5KBW > London, England > Set Profile

Chambers of Sarah Forshaw KC and Mark Heywood KC

London Bar > Crime Tier 3

With a ‘high calibre of counsel across the board’ the set at 5KBW brings bench strength to defending and prosecuting high profile criminal matters. Mark Heywood KC prosecuted a group of men accused of being members of Swedish hit squad sent to assassinate an alleged drug trade rival with ten shots at point-blank range on his doorstep on Christmas Eve in front of his wife and child, resulting in multiple convictions. Heywood was opposed by Natasha Wong KC, whose defence led to the acquittal of one of the alleged assassins. Heywood is also leading Jonathan Polnay in a conspiracy to murder prosecution surrounding the shooting of Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson. Sarah Forshaw KC represented the only acquitted defendant in a multi-defendant case concerning a daylight shooting on an Edmonton housing estate.

Leading Silks

Sarah Forshaw KC – 5KBW ‘Sarah is a master on her in feet in the courtroom and commands the attention of all in her presence due to her skilled advocacy.’ 
Ranked: Tier 1
Ranked: Tier 1
Natasha Wong KC – 5KBW ‘Natasha is an absolute star and now obviously one of the leading silks of her generation.’
Ranked: Tier 3
Ranked: Tier 4
Charlotte Newell KC5KBW ‘Charlotte has a wonderfully calming and reassuring nature when advising clients. Her advocacy is exceptionally clear and easy to digest, which is essential for a complex criminal case when people”s lives are on the line.’ 
Ranked: Tier 4
Danny Robinson KC – 5KBW ‘Danny is a consummate professional. He is a top-class advocate with a skill for an economy of words, each one carefully chosen for maximum impact.’
Ranked: Tier 4
Jonathan Higgs KC5KBW ‘Jonathan is a top silk whose attention to detail and presence in court make him a force to be reckoned with.’
Ranked: Tier 4

Leading Juniors

Jonathan Polnay – 5KBW 'Jonathan's legal knowledge and tactical acumen are second-to-none. He is a formidable advocate both on paper and on his feet.'
Ranked: Tier 1
Louise Oakley – 5KBW 'Louise is calm under pressure, collected in the face of hostile opponents, and completely in command of her brief. A real star.'
Ranked: Tier 2
Jeffrey Israel – 5KBW 'Excellent in all areas, his advocacy is excellent and precise.'
Ranked: Tier 3
William Davis - 5KBW 'Will is well-respected by the judiciary due to the structured and engaging nature of his advocacy.'
Ranked: Tier 4



‘Chambers has a uniquely high calibre of counsel across the board. They really have focused on attracting top talent and retaining counsel. They have some exceptional silks who you will be lucky to instruct as they are so in demand.’

‘5KBW is one of the very best, if not the best criminal chambers in London. They have fantastic strength in depth and great leadership.’

‘Absolutely first-rate. The best set of chambers I know. The barristers are uniformly of the highest quality.’

‘First class chambers which defends and prosecutes at the highest level. 5KBW has a well-earned and deservedly-maintained reputation. The silks are amongst the best in the profession.’

‘5KBW are an excellent set and known for their expertise in the most serious of criminal cases.’


‘Lee Hughes-Gage is great to work with, and he and Matthew Harper will always go that extra length to assist.’

Western Circuit > Crime (general and fraud)

London Bar > Fraud: crime

Leading Silks

Mark Heywood KC – 5KBW 'Mark is a master tactician and a real class act. His advocacy is smooth and eloquent. Everyone in the room listens to him when he speaks.' 
Ranked: Tier 2
Natasha Wong KC – 5KBW 'Natasha's client care is fantastic. Her submissions are precise, concise and always persuasive. Her cross-examination is devastating.'
Ranked: Tier 3

Leading Juniors

Frederick Hookway – 5KBWFreddie is a very smooth and polished advocate. He is excellent at cross-examination.'
Ranked: Tier 3
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

Regional Bar > Western Circuit > Crime (general and fraud)

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 56 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.

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 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 TASCON, Alejandra Llorente (2016)
Members of Chambers DUTKA, Anna (2018)