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James Holland

James Holland

Call: 2004

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

James is a criminal defence practitioner, a specialist at defending highly complex financial prosecutions and allegations of serious violent crime.   James is able to master complex and voluminous materials quickly and efficiently and adopts a client-focused approach to all cases.  He is a tenacious advocate and skilled legal draftsman, diligent, and approachable but fierce and uncompromising in the defence of his clients’ interests in court.


Fraud & Corporate CrimeHomicideViolent CrimeOrganised Crime

James is experienced, both as sole counsel and led junior, in defending allegations of large-scale fraud, money laundering and other financial crime. James has a rigorous and intellectual approach to cases and is frequently instructed on behalf of defendants who find themselves first on the indictment in relation to highly complex allegations.

  • R v DS (2016) Led junior in £8m money laundering with attendant regulatory offences against a barrister working as compliance officer for a currency wholesale business: acquitted of both money laundering counts.
  • R v MP (2016) Defended large-scale money laundering of the proceeds of mandate and other frauds on behalf of an international organised criminal network.
  • R v KR (2015) Successfully defended money laundering linked to mandate frauds over £40m when no evidence was offered following 3 weeks of legal argument.  This was the second in a series of NCA prosecutions. Another defendant represented at an earlier trial was also discharged when the Crown offered no evidence.
  • R v RT (2014) Led junior in allegation of €130m money laundering through bureau de change.
  • R v SK (2014) Led junior in allegation of €170m money laundering through bureau de change.
  • R v KS (2014) Allegation of £40m money laundering linked to mandate frauds which collapsed mid-trial, due to defence exposure of multiple and systemic failures of the NCA .

James regularly acts for clients charged with murder and frequently represents those whose cases require a significant level of preparation. James is very conscious of the need to marry hard work and tenacity with good client care.

  • R v AZ (2017) Led junior in allegation of joint enterprise murder.
  • R v RM (2017) Led junior in joint enterprise murder and attempted murder where the client was alleged to be a joint-principal.  Subsequently before the Court of Appeal as one of the post-Jogee joint enterprise appeals.
  • R v MB (2014) Led junior for alleged principal in a joint enterprise murder by a youth.
  • R v MT (2013) Led junior in allegation of murder involving the use of torture said to be inspired by the ‘Saw’ films.
  • R v KV (2013) Led junior in 8 handed joint enterprise murder. The first trial resulted in a successful submission of no case to answer, a terminatory ruling and successful appeal by the Crown. The client was acquitted at the second trial.
  • R v MG (2012) Led junior in allegation of murder by a 14 year old.
  • R v NH (2009) Led junior in allegation of joint enterprise murder by a youth: conviction quashed on appeal and verdict of manslaughter substituted.
  • R v SH (2008) Led junior in allegation of the murder of a trans-gender individual by a youth.  Client acquitted by unanimous verdict.

James accepts instructions in relation to all offences of violence and frequently deals with serious allegations the defence of which requires the skilful cross-examination of difficult witnesses.  James is meticulous in his preparation of arguments to be advanced before judges and assertive in his presentation of those arguments.

  • R v SB (2016) Successfully defended attempted murder, conspiracy to rob and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life where the client was alleged to be the principal who fired a sawn-off shotgun into an occupied car in a public place.
  • R v VM (2013) Allegation of conspiracy to kidnap, blackmail and false imprisonment.
  • R v AM (2012) Led junior in attempted murder (shooting with a sawn-off shotgun) and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
  • R v MS (2009) Defended attempted murder (stab to the throat) and threats to kill.

James has experience of defending cases where allegations concern serious organised crime, often spanning multiple jurisdictions. He also frequently defends in multi-defendant cases where tactical judgement is of vital importance.

  • R v NA (2017 and ongoing) Defending reverse people smuggling by an organised criminal network, involving an undercover operation by The Sun.
  • R v VM (2014) Defending conspiracy to rob involving an organised group targeting the owner of a bureau de change.
  • R v HT (2013) Led junior in allegation of being concerned in the production of drugs by a director of a hydroponics business. The case involved an international crime syndicate producing cannabis on the largest scale ever uncovered in the UK and said to be the largest drugs conspiracy uncovered in Europe. Confiscation proceedings in relation to approximately £150m:  confiscation order for client approximately £20k.
  • R v MA (2010) Led junior for a solicitor charged with conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration laws involving organised criminal gangs from Eastern Europe and alleged to have been the largest such conspiracy ever prosecuted in the UK.

Inquiries & Appellate Work

Coroners’ Inquests

  • Mohammed Abdus Samad Inquest representing the interests of the family of the deceased in a case which drew national media attention.


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BVC, Very Competent BPP  law School

MA Legal and Political Theory  (University College London)

BA Philosophy (Cambridge)

LLB  (Exeter)


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Criminal Bar Association

South Eastern Circuit


Inner Temple