HomeLeading Criminal Defence Law Firm in London

Leading Criminal Defence Law Firm in London

Expert Criminal Lawyers London

Olliers’  London office specialises in representing clients facing investigation or prosecution for matters of fraud, regulatory offences, business crime, serious criminal matters and sexual offences including indecent image offences.

We are known for our proactive approach in defending cases at the pre-charge investigation stage.

Need a specialist defence Solicitor in London? 

Our London office is based at Berkeley Square, in the heart of Mayfair in the city of Westminster, W1. Whilst our main office is in Manchester, our London office deals with a high number of criminal allegations including pre-charge investigations.

The majority of our specialist pre-charge solicitors are based at our Manchester head office however deal with cases all over England and Wales including in London, the Home Counties and surrounding areas. We can cover all police stations and courts within the London and areas. We usually facilitate consultations on a remote basis as this tends to lend itself better to our client’s availability and busy schedule.

We are ranked as a ‘Top Tier’ defence and regulatory firm by the Legal 500 and the Chambers Guide. We are a Times Best Law Firm 2024. We are the current Manchester Legal Awards Crime Team of the Year; an award we have won six times. We have won Law Firm of the Year at the same awards twice in the last three years.

Matthew Claughton – Specialist Criminal Defence Solicitor – London

Lead contact is our Managing Director Matthew Claughton who is recognised as a leader in his field by the Legal 500 for both fraud and criminal cases. 

Matthew is a previous Modern Law Awards Lawyer of the Year and has over 30 years’ criminal defence experience. He is the current Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Criminal Lawyer of the Year. 

He is also the only two-time Partner of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards.


Pre-charge engagement is the process that takes place after someone has been interviewed at a police station under caution, and rather than them just sit tight and wait for an investigation to take place, it’s open for them to instruct lawyers who can then engage with the investigators and it’s the opportunity for the defence to go on the front foot rather than do nothing and allow the prosecution or the investigators to get on with their investigation, submit a file to the crown prosecution service and for a decision to be made. So, with pre-charge engagement the defence team can approach investigators and then suggest lines of inquiry that may be useful for the defence and for the purposes of the investigation and the whole process from a defence perspective is ensure that it’s much more two-sided and that the appropriate and right decisions are made at the end of the case. What flows from effective pre-charge engagement is representations against charge and that’s where the defence will make representations to investigators and ultimately to the crown prosecution service arguing that in accordance with what’s known as the charging standard there is not either a realistic prospect of a conviction or that a prosecution is not in the public interest.

All prosecutors, whether from the crown prosecution service or other prosecuting authorities, are bound by the code for crown prosecutors and specifically the charging standard, and under the charging standard there are two tests that have to be met. Firstly, there must be a realistic prospect to the conviction, in other words the case must be strong enough, and secondly, a prosecution must be in the public interest and if those two tests are met, then a prosecution can commence. It’s the role of the defence during the pre-charge stage of the case to persuade make representations to the crown prosecution service that there is not either a realistic prospect of a conviction or that a prosecution is not in the public interest.

There’s an awful lot that can be done to prevent a prosecution. Following an interview at a police station, it’s crucial that the defence look at everything that can be done to contradict or undermine what is being alleged during the police interview, and it’s at that point once that preparation has been done, that the defence would seek to become involved in pre-charge engagement with investigators and look at all the weaknesses in the prosecution case. Once that’s done, then effective representations against charge can be made arguing that the charging standard is not met, there’s not a realistic prospect to the conviction or that the prosecution is not in the public interest.

It could be messaging between parties, it could be social media activity, it could be material in the possession of third parties such as courts, councillors, hospital medical records, school records, it could be CCTV evidence, it could be witnesses, character witnesses or witnesses to an alleged incident. The list is not exhaustive, and the message at Olliers Solicitors is if you as a suspect, have got something that you want to draw to our attention then tell us about it and we’ll make the decision as to whether it can be used on your behalf.

Bail conditions can be varied quite informally by liaison with the investigating officer, that would require consent, and if that can’t be obtained it can be done by way of an application to the courts.

Investigations can vary in length depending on the allegation under investigation, the police force investigating it and the material that needs to be looked at by the police. Wherever possible, we will do whatever we can to accelerate the process, but our ultimate objective is a successful outcome for our client which means no further action is taken against them.

Instructing Olliers following representation by a duty solicitor at the police station is the easiest thing in the world. We frequently act for clients who’ve been represented by the duty solicitor and then come to us because they want a proactive approach to their investigation.

The public funding available for this area of work is very limited and it would not allow Olliers to undertake the work that we need to do for effective pre-charge representation.

Matthew has a lengthy track record of defending fraud and sexual offences and has a reputation for a proactive but sensitive approach in dealing with police investigations. In this video, Matthew describes our proactive approach to defending allegations of sexual offences. He will always consider making representations against charge, achieving a swift and successful conclusion for his client avoiding the cost and publicity of court proceedings.

Fellow Director Ruth Peters is also heavily involved in the pre-charge investigations team acting for professionals with no prior involvement in the criminal justice system. Ruth Peters is a former Solicitor of the Year.  Many of our other specialist lawyers are Leaders in their Field.

Pre-charge engagement

Olliers’ London based team specialise in pre-charge engagement. What sets Olliers apart from many criminal defence firms is the proactive approach we adopt during a criminal investigation. We have an excellent reputation for representation before the criminal courts but the best possible outcome is when an investigation ends without our client being prosecuted.

We understand the stress and anxiety a criminal investigation can cause. The work we undertake for clients during this stage of the criminal process goes way beyond a police station attendance. Prior to and following an interview under caution, our team will do everything it can to minimise the likelihood of a client under investigation being charged with a criminal offence.

We specialise in making representations against charge, wherever possible looking to nip an investigation in the bud.

Although our primary objective is to avoid a prosecution or conviction, we ensure that everything is done to keep the impact of the investigation to an absolute minimum.

Voluntary interviews under caution in London

Olliers team of specialist London based lawyers represent individuals at police stations across the London area. A voluntary interview is an interview with the police whereby they would choose not to arrest an individual but arrange a time and date to speak with them in a formal manner.

Whilst attendance at the police station is voluntary, should an individual chose not to attend then the police will need to make a decision as to whether it is reasonable and proportionate to arrest that individual for the purposes of conducting an interview.

When instructed to represent clients at voluntary interviews in London we will make contact with the investigating officers beforehand. We will seek to obtain disclosure from the officers i.e. what the interview relates to from an evidential prospective, what information the police have and how strong the evidence is in relation to our client. We will then hold a consultation with our client to discuss the evidence, take our client’s instructions and decide upon a formal strategy in terms of dealing with the interview. Generally speaking, we will advise either answering questions in full, answering no comment in relation to questions posed or drafting a ‘prepared statement’ putting forward our client’s defence and thereafter not answering any further questions.

We can represent clients at all Metropolitan Police stations across London including but not limited to Hammersmith, Acton, Barking, Bethnal Green, Bexleyheath, Brixton, Bromley, Charing Cross, Chingford, Colindale, Croydon, Dagenham, Edmonton, Forest Gate, Harrow, Hayes, Hounslow, Ilford, Islington, Kensington, Kentish Town, Kingston, Lavender Hill, Lewisham, Mitcham, Plumstead, Romford, Stoke Newington, Sutton, Tottenham, Twickenham, Walworth, Wembley and Wimbledon.

Please contact us to discuss representation at a voluntary police interview in London.

London based fraud, business crime, serious crime, regulatory & sexual offence lawyers

Our London office specialises in dealing with sexual offences, fraud, serious crime and regulatory law.

Our team of specialist lawyers represent individuals due to appear at Magistrates Courts across London and the Home Counties including but not limited to City of London Magistrates Court, Westminster Magistrates Court, Lavender Hill Magistrates Court, Thames Magistrates Court, Willesden Magistrates Court, Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, Stratford Magistrates Court, Hendon Magistrates Court, Ealing Magistrates Court, Wimbledon Magistrates Court, Bromley Magistrates Court and Barkingside Magistrates Court.

The team also represent individuals due to appear in relation to criminal proceedings at Crown Court across London including Inner London Crown Court, Suffolk Crown Court, Wood Green Crown Court, Woolwich Crown Court, Snaresbrook Crown Court, Isleworth Crown Court, Inner London Crown Court, Kingston-Upon-Thames Crown Court and Harrow Crown Court.

In addition to Matthew and Ruth, other lawyers dealing with cases from our London office include Laura Baumanis, Matthew Corn, Toby Wilbraham, Zita Spencer, Nicola Bruce, Anne-Marie Nicholls and Simone Isaacs

London Criminal Lawyers – Funding

 Our London Office generally only accepts instructions on a privately funded basis and does not generally deal with matters on a legally aided basis. Click here to read more about funding.

In any event, funding for the pre-charge investigative stage of the process is extremely limited.  Whilst individuals are eligible for advice and assistance at the police station free of charge (irrespective of means) the public funding thereafter is extremely limited.  The funding that is available is limited to only a few hours at legal aid rates and does not allow us to conduct pre-charge investigations in the proactive manner our expertise and experience lends itself to.  Arguably the pre-charge stage is the most important of a case and by engaging at the pre-charge stage we seek to do all we can in order to minimise the chances of a prosecution for our clients.

If you wish to discuss representation by our specialist London criminal lawyers please contact us to discuss your case further.

Frequently asked questions 

How can I find out if Olliers Solicitors can take my case?

Please contact our new enquiry team on either 0161 834 1515 (Manchester) or 020 3883 6790 (London). They will be able to discuss your case with you.  They will then be able to advise whether Olliers are able to be instructed in relation to your case. They will be able to advise whether this is a matter we can deal with on a legal aid basis or on a privately funded basis. They will be able to provide a quotation for our services on a privately funded basis and explain how Olliers can assist.

Can I make an enquiry outside office hours?

Absolutely, please call our new enquiry team on either 0161 834 1515 (Manchester) or 020 3883 6790 (London) and our new enquiry team will be able to discuss your case with you.  Alternatively you can make a website enquiry by completing the enquiry form on our website or you can email info@olliers.com.

How do I instruct Olliers Solicitors?

After speaking to our new enquiry team they will forward to you an email with a detailed quotation in relation to our services.  They will request that if you wish to instruct Olliers you reply to the email with the information requested on the email and any relevant documentation. We will then be able to open a file for you and generate client care documentation. This will then be sent to you with a request for initial payment. As soon as the client care process has been completed your matter will be handed over to a member of our specialist team who will commence preparation of your case. 

How do I choose the right firm of solicitors?

Choosing the right firm of solicitors to represent you can be difficult with so many firms available.  Click here to read more.  Our new enquiry team will also be able to assist in terms of which specialist solicitor from Olliers will be best to represent you. Their wealth of knowledge and experience will help you decide the correct solicitor not just having regard to the circumstances of the case but also someone who will be able to work effectively with you as an individual. 

Contact our team of criminal defence lawyers in London

Matthew Claughton, Criminal Defence Solicitor

Matthew Claughton

Managing Director

Ruth Peters

Business Development Director


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