Out of Hours:
07710 077 419 
020 7520 6000  
East Anglia:
01245 280 880
John Lyons

John Lyons

Call: 1986

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

John Lyons specialises exclusively in criminal defence, in particular white collar crime and commercial fraud. He also acts for those accused of terrorism-related offences, large-scale drug trafficking, serious sexual offences and murders. He has been instructed on behalf of potential victims of miscarriages of justice and is involved in representing those seeking to appeal historic criminal convictions through the Criminal Cases Review Commission. He has a clear understanding of the approach of the prosecution and disclosure issues, having previously been appointed a Grade 4 (highest grade) CPS prosecutor.

John regularly undertakes leading junior work and is also led by Queen’s Counsel. He has defended in large-scale financial frauds, high-tech computer frauds, VAT and tax offences.


A selection of cases concluded in the last two years and current contested cases include:

  • Major multi-million pound film finance fraud.
  • S.12 Terrorism Act –supporting a proscribed organisation.
  • Murder, heavily reliant on limited gunshot residue.
  • Money laundering and identity theft.
  • Fraud and money laundering by a GP undertaking fictitious examinations/treatments.
  • International tobacco importation.
  • Security van robbery.
  • International advance fee fraud spanning four continents.
  • Car hire company fraud.
  • Large-scale conspiracy involving hacking and selling of reprogrammed set-top boxes.
  • Large-scale importation and distribution of drugs.
  • Multi-million pound luxury car theft/export.
  • Land banking fraud.
  • International telecoms company using stolen credit cards; first ever prosecution under Wireless Telegraphy Act.
  • International computer hacking using dark web, SQL injection and distributed denial of service.
  • Various historic child sexual abuse, rapes, making and distributing indecent images of children.

As a former qualified Company Secretary and with a degree in economics, John is well equipped to understand and analyse complex company accounts and other financial documents.

He is highly proficient in the use of computers for case preparation. He has lectured in the use of case preparation software. He is able to establish case-based intranets and designs, develops and uses bespoke databases and spreadsheets for case preparation and presentation of complex evidence.

He has a background in public law and human rights law. He served for many years as a member of the Legal Services Commission Public Interest Advisory Panel. As a former Chair of Liberty and member of the International Federation of Human Rights he has a strong knowledge of the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights.

He has considerable experience in confiscation matters, often succeeding in reducing dramatically the size of orders. Two recent examples:

  • R v Mohammed (2017) Prosecution asked for order of £1.1m: order made for £12k.
  • R v Rehman  (2017) Prosecution claimed benefit of £2m (substantial hidden assets and £89k known assets): order made for £29k.


Legal 500 (2016): Leading Individual


See more

Postgraduate Diploma in Law, City University (1985)

Institute of Chartered Secretaries (1984)

BA Economics, University of Durham (1980)


See more

Middle Temple

Howard League for Penal Reform

South Eastern Circuit

Criminal Bar Association

Bar Pro Bono Unit


Legal Services Commission Public Interest Advisory Panel

Chair of Liberty and Trustee of the Civil Liberties Trust

British representative to the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)




See more

Leading individual in the Legal 500 directory (see Recommendations)