Ben Mills Fraud, Business and Financial Crime

Call: 2000

Introduction

In January 2016 Ben Mills was appointed as a Recorder of the Crown Court on the Midlands Circuit.

By his regular inclusion in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, Ben is recognised as a leader in the field of regulatory crime. He enjoys a thriving practice working predominantly in Consumer Protection, Health and Safety Law, Environmental Law, Fire Safety, Fraud other serious crime and associated complex confiscation proceedings. At the core of his practice is an acute attention to his client’s best interests and a tireless commitment to his cases.

He was Junior Counsel in R v X [2013] EWCA Crim 818, the leading authority on the CPUT Regulations 2008 and the application of recklessness to corporate entities. He is one of a small number of expert Counsel instructed nationally in cases focussing on the activities of ‘loan sharks’. These predominantly involve Consumer Credit Act offences, blackmail and large scale fraud/money laundering.

In 2017 he appeared in two of that year’s most important health and safety cases which helped to define the court’s approach to the Definitive Sentencing Guidelines: HSE v Tata Steel UK Ltd [2017] EWCA Crim 70 and HSE v Diamond Box Ltd [2017] EWCA Crim 1904.

In 2018 he appeared in R v Lear [2018] EWCA Crim 69 where the Court of Appeal provided defining guidance on the prosecution of partners and partnerships.

He was Junior Defence Counsel in R v Shuttleworth and Southerton (2013) – a 6 month cut-throat baby murder trial which received national attention.

During the House of Lords expenses scandal, he was instructed to advise a Life Peer in all pre-charge matters and police interviews.

After a very competitive process Ben has also been appointed to the Attorney General’s List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health and Safety and Environmental Law (Band B).

What the directories say:

  • “A marvellous advocate.” and “He can immediately put clients at ease.” – Legal 500 2019
  • “He’s very intelligent, always knows the briefs and the law and is respected by judges for that.”
    and “A class act.” – Chambers UK 2019
  • “Conscientiously performs some sensationally good work” – Chambers and Partners
  • “Excellent with lay clients” and “very strong in court” – Legal 500
  • “Advocacy is at the top of the list of his strengths – he engages with the judiciary and jurors alike.” – Legal 500
  • “He has proved virtually unrivalled in his encyclopaedic knowledge and his excellent manner with clients.” – Chambers and Partners
  • “He is approachable and committed. He is organised and responds quickly to queries, and is an awesome cross-examiner…He has a real commitment to the work, and shows incredible levels of preparation, and a delightful manner in dealing with juries.” – Chambers and Partners
  • “Ben Mills is calm under pressure, a direct questioner and a clear thinker.” – Chambers and Partners
  • “He’s brilliant with clients, very bright, down to earth and easy to work with.” “He’s very good with legal arguments and paperwork.” – Chambers and Partners
  • “A leading barrister with a national reputation for loan shark prosecutions.” – Legal 500

Reported Cases:

  • R v Lear [2018] EWCA Crim 69 – defining guidance on the prosecution of partners and partnerships.
  • HSE v Tata Steel UK Ltd [2017] EWCA Crim 70 – defining case on the application of the Health and Safety Definitive Sentencing Guidelines to very large organisations.
  • HSE v Diamond Box Ltd [2017] EWCA Crim 1904 – defining case on the application of the Health and Safety Definitive Sentencing Guidelines dealing with the assessment of ‘likelihood of harm’.
  • Junior Counsel in R v X [2013] EWCA Crim 818, the leading authority on the CPUT Regulations 2008 and the application of recklessness to corporate entities.
  • Instructed in leading sentencing case for illegal money lending: R v Dixon [2012] 2 Cr.App.R.(S)100.
  • Dudley MBC v Arif [2011] [2012] R.T.R. 20; [2012] A.C.D. 86- Ben represented Dudley MBC in an appeal by way of case stated from the Magistrates Court where the appellant had been acquitted of an offence of plying for hire contrary to the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 s.45. The issue related to whether the defendant could assert ‘mistake’ when the offence was one of strict liability.
  • Brett v DPP, Queens Bench Division of the High Court, [2009] 1 W.L.R. 2530 – Ben represented the DPP in this appeal by way of case stated which related to the admissibility of hearsay evidence served under s 16 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Articles and Publications:

  • Contributing Editor: ‘Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice’, 2013, 2015 and 2018.
  • A Health and Safety Sentencing Tool-kit – Local Government Lawyer Online – October 2012 – Ben Mills sets out a tool-kit for defence and prosecution lawyers that will establish the foundation for quality advocacy at health and safety sentencing hearings.
  • ‘Any time for Money Laundering’ – a guide to the recent authorities setting out the principles of sentencing when ancillary POCA offences are included on an indictment.
  • ‘I Drink Therefore I Am’ – Alcohol Dependency Syndrome (R v Woods 2008) – an analysis of the recent changes in this area of law and its application in a defence to murder
  • ‘Conduct and Effect – Offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008’ – an analysis of the new offences under this legislation and how they operate
  • Qualifications and Appointments:
  • Crown Court Recorder – January 2016
  • Appointed to the Attorney General’s Unified List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health and Safety and Environmental Law (Band B) – 2012 ongoing.
  • Attorney General’s Unified List of Prosecuting Advocates (Panel C) – July 2009 – 2012.
  • Midlands Circuit Representative for Criminal Bar Association: 2007-2010.
  • Diploma in Law at BPP Law School, Lincoln’s InnLaw Commission: Research Assistant 2000-2001.
  • BA (Hons) in English and Philosphy at Birmingham University (2:1)

Qualifications and Appointments:

  • BA (Hons) in English and Philosphy at Birmingham University (2:1)
  • Diploma in Law at BPP Law School, Lincoln’s InnLaw Commission: Research Assistant 2000-2001.
  • Attorney General’s Unified List of Prosecuting Advocates (Panel C) – July 2009 – 2012.
  • Appointed to the Attorney General’s Unified List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health and Safety and Environmental Law (Band B) – 2012 ongoing.
  • Midlands Circuit Representative for Criminal Bar Association: 2007-2010.

Fraud, Business and Financial Crime

Ben has substantial experience of both prosecuting and defending high value business crime. He was junior counsel in the successful prosecution of a £23 million fraud conspiracy. He is one of a small team of expert Counsel who are instructed to prosecute ‘loan sharks’ nationally on behalf of the Illegal Money Lending Team for Consumer Credit Act offences, blackmail and money laundering.

Ben’s practice in this area of law has principally involved acting as Junior Counsel on a number of major fraud trials for both the prosecution and the defence. This has included acting as junior counsel in what was described as the largest prosecution CPS York Casework Directorate have ever undertaken.

His particular expertise is in the process of large scale disclosure and distilling information into manageable documents to assist the jury in understanding complex financial evidence.

He has recently been instructed by the Environment Agency to prosecute a £1.5 million pound case of fraudulent trading.

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