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



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 2

Cairns Nelson QC23 Essex StreetCairns is a deeply impressive individual – he has an air of calm, measured assurance which tends to puts clients, both professional and lay, at ease and gives him real authority and presence in Court. This is backed up with tremendous ability.

London Bar > Crime

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 2

Cairns Nelson QC23 Essex StreetHe relates equally well with high court judges as he does with lay clients and jury. His attitude to client care is second to none. Many silks can be rather “hands-off” when it comes to interacting with lay clients but this is certainly not true of Cairns who is careful to make his client feel an important part of the process. This natural ability to interact with others translates into him being a most impressive and relatable jury advocate.