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Lalith de Kauwe

  • Call: 1978
Lalith de Kauwe
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner   
Lalith is a fearless defender who makes his presence known in court. He is a formidable jury advocate who fights tenaciously for his clients.
Manoj Rupasinghe, Senior Partner, Lloyds PR Solicitors

What others say

Lalith has all the skills that you could wish to find in a senior advocate. His absolute commitment to his client’s cause makes him an invaluable asset to any defendant. He has the ability to consistently secure acquittals against the odds.”

Amir Ahmad, Solicitor, Imran Khan and Partners Solicitors

“Lalith is an excellent leading counsel. I instruct him because he invests an extraordinary amount of preparation time studying the evidence and carrying out legal research. He stays one step ahead of the opposition whilst maintaining excellent rapport with clients.”

Sisira Polpitiya, Senior Partner, Polpitiya & Co Solicitors

“A fearless advocate who fights tooth and nail for his clients, no matter how big or small the case. Makes his clients comfortable and is a man of principle. Lalith’s many years at the Bar have brought with it a wealth of experience.”

Sean Neville, Solicitor, Satha & Co Solicitors


Lalith specialises in serious criminal defence. He has acted in many cases of murder, serious violence, large-scale Class A drug dealing and importation, human trafficking, public order and complex, high-value fraud.

Throughout, his legal practice has been informed by his belief in social justice, civil rights and a commitment to assisting disadvantaged communities.

Notable cases

R v Riaz – Successfully defended at the Central Criminal Court. Love triangle murder. Co-defendant convicted of murder.

R v Mir– Successfully defended at the Central Criminal Court. Double murder by stabbing. Co-defendants convicted.

R v Quadeer – Successfully defended murder by stabbing at the Central Criminal Court. Trial halted on the basis of an abuse of process.

R v Naim – Successfully defended at the Central Criminal Court. Attempted murder by shooting.

R v Simpson – Successfully defended at the Central Criminal Court. Attempted murder by shooting

R v Khan – Successfully defended at Birmingham Crown Court. Murder by stabbing.

R v Fearon – Successfully defended at the Central Criminal Court. Murder by shooting.

R v Roberts – Successfully appealed an historic conviction on murder in the Court of Appeal.

R v Thompson – Successfully defended at the Central Criminal Court. One-punch manslaughter

R v Burrell – Successfully defended at the Central Criminal Court. Conspiracy to rob in the context of a murder. Others were convicted of conspiracy to rob and murder.

R v Wong – Successfully defended at Swindon Crown Court. Multiple counts of grievous bodily harm. The three complainants racially attacked the owner of a Chinese takeaway in Cheltenham. Acquittal on a submission of no case, despite the fact that the defendant, a Kung Fu master, used a kitchen chopper to inflict serious injuries in self-defence.

R v Ariyaratne – Successfully defended at Blackfriars Crown Court. Grievous bodily harm by stabbing in the context of a racial attack on the defendant a Sri Lankan man by a group of skinheads on a train. Acquittal on a dismissal submission.

R v Ghafoor – Successfully defended at Kingston Crown Court. Death by dangerous driving in the context of a racist attack on an Asian mini cab driver by a group of drunks.

R v Irons – Successfully defended at Croydon Crown Court. £1 million cocaine importation. Co-defendant was convicted and was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

R v Smith – Successfully defended at Isleworth Crown Court. Class A drugs conspiracy. First on the indictment. The Crown offered no evidence after legal submissions on disclosure.

R v Francis – Successfully defended at Croydon Crown Court. Large-scale conspiracy to breach immigration. Co-defendant was convicted.

R v Williams – Successfully defended at Inner London Crown Court. Conspiracy to commit violent disorder and conspiracy to burgle. Challenged false confessions with the use of expert evidence. The defendant was of low IQ and highly suggestible. All other four defendants in this trial were convicted. There was only one other acquittal arising from all the other August 2011 London riot cases.

Click here to view more notable cases.


Lalith was born in Wellawatte, Sri Lanka in 1956. He studied at Royal College, Colombo. His family emigrated in May 1966 bringing to English football their only success.

He attended Kynaston Secondary School and Quintin Kynaston Comprehensive School, London before reading Law at the University of Kent, Canterbury where he was active in political campaigns and the Kent Law Clinic.

He was active in the law centres movement, and was a volunteer at Paddington Law Centre and chair of management at West Hampstead Law Centre.

He continues to lecture regularly on Criminal Law and Human Rights.

He is married with two brilliant children.


Lalith is passionately committed to peace, conflict resolution and unity in Sri Lanka.

He is a Trustee of the Sri Lankan Lawyers Tsunami Children Appeal registered charity No.1108341. He is Chair of the ASSLUK Tsunami Committee which continues to raise public awareness of the catastrophic impact of the 2004 Tsunami.

Lalith is committed to supporting impoverished communities in Sri Lanka. He is involved in fundraising for people internally displaced and injured by the 30-year-long conflict, the provision of law books in Sinhala, Tamil and English in public libraries and providing dialysis machines for victims of chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka.

His other interests are travel, cooking and cricket, especially when Sri Lanka wins at Lord’s.