Details of practice

“Neil Saunders is ‘without doubt the leading junior’ – ‘absolutely incredible’” (The Legal 500)

Specialist criminal and serious fraud advocate.

Represents professional individuals and companies being investigated or accused of crime.

Regularly instructed as leader or junior by large city and specialist white collar fraud firms providing strategic advice during all stages of investigation, including pre charge.

Experienced in prosecuting (Grade 4) and defending in all criminal courts.

Inquests – advising individuals or institutions re potential verdicts and procedure.

He has advised and appeared in a number of very high profile cases that received considerable media and press attention including cases which involved highly reputable families where children or relations became involved in either violence in night clubs or allegations of rape at house parties.

Neil has defended in numerous police discipline cases including allegations against an experienced officer of abuse of power when arresting an off duty colleague; matters of sexual impropriety by police officers whilst on duty; also in cases directed by IPCC. Police disciplinary proceedings both before Metropolitan and Provincial forces.

Appears on behalf of respondents to special procedure hearings and in sports disciplinary hearings.

Appeared in Divisional court cases involving drink driving legislation and custody time limits.


  • Serious crime including murder, human and drug trafficking and serious sexual allegations
  • Money laundering/complex commercial fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Banking/advance fee/derivative frauds
  • Share dealing allegations
  • Tax and VAT fraud
  • Bribery/corruption
  • Cartels and price fixing/computer misuse

Professional Discipline:

  • Police misconduct in disciplinary hearings and PATs
  • Misfeasance in a public office
  • Regulatory crime/health and safety

Asset Recovery:

  • Criminal confiscation; search and seizure orders
  • Restraint, third party rights and contempt; civil recovery under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Directory recommendations

Regularly ranked as a Star individual in Crime and Fraud in the Chambers UK Guide

‘One of life’s eternal geniuses’ ‘Masterful and very well respected by judges and prosecutors alike, as well as co-defending counsel’. ‘Neil Saunders has an unequalled practice as a leading junior and his knowledge of the law and presentation of legal arguments is universally respected. His breadth of practice attests to his versatility.’ Chambers UK 2017: Crime

‘He has tremendous client care skills and makes the client feel safe.’ ‘He’s a very eloquent advocate and you know if you instruct him on a case he’s as good as many silks.’ ‘He is incredibly client-friendly and good at conveying unwelcome advice when he has to.’ Chambers UK 2017: Financial Crime

‘Regarded as the leading junior of the Criminal Bar, he has “unequalled and highly versatile practice.”  “He is tremendous – he’s very astute, very easy to get on with, very good with clients, and respected by judges. His strategic acumen is second to none among juniors.”  Chambers UK 2016: Crime

“A very powerful court presence – he really takes control of the court.” “Very good on detail and has an excellent jury manner.”  Chambers UK 2016: Financial Crime

“He is a cheerful and personable man which is important in these difficult cases.”  “His advocacy is admirable, and judges and juries love him.”  Chambers UK 2016: Inquests

Down to earth, client-friendly and personable.’ The Legal 500 2015: Crime

An excellent junior.’ The Legal 500 2015: Fraud

 ‘A highly experienced and highly skillful advocate.’ The Legal 500 2015: Business and  Regulatory Crime

‘He has an unequalled practice and his knowledge of the law and presentation of legal arguments is universally respected by judges and fellow counsel alike.’ ‘His breadth of practice attests to his versatility.’ ‘He is a great diplomat and a calming and reassuring presence when things get difficult.’ Chambers UK 2015: Crime

‘He is someone who is immensely reassuring because of his presence in court and his command of the case.’ Chambers UK 2015: Professional Discipline

‘He is a very astute advocate, excellent with experts and tricky witnesses, who commands the confidence of the client.’ ‘He’s at once very approachable and able to give difficult advice when needed.’ Chambers UK 2015: Financial Crime

‘A consummate professional and a highly able advocate.’ ‘He is conscientious, hard-working and realistic in the way in which he approaches cases.’ Chambers UK 2015: Inquests

‘The best junior at the Bar; juries love his down-to-earth approach’ The Legal 500 2014 (Crime)

‘A great diplomat; excellent at diffusing tensions in court and promoting agreement between parties.’ The Legal 500 2014 (Fraud)

‘Everyone’s first-choice junior’ The Legal 500 2014 (Business & Regulatory Crime)

“Unanimously praised, he is a leading junior who is regularly instructed in silk-level briefs.”  “He has a great courtroom manner and he is very good with clients.”  Chambers UK 2014 (Crime)

“An outstanding fraud junior who is sought after by prosecuting authorities and leading law firms to act in major investigations and trials.  Sources admire his courtroom presence and practical, collaborative approach.”  “He’s tactically astute and knows everything there is to be known in the fraud market.”  Chambers UK 2014 (Fraud)

“His criminal law skills have translated well into his professional discipline practice.”  Chambers UK 2014 (Professional Discipline)

“Extremely thorough in his preparation and a very good cross-examiner.  He will always do the best for his clients in extremely difficult circumstances.”  “He has the ear of the court and is highly empathetic.” Chambers UK 2014 (Inquests)

The highly regarded Neil Saunders is praised for his ‘great judgement and common sense’The Legal 500 2013 (Crime)

Neil Saunders is ‘one of the pre-eminent senior juniors at the criminal Bar, and is much liked by all who know him’.. The Legal 500 2013 (Fraud)

“A silk in all but name,” Neil Saunders is “a very big personality, and a very big talent who is well respected by judges.”  He has prosecuted and defended all types of criminal offences, and is especially noted for his fraud and commercial crime expertise, and his work representing police officers.  Chambers UK 2013 (Crime)

Neil Saunders is “an impressive leading junior who commands great respect from his colleagues, the court and clients.”  He is an “effective advocate” known for his “excellent tactical judgement.”  Chambers UK 2013 (Fraud)

‘one of the best juniors at the criminal bar’.  The Legal 500 2012 (Crime)

“A top-end junior ‘with a substantial amount of experience.’ One solicitor notes that he ‘commands the attention of the court,’ whilst another source emphasises his ‘brilliant client manner.’”  Chambers UK 2012 (Crime)

“’a great choice for top criminal fraud matters,’ ‘Measured and economical in his approach,’ he is ‘easy to get along with and thus very effective in long fraud trials.’” Chambers UK 2012 (Fraud)

“Neil Saunders has ‘a very thorough knowledge of forensic matters and experience of criminal litigation at all levels’.” The Legal 500 2011 (Fraud)

“Impressing observers by ‘performing like a Silk’, is Neil Saunders. ‘Immense experience, extreme thoroughness, and a very keen eye for detail’ mark him out.” Chambers UK 2011 (Crime)

“… absolutely alpha-plus Neil Saunders, who is so well regarded that some go so far as to call him ‘perfect for any case’. Sources say they are ‘amazed he’s not a silk”. Chambers UK 2010 (Crime)

“Fellow barristers remark that Neil Saunders ‘could take silk at the drop of a hat’. Such sentiments are indicative of the very high esteem in which this leading junior is held. ‘A lawyer who produces mature and masterful performances, he is one of the specialist fraud firms’ favourites and is frequently engaged at the pre-charge stage”. Chambers UK 2010 (Fraud)

“Neil Saunders is a standout individual at this and any other criminal set. The market concedes that ‘no one comes up to his level – he is an absolute star who is very tenacious and always meticulous in his preparation.’” Chambers UK 2009 (Crime)

‘“a genuine star and a great all-rounder.” Saunders “has had involvement in a list of leading cases as long as your arm” Chambers UK 2008 (Crime)

Clients describe him as “organised, with an excellent client and jury manner” …“an uncanny ability to follow every nuance of a case” Chambers UK 2008 (Fraud)

Criminal Junior of the Year 2006 (Chambers & Partners Bar Awards)

Education/professional qualifications

BA (Hons) Law
Called 1983


Recorder South Eastern Circuit 2004 – to date – also hears serious sexual offences and appeals

Other information

Appeal Steward British Boxing Board of Control
2009-10 SEC/CBA Working Parties considering the fraud review on plea bargaining and extending the powers of the Crown Court and revision of Code for Prosecutors
2006-2009 South Eastern Circuit Committee
2008 and 2009 Circuit committee re Jesus College Cambridge, Bar Conference and Dame Ann Ebsworth lectures
1996-1999 Bar Council and CBA member
1998 to date – Advocacy trainer and sponsor – Middle Temple
1999 – 2001 Governor ICSL


South Eastern Circuit
Criminal Bar Association
Fraud Lawyers’ Association
Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

Leisure pursuits

Golf, 24 handicap; competent skier; and bridge
2009 RFU Referee Levels 1 and 2, – member of London Society of Referees
2004 Qualified RFU mini/midi coach level 1 and 2, ex player at London Welsh RFC
Previously licensed and qualified pyrotechnic and DCPS choral society

Direct access

Instructing Neil Saunders direct

Neil is qualified to accept instructions direct from clients under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme. This means that members of the public who seek specialist advice can come direct to him.

In addition Neil welcomes instructions from solicitors, in-house law departments, qualified foreign lawyers, and clients licensed by the Bar Council to give instructions direct to barristers under the Bar Council’s Licensed Access Scheme.

He may also accept instructions direct from clients who carry on business or usually reside outside England and Wales, provided that the work is advisory. In such matters, if representation is required, a registered European lawyer may instruct us in the same way as a solicitor of England and Wales.

His Senior Clerk Eddie Holland will be pleased to assist with any enquiries.

Please call him on 020 7400 6400 to discuss.