Leading Criminal Defence Law Firm Manchester & London
Olliers is firmly established as one of the UK’s leading criminal defence and regulatory law firms. We are based in Manchester with facilities in London. Our client base is nationwide. Areas of specialism involve the defence of corporate and financial crime, regulatory offences, serious crime, sexual offences, asset recovery, insolvency disputes, motor offences, inquests, public inquires and appeals.
We have a national reputation for representing clients facing criminal investigation, frequently receiving instructions during the very early stages of a case. We understand the stress and anxiety an investigation can cause an individual or a business. What sets Olliers apart from many criminal defence firms is the proactive approach we adopt during a criminal investigation.
We are different
Of course, we fight cases in the court room but we don’t want to see our clients charged in the first place. This is why our focus is on avoiding prosecutions wherever and however possible. This is what sets us apart.
We have over 20 criminal lawyers, all specialists and each with sub specialisms within criminal defence work. This means we can match every client, with the best lawyer for their case – every time.
Our Service Pledge
At Olliers we deliver a first class service on every case, with every lawyer, every time. It really is as simple as that.
The Olliers Academy
Every member of the Olliers team is part of the Olliers Academy. Our commitment to our lawyers is to help ensure they fulfil their ambitions and become leaders in their field of criminal defence work. Our commitment to our clients is to provide a first class service with every client, on every case, every time. The Olliers Academy helps us fulfil both commitments.
Awards and rankings
We are the Manchester Legal Awards 2021 Law Firm of the Year. We also won the Manchester Legal Awards 2021 Crime Team of the Year (having now won this award five times). Our Managing Director Matthew Claughton is the Manchester Legal Awards Partner of the Year 2021 and fellow director Ruth Peters is Solicitor of the Year 2021. We are ranked as a Top Tier firm in the current editions of the Legal 500 and the Chambers Guide.
Wellness and Corporate Social Responsibility
Olliers aims to provide a happy working environment for its employees and provide a range of initiatives including the Olliers Employee Assistance Programme. . This ensures that the firm retains a well-trained staff force who are highly motivated in working in the very challenging environment of criminal law.We feel that by allowing employees to give back to the wider community and the charitable causes that matter to them most, it can fulfill an important sense of purpose and allow people to use their skills in a different way from their day-to-day work, in turn, contributing to overall employee happiness. At Olliers we encourage employees to become involved in their local community on an individual basis as well as various corporate initiatives. We are committed to running a business that is environmentally sustainable and we continually strive to minimise our impact on the environment.
Criminal defence/regulatory practice areas
We have 14 qualified and highly skilled solicitors working across the sectors below:
We handle a wide range of large scale, complex and often high profile fraud cases. Our team is experienced in dealing with cases prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office, HMRC investigations, specialist fraud divisions of the police, and the Financial Conduct Authority. Key contact; Matthew Claughton
The firm’s regulatory team represents clients in the following regulatory areas; trading standards, food safety and hygiene, trade marks, fire safety, copyright and design breaches, health and safety, environmental damage and, transport law. Key contact; Matthew Claughton
Our insolvency dispute team deals with all matters that may arise from insolvency, including illegal dividends, wrongful and fraudulent trading, preferences, transactions at undervalue, misfeasance claims, bankruptcy annulments, reuse of company following insolvency and validation orders. Key contact; Stephen Chinnery
Olliers’ reputation for committed and rigorous defence work means that we attract an enviable volume of heavyweight criminal work. The serious crime specialists have experience in the full range of criminal cases including gangland murders, multi-handed drugs conspiracies, firearms offences, terrorism allegations, people smuggling and a wide range of cases involving undercover operations. The serious crime team has considerable experience of dealing with prosecutions brought by agencies such as the CPS Complex Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency. Key contact; Matt Corn
Our internet and cyber crime team defends allegations relating to the dark web, distribution of pirated and copyrighted material, allegations under the Computer Misuse Act including hacking and cyber terrorism, identity theft and phishing scams, cyber stalking, revenge porn and indecent images. Key contact; Toby Wilbraham.
Matthew Claughton heads the team dealing with serious sexual offences and has had notable success during recent years with a particular emphasis on historic rape and sexual assault allegations. Matthew has developed an enviable reputation in proactively defending sexual allegations whilst at the investigative stage. His team also deals with allegations involving sexual communication, grooming and images. The team dealing with indecent images cases have developed a strategic approach in dealing with such investigations.
Seven solicitors have expertise in this area, which covers restraint, cash seizures, money laundering and proceeds of crime. Olliers specialists can assist from the point of restraint proceedings prior to charge through to post conviction POCA proceedings. The firm has been instructed in confiscation proceedings with alleged benefit figures running to tens of millions of pounds, with some excellent results. Key contact; Matt Corn
Olliers have many years of experience of representing individuals appearing as witnesses or core participants in public inquiries. We are able to advise and represent throughout all stages of the inquiry process. Key contact; Alex Preston
We have a thriving motoring department. The team specialises in defending allegations of driving with excess alcohol and drug driving with a particular emphasis on technical and procedural irregularities. They also represent those facing the loss of their driving licence as a result of dangerous driving, careless driving, speeding allegations and regularly appear in courts nationwide with applications for exceptional hardship and early return of licence following disqualification. Key contact; Ruth Peters
Managing Director Matthew Claughton
Matthew Claughton trained with Olliers, qualifying in 1990. He is the Manchester Legal Awards Partner of the Year 2021. Matthew is ranked as a leading individual in both the Fraud and General Crime categories of the Legal 500.
“The Olliers team is a family. Many of our solicitors, including me, trained with the firm. What sets Olliers apart is the level of commitment that each and every member of the Olliers team displays, firstly towards the firm and more importantly, to our clients”.
Some frequently asked questions
The main role that criminal defence solicitors have are providing advice to suspects being interviewed by the police, preparation and advocacy for magistrates court cases and preparation of crown court cases. Preparing a case involves considering the evidence and advising the client on it, as well as maintaining effective communication with the court and the prosecution. Advocacy involves the cross-examination of complainants and witnesses combined with assisting the defendant in presenting their case.
A solicitor’s main role is to prepare cases for court, a barristers main role is to do the advocacy at court. Confusingly criminal solicitors also undertake advocacy at the Magistrates’ Court and some do advocacy at the Crown Court. Barristers are specifically trained for advocacy and therefore are specialised in that area and are more often found in the crown court. Solicitors will attend at the police staton to advise those under arrest or attending for a voluntary interview. A lawyer is the catch all term for solicitors, barristers and other professionals involved in the legal system.