Philippa Eastwood

Year of Call

Philippa Eastwood

Philippa is a specialist criminal defence advocate.  She has built on strong academic foundations of first class honours (BA Oxon) and an LLM distinction to develop particular expertise in criminal defence law, courts martial, and financial and regulatory law.  Instructed in diverse cases from serious violence and sexual assault, to drug offences and offences of dishonesty, she has established a reputation for determined and incisive defending.  She has particular experience in financial crime and issues of forfeiture and confiscation having dealt with substantial and high-profile allegations of fraud and money laundering.


Philippa is also a trustee of Cecily’s Fund, a charity helping with the education of Zambian children orphaned by AIDS.  Selected for a 2011 Bar Human Rights Committee delegation, she has tutored advocacy and criminal procedure in Tanzania.

Regulatory and Financial Crime

Philippa has particular expertise in financial crime, having been instructed as junior counsel or sole advocate in complex and serious fraud and money laundering offences.  She has gained a reputation for strength in marshalling and managing voluminous material and meticulous case preparation.  Whilst she is an experienced defence advocate, she has also been instructed by the SFO as independent legal counsel for consideration of material for the determination of legal professional privilege.

Recent and current cases in fraud and financial crime include:

  • R v AB & Ors [Southwark Crown Court, Trial listed 2016] Led junior representing the primary defendant in a multi-handed tax fraud.  The defendant is alleged to have master-minded fraudulent investment schemes, dishonestly sheltering approximately £175million from tax and accruing millions of pounds of fees to his personal benefit.  He is said to have used a sophisticated and extensive network of international financial and corporate entities to disguise his beneficial interests and to give the impression of legitimate loan funding to increase the tax relief apparently applicable to investors.  Initial disclosure in the case amounts to over 1 million pages.  An Individual Case Contract under the new VHCC scheme applies.
  • R v TP & Ors [Southwark Crown Court, 2015] Represented lead defendant charged with three separate allegations of conspiracy to cheat HMRC of value over £4mil.  His consecutive trials were listed over 5 months at Southwark CC.  He was said to have been the architect of dishonest film investment schemes designed for the purpose of tax evasion; making use of false accounting and a sham loan structure to dishonestly assist investors in their claims for sideways loss relief. 
  • R v SW & Ors [Reading Crown Court, 2014]  Sole junior representing an Operations Manager facing allegations of conspiracy to defraud the Department for Work and Pensions arising from the delivery of a large welfare to work contract and the alleged misuse of significant public funds. 
  • R v DS [Winchester CC, 2014] Led junior representing sole defendant in fraudulent trading charges in the construction industry where the alleged value of the defendant's criminal activity was in the region of £3.5 million. 
  • R v FS & Ors [Old Bailey, 2014] Sole junior representing lead defendant in organised crime group participating in a large-scale, highly sophisticated, nationwide ATM and counterfeit bank fraud.  The cards recovered in the case were estimated to have a street value of £16mil. 
  • R v RS & Ors [Southwark CC, 2012]  Led junior.  The defendant was ‘an integral member’ of this SFO-prosecuted international advance fee fraud, resulting in victims’ losses of £12mil.  Originally charged with an associated ‘rent’ or ‘ramping’ fraud, the case was of considerable complexity, with served evidence exceeding 65,000 pages.  It boasted both a high-profile co-defendant and victims from different jurisdictions.  The case required the instruction of experts in the field of land surveying, and included opaque accounting evidence.  
  • R v RH & Ors [Leeds CC, 2012]  Led junior representing the primary defendant in a multi-handed, multi-million pound, nationwide fraud trial arising from a property business franchise scheme.  Significant issues of disclosure and investigative failings complicated an already complex case with over 100 witnesses and extensive cross-examination on behalf of the defendant. 
  • R v HT & Ors Case arising out of fraud perpetrated on the Department for Education and Skills in respect of a distance learning scheme of value approximately £1million. The case was voluminous, factually complex and involved legal submissions on a number of areas including statistical analysis, extrapolation of evidence, disclosure, abuse of process. Confiscation proceedings were detailed and extensive.
  • R v PK & Ors Represented Managing Director of a nationwide distance learning college alleged to have committed a fraud against the Department for Education and Skills.   

Homicide and Related Grave Offences

Philippa has experience as led junior in notable murder cases including:

  • R v DW Represented defendant in historic re-trial for murder after the original conviction was overturned on appeal.  This was a complex case where killing was admitted, but involved issues of diminished responsibility, involuntary intoxication and loss of control arising from Alcohol Dependency Syndrome.   The case was complicated by extensive bad character evidence and significant psychiatric analysis.
  • R v AL Represented defendant in murder trial where victim had been subjected to over 30 stab wounds with a pair of scissors running defences of diminished responsibility and loss of control.  The defendant suffered from hypoglycaemia which was influenced by both medication that he was taking for ADHD, and alcohol abuse.  Experts in psychiatry and toxicology were relied on.
  • R v SA  Honour Killing.  The defendant and his mother were indicted for murdering his wife, as she was said to have undermined on the family's honour and reputation.  This case is a leading Court of Appeal authority on the admissibility of evidence under s119 of the Criminal Justice Act.
  • R v AE Represented defendant on appeal following a Criminal Cases Review Commission referral against his historic conviction for murder.  The case pertained to significant failures in disclosure regarding the informant status and police contact of a fellow prisoner whose allegation of a cell confession formed a significant limb of the Crown's case in the defendant's murder trial. 

Other Serious Criminal Offences

Philippa has been instructed in serious and complex cases from offences of violence and sexual assault, to high-level drug offences and offences of dishonesty as both led and sole counsel.  A constant theme throughout the diversity of caseload is her committed and considered defending.

Recent cases include:

  • R v FB Represented lead defendant alleged to have masterminded importation of over 200kg of cocaine.  The case involved in-depth cell-site and telephone analysis linked with IP addresses used for email login in furtherance of the conspiracy. 
  • R v AA  Represented defendant indicted with conspiring to supply over 50kg heroin.  The Crown's case was premised on months' of police observations and surveillance, as well as telephone cell site analysis.
  • R v BA Represented serving life prisoner who was prosecuted by the Counter-Terrorism Division for conspiring with a fellow prisoner to send explosive substances in the form of letter bombs with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.   
  • R v DW The defendant was said to have headed up the cocaine arm of a organised crime group supplying drugs to the east of England. 
  • R v TS Defendant charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail.

Inquiries and Inquests

Philippa also undertakes inquest work, most recently representing the driver of the vehicle involved in a fatal accident, in relation to controversial circumstances in which police negligence was said to have been a contributory factor to the death.

Courts Martial

Philippa undertakes work in Courts Martial and in Standing Civilian Courts.

Criminal Appeals

Philippa appears regularly in the Court of Appeal and has contributed to the up-coming edition of Taylor on Criminal Appeals.

Notable appearances in Court of Appeal include:

  • R v Edwards (Steadman). CCRC referral of historic murder case involving alleged ‘cell confessions’
  • R v Lang & Ors. Guideline case on CJA 2003 'dangerousness' provisions;
  • Athwal & Athwal. Guideline case on recent fabrication and s120 CJA 2003.


Kings College London, LLM [Distinction]

New College, Oxford University, BA, Philosophy, Politics & Economics [First Class]



Criminal Bar Association

South Eastern Circuit

Bar Human Rights Committee

Young Fraud Lawyers' Association

UK Environmental Law Association

Constitutional and Administrative Bar Law Association

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