criminal & regulatory barrister Tom Schofield

Year of Call 2001


Door Tenant

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Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Defence
  • Misconduct and Compliance
  • Private Prosecution
  • Business Crime & Financial Services


  • Pupillage Supervisor

Professional Memberships

  • Former Junior and Secretary of the Midland Circuit
  • Executive Member of the Criminal Bar Association
  • Member of the South Eastern Circuit


Tom is a criminal and regulatory 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. He has a nationwide practice and a proven track record of success.

Tom has a varied practice and represents both individual and corporate clients respectively. He 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.

Tom has a reputation for being fiercely independent, highly motivated and professional; with a single-minded approach to his clients’ interests. Tom is considered a persuasive and formidable advocate by his clients and peers alike.

Tom’s strength lies in his complete commitment to every case in which he is involved. He moves between the criminal and civil jurisdictions effortlessly; has a meticulous approach to preparation; is always prepared to go the extra mile; and places great emphasis on winning the trust of his clients and treating them with respect.

Tom has successfully represented clients appearing before major hearings at the Court of Criminal Appeal and is often consulted to advise on the merits of an appeal.

Tom is Public Access accredited and accepts direct instructions from lay clients.


Tom has experience in a wide range of criminal cases as leading and junior counsel, including fraud and money laundering; serious financial crimes and insider trading; complex drugs conspiracies; homicides – including corporate manslaughter; organized crime and international firearms trafficking; modern slavery; terrorism; and serious sexual offences. Tom has a particular expertise in cases of fraud (including missing trader intra community frauds and cyber-frauds).

Regulatory, Professional Discipline and Quasi Crime

Tom has experience in cases concerning the following matters:

  • Prosecutions brought by BIS, Trading Standards, DWP, SFO, HSE, FCA;
  • Breaches of Regulatory Codes (Trading Standards, Food Standards, Trademarks, Health and Safety, Noise Abatement);
  • Director Disqualification;
  • Professional Discipline;
  • First Tier Tax Tribunals;
  • Data Protection Digital Security;
  • Sports law (Tribunals);
  • Money Laundering/ Bribery Regulations;
  • Motoring law (unfair disqualifications; technical defences to road traffic offences);
  • Costs appeals; and
  • Inquests


Tom has a particular interest in appeals (primarily to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, but including judicial review and case stated) and frequently advises on appealing against wrongful convictions; excessive sentences; and unfair confiscation orders – often where he was not original trial counsel.


25% of Tom’s practice is taken up with confiscation matters. He advises on potential challenges to restraint orders and confiscation orders, and regularly appears in the Court of Appeal concerning such matters.

Third party interests in confiscation proceedings

The provisions of the Serious Crime Act 2015 (SCA) which came into force in June 2015, made certain amendments to the rights of third parties to confiscation proceedings, and to the Court’s obligations to such parties. Tom regularly accepts instructions from clients with third party interests.

Cash Forfeiture and Asset Recovery

Tom has extensive experience in this field. His experience in criminal cases of fraud and money laundering has provided him with essential knowledge and experience to assist respondents seeking the return of their money.

Notable Cases

R v PD (2020) | Defended in a terrorism trial involving a 16-year-old boy who was alleged to be in the process of making a home-made gun with the intention of committing an act of terrorism.

Operation Rokeby (2020) | Prosecuted 3 defendants in a murder trial at the Old Bailey.

R v VN (2020) | Defended in a large fraud trial. The defendant was accused of obtaining personal details from PayPal which were then used to place numerous orders for high value goods.

R v SN [2020] | Appeal against a confiscation order made in respect of a brothel. Complex issues concerning hidden assets. [Public Access]

R v RH [2020] | Appeal against a confiscation order made in respect of a 7 million GBP heist. Complex issues concerning default terms [Public Access]

Operation Rauch (2019) | Prosecuted in a murder trial at the Old Bailey.

Re. SS (a solicitor) [2019] EWCA Crim 1304 | Successfully defended a solicitor who was made the subject of a substantial wasted costs order by the Recorder of Leicester. The solicitor, who was not involved in criminal proceedings, made a request for information about a criminal case in the Crown Court so that it could be used in civil proceedings against the defendant. The court declined the request and then issued a wasted costs order in respect of the time it had taken the parties to respond to the request. The Lord Chief Justice agreed with Tom’s argument that the solicitor and her clients had not been parties to the criminal proceedings and so quashed the wasted costs order.

BS v The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police [2019] EWHC 3316 (Admin) | Represented the Applicant in an appeal by way of case stated. The applicant was found with over 50,000 GBP in cash. The police made an application to forfeit the cash on the basis that on a balance of probabilities, it derived from some form of predicate crime and was going to be laundered in the future. The issue in the appeal was whether the police were required to identify the class of predicate crime;

R v SS (2019) | Defended in a case involving the importation of 500kg of Cocaine and an equivalent quantity of Cannabis, Ketamine and Hexedrone.

R v AK (2019) | Defended in a case involving the alleged murder of 5 people who were killed when a shop was blown up for the purposes of making a fraudulent insurance claim.

R v BSS [2019] | A cash forfeiture case involving cultural issues as to the handling of cash. [Public Access]

R v KP (2018) | Defended in a case involved slavery and exploitation. Over 30 alleged victims claimed that the defendant had brought them to the UK so that they could be put to work in factories.

R v JC (2018) | Defended in a multi-defendant case involving an allegation of conspiracy to supply industrial quantities of Cocaine from the Midlands to the South Coast. Tom successfully applied to stay the indictment as an abuse of process on the basis of bad faith and misconduct by the police, and fundamental disclosure failures. Had the client been convicted, he would have received a sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment;

R v SP (2018) | Defended in a case involving unauthorized access to police intelligence computer systems where it was alleged that the information obtained had been supplied to a criminal suspect. Tom secured a suspended sentence for the client, for an offence which normally attracts an immediate prison sentence;

R v AK (2018) | Defended in a multi-defendant child sexual grooming and rape case, involving multiple alleged child victims. Tom secured an outright acquittal on all counts;

R v IS (2018) | Defended in a multi-defendant rape case. The issues raised by Tom regarding disclosure of the telecommunications evidence seized by the investigating officers, drove the prosecution

to drop the case;

R v GT (2018) | Defending in a multi-defendant case involving allegations of attempted murder and the widespread outbreak of disorder in Leicester City centre between members of the Somalian community and members of a different ethnic community. An extremely complex case involving significant telecommunications analysis;

R v JA (2018) | Defending in a multi-defendant case involving the commercial sale of firearms to drug dealers;

R v CP (2018) | Defended a 17-year-old boy accused of attempted murder and rape. He was alleged to have attacked a student walking home at night through a park and raping her vaginally and anally (following a period of planning in which he had searched the internet for violent pornography). He was alleged to have then attempting to murder her by bludgeoning her to the head with a paving slab which he had brought to the scene for that purpose. The case was tried by the Honourable Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, who praised the powerful yet sensitive way in which the defence had been presented;

R v AS (2018) | Representing Her Majesty’s Attorney General in a reference to the Court of Appeal in a case where the offender had committed a robbery against a pregnant cashier, pretending that he had a knife, assaulted bystanders, and yet received a ‘deferred sentence’;

R v AK (2018) | Defended in a ‘cross border’ grooming case, involving multiple child complainants;

R v HM (2018) | Leading counsel (defending) in a case involving a multi-million-pound money laundering arrangement using the Hawala banking system. Millions of pounds in Sterling was deposited with the Defendant and others, and then transferred to a Hawala banker who in turn transferred the money to Iran. The Defendant claimed that he believed the money had a legitimate origin and had been raised by ex-patriate Kurds in the UK, to send back to Kurds in Iran who are currently facing significant persecution at the hands of the so-called Islamic State (Daesh). The defendant was convicted in the first trial, but Tom managed to persuade the Court of Appeal to overturn the conviction, on the basis of faults in the legal directions given by the judge to the jury. When the case was listed for retrial, a compromise was reached which resulted in a non-custodial sentence and no confiscation proceedings;

R v SR [2018] | Appeal against sentence in respect of drug trafficking offences. [Public Access]

R v SVB (2017) | Successfully defended a young man accused of assisting and encouraging his friend to murder another man, with whom they had fallen out on the forecourt of a petrol station. SVB would have received a life sentence if convicted, but the jury acquitted him;

R v LP and others [2017] EWCA Crim 800 | Defended 4 appellants in a post-R v J appeal. The Appellants were convicted on the basis of parasitic accessorial liability by continuing to be involved in a kidnapping whilst foreseeing the possibility that the principal offender might wound the victim with intent, in order to reinforce the ransom demands in a way which was demonstrable to the victim’s family. R v J decided that the doctrine of parasitic accessorial liability was the result of a ‘wrong turning’ in the law and that a secondary party must share the intent of the principal (foresight alone being insufficient and merely evidence of intent). Tom argued that when viewed in the context of the law as it now stands, the appellants’ convictions must be unsafe. Much of the argument in the hearing centred on whether the appellants should be given leave to appeal and whether they had suffered substantial injustice;

R v HM [2017] [reporting restrictions apply] | Successfully overturned a conviction for an appellant alleged to be involved a multi-million-pound money laundering arrangement. Millions of pounds in Sterling was deposited with the Defendant and others, and then transferred to a Hawala banker who in turn transferred the money to Iran. The Defendant claims that the money had a legitimate origin and had been raised by ex-patriate Kurds in the UK, to send back to Kurds in Iran who are currently facing significant persecution at the hands of the so-called Islamic State (Daesh). Tom argued that the learned trial judge had undermined his own directions to the jury at the conclusion of the case, such that the Court could not be sure that the jury had safely convicted;

R v SH (2017) | Defending (led by Orlando Pownall QC) one of the principal defendants in an alleged conspiracy to import up to 500kg of heroin into the UK secreted in lathes. Said to be a case involving the most complex telecommunications analysis by the country’s leading cell site analyst;

R v GB (2017) | Defended in a human trafficking case involving repeated facilitations of unlawful entry into the UK by Indian nationals via the Channel tunnel;

R v SM (2017) | Defending in a case involving a multi-million-pound money laundering arrangement whereby the proceeds of a tax fraud were laundered through a complex web of bank accounts;

R v IA (2017) | Defending in an ongoing case alleged revenue fraud. The defendant is alleged to have hijacked charities and later set up sham charities, in order to make false ‘Gift aid’ repayment claims to HMRC.

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