Henry Blaxland QC
Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018
"One of the most eminent silks in the country... enormously persuasive, very clever, and someone with an economy of style that is irresistible."
Widely recognised as a leading criminal silk, Henry Blaxland QC’s practice encompasses fraud, terrorism and homicide cases. He is often instructed in appellate matters.
Ranked as Star Individual in Chambers and Partners 2018, London (Bar), Crime.
Ranked for Crime in Chambers and Partners 2018 (Band 1) and Financial Crime.
Ranked for both Crime and Civil Liberties and Human Rights in the Legal 500 2017.
Shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2017.
“He is an exceptionally good academic lawyer with a razor-sharp mind who is greatly respected by the Court of Appeal, where he does a lot of work. In the Libor case he gave one of the best defence speeches I have ever heard; it was first-class. A lawyer with a wonderful manner who has an extremely good eye for detail.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Financial Crime)
“With a fantastic bedside manner, he is exceptionally patient and good-humoured.”
Legal 500 2017 (Crime)
“He is respected by senior counsel, solicitors and judges alike.”
Legal 500 2017 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“Undoubtedly one of the leading criminal appeal lawyers in the country.” “He has one of the best legal minds in the market and his attention to detail on cases is overwhelming.”
Chambers UK 2017
“Without doubt one of the leading criminal appeal lawyers in the country.” “Recommended for high-profile criminal cases involving human rights.”
Legal 500 2016
“He is really bright and very measured but powerfully so.” “He is a pre-eminent practitioner who is extremely well respected by judges.”
Chambers UK 2016
Henry has practised in criminal defence work for his entire career at the Bar. He has appeared in many high profile homicide trials at the Old Bailey. His principal areas of work now comprise fraud, with a specialism in confiscation, and terrorist cases with an international dimension. He is widely known for his appellate practice, acting in cases referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). He also appears for appellants in extradition cases.
He is a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple.
Fraud and money laundering
He has developed a specialism in serious fraud and money laundering cases. He secured the acquittal of former broker Darrell Read, charged with conspiracy to defraud arising from the allegations of fixing the Libor rates. He has appeared in cases in which accountants and solicitors have been prosecuted. He defended a solicitor accused of conspiracy to defraud arising from the coal mining business in South Wales, in which the co-defendants included a leading insolvency QC, two partners in a solicitors firm and two company directors. The judge dismissed the charges following complex legal submissions. Henry has also represented a solicitor charged with involvement in the attempted fraudulent take-over of Sheffield United Football Club. He has appeared in large scale VAT carousel fraud cases, including Operation Emersed (in which he represented the principal defendant) and Operation Euripus, the largest such fraud to be prosecuted. He successfully argued against a claim for a £5m confiscation order (R v Bhabdeep Chahal) both at first instance and on the prosecutor’s unsuccessful appeal.
Over the years Henry has acted for defendants charged with murder, manslaughter, serious armed robbery and drugs offences.
His work also covers the entire gamut of criminal defence. He successfully represented the principal of a therapeutic community for disturbed children in a five-month trial at Bristol Crown Court and appeared for a defendant charged with conspiracy to rape and murder based entirely on the content of internet chat-room discussions (R v Hedgcock).
He has been instructed in a number of high-profile terrorism cases. He acted for Errol Incedal, whose case was heard in secret and for John Downey, charged with involvement in the Hyde Park bomb in 1982. He also acted for Shajul Islam, a medical doctor accused of the kidnap of two journalists for a terrorist purpose in Syria. He successfully defended Mohammed Gulzar, alleged to be one of the masterminds behind the transatlantic airline plot, and Waheed Ali, one of only three people prosecuted for involvement in the 7 July London tube bombing.
A significant part of his practice has involved representing appellants in cases referred to the Court of Appeal by the CCRC. He has been instructed in some of the most celebrated miscarriage of justice cases in the last 20 years, including Sam Hallam, Suzanne Holdsworth, the Carl Bridgewater murder case, Derek Bentley, James Hanratty and the M25 three. He has an almost unrivalled experience of this type of work and has been centrally involved in the development of the Court of Appeal’s jurisprudence. He has appeared in two of the leading cases concerning the court’s approach to the prosecution of victims of human trafficking.
He acted for Mohammed Amir, the young Pakistani fast bowler accused of involvement in match fixing.
Civil liberties and human rights
Henry has always concentrated on civil liberties and human rights work. In the 1980s and 1990s he represented defendants in major criminal trials arising from the miners’ strike, the protest against the Poll Tax and the riot at Campsfield House immigration detention centre. In 2010 he was involved in the much publicised successful defence of political activists charged with causing £180,000 worth of damage to an arms factory at the time of the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
He has appeared for appellants in the Privy Council facing the death penalty. He represented a witness appearing before the Bloody Sunday tribunal, chaired by Lord Saville. Henry also practises in extradition and has appeared in the Divisional Court for appellants resisting their extradition to the USA and to Albania.
Defendant charged with involvement in commercial scale trading in counterfeit clothing. Appeal to Supreme Court on preliminary point of law. Remitted to Crown Court culminating in acquittal for all defendants.
R v Urumov
Defendant charged with defrauding Russian bank out of $170 million. The case has been reported in the financial press, including by Bloomberg.
R v Darrell Read
The defendant was charged with conspiracy to defraud by manipulating the Libor rate and was the sixth broker to be found not guilty by a jury. The case was widely reported, including by the Guardian, Financial Times and BBC.
R v Frances Bodman
Successful application to dismiss for solicitor charged with conspiracy to defraud arising from the conduct of mining company Celtic Energy. This case was reported by the BBC.
R v James and Miranda Sanders
Highest value insider dealer prosecution brought by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). This case was reported in The Guardian.
R v Bhabdeep Chahal
Operation Duma carousel fraud.
R v Hashib Apabhai
Operation Euripus carousel fraud. Reported case in Court of Appeal on application of bad character provisions.
R v Craig Johnson
Principal defendant in Operation Emersed – major carousel fraud which lasted over a year.
R v Anis Sardar
Defendant charged with murder of an American soldier in Iraq in 2007 as a result of fingerprints recovered from a roadside bomb. This case was reported by the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Evening Standard.
Appeal for defendant convicted of the murder of his own infant son.
R v Kemi Adeyoola (2006)
Much-publicised trial at Central Criminal Court acting for 17-year-old girl charged with the murder of an 84-year-old woman, who had written a “blue-print for murder” diary.
The A6 murder: one of the most celebrated cases in English criminal law.
R v Mohammed Chowdhury
Terrorist plot to plant a bomb in the London stock exchange. This case was reported in The Guardian.
R v AY (Court of Appeal)
Decision on ambit of ‘reasonable excuse’ for possession of terrorist material.
R v Waheed Ali
Defendant alleged to have been involved with the 7/7 London tube bombers.
R v Hyrbyair Marri
Defendant alleged to be involved with a terrorist organisation in Pakistani Baluchistan.
R v Al-Daour
So-called ‘cyber terrorism’ incitement case.
R v Abdul Saleem
First defendant in trial of Omar Brooks and others for inciting terrorist murder in speeches at Regents Park Mosque.
R v Gulzar
The acquitted defendant in the terrorist conspiracy to detonate bombs on transatlantic airlines.
R v Attilla Ahmet
Terrorist incitement case.
Widely publicised miscarriage of justice appeal. This case was reported in The Guardian.
Hayes v Chief Constable of Liverpool (2011) EWCA Civ 911 (Court of Appeal Civil Division)
Leading case on ambit of power of arrest in Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
Successful appeal of woman convicted of the murder of a child she was babysitting. More information about this case can be found on the Garden Court Chambers website.
Whomes and Steele (Court of Appeal) 2006
CCRC reference appeal for the defendants convicted of the ‘Essex Boys’ Rettendon Range Rover murders.
R v Don Pendleton H.L. (2002) 1 WLR
Successful appeal in CCRC reference. The leading case on the test in cases involving fresh evidence.
Dudley and Maynard
The ‘torso murders’ – notorious 1970s gang-land murder case referred to Court of Appeal by CCRC.
Derek Bentley (2001) 1 Cr App R 21
The Craig and Bentley murder case and now the leading authority on the Court of Appeal’s approach to developments in the law since conviction.
Appeal of the man alleged to be an IRA master bomber, said to have made the notorious Hyde Park bomb.
R v Johnson, Rowe and Davis (2001) 1 Cr App R 115
The appeal of the M25 three and the leading authority on the relationship between the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction to quash convictions and the determination of a breach of Article 6 by the European Court of Human Rights.
R v Craven (2001) 2 Cr App R 12
CCRC reference of conviction for murder, in which fresh DNA evidence became available following the referral to the court.
R v Cole 90 Cr App R 478
The leading case on the interpretation of the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 re the reading of witness statements.
Goswell v The Commissioner of Police
Appeal against record award of damages against the Police.
R v Colin Wallace
Appeal against conviction for manslaughter by former army information officer in Northern Ireland who alleged dirty tricks by MI5.
R v Hickey & Ors
The Carl Bridgewater murder appeal.
R v Georgiades 89 Cr App R 206
Mens rea in the offence of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Civil liberties and human rights
R v THN and others
Final word from the Court of Appeal on the approach to the prosecution of victims of trafficking.
R v M, B and G (2011) 1 Cr.App.R 12
Leading case on abuse of process in context of human trafficking.
Mucelli v Sec of State for the Home Dept
Extradition judicial review concerning an Albanian national.
- ‘Sappers and Underminers: Fresh Evidence Revisited’ in The Criminal Law Review (Sweet & Maxwell, 2017, issue 7, pp537-542)