecution involving allegations of various fraud offences in the commodities trading sector. Further, the set is routinely involved in precedent-setting prosecutions brought by other UK agencies as well. Nicholas Purnell QC is instructed by law firm Dechert LLP and Neil Gerrard in defending a civil claim by Kazakh mining company ENRC against the retired solicitor and his former firm - the claimants allege that Gerrard expanded the scale of the internal investigation he was instructed to carry out, and worked with the Serious Fraud Office to bring about a criminal inquiry in to his former client. Alison Pople QC acted as counsel for Airline Services Limited in achieving a deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO, resulting from an investigation into the company's failure to comply with its obligation to implement the adequate procedures necessary to protect against bribery.

Leading Silks

John Kelsey-Fry QC - Cloth Fair ChambersProbably the leading criminal advocate in London. Great with clients and a real pleasure to work with.
Ranked: Tier 1
Alison Pople QC - Cloth Fair ChambersAlison has excellent judgement that was immensely valued by our clients. She is a joy to work with - empathetic, responsive, clever and strategic: the full package.
Ranked: Tier 1
Nicholas Purnell QC - Cloth Fair ChambersClever, experienced, and strategic.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ian Winter QC - Cloth Fair ChambersA tremendous and fearless advocate, who applies his huge intelligence with inexhaustible rigor and energy. Having him lead the team can be the difference between winning and losing. A pleasure to work with.
Ranked: Tier 1
Tom Allen QC - Cloth Fair ChambersTom does not approach any case from a traditional perspective and this uncommon trait means that he is able to navigate complex cases and evidence with innovation and creativity. Clients love Tom's passion for the law and their case, both of which he argues giving his full attention and commitment.
Ranked: Tier 2
Clare Sibson QC - Cloth Fair ChambersClare has clear and decisive views, which in the right matter is very helpful. Her written advocacy is excellent. She is on top of relevant detail. She is easily contactable and client-friendly.
Ranked: Tier 3

2020 Silks

Jonathan Barnard QC - Cloth Fair ChambersHighly experienced and sought-after counsel; razor-sharp intelligence combined with persuasive advocacy and an imperturbable manner.

Leading Juniors

Ranked: Tier 2
Rachel Kapila - Cloth Fair ChambersIncredibly hard-working, very bright and an absolute pleasure to work with. Combines a fierce intellect with a prodigious capacity for work, mastering complex and heaving paper-based matters in remarkably short time-frames, all the while instilling confidence in her lay and professional clients.
Ranked: Tier 2



‘Real specialist criminal trial experience and handling of high-profile clients.’

‘Cloth Fair has long been established as the go-to set for all serious/complex bribery and corruption matters and their track record supports this.’

‘Cloth Fair Chambers, as a whole, can claim – with considerable justification – to be the leading set in this area. Their roster of silks and juniors (to which they have added in recent years with some very good hires) is absolutely first-rate. They are our first port of call-in for serious business crime matters.’

‘An outstanding set for business crime. I have worked with numerous of the barristers there and they are preeminent.’


‘Excellent. Adrian Chapman and Mark O’Neill are always quick to respond and take on the admin side of liaising with court and other tasks.’

‘Accessible and responsive.’

London Bar > Fraud: crime Tier 2

The 'outstanding set' at Cloth Fair Chambers  has established itself 'as the go-to set for all serious/complex bribery and corruption matters', including expertise in fraud. Nicholas Purnell QC and Rachel Kapila have been instructed to lead a mixed criminal and civil counsel team representing Dechert LLP and Neil Gerrard in a civil claim regarding allegations of fraud and bribery in Kazakhstan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been joined to a claim brought by the ENRC against the SFO. Additionally, John Kelsey-Fry QC, leading Jonathan Barnard QC, successfully defended the former Executive Chairman of Investment Banking at Barclays charged with fraud following an investigation into its raising of funds from Qatari investors.

Leading Silks

Ranked: Tier 1
Nicholas Purnell QCCloth Fair ChambersHe is a titan of the Bar.
Ranked: Tier 1
Ian Winter QCCloth Fair ChambersIan is a persuasive and fearless advocate. He is hugely strategic and combines impressive forensic rigour with inexhaustible energy.
Ranked: Tier 1
Alison Pople QCCloth Fair ChambersAlison has excellent judgement, and is responsive, clever and strategic: the full package.
Ranked: Tier 3
Clare Sibson QCCloth Fair ChambersA silk who is clear and decisive in her advice, and is all over the relevant details of a case.'
Ranked: Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Rachel KapilaCloth Fair ChambersRachel's capacity for work is truly prodigious and her ability to get quickly to the heart of a heavy paper-based case is quite remarkable. She combines a a fierce intellect with a calm, reassuring manner with lay clients.'
Ranked: Tier 3



Outstanding set for business crime.

Real specialist criminal trial experience and handling of high-profile clients.’

Cloth Fair has long been established as the go to set for all serious/complex bribery and corruption matters and their track record supports this.’

Cloth Fair is deservedly one of the top sets at the criminal Bar. It has a stellar list of members who are always in demand and who can usually be found in the highest profile criminal cases.’

Cloth Fair is very good for fraud work.’


A strong clerking set – will always find you someone who can help.’

London Bar > International crime and extradition

Leading Juniors

Rachel Kapila - Cloth Fair ChambersHugely impressive, she has a razor-sharp mind. One of the most able and prominent junior barristers in the field.
Ranked: Tier 2

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.

Head clerks Adrian Chapman
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
Tom Allen photo Tom AllenTom Allen is a leading silk specialising in cases of commercial and…
Kathryn Arnot Drummond photo Kathryn Arnot DrummondA mature court advocate, experienced in jury trial and appellate work, Kathryn…
Jonathan Barnard photo Jonathan BarnardJonathan is a highly respected leading advocate in the fields of crime…
Rachel Kapila photo Rachel KapilaRachel is a sought-after junior in the fields of financial crime (individual…
John Kelsey-Fry photo John Kelsey-FryJohn Kelsey-Fry QC is Head of Cloth Fair Chambers. He is widely…
Alison Pople photo Alison PopleAlison Pople QC is widely recognised as a leading silk with particular…
Nicholas Purnell photo Nicholas PurnellNicholas Purnell QC’s career at the Bar spans over four decades and…
Clare Sibson photo Clare SibsonClare Sibson is a leading silk and considered one of the brightest…
Ian Winter photo Ian WinterIan Winter QC is firmly established as one of the leading silks…