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Christopher Paxton QC

Christopher Paxton QC

Call: 1991     Silk: 2019

T: 0207 520 6000    E: chambers@18rlc.co.uk

Chris has considerable experience in defending and prosecuting both as a leading and led junior across a broad range of disciplines and has experience in fraud, road transport and regulatory work, manslaughter, murder, serious organised crime and serious sexual offences in a wide range of cases and before various courts and tribunals. Chris prosecutes for the CPS, DVSA, GMC and local authorities. Chris defends both private individuals and companies and has particular expertise in the road transport and regulatory field and works throughout the UK both in court and in an advisory capacity.  He has also advised in a broad range of cases including I.P.C.C submissions and brings his forensic skills to assist in civil litigation. He has developed particular expertise in prosecuting and defending cases of sexual allegations involving the very young and vulnerable.

In recent years he has acted as a leading junior in a number of cases including murder, organised crime, fraud and sexual offences and his diverse practice is such that he is said to be able to turn his hand to any type of case.



Homicide and Violent CrimeSexual OffencesOrganised CrimeFraud & Proceeds of Crime (POCA) Road Traffic

Throughout his career Chris has been involved in many cases involving serious violence and some high profile murder cases appearing for both prosecution and defence. Some cases have involved difficult areas of pharmacology and psychopharmacology as well as more “conventional” homicide cases.

  • R v Mosley (2015) Led by John Black QC. High profile and long running murder trial involving several areas of expert evidence, especially firearms/ballistics and reconstruction.  Press Link: ITV News
  • R v Czapla (2014) Leading for the Crown with Jamie Sawyer as junior: murder of young mother in presence of her 4 year-old child involving forensic evidence from several experts on DNA, footwear impressions, blood distribution and toxicology. Convicted: life sentence with a minimum term of 23 years. Press Link: East Anglian Daily Times
  • R v Gosling (2013) Defence s18 upon paramedic:  psychiatric evidence presented during trial.
  • R v Cavalho & Others (2013) Defended drug related kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture.
  • R v Otto & Raeburn (2012) Prosecuted attempted murder of US Serviceman.
  • R v Jacobs (2012) ‘Body in the lake murder’: defending husband who killed his wife and left the body in a lake:  complex legal/factual issues including psychiatric evidence. Press Link: BBC
  • R v M & others (2010) Cold case review firebombing/murder:  Large and complex case with significant issues re disclosure and at that time novel law relating to hearsay provisions.
  • R v Belben (2009) Patricide involving youth and issues of pharmacology re drugs and prescribed medication. Press Link: BBC
  • R v Brady (2008) Attempted murder – leading prosecution counsel.
  • R v Bennett (2006) Murder – defence junior counsel
  • R v Allen (2006) Murder – prosecution junior counsel
  • R v Lawson (2006) Prosecution junior counsel in manslaughter where man with learning difficulties pushed in to lake at Lakeside shopping centre whilst the incident was filmed. Press Link: BBC
  • R v Alvin & others (2005) Defence counsel in murder case: background of drug dealing gang who executed a runner. Involved highly sensitive issues such as informants and super grass evidence. Led to publication of book and national media attention.
  • R v Mayo and Bailey (2004) Murder – junior defence counsel. Mobile phone knife-point robbery resulting in the death of the victim. Considerable legal argument over the issue of principal and secondary party.

Chris has always been involved in cases involving sexual offending and is a robust, yet sensitive advocate. Nearly all of his cases involve significant third party material and expert evidence. In the last few years he has gained particular expertise dealing with cases of non recent sexual allegations. He deals effectively with cases involving the very young and vulnerable and takes particular care in ensuring that all those involved are able to participate.

  • R v X and others (2016) Leading junior prosecuting case of child sexual expolitation.
  • R v Thurley (2016) Prosecuting sexual offending arising in the 1960’s.
  • R v X (2016) Defending multi defendant rape /imprisonment case.
  • R v L (2015) Defending historic multiple rape allegations.
  • R v X (2015) Prosecuting historic multiple rape allegations / domestic violence.
  • R v C (2014) Defending double rape with complainant suffering unique communication condition:  intermediary used.
  • R v S (2014) Defending gang rape.
  • R v M (2013) Prosecuting multi complainant rape / serious sexual offences.
  • R v S (2013) Defending multi-count sexual allegations
  • R v B (2012) Prosecuting stranger rape / kidnap.
  • R v B (2012) Defending ex officer on allegations of rape/serious sexual offences.
  • R v Marks (2012) Defending senior health worker who whilst on duty committed sexual assaults against patients.
  • R v S & Others (2011) Defending multi-defendant, multi-count gang rape.
  • R v Bull (2008) Prosecuting counsel leading Jamie Sawyer: multi-complainant case, expert evidence in osteopathy as defendant was practising osteopath.

Chris has been involved in some of the highest profile cases involving serious organised crime and gangs who are involved in either violence and/or drug supply, prosecuting for CPS and Eastern Region Complex Case unit as well as defending.

  • R v Rostami and others (2016) Leading junior in child sexual exploitation/drug supply case.
  • R v Y (2016) Prosecuted substantial importation of tobacco.
  • R v Sharland and others (2015) Prosecuted importation of £6m worth of cannabis.
  • R v X (2015) Defended an East of England Complex Case Unit prosecution concerning an organised crime gang involved in conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.
  • R v Avel (2015) Defended brothel keeping.
  • R v Y (2015) Prosecuted for East of England CCU theft of £800k from a security van: significant expert evidence on security features of such vehicles and their data tracking capabilities, together with medical evidence of post traumatic stress disorder.
  • R v Brown and others (2014) Defending in multi-defendant case involving a significant conspiracy to defraud the elderly. Press Link: Telegraph
  • R v Collins and others (2013) Defending nationwide class A drug supply.
  • R v Patten (2012) Leading defence counsel in multi-million pound cannabis supply.
  • R v R, B, T, C (2010) Prosecuted a lengthy multi-handed drugs/firearms case involving an undercover officer who infiltrated the gang:  expert cell site evidence, sensitive issues re disclosure (one defendant was a former police officer).
  • R v Naroei (Op Trident) (2010) Prosecuting shoot-out between two rival gang members in Hackney: factually complex and expert cell site and firearms residue evidence involved).
  • R v Ghali (2008) Leading defence counsel: well organised gang importing multi million pounds worth of drugs from Spain and Holland.

Chris has developed a strong practice in both prosecuting and defending in crimes involving corporate and non-corporate fraud, including fraud in the road haulage, construction and mortgage brokering industries. Many such cases involve expert evidence in forensic accounting, auditing and other areas. He has also been involved in cases involving significant sums stolen from employers in both the private and public sectors.

  • R v X (2015) Defending in substantial UK wide bank card fraud case.
  • R v Archer (2014/15) Leading junior defending manager in a case involving theft/fraud against public sector employer. Press Link: Daily Mail
  • R v Montgomery (2013) Defending trans-European MOT fraud. Press Link: Daily Mail
  • R v McMurray (2013) Defending tax fraud in a road haulage business involving income tax, national insurance and VAT fraud in excess of £1m.
  • R v Jordan and others (2012) Leading counsel (defence) in a 9 week multi million pound mortgage fraud involving mortgage brokers, agents and solicitors.
  • R v Youell and others (2006) Prosecution junior, multi defendants in £2m tax/VAT fraud in construction industry. Expert evidence re tax law and forensic accountancy. Significant confiscation proceedings followed.

In the last several years road transport and associated regulatory work has become a distinctive feature of Chris’s practice and it has taken him across the UK appearing in a variety of courts and before the Traffic Commissioner. He is sought after in this field whether by the CPS, Police Road Death investigation teams or private individuals and companies.. His work has a particular emphasis on road death cases as well as regulatory offending and often includes complex and technical expert evidence in accident reconstruction, tachograph analysis and sleep deprivation.

  • R v X (2016) Prosecuting death by dangerous driving.
  • R v King (2015) Serious injury arising from driving incident. Expert evidence on micro sleep and other related issues.
  • R v X (2015) Prosecuting death by careless driving.
  • R v Fletcher (2014) Defending causing death by dangerous driving whilst unfit through drugs.
  • R v RR (2013) Defending company and its director re breach of Operator’s licence.
  • R v McMurray (2013) Defending 8 week gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety charges. Case concerned running of company and its failure to protect its drivers which resulted in a fatal road traffic incident. Expert evidence on tachographs, road traffic accident reconstruction and sleep disorders.  Press Link: Daily Mail 
  • R v M (2013) Prosecuting death by careless driving, complex causation issues involved.
  • R v Talbot (2012) Public Inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner.
  • R v D (2012) Defending driver/company as regards driver’s hours regulation breaches.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Since his call Chris has been involved in various regulatory work starting with Trading Standards cases involving issues as broad as food safety and animal welfare. More recently his practice has developed to road transport and associated regulatory work whether in a contentious setting or an advisory role. He has particular expertise in Driver hours regulations, Operators Licences and the Haulage industry. Chris also prosecutes on behalf of VOSA and has represented both individuals and companies in the transport sector.

Health & SafetyTax & VAT

Chris has dealt with health and safety in a number of cases but especially those connected to road transport.

  • R v Mule & Alpha Schools (2015) Defended in case involving work place incident causing paralysis.
  • R v McMurray (2013) Led by Q.C. Defending in 8 week trial involving gross negligence manslaughter/HSE breaches. Experts in several areas including accident reconstruction, sleep, HSE and Tachograph regulations/haulage industry.
  • R v Griffin (2007) Prosecution: Junior Counsel. This was a joint prosecution between the Crown and the Health and Safety Executive and involved the death of a workman whilst at his place of work. Accordingly the case involved allegations of manslaughter and breaches of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974. Key issues of the case related to gross negligence and the employer’s duty of care as well as complex scientific evidence relating to work practices in confined spaces and the used of explosimeters.

Chris has dealt with a number of cases involving tax and VAT fraud which have included substantial sums evaded.

  • R v McMurray (2013) Defence, Tax fraud case in a road haulage business involving income tax, national insurance and VAT fraud in excess of a million pounds.
  • R v Frost (2012) Defence, VAT fraud. New business submitting false VAT reclaims.
  • R v Youell and others (2006) Prosecution junior, multi defendants in a £2 million tax/VAT fraud in construction industry. Expert evidence re tax law and forensic accountancy. Significant confiscation proceedings followed.


Legal 500:

    • Tier 1, Crime, Leading Silks (London)(2021)
    • Tier 1, Crime, Leading Silks (South Eastern Circuit)(2021)
    • Tier 1, Crime, 2019 Silks (London) (2020)
    • Tier 1, Crime, Leading Silks (South Eastern Circuit)(2020)
  • “Absolutely a go-to silk at the criminal Bar.” – Legal 500 (2021)
  • “He dissects the case and looks into the detail. His trial preparation is quite exceptional and his attention to detail is certainly very high.” – Chambers UK 2021
  • “He has always been extremely able. He is a really good cross-examiner and juries love him.” – Chambers UK 2021
  • “A passionate, enthusiastic prosecutor excellent at fostering a team spirit.” – Legal 500 (2020)
  • “Clever, assertive and hardworking with genuine silk presence in court.” – Legal 500 (2020)
  • “He’s very approachable, likeable and gets along well with judges. He gets great results.” – Chambers UK 2020
  • A very good cross-examiner” – Legal 500 2017
  • A charming and effective advocate with tremendous energy” – Legal 500 2016
  • Bright, energetic, experienced, and confident, and very assertive in court.” – Legal 500 2015
  • Consistently excellent” – Legal 500 2014
  • Can turn his hand to any type of case” – Legal 500 2013


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LLb (Hons): Cardiff University


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Criminal Bar Association

Essex Bar Mess

South Eastern Circuit

Gray’s Inn


Professional Appointments

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CPS Grade 4 (highest)


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Leading Silk in the Legal 500 and Chambers UK Bar directories (see Recommendations)