Hugh French

Call: 2004

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Hugh is a very committed barrister. His advocacy is precise and measured, and he is a very effective cross-examiner. Persuasive and unflappable.

Legal 500 (2022)
Hugh French

Personal profile

Hugh French is a highly effective and persuasive Crime advocate who specialises in providing advice and representation in serious and complex cases.

He is ranked in the Legal 500 directory as a leading junior in crime and is reported as his advocacy is precise and measured, and he is a very effective cross-examiner. Persuasive and unflappable.

He is appointed to the highest grade (Grade 4) as a CPS Panel Advocate. He is listed on all three of their specialist panels (Counter Terrorism, Fraud and Serious Crime) as well as General Crime and RASSO panels, and is frequently instructed to provide charging advice in complex cases.

Hugh gains the confidence of clients quickly and is adept at providing clear and prompt advice to those who find themselves accused of serious crimes. He prosecutes serious cases of Fraud, Serious Violence and Sexual Offences.

Recommendations

Hugh is a very committed barrister. His advocacy is precise and measured, and he is a very effective cross-examiner. Persuasive and unflappable.

― Legal 500 (2022)

Serious Violence

Hugh is a CPS Panel Advocate (Grade 4) who is regularly instructed in cases of Serious Violence, especially in multi-defendant trials.

For the defence he has acted as junior counsel in allegations of murder and has appeared on his own, or as leading junior in respect of a wide range of allegations of Serious Violence.

Featured cases

  • R v S – Instructed to defend an individual for kidnap, dangerous driving and s18.
  • R v O – Instructed to defend an individual for the violent drug-related kidnap of a gang rival.
  • R v P – Instructed to defend an individual for two s18 offences, in a violent incident.
  • R v A – Instructed to defend a man accused of attempted murder in a gang setting.

See our Serious Violence team.

Sexual Offences

Hugh has worked as a member of the CPS RASSO panel for several years and has prosecuted cases of the utmost seriousness for the CPS.
He also appears for the defence in allegations of sexual abuse. His client care and knowledge of the disclosure regime means that he is regularly instructed in these cases.

Featured cases

  • R v M – Instructed to defend an individual accused of rape of a child under 13 and other offences against three other children.
  • R v W – Instructed to prosecute a former doctor for historic child sex offences who was given a life sentence. [Press Report]
  • R v A – Instructed to prosecute an individual for the historic attempted rape of a child.
  • R v O – Instructed to provide charging advice for the CPS in a complex familial sex case.
  • R v O – Instructed to prosecute an individual for the rape of someone he met at a night club.

See our Sexual Offences team.

Serious & Organised Crime

Hugh is a CPS Panel Advocate (Grade 4) who is on the Serious Crime Panel. He has worked in this area with the National Crime Agency, HMRC and he has considerable experience in dealing with sensitive material.

Hugh regularly appears as leading junior to represent those accused of serious criminality. His attention to detail and tactical acumen has often been praised by clients.

Featured cases

  • Op Diadem – Instructed as leading counsel in this prosecution of an international organised crime group for smuggling offences.
  • Op Decathlon – Instructed as leading counsel in this prosecution of an organised crime group for duty evasion.
  • R v M – Instructed as leading counsel for the defence in a substantial Class A drug conspiracy.
  • R v G – Instructed to defend an individual accused of being a part of a substantial drug conspiracy.
  • R v W – Instructed to prosecute an individual arising from EncroChat evidence.
  • R v S – Instructed to defend an individual following the largest ever seizure of cocaine in Hampshire and associate firearm offences.
  • Op Guppy – Instructed to provide charging advice and to prosecute a multi-handed drug conspiracy.
  • R v TA – Instructed to prosecute a prominent anti-semite for inciting racial hatred. [Press Report]
  • R v G – Instructed to prosecute, for the Specialist Crime Division of the CPS, a complex computer misuse allegation case.
  • R v M – Instructed as leading counsel in complex prosecution of a serial stalker.

See our Serious & Organised Crime team.

Fraud

Hugh has been instructed by the Specialist Fraud Division of the CPS for several years and regularly acts as a leading junior, especially in cases involving HMRC.

He also appears for the defence in fraud allegations and can advise individuals or companies who are under investigation or who have been charged.

Featured cases

  • Op Diadem – Instructed as leading counsel in the prosecution of an international organised crime group for duty evasion.
  • Op Decathlon – Instructed as leading counsel in the prosecution of a seven handed duty evasion case.
  • R v A – Instructed to prosecute three individuals for mandate fraud and associated money laundering.

See our Fraud team.

Human Trafficking

Hugh has acted for the defence in a high profile case of people smuggling which also involved individuals who had been made subject to orders depriving UK citizens of their nationality.

He also has experience in acting for vulnerable individuals whose have entered into criminality as a result of modern slavery.

Featured cases

  • R v B – Instructed to defend an individual accused of people smuggling.
  • R v M – Instructed to defend an individual relying on a s45 modern slavery defence.

See our Human Trafficking team.

Education

  • Bar Vocational Course
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • BA(Hons) Classics, Newcastle University

Memberships

  • CPS Specialist Panel Advocate (Serious Crime, Fraud, Counter Terrorism Panel) (Grade 4)
  • CPS Panel Advocate (RASSO) (Grade 4)
  • CPS Panel Advocate (General Crime) (Grade 4)
  • CBA
  • South Eastern Circuit

Languages

  • Spanish (conversational)
  • French (basic)