Widely regarded as the pre-eminent set for proceeds of crime and asset forfeiture matters, this chambers boasts a market-leading team of specialist silks and juniors who handle cases across the full spectrum of POCA work. Members act on behalf of prosecuting authorities, defendants, regulatory bodies, receivers, companies and third parties, and have recently been instructed in some of the most significant precedent-setting cases in this field, including R v Harvey. This case established that when making a confiscation order and assessing the benefit obtained by the offender, any VAT which has already been accounted for to HMRC should not be included. The strength of the team has recently been bolstered by the addition of Ian Smith from 11 Stone Buildings.
Client service: "The clerks can't do enough for you. They're excellent, and very helpful whether on the phone, over e-mail or in person. They are very easy to talk to and negotiate with, and great at arranging telephone conferences - they take all the pressure off you and just go ahead and sort everything out." Practice manager Martin Adams "is just phenomenal - he will move mountains to get you the hearing you need, and he has a personal touch with both the staff and barristers."
Andrew Mitchell QC
Frequently cited as "the godfather of POCA," Mitchell has great experience in this area and is frequently instructed in precedent-setting cases.
Strengths: "He really is a leader in the field and a cut above the rest because of his experience of dealing with cases at the highest level. His advocacy skills are exemplary because they are matched with a deep knowledge of both civil and criminal POCA matters." "He could charm the birds from the trees - his manner in court is impeccable."
Recent work: Appeared in the Supreme Court on behalf of the appellant in R v Harvey, which established that when calculating the amount of a confiscation order, any VAT which has been accounted for to HMRC should not be included.
Graham Brodie QC
Acts for claimants and defendants in proceedings relating to allegations of commercial wrongdoing. He handles cases concerning restraint, freezing and confiscation of assets in both the civil and criminal spheres.
Strengths: "He's an extremely able barrister who is easy to work with, communicative, responsive, and hard-working. He thinks through issues in a detailed and methodical manner, and is also willing and able to come up with novel and effective solutions to problems."
Recent work: Represented a former Goldman Sachs banker in confiscation proceedings following a conviction for money laundering in Nigeria.
Mark Rainsford QC
Handles specialised financial crime, proceeds of crime and asset recovery cases. He boasts particular expertise in money laundering matters.
Strengths: "He's a lovely guy to work with and a good lawyer, who is also very experienced in civil fraud, meaning he brings an extra dimension to his cases. He has a good rapport with the judges." "Mark is sensible, practical and knows what he's doing."
Recent work: Acted for the principal defendant in a privately funded case concerning allegations that the client had laundered the proceedings of a number of boiler room frauds based in the UK and abroad.
Kennedy Talbot QC
A highly specialist practitioner who "lives and breathes POCA" according to sources. He is well versed in all aspects of civil recovery, disclosure, restraint, receivership and asset confiscation.
Strengths: "Kennedy has a brilliant, brilliant mind and fantastic drafting skills." "He is extremely knowledgeable and one of the longest-established practitioners in this area, so he really knows his stuff." "One of the foremost experts in confiscation and restraint law, he is extremely erudite and very good with clients."
Boasts expertise in both POCA and criminal fraud matters. He has recently represented the prosecuting authorities in a number of high-level restraint, money laundering and confiscation cases.
Strengths: "He is very good and very knowledgeable, and has a great eye for detail. His written work is extremely good, and he is very approachable and a real team player." “Clever, engaged, personable and very knowledgeable, he's a pleasure to work with.”
Recent work: Acted for the CPS in the Supreme Court case of R v Harvey, which determined that the VAT element of sums should be discounted when calculating the benefit figure in confiscation proceedings.
Experienced criminal counsel who assists defence and prosecution clients with fraud, POCA and asset recovery matters. She is also regularly instructed in cases with international elements, including those relating to international mutual legal assistance and international regulatory work.
Strengths: "Her knowledge of the law and ability to express arguments is as good as it gets - plus she is great to talk to and very user-friendly." "A really good, hard-working barrister with mature judgement. You need someone whom you can trust and whose judgements stand up in court, and hers do."
Recent work: Instructed by the CPS in confiscation proceedings concerning the failure of the defendant to comply with a confiscation order made for several million pounds' worth of assets acquired through a long-running VAT fraud scheme.
Commercial litigator and criminal lawyer who has a specialist knowledge of POCA.
Strengths: "He's someone you can turn to for a quick answer, who is very direct and pragmatic in his approach." "Ian is very good at handling the civil/criminal interplay in POCA matters." "He is hard-working, utterly committed, great with clients, and someone who sees the big picture."
Frequently acts for defendants and third parties in POCA proceedings relating to allegations of business crime and corporate wrongdoing. He has particular experience of advising offshore trusts on money laundering and compliance issues.
Strengths: "Very smart, and very thoughtful in his approach to cases - he has a strategic overview of the case. He brings intellectual rigour to a case, and is tough as well - he's not afraid to make unpopular arguments."
Recent work: Acted for the CPS in proceedings surrounding the imposition, appeal against and subsequent enforcement of a confiscation order made in relation to the proceeds of tax credit fraud.
POCA and asset forfeiture specialist with noteworthy experience in civil recovery and receivership. He acts for receivers and prosecuting authorities amongst others.
Strengths: "His technical knowledge of POCA work is fantastic. The strategy and tactics he employs are impressive - he thinks well ahead and guesses what the opponents will do." "He is a very polished professional from a civil law background, who is a great asset when you're dealing with asset forfeiture where crime and civil proceedings overlap."
Recent work: Acted for the SFO in confiscation proceedings against the former director and chief executive of JJB Sports.
Enters the rankings this year in recognition of his growing expertise and reputation in this space. He regularly advises claimants and third parties on asset recovery matters, and also handles confiscation, fraud and regulatory enforcement.
Strengths: "He is delightful, highly intelligent and someone with a prodigious appetite for work, who is a real rising star in both the civil as well as the criminal fields." "For a young and upwards moving junior he is fantastic - he's very intelligent, very good at paperwork and he produces fantastic skeleton arguments with great attention to detail. If you instruct him as a junior you get silk-standard advice without the price."
Recent work: Instructed as specialist confiscation counsel on behalf of the defendant in R v Bostock, a complex cross-border case regarding a benefit sought of over £250 million.
A new entry to the rankings this year, who is recognised for her specialist expertise in POCA proceedings, asset recovery and restraint orders in both the civil and criminal spheres.
Strengths: "Penny is dynamic, works extremely hard and is very client-focused and proactive." "She is very, very clever and has a very deep understanding of POCA matters."
Recent work: Instructed by the SFO as specialist counsel for the restraint and confiscation proceedings following conviction in Operation Steamroller. This case involved the theft of over USD100 million through a major boiler room fraud operation.
Ian Smith of The Chambers of Andrew Mitchell QC A civil and criminal fraud specialist comfortable managing complex proceedings involving such issues as asset recovery and money laundering.
Strengths: "Ian is meticulous in his preparation." "He is an excellent communicator."