Tom Forster QC has extensive experience in the fields of Business Crime & Fraud, Serious & Organised Crime, Public & Administrative Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Health & Safety and Regulatory & Professional Discipline.
He brings his invaluable career experience of acting for all sides – claimants, defendants, and prosecuting authorities.
Very good strategically and a great advocate.
He has the ear of the court.
He is very good with clients.
His work ethic is impressive and he is― Chambers UK (2022)
extremely well prepared.
A really intelligent and diligent silk who gains the trust of judges with his thoroughness and commitment to a case. He is an excellent choice for the weightier matter, as he can lead a team and drive a case forward.― Chambers UK (2021)
Diligent, thorough and stylish, he is ‘a tough prosecutor’.
He is very thorough, really easy to get on with and gives sound advice.
He is very good on strategy and has good judgement.
Has a nice jury manner and judges like him – he is trusted and has the judges ear.
A superb lawyer and a very good advocate. He has quite an acerbic sense of humour but there’s always a twinkle in his eye and juries like him.― Chambers UK (2020)
Extremely good with clients, very well prepared and someone whose legal knowledge is very impressive.
Absolutely honed as an advocate and incredibly relaxed in his whole demeanour.
A barrister who is lauded for going above and beyond the call of duty to secure great results in financial criminal cases. He acts for both the defence and prosecuting authorities, and has experience of defending insider dealing cases brought by the FCA and tax fraud matters brought by HMRC. Mr Forster is also adept at related confiscation proceedings. He is noted for his effective advocacy and his high levels of client-care.
Tom is extremely bright, hard-working, reliable and great to work with. He is a very careful thinker who knows which way to go.― Chambers UK (2019)
A driven and committed advocate, who thrives in the pressure of big cases. He is extremely hard working and his case management is second to none.― Legal 500 (2021)
Incredibly easy-going, with a charming manner that belies a highly academic and tenacious mind.
He has a first-rate brain and a quiet, authoritative manner. Academic yet practical, and extremely straightforward to deal with.― Legal 500 (2020)
A superb barrister, always responsive, creative and ready to go the extra mile.― Legal 500 (2019)
Clients respect his no-nonsense attitude and keen intellect, and his advice is second to none.
He is extremely hardworking, unflappable, approachable.
Business Crime & Fraud
An esteemed business crime silk, Tom is instructed in cases of the most serious and complex Fraud, and related civil, public law, and regulatory work.
His clients have included domestic financial services institutions including banks, high net worth individuals, government agencies and specialist regulatory authorities such as the FCA and FRC. His practice areas include civil asset recovery, Bribery & Corruption, Money Laundering & Proceeds of Crime, restraint/confiscation, Sanctions and criminal fraud litigation.
He has significant experience of cases involving bribery and corruption, particularly with an International dimension. His first notable instruction in this field was by the SFO as junior counsel in its investigation into BAE Systems which attracted acute media and public interest, both nationally and internationally. Since this point, he has been instructed to defend in some of the most high profile cases in this field. He also advises corporate clients upon self-reporting and corruption responsibilities.
He advises financial services institutions and banks upon their compliance with AML requirements and has led for the Prosecution in cases of serious and complex money laundering with an international dimension. He appears as an advocate in both criminal and civil courts and tribunals.
In 2021 he was appointed to the SFO’s Silk’s Panel of Advocates including its specialist POCA Panel.
- G v SFO and others (2020) – Successfully represented the SFO in this judicial review challenge to investigatory measures taken during its current probe into the 2019 collapse of London Capital and Finance Ltd. [Press Report]
- R v Davies (2019) – Instructed to defend in this high profile prosecution of an MP brought as a result of irregularities in claims for expenses under the Parliamentary allowances scheme. [Press Report]
- R v Anwyl and others (2016 to date: Operation Amazon) – Instructed as defence junior counsel, but took over the reins as the lead silk, in what was HMRC’s largest, flagship prosecution of an alleged cheat on the Revenue (£107m tax at risk) focusing on the operation of a marketed investment scheme whereby limited liability partnerships incurred expenditure in research and development projects resulting in claims for sideways loss relief. The case is particularly notable for its complex digital disclosure problems which resulted in the important leading authority upon the topic of Disclosure and Abuse of Process (R v R and ors (Practice Note)  1 WLR 1872).
- R v Hind and others (2016) Operation Tabernula – Instructed to defend in the FCA’s key prosecution arising out of Operation Tabernula which focused upon insider trading by senior bankers in London based investment banks. [Press Report]
See our Business Crime & Fraud team.
Bribery & Corruption
Tom has significant experience of cases involving bribery and corruption, particularly with an international dimension. His first notable instruction in this field was by the SFO as junior counsel in its investigation into BAE Systems which attracted acute media/public interest both nationally and internationally. This acted as a springboard to further instructions to defend in such cases. He also advises corporate clients upon self-reporting and corruption responsibilities.
See our Bribery & Corruption team.
Regulatory & Professional Disciplinary
As junior counsel Tom was appointed to the A–G’s Regulatory List and was regularly instructed by both the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive in the prosecution of the most serious environmental protection and health and safety offences. He has continued to undertake this complex work in silk for defendants.
He regularly appears at inquests in coroners’ courts, mainly for companies following fatalities in the workplace and defends cases brought by the EA and Food Standards Agency. He has defended civil enforcement measures in both fields.
He also acts for and advises individuals and public authorities, in particular UKAD, in the field of anti-doping in sport.
Tom possesses an enviable depth of experience before various professional disciplinary/fitness to practice tribunals and appears in some of the most high profile cases before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service and Bar Tribunals Adjudication Service.
Public & Administrative Law
Tom is noted for his adept handling of judicial review work in the criminal justice sphere.
He is regularly instructed as the special advocate in high profile cases in the field of national security. This often involved, in particular, control orders, terrorism prevention and investigation measures, national security deportations and exclusions, deprivations of citizenship, terrorist asset freezing orders and claims for damages in connection with alleged unlawful action by government departments/agencies.
- G v SFO and others (2020) – Successfully represented the SFO in this judicial review challenge to investigatory measures taken during its current probe into the 2019 collapse of London Capital and Finance Ltd.
- Kamoka litigation (2019) – Instructed as a special advocate for 15 claimants seeking damages from Her Majesty’s Government in relation to alleged unlawful detention pending deportation and/or the imposition of control orders and/or alleged unlawful interference with the right to liberty following the imposition of UN asset freezing sanctions. [Press Report]
- KAB v MOD (2018) – Instructed as lead special advocate in this judicial review challenge brought by an Afghan national to the Ministry of Defence’s decision refusing him protective assistance following Her Majesty’s Forces withdrawal from the theatre of operations in Afghanistan.
See our Public & Administrative Law team.
- Member of SFO Panel of Silks including for POCA (2021)
- CPS Extradition Panel (2017)
- CPS Grade 4 Specialist Panels: Fraud, Confiscation/Asset Recovery, Organised Crime (2016)
- SFO Panel (A List) (2013)
- Recorder (2012)
- A-G Panel Special Advocate (England and Wales) (2012)
- South Eastern Circuit
- Archbold, 2022 and 2020, contributing editor
- Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure, OUP, contributing editor