The Crime Team at Doughty Street Chambers offers a genuinely holistic advice and advocacy service for all issues relating to criminal justice including trials, appeals, business crime and fraud, extradition, international crime, and civil and public law issues arising from criminal proceedings.  Few other sets offer such broad experience in criminal law and the domestic and international criminal justice systems.  Our team is ranked as a leading set by the industry directories Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500; we have been named "Crime Set of the Year" at the Chambers & Partners UK Awards 2023.

Our cross-disciplinary approach to casework enables us to draw on the related expertise across Chambers to provide a truly comprehensive offering for our clients.  Our Crime Team regularly works closely with colleagues at all levels of call from our specialist teams, including Actions Against the State, Public Law, and Media. Consequently we are equipped to assist at all stages of proceedings:

  • As soon as an operation becomes overt we can help by challenging search warrants, arrest, and detention.
  • We undertake all forms of trial work, advising pre-charge through to the Magistrates’, Crown and appellate courts, and field specialist experience at all levels of call in terrorism, sexual offences, murder, drugs and firearms conspiracies, and the full spectrum of offences.
  • Our specialist Appeals Unit can assist with proceedings in the Court of Appeal, Divisional Court, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Supreme Court, Privy Council, and European Court of Human Rights. Several leading practitioner textbooks in this field are authored by our barristers.
  • We can assist with fraud and white collar matters, Proceeds of Crime Act and Asset Forfeiture proceedings, and author one of the leading practitioner textbooks in this field. Read more about our Business Crime and Investigations Team here.
  • Beyond our domestic practice, our barristers appear in courts throughout the world, as well as advising overseas clients on the criminal law of England and Wales. We have a sterling reputation for our successful expertise in international criminal justice work and our extradition specialists are renowned leaders in their field. 
  • We also work with colleagues from our civil teams for clients who wish to bring claims against the police, public authorities, investigators and others for failed or malicious prosecutions, misfeasance in a public office, or other issues.  We also act in related proceedings such as inquests, public inquiries, and judicial review, and we often represent professionals who face proceedings brought both in the criminal courts and by their professional regulator.

We are particularly proud that almost a third of our Crime Team has been appointed as King's Counsel - a much higher proportion than most other criminal sets - reflecting the genuinely deep and well-regarded expertise of our barristers.      

For more information please contact our practice managers on 020 7400 9088.

What the directories say

Legal 500 2024 - Tier 1

"Doughty Street is rightly regarded amongst the top sets in Extradition practice." They have an "incredible depth of talent throughout. It is a first class service."

"Doughty Street is probably the ultimate barristers chambers overall and everything about them is top level and of excellent standard."

Chambers and Partners 2023 - Band 2

Doughty Street Chambers "are really in the mix when it comes to complex legal cases."

"There is a baseline of intellectual ability, hard work and robustness there."

Matthew Butchard leads a team of clerks who are "excellent - well organised and highly engaged."

Legal 500 2023 - Tier 2

"Doughty Street Chambers is a strong set and a go-to set for serious general Crime cases. They have a strong set of KCs and are strong in their depth."

"Doughty Street has an excellent reputation in the market for its work defending those charged with the most serious offences, especially in cases of terrorism and protestor cases."

"A very strong set for criminal defence and international human rights work. Often involved in cutting edge work, and public interest litigation."

Criminal Appeals

Our new section on appellate resources includes a searchable archive of the Criminal Appeals Bulletin, with a list of useful links for those involved in advising or preparing criminal appeal.

Visit the Criminal Appeals page here

Sexual Offences

Our practitioners offer a wealth of experience in defending allegations of sexual crime, including rape allegations of the utmost gravity, non-recent allegations arising from families and institutions, and allegations against individuals in the public eye. We have been involved in significant sex cases in the changing climate including cases arising from Operation Yewtree (Saville and linked cases), Operation Bullfinch (Oxford Grooming cases) and Operation Moccasin (Norfolk paedophile ring headed by a woman). We are experienced in managing the consequences that arise from sexual accusations including reputation and financial issues. We are able to offer a comprehensive service from pre-charge  advice, through to trial, and new appeals/CCRC referrals.

Specialists within the crime team regularly undertaking this work include:

King's Counsel

Kirsty Brimelow KC

Kirsty has over two decades experience defending against allegations of serious sexual offences at all court levels. She is experienced in the application of international law to sexual offences allegations and has led fact finding missions. She has led training in cross-examining complainants of sexual offences to the Service Prosecuting Authority, Bar Council and for UNICEF.

Sarah Elliott KC

In 2016 Sarah has successfully defended a celebrity business man accused of paying a child for sex and a member of the ruling family of a Gulf State on charges of rape.

In 2015 she acted for the principal defendant in the Operation Moccasin Norfolk paedophile ring, defended a 24 complainant trial of four decades of rape at ‘Swaylands’ care home, and acted for the music teacher accused of abuse at Ampleforth College and Westminster Cathedral Choir School.

Paul Taylor KC

Paul specialises in criminal appeals. He is editor of Taylor on Criminal Appeals. He has extensive experience in sexual offence appeals involving non-disclosure, fresh evidence, as well as the specific sentencing issues that often arise

Katy Thorne KC

Katy has long standing and extensive expertise in sexual allegations in relation to children, men and women, including child sex rings, historic inter-family and gang rapes. She has co-authored "Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers" including the chapter on sexual offences. 

Emma Goodall KC

Emma specialises in both serious historic and contemporary allegations. She has considerable experience in dealing with young and vulnerable defendants and witnesses. Her recent instructions include allegations of gang rape, systematic abuse within a care home, and cross generation family abuse. 

Liam Walker KC

Liam is regularly instructed across the full spectrum of sexual offences. He understands that allegations of a sexual nature are the most toxic and life altering allegations that can be made against an individual. As a consequence he is often instructed by individuals whose lives and careers depend on the outcome of a case. Liam is a trained ‘lead facilitator’ for the vulnerable national training programme and is a speaker, for Lexis Nexis, on serious sexual offences.

Benjamin Newton KC

Benjamin is consistently instructed in the most serious and high profile sexual offences cases. He regularly writes and lectures on the subject, but is also recognised for his compassionate and client-centred approach to cases.


David Rhodes 

David is highly experienced in defending the most serious allegations of sexual offending, including cases attracting publicity and requiring careful case strategy and delicate conduct both in and out of court.

Erimnaz Mushtaq

Erim is a specialist criminal defence practitioner who is instructed in serious and complex criminal cases ranging from homicide and serious violence, terrorism, serious sexual offences both recent and historic, large scale frauds, regulatory and financial crime and large scaled drugs cases. Erim is instructed as leading counsel, junior counsel and sole counsel and engages in cases as soon as instructed and assists at all stages of the criminal proceedings. She regularly appears in Crown Courts across the North West, North East, South West and at the Central Criminal Court.