Cairns Nelson KC > 23ES > London, England > Lawyer Profile

1 Gray\'s Inn Square


Over the years, Cairns has acquired considerable expertise in the field of fraud and in particular revenue fraud (direct and indirect tax frauds) including civil actions.

He has appeared in a number of cases involving prosecutions relating to the trade in military goods under the Export and Trade Control legislation and regulations. This is a complex area of law; UK statutory provisions, EC directives and UN sanctions. He was appeared in most of the leading complex cases in this field; military aircraft parts to Iran, bombs to Sri Lanka, body armour to Iraq.

Cairns has wide experience of defending homicide cases.

In the regulatory field, he recently represented the BSB in an appeal concerning the fairness of the Bar disciplinary processes.


Called 1987; Gray’s Inn; Silk 2010.


Criminal Bar Association.


King’s College, London (1986 LLB).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Fraud: crime

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Cairns Nelson KC – 23ES

The experienced criminal fraud set 23ES (formerly 23 Essex Street) defends and prosecutes major SFO investigations and other high-profile financial crime matters. On behalf of a trading standards body, Cairns Nelson KC is prosecuting 11 defendants accused of defrauding elderly members of the public in a boiler room fraud, which made cold calls offering fake energy saving measures. Nelson KC also leads Tom Godfrey in the representation of Newcastle United Football Club, which is the subject of a long-running HMRC tax evasion investigation, with a focus on agents’ fees. Tim Hunter arrived from 2 Harcourt Buildings in May 2022.

London Bar > Crime

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Cairns Nelson KC – 23ES