Brendan Morris

Call: 1985

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Great strength in depth both in relation to their expertise and breadth of experience from juniors through to their QCs.

Legal 500, 2022
Brendan Morris

Personal profile

Brendan is a specialist Regulatory & Professional Disciplinary barrister, advising prosecution and regulatory authorities on the development and implementation of legal professional privilege policy and internal privilege protocols.

He is instructed to act as Independent Counsel, to plan, manage and supervise teams of independent counsel engaged in large-scale reviews of privileged material in complex fraud investigations.

He also advises on matters of waiver, joint and common interest privilege and the application of the crime-fraud exception.

Brendan delivers lectures and provides legal updates to the SFO, CPS, HMRC, ICO, NCA and Environment Agency on matters of legal professional privilege.

Regulatory & Professional Disciplinary

Brendan’s primary area of work is Regulatory & Professional Disciplinary with a focus on legal and professional privilege.

Featured cases

  • Independent Counsel for SFO (2012-2022) – Instructed to act as Independent Counsel for the SFO to carry out reviews of legally privileged material and advise on issues relating to the crime-fraud exception and collateral waiver in the following cases:
    • Azil Nadir.
    • Alstom Plc.
    • G4S /Serco Group Plc.
    • Soma Gas and Oil.
    • Sarclad Limited.
    • Rolls Royce.
    • Smith and Ouzman.
    • Tesco Plc.
    • Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd.
    • GlaxoSmithKline Plc.
    • Ethical Forestry Limited.
    • Jones Lang LaSalle Ltd.
    • Balli Group Plc and Balli Steel Plc.
  • Advice to ICO (2018-22) – advised the ICO on its statutory powers in relation to the seizure of legal privilege material and drafted the ICO’s internal policy on the management of legally privileged material.
  • Advice to CPS, NCA and Police (2014-2022)
    • NCA – Advising the NCA on the fraud exception arising out of an investigation by the Swiss A-G
      Operation Olympus – Advising the MPS on matters of disclosure and waiver in the investigation into the Post Office Ltd investigation into the historical convictions of postmasters/mistresses.
    • Operation Maple – Advising the TVP on matters of litigation privilege in relation to the collapse and deaths at the Didcot Power Station.
    • Operation Beddingham – instructed to advise the CPS on policy in relation to legal privilege within the context of litigation.
    • Operation Greenking – Independent Counsel in a £40 million VAT fraud advising on the crime-fraud exception and collateral waiver.
  • IPCC Hillsborough Investigation (2015) – Instructed to devise a protocol and advise on the handling of over 2 million documents, including privileged material created in inquiries, inquests, and legal proceedings since the original coronial inquest in 1991. Documents now held by 30 different government departments and private bodies involved in or connected with the proceedings, and obtained for different reasons and held in different legal capacities.
  • Advice to Government Legal Department [formerly Treasury Solicitors Dept.] (2016) – Instructed to advise on journalistic privilege and legal professional privilege in the context of immigration cases.
    Advice to Competitions and Mergers Authority (2016) – Instructed to advise as Independent Counsel arising out of a disputed claim of privilege in a complex cartel case.
  • Advice to HMRC (2008-2021)
    • HMRC Currently instructed to advise and assist in the development of HMRC policy in relation to legal privilege and the management of legal challenges to privilege.
    • Operation Bulkhead – Review of over 300,000 privileged documents carried out over four years into a £220 million film tax fraud.
    • Operation Ballpark – Review of 500,000 privileged documents in a VAT fraud.
  • Advice to Insolvency Service (2018-2022) – Advises on issues of privilege and waiver in the context of insolvency, including the Boris Becker case.
  • Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (2014-2022) – Instructed to devise a protocol and review materials held by the department in the context of fraudulent trading and bankruptcy.
  • Pensions Regulator (2015-2021) – Instructed to carry out a review and advise on the effect of liquidation on the right to waive privilege once a liquidator is appointed, in a case involving pension liberation.
  • Advice to Environment Agency (2014-2022) – Instructed to advise on a variety of issues relating to privilege in a number of different investigations relating to Environmental Offences.
  • Advice to Marine Management Organisation (2014) – Instructed to devise a protocol to deal with the review of privileged material in an investigation relating to breaches of deep-sea permits authorising the search for treasure trove.

See our Regulatory & Professional Disciplinary team.

Serious & Organised Crime

Brendan has been instructed over the years by the SFO and CPS to prosecute in a diverse caseload including cases involving multi-agency operations, undercover officers, long-term surveillance, cell site analysis, facial mapping, and the handling of sensitive material and complex issues of disclosure.

Featured cases

  • R v S & S & S (2017) – Prosecuting SFO junior in a 6-month £72m ‘Ponzi Fraud’ where funds were purportedly invested to develop the Olympic Village, London, but were diverted and dissipated on luxury houses, cars and yachts.
  • R v R & D & L & J & J (2016) – UK based Polish OCG operating a well-organised and large-scale cigarette smuggling operation over a year. Travel schedules, cell site evidence, text and telephone traffic, ANPR sightings, surveillance and CCTV evidence were used to recreate the defendants’ movements and interactions, with Polish delivery lorries and a remote warehouse used to distribute the loads.
  • R v O (2015) – Prosecution of large- scale Nigerian based organisation trafficking young girls from Nigeria to Europe via the UK for prostitution.
  • R v O & Ors (2014) – UK and Dutch based organised crime group involved in multi million pound operation to import Class A drugs into the UK over a period of six months.
  • R v D & Ors (2013) – 6-month joint surveillance operation with the US Dept. of Homeland Security, deploying UK and US undercover officers in Guam to uncover a conspiracy to stem the flood into the UK and US of counterfeit designer goods from China.
  • R v D & Ors (2012) – 8-handed conspiracy to launder £31m drug trafficking proceeds invested in UK manufacturing products and exported to Pakistan.
  • R v M & T (2006) – £5m blackmail of a shipping line by disgruntled employees who sought to use videos of the dumping of waste at sea alleged to have been authorised by the company.

See our Serious & Organised Crime team.

International

Brendan has been instructed in the following cases with an International dimension:

Featured cases

  • Jersey: Instructed to appear before the Attorney General of the Bailiwick in Jersey to obtain video recorded evidence from offshore bank employees for use in a UK fraud trial.
  • Holland: Instructed to travel to Holland to liaise with Dutch police about the deployment of material obtained from Dutch based human intelligence sources in the UK.
  • France: Instructed to liaise directly with French police to obtain documentary evidence for use in the UK in the trial of an Algerian OCG who were moving funds and people within Europe.

See our International team.

Education

  • BA Economics, University of London, 1983
  • Diploma in Law Polytechnic of Central London 1982

Professional appointments

  • SFO Grade A (2013)
  • CPS Specialist Panels Fraud, Serious Organised Crime, Proceeds of Crime Grade 4 (2014)
  • CPS General Grade 4 (2012)

Memberships

  • Criminal Bar Association
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Middle Temple

Publications

  • Legal Professional Privilege: overview for criminal lawyers: Practical Law
  • Search warrants and privileged items: Practical Law
  • Documents that may not attract advice privilege in a criminal context: checklist: Practical Law
  • Documents which may attract advice privilege in a criminal investigation: checklist: Practical Law
  • Documents which may or which may not attract litigation privilege in criminal investigations: checklist: Practical Law
  • Guide to legal professional privilege: checklist: Practical Law

Other experience