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MEET:

Richard Whittam QC

“A fabulous barrister who has an enormous wealth of knowledge of the law and is very practical in his application of it. He is a brilliant advocate.”

Chambers & Partners 2021
Called: 1983 | Silk: 2008

Richard is a specialist criminal practitioner with extensive experience in the most complex and high-profile criminal cases. He is consistently recognised as one of the leading criminal advocates in the UK, receiving both the Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 Crime Silk of the Year awards. He is renowned for his strategic and tactical guidance, and his ability to master complex legal and factual issues.

Richard has significant experience in Deferred Prosecution Agreements. He was instructed to lead a team of experienced junior counsel over a 3-year period to achieve the Deferred Prosecution Agreement against Rolls Royce plc.  At the time it was the largest single investigation carried out by the SFO. The investigation covered four strands of the work carried out by Rolls Royce [Civil Aviation, Defence Aviation, Energy & Marine divisions]. The facts spread across two decades in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria and China.

He was instructed by third parties in relation to the Deferred Prosecution Agreements against G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd and Serco Geografix Ltd.

He has been instructed to defend in allegations of insider dealing and ‘Phoenix Company’ allegations.

In addition to his defence work, Richard is instructed privately to prosecute serious allegations of fraud. He was privately instructed to prosecute the former Chief Executive Officer of DAS (UK).

Richard advises both potential defendants and prosecution authorities on pre-trial strategy. He regularly advises Government agencies and other public bodies including the Cabinet Office, Attorney General’s Office, Government Legal Department, Serious Fraud Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office, National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service and the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman. He has a wealth of experience in national security matters and has advised on and acted in cases where there have been a SOCPA agreements.

As First Senior Treasury Counsel 2013-2015 Richard prosecuted some of the most serious criminal cases such as the murders of Fusilier Lee Rigby and Jo Cox MP.  Particularly complex cases include the ‘Airlines Bomb Plot’, which was at its time the largest police investigation in the world, Incedal the ‘secret terrorist trial’, McCormick for making and supplying ‘fake bomb detectors’, and Anjem Choudary, the ‘hate’ preacher.

Richard currently is instructed to represent 12 former undercover police officers in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, instructed by Slater and Gordon.

He advised the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the Inquest into those who died in the Hillsborough Disaster on 15 April 1989. It remains the most serious tragedy in UK sporting history.

He was instructed by the Ministry of Defence to advise during the Baha Mousa Inquiry.

Along with Peter Wanless, the CEO of the NSPCC, Richard carried out two significant reviews for the Home Office:

  • In November 2014, the Wanless Whittam Review into what were described as the‘missing files’ inquiry: ‘An Independent Review Of Two Home Office Commissioned Independent Reviews Looking At Information Held In Connection With Child Abuse from 1979-1999’, and
  • In July 2018, the Wanless Whittam Review 2 into allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham:‘An independent review into information passed to the Home Office in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham (1998-2005)’.

Richard has an impressive appellate practice. He advised and represented the Law Officers in respect of Unduly Lenient Sentences for almost two decades.

He was instructed to respond in the “Lady in the lake” reference by the CCRC to the Court of Appeal [Park]. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Richard was also instructed by the Director of the Service Prosecution Authority to respond to the appeal of Alexander Blackman [Former Marine Sgt Blackman aka Marine A] to respond to his appeal against his conviction for murder.

He has appeared in significant criminal appeals, several of which were before a Court of Appeal which comprised of five Judges.

Richard is a Judicial Officer/Chair for Word Rugby. He sits for the RFU as a judicial officer and has determined over 60 cases for them. He is also on the European Professional Club Rugby Judicial Panel.

In addition, Richard is Legal Arbitrator for Sport Resolutions.

Richard is the Independent Examiner for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Previously he was also a legal assessor for the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Social Care Council. He advises in relation to deaths caused by police officers and other matters relevant to police conduct.

Richard prosecuted the case of R v Erol Incedal and another and appeared in both Court of Appeal cases that addressed the issues of anonymity of defendants and whether parts of the whole of a trial could take place in ‘secret’.

He advises on production orders, warrants and the protection afforded to journalists under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Richard advised the Director of the Service Prosecution Authority in relation to significant allegations of War Crimes committed by the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In addition to acting in the appeal of Alexander Blackman, Richard advised the Attorney General as to whether the sentence passed on the former SAS Sergeant, Danny Nightingale was unduly lenient.

He has appeared in Court Martial trials in the UK and in Germany.

Regularly Richard speaks on topics relevant to his practice, including introducing a series of seminars in 2021 that were delivered live, albeit virtually, with Jamas Hodivala QC: KBR Inc, where next for S2 Notices?

Richard was a panel member at the OpenText Forum ‘Deferred Prosecution Agreements – 6 years on – Analysing their effectiveness and impact.’ on 19th October 2020.

17 October 2019, St Andrew’s University: As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence invited to give a Public Lecture: ‘Terrorist’ murder:  The cases of Adebolajo & Adebowale [Lee Rigby] and Thomas Mair [Jo Cox] contrasted.’ Founded in 1994, the Centre is Europe’s oldest for the study of terrorism.

November 2018, panel member at CONTEST 3.0 Counter-Terrorism Strategy 2018, Royal United Services Institute [RUSI], Whitehall.

June 2017, panel member at the Legal Week and Corporate Counsel’s Banking, Litigation and Regulation Forum [Deferred Prosecution Agreements].

New York, Terrorism Trials and Investigations.

May 2016, panel member.  A US-UK Transatlantic Dialogue at New York University. A closed event organised by The Robert Strauss Centre for International Security and Law and the Centre on Law and Security NYU School of Law. US Secretary of State attended.

Madrid, European Justice Training Network [EJTN].

December 2015, panel member, Tackling Terrorism: Procedural and Substantive Law Challenges and Best Practices (Module 1: Comparative Analysis of the Domestic Approaches to Tackling Terrorism).

2013/4 Lectured to Judges of the High Court of Nigeria and separately to Judges of the High Court of Pakistan on the prosecution of terrorist trials in England and Wales.

Many of the cases in which Richard has appeared have featured in film and television programmes. He has contributed to and/or appeared in programmes for production companies who have made specific programmes about those cases for, amongst others, the BBC, ITN, ITV, Sky, CBS, History Channel.

They include, ‘The Ruth Ellis Files: A very British Crime Story’, and the CBS Reality programme ‘New Scotland Yard Files’, which featured the murder of Laila Rezk and in a separate case, Cathy Marlow.

2021        Appointment as the Independent Examiner for Institute and Faculty of Actuaries extended.

2020        Judicial Officer/Chair for Word Rugby.

2020        Legal Member Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission.

2019        Judicial Officer EPCR [European Professional Club Rugby].

2019        Appointment as Deputy High Court Judge [extended to January 2022].

2018        Reappointed as the Independent Examiner for Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

2017        Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands.

2016        Deputy High Court Judge.

2014        Member of the RFU Judicial Panel.

2014        Independent Examiner for Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

2009        Recorder of the Crown Court [approved to sit at the Central Criminal Court].

2008        Queen’s Counsel.

2013 – 2015: First Senior Treasury Counsel [Crime].

2006 – 2015: Senior Treasury Counsel [Crime].

2002 – 2006: First Junior Treasury Counsel [Crime].

1998 – 2006: Junior Treasury Counsel [Crime].

Fraud Lawyers Association

Financial Services Lawyers Association

Criminal Bar Association

ARDL

South Eastern Circuit

International Associate Member of the American Bar Association

LLB (Hons), University College London

Richard is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Richard needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his clients’ personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter in which he is instructed. To read Richard’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Richard is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A fabulous barrister who has an enormous wealth of knowledge of the law and is very practical in his application of it. He is a brilliant advocate."

"Richard gives clear advice which is thoroughly thought out and researched."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Crime (Band 1)

"He has a wealth of knowledge and is very practical in his application of the law. He is a brilliant advocate and commands the confidence and respect of the court."

"He is highly respected in court and has excellent judgement."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Financial Crime

"A skilled prosecutor and effective defender."

Legal 500 (2021) Crime

"He is highly respected in court with excellent judgement. Insightful and a pleasure to work with."

Legal 500 (2021) Fraud: Crime

"Super bright and a brilliant defence advocate."

"He is really strong on the tactical side."

Chambers & Partners (2019) Financial Crime

"A ‘class act’ who has the ability to smoothly handle complex criminal prosecutions." "He’s fantastic: he guided us through the practical and strategic aspects of an incredibly complex issue and his client care was astounding."; "Richard handled what was a very high-profile case with a light touch and great skill. He was unfazed by the press frenzy."

Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 (2018)

"Renowned and respected by commentators for his tenacity, work ethic and superior jury advocacy."

"He is really top-drawer and has very impressive court craft."

"He takes everything in his stride. Nothing seems to bother him and he just won’t be deflected from achieving a good result."

"Astute, hardworking and meticulous in his paperwork."

"A strong Treasury Counsel who realises that to be effective, you don’t need to be an enemy of your opponent."

"A fearless advocate who glides through proceedings with effortless style."

"A stunning addition to any team with pep and industry to spare’; ‘He has an innate ability to deflect difficult arguments effortlessly."

Chambers & Partners, Legal 500
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Called: 1983 | Silk: 2008

“A fabulous barrister who has an enormous wealth of knowledge of the law and is very practical in his application of it. He is a brilliant advocate.”

Chambers & Partners 2021

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Fraud and Financial Crime
  • Crime
  • Corporate and Business Crime
  • Investigatory Powers
  • Serious Crime (including terrorism) and Trial Advocacy
  • Regulatory Offences
  • Investigations
  • Inquests and Inquiries
  • Sports Law
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Commercial Public Law

Richard Whittam QC

Contact Richard: richardwhittam@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Richard's Practice Team (Team T): TeamT@matrixlaw.co.uk


Richard is a specialist criminal practitioner with extensive experience in the most complex and high-profile criminal cases. He is consistently recognised as one of the leading criminal advocates in the UK, receiving both the Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 Crime Silk of the Year awards. He is renowned for his strategic and tactical guidance, and his ability to master complex legal and factual issues.

Fraud, Financial and Business Crime

Richard has significant experience in Deferred Prosecution Agreements. He was instructed to lead a team of experienced junior counsel over a 3-year period to achieve the Deferred Prosecution Agreement against Rolls Royce plc.  At the time it was the largest single investigation carried out by the SFO. The investigation covered four strands of the work carried out by Rolls Royce [Civil Aviation, Defence Aviation, Energy & Marine divisions]. The facts spread across two decades in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria and China. He was instructed by third parties in relation to the Deferred Prosecution Agreements against G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd and Serco Geografix Ltd. He has been instructed to defend in allegations of insider dealing and ‘Phoenix Company’ allegations. In addition to his defence work, Richard is instructed privately to prosecute serious allegations of fraud. He was privately instructed to prosecute the former Chief Executive Officer of DAS (UK). Richard advises both potential defendants and prosecution authorities on pre-trial strategy. He regularly advises Government agencies and other public bodies including the Cabinet Office, Attorney General’s Office, Government Legal Department, Serious Fraud Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office, National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service and the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman. He has a wealth of experience in national security matters and has advised on and acted in cases where there have been a SOCPA agreements.

Serious Crime

As First Senior Treasury Counsel 2013-2015 Richard prosecuted some of the most serious criminal cases such as the murders of Fusilier Lee Rigby and Jo Cox MP.  Particularly complex cases include the ‘Airlines Bomb Plot’, which was at its time the largest police investigation in the world, Incedal the ‘secret terrorist trial’, McCormick for making and supplying ‘fake bomb detectors’, and Anjem Choudary, the ‘hate’ preacher.

Inquiries, Inquests and Reviews

Richard currently is instructed to represent 12 former undercover police officers in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, instructed by Slater and Gordon. He advised the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the Inquest into those who died in the Hillsborough Disaster on 15 April 1989. It remains the most serious tragedy in UK sporting history. He was instructed by the Ministry of Defence to advise during the Baha Mousa Inquiry. Along with Peter Wanless, the CEO of the NSPCC, Richard carried out two significant reviews for the Home Office: In November 2014, the Wanless Whittam Review into what were described as the‘missing files’ inquiry: ‘An Independent Review Of Two Home Office Commissioned Independent Reviews Looking At Information Held In Connection With Child Abuse from 1979-1999’, and In July 2018, the Wanless Whittam Review 2 into allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham:‘An independent review into information passed to the Home Office in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham (1998-2005)’.

Appeals

Richard has an impressive appellate practice. He advised and represented the Law Officers in respect of Unduly Lenient Sentences for almost two decades. He was instructed to respond in the “Lady in the lake” reference by the CCRC to the Court of Appeal [Park]. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Richard was also instructed by the Director of the Service Prosecution Authority to respond to the appeal of Alexander Blackman [Former Marine Sgt Blackman aka Marine A] to respond to his appeal against his conviction for murder. He has appeared in significant criminal appeals, several of which were before a Court of Appeal which comprised of five Judges.

Sports Law

Richard is a Judicial Officer/Chair for Word Rugby. He sits for the RFU as a judicial officer and has determined over 60 cases for them. He is also on the European Professional Club Rugby Judicial Panel. In addition, Richard is Legal Arbitrator for Sport Resolutions.

Professional Discipline

Richard is the Independent Examiner for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Previously he was also a legal assessor for the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Social Care Council. He advises in relation to deaths caused by police officers and other matters relevant to police conduct.

Media

Richard prosecuted the case of R v Erol Incedal and another and appeared in both Court of Appeal cases that addressed the issues of anonymity of defendants and whether parts of the whole of a trial could take place in ‘secret’. He advises on production orders, warrants and the protection afforded to journalists under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Military law

Richard advised the Director of the Service Prosecution Authority in relation to significant allegations of War Crimes committed by the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to acting in the appeal of Alexander Blackman, Richard advised the Attorney General as to whether the sentence passed on the former SAS Sergeant, Danny Nightingale was unduly lenient. He has appeared in Court Martial trials in the UK and in Germany.

Teaching/Training/Speaking

Regularly Richard speaks on topics relevant to his practice, including introducing a series of seminars in 2021 that were delivered live, albeit virtually, with Jamas Hodivala QC: KBR Inc, where next for S2 Notices? Richard was a panel member at the OpenText Forum ‘Deferred Prosecution Agreements – 6 years on – Analysing their effectiveness and impact.’ on 19th October 2020. 17 October 2019, St Andrew’s University: As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence invited to give a Public Lecture: ‘Terrorist’ murder:  The cases of Adebolajo & Adebowale [Lee Rigby] and Thomas Mair [Jo Cox] contrasted.’ Founded in 1994, the Centre is Europe’s oldest for the study of terrorism. November 2018, panel member at CONTEST 3.0 Counter-Terrorism Strategy 2018, Royal United Services Institute [RUSI], Whitehall. June 2017, panel member at the Legal Week and Corporate Counsel’s Banking, Litigation and Regulation Forum [Deferred Prosecution Agreements]. New York, Terrorism Trials and Investigations. May 2016, panel member.  A US-UK Transatlantic Dialogue at New York University. A closed event organised by The Robert Strauss Centre for International Security and Law and the Centre on Law and Security NYU School of Law. US Secretary of State attended. Madrid, European Justice Training Network [EJTN]. December 2015, panel member, Tackling Terrorism: Procedural and Substantive Law Challenges and Best Practices (Module 1: Comparative Analysis of the Domestic Approaches to Tackling Terrorism). 2013/4 Lectured to Judges of the High Court of Nigeria and separately to Judges of the High Court of Pakistan on the prosecution of terrorist trials in England and Wales.

Media Appearances

Many of the cases in which Richard has appeared have featured in film and television programmes. He has contributed to and/or appeared in programmes for production companies who have made specific programmes about those cases for, amongst others, the BBC, ITN, ITV, Sky, CBS, History Channel. They include, ‘The Ruth Ellis Files: A very British Crime Story’, and the CBS Reality programme ‘New Scotland Yard Files’, which featured the murder of Laila Rezk and in a separate case, Cathy Marlow.

Appointments

2021        Appointment as the Independent Examiner for Institute and Faculty of Actuaries extended. 2020        Judicial Officer/Chair for Word Rugby. 2020        Legal Member Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission. 2019        Judicial Officer EPCR [European Professional Club Rugby]. 2019        Appointment as Deputy High Court Judge [extended to January 2022]. 2018        Reappointed as the Independent Examiner for Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. 2017        Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands. 2016        Deputy High Court Judge. 2014        Member of the RFU Judicial Panel. 2014        Independent Examiner for Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. 2009        Recorder of the Crown Court [approved to sit at the Central Criminal Court]. 2008        Queen’s Counsel. 2013 – 2015: First Senior Treasury Counsel [Crime]. 2006 – 2015: Senior Treasury Counsel [Crime]. 2002 – 2006: First Junior Treasury Counsel [Crime]. 1998 – 2006: Junior Treasury Counsel [Crime].

Memberships

Fraud Lawyers Association Financial Services Lawyers Association Criminal Bar Association ARDL South Eastern Circuit International Associate Member of the American Bar Association

Qualifications

LLB (Hons), University College London
Richard's Privacy Notice

Richard is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Richard needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his clients’ personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter in which he is instructed. To read Richard’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A fabulous barrister who has an enormous wealth of knowledge of the law and is very practical in his application of it. He is a brilliant advocate."

"Richard gives clear advice which is thoroughly thought out and researched."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Crime (Band 1)

"He has a wealth of knowledge and is very practical in his application of the law. He is a brilliant advocate and commands the confidence and respect of the court."

"He is highly respected in court and has excellent judgement."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Financial Crime

"A skilled prosecutor and effective defender."

Legal 500 (2021) Crime

"He is highly respected in court with excellent judgement. Insightful and a pleasure to work with."

Legal 500 (2021) Fraud: Crime

"Super bright and a brilliant defence advocate."

"He is really strong on the tactical side."

Chambers & Partners (2019) Financial Crime

"A ‘class act’ who has the ability to smoothly handle complex criminal prosecutions." "He’s fantastic: he guided us through the practical and strategic aspects of an incredibly complex issue and his client care was astounding."; "Richard handled what was a very high-profile case with a light touch and great skill. He was unfazed by the press frenzy."

Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 (2018)

"Renowned and respected by commentators for his tenacity, work ethic and superior jury advocacy."

"He is really top-drawer and has very impressive court craft."

"He takes everything in his stride. Nothing seems to bother him and he just won’t be deflected from achieving a good result."

"Astute, hardworking and meticulous in his paperwork."

"A strong Treasury Counsel who realises that to be effective, you don’t need to be an enemy of your opponent."

"A fearless advocate who glides through proceedings with effortless style."

"A stunning addition to any team with pep and industry to spare’; ‘He has an innate ability to deflect difficult arguments effortlessly."

Chambers & Partners, Legal 500