Skip to content

Ranking tables

UK Bar London (Bar) Crime

Criminal law has a number of different branches, but the crime section concentrates on what might be deemed 'serious' crime including illegal drugs, assault, sexual offences, terrorism and homicide. It covers work at all levels, from the Magistrates Court all the way to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

Rankings overview for Sets

All Sets profiles

1
Band 1
  1. 1
    2 Bedford Row
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 1 | 19 Years Ranked
    2 Bedford Row has long had a standing in the top rank of criminal sets. It is regularly involved in high-profile cases across the full spectrum of criminal law and has practitioners, instructed for both the prosecution and defence, who have particular expertise in dealing with complex defences including insanity. One solicitor considers the chambers to be "exceptional," while another explains: "This is a strong set with a number of very talented, hard-working and dedicated members." Highlights from the past year include defending Wayne Couzens, the policeman who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in March 2020.
  2. 2 Hare Court
    1
    2 Hare Court
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 1 | 19 Years Ranked
    2 Hare Court is an expert criminal set with a great track record of handling the most serious matters. It has experience prosecuting and defending murder, sexual offences, gang-related and serious violence cases, among others. It further has expertise in extradition and high-profile international cases. One market commentator states: "The set is loaded with exceptional silks and senior juniors at the top of their game and diligent juniors with qualities above their call." Chambers is no stranger to high-profile cases; in a notable example Oliver Glasgow KC prosecuted Danyal Hussein, who murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in June 2020.
  3. 3 Raymond Buildings
    1
    3 Raymond Buildings
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 1 | 19 Years Ranked
    3 Raymond Buildings is a highly esteemed set instructed in the most serious cases, many of which are privately paying. Barristers here have particular expertise in representing clients in terrorism, organised crime, homicide and sexual offences cases, and often handle matters that are international or multi-jurisdictional in nature. Recent cases of note include representing former police officer Benjamin Monk, who was on trial for the murder of professional footballer Dalian Atkinson by tasering and kicking. One instructing solicitor explains: "Throughout my career I have relied upon counsel from 3 Raymond Buildings to conduct some of the most complex and high-profile cases I have dealt with. It has a range of highly skilled counsel who are regarded as the leading experts in their areas of specialism, backed up by hard-working and clever juniors."
  4. 1
    6KBW College Hill
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 1 | 19 Years Ranked
    6KBW College Hill is a premier criminal prosecution and defence set renowned for its involvement in the most serious criminal and regulatory cases, including the criminal investigation into the deaths caused by the fire at Grenfell Tower. Members of the set regularly act at all levels of the court system, and have made numerous appearances in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, as well as in a number of foreign jurisdictions. They are further known for their handling of high-profile terrorism matters including the widely reported Sally Lane and John Letts case, which concerned allegations of terrorism funding by the parents of 'Jihadi Jack'. Significant recent cases include defending serial murderer and necrophile David Fuller, who was prosecuted for the 1987 'bedsit murders' committed in Tunbridge Wells. Instructing solicitors say: "The set has a proven history of representation to a high standard in a large range of areas."
  5. QEB Hollis Whiteman
    1
    QEB Hollis Whiteman
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 1 | 19 Years Ranked
    QEB Hollis Whiteman is an outstanding criminal defence and prosecution set that handles the full gamut of matters including those pertaining to financial crime. Its barristers are regularly engaged in the most serious cases, including youth-related matters, and routinely handle instructions that attract great media attention. They are noted for having particular experience dealing with vulnerable defendants and issues under the Mental Health Act. Criminal clients of every stamp are catered for, although the set is noted for being particularly adept at dealing with cases for and against professionals. Recent highlights include representing footballer Benjamin Mendy against allegations of rape and sexual harassment. Instructing solicitors praise the set for its "amazing depth and its provision of experienced counsel who know how to handle anything that is thrown at them."
2
Band 2
  1. 23ES (23 Essex Street Chambers)
    2
    23ES (23 Essex Street Chambers)
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 2 | 19 Years Ranked
    23ES (23 Essex Street Chambers) handles the full regimen of criminal matters including murder, terrorism, sexual offences, drugs and road traffic work. Members have acted in high-profile cases such as R v Frankie Smith & Savannah Brockhill, a trial where a mother and her girlfriend were accused of murdering 18-month-old Star Hobson, who suffered catastrophic injuries while under their care. Sources say: "23 Essex Street is a large set with numerous exceptional barristers covering the entire range of criminal work."
  2. 25 Bedford Row
    2
    25 Bedford Row
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 2 | 19 Years Ranked
    25 Bedford Row is a dedicated criminal defence set whose members regularly appear in reported murder, manslaughter, sex and terrorism cases, among others. They are regulars at the Old Bailey and Court of Appeal, and are particularly known for their involvement in multi-handed murder trials, including those relating to young offenders. Recent cases of note include R v Raymond Hoadley, a trial where the defendant was accused of the murder of disability campaigner Jacqueline Hoadley, who was found with 27 stab wounds in her bedroom in 2020. Commentators say: "25 Bedford Row has both strength and depth, and has an excellent track record of dealing with the most complex, heavyweight matters."
  3. 5 King's Bench Walk
    2
    5 King's Bench Walk
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 2 | 13 Years Ranked
    5KBW is home to barristers at all levels of call who are comfortable handling criminal cases of any type, whatever the level of seriousness. Major matters relating to organised crime, murder and terrorism are undertaken amidst the usual diet of general crime, and members boast further skill in commercial criminal cases and regulatory work. They have particular expertise in sexual offences cases, including historic sex crimes. As an illustration of the gravity of the work undertaken here, multiple members of the set have recently been involved in the high-profile proceedings arising from the murder of Sir David Amess MP and the attempted murder of Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson. One instructing solicitor says: "The set has repeatedly shown it has real strength and depth in counsel, and has noted expertise in dealing with complex and sophisticated cases."
  4. 2
    Doughty Street Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 2 | 19 Years Ranked
    Doughty Street Chambers is a redoubtable set with expertise in serious crime and related human rights and international law cases. It handles the full range of criminal matters, but is especially well known for its involvement in significant terrorism cases and murders that receive national media interest. It also routinely deals with vulnerable defendants and youth crime cases, and has a specialist Appeals Unit, which concentrates on matters brought before the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, Privy Council and ECtHR. One recent case of note was R v Salih Khater, where the defendant was on trial for the attempted murder of pedestrians, cyclists and two police officers outside the Palace of Westminster. Sources say that chambers "are really in the mix when it comes to complex legal cases" adding: "There is a baseline of intellectual ability, hard work and robustness there."
  5. Garden Court Chambers
    2
    Garden Court Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 2 | 19 Years Ranked
    Garden Court Chambers is recognised by the market for having some of the best names at the criminal Bar. Its barristers routinely defend individuals in all types of criminal cases including those concerning homicide, terrorism, sexual offences and violent crime, and make regular appearances in the appellate courts. Recent high-profile matters handled include the defence of Verphy Kudi, who was charged with the manslaughter of her 20-month-old daughter whom she left alone in her flat for six days. The set was also involved in defending the brother of the Manchester Arena terrorist bomber against 22 counts of murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. One interviewee explains :"The members of Garden Court are exceptional in their grasp of the law." Another adds: "The set is tried and tested when it comes to the handling of complex and serious appeal cases."
  6. Red Lion Chambers
    2
    Red Lion Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 2 | 19 Years Ranked
    Red Lion Chambers is a set experienced in domestic and international criminal trials, which both prosecutes and defends. Interviewees praise chambers for its "particularly impressive depth and breadth of expertise offered." Members here offer expertise in all types of criminal cases including those relating to drugs, murder and sexual assault. They have a notable profile in the Central Criminal Court and the Court of Appeal, and interest in niche areas such as human trafficking law. One market source adds: "They can always handle any matter you brief them on, however novel or complex." Members have recently been involved in the high-profile trial of James Watson, who was accused of the historic murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave in 1994.
3
Band 3
  1. 5 Paper Buildings
    3
    5 Paper Buildings
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 3 | 19 Years Ranked
    5 Paper Buildings is commended as a set whose barristers are regularly instructed in the major cases of the day including those relating to murder, sexual offences, terrorism, gang-related crime and firearms offences. In addition to general and serious crime, the set also handles financial crime, football corruption and European Arrest Warrant work. Sources praise chambers for having "a deep pool of extremely capable practitioners." Recent high-profile cases undertaken by the set include the first successful prosecution in England and Wales in Operation Venetic (which used EncroChat evidence obtained from outside the UK on encrypted phones used by organised crime groups).
  2. 3
    Cloth Fair Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 3 | 17 Years Ranked
    Although more likely to be seen in financial crime cases, Cloth Fair maintains a general criminal practice, which it tends to with its customary skill and polish. Its highly renowned barristers can turn their hand to anything and are often selected to tackle sexual assault cases, representing famous people such as celebrities, politicians and athletes. By way of example, one member of the set recently advised former Conservative MP Charles Elphicke on appealing against his conviction for sexual assault. They are also noted for their experience of acting in cases with police misconduct issues and criminal proceedings arising out of breaches of electoral law.
  3. 3
    Foundry Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 3 | 19 Years Ranked
    Foundry Chambers is a set with an illustrious track record which has over the years handled criminal matters of great importance and built up a strong reputation for its appellate work. It both prosecutes and defends, and is instructed by top defence solicitors and prosecuting bodies such as the SFO, NCA and CPS Special and Complex Crime Units. A number of the cases it undertakes attract media attention and involve atypical elements. Examples include R v George Petrou, where the defendant was charged with serious historic physical and sexual abuse against his stepdaughter, whom he went on to marry. Sources consider the chambers to be "an extremely good set who have barristers of the highest quality."
  4. Furnival Chambers
    3
    Furnival Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 3 | 19 Years Ranked
    Members of Furnival Chambers prosecute and defend criminal cases of all types and are regularly involved in high-profile matters of the day, such as prosecuting the brutal 2020 double murder of sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. Key areas of practice include homicide, modern slavery and drugs work. Chambers is praised for its "impressive expertise across the board."
  5. Matrix Chambers
    3
    Matrix Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 3 | 19 Years Ranked
    Matrix Chambers is a major public and commercial law set that has a significant criminal offering and expertise in related extradition cases. Its members have particular experience of handling appellate proceedings and, unsurprisingly, are masters of those cases where human rights and criminal law collide. They routinely act in serious cases, including those relating to murder and sexual offences, historic or otherwise, and are often to be seen in major public inquiries and inquests. They also regularly appear before international courts. Recent work of note includes advising Charles Ingram, who was convicted of cheating in television game show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' regarding new evidence and a potential appeal. Sources say: "Matrix has a huge number of highly skilled, intellectual and creative lawyers who do technical legal work and provide consistent quality."
4
Band 4
  1. 187 Chambers
    4
    187 Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 19 Years Ranked
    187 Chambers is a substantial set that handles large-scale fraud, general crime and regulatory law. The serious crime practice covers murder, robbery, drugs and sex cases, among a host of others. Significant homicide cases include gang-related killings, baby-shaking cases and historic murders. An example of the high-profile work on which counsel are instructed is R v Carroll, whereby the 16-year-old defendant was on trial for murdering 40-year-old suspected paedophile Darren Kelly, who had been lured into meeting an underage girl online. Sources praise this set for its "vast experience in dealing with complex and sophisticated matters."
  2. 2 Harcourt Buildings
    4
    2 Harcourt Buildings
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 10 Years Ranked
    2 Harcourt Buildings is a recognised set for general crime with members of chambers prosecuting and defending the full range of criminal cases. Barristers at the set frequently take instruction in serious proceedings, many of them involving homicide, terrorism, sexual offences, drugs and child abuse. A source says: "All of the members I have worked with have shown a high level of commitment and professionalism in their work." Recent highlights include representing necrophile and serial murderer David Fuller, who was accused of murdering Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in Tunbridge Wells in 1987.
  3. 5 St Andrew's Hill
    4
    5 St Andrew's Hill
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 8 Years Ranked
    5 St Andrew's Hill is a well-regarded set equipped to handle all criminal cases including those relating to homicide, drugs and human trafficking. The set takes on matters involving serious sexual offences, including those pertaining to historic child abuse, gang-related assaults and rape. Members worked on R v John Oliver, the successful defence of one of four defendants alleged to have been involved in the country’s biggest ever domestic burglary, in which jewellery and cash worth in excess of £30 million were stolen from well-known individuals and celebrities in December 2019. Sources confirm: "All of those in the set can be relied upon to handle any case given to them."
  4. 9BR Chambers
    4
    9BR Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 19 Years Ranked
    9 Bedford Row is composed of impressive barristers who regularly deal with murder, modern slavery, sexual offences, people trafficking and drugs cases, to name but a few. It further has a dedicated sexual offences team and regularly handles cases involving vulnerable individuals. Other areas of expertise include cybercrime and courts martial, the latter being attended to by a military law team that includes a number of former military personnel. Recent highlights include defending against multiple counts of rape in R v Mendy & Matturie at Chester Crown Court. One instructing solicitor notes: "9BR Chambers is very well placed to handle complex and sophisticated cases. Its counsel are brilliant at dealing with the most convoluted matters in a professional and extremely competent manner."
  5. 4
    Crucible Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 2 Years Ranked
    Crucible Chambers is a criminal set consisting of members from the former Charter Chambers, which closed in 2020. Members here are highly experienced in taking instructions in serious and high-profile criminal cases involving homicide, terrorism and child abuse. An example of the high-level work that members undertake is R v Marcovici, which concerned the large-scale burglaries of millions of pounds' worth of items from the homes of Frank Lampard and Tamara Ecclestone. Sources note: "Crucible is equipped to deal with highly complex cases as effectively as any of the longer-established sets."
  6. 4
    Farringdon Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 4 Years Ranked
    Barristers at Farringdon Chambers have experience of serious crime cases, including those relating to homicide, firearms and drugs offences, among others. The set receives praise for being "incredibly adept at handling the most intricate and sophisticated cases, due to the fact that it has barristers with vast knowledge and experience." Recent matters undertaken include R v Hollie Davies & Others, which concerned the highly publicised Birmingham gang murder of 14-year-old Dea-John Reid. Hollie Davies is said to have assisted her partner and son in the killing.
  7. 4
    Libertas Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 2 Years Ranked
    Libertas Chambers is an innovative set formed of ex-Carmelite members and the first chambers to set up on a virtual basis as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Barristers here frequently defend clients accused of the most serious crimes, including those involving infanticide, familicide, homicide and terrorism. Sources praise the set for its "wide range of talented practitioners to cover all aspects of crime." Its barristers receive instructions in high-profile cases, such as defending Zahid Younis, who was tried for the murders of Henriett Szucs and Mihrican Mustafa, whose bodies he kept in a freezer in his flat in Canning Town for up to three years.
  8. Mountford Chambers
    4
    Mountford Chambers
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4 | 19 Years Ranked
    Mountford Chambers (formerly Carmelite Chambers) is a longstanding set that is well versed in general crime cases, which handles murder, manslaughter and serious sexual offences cases amidst a myriad of others. Barristers at the set have experience on both the defence and prosecution sides, and are thoroughly au fait with appellate work. Sources praise the set for its "strong line-up of very able silks supported by some excellent juniors." One of the highest-profile matters handled in recent years is R v Medouni, the murder of French nanny Sophie Lionnet by a professional couple in west London.
  9. 3TG
    Crime
    UK Bar 2023 | Band 4