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Michelle Nelson QC

Michelle Nelson QC

Call: 1994     Silk: 2019

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

Michelle Nelson defends and prosecutes across the criminal spectrum.  She has a strong background in prosecuting and has prosecuted in some of the most serious, difficult and high profile criminal cases. As Treasury Counsel she has been involved in the prosecution of a large number of high profile murder and manslaughter cases.  She has also prosecuted fraud and large scale money laundering on behalf of the SFO, RCPO and DBIURR.  Her defence work includes general crime, fraud and murder. Her work includes dealing with restraint and confiscation and she has worked at the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the RCPO advising on and pursuing restraint and forfeiture.

She has advised on and represented the Attorney General in the Court of Appeal on unduly lenient sentence appeals. Other work includes advising appellants in Privy Council appeals.

Michelle appeared as prosecution junior, led by Max Hill QC, in Channel 4’s The Trial (2017) in which real juries, together with actual barristers and judges, tried a fictional murder case in order to explore the workings of the jury system.  She has also appeared as a panellist on Radio 4’s Unreliable Evidence on Sentencing (2017)  alongside Treacy LJ, the Attorney-General  and the Legal Director of the Howard League.


HomicideOrganised CrimeFraud and Money Laundering

  • R v M (2016) Death from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by blocking of flue during building works in breach of breaches of Health and Safety regulations.
  • R v Lukelo-Mami & Ors (2016) Murder and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice:  group stabbing of victim with a fatal wound to one leg and 4 other non-contributory wounds. D1 ran self-defence. Case involved anonymous witnesses, child witnesses and cell confession evidence. Press Link: BBC
  • R v O and others (2016) Murder: alleged joint enterprise stabbing with three defendants in the hallway where stabbing occurred and two others outside with the door was closed. The case was the first at the Central Criminal Court to give effect to the Supreme Court’s decision in Jogee.
  • R v West (2014-2015) Prosecution junior in murder of alcoholic father stabbed by his son. At retrial   the defendant pleaded to manslaughter by reason of loss of control, Press Link: BBC
  • R v Jacobs (2014) Defending historic allegation of murder of PC Blakelock that had taken place 28 years earlier.
  • R v Grant & Ors (2012) Prosecuted the “Stockwell shooting”: five year old girl left paralysed by a shot which missed the intended victim who was uninjured. The principle of “transferred malice” was ruled not to apply in an attempted murder charge, and at trial the central issue was proving intent on the part of the three defendants to cause the victim grievous bodily harm where she was not the intended victim.
  • R v Ban (2012) Prosecuted Hungarian national for double murder by stabbing his male flat mate twice and a female friend twenty times. Crown rejected defendant’s plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility: convicted after trial.
  • R v Oyenaychi (2011) Prosecuted allegations of attempt to kill two police officers by slitting the throat of one and slashing the head of another. Sentence of 25 years upheld by the Court of Appeal.
  • R v Clarke and R v Tondoneh (2011) Prosecuted murders by setting fire to female partners.
  • R v Robinson (2011) Prosecuted single punch murder brought with leave of Attorney General following death of the victim. Defendant pleaded guilty to s20 inflicting grievous bodily harm having left victim hospitalised in almost vegetative state.  The issue on appeal was whether an increased sentence that resulted in defendant returning to prison was correct.   Sentence upheld by Court of Appeal [2011] 1 Cr App. R (S) 127 CA.
  • R v Miah & Choudhury (2011) 2 murders and 3 attempted murders committed by a 14 year old defendant with his older (20) cousin by arson. The case gives guidance on (i) the approach to severance in “cut throat” cases and (ii) sentencing a very young defendant and an adult for murder [2011] Crim L.R 662 CA.
  • R v Cheema (2011)  Death of a teenage girl and injury to her boyfriend who worked part-time at the venue from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by breaches of Health and Safety regulations in relation to his employer’s faulty heater. Successfully argued that the regulations applied to the boyfriend as he fell to be treated as an employee.
  • R v B (2008) Prosecuted murder involving young female defendant who was subsequently acquitted. The prosecution witnesses were friends of either the victim or the defendant requiring considered legal advice as to the use of and extent to which the prosecution were obliged or able to rely on them.
  • R v Alamgir &Ors (2016) Prosecution for encouraging support for ISIS, a proscribed organisation, by giving speeches in private gatherings. Legal issues on parameters of law and EHCR Articles 9 and 10 and admissibility of mind-set material.  Undercover officer evidence relied on. D2 ran as a defence a relationship with the Security Services before and during the time of the alleged offending.  Press Link: BBC
  • R v Tareena Shakil (2015) The first prosecution of female for taking a child and going to live in Syria under Terrorism Act 2006. Press Link: BBC

  • R v M &Ors (2017) Multi handed prosecution relating to sale of reactivated military firearms and the production of ammunition.
  • R v B & Ors (2017) Importation of drugs. Part of linked investigation into large scale importation of class B drugs from Europe

  • Operation Barber (2013-2014) Department of Business, Innovation and Skills prosecution of a long firm fraud operated over a period of 8 years through a series of companies in the building trade, 13 individuals and losses to creditors of over £6m.
  • Operation Fulcrum (2006-2007). HMRC  four handed 12 month fraud prosecution relating to the movement of alcohol between bonded warehouses in three European countries and the UK  (the first following the London City Bond and Butterworth  disclosure reviews).
  • Bluethorne Communications Limited. (2004 -2007) Prosecuted SFO conspiracy to defraud several mobile phone network companies.  Fraudulent trading based on analysis of incomplete and complicated company accounts designed to cover removal of cash. All defendants pleaded guilty.
  • R v Ravandi & Others (2003) RCPO prosecution a large MTIC import/export computer chip VAT fraud involving seven defendants each of whom ran their own, legitimate and illegitimate, companies. The case involved tracing the movement of monies from the fraud and alleged drug dealing through London to Dubai, Los Angeles, New York and Iran.
  • Operation Chaucer (2002-2003) SFO investigation into copyright fraud. Case was complicated by the fact that the victim company had conducted its own investigation.  Conducted a disclosure review and concluded that the initial police investigation was seriously flawed. The SFO discontinued the investigation.
  • Inland Revenue Commissioners v Kingston Crown Court [2001] 4 All ER 721 [2001] EWHC Admin 581 Prosecution of a city accountant who had advised a tax lawyer (see above). The case relied on the interpretation of correspondence and was complicated by the fact the main defendant had moved to Switzerland where there was no like criminal offence with which to secure extradition.  An international warrant was issued and he was arrested leaving Italy to return to Switzerland.
  • R v Stannard & Nelson (2000) Inland Revenue prosecution against a tax lawyer for fraud who created his own bank in Tortola and purported to purchase four shipping companies to which he lent sums equivalent to what they were each holding to satisfy corporation tax liability. The defendant then sought to set- off the “loans” against that liability, and argued that it was a legitimate tax scheme and that as he owned the bank he would never have sought repayment of the loans.  There was legal argument as to whether the writing of a cheque necessarily involved more than a “promise to pay”. Convicted. Subsequent restraint and confiscation were heavily contested.

Pro Bono

  • R v Kimberly Saenz (2012) (“Lufkin DaVita Murder case”) Instructed by Amicus:  advising in relation to an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal in the case of nurse convicted of the murder of five patients by injecting bleach into their dialysis lines.
  • R v London (2007) Advice on application for special leave to the Privy Council for applicant on death row in Trinidad convicted of the murders of her baby daughter and her younger sister.
  • Advising re Jamaican Death row Cases (2004) and assisting attorneys defending in death row cases in Jamaica

Advisory and International

  • R v Bobbiner (2017) Advising in relation to first prosecution for alleged child sex offending in Caribbean.
  • (2016) Advising on potential for private prosecution in Caribbean.
  • R v M &Ors (2014-2015) Defending former Premier of Turks and Caicos islands charged with other government ministers with corruption relating to the sale of land. Advising on legislation drafted by the UK to prosecute the offending committed in the TCI; challenging removal of right to jury trial in Court of Appeal; drafting Privy Council motion.

Publications, Lectures and Training

Bar Council Working party on Response to the Government White Paper on proposed changes to the law of Bribery (2009-2010)

Chaired the advisory group of PRT and the Institute of Criminal Policy Research, Birbeck preparing the Joint Enterprise Report (2016)


“A top-class silk who sees the bigger picture and the fine detail, and has complete, calm command of both. Excellent drafting skills and highly persuasive in their written submissions. Hard working, proactive and pragmatic.” – Legal 500 2021

“Skilful in court, and consistently able to outmanoeuvre the opposition tactically.” – Chambers UK 2021

“In cross-examination, she is insightful and tenacious.” – Legal 500 (2020)

“She is a very skilled advocate and very approachable.” – Chambers UK 2020

“An exceptionally gifted and hard-working barrister” who is “frighteningly good.” – Chambers UK 2018

“Michelle is an extremely hard worker who misses absolutely nothing in terms of her preparation.” – Chambers UK 2018

Her capacity for hard work is exceptional and she has great tactical awareness – Legal 500 2017


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Middle Temple

Criminal Bar Association

South Eastern Circuit

Bar Council Race Relations Committee (RRC).

Bar Council Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee (2002-2008)

Prison Reform Trust

Professional Appointments

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Serous Fraud Office ‘A’ List (2007-2009)

Treasury Counsel (2009 – 2016)


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