Lalith de Kauwe

Year of Call: 1978

"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

"Lalith has all the skills that you could wish to find in a senior advocate. 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. 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."

Sean Neville, Solicitor, Satha & Co Solicitors

Contact Lalith

If you would like to get in touch with Lalith please contact the clerking team:

+44 (0)20 7993 7600

You can also contact Lalith directly:

+44 (0)20 7993 7722

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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.

Criminal Defence

Overview

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, and public order.

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.

Other notable cases

Murder

R v Khan - Successfully defended murder by stabbing at the Central Criminal Court.

R v Rahman - Successfully defended murder by stabbing at the Central Criminal Court.

R v Rajeshkanna - Murder by stabbing and beating at Central Criminal Court.

R v Hassan - Murder by stabbing at Central Criminal Court. R v Saeed - Murder by stabbing at Birmingham Crown Court.

R v McIntosh - Successfully defended murder by stabbing at Central Criminal Court.

R v Keleher - Successfully defended manslaughter and child cruelty at Birmingham Crown Court.

R v Whittle - Murder by suffocating at Central Criminal Court. R v Collins - Murder by shooting Birmingham Crown Court.

R v Michelski - Successfully defended murder by burning at the Central Criminal Court.

Serious Violence

R v Prasath - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm by stabbing in the context of domestic violence. Psychiatric issues. Unfit to plead. Jury found she did not do the act.

R v Ayub - Successfully defended armed robbery at Stafford Crown Court.

R v De Silva - Conspiracy to commit armed robbery at the Central Criminal Court. R v Foster - Successfully defended robbery re-trial at Kingston Crown Court following successful appeal against conviction. See below.

R v Mylvaganam - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm at Kingston Crown Court.

R v Straker - Aggravated burglary at Isleworth Crown Court.

R v Docaj - Successfully defended GBH stabbing by stabbing at Inner London Crown Court. Acquittal on a submission of no case.

R v Rugless - Possessing a prohibited weapon at Inner London Crown Court. R v Khan - Arson with intent to endanger life at Sheffield Crown Court.

R v Gizli - Successfully defended blackmail at Wood Green Crown Court. R v Adeniran - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm by stabbing at Northampton Crown Court.

R v Bilobran - Kidnapping at Blackfriars Crown Court.

R v Pitts - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm by scalding at Inner London Crown Court.

R v Gashi - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm by stabbing at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

R v Shefik - Grievous bodily harm by stabbing at Woolwich Crown Court. R v Poso - Violent disorder at Luton Crown Court.

R v Agyemeng - Successfully defended kidnapping and possession of a firearm at Inner London Crown Court.

R v Nembhard - Successfully defended possession of a firearm at Isleworth Crown Court. Prosecution offered no evidence after issues raised as to disclosure of an informant.

R v Duffy - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm by stabbing at Harrow Crown Court.

R v Hong - Kidnapping and Conspiracy to blackmail at Norwich Crown Court.

R v McClean - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm at Middlesex Crown Court.

R v Quadri - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm at Burnley Crown Court.

R v Hoang - Successfully defended at grievous bodily harm Birmingham Crown Court.

R v Naughton - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm at Sheffield Crown Court.

R v Afzal - Successfully defended grievous bodily harm and violent disorder at Sheffield Crown Court.

Drugs

R v Cleugh - Successfully defended conspiracy to supply Class C drugs at Wood Green Crown Court.

R v Richardson - Successfully defended possession with intent to supply Class A drugs at Bristol Crown Court.

R v Williams - Successfully defended an airport worker of Class A importation at Manchester Crown Court.

R v Nembhard - Successfully defended possession with intent to supply Class A drugs at Isleworth Crown Court.

R v Alexandra - Possession with intent to supply Class A drugs at St. Albans Crown Court.

R v Chan - Cannabis cultivation at Ipswich Crown Court.

R v Lawrence - Cocaine manufacture at Harrow Crown Court.

R v Akuamoa - Class A importation at Isleworth Crown Court.

R v Scott - Successfully defended conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at Harrow Crown Court.

R v Alyas - Possession with intent to supply Class A drugs at Isleworth Crown Court. R v Hartman - Possession with intent to supply Class A drugs at Harrow Crown Court.

R v De Silva - Conspiracy to import cocaine, MDMA, cannabis, firearms and ammunition at Canterbury Criminal Court.

R v Hussain - Conspiring to supply six kilos of heroin at Chichester Crown Court. R v Palmer - Class A importation at Croydon Crown Court.

Public Order

R v Ahmed - Violent disorder arising from the Bradford riot at Bradford Crown Court. The defendant was accused of attacking the police during the Bradford riot which arose in protest against the provocations of the National Front. The defendant invoked self-defence, and whilst he was found guilty by the jury, the sentence he received was less than that meted out to those who had entered guilty pleas.

R v Smith - Successfully defended animal rights activist at Leicester Crown Court. R v Stuart, Winfield & Gilfoyle - Successfully defended animal rights activists at Northampton Crown Court.

National Union of Miners Strike in 1984 - Represented miners at various Magistrates Courts including Mansfield and Ollerton in Nottingham.

Southall Trials 1979 - Involved in the defence campaign arising from the large scale arrest of protestors at the demonstration against the National Front on 14 April 1979 in Southall, at which Blair Peach was murdered.

Human Trafficking

R v Nistorova - Leading counsel. Conspiracy to breach immigration law at Isleworth Crown Court.

R v Pun - Conspiracy to breach immigration law at Ipswich Crown Court. R v Padararu - Trafficking for prostitution at Croydon Crown Court.

R v Ashcroft - People smuggling at Southwark Crown Court.

R v Hasani - People smuggling at Canterbury Crown Court.

Police Misconduct

R v Khan - Leading counsel at Kingston Crown Court. R v Nwadikwa-Jonathan - Middlesex Crown Court.

Perverting the course of public justice

R v Siluvai - Leading counsel. Disposal of murder evidence at the Central Criminal Court

R v Bridgeman - Successfully defended at allegation of making false statement at Blackfriars Crown Court.

R v Miyah - Successfully defended allegation of witness intimidation at Cambridge Crown Court. Submission of no case.

R v Campbell - False alibi at Harrow Crown Court.

R v Glaubes - Soliciting murder at the Central Criminal Court.

Court of Appeal

R v Foster - Successfully appealed against conviction on Robbery.

R v Gerard O'Halloran - Successfully appealed conviction on grievous bodily harm.

R v Mohammed Afzal - Successfully appealed conviction on public order offence.

R v Ramakrishnan - Successfully appealed conviction on offensive weapon.

R v. Satpal Ram - Murder. Racially attack man acted in self-defence.

R v. Padararu - Successfully appealed sentence on trafficking for prostitution. Attorney General's Reference (Jamal Sulieman) No 12 and 13 2007.

R v Rugless - Possessing a prohibited weapon. Defence of duress defence and s.51A Firearms Act exceptional circumstances.

R v Jamal - Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. R v Collins - Murder.

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Financial Crime and Confiscation

Overview

Lalith has acted in many cases of complex, high-value fraud.

Notable Cases

R v Daryadel - Leading counsel. Successfully defended Florida International Driving Licence fraud at Middlesex Crown Court

R v Bryan - Inner London Crown Court, money laundering.

R v McIntosh - Successfully defended social security fraud at St. Albans Crown Court.

R v Mumtaz - Bank fraud at Kingston Crown Court.

R v. Bamotra - Successfully defended VAT fraud at Ipswich Crown Court.

R v Nawaz - Post office fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

R v Sharma - Successfully defended conspiracy to defraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

R v Kokkoz - Successfully defended bank fraud at Wood Green Crown Court.

R v Hanif - VAT fraud at Liverpool Crown Court.

R v Akhtar - VAT fraud at Liverpool Crown Court.

R v Flynn - Bank fraud at Knightsbridge Crown Court.

R v Dhingra - Mortgage fraud at Southwark Crown Court.

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Background

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.

Latest News

Young Somali man walks free after exercising the right to silence and acquittal of Possession for intent to supply Class B drugs and assault on police

Lalith de Kauwe was instructed by Sudesh Bopitiya, and Mohammad Miah, SBG Solicitors.

28 January 2018

Rasta acquitted of revenge GBH

Lalith de Kauwe defended the middle aged Rastafarian who was unanimously acquitted of an alleged 'revenge attack'.

17 January 2018

Comment piece: why I specified the ethnicity of a defendant acquitted of kidnap, blackmail and robbery

Race has been highlighted here as it is particularly important to publicise the acquittal of black people.

20 December 2017

Young Asian man acquitted of kidnap, blackmail and robbery

Lalith de Kauwe of Garden Court Chambers was instructed by Natasha Patel, Lloyds PR Solicitors.

20 December 2017

Kurdish restauranteurs acting in self-defence were acquitted of affray and possession of offensive weapons on a submission of no case

Lalith de Kauwe represented the father and Tom Wainwright represented the son who were attacked by a group of men armed with weapons late at night as they closed their restaurant.

3 October 2017

Gujarati Mother suffering from depression and PTSD aquitted of threatening her abusive brother-in-law with a blade, and wounding with intent

Our Lalith de Kauwe secured verdicts of not guilty after a 6 day trial at Isleworth Crown Court. 

11 September 2017

Lalith de Kauwe secures unanimous acquittal for defendant charged with GBH

The defendant was represented by Lalith de Kauwe of Garden Court Chambers' Crime Team.

1 September 2017

Ahmed Khalil acquitted of affray on a submission of no case to answer

Lalith de Kauwe of Garden Court Chambers successfully defended Ahmed Khalil at Woolwich Crown Court.

18 July 2017

Lalith de Kauwe speaks at annual ASLLUK Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights Law Update

On 24 September 2016, the Association of Sri Lankan Lawyers in the UK (ASLLUK) held their annual Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights Update.

24 September 2016

Garden Court wins Legal 500 crime set of the year award

The winners in these awards are chosen by the Legal 500 as a result of thousands of interviews with firms, sets and counsel.

8 October 2015

East London woman acquitted of £1m cocaine importation

A woman duped into carrying £1m cocaine into the UK has been acquitted at Croydon Crown Court.

12 August 2014

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Education

  • BA (Hons) Law

Professional Membership

  • Association of Sri Lankan Lawyers in the UK (ASLLUK) - Chair
  • Sri Lankan Lawyers Tsunai Children Appeal - Trustee
  • Amnesty International

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