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Ranking tables

Crime | UK Bar

London (Bar)

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. We do not include criminal fraud here as it has its own section.

Rankings overview for Sets

All Sets profiles

1
Band 1
  1. 2 Bedford Row
    1
    2 Bedford Row
    Crime
    2024 | Band 1 | 20 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 client notes their bench strength: "They are a very strong set in crime, with particular depth at the KC and senior junior level." Highlights from the past year include the prosecution of actor Kevin Spacey for alleged sexual offences as well as the defence of Ali Harbi Ali, who murdered Sir David Amess MP in October 2021.
  2. 2 Hare Court
    1
    2 Hare Court
    Crime
    2024 | Band 1 | 20 Years Ranked
    2 Hare Court is an expert criminal set with a great track record of handling the most serious matters. It has experience of 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. Members of the set have been instructed in some of the year's highest profile cases including R v Mendy & Matturie, the prosecution of a Premier League footballer and his friend for rape, and R v Khan, the prosecution of a former MP for historic sexual offences.
  3. 3 Raymond Buildings
    1
    3 Raymond Buildings
    Crime
    2024 | Band 1 | 20 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. The set is often instructed in the highest profile cases of the day, such as defending actor Kevin Spacey in his trial for sexual offences and the prosecution of Ike Ekweremadu, his wife and a doctor for people trafficking in order to harvest a kidney.
  4. 6KBW College Hill
    1
    6KBW College Hill
    Crime
    2024 | Band 1 | 20 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. Recent cases for the set have included the prosecutions of alleged 'Fourth Beatle' Aine Davis for terrorism offences and of Anne Sacoolas for the death of Harry Dunn.
  5. QEB Hollis Whiteman
    1
    QEB Hollis Whiteman
    Crime
    2024 | Band 1 | 20 Years Ranked
    QEB Hollis Whiteman is noted as "an exceptional chambers with barristers of the highest calibre" handling the full gamut of matters including those pertaining to financial crime. Its members are regularly engaged in the most serious cases, including youth-related matters, and routinely handle instructions that attract great media attention. It is 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. An example of the high profile work undertaken by the set is the prosecution of former MP Imran Khan for sexual assault.
2
Band 2
  1. 23ES (23 Essex Street Chambers)
    2
    23ES (23 Essex Street Chambers)
    Crime
    2024 | Band 2 | 20 Years Ranked
    23ES (23 Essex Street Chambers) handles the full regimen of criminal matters including murder, terrorism, sexual offences, drugs and road traffic work. Alongside its capabilities in London, the set has an office in Manchester and many of its members are capable of conducting cross-border and foreign work in jurisdictions including the Cayman Islands, where they handle a good diet of financial crime work. Its members are experienced in both prosecution and defence work, with recent instructions including prosecuting Lukasz Stachura for murder and acting for the defence in R v Mendy & Matturie. The set's strength has been bolstered by two new silks this year.
  2. 25 Bedford Row
    2
    25 Bedford Row
    Crime
    2024 | Band 2 | 20 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 instructions have included defending in R v Jordan McSweeney, concerning the murder of Zara Aleena. One client notes that "the set can be relied on to deliver in terms of legal knowledge, advocacy, professionalism and client care."
  3. 5 King's Bench Walk
    2
    5 King's Bench Walk
    Crime
    2024 | Band 2 | 14 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, their recent matters having included successful defences in rape claims brought against solicitors. Other recent work for the set has included prosecuting R v Hemissi & others, a gangland assassination with cross-border elements.
  4. Doughty Street Chambers
    2
    Doughty Street Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 2 | 20 Years Ranked
    Doughty Street Chambers is a redoubtable set with skill in serious crime and related human rights and international law cases, that is noted by sources for bringing to the table "international, specialist expertise." 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, such as the killing of a taxi driver as part of a series of taxi thefts. 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.
  5. Garden Court Chambers
    2
    Garden Court Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 2 | 20 Years Ranked
    Garden Court Chambers is recognised by the market for having members whose "wealth of knowledge and experience enables them to handle serious and complex matters seamlessly". Its barristers routinely defend individuals in all types of criminal cases including those concerning homicide, terrorism, sexual offences and violent crime, and they make regular appearances in the appellate courts. Recently, members were instructed in an appeal aimed at highlighting institutional racism in the use of joint enterprise charges.
  6. Red Lion Chambers
    2
    Red Lion Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 2 | 20 Years Ranked
    Red Lion Chambers is a set experienced in domestic and international criminal trials, which both prosecutes and defends. 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. Recent instructions have included the prosecution of Cheryl Banks over the death of her mother and an appearance for the defence in R v Watson, a case concerning a murder committed in 1994.
3
Band 3
  1. 5 Paper Buildings
    3
    5 Paper Buildings
    Crime
    2024 | Band 3 | 20 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. Its members have additional expertise in appellate cases, such as the appeal in R v Kadir concerning the use of messaging platform WhatsApp to receive evidence from abroad.
  2. Cloth Fair Chambers
    3
    Cloth Fair Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 3 | 18 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.
  3. Foundry Chambers
    3
    Foundry Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 3 | 20 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, such as the prosecution of Jemma Mitchell for murder following the discovery of a beheaded corpse in woodland, the sentencing for which was televised.
  4. Furnival Chambers
    3
    Furnival Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 3 | 20 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 defending in R v Wheeler concerning the death of police community support officer Julia James. One source notes the set's "tremendous pool of expertise," whilst another comments that it has "a very good set of quality KCs and juniors in all areas of crime." The set has recently moved to a new location in Took's Court.
  5. Matrix Chambers
    3
    Matrix Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 3 | 20 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 instructions for the set have included a second appeal for convicted arsonist Peter Tredget.
4
Band 4
  1. 187 Chambers
    4
    187 Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 20 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. Examples of recent instructions include acting for the defence in R v King and King, a case concerning the alleged 'vigilante' killing of a burglar, and appearing for the prosecution of a foster parent for sexual assault.
  2. 2 Harcourt Buildings
    4
    2 Harcourt Buildings
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 11 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. Recent examples of work include R v Howe & others, a complex case concerning the kidnap, imprisonment and rape of a young woman.
  3. 3TG
    4
    3TG
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 12 Years Ranked
    3TG is a seasoned set that caters to all the usual areas of general crime including murder, serious sexual offences, fraud and organised crime-related drugs and firearms work. Members of the set are also active in terrorism cases. An example of recent work is R v Dredge & others, a multi-handed murder case at the Old Bailey.
  4. 5 St Andrew's Hill
    4
    5 St Andrew's Hill
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 9 Years Ranked
    5 St Andrew's Hill is a well-regarded set with "a diverse and talented pool of counsel who are able to handle the full spectrum of criminal advocacy" including cases 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 of the set have recently represented the defendant in R v Glass, a case concerning a woman accused of deliberately driving her car into a love rival.
  5. 7BR
    4
    7BR
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 13 Years Ranked
    7BR offers expertise spanning the full gamut of criminal matters. Members are experienced in the handling of complex and high-profile cases involving murder, sexual offences, drug trafficking, terrorism and serious violent crimes. The team is also well versed in cybercrime matters, including cases involving cryptocurrency. The set's barristers act for both the prosecution and the defence and frequently appear on the Midlands Circuit as well as in London. Recent instructions have included R v Bendall, a quadruple murder, as well as R v Baldauf & others, a large drug smuggling case.
  6. 9BR Chambers
    4
    9BR Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 20 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. Recently, its barristers have been instructed in high profile cases including the robbery of Amir Khan.
  7. Crucible Chambers
    4
    Crucible Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 3 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. Recent instructions for the set have included R v Galea, concerning a large, cross-border drug smuggling operation.
  8. Farringdon Chambers
    4
    Farringdon Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 5 Years Ranked
    Barristers at Farringdon Chambers have experience of serious crime cases, including those relating to homicide, firearms and drugs offences, among others. An example of the work undertaken by the set is R v Ahmed, concerning drug smuggling in prisons. One client comments that "the barristers are extremely hard-working, diligent and knowledgeable on both law and procedure."
  9. Libertas Chambers
    4
    Libertas Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 3 Years Ranked
    Libertas Chambers is a virtual set with its London facilities on Old Bailey. The set has expanded considerably since its formation in 2020 and now has a considerable crime offering. Barristers here frequently defend clients accused of the most serious crimes, including those involving infanticide, familicide, homicide and terrorism. It has specialist teams for human trafficking and modern slavery, and appellate cases. Recent cases have included the defence of Agneskia Kalinowska in her trial for the torture and death of her son.
  10. Mountford Chambers
    4
    Mountford Chambers
    Crime
    2024 | Band 4 | 20 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. Members of the set have been involved with Andrew Malkinson's successful appeal against a rape conviction, with one silk having acted for him and another leading an inquiry into the CCRC's handling of Malkinson's appeal applications.