5KBW > London, England > Set Profile

Chambers of Sarah Forshaw QC and Mark Heywood QC

London Bar > Crime Tier 2

With a ‘fantastic array of talent from top to bottom’ 5KBW has a strong reputation for its criminal law offering. Sarah Forshaw KC is an ‘outstanding silk’ with considerable experience defending in serious sexual offences cases. Mark Heywood KC, ‘a master advocate at the height of his powers‘, after prosecuting at first instance, successfully represented the CPS in an appeal against sentence in R v Stanciu, a case setting out further guidance on sentencing for homicides by arson. Jonathan Polnay is regularly involved in high-profile cases and recently prosecuted the man charged with the killing of MP Sir David Amess. Jonathan Higgs KC prosecuted a teenager who killed another teenager in a robbery over a mobile phone in a park in Tottenham. Charlotte Newell KC and Frederick Hookway successfully prosecuted a boy, who was fourteen at the time of the offence, for the murder of twelve-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed to death in a row over a Snapchat video - reportedly the youngest victim of knife violence in England and Wales since Damilola Taylor.

Rising stars

Alejandra Llorente Tascon – 5KBW ‘Alejandra is an excellent advocate both orally and in writing. Her mastery of cases is apparent in her succinct and powerful submissions.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1

Leading Silks

Sarah Forshaw KC – 5KBW ‘She is an outstanding silk with a complete mastery of the details of a case. She is a big gun to bring out to blast prosecution cases out of the water. Sarah is a master tactician, an expert in the persuasion of a jury, and terrier like in her pursuit of disclosure.' 
Ranked: Tier 1
Mark Heywood KC – 5KBW ‘Mark is a master advocate at the height of his powers. He is simply one of the best criminal advocates practicing at the Bar. He works incredibly hard to prepare cases whilst managing to make complex advocacy look effortless. His advice is always focused and clear delivered in an friendly and accessible style.’
Ranked: Tier 1
Natasha Wong KC – 5KBW ‘Natasha is one of the finest barristers of her generation. She has a dazzling court presence; persuasive and courageous where necessary. She is also builds excellent relationships with other counsel, instructing solicitors and defendants alike.'
Ranked: Tier 3
Ranked: Tier 4
Anthony Orchard KC – 5KBW 'Anthony is universally acclaimed, tremendously effective and a real heavyweight in the court room. He is highly intelligent and meticulous and diligent in his preparation. His tactical acumen is first rate, he is always in control, and he has a calming influence which instils confidence.' 
Ranked: Tier 4
Charlotte Newell KC5KBW ‘Charlotte rightly made the progression from junior to silk as a consequence of her excellent advocacy, mastery of the details of briefs, tactical prowess and ability to charm jurors.' 
Ranked: Tier 4
Danny Robinson KC – 5KBW ‘Danny is fair-minded without being in any way a soft touch. Juries are able to see that, and they trust him.' 
Ranked: Tier 4

Leading Juniors

Jonathan Polnay – 5KBW ‘Jonathan is at the very top of the profession, an excellent advocate and lawyer. He is a class act: fair, hardworking, and clever. He is in so many ways just an ordinary bloke but he has an extraordinary talent.' 
Ranked: Tier 1
Louise Oakley – 5KBW ‘Louise is exceptional. She is hard working, intelligent, articulate and utterly charming. She is universally respected and liked. She is destined for the very top.' 
Ranked: Tier 2
Jeffrey Israel – 5KBW ‘Jeffrey's jury-craft is superb. He grips your attention with sabre-like cross-examination and layers questions building to the skillful demolition of witness evidence.'
Ranked: Tier 3
William Davis – 5KBW ‘William is a star in the making. He is always calm, collected and in control and he is a first class advocate and lawyer. He is able to deal with multiple issues at once and always in a professional and courteous manner.' 
Ranked: Tier 4


‘Lee Hughes-Gage and Matt Harper run an efficient business.’

‘Lee Hughes-Gage and Matt Harper are among the best in the industry, they go above and beyond. They are totally trustworthy and are always trying to make life easier.’

‘5KBW is a very good set.’

‘5KBW has a fantastic array of talent from top to bottom. They all come prepared and are ready to get the right result for clients.’

‘5KBW is a trusted set that never fails to impress.’

‘The clerks’ room excels in case management, effectively coordinating schedules, liaising with courts, and handling administrative tasks to ensure the smooth progression of cases. Their attention to detail and organisational skills contribute significantly to the overall efficiency and success of the set.’

Work highlights

Western Circuit > Crime (general and fraud)

London Bar > Fraud: crime

Leading Silks

Mark Heywood KC – 5KBW ‘Mark is undeniably one of the top advocates at the criminal Bar for fraud. His knowledge and experience is unparalleled and juries love his easy and charming delivery. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of statute and practice which he deploys with great care and tactical awareness.’ 
Ranked: Tier 2
Natasha Wong KC – 5KBW ‘Natasha is an exceptional leader in the most complex cases. She makes clients trust her and feel totally at ease. Her closing speeches are meticulous and from the heart and tactically Natasha is extremely astute. She can spot the pitfalls of a case a mile off and will make certain her client is equipped to deal with them.'
Ranked: Tier 2

Leading Juniors

Frederick Hookway – 5KBWFreddie is an excellent advocate. His style is measured and illustrates his clear grasp of every detail of a case.'
Ranked: Tier 3
Senghin Kong – 5KBW ‘Senghin has a brilliant mind and is able to digest large amounts of material, which he distils to its core and presents attractively.’
Ranked: Tier 4
Ranked: Tier 4
Ben Holt  – 5KBW ‘Ben is an excellent advocate and all round lawyer. His preparation shines through in his advocacy. He is admired by many and will go far.’
Ranked: Tier 4
James Martin – 5KBW ‘James is a calm and careful counsel who works incredibly hard. He has a natural and affable style of advocacy which gets juries onside. He gains the confidence of judges through his sensible approach. He doesnt take a bad point and is extremely tactically aware. He is thorough in his analysis and detailed in his approach – able to deal with the most complex fraud matters and most challenging of clients.’
Ranked: Tier 4

The set:  Founded in 1966 5KBW is recognised nationally as a leading criminal chambers and continues to excel. Led by Sarah Forshaw KC, a former leader of the South Eastern Circuit and Mark Heywood KC, former First Senior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court, and with 53 barristers including seven King’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 has 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 has 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 and 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 earned chambers a first-class reputation amongst its peers and in the legal directories, with many members recognised as being leaders in this field.

Fraud and 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 and 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 and 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.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior clerk Lee Hughes-Gage
Members of Chambers FORSHAW KC, Sarah (1987, 2008)
Members of Chambers HEYWOOD KC, Mark (1985, 2010)
Members of Chambers MACDONALD KC, Alistair (1983, 2000)
Members of Chambers HIGGS KC, Jonathan (1987, 2011)
Members of Chambers ORCHARD KC, Anthony (1991, 2011)
Members of Chambers WONG KC, Natasha, (1993, 2017)
Members of Chambers ROBINSON KC, Danny (1993, 2019)
Members of Chambers NEWELL KC, 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 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 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 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 TASCON, Alejandra Llorente (2016)
Members of Chambers DUTKA, Anna (2018)
Members of Chambers BOWLAND Grace (2021)