Richard Atkins QC Fraud, Business and Financial Crime

Call: 1989 | Silk: 2011

Chair of the Bar 2019
Bencher of Gray's Inn

*** Please note that Richard is the current Chair of the Bar for 2019. For all enquires please contact his clerk, Joe Wilson on 0121 246 2136 or ***


Described in the Legal 500 as “The dedicated Richard Atkins QC is a powerful and persuasive advocate who attracts praise for his ability to command and control the courtroom and proceedings.

Placed in Band 1 of the Chambers and Partners Directory which names Richard as “A quintessential jury advocate” and “a very smooth performer.

Richard specialises in serious criminal and regulatory offences concentrating on homicide, fraud, health and safety and consumer law and trading standards cases. He has extensive experience in murder and manslaughter cases; complex multi-defendant high value frauds and serious sexual offences. He defends and prosecutes in equal measure and his reputation is as an approachable, engaging and entertaining advocate. He is well known for his ability to assimilate a large amount of facts and to put the matters across to the tribunal he is appearing before in an effective and easily digestible manner. He has appeared regularly in the Court of Appeal.

His regulatory practice comprises of Consumer Law and Trading Standards cases, Health and Safety cases including associated inquests and cases arising from business offences. He has appeared before the Professional Golfers’ Association National Disciplinary Committee and has advised the Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association. He has prosecuted for the Serious Fraud Office. He has previously dealt with liquor and entertainment licensing cases.

He is regularly instructed to defend in privately funded cases and encourages the use of fixed or capped fees providing certainty of costs for clients. He is Direct Access qualified. Depending on the nature of the case he is prepared to act without a junior.

Richard regularly gives seminars in St Philips Chambers on Regulatory and Criminal Law topics. He has also been instrumental in providing in-house seminars for clients tailored to their specific needs and requirements and has recently delivered a seminar to the West Midlands Police National Fraud Forum.

Richard sits as a Crown Court Recorder and is authorised to try all criminal offences except homicide. He has recently been appointed as one of a small number of Judicial College Tutor Judges in which role he trains Crown Court and High Court Judges and Recorders. He is also a Midland Circuit and Gray’s Inn Advocacy Trainer.

Richard is the Head of the St Philip’s Chambers Criminal Group and a member of the St Philip’s Chambers Regulatory Group.

What the Directories Say:

  • “A quintessential jury advocate.” and “He is a very smooth performer.” – Chambers UK 2019
  • “A born advocate.” and “A very authoritative silk.” – Legal 500 2019
  • “A very impressive silk; juries love him.” – Legal 500
  • “Conscientious, meticulous and fearless.”, “He has risen quickly to senior-silk status.” – Legal 500
  • “He is a highly experienced advocate and is admired for his serious crime practice, which features both prosecution and defence work, in cases ranging from murder to fraud.” – Chambers UK
  • “He is a very intelligent and very sharp advocate.” – Chambers UK

Qualifications and Appointments:

  • Judicial College Tutor Judge – 2012
  • Queen’s Counsel – 2011
  • Recorder of the Crown Court – 2005
  • Bar Finals – 1989
  • BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, St Catherine’s College, Oxford University – 1988
  • King Henry VIII School Coventry – 1973-1984

Other Information:

Richard is Chair of the Bar 2019.

He is a member of the BARCO escrow account committee. He was vice-Chairman of the 2013 Bar Conference and the Chairman of the 2014 Bar Conference. He helped to launch the Bar Council Speakers for Schools project and is actively involved in the Bar Council’s “Speak up for others” programme, regularly giving talks to schools and Universities in and around the Midlands about the Law. He chairs the St Philip’s Chambers and Aston University annual “Access to Law and the Bar” Conference. He has also acted as a Judge in the Finals of the Bar Council National Schools Mock Trials Competition. As both a Midland Circuit and Gray’s Inn Advocacy trainer, he trains pupils and new practitioners in the art of advocacy.

Richard is the first Barrister to be elected to the Birmingham Law Society Council. Richard was Chairman of the Governors of the Coventry Schools Foundation (2011-2014), which governs King Henry VIII Senior and Preparatory Schools and Bablake Senior, Junior and Pre-Prep Schools. In this role he has also chaired tribunals dealing with teachers’ and parents’ grievances and heard appeals from the decisions of the Headmasters.

Richard is also a professional after-dinner speaker and has spoken at such events as the Birmingham Law Society President’s Dinner, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Dinner, the Birmingham Medico-Legal Association Dinner and the Association of Cardiovascular Intervention Physicians Annual Dinner. He enjoys 20th Century Military History, Ballroom dancing, good red wine and (last but not least) his family.

Fraud, Business and Financial Crime

As a Silk and a Junior, Richard has defended and prosecuted in a number of substantial and lengthy fraud trials. As a Junior he was an “A” list prosecutor for the DTI (now BIS), and was instructed by the SFO in the prosecution of a substantial green form legal aid fraud. In November 2013 he was asked to deliver a 2 1/4 hour seminar at the West Midlands Police National Fraud Forum. He regularly defends businessmen facing trial in relation to allegations of dishonesty and fraudulent trading, as well as matters arising from insolvency or bankruptcy. He has defended and prosecuted a number of substantial international boiler room frauds. In early 2013 he was instructed for the Defence in what was estimated to be an 8 week long trial to be heard in Liverpool in relation to offences of Cheating the Revenue. After legal argument and submissions the prosecution re-considered their position and dropped the most substantial part of their case in relation to Corporation tax and accepted limited pleas in relation to Income Tax offences only. He is currently instructed for the defence in 2 separate cases for business men charged with offences of dishonesty. From 2008 to 2012 Richard led for the for the Crown in a what was ultimately a 14 week multi-million pound multi-Defendant fraud. This was subsequently appealed by the defence in relation to numerous matters, including jury irregularity. All grounds of appeal were dismissed after extensive argument before the Lord Chief Justice (R v Lewis 2013 EWCA Crim 776).

He has prosecuted amongst other matters a $5million international credit insurance fraud perpetrated on the makers of Sendo mobile telephones; a £2 million multi-defendant fraud perpetrated upon banks and credit card companies; and a series of cases dealing with a sophisticated international boiler-room fraud with links to America and the Far East where investors were duped into investing in non-existent worthless shares and then targeted again to invest in further non-existent shares. Related to these offences are the Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearings of which Richard has extensive experience and in September 2011 he chaired the St Philip's Chambers Proceeds of Crime Act Seminar.

Reported Cases:

R v H (2013). Defended a businessman charged with Cheating the Revenue out of millions of pounds.

R v Lewis 2013 EWCA Crim 776. The appeal of Lewis Geeling and Fellows heard by the Lord Chief Justice in which all grounds of appeal were dismissed.

R v Lewis Geeling Fellows and others (2009-2012). Prosecuted a 14 week multi-million pound multi-Defendant fraud relating to the theft and re-cycling of beer kegs. The second trial cracked after a the main defendants were convicted in the first trial.

R v Ahmed, Ahmed, Ahmed & Choudhary (2010). Prosecuted an 8-week multi-million pound fraud on banks and businesses.

R v Singh (2010). Defended a businessman charged with involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the West Midlands Police in relation to contracts for the supply of goods and services.

R v Whittlestone (2010). Defended a businessman charged with involvement in an international boiler room fraud.

R v Capewell (2008). Prosecuted an international boiler room fraud. R v Aftab & Panthaky (2007). Prosecuted a multi-million dollar international credit-insurance fraud perpetrated on the makers of Sendo mobile telephones.

R v Rathbone (2007). Defended a man charged with defrauding the company he was managing director of.

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