Matthew Claughton

Criminal Defence Solicitor

Matthew Claughton, Criminal Defence Solicitor

Olliers’ Managing Director Matthew Claughton is widely regarded as having steered the firm to its market leading position. He is the Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Criminal Lawyer of the Year 2023. Matthew understands the pressure faced by an individual under criminal investigation or prosecution. There are very few cases he has not dealt with. Matthew leads a team of over 35 lawyers and their level of expertise is such that he can match the right lawyer to the right client – every single time.

Matthew and his team act for clients facing serious criminal allegations, accusations of fraud, as well as those who may face criticism before professional bodies or during the course of public inquiry/inquest.

He leads the pre-charge team which has a nationwide client base and an outstanding track record. Here he sets out his approach to pre charge work:

“The most effective criminal lawyer is the one who prevents their client being charged. Never mind headline grabbing acquittals in the Crown Court, far better to avoid a prosecution in the first instance.

At Olliers, we specialise in representing clients through during the investigation stage of a case. It is what sets us apart.  Our focus is on ‘pre-charge engagementand preventing prosecutions with successful representations against charge.”

Matthew is ranked as a Leading Individual by the Legal 500. He is the only lawyer to win the Manchester Legal Awards Partner of the Year award twice.

What they say about Matthew

  • Legal 500 2024Matthew Claughton is a visionary. He is the person who has steered the firm from being a group of legal aid criminal defence lawyers to being the most professional legal service providers in the north. He is also a top-class lawyer, especially when it comes to top end financial crime.’
  • Legal 500 2023 ‘Matthew Claughton is outstanding. Absolutely dependable and an inspirational leader to his team.’
  • Legal 500 2023 ‘Matthew Claughton is the “go-to” solicitor for people who are being investigated in all manner of criminal and fraud offences.’
  • Legal 500 2022 ‘Matthew Claughton is top class for any financial crime requirement. When you instruct him you are assured of the very best service and the very best result.’
  • Legal 500 2021 ‘Matt Claughton – managing partner, the go-to solicitor for private crime. Impeccable acquittal rate, straight talking but super bright.’
  • Legal 500 Legal 500 2020 rated Matthew as a ‘brilliant tactician, who makes things go away with the minimum of fuss.”
  • Legal 500 2019 ‘The ‘super bright’ Matthew Claughton leads the practice and advises on crisis management issues and investigations.’
  • Legal 500 2018 ‘Practice head Matthew Claughton specialises in allegations of serious fraud and regulatory issues; he regularly acts for clients in investigations, and has a strong reputation in crisis management work.’

Watch Matthew discussing how Olliers can help you 

Anyone going through any kind of criminal investigation or prosecution is probably going through one of the most stressful periods of their lives. At Olliers we understand the stress and anxiety this can cause. I’ve been at Olliers for 35 years and we act for people facing serious criminal allegations, allegations of fraud, investigations by regulatory bodies and people who have to give evidence before public inquiries and inquests. I lead a team of over 20 lawyers and the level of expertise is such that I can match the right lawyer to the right client every single time. So if you are facing an investigation or prosecution or you’re required to give evidence before an inquest or inquiry then please get in touch.

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.


  • 2023: Newcastle Crown Court- Operation Utah representation of several defendants facing allegations of investor fraud involving alleged losses circa £5 million.
  • 2023: Southwark Crown Court- representation of defendant facing allegations of conspiracy to defraud the Ministry of Defence – alleged value involved of circa £1 million.
  • 2022: Southwark Crown Court Representation of solicitor facing multi-million pound allegation of conspiracy to defraud
  • 2022: Operation Punicia – investigation into the awarding of contracts by Barratt Homes. Following lengthy investigation no further action taken against Olliers client. 
  • 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

  • 2023: representation of owner of Victorian Mill destroyed by fire during which a number of occupiers died. Prosecution avoided following police investigation.
  • 2023: acted for Safety Officer at Pontins Holiday Camp in relation to Health and Safety investigation following death of guest following accident. Lengthy investigation – decision not to prosecute
  • 2022: Representation of dentist facing Fitness to Practice investigations with General Medical Council. Following representations – no action taken
  • 2021: Representation of client in relation to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – Residential Schools following receipt of Rule 13 warning letter
  • 2021: Representation of key witness during the Manchester Arena Inquiry
  • 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.

Criminal cases

  • 2024: Manchester Crown Court – representation of man facing allegation of murder following fatal stabbing in Moss Side, Autumn 2023
  • 2024: Manchester Crown Court representation of customer services representative employed by Manchester Metrolink following death of individual apprehended and restrained on Deansgate, Manchester (read more)
  • 2023: Representation of client facing HMRC allegation into fraudulent evasion of excise duty payable on shisha tobacco. Following lengthy investigation, no further action taken.
  • 2023: Representation of student facing rape allegation. Following pre-charge engagement and detailed representations against charge, decision made too take no further action.
  • 2022: Representation of client facing four-year National Crime Agency investigation into allegations of large scale money laundering involving sums exceeding £30 million. No further action outcome late 2022
  • 2022: Representation of emergency services worker facing rape allegations. During pre-charge engagement with investigators exculpatory material was provided to the police which led to an early decision to take ‘no further action’
  • 2022: Representation of priest facing historic sexual offences. Following lengthy investigation together with representations against charge – no further action taken
  • 2021:  Representation of solicitor facing allegation of sexual assault on board an aircraft. Defendant acquitted at trial. Criticism of the police and prosecution at trial following lack of enquiries. Read more.
  • 2021: Representation of defendant charged with murder following Bury shooting in August 2020. Read  more.
  • 2020: Manchester Crown Court – representation of solicitor facing allegation of sexual assault.
  • 2020: R v D – allegation of rape – acquitted after trial.
  • 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.
  • 2019: 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
  • 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.

Published articles

Matthew Claughton

Managing Director


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