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UK Bar: Investigations 2017

We highlight 25 leading barristers for their impressive work handling criminal and regulatory investigations, such as allegations of bribery, corruption and money laundering instigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). 

Most Highly Regarded
David Perry QC 6 KBW College Hill
Clare Montgomery QC Matrix Chambers
Patrick Gibbs QC Three Raymond Buildings
Nicholas Purnell QC Cloth Fair Chambers
Saba Naqshbandi Three Raymond Buildings


Renowned for its strong criminal law practice, MATRIX CHAMBERS leads the research this year, cementing its position as one of the foremost sets in the field. Members regularly handle investigations work in relation to serious economic crime, financial fraud and business crime. Five leading silks are recognised this year.  
Clare Montgomery QC wins praise for her “stellar work” in the field as both a pre-litigation adviser and trial lawyer. One source comments: “She is great at considering the correct strategy to meet the client’s aims.” She is currently active advising FTSE 100 companies in dealing with SFO inquiries, among other matters.
Former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald QC is famed for his criminal law practice and is well versed in criminal and financial regulatory investigations.  
Alex Bailin QC “always has his fingers on the vital details of every case” and is described as “a hugely impressive silk both in court and with clients”. He is particularly in demand for his expertise in handling SFO investigations.

Fraud, criminal and regulatory specialist CLOTH FAIR CHAMBERS achieves five nominations, illustrating their expertise in this area.
Head of chambers Nicholas Purnell QC is regularly appointed to handle investigations before the SFO, FCA and in international matters before the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to one respondent, “He is on everyone’s shortlist: his strategic analysis is second to none.”
Alison Pople QC is “absolutely brilliant” and is well regarded among peers for her “exceptional judgement”. She is much in demand for complex criminal investigations, especially related to fraud, insider trading, corruption, criminal cartels, regulatory issues and money laundering.
Ian Winter QC is noted for his first-rate investigations work, and is admired for his “sharp legal mind”.

Criminal law set THREE RAYMOND BUILDINGS achieves four listings in this chapter – a testament to its stand-out strength and depth in relation to bribery, corruption, fraud, financial and regulatory crime. 
Patrick Gibbs QC is rated very highly by peers, one of whom states he has “certainly reached the top echelon of a business crime silk”.
Helen Malcolm QC is respected by clients and peers alike for her international criminal law practice, which encompasses regulatory and criminal proceedings before the SFO and FCA.
Alexander Cameron QC is a renowned corporate crime specialist, who is often instructed early in investigations into allegations of fraud bribery, corruption, money laundering and insider dealing, among others. One source is particularly effusive, “He is one of the top criminal law silks at the bar and a wholly impressive tactician.”
The “brilliant” James Lewis QC is also recognised for his stand-out knowledge of criminal and regulatory investigations.

At 6 KBW COLLEGE HILL, David Perry QC is very highly regarded by solicitors who cite him as a first-choice silk: “David is thoroughly immersed in criminal law but also has the ability to advise corporate clients who have a very different expectation of client service and the type of advice that they are looking to receive."


THREE RAYMOND BUILDINGS is also represented by three stand-out juniors this year, demonstrating the strength in depth of its criminal law offering.
Leading name Saba Naqshbandi wins praise for her “smart handling” of criminal and regulatory investigations. She is widely regarded as one of the top juniors for business crime.
Ben Brandon has “a burgeoning practice” in both domestic and cross-border investigations, including before the DoJ.
Nicholas Yeo is an established senior junior, who is highlighted for his excellent procedural knowledge of fraud and money laundering investigations.

At CLOTH FAIR CHAMBERS, the “hugely impressive” Jonathan Barnard is renowned for his excellent advocacy on behalf of corporate clients. According to sources, “He is a very elegant presenter and advocate.”

QEB HOLLIS WHITEMAN’s Rachna Gokani is “a stand-out junior counsel” and frequently handles cases relating to serious fraud and bribery matters. 

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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W11 1QQ, UK