Dean Armstrong QC

Year of Call: 1985  Silk: 2014  


Dean Armstrong QC was first called to the Bar in 1985. However, he left to pursue a career in company and commercial law in the City, but returned to the Bar after 6 years in 1991, since when he has developed a strong, exclusively defence practice.

Such is his combination of experience that he is equally at home in matters with either a criminal or civil bias and as such, is able to advise on the whole picture which is particularly valuable when clients require assistance on all the potential consequences.

Dean is a heavyweight in crime and financial matters, and has been instructed in many of the last decade’s most high-profile, serious, and complex cases. Dean successfully defended a client charged in the trial over alleged misconduct in the running of the now defunct News of the World newspaper, and has advised clients involved in the ‘cash for honours’ investigation, as well as the Leveson Inquiry. Dean appeared as counsel for Vincent Tabak in the murder trial of Joanna Yeates, and represented Anne Darwin, wife of John Darwin, the canoeist who faked his own death.

In recent times Dean has developed a strong Appellate practice securing success in the Court of Appeal on many cases and successfully appealing a referral from the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Dean’s City background enables him to understand what it is like to work in the demanding world of financial institutions, and to be able to see the wider picture from a practical perspective. He has been instructed in many high profile fraud allegations including, amongst others, Asil Nadir. This combination of legal and commercial experience makes Dean ideally suited to be instructed by those working in financial services.

Cases in which Dean leads the defence are often noteworthy for their uniqueness. Within the last year, Dean successfully defended the alleged principal on a drugs conspiracy charge described as ‘the real life “Breaking Bad”. He conducted the first fully paperless trial in the UK, and has appeared in a large scale money laundering trial inextricably linked with the political and social situation in Iran.

Dean is a regular commentator on TV and radio for both Sky and BBC on matters of serious crime and fraud.

Dean is ranked as a leader in the field in the current editions of both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. He has been classed as a leader in the field in the principal legal directories for more than a decade, and has twice been nominated for the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards.



  • R v W: Represented a defendant in the first ever joint prosecution conducted by HMRC, CPS, and FSA.
  • R v S: Represented a banking executive accused of conducting a multi-million pound money laundering scheme.
  • R v K: Represented the CEO of an ethnic minority housing association which had become insolvent owing substantial sums of money. The case involved complex questions of company law and procedure.
  • R v W: Represented a defendant accused of a multi-million pound boiler room fraud in a case in which 2 additional co-defendants sought to blame my defendant for the crime.
  • R v A: Represented the principal defendant in a multi-million pound money laundering conspiracy.
  • R v O: Represented the defendant in a multi-million pound fraud in the construction industry. The case required extensive specialist knowledge of tax in the construction industry.
  • R v P: Represented a defendant in a multi-million pound money laundering conspiracy in which the defendant is an Iranian dissident. Required extensive knowledge of Hawala banking, matters of international law, and the political and social situation in Iran.
  • R v N: Represented the defendant, a former business tycoon, accused of a £60 million theft.
  • R v T: Represented a defendant accused of the murder of a young woman in Bristol.
  • R v S-G: Represented a defendant accused of the trafficking of a significant amount of drugs. The accused spoke no English and was elderly.
  • R v S: Represented a defendant who was a member of the security team who was alleged to have conspired with Rebekah Brooks and other to pervert the course of justice in the News International and News of the World phone hacking investigations.
  • R v K: Representing a defendant in a case described as the “real life ‘Breaking Bad'”.

Trading Standards

Dean is rare amongst criminal advocates in that he has had widespread experience in advising City and commercial institutions. During that period he encountered many issues involving copyright and passing off actions as well as a wealth of intellectual property matters. This allowed him when he came back to the Bar to be a specialist in those areas where civil and criminal matters crossover. He can see the whole picture and can adopt his approach and plan his strategy accordingly.

A notable example of his work in the field of trading standards was where he was retained to advise an individual who was under threat of an action from trading standards from a multinational worldwide games distributor who as well as launching a civil claim potentially worth billons of pounds, sought to encourage an action against Dean’s client by trading standards. This matter received nationwide publicity. Dean’s advice allied with his tactical acumen and technical legal knowledge resulted in a highly favourable civil outcome, notwithstanding the limitless resources of the other side, and more importantly, no prosecution by trading standards.

Directory Quotes

  • “Elegant in court and very persuasive.” Chambers & Partners
  • “A class act with devastatingly effective powers of cross-examination.” Legal 500


  • MA (Cantab)
  • Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge