Tom Copeland

Year of Call: 2013

Tom is a committed criminal defence barrister. He has experience as leading and junior counsel in serious and complex cases. He is hard working and has established a reputation for thorough preparation, effective trial advocacy and excellent client care.


To get in touch:​ Or you can contact the relevant​ Practice Team Clerks directly and they will be happy to assist with your enquiry.

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Criminal Defence


Tom is regularly instructed in cases of varying size and complexity across all areas of crime including:

  • serious violence,
  • firearms offences,
  • drug supply,
  • kidnap,
  • sexual offences,
  • public disorder,
  • fraud including associated confiscation proceedings.

He has a reputation for gaining the trust and respect of clients. Due to his previous work he has particular experience working with vulnerable clients.

He has appeared in court at all levels from the youth court to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

Notable Cases

Court of Appeal

R v Johnson (Wayne) [2017] EWCA Crim 189; [2017] 2 Cr. App. R. 6
Conveyance of List B or C articles into a prison: Authority on the court's approach to knowledge in order to establish this offence.


R v FA, Harrow Crown Court (2018)
s.18 assault: First defendant in a multi-handed "joint enterprise" case lasting two weeks involving a client accused of stabbing someone at a house party.

R v MM, Reading Crown Court (2016)
Armed robbery: The 21-year-old defendant was acquitted of an armed robbery at a mobile phone shop. The case involved cell-site evidence, call data, ANPR and DNA evidence.

R v FM, Blackfriars Crown Court (2016)
s.18 assault: Young lady accused of stabbing her husband's ex-girlfriend. The prosecution collapsed following a number of disclosure requests.

R v RO, Southwark Crown Court (2016)
Possession of an offensive weapon: The defendant was acquitted despite using a baseball bat during a road rage incident. The case was reported nationally in the media.

R v SO, Croydon Crown Court (2016)
Affray: The defendant had an eight-day trial in a multi-handed affray at a nightclub involving several bouncers. He was acquitted along with several co-defendants.


R v MC, Wood Green Crown Court (2018)
Conspiracy to transfer firearms: Led junior during a six-week trial representing a 17-year-old accused of conspiring to provide firearms to gang members during a feud.


R v FA, Swindon Crown Court (2017)
Supply of Class A drugs and s.18 assault: Young defendant from London accused of stabbing a rival drug dealer.

R v HM, Central Criminal Court (2016)
Supply of Class A drugs: The defendant was acquitted of supplying a kilo of cocaine on the basis that she had no knowledge of the enterprise. The case involved sensitive intelligence.

R v KD and others, Exeter Crown Court (2015)
Conspiracy: Negotiated a basis of plea and obtained a sentence of 9 years 3 months' imprisonment in a multi-million pound conspiracy to supply class A drugs where the defendant carried out a leading role. The case was reported by the BBC and local media.

R v F, Inner London Crown Court (2015)
Supply of drugs: Obtained a suspended custodial sentence following a guilty plea to supplying Class A drugs to enable a vulnerable defendant to undertake drug rehabilitation and receive mental health treatment.

Sexual offences

R v BB, Harrow Crown Court (2018)
Rape: A judge found there was no case to answer in a case against an 18 year old accused of participating in the gang rape of a drug user.

R v GH, Lewes Crown Court (2018)
Rape: A "Tinder rape" allegation involving a disabled complainant. The defendant was acquitted after arguing that the sex was consensual.

R v A, Maidstone Crown Court (2017)
Historic rape: Defendant was accused of several historic sexual offences dating back to the 1970's.

R v MS, Harrow Crown Court (2017)
Rape: Represented the first defendant in an alleged gang rape of a sex worker. This case involved cross-examination of the complainant's sexual history.

R v SZ, Birmingham Crown Court (2017)
Rape: A trial lasting seven days where the defendant taxi driver was accused of using drugs to facilitate the rape of a customer.

R v A, Wood Green Crown Court (2016)
Breach of SOPO and exposure: The judge excluded all identification evidence at trial based on police misconduct resulting in the prosecution dropping the case.

R v TW, Blackfriars Crown Court (2015)
Sexual assault: The defendant pleaded guilty to spraying semen on a female through a syringe on public transport. He received a suspended custodial sentence.


R v LK, Croydon Crown Court (2017)
Immigration fraud: Led junior my Marguerite Russell during a six-week trial. The defendant was accused of leading a criminal gang arranging sham marriages between Lithuanian women and Non-EEA nationals.

R v CK, Guildford Crown Court (2016)
Conspiracy to burgle: It was alleged the defendant was involved in 14 domestic burglaries. The case involved cell-site evidence and ANPR evidence. and resulted in a hung jury.


R v AS, Canterbury Crown Court (2017)
Violent disorder: The defendant was involved in an anti-fascist protest in Dover that was the subject of significant media attention.

R v CH, Snaresbrook Crown Court (2016)
Protest/Affray: A trial lasting several weeks involving the eviction of squatters by riot police triggering violence. The defendant was acquitted following a successful submission of no case to answer.


R v PW, Blackfriars Crown Court (2016)
Preventing the lawful burial of a body: The defendant received a lenient sentence in an emotive case involving the disposal of a body in a canal. The sentence hearing attracted significant media attention.

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Financial Crime and Confiscation


Tom is instructed in fraud cases of varying sizes including serious and complex fraud, money laundering and benefit fraud. He also accepts instructions in confiscation cases.

Notable Cases


R v JE, Southwark Crown Court (2018)
Fraud: Led junior in a case involving a large-scale boiler room fraud involving several companies and the sale of land.


R v FY, Reading Crown Court (2016)
A contested POCA trial resulting in a confiscation order of around £7,000 despite the prosecution seeking an order for around £800,000.

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Pro Bono Work

Before joining the Bar, Tom worked for several years in the legal and voluntary sector with a particular focus on the protection of human rights. He worked for the Asylum Support Appeals Project, Bar Pro Bono Unit and provided free advice at Croydon Law Centre.

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Tom completed his pupillage at Garden Court Chambers in 2014 and has quickly developed his own criminal practice beyond his year of call.

Before joining the Bar, he worked for several years in the legal and voluntary sector with a particular focus on the protection of human rights. He worked for the Asylum Support Appeals Project, Bar Pro Bono Unit and provided free advice at Croydon Law Centre.

Tom volunteered as a refugee mentor with the Terrence Higgins Trust. He also spent a year living in rural Uganda working for an international NGO called Restless Development coordinating a sexual health programme for youths.

Tom studied law at Reading University, which included a year of study in France, and was awarded First Class Honours. He then obtained a LLM in Human Rights Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).


In 2016, Tom was awarded a Criminal Bar Association Scholarship for excellence in advocacy.

In 2012, he was awarded a Queen Mother Scholarship from Middle Temple.


  • BPTC, BPP London (2013)
  • LLM Human Rights Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (2009)
  • LLB Law with French Law, 1st Class Hons, University of Reading (2007)

Professional Membership

  • Asylum Support Appeals Project
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit
  • Criminal Bar Association

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