In January 2017, Brian Altman QC was appointed Lead Counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (to see The Times report of the appointment click here) and has led in the Inquiry’s 2017 hearings into historical allegations of child sexual abuse including those against Liberal MP Cyril Smith in Rochdale and in the 2019 hearings examining whether there was a culture of deference and tolerance by the political parties and the police towards persons of public prominence in Westminster.
Brian’s main specialisms are fraud and bribery, as well as corporate governance, compliance and regulatory work. A large part of his practice is advising prominent private and corporate clients, as well as the UK Government, on a wide range of high profile and esoteric issues. Brian’s clients have included several high net worth individuals, foreign multinational corporations and UK PLCs, and other organisations, as well as a Middle Eastern Royal Family. Typically, his instructions emanate from well-known and respected City solicitors, but also from in-house Counsel.
Brian has long and successful experience as leading counsel in the most serious, high profile cases of murder and terrorism, and has headed and advised teams of lawyers and investigators countless times over several years.
In June 2013, Brian ended his highly successful tenure as Treasury Counsel at the Old Bailey, having been Treasury Counsel for some 16 years, the last two-and-a-half of which had been as First Senior Treasury Counsel. During that time he advised on, and prosecuted, some of the best-known cases of the day such as the case of John Downey, alleged to be an IRA man guilty of the 1982 Hyde Park bombing, who had erroneously received a comfort letter indicating he was not wanted in the UK; the notorious abduction and murder of Milly Dowler and the killing of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy; the so-called ‘Babes in the Woods’ murder case – the killing of 9 year old Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in Brighton by Russell Bishop in 1986.
Over the years Brian has consistently been acknowledged to be ‘a leader in his field’ by both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. In 2007, Brian was nominated by Chambers & Partners as ‘Crime Junior of the Year’ and in 2011 as ‘Crime Silk of the Year’. In 2013, he was also nominated by Legal 500 as ‘Crime Silk of the Year’. Brian was also selected by Lawyer Monthly as outright winner of the 2015 “White Collar Crime Barrister of the Year – UK”.
The Times has named Brian in its law 100 list as one of the country’s 100 most influential lawyers. He was also listed by The London Evening Standard in the law section of the list of London’s 1000 most influential people for 2011, and in 2012 he was named by The London Evening Standard as one of London’s top three “Golden Legal Eagles” in crime.
The case of Ash-Smith was one of two historic cases recently featured in Episode 3 of the BBC4 documentary series “The Prosecutors” in which cameras were allowed into court buildings for the first time. The programme in which Brian was interviewed followed milestones in the preparation and prosecution of the case to its successful conclusion. (See BBC IPlayer: the prosecutors).
Brian also featured in the 2019 BBC2 documentary ‘The Babes in the Wood Murders: The Prosecutors’ about the successful quashing of Russell Bishop’s acquittal in 1987 for the murder of two 9 year old Brighton girls in 1986 and his retrial and conviction at the Old Bailey in 2018 in which Brian led for the prosecution. (See The Times review)
Media agencies often ask Brian for his opinion and input on current legal affairs, and he has been quoted and mentioned in many media articles. In a Channel 4 News online article by Patrick Worrall “Why is there no courtroom drama like the real thing”, dealing with the issue of cameras in the courtroom, Patrick wrote:
“Court reporters sit around and argue over top prosecutors the way that fight fans talk about boxers. Who’s the best, pound-for-pound? We all had our favourites. Mine was Brian Altman QC, vanquisher of Milly Dowler’s repulsive killer Levi Bellfield, among others. Mr Altman is an expert cross-examiner, breaking down the hardest of the hard men with patient, remorseless logic, trapping them with their own lies.” (See Channel 4)
Brian has been interviewed by Clive Coleman, the BBC legal affairs correspondent, for the Radio 4 Today programme broadcast on 4 April 2013 about the end of his tenure as First Senior Treasury Counsel and the workings of the Treasury Counsel system. (See BBC News )
He has been quoted in a BBC online article about televising court proceedings (See BBC news UK). Brian has also been quoted in a BBC online article about forensics. (See BBC news magazine)
He has been involved in two diplomatic missions to Oman to participate in workshops with Beyond Borders and the British Council to address with the Omani Attorney General and local prosecutors issues of public order, bribery, corruption and anti-money laundering.
In October 2014, Brian gave a talk to lawyers and insurers at the 2014 Meeting of the Swedish International Chamber of Commerce Financial Services and Insurance Group, which was held in London at the offices of DWF LLP, on “The UK Approach to FATCA Disclosure Liabilities and Client Confidentiality”.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was set up by the Home Secretary (the former Prime Minister, Theresa May) in 2015 to investigate institutional responses into allegations of child sexual abuse made against State and non-State institutions in England and Wales. This Inquiry is one of the highest profile and largest statutory inquiries ever to be established by the Government. By its finish it will have lasted in excess of six years.
There are now 15 ‘investigations’ involving aspects of national life such as the Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Westminster Institutions, the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC, Sir Cyril Smith MP and Rochdale, Nottingham and Lambeth local authorities, the Internet, Children in Custody, and others.
The Inquiry will end in 2021/2022 when it publishes its final report. It has attracted a large amount of domestic and international publicity and continues to do so.
Brian was appointed to the Inquiry as Lead Counsel in January 2017. As Lead Counsel to the Inquiry, Brian offers strategic and legal advice and oversight to the Chair and the Panel on all aspects of the Inquiry, as well as overseeing the large counsel team. He himself has been Lead Counsel in the Rochdale, Westminster, Wider Catholics, Lord Janner and Effective Leadership of Child Protection investigations and has appeared in all the hearings.
BBC news 10 January 2017
Daily Mail 10 January 2017
The Guardian 10 January 2017
The Brief (The Times) 11 January 2017
BBC News 9 October 2017
Sky News 24 October 2017
MailOnline 13 March 2019
The Guardian 12 March 2019
The Independent 11 March 2019
Brian has appeared in courts up to and including the Supreme Court.
- R v Sarwar & Ahmed  EWCA Crim 1886: Sentences for offences under section 5 Terrorism Act 2006 of individuals returning from Syria.
- R v Ekaireb  EWCA Crim 1936: Safety of a conviction for an historic missing body murder where the QC acting for the appellant was said to have been incompetent. The Court of Appeal, presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, refused to allow the appeal and refused also to interfere with the appellant’s sentence.
- R v D  1 W.L.R. 525: Adverse inferences from silence at trial in the case of an ADHD sufferer. The case dealt with the tension between the adverse inference from si-lence at trial and ensuring vulnerable defendants have a fair trial.
- R v Gnango  2 W.L.R. 17 [SC]: Landmark Supreme Court judgment by 7 Supreme Court Justices which by a majority of 6-1 overturned the decision of the 5 judge Court of Appeal  2 Cr.App.R. 345 on a novel and unique issue of joint enterprise and transferred malice in murder.
- R v Beesley & Coyle  1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 15: Court of Appeal decision whether or not psychological assessment is permissible at the appeal stage to overturn an inde-terminate sentence.
- R v Boggild & Others  4 All E.R. 1285: First prosecution appeal to Court of Ap-peal under the Football Spectators Act 1989.
- R v Stewart  2 Cr.App.R. 500: Guidance by the Lord Chief Justice in diminished responsibility cases where the abnormality is said to be alcohol dependency syndrome.
- R v Gian & Mohd-Yusoff  EWCA Crim 2553: Causation in homicide; half-time submissions; and hearsay.
Brian has prosecuted and advised the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) and the Attorney General in many serious cased both as Treasury Counsel and since involving:
- Advising solicitors in Singapore on behalf of a client charged with serious drugs offences in relation to trial and appeal proceedings taking place in Singapore
- Advising Police Scotland on a highly sensitive enquiry arising out of the RUC shooting of two men in a hayshed in Northern Ireland in the 1980s
- Murder, manslaughter
- Corporate manslaughter
- Breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
- Medical manslaughter
- Police misconduct
- War crimes
- Official secrets and terrorism
Brian’s defence work is highly regarded. He was instructed privately by David Sonn of Sonn Macmillan Walker to represent a businessman, RF, at Snaresbrook Crown Court in September and October 2015. RF was accused of a large-scale drugs conspiracy. RF was acquitted following successful arguments regarding the admissibility of evidence which led to RF’s discharge on one of two counts he faced on the indictment, and he was finally discharged on the remaining count following a successful submission of no case at the close of the prosecution case.
In 2015, Brian was instructed privately by Ian Kelcey of Kelcey & Hall of Bristol to represent LW, one of four serving police officers, accused of misconduct in public office arising from a high profile murder case in Bristol in July 2013. Brian’s client was acquitted by the jury unanimously after a seven week trial at Bristol Crown Court which ended just before Christmas 2015.
In June 2017, Brian, who was instructed privately by Ian Kelcey of Kelcey & Hall of Bristol, secured the acquittal of GD, a former senior police chief in Avon & Somerset, who was accused of sexually assaulting women on cross country trains in the west country. GD had been accused by 3 women of 5 sexual assaults, but, following a 5 day trial at Bristol Crown Court, the jury acquitted GD of all the charges.
He is regularly instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division to prosecute terrorism offences including, most recently, those arising from the conflict in Syria, and by Complex Casework Units of the Crown Prosecution Service in a variety of high profile, difficult, and often historic, homicide cases.
- Advising the Attorney General whether he should issue a nolle prosequi in the case of a well-known MP accused in the expenses scandal.
- Instructed by the DPP to review the convictions of 29 activists who blocked a coal train entering the Drax Power Station following the non-disclosure of the activity of undercover officer Mark Kennedy.
- Advice on potential blackmail charges against RK regarding payments to him for the removal of listings on his ‘Solicitors from Hell’ website.
- Consideration of the prospects of a prosecution in the UK of Saddam Hussein and Tariq Aziz for hostage taking during the 1991 Gulf War.
- Advice whether the author Rupert Allason should be prosecuted for perjury arising from his legal action against Random House, who published ‘The Enigma Spy’, the autobiography of the former Soviet agent, John Cairncross, which Allason claimed to have ghost-written in return for the copyright and 50% of the proceeds.
- Consideration of manslaughter charges against the Prison Service arising from the murder by a cellmate of Zahid Mubarek in Feltham Young Offender Institution.
- Advising the Attorney General as to whether the evidence of a senior HMRC lawyer to a parliamentary public accounts committee amounted to perjury.
- Opinion for the Solicitor General on the admissibility of the use of experts to dispel myths in rape and other sex cases.
- Advising the DPP and MOD whether there was evidence of breaches of the Official Secrets Act by British Army Major Stankovic while acting as an army interpreter in Bosnia.
- Advice on the justiciability of potential prosecutions in the UK under section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 of parties involved in “assisted suicides” taking place in Switzerland under the auspices of ‘Dignitas’.
- Advice to HM Customs & Excise regarding the proper interpretation of section 87 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, whether the exemption under that section applied equally to Customs (i.e. whether Customs officers were permitted to exceed national speed limits in enforcement situations).
- Opinion to ACPO on the advisability of a proposed national police procedure regarding the taking and use of evidential fingerprints, and the possible adverse implications of the proposed procedure for the successful prosecution of cases involving identification by fingerprint evidence.
Brian has recently led for the defence in:
- R v GD (Brian acted for a former Chief Superintendent who was accused of a series of sexual assaults on women on trains in the west country. Following a trial in June at Bristol Crown Court, GD was acquitted of all charges.)
R v AB (This was a multimillion pound money laundering case where Brian led for the main defendant. Despite the defendant pleading guilty to most of the charges only just before trial, and in spite of the amount said to have been laundered, Brian was able to secure a non-custodial sentence for AB).
- R v LW (This was a high profile case in which the prosecution alleged that three police officers and one PCSO had misconducted themselves in public office in July 2013 in Bristol in relation to their dealings with a man called Bijan Ebrahimi. Brian represented one of the officers, LW, who it was alleged had failed to deal properly with Ebrahimi’s 999 call one evening in which he alleged that his neighbour, Lee James, had assaulted him in his home and had accused him (wrongly) of being a paedophile. It was said also that LW had failed to deal with Lee James’ behaviour at the scene, in particular James’s threats to kill Ebrahimi. Thus the prosecution alleged against LW that she had failed to arrest Lee James, or deal adequately with his behaviour, and that she had failed to investigate Ebrahimi’s complaint all due to her alleged antipathy towards him. LW faced a further allegation relating to a separate occasion when she had refused to speak to Ebrahimi when he had tried calling her when she was on other duties. Within an hour Ebrahimi was murdered by Lee James with an accomplice offering him assistance. LW was acquitted by the jury unanimously after a seven week trial at Bristol Crown Court).
Selective high-profile terrorism and organised crime trials in which Brian has led for the prosecution include:
- R v Khalid Ali: Khalid Ali disappeared from London in 2011 and found his way to Afghanistan where he joined the insurgency, becoming a bomb-maker for the Taliban and the affiliated terror organisation, Al Qaeda. Ali returned to the UK in 2016 and in the following months began plotting to kill a policeman, military person or a politician in the Whitehall area which he had reconnoitered on two occasions before making his way to the area on 27 April 2017 armed with three knives in order to carry out his intentions. The plan was thwarted by armed police who intercepted Ali as he crossed Parliament Street. In later interviews with the police, Ali admitted to having been a Taliban bomb-maker and to having detonated over 300 IEDs to cause explosions. He freely admitted to being a trained Taliban fighter and a mujahid. He said he had returned to deliver a ‘message’ to the decision-makers in the UK. He said he had pledged his allegiance to successive leaders of the Taliban and to the leader of Al Qaeda. He resiled from this account at trial, claiming he had been captured by the Taliban or their affiliates and forced under threat of execution to make IEDs. He said that on 27 April 2017 he had only been carrying knives into town for his own protection and had not planned to carry out any acts of terrorism. The jury saw through his account and convicted him unanimously of making explosive substances and preparation of acts of terrorism.
- R v Hassane, Majeed, Hamlett & Cuffy: This was the first prosecution of a major Islamic State-influenced plot to kill in the UK. The terror plot was successfully disrupted by the Security Services and police in late September and October 2014 with the arrests of several individuals. Hassane and Majeed plotted to kill servicemen or policemen in drive-by style shootings with a firearm with which they had been supplied by Hamlett and Cuffy. The plot was directed and funded from abroad, most likely from Syria, and while Hassane, who in July 2014 had pledged his allegiance to Islamic State, led the plot chiefly from Sudan where he was studying medicine, Majeed who had been studying physics in London acquired the gun from Hamlett and he was tasked to arrange for an untraceable moped and a lock-up, while engaging in secret communications with his controllers abroad on a laptop. The plot received further impetus in late September 2014 when the official spokesman for Islamic State issued a fatwa to extremists in the West to kill.
- R v Khawaja, Bhatti & Ali: In this case Khawaja went to Syria in 2014 to join with Rayat al Tawheed, and IS-related jihadist insurgent force in Syria, where he received weapons training with a view to fighting. He returned to the UK after Rayat al Tawheed put out a false story on social media that Khawaja had been killed in battle in order to provide cover for his secret return. His cousin Bhatti assisted him to get back into the UK, and Ali had helped fund his journey into Syria. All pleaded guilty to a variety of terrorism offences.
- R v Sarwar & Ahmed: Ttwo young men pleading guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorism, having been in and returned from Syria after five months with Al Nusra, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group, fighting Assad’s regime.
- R v Begg: Former Guantanamo detainee charged with terrorism offences but dropped in light of material undermining the case.
- R v Downey: ‘On the run’ IRA man accused of 1982 Hyde Park bombing but not prosecutable having erroneously received a letter of assurance from the government in 2007 that he was not wanted in the UK.
- R v Naseer, Khalid & Ali: Convictions of Birmingham terror bomb plotters at Woolwich Crown Court in February 2013 following a 5 month trial.
- R v Lewington: Conviction of white supremacist for offences under the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006 and the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
- R v Boukhezer: Terrorism Act offences arising from the raid on Finsbury Park mosque.
- Operation Odin: International plot to bomb the Christmas market in Strasbourg.
- R v Rivas & Others: News of the World scoop about a plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham.
Murder & Manslaughter
Brian has advised in and prosecuted some of the biggest homicide cases of the day, and continues to do so as well as defend. He is currently instructed to lead for the prosecution in an application to overturn an acquittal and seek a retrial in a notorious case from 1987.
Brian has been instructed in several defence homicide cases, including privately.
- R v Russell Bishop: Brian led for the prosecution in this notorious murder case from 1986. Both victims were 9-year-old girls. Bishop led the little girls into woods within half a mile of their Brighton homes and strangled them to death and sexually assaulted them. He was charged and tried with the murders at Lewes Crown Court but acquitted in December 1987. However, in 1990 he went on to abduct, attempt to murder and sexually assault a 7-year-old girl for which he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the meantime, the murder case remained open and was reviewed over the decades. Eventually new scientific evidence led to the quashing of the acquittals by the Court of Appeal in December 2017 and the ordering of a new trial. In October 2018, the new trial began, and in December 2018 (in fact on the very same day 31 years after his acquittals) Bishop was convicted of the murders and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years. The case is the oldest to be tried under the double jeopardy rule.
- R v Hampton: This was the high profile case of the murder and sexual assault of 17 year old Melanie Road in Bath in 1984. The prosecution case was that she had been stabbed to death and sexually assaulted in a residential street as she returned home from a night out. A DNA sample provided by the defendant’s older daughter in 2014 following her arrest for a minor matter provided a familial match to DNA from the crime scene. The defendant voluntarily provided an elimination sample which led to his eventual arrest and charge. The defendant pleaded guilty to Melanie Road’s murder at Bristol Crown Court on 9th May 2016 and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 22 years. Brian was instructed to advise and represent the defendant by Kelcey & Hall Solicitors of Bristol.
- R v SW: High profile case of 15 year old girl of previous good character accused of secondary participation in murder by the beating of a man on the street with an older youth. W’s erstwhile best friend who had been present at the scene gave evidence against her of direct participation in the attack and of filming the event on her phone, and another young witness alleged she had later confessed to it, despite which W was acquitted by the jury within an hour.
- R v Collins: The defendant was one of three young men accused of involvement in a revenge knife murder following a gun attack on the home of a co-defendant. The defendant was convicted following a trial at the Old Bailey in 2014. The 24 year minimum term of his life sentence was later reduced to 22 years on appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Selective past high-profile trials in which Brian has led include:
- R v Ash-Smith: Historic murder of 16 year old Claire Tiltman who was savagely stabbed to death in a dark alley in Greenhithe, Kent, in January 1993.
- R v Ekaireb: The defendant was convicted in 2013 of the historic missing body murder of his pregnant wife who went missing without trace in October 2006.
- R v Desuze & Desuze: 16 year old Darrell Desuze pleaded guilty at his trial to the unlawful killing of 68 year old Richard Mannington Bowes during the 2011 summer riots in Ealing, having punched the deceased hard to the jaw, causing an unprotected fall on to his head, from which he died; he also pleaded guilty to violent disorder and to four burglaries during the same night’s disturbances. His mother, Lavinia Desuze, was later convicted of perverting the course of justice by destroying and disposing of the distinctive articles of clothing her son had been wearing that night.
- R v Bikubi & Bamu: This was the case of the murder of 15 year old Kristy Bamu, and assaults on two others of his siblings, on Christmas Day 2010 in the defendants’ east London flat during days of a process of deliverance or exorcism, which was grounded in the belief that Kristy and the other children were practising on another child of the family a form of witchcraft, known in the Congo as ‘kindoki’.
- R v Kanagasingham: Killing of well-known immigration and human rights solicitor David (also Sonia) Burgess who was pushed under a tube train at King’s Cross in October 2010 by the defendant who was convicted of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.
- R v Bellfield: 2011 convictions of serial killer Levi Bellfield for the 2002 abduction and murder of Amanda Dowler in Walton-on-Thames and 2008 convictions for the 2003/2004 murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.
- R v Sweeney: First joint Anglo-Dutch murder investigation funded by ‘Eurojust’ and conviction of canal murderer John Sweeney who killed and dismembered former American model and photographer, Melissa Halstead, in Holland in 1990, and disposed of her remains in a Rotterdam canal, and Paula Fields in London in 2000, whose dismembered body parts were found in the Regent’s Canal in 2001.
- R v Thomas, Alexander & Burke: Convictions for manslaughter of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square in September 2009 following homophobic abuse.
- R v Gnango: Murder of a Polish care worker who was killed in the crossfire of a gunfight between the defendant and another youth, where the defendant had not fired the fatal bullet and the victim had been the unintended target. Having passed through a 5 judge Court of Appeal, in December 2011, the Supreme Court, consisting of 7 justices, overturned the Court of Appeal’s judgment by a majority of 6-1, and restored the offender’s murder conviction on novel and unique issues of joint enterprise and transferred malice.
- R v Dixie: Croydon murder of model Sally Anne Bowman.
Some of Brian’s past high-profile homicide cases include:
- R v Mulcahy: Second offender prosecuted and convicted for the 1980’s railway murders; John Duffy who was convicted of the offences in the 1980s gave evidence for the prosecution against his former partner in crime, David Mulcahy.
- R v Suleyman & Others: First Damilola Taylor prosecution.
- R v Campbell: Missing body murder of Danielle Jones who was killed by her uncle.
- R v Morton: Missing body homicide from 1997 where the defendant had killed and disposed of the body of his wife, Gracia Morton.
While Brian’s main area of practice is in serious crime, his practice sees him regularly advising both private and corporate clients across a wide and esoteric range of commercial activities and issues, including on private prosecutions.
In addition to significant high net worth individuals, and household name corporations, Brian advised the Competition & Markets Authority (formerly the Office of Fair Trading) over several years in a high-profile UK-wide cartel investigation involving the construction industry, which concluded with the sentencing in September 2017 of Barry Cooper who had pleaded guilty to a cartel offence.
Brian has also advised the SFO in major blockbuster cases, and the FCA on insider dealing, and over the years he has defended, and advised, in large-scale fraud (such as the high profile Butte Mining PLC and Brent Walker frauds) including mortgage and tax fraud, insider dealing and other serious fraud and corruption cases.
- Advising a nationwide firm of solicitors on issues arising under the Official Secrets Act.
- A US based global aerospace corporation on issues of Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 compliance during a $100m acquisition of a UK company.
- City administrators involved in tracing the £100 millions of assets of a PLC were there have been previous allegations of fraud.
- A Swedish multinational company on suspected fraud during a £1.7bn reverse takeover involving a British PLC.
- Significant high net worth individuals following the judicial review of unlawfully obtained search warrants by a prosecution authority.
- A well known British construction and civil engineering PLC on compliance with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
- A global information services group on the Data Protection 1998 processes of a target company during due diligence in the course of the target company’s acquisition.
- The Bar Council on the application of the Bribery Act 2010 to Bar referral fees.
- A City firm of solicitors on judicial review proceedings arising out of the unlawful execution of a search warrant.
- Reviewing and reporting on corporate governance and the processes of a nationwide retail postal service organisation.
- LOCOG prior to the London 2012 Olympics on internet-based ticket-touting offences.
- A significant high net worth individual on issues arising from the phone hacking enquiry.
- “Stalwart of the criminal Bar who has attracted significant attention and commendation for his work at the helm of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.” “A class act. Very well prepared and in control of proceedings.” “He leaves no stone unturned and is a first-class advocate.” “He’s a stunningly good cross-examiner. He’s a regular prosecutor at the Old Bailey and brings that skill to this work. He’s unquestionably at the top of his game.” Chambers Bar Guide 2021 (Inquests & Public Inquiries)
- “He is an absolutely top silk and is very determined.” “Fearless in his approach to cases.” “A real class act who displays huge attention to detail.”
Chambers Bar Guide 2021 (Crime)
- “Strategic nous and his judgement is impeccable. He works incredibly hard and delivers, and is someone you can trust with absolute confidence on a difficult case.”
Legal 500 2021 (Inquests and Inquiries)
- “A leader who cuts through to the essence of a case. When you instruct him, he inspires huge confidence. A true luminary. Above all, in heavy business and regulatory crime and investigatory cases, he is truly fearless.”Legal 500 2021 (Business and Regulatory crime)“A real heavyweight at the Criminal Bar. He is very hard working and hard as nails. His attention to detail is excellent but does not stop him from making the broad points in a very jury-friendly manner.”Legal 500 2021 (Crime)
- “Pre-eminent silk whose experience as former First Senior Treasury Counsel cemented his status as a highly in-demand prosecutor of some of the most noteworthy murder and terrorism cases of recent years. He now boasts a flourishing defence practice and undertakes work in murder and drug trafficking cases among others. He is also noted for his skill in handling high-profile terrorism cases.” ”Brian’s attention to detail and mastery of the facts is second to none.” Chambers & Partners 2020 (Crime)
- Having had a long tenure as Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court, he has deep insight into the mechanics of prosecuting criminal cases. He is frequently sought out by global corporations to advise on the potential criminal ramifications of officer conduct and corporate transactions. His deep expertise in financial crime cases encompasses significant SFO and CMA investigations.” “A class act. His preparation for hearings is meticulous and he shows excellent judgement.” Chambers & Partners 2020 (Financial Crime: corporates)
- “One of the most formidable prosecution counsel in the country.” Legal 500 2020 (Crime)
- “He has an incredible legal and tactical brain.” Legal 500 2020 (Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations))
- “A very high-quality advocate who is assured and never fails to prepare his cases 100%. Both inquiries and juries are impressed by him as he doesn’t leave any stone unturned. He is an impressive all-round barrister at the top of his game.” Chambers & Partners 2019 (Crime)
- “Very bright and very experienced; he’s very good.” “He is a formidable advocate.” Chambers & Partners 2019 (Financial Crime: corporates)
- “A master of every detail in complex cases, he is a leading silk for prosecuting terrorism cases.” Legal 500 2019 (Crime (general))
- “He has absolute clarity of purpose and gets straight to the heart of any matter.” Legal 500 2019 (Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations))
- “He is highlighted by sources as a “force of nature” in serious criminal trials.” ‘Amazingly thorough and someone with an unrivalled attention to detail.” “If anyone will make it work, Brian will. You can’t stop him.” Chambers & Partners 2018 (Crime)
- “He is incredibly thorough but also quick to look at material we have sent him. He makes sure that he considers an issue from every possible angle before providing detailed, accessible, constructive and definitive advice.” Chambers & Partners 2018 (Financial Crime: corporates)
- “Interviewees praise him for his meticulous preparation and attention to detail.” “His work is just outstanding, and his judgement is impeccable, and he certainly deserves to be rated extremely highly.” “What I found when I was in court is that he commands an awful lot of respect because it’s deserved.” “He’s incredibly thorough and hard-working.” Chambers & Partners 2017 (Crime)
- “Has fabulous prosecution experience.” “Definitely a hard hitter.” Chambers & Partners 2017 (Financial Crime: corporates)
- “His experience as Treasury Counsel gives him an edge.” Legal 500 2017 (Crime (general))
- “International clients highly respect his expertise and insight into how the prosecution reacts” Legal 500 2017 (Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations))
- “Brian Altman QC is extensively experienced in representing high-net-worth individuals and large corporates, as well as prosecuting for the FCA and the CMA in large fraud cases. According to one peer, ‘He is extremely influential and carries significant gravitas’.” Who’s WhoLegal UK Bar 2017 (Criminal fraud)
- “For cold case murders, he is the go-to barrister because he is able to draw together all the small pieces to provide a coherent analysis, and he knows these cases so well that there is nothing the defence can come up with to outfox him. He is completely relentless, extremely personable and a great team player”; “He is a master of detail who never makes a mistake.” Chambers & Partners 2016 (Crime)
- “I have found him to be incredibly client service-orientated. He is very timely, and never lets us down as instructing solicitors. I haven’t met another barrister who has been as good in terms of client service in my career.” Chambers & Partners 2016 (Financial Crime)
- “He is very thorough, very detailed and very focused; he is a top lawyer.” “He has amazing style in proving his point.” Chambers & Partners 2015
- “Extremely well prepared and thorough in all that he does” and “no small detail escapes his attention.” Legal 500 2015
- “Formerly first senior Treasury counsel, he has handled the most high-profile case imaginable and is highly praised for his very fine cross examination skills. He is relentless. He gets results.” Chambers & Partners 2014
- “Having been appointed first senior Treasury counsel at the end of 2010, Brian Altman QC’s rise continues unabated. Recognised by peers and media sources alike as one of the top QCs working today, he prosecutes and advises across a range of serious issues.” Chambers & Partners 2013