Martin Evans QC (1989) (QC 2017)

"...all aspects of law relating to asset recovery..."

"...all aspects of law relating to asset recovery..."


Martin’s practice involves all aspects of the law relating to asset recovery, money laundering and confiscation. He is experienced in handling the most complex restraint, receivership, civil recovery and contempt proceedings in the High Court and the Crown Court. 

He is highly regarded in a broad range of serious crime, with an emphasis on fraud, money laundering, corporate criminal liability and corruption. Acknowledged as one of the leading practitioners in the field of Criminal Fraud (“Stands out amongst his peers for top-tier handling of fraud and corruption cases relating to money laundering and SFO investigations”: ‘Who’s Who Legal: UK Bar 2019’). Martin defends, prosecutes and represents third parties (including companies) in serious fraud investigations and is currently instructed in three international corruption cases.

Ranked for POCA Work and Asset Forfeiture in Chambers and Partners 2019 and Legal 500: “Clever, engaged, personable and very knowledgeable, he's a pleasure to work with.”  "A calm, clear and measured advocate". “Very good at paperwork”, "Clever and analytical but also charming and funny." 

Martin has a strong appellate practice; in the last few years he has been instructed in numerous cases before the Court of Appeal in which he did not appear in the lower court.

Martin is a contributing editor of ‘Archbold’ with responsibility for the chapters on confiscation [5B] and money laundering offences [26]. He is co-author of ‘Corporate Criminal Liability’ (described as “scholarly and comprehensive” by Lord Hoffmann and as "a thoughtful work" by Lord Hughes).

Martin has delivered training on money laundering for the Bar Council; devised materials for a training program for the judiciary on restraint and receivership under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and contributed to a SOCA program for expert witnesses in Money Laundering cases. He has provided training to the Metropolitan Police on investigative powers. He has given evidence on behalf of the Criminal Bar Association and Bar Council before the Home Affairs Committee on Proceeds of Crime legislation.  He regularly lectures on asset recovery and related topics both in the UK and abroad. Martin lectured at the Criminal Bar Association Spring Conference on money laundering issues for UK investors raised by the legalisation in Canada of cannabis production and distribution.

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Recent Cases

  • R v W(G) [2018] 4 WLR 129: W was extradited to the UK from Sweden. He faced a single count of conspiracy to corrupt, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977 s.1. The alleged criminality spanned the period January 2002 to March 2010. Swedish law had a 10-year limitation period on criminal liability and consequently the Swedish court had only authorised the applicant's extradition in respect of his alleged conduct post May 2007. The SFO, however, sought to rely on evidence of the applicant's conduct pre-May 2007. On appeal by W, the Court of Appeal ruled that, in the context of a continuing offence, the rule of speciality did not preclude the prosecution from adducing evidence of conduct which fell outside the relevant time period to prove the commission of an offence which fell within it. The rule was concerned with offences, not evidence.

  • Regina v Yaxley-Lennon [2018] 4 W.L.R. 83: Where leave to appeal against a confiscation order that had been agreed (as to benefit) was refused by the single judge and there was a substantial (unexplained) delay before seeking to renew the application, the CACD refused leave to appeal. The fact that the amount of the defendant's benefit had expressly been agreed was a very important factor when considering whether to grant an extension of time for seeking leave to appeal; substantial injustice was not to be calculated simply by reference to the amount of money at stake from the point of view of the defendant but by reference to all the circumstances of the particular case. Ordinarily a good reason will be required for the grant of a lengthy extension of time

  • R (River East Supplies Ltd) v Crown Court at Nottingham [2017] 2 Cr. App. R. 27; [2017] 4 W.L.R. 135: The police obtained a production order pursuant to a request for mutual assistance. RE claimed that the order sought violated the common law privilege against self-incrimination. Held: the Strasbourg jurisprudence drew a clear distinction between material that was, and was not, “independent”, and the common law privilege against self-incrimination did not extend to material that was “independent” within the meaning of such jurisprudence. Claim dismissed. Instructed by Head of East Midlands Police Legal Services

  • R v Harvey [2017] AC 105, [2016] 2 WLR 37, [2016] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 60, Supreme Court: Although as a matter of ordinary domestic statutory construction, in deciding the benefit obtained within s.76(4), the VAT paid or accounted for to HMRC was not to be deducted, when making a confiscation order the court should ignore the total amount of VAT for which the offender had accounted to HMRC. To include such VAT in a confiscation order would be disproportionate and a breach of ECHR Protocol 1 art.1. Instructed by CPS 

  • R (Rahman) v Local Government Election Court [2017] EWHC 1413: An Election Court finding that Lutfur Rahman (formerly Mayor of Tower Hamlets) was "personally guilty" of electoral offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983 did not violate the presumption of innocence in ECHR art.6(2) where he was unable to establish that there were any parallel criminal proceedings at the time of the decision. Instructed by CPS

  • A v DPP [2017] 1 W.L.R. 713[2017] 1 Cr. App. R. 6: In what is the first time it considered Criminal Justice and Data Protection (Protocol No. 36) Regulations 2014 issues, the Court of Appeal ruled that that a challenge to the substantive reasons for the making of an overseas restraint order may be made only in the courts of the issuing state. Instructed by CPS

  • Barnes v Eastenders  [2015] A.C. 1; [2014] 2 W.L.R. 1269;  [2014] UKSC 26: CPS ordered to pay the remuneration and expenses of a receiver appointed following the discharge of a PoCA restraint and receivership order based upon the principle of ‘unjust enrichment’ where to allow E's assets to be taken to pay for B's costs and remuneration would not strike a fair balance between the general interest of the community and the requirements of the protection of E's right to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions and so would be disproportionate. However, to refuse B's application would replace one injustice with another. As there had been a total failure of consideration in relation to B's rights over E's assets, which was fundamental to the basis on which he had agreed to act. B was entitled to recover his proper remuneration and expenses from the CPS because the work done and expenses incurred were at the CPS's request.  Instructed by Peters and Peters on behalf of the Receiver.

  • R v Lehair [2015] 1 W.L.R. 4811. [2016] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 2: A literal interpretation of s.77(5)(a) was anomalous to the explicit purpose of the Act. It could not have been intended that criminals would have a day's grace to dispose of their assets; section 77(5)(a) had to be construed purposively. Instructed by the CPS. Instructed by CPS

  • R v Bestel and others [2013] 2 Cr. App. R 30 The court gave guidance on the relevant principles when considering whether to grant an extension of time to appeal against a confiscation order when the effect of granting the application would be to allow the applicant to take advantage of a change of law.  Instructed by CPS

Other Notable Cases

  • R v Shabir [2008] EWCA Crim 1809
    First reported appeal in which the Court of Appeal quashed a confiscation order on the grounds that it was oppressive and an abuse of process; appeared for the Appellant.

  • R v IK [2007] EWCA Crim 491
    Prosecutor’s appeal against rulings by trial judge that there was no case to answer where the issue was whether the proceeds of cheating the revenue could be ‘criminal property’ for purposes of ss.340(3) and 328 of Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

  • R v Glatt [2006] EWCA Crim 605
    Confiscation appeal concerned with the meaning of and interrelationship between ss.74(4)(5) and (6) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the court’s discretion in confiscation proceeding under the unamended 1988 Act. The appellant was a solicitor who had laundered money for his principal, a duty fraudster.

Recent Seminars

  • “Money laundering and the disclosure regime: a UK perspective”; University of Tel Aviv, June 2017 

  • “Looking Beyond the Veil – Crooks, Corporations and Confiscation”; NCA Conference March 2017 

  • “Helpful or headache: Section10A POCA 2002; FCA Inter Agency POCA conference November 2015

  • 'Internal Compliance Training for bank employees’ June/July 2014


  • ‘Corporate Criminal Liability’ (with Amanda Pinto QC): 3rd edition Sweet and Maxwell 2013.

  • Archbold Criminal pleading and Practice’; contributing editor (since 2006)

  • ‘Abuse of Process in Criminal Proceedings’ by Corker, Young and Summers; 3rd edition Butterworths 2008 (contributor)