2 Bedford Row

Brian Altman QC

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Practice Areas

General specialisms are in criminal and regulatory work, but practice includes advising high net worth individuals, multinational corporations and private clients. In January 2017, was appointed Lead Counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse. Has advised a Middle Eastern Royal family and advises the UK Government on a wide variety of esoteric issues. Examples of work include advising a nationwide firm of solicitors on issues arising under the Official Secrets Acts; a US aerospace company on suspected money laundering and POCA compliance during a $100m acquisition of a British PLC; a Swedish multinational corporation who suspected it was the victim of a €200m fraud arising during an acquisition by a British PLC of a €1.7bn part of its pan-European business; City of London insolvency practitioners on allegations of fraud underlying the tracing of £100m of hidden assets of a PLC; a well known credit reference company during due diligence of a target company's systems, bearing on issues of cybercrime and data protection; a national construction PLC on POCA compliance; a very high profile individual on issues following the unsuccessful prosecution of him by the SFO; a significant victim of phone hacking; a national postal retail service company on issues of corporate governance; the Bar Council on the Bribery Act 2010 and its application to the Bar; LOCOG pre-the 2012 Olympics on ticket touting offences online. Examples of privately funded defence trial work include successfully defending a former chief police officer accused of sex crimes; a police officer in a high profile case alleging misconduct in public office arising from the murder of a Bristol man falsely alleged to have been a paedophile; a haulier accused of involvement in a large-scale conspiracy to supply drugs. Also acted for a 15 year old girl alleged to have aided a youth accused of killing a man who was acquitted, and acted for a defendant who pleaded guilty to the 1984 murder of Melanie Road in Bath. Prosecution work has included instructions for the CMA in an industry-wide cartel case, the SFO in blockbuster cases and for the FCA. In 2018 successfully prosecuted a Taliban fighter for bomb-making offences in Afghanistan and preparation of terrorist acts in the UK, in 2017 an Islamic State cyber-terrorist, and in 2016 an Islamic State influenced plot to kill police or military personnel. Presently instructed to prosecute the notorious 1986 Brighton ‘Babes in the Woods' case. Past cases include instructions to prosecute Moazzam Begg for terrorism offences allegedly arising from the conflict in Syria, as well as other cases arising out of the conflict in Syria; also the case of alleged IRA man, John Downey, the 1982 Hyde Park bombing case, where the abuse of process argument turned on whether Downey had erroneously received a comfort letter from Government in 2007 amounting to a promise not to prosecute. Other very high profile past cases include the prosecution of Levi Bellfield for murders of Milly Dowler, Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy; and Gnango, the murder of a Polish care worker who was killed in the crossfire of a gunfight between the defendant and another youth, where the defendant had not fired the fatal shot, and the victim had been the unintended target; this landmark case passed through a 7 justice Supreme Court and a 5 judge Court of Appeal on issues of joint enterprise, accessory liability and transferred malice. The offender's murder conviction was restored on a prosecution appeal from the Court of Appeal.

Professional Memberships

South Eastern Circuit. Criminal Bar Association. Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers.


Called to the Bar by Middle Temple 1981. First Senior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court December 2010-June 2013. Senior Treasury Counsel at CCC 2002-2013. Junior Treasury Counsel at CCC 1997-2002. Recorder since 2003. Queen's Counsel 2008. Bencher of Middle Temple 2010.


King's College London (LLB (Hons), 1978), University of Amsterdam (Dip Eur Int, 1979).