Matthew Claughton Top Criminal Defence Solicitor London & Manchester

Matthew Claughton, criminal defence solicitor

Olliers’ Managing Director Matthew Claughton is widely regarded as having steered the firm to its market leading position.

Matthew is an outstanding lawyer ranked by the Legal 500 as a top tier practitioner in both fraud and criminal law. He is the 2021 winner of the Manchester Legal Awards Partner of the Year, having previously won the award in 2015. In February 2021 Matthew celebrated 32 years with Olliers.

Matthew specialises in defending allegations of serious crime, fraud, regulatory matters and sexual offences. He is often asked to act for clients during the investigation stage of the criminal process, and has a reputation for dealing with crisis management focusing not only on avoiding a criminal charge but also minimising the negative consequences of an investigation, whatever its nature.  The Legal 500 2020 rated Matthew as an ‘outstanding individual’ and the Legal 500 2019 rated Matthew as a ‘brilliant tactician, who makes things go away with the minimum of fuss.” He is known for his methodical preparation for interviews under caution and robust but sensitive liaison with investigating authorities. He is frequently involved in preparing representations against charge as discussed here within the context of sexual offences.

Matthew also acts for clients interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987. Read his article on section 2 SFO interviews here.

Matthew also has substantial experience of restraint orders within the context of complex investigations. Restraint Orders – a Proactive Approach.

Watch Matthew Claughton talking to The Law Society about what being a solicitor means to him.

Recent cases

The cases below provide recent examples of the kind of work Matthew deals with, although we have kept to a minimum mention of cases where a prosecution has been avoided.


  • 2020 – Representation of defendant in £30 million investment fraud prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • 2019 – Burnley Crown Court – representation of company directors facing bribery allegations.
  • 2019 – Instructed in complex pension liberation fraud.
  • 2018 – Manchester Crown Court – representation of ex-wife of former solicitor facing fraud allegations.
  • 2018 – Manchester Crown Court – acted for retired teacher charged with appropriation of monies from mother, complex matter involving deceased complainant and abuse of power of attorney.
  • 2018 – representation of solicitor facing City of London police investigation into alleged money laundering.
  •  2017 – representation of director of company providing patient transport to NHS trust. Director faced allegation of fraud. Matter investigated by NHS internal audit agency. After lengthy investigation and defence representations no charges were brought.
  • 2016 – representation of directors of payment processing company. Multi jurisdictional investigation involving restraint of assets on several continents. Complex and ultimately successful applications to vary and discharge restraint orders. Representations made against charge. Matter concluded following successful application under Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 for return of items unlawfully seized by police and decision to take no further action against Directors.
  • 2015 – Carlisle Crown Court, acted for Kendal Solicitor facing 22 counts of fraud. Read More
  • 2015 – representation of Greater Manchester solicitor charged with £600,000 fraud. Read More
  • 2015 Central Criminal Court – acted for defendant in connection with alleged ‘boiler room’ fraud.
  • 2014 – acted for former Managing Director of Leeds United Football Club in connection with allegations of misappropriation of clubs funds. Read More
  • 2014 – Leeds Crown Court, acquittal of IT consultant facing NHS Fraud.

Regulatory offences

  • 2020 – York Crown Court – Operation Gilbert. Representation of defendant in multi million pound model agency fraud involving circa 50,000 pages of evidence.
  • 2020 – representation of company director facing Insolvency Service investigation for fraud following collapse of business.
  • 2019 – representation of solicitor facing SRA investigation.
  • 2018 – representation of disqualified director facing Insolvency Service prosecution for breach of director disqualification.
  • 2018 – acts for former partner in property investment business facing Insolvency Service prosecution for fraudulent trading in alleged ‘ponzi’ fraud.
  • 2016 – acted for company directors seeking to register small payment institution with Financial Conduct Authority following revocation of ‘fit and proper’ status.
  • 2015 – Manchester Crown Court – acquittal of defendant prosecuted by Birmingham Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team.
  • 2015 – acted for directors of company facing allegation of re use of company name following  insolvency (‘phoenix’ offence – section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • 2014 – Leeds Crown Court, acquittal of IT consultant facing NHS Fraud.
  • 2014 – representation of detention officers following death in custody at Harmondsworth Detention Centre Heathrow.
  • 2013 – representation of Prison Governor during police investigation following cell suicide at Merseyside prison (no charges brought).
  • 2012 – representation of solicitor facing SRA investigation following mobile phone communication with defendant in custody.

Sexual offences

  • 2021 – R v G – ongoing representation of allegation of sexual assault onboard an aircraft
  • 2020: Manchester Crown Court – representation of solicitor facing allegation of sexual assault.
  • 2020: R v D – allegation of rape – acquitted after trial.
  • 2019 R v C – allegations of historic sexual offences – acquitted after trial
  • 2019: R v G – allegations of historic sexual assault by two complainants – acquitted after trial
  • 2019: R v B– allegation of rape- acquitted after trial
  • 2019 – Manchester Crown Court – acquittal of mortgage advisor facing allegations of historic abuse against niece and nephew.
  • 2018: R v B – allegation of rape – dropped by prosecution before trial
  • 2018: R v M– allegation of rape- acquitted after trial
  • 2018: R v C – historic sexual allegations – acquitted after trial
  • 2018 – Liverpool Crown Court – acquittal of defendant facing sexual offences – successful abuse argument  – crown having decided to prosecute following earlier 2008 decision not to charge defendant.
  • 2018 – Minshull Street Crown Court – acquittal of defendant facing allegations of abuse made by several family members.
  • 2018 – acted for student teacher facing allegation of sexual activity with a student aged 16 whilst in a position of trust. Lengthy investigation concluding with representations against charge – no further action taken
  • 2018 – representation of male alleged to have attempted to meet up with under age girl for sexual activity following period of grooming. The girl in question was in fact a so called ‘paedophile hunter’. Representations to the police led to the matter not proceeding
  • 2017 – Chester Crown Court – Acquittal of health care professional facing allegations of sexual assault. Proceedings stayed after successful abuse of process argument (and unsuccessful prosecution appeal to the Court of Appeal). Read More.
  • 2017 – representation of IT worker alleged to have raped colleague at works party. Analysis of email and text activity which was then provided to the police brought investigation to a swift conclusion.
  • 2016 – Manchester Crown Court – acquittal of doctor facing multiple counts of marital rape – maintaining 100% success rate in rape acquittals since 2014.
  • 2016 – Manchester Crown Court – acquittal of retired teacher facing historic rape allegations.
  • 2016 – Burnley Crown Court – acquittal of man facing rape allegations. Case dropped days before trial following defence representations and defence medical evidence.
  • 2015 – Operation Kiso, acquittal of Malcolm Layfield former Head of Strings at Royal Northern College of Music facing rape allegation made by former student of Chethams Music College Manchester. Read More
  • 2014 – representation of suspect facing allegations of historic marital rape. Exhaustive investigation of domestic circumstances dating back 20 years meant that allegations could be rebutted and suspect was not charged.
  • 2013 – representation of estate agent facing date rape allegations. Pre-charge research of Facebook, iTunes and witness testimony was presented to the Police and no charges were brought.

Other matters

  • 2020 – Representation of defendant charged with murder following Bury shooting in August 2020. Read  more.
  • 2020 – Representation of suspect in murder involving alleged joint enterprise. Read more.
  • 2020 – Representation of client under investigation by Home Office in relation to immigration offences.
  • 2019 – Representation of client facing modern day slavery allegations connected to chain of takeaway food outlets. After detailed representations against charge no further action taken.
  • 2019 – Manchester Crown Court – acquittal of 17 year old youth refereed to as ‘Boy A’ accused of killing Manchester Grammar School pupil Yousef Makki.
  • Since the early millennium Olliers has acted in some of HMRC’s biggest MTIC frauds. Matthew led the teams acting in most of the cases in which Olliers were involved.
  • Solicitor for John Cannan, regarded by police as ‘Mr Kipper’ the man responsible for the disappearance and murder of London estate agent Suzy Lamplugh in 1986. Read More

Contact Matthew Claughton

Manchester Office

196 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WF
07734 388821

London Office

42 Upper Berkeley Street, London, W1H 5PW
020 3883 6790

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