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Christopher Paxton QC

Christopher Paxton QC

Call: 1991     Silk: 2019

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

  • “Clever, assertive and hardworking with genuine silk presence in court.”Legal 500 (2020)
  • “A passionate, enthusiastic prosecutor excellent at fostering a team spirit.”Legal 500 (2020)
  • “He’s very approachable, likeable and gets along well with judges. He gets great results.”Chambers UK 2020

Chris is cited in both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK directories. He is a highly regarded criminal advocate who both defends and prosecutes. He provides leadership when leading large teams, brings strategic oversight to complex issues and is a highly persuasive advocate. His client care is excellent and he has an approachable manner, instilling his clients with confidence in even the most challenging situations

His work covers a broad range of disciplines. He has extensive experience in murder, manslaughter, fraud, serious organised crime, serious sexual offences, road transport and regulatory work, and has appeared in a wide range of courts and tribunals. Many of his cases have involved very young and vulnerable witnesses, and he has represented many young and vulnerable clients. He has experience of prosecuting cases for the CPS (including the Complex Case Unit), DVSA, GMC and local authorities. Chris defends both private individuals and companies and has particular expertise in the road transport and regulatory field; he works throughout the England and Wales both in courts, tribunals and in an advisory capacity. He has also advised in a broad range of cases including IPCC submissions as well as utilising his forensic skills to assist in civil litigation.



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

Throughout his career Chris has appeared in many cases of murder, manslaughter and serious violence, appearing for both defence and prosecution. Many of the homicide cases have involved complex areas of pharmacology, psychopharmacology and psychiatry; Chris has also appeared in many more “conventional” homicide cases. In addition to court work Chris is also instructed to advise on complex cases at pre-charge stage.

  • R v Smith and others Leading for the Crown in a five month multi handed murder trial presenting a factually and legally complex case involving issues of joint enterprise and the concept of overwhelming supervening acts. [Press Link]
  • R v T and others Instructed to lead for the defence of a 17 year old charged with murder in a gang related killing.
  • R v L and another Leading for the defence of a 16 year old boy jointly charged with the murder and planned burglary of firearms. [Press Link]
  • R v Brinkley and X Instructed by CPS Complex case unit in case alleging murder and assisting an offender.
  • R v Turner Prosecuting an allegation of murder in a care home setting for those with mental health issues. Complex psychiatric issues reported upon by three experts including the issue of the defendant’s fitness. [Press Link]
  • R v X Providing pre charge advice in murder case in domestic setting.
  • R v D Leading for the Crown in a cold case murder, with the killing taking place 22 years before the trial
  • R v Adu and others Leading for the Crown in an attempted murder in which the victim was lured to a location before being attacked by three men carrying knives. Given the men denied presence the case was highly circumstantial and was based primarily upon cell site evidence, forensics and just one key witness. The case was factually complex with the added difficulty of presenting highly technical evidence (cell site) to a jury with simplicity and clarity. Convicted. Class A drug dealing background [Press Link]
  • R v B Leading for the defence. Defending a young man charged with an unprovoked attempted murder; trial included a number of young and vulnerable defendants.
  • R v Mosley Defending in this high profile and long-running murder trial involving several areas of expert evidence, of note: firearms/ballistics and reconstruction. [Press Link]
  • R v Prevost Leading for the Crown in an attempted murder case in which the defence of insanity was raised. Three psychiatrists gave evidence on the issue. Convicted. [Press Link]
  • R v Stollery and Parker Magowan Leading for the Crown in a murder and arson case in which there were no independent witnesses to the killing. Case built by piecing together circumstantial and forensic evidence. Convicted. Life sentence with a minimum term of 23 years. [Press Link]
  • R v Kumarathas Leading for the Crown in a murder case in a domestic setting in which the defendant stabbed her husband of thirty years. A number of complex psychiatric issues were raised concerning diminished responsibility (abnormality of mental functioning). Convicted: life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years. [Press Link]
  • R v Breeden Leading for the Crown, solicitation to murder. Convicted [Press Link]
  • R v C Leading for the Crown with Jamie Sawyer as junior: murder of young mother in presence of a 4 year-old child involving forensic evidence from several experts on DNA, footwear impressions, blood distribution and toxicology. The child was called (then aged 5) as a witness with the assistance of an intermediary. Convicted: life sentence with a minimum term of 23 years.
  • R v Gosling Defending. Section18 GBH upon a paramedic; psychiatric evidence presented during trial.
  • R v Cavalho Defended drug-related kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture.
  • R v Otto & Raeburn Prosecuted attempted murder of US serviceman
  • R v Jacobs Known as ‘the body in the lake murder’; defended husband who killed his wife and left the body in a lake. Complex legal/factual issues including psychiatric evidence. [Press Link]
  • R v M & others Cold case review firebombing/murder. Large and complex case with significant issues relating to disclosure and at that time novel law relating to hearsay provisions.
  • R v Belben A rare case of patricide involving a youth, issues of pharmacology and psychopharmacology concerning drugs and prescribed medication. [Press Link]
  • R v Brady Attempted murder – leading prosecution counsel.
  • R v J Explosives offence. Leading in this case in which the defendant was alleged to have built an IED which he sent to a family member. The device exploded causing damage and injury.
  • R v Bennett Murder – defence junior counsel
  • R v Allen Murder – prosecution junior counsel
  • R v Lawson Prosecution junior counsel in manslaughter where a man with learning difficulties was pushed into a lake at Lakeside shopping centre whilst another filmed the incident. [Press Link]
  • R v Alvin & others Defence counsel in murder case. Case concerned a drug dealing gang who executed a runner. Involved highly sensitive issues such as informants and supergrass evidence. Led to publication of book and national media attention.
  • R v M and Bailey 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 been involved in numerous cases involving serious sexual offending and is a robust, yet sensitive advocate. Nearly all of the cases he is instructed in involve significant third-party material and expert evidence. In the last five to ten years he has gained particular expertise dealing with cases of non-recent sexual allegations.

  • R v Spurdens Leading for the Crown in allegations of serious sexual offending and child cruelty. [Press Link]
  • R v Marks Defending senior health worker who was charged with committing sexual assaults against patients whilst on duty.
  • R v C Defending a primary school teacher who was charged with committing sexual offences against some of his students.
  • R v C Defending allegations of double rape with complainant suffering unique communication condition of selective mutism; intermediary used.
  • R v B Defending ex police officer on allegations of rape/serious sexual offences.
  • R v S Defending gang rape.
  • R v Rostami and others Prosecution counsel leading Matthew Sorel-Cameron in a 9-week trial involving allegations of child sexual exploitation, rape, child prostitution and drug supply against 5 defendants encompassing 23 counts.
  • R v Killick Prosecution counsel leading Matthew Sorel-Cameron in a trial alleging multiple counts of rape and sexual offences against a number of women. Convicted. [Press Link]
  • R v L Prosecution of very elderly defendant accused of allegations of sexual offending arising in the 1960s and 1970s. Issues over fitness to stand trial (dementia and bipolar disorder) raised with expert evidence called. Legal arguments mounted that the prosecution amounted to an abuse of process and the indictment be stayed given the age of the allegations and the loss of witnesses and material.
  • R v H Prosecution Counsel leading Laura Kenyon in a trial involving historic (1980s) sexual allegations against a then-serving Armed forces officer.
  • R v Thurley Prosecuting sexual offending arising in the 1960s.
  • R v Bull Prosecuting counsel leading Jamie Sawyer. Multi-complainant case involving expert evidence in osteopathy as defendant was practising osteopath when he committed several serious sexual assaults against his patients.
  • R v L Defending historic multiple rape allegations.
  • R v M Instructed at pre-charge stage by CPS Eastern Complex Case unit to advise upon this case, which lead to a nationwide enquiry by Suffolk Constabulary; one of the largest that at that time they had conducted. Involved allegations of inciting sexual activity and grooming. [Press Link]
  • R v X Prosecuting historic multiple rape allegations/domestic violence.
  • R v M Prosecuting multi-complainant rape/serious sexual offences.
  • R v B Prosecuting stranger rape/ kidnap.
  • R v S & others Defending multi-defendant, multi-count gang rape

Chris has appeared in some very high profile cases involving serious organised crime groups and gangs involved in violence, drug supply and/or sexual exploitation, both defending and prosecuting for the CPS and Eastern Region Complex Case unit.

  • R v X Defended in an East of England Complex Case Unit prosecution concerning an organised crime gang involved in a high value conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.
  • R v Brown and others Defending in multi-defendant case involving a significant conspiracy to defraud the elderly. [Press Link]
  • R v L Defending in £5 million pound heroin importation from Holland.
  • R v G Leading defence counsel (leading Nicola May); well-organised gang importing drugs worth many millions of pounds from Spain and Holland.
  • R v Rostami and others Prosecution Counsel leading Matthew Sorel-Cameron in a long and complex trial of five defendants involved in child sexual exploitation/drug supply.
  • R v Smith Prosecution Counsel of an organised crime group who committed an armed robbery upon a cash in transit van. Defendant fled to Spain and was arrested upon a European arrest warrant. Convicted. Sentenced to 20 years.
  • R v Y Prosecuted substantial importation of tobacco, involving expert evidence upon the transport industry.
  • R v Sharland and others Prosecuted importation of £6m worth of cannabis.
  • R v Avel Defended in an organised crime group case in which the core activity was brothel keeping/money laundering.
  • R v Y Prosecuted for East of England CCU theft of £800k from a security van; highly technical expert evidence was given on the security features of security van vehicles and their data tracking capabilities, together with medical evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • R v Collins and others Defending nationwide Class A drug supply.
  • R v Patten Leading defence counsel in multi-million-pound cannabis supply throughout the Eastern region.
  • R v R, B, T, C Prosecuted a lengthy multi-handed drugs/firearms case involving an undercover officer who infiltrated an organised criminal gang; involved expert cell site evidence and sensitive issues re disclosure (one defendant was a former police officer).
  • R v Naroei (Op Trident) Prosecuted a shoot-out between two rival gang members in Hackney; factually complex expert cell site and firearms residue evidence involved.

Chris has developed a strong practice in both defending and prosecuting 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 Defending in substantial UK wide bank card fraud case.
  • R v Brown and others Defending in multi-defendant case involving a significant conspiracy to defraud the elderly. [Press Link]
  • R v Archer Defence counsel leading Jane Oldfield representing a senior manager in a case involving theft/fraud against public sector employer. [Press Link]
  • R v Montgomery Defending trans-European MOT fraud. [Press Link]
  • R v McMurray 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 Leading defence counsel (leading solicitor advocate) in a 9-week multi million pound mortgage fraud involving mortgage brokers, agents and solicitors across the UK.
  • R v Youell and others Prosecution of multi defendants in £2m tax/VAT fraud in the construction industry. Expert evidence re tax law and forensic accountancy. Significant confiscation proceedings followed.

Road Traffic and Road Regulatory

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 England and Wales appearing in a variety of courts and before the Traffic Commissioner in various Public Inquiries. 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 Prosecuting death by dangerous driving.
  • R v Deadman Prosecuting double death by dangerous driving trial involving expert evidence on accident reconstruction and impairment through drugs.
  • R v King Serious injury arising from driving incident. Expert evidence on micro sleep and other related issues.
  • R v X Prosecuting death by careless driving.
  • Blueline Public Inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner representing the company.
  • R v Fletcher Defending causing death by dangerous driving whilst unfit through drugs.
  • R v RR Defending company and its director re breach of operator’s licence.
  • R v McMurray 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]
  • R v M Prosecuting death by careless driving, complex causation issues involved
  • Talbot Public Inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner representing the Transport Manager.
  • UP Ltd Public Inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner representing the company.
  • R v D Defending driver/company in relation to driver’s hours regulation breaches.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Over the last 25 years Chris has both defended and prosecuted in a wide range of regulatory fields both in an advisory capacity and before various courts and tribunals, including Trading Standards cases involving issues as broad as food safety and animal welfare. His experience has more recently seen him defend not only in the road and regulatory sector but also prosecuting for DVSA (formerly VOSA) as well as being appointed to present cases on behalf of the General Medical Council at the MPTS. His meticulous and analytical approach, as well as experience with dealing with expert evidence in diverse fields has allowed him to expand his practice into these areas. Some examples of this diverse range of work are set out below;

  • R v Mule & Alpha Schools Defended in case involving a workplace incident causing paralysis. Prosecution brought by the HSE.
  • R v McMurray 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 Ritchie Transport and others DVSA prosecution of a haulage company and individuals relating to an allegation of conspiracy to make false records (tachographs).
  • R v Griffin Prosecution Counsel. This was a joint prosecution between the CPS and the Health and Safety Executive and involved the death of a workman whilst at his place of work. 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 use of explosimeters.


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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Cardiff University LLB (Hons)


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EDSM Retention Panel member

Criminal Bar Association

Essex Bar Mess

South Eastern Circuit

Gray’s Inn


Professional Appointments

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Queen’s Counsel 2019

Head of Chambers Annexe (Chelmsford)

CPS Grade 4 (highest grade) and RASSO panel


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