John Kelsey-Fry QC


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What the Directories say

Recommended as a Leading Silk in the fields of General Crime, Fraud, Libel and Sport. One of only three Silks 'Star-rated' in Fraud between 2006-2014, one of only two Silks 'Star-rated' in Crime 2007-2014 inclusive.


Firmly amongst the most highly regarded crime silks.. "He is a genius in court"

"A man of excellent judgement, he's a sublime advocate.. He's adept at identifying the broad tactical considerations of a case and acting upon them"


"Megastar" John Kelsey-Fry QC wins unanimous priase from his peers, who call him "unquestionably the most prominent criminal defence advocate" out there.

"Brilliantly creative in the way he approaches cases"

The "fantastic" John Kelsey-Fry QC is in the "top rank" of criminal fraud advocates.

The "supremely able" John Kelsey-Fry QC continues to advise on high profile cases.... Sources were particularly enthusiastic about him, saying that he is "an outstanding pragmatic counsel who adds considerable value to any case"

A well established 'super-silk' who receives top level instructions. He is "unquestionably a star" with observers saying that he is "just an exceptional advocate who has very good tactical skills"

Peers say of him that "he is a truly excellent advocate - you know you have to be at the very top of your game to keep pace with him."

"Is such an affable advocate , it is a pleasure to instruct him.""So effortlessly good is he, that advocacy is just like breathing for him."

He is one of the best defence silks of his generation. Observers say "he is just superb. He has an outstanding way of presenting a case to a jury which has them eating out of his hand."

"One of the Criminal Bar's brightest stars"'...has a practice geared towards large and complex criminal cases, particularly on the corporate/ white-collar crime side. John Kelsey-Fry QC is the type of barrister who "takes one hour to prepare each minute at court."

‘On the fraud front he is “unquestionably in the top rank,” leading one interviewee to declare; “Just occasionally exceptional talents come along – in the seventies there was Richard Du Cann QC, and nowadays we have John Kelsey-Fry QC “

He "receives accolades for his defamation work.....with interviewees particularly commenting on his effectiveness before a jury".

"Has a high profile in the horseracing world...........and his style has won many plaudits form the sports industry. Clients describe his manner as "disarming".

"An all-round outstanding lawyer with great ability to present cases to judge and jury". 'The "always spectacular" John Kelsey-Fry QC "has a stellar reputation" and is appreciated for being a "roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-involved type of lawyer". "Outstanding with the jury" and "never bothers to try and score useless points", "he can be delicate when the situation requires, but can easily duff a witness when necessary".

"The professional's choice" and "hard to get, but once you do, you have a huge head start". Quotes from peers and clients alike include "his absolute pre-eminence in the field" and "his expert handling of each and every case he is involved in." A highly popular figure". Described as "the Man of the Moment who delivers a master class in trial advocacy every time", "breathtaking in court".

The Lawyer: "one of the brightest stars at the Bar". He is described by one City partner as "very astute and a good courtroom performer", while a former colleague dubs him "quite exceptional". Partners pointed to the "sensational" acquittal Kelsey-Fry secured for controversial entrepreneur Andrew Regan, following the marathon Cooperative Bank trial, as a typical piece of courtroom wizardry.

Areas of Practice

Crime: Established high-profile criminal defence practice with a substantial pre-charge advisory element. Instructed by both corporations and individuals across the criminal spectrum.

Financial Crime: Instructed in all manner of fraud and financial crime in prosecutions brought by the FSA, SFO and HMRC in both prosecution and defence roles.

Defamation: Undertakes high-profile claimant and defendant work for a number of national press stables and individual clients from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and sport.

Sport: First choice for matters in the British Horseracing Authority Tribunal and wide experience of other sporting tribunals.

Regulatory and Disciplinary: Advisory and representative work undertaken for a number of regulatory and disciplinary bodies.

Professional Appointments, Attainments and Memberships
2006Crime Silk of the Year (Chambers & Partners Bar Awards)
2006Listed in The Lawyer's Hot 100 Lawyers
2000Queen’s Counsel
1997 - 2000Senior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court
1992Junior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court
1978Called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn)




  • Representing Raymond Kwok over corruption charges in Hong Kong
  • Advising Olympus Corporation regarding charges brought by the SFO
  • Successfully acted for the CEO of a raw materials company, charged by the SFO with conspiracy to defraud
  • Represented former Isoft Director in FSA criminal proceedings.
  • Acted for Chris Huhne, former Energy Secretary
  • TCI v Civre: Successfully represented an international developer in the Turks and Caicos Islands over corruption charges
  • Represented a Director of a nationally renowned sports company in an SFO investigation
  • Represented a Director of Mabey & Johnson Ltd
  • Successfully represented Harry Redknapp in HMRC proceedings
  • Successfully represented Steven Gerrard in the footballer's affray proceedings
  • R v Carlisle: represented the defendant in an insider dealing case where successful half time submissions halted proceedings
  • Prosecuted on behalf of the FSA in a high profile insider dealing trial resulting in conviction
  • R v Dougall: leading authority on sentencing Executive-level whistleblowers entering plea agreements in corruption cases (for SFO)
  • R v Keith Owen: largest and most complicated prosecution brought by DEFRA, successful plea agreement
  • Represented a Saudi Prince charged with murdering his aide in a London hotel
  • Advising one of the largest international companies in an SFO investigation
  • Advising an individual in the 'Oil for Food' SFO investigation
  • Advising a company in the 'Oil for Food' SFO investigation
  • Advised a Director in the Balfour Beatty settlement with SFO
  • Advising in an insider dealing case in Hong Kong


  • Advised the Sunday Times over libel matter
  • Craig Bellamy v News Group Newspapers (NGN): representing the claimant (settled)
  • Represented Founder of Easyjet, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in defamation action (settled)
  • Mo George v NGN: representing the defendant
  • Advising a high profile individual in a libel matter (settled)



  • R v Fallon; represented and achieved the acquittal of the Champion Jockey in criminal prosecution for alleged race fixing
  • Advised Southern Water
  • Advised in the Cash for Honours scandal
  • R v Sheikh & Anor: acquitted of NHS fraud
  • R v Hayter: (House of Lords)
  • R v Bukhari: achieved the acquittal of a defendant charged with terrorist arms dealing
  • R v Stovold: Local Authority Finance Leasing Fraud, successful half time submission of no case to answer
  • R v Jane Andrews: Murder of boyfriend of Duchess of York's dresser
  • R v Matthews and others: acquitted in Horseracing doping case
  • R v Andrew Regan: Co-op fraud, acquitted
  • Represented, on numerous occasions, the interests of Mohammed Al Fayed, notably in the Harrods Safety Deposit Box case
  • R v Guppy & Marsh: represented Marsh in fraud, theft and false insurance claim trial concerning a staged jewel theft and subsequent false claim for £1.8 million from the Lloyd's syndicate insurers
  • The Blue Arrow fraud trial, acquitted
  • The Heathrow Bullion Robbery
  • R v Coutts: necrophiliac murder of school teacher
  • R v Tommy Adams et al
  • Operation Goldcard appeals arising out of the Rigg Approach Flying Squad corruption enquiry
  • R v Donald, Cressey and David Fraser: police corruption case
  • R v Serafinovich and R v Sawoniuk: War Crimes trials
  • R v Charles Kray: successful prosecution of the eldest member of the notorious crime family
  • Various IRA terrorist cases
  • R v Michael Smith: KGB spy


  • Paul McKenna v MGN (Daily Mirror) (representing the defendant)
  • Wayne Rooney v NGN (representing the defendant)
  • Sharon Osbourne v NGN (representing the claimant)
  • Represented NGN in the case brought by Roger Cook of ‘The Cook Report’ et al
  • Represented NGN in the case brought by Mr Alin Turcu (the “Beckham Kidnap Plot” case)
  • Delaney v NGN and Jodie Marsh (representing the defendants)
  • McKeith v NGN (representing the defendant)
  • Kate Moss v Channel 5 (representing the defendant)
  • Sharon Stone v Daily Mail (representing the claimant)
  • Represented Roman Polanski in his case against Vanity Fair Magazine

More information
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