Advocacy – clients facing proceedings in tribunals and courts

Our representation of clients can start long before arriving at Court (see Regulatory work, especially Money-laundering prevention, and Investigations)

However, once an individual or company faces proceedings, legal advice should be sought immediately.

  • Criminal charges can result in imprisonment, fines and confiscation
  • Tax – statutory financial penalties
  • Regulatory – see Business, Competition and Regulatory Tribunals

 Whatever the tribunal, our experience and network of contacts will enable you to receive the best possible advice on preparation of the case, and representation at hearings.

Regulatory matters will involve co-ordination with other firms, such as accountants, patent agents, specialist lawyers and other experts.

 Criminal charges:

There are various prosecuting authorities. Depending on the gravity of the case and the means of our client, we will put together the best team.  If we have not represented you during Investigation stages, we will obtain information from our client and engage with the prosecuting authority to discuss alternate disposals, and obtain disclosure of any material held by the prosecution which might assist the defence or undermine the prosecution case [1].  We will record defence witness statements, instruct experts or enquiry agents as required. We will usually identify the advocacy team at an early stage and consult with them concerning preparation.

If appropriate we will make preliminary applications to the court, including applications to dismiss or stay the case. If it comes to trial we will seek to show that the prosecution case is inadequate or unreliable, and if necessary call evidence in support of the defence.

We are always alert to technical points, and Nigel Shepherd has taken many successful appeals on points of law [2]

If our client is best advised to enter guilty pleas to the main or alternative charges, or in the event of conviction, we will ensure that any mitigating facts and arguments are put before the court in the most attractive way, depending on the nature of the judge.

If any ruling is arguably wrong in law, sentence is excessive, or a verdict unsafe we will appeal.  All solicitors and barristers have a duty to the Court which in some cases may prevent an argument being taken, but our clients can trust in the confidentiality of anything they tell us; similarly if we have information that will assist the client we have to disclose it to our client – this can sometimes result in a “conflict of interest” which may prevent us acting in a particular case.

 Complex matters:

The largest case supervised by Nigel Shepherd to date involved some 750,000 documents, and more than 5,000 individuals and organisations. Computer systems and team work are the only way to command such volumes of information; police compare our systems favourably to their own “Holmes” system because we can link directly to scanned documents and cross reference an almost infinite number of facts, documents, people, issues and legal authorities

Case Studies:

Because we keep our client’ affairs confidential, any case studies to exemplify our work may be anonymised, or from material in the public domain


  • [1] This stage is often most fruitful, and has in many cases conducted by us resulted in the abandonment of the case without trial
  • [2] See CV