Lan Leist KC Criminal Barrister

Year of Call 2004



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Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Defence
  • Business Crime & Financial Services


  • Registered Pupil Supervisor

Professional Memberships

  • Lincoln’s Inn


Mark is a criminal barrister specialising in cases that require expert advocacy skills. He has experience in drug trafficking, violent crime, and fraud. Successfully defending a range of clients.

Mark began his career at the independent bar; completing pupillage and commencing his practice at Cornwall Street Chambers, Birmingham, before moving to the employed bar as leading in-house counsel for Reeds Solicitors.

Mark has a varied practice and represents both individual and corporate clients respectively. Mark is called upon to advise professional clients at an early stage of proceedings in respect of strategy and achieving the best outcome for lay clients.

Mark has a reputation for being a highly-skilled, measured, forceful and persuasive advocate. As such, Mark is regularly instructed to appear as a leading advocate both domestically and nationally.

Mark has experience in the family and civil courts as well as the employment tribunal, although, for the greater majority of his career, he has been a specialist criminal practitioner; both defending and prosecuting. His practice is now exclusively criminal defence and Mark has extensive experience in defending the full range of criminal offences including serious sexual offences, homicide and serious violence, fraud, cases involving large scale complex conspiracies and motoring offences involving death.

An experienced, confident and persuasive jury advocate, Mark prides himself on being highly motivated and professional, with a single-minded approach to his clients’ interests. His strengths lie in his unwavering commitment to each case in which he is involved. Mark takes pride in treating all clients with respect, and in communicating with them in a confident and straight-forward way. He places great importance on going the extra mile to win the trust of his clients and other professional court users in order to strive for the best outcome in each case.

Mark has successfully represented clients appearing before major hearings at the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Notable Cases

R v O (2019) Operation Albany | Bristol Crown Court – a large scale operation involving an international investigation into allegations of money laundering with elements of VAT fraud. The defendant, who was one of 9 accused of facilitating a complex multi-million-pound money laundering operation, stood trial over 7 weeks and was unanimously acquitted after the case, which was brought by Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue, was challenged on the basis – unusually – that the monies in question did not represent criminal property, and that the defendant had no knowledge or any money laundering arrangements or activities. The Crown, as well as several other defendants, were represented by leading and junior counsel.

R v QL and R v FL [2016] – Matters of fraudulent evasion of excise duty, (tobacco importation), and production of a controlled drug successfully removed from the jury on the basis of no case to answer.

R v C [2015] – Successfully secured an acceptable plea to manslaughter on the basis of a loss of control, (having been subject to prolonged provocation), in respect of a client accused of murdering his wife.

R v W [2007] | EWCA Crim 3485 – Successfully secured the disapplication of the 5-year minimum sentence provisions following a judge at first instance ruling in error that an electronic stun gun was not a firearm for the purposes of the Firearms Act 1968 s.5(1A)(a) on the basis that it did not fall within the definition of a prohibited weapon under s.57(1) of the Act. The correct position was that all prohibited weapons were firearms but not all firearms were prohibited weapons.

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