5KBW > London, England > Set Profile

Chambers of Sarah Forshaw QC and Mark Heywood QC

London Bar > Crime Tier 3

A very professional and polished set‘, 5KBW‘s workload includes defence and prosecution instructions across a wide range of criminal cases. Mark Heywood QC successfully prosecuted a former defence contractor, who was convicted of breaching the Official Secrets Act by recording and disclosing secret defence information regarding a UK missile system; he received a four-and-a-half year sentence. In another matter, Sarah Forshaw QC successfully defended a blind member of the House of Lords against allegations of sexual assault. At the junior end, Jonathan Polnay was instructed by the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division for the prosecution of eight men, who were convicted of 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigration, arising from the deaths of Vietnamese migrants in a sealed lorry trailer.

Leading Silks

Sarah Forshaw QC5KBW 'Sarah is a thoroughbred jury advocate. Her rapport with juries is instantaneous and her advocacy is clinical, shrewd and very persuasive. Sarah is willing to take on uncomfortable submissions without fear if the case demands it. Underlying her performance is a dedication to assimilating the detail of the cases she is engaged in, hard legal research, good judgment and considerable experience. And a desire to win for her clients.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Mark Heywood QC5KBW 'Mark is a masterpiece and the envy of other counsel. Every minute spent with this counsel is priceless. Leads imaginative, creative and thought provoking legal arguments resulting in successful outcomes. He will spend a considerable amount of time carefully developing a strategy, and ensure that every strand of the evidence is analysed. You would want him to represent you - period.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Danny Robinson QC5KBW 'Danny comes across as the most approachable and friendly barrister you could hope to meet. His real strengths though are in his impeccable legal arguments. He is seriously impressive when dealing with highly complex matters of law and he commands the respect of the court and opponents alike. Clients just think he's lovely.'
Ranked: Tier 4
Ranked: Tier 4
Natasha Wong QC5KBW 'Natasha is a confident QC who clearly mastered the intricate, arcane and legally complex issues in this case and remains unruffled by court room pressure. I was impressed by the way she managed a very difficult and demanding client. She identifies the profitable areas to focus on in a dense and voluminous case and commands the respect of the Court.'
Ranked: Tier 4

2020 Silks

Charlotte Newell QC5KBW 'Frighteningly bright in her grasp of papers. Impressive in her dissection of a case and immensely focussed in trial preparation. She handles difficult clients with ease and reassurance.'

Leading Juniors

Louise Oakley5KBW 'Louise is one of the hardest working juniors at the Criminal Bar - if not the hardest. If there is an important document she will track it down like a shark sensing blood in the water.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Jonathan Polnay5KBW 'Jonathan is one of the most outstanding junior counsel I have instructed. Intelligent, industrious, a great strategist who is pro-active from the outset of any proceedings I have sympathy for any party in opposition. Very approachable and urbane, it is difficult to find a weakness.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Jeffrey Israel5KBW 'Jeffrey is a brilliant advocate. He is concise, articulate, and most of all effective.'
Ranked: Tier 3


A first class set with a strong reputation very ably led by Sarah Forshaw and Mark Heywood. One of its strengths is that it focusses on the quality of its membership rather than it size.

5KBW are a great set of chambers. They are regularly instructed by our firm. Counsel is always available and they ensure that any counsel covering a hearing is fully aware of the case beforehand.

5KBW has become a top criminal set in recent years having followed a shrewd recruitment policy, fostering a ‘whole service’ team approach with very high performers managed by skilled leaders in Sarah as the more proactive of the joint heads and the chief clerk, Lee Hughes-Gage. Their are counsel of all levels who are genuine stars at their respective tiers. Their workloads are managed so that early input is given and clients have a sense of committed engagement from the outset.’

5KBW is a very professional and polished set reflecting the personalities of the heads of chambers. Some very high fliers and exceptional Leading and Junior Counsel.’

The set as a whole in my view has developed over the years and becomes stronger with time. Their strengths come from positive case outcomes and promotion of the same and this would be hard done if not without the experienced counsel who strive to push forward at every chance.

5KBW has a very strong reputation for quality representation in the field of serious and general crime. They are a very approachable set with some excellent members.’

5KBW is a good all round criminal set and we utilise the sets services across the whole spectrum of crime and serious crime. The two heads of chambers, one being Sarah Forshaw and the other being Mark Heywood are rightly considered heavyweights in serious crime and there are some skilful advocates in the set.’

London Bar > Fraud: crime

Leading Silks

Mark Heywood QC5KBWA first-class counsel, who is exceptionally bright and hardworking. An incredibly talented silk.
Ranked: Tier 3
Ranked: Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Frederick Hookway - 5KBWAn erudite, unflappable and well-prepared junior.
Ranked: Tier 3
Ben Holt - 5KBWA consummate professional and a ferocious cross-examiner when necessary. He has a great eye for detail – nothing gets past him.
Ranked: Tier 4
James Martin - 5KBWA brilliant junior.
Ranked: Tier 4
Jonathan Polnay - 5KBWJonathan is immensely impressive. He is incredibly clever, extremely hard working, and thinks incredibly quickly on his feet. A lethal cross-examiner.
Ranked: Tier 4

London Bar > Professional disciplinary and regulatory law

The Set:  Founded in 1966 5KBW is recognised nationally as a leading criminal chambers and continues to excel. Led by Sarah Forshaw QC, a former leader of the South Eastern Circuit and Mark Heywood QC, former First Senior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court, and with 55 barristers including seven Queen’s Counsel, 5KBW is able to provide high quality advocacy and advisory services to all its clients at all levels nationally.  Members have an unwavering commitment to provide advice and representation of the highest quality that is frequently commended by the judiciary, solicitors and clients.

5KBW have a professional and friendly clerking and administration team led by Lee Hughes-Gage who joined chambers as senior clerk in 2005.

Work Undertaken:

Serious Organised Crime:  Chambers has a formidable reputation in the prosecution and defence of allegations of serious and organised crime, with practitioners providing advice and representation of the very highest quality in the most serious high-profile criminal trials of this nature throughout the UK.

Sexual Offences:  Chambers enjoys an unparalleled reputation when it comes to the prosecution and defence of sexually motivated crime.  Chambers have many advocates who are regularly instructed to provide cogent and expeditious advice at the very earliest stage and then successfully see the case through to completion. Cases include those involving historic offending, child cruelty, internet offending, child abduction, stranger rape and serial rape.

Homicide & Corporate Manslaughter:  Members regularly appear for both the prosecution and defence in the most serious and high-profile homicide cases including, serial killers, matters of terrorism, gangland executions, multi-defendant murders, baby shaking murders, gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter. That wealth of experience has earnt Chambers a first-class reputation amongst its peers and in the legal directories, with many members recognised as being leaders in this field.

Fraud & Financial Crime:  Chambers’ practitioners are routinely instructed in significant cases involving matters of financial offending – including fraud, bribery, money laundering and other financial offences. Members act for both the prosecution and defence, including cases involving the S.F.O & F.C.A.  Representing individuals, (including directors) as well as Companies who are accused of financial offences. Often, members are instructed prior to charge, and are instructed to advise during the investigation stage. From Tax/VAT/MTIC frauds to bribery, mortgage frauds to insider trading and corruption, Chambers offers experience and expertise to all those who are under investigation in relation to financial offences.

Family Law:  Chambers undertake complex care proceedings on behalf of parents and guardians, dealing with all forms of sexual abuse allegations, non-accidental injury, serious neglect, forced marriages and child trafficking.  Representing parents, grandparents, siblings and children’s guardians in private law family proceedings and offering a service in dealing with issues of child abduction, medical treatment (children and patients) and cases of wardship/within the inherent jurisdiction.

Confiscation, Civil Recovery & Asset Forfeiture:  Chambers has a long established tradition of expertise within the areas of asset recovery, civil fraud and confiscation and the dedicated team of barristers are able to navigate their way through this technical and ever evolving world from advice to representation at all levels.  Frequently appearing in matters of Restraint, providing advice and assistance at every stage, Civil Recovery Orders and Cash Forfeiture Orders. Barristers are repeatedly instructed in post-conviction confiscation matters where benefit figures and the value of realisable assets are in contention.

Regulatory & Professional Disciplinary:  Chambers undertakes a wide range of Regulatory and Professional Discipline cases. Members provide expert advice and representation to many professions and at all levels, from healthcare, education and finance sectors, to assisting police officers. Dealing skillfully and effectively with all stages of disciplinary proceedings of any type, from employers’ internal disciplinary procedures to proceedings before regulators.

Terrorism:  Members of Chambers are frequently instructed for their expertise both to prosecute (including the provision of pre-charge advice) and defend in the most serious and sensitive terrorist cases. Members are also instructed in relation to all terrorism law related applications, from control orders to orders relating to assets.  As such, Chambers offers Counsel who are experienced and recognised for their ability to deal with the political, religious and cultural issues raised by terror related cases coupled with unquestionable ability to provide expert trial representation at both Silk and Junior level.

Senior clerk Lee Hughes-Gage
Members of Chambers FORSHAW QC, Sarah (1987, 2008)
Members of Chambers HEYWOOD QC, Mark (1985, 2010)
Members of Chambers MACDONALD QC, Alistair (1983, 2000)
Members of Chambers HIGGS QC, Jonathan (1987, 2011)
Members of Chambers ORCHARD QC, Anthony (1991, 2011)
Members of Chambers WONG QC, Natasha, (1993, 2017)
Members of Chambers ROBINSON QC, Danny (1993, 2019)
Members of Chambers NEWELL QC, Charlotte (1994, 2020)
Members of Chambers FAIRHEAD, John (1978)
Members of Chambers SANDFORD, Simon (1979)
Members of Chambers O'TOOLE, Bartholomew (1980)
Members of Chambers SHEIKH, Irshad (1983)
Members of Chambers DACEY, Mark (1985)
Members of Chambers BRIEGEL, Pieter (1986)
Members of Chambers COLLINGS, Andrew (1987)
Members of Chambers CHIPPECK, Stephen (1988)
Members of Chambers HOOPER, Martin (1988)
Members of Chambers RODHAM, Sue (1989)
Members of Chambers FOWLER, Edmund (1992)
Members of Chambers WALKER, Paul (1993)
Members of Chambers FISHWICK, Gregory (1996)
Members of Chambers TEMPLE, Benjamin (1997)
Members of Chambers THOMPSON, Pauline (1998)
Members of Chambers STAVROU, Xenia (1998)
Members of Chambers CROSS, Jason (1998)
Members of Chambers DEAR, Ian (1999)
Members of Chambers FARRELLY, Catherine (1999)
Members of Chambers BROWN, James (1999)
Members of Chambers POLNAY, Jonathan (2000)
Members of Chambers PATTISON, Catherine (2000)
Members of Chambers ISRAEL, Jeffrey (2000)
Members of Chambers OAKLEY, Louise (2001)
Members of Chambers JACKSON, Paul (2002)
Members of Chambers CARSE, Gordon (2002)
Members of Chambers MARTIN, James (2003)
Members of Chambers DAVIS, William (2003)
Members of Chambers SWIFT, Valeria (2003)
Members of Chambers REID, Dickon (2005)
Members of Chambers HOLT, Benjamin (2006)
Members of Chambers KENT, Rupert (2006)
Members of Chambers ROBINSON, Nicholas (2007)
Members of Chambers KONG, Senghin (2008)
Members of Chambers RYAN, Fiona (2009)
Members of Chambers HOLE, Charlotte (2009)
Members of Chambers FUJITA, Aska (2011)
Members of Chambers HOOKWAY, Frederick (2011)
Members of Chambers BANERJEE, Ria (2012)
Members of Chambers REUBEN, Jonathan (2012)
Members of Chambers BONNER, Samantha (2013)
Members of Chambers TRIGGS, Jack (2014)
Members of Chambers BRAGG, Phoebe (2015)
Members of Chambers IYER, Rosheen (2015)
Members of Chambers WILLIS, Sam (2015)
Members of Chambers HAGGAR, Olivia (2016)
Members of Chambers SNEDDON, William (2016)
Members of Chambers DUTKA, Anna (2018)