John Harrison KC was called to the bar in 1994 and was made Silk in 2016.

John is a criminal law and regulatory specialist, and has a specific expertise in regulatory areas including Health & Safety, Environmental Law & Trade Descriptions. He has a particular interest in financial regulation, particularly regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

John is an extremely popular barrister who has earned a reputation of being both a master tactician and an outstanding trial advocate. He is well known for his capability to handle the most complex of cases with a clear, pragmatic approach. John’s background in civil litigation and commercial law makes him particularly well placed to assist clients in a huge range of litigation areas. He is a particularly popular choice for cases involving substantial factual and legal complexity.

Although St Pauls Chambers are based both on the North Eastern Circuit he has a national practice.


John is well known for his capability to handle the most complex of cases with a clear, pragmatic approach and has a strong background in civil litigation and commercial law that works to his advantage when advising clients in all types of litigation. He has a broad experience of cases involving human rights issues with particular interest in cases of factual and legal complexity.

Notable Fraud cases

R v Sorby

Defence – SFO prosecution. Sorby was the retired managing director of Sarclad Ltd who traded internationally in steel manufacturing equipment. The company had entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the SFO, after undertaking an internal investigation. The DPA was anonymised to XYZ. Sorby was prosecuted by the SFO following the outcome of their investigation, which was in reality, an adoption of the investigation carried out by Sarclad’s solicitors. After a lengthy trial Sorby was acquitted by the jury casting doubt over the DPA process itself. Satellite litigation included SFO v. XYZ.

R v Wharton

Defence – Operation Circus, the lead defendant in both international property investment and ponzi investment frauds.

R v Patterson

Defence (VHCC) – Operation Bamburgh 1, North East Property Buyers fraud involving mortgage, re-sale/re-mortgage and property investment scheme frauds.

R v Frisby

Defence (VHCC) – Operation Armadale, fraudulent trading and property investment schemes.

R v Smith

Defence (VHCC) – Operation Savate, VAT and direct tax fraud using the Construction Industry Scheme.

R v Marr

Defence – Operation Bamburgh 2, conspiracy to defraud, property development and mortgage fraud, electronic presentation.

R v Akegwure

Prosecution – Conspiracy to defraud, identity and credit fraud, company identities stolen and used to purchase or lease computer equipment.

R v Roberts

Defence – Fraudulent trading and money laundering in relation to the selling of utility company contracts and the failure of the company involved.

R v Sargent & Brownhill

Prosecution – NHS fraud and false accounting, diversion of funds from service users of care homes by managers of those care.

R v Kiani

Defence – Conspiracy to defraud and fraudulent trading offences prosecuted by the SFO. Defending a complex asset stripping fraud involving ‘white wash’ company purchases, inter company loans, and the use of factoring agents.

R v Khan

Defence – Indentity theft conspiracy involving malicious computer hacking, dissemination and sale of stolen credit card account numbers, compromised bank account information, counterfeit currency, counterfeit cheques, and counterfeit identity documents. Defendant involved as a ‘moderator’ within the ‘’ website. Defending an international conspiracy involving internet theft and fraud.

John has a wide ranging interest across the Financial Regulation sector.  He has been involved in many cases, advising at all stages of FCA regulation, from authorisation and approval, through the investigation phase, to criminal prosecution and/or civil enforcement or action.

It is clear from John’s experience that all clients benefit from obtaining legal advice at the earliest possible stage when dealing with any matter which may or may not require regulation by the FCA.

Notable Homicide cases

R v Musgrave

Defence – Alleged group attack by way of summary justice in Hartlepool, acquitted after trial.

R v Culley

Defence – Alleged murder of husband by wife, complex background involving detailed medical and psychological analysis and evidence, plea to manslaughter accepted.

R v Culley

Defence – Alleged murder of husband by wife, complex background involving detailed medical and psychological analysis and evidence, plea to manslaughter accepted.

R v Ghazanfar

Defence – Group revenge attack on several other young men, one of whom was killed.

R v Goodall

Defence – Operation Troop – (defence) – Substantial Moss Side gang related murder involving numerous defendants. Joint enterprise and bad character both major factors in the case.

R v Liam Johnson

Defence – Conspiracy to murder, two brothers paid to kill complainant, attacked with axe and knife, complex issues witness intimidation & cut throat defences.

R v Callaghan, Ojengbede & Others

Defence – Attempted murder, shotgun used, drug turf war, complex factual case with extensive bad character issues.

R v Barker-Jones & Others

Defence – Aggravated burglary and double attempted murder, revenge attack on father and son, complex issues as to defendants mental state.

R v Onfroy & Hollis

Prosecution – Murder to steal drugs and money, convicted after trial.

Issues dealt with have included:

  1. private prosecutions;
  2. product safety;
  3. industrial noise;
  4. asbestos contamination;
  5. waste disposal;
  6. the water industry;
  7. suspected fraudulent activity internal and external to the corporate;
  8. various FCA issues, including applicability of regulations and guidance (PERG); and,
  9. co-operation with investigating authorities within the context of health and safety investigations.

Notable Health & Safety cases

R v Roofing Consultants Limited

Prosecution – fatality following fall from height, health and safety offences.

R v Al Amin Warehouse

Prosecution – fatality following fall from height, health and safety offences.

R v Huntley Mount Engineering

Prosecution – fatality involving a young apprentice at an engineering company, health and safety offences.

R v Pyranha Mouldings

Prosecution – fatality at a canoe factory, health and safety offence.

R v Sherwood Rise Ltd

Prosecution – fatality at a care home, elderly resident neglected, health and safety offences.

R v Andrew Jones Pies

Prosecution – fatal explosion in a factory, health and safety offences.

R v Pavers

Defence – asbestos contamination offences.

Notable Environmental Law cases

EA v Fenny

Unauthorised waste operation offences at various sites in Middlesbrough area.

EA v Smith

Waste management offences described as the worst ever seen in South Yorkshire.

Notable Trading Standards cases

R v Glan McCallum

Defence – part of Operation Clio, allegations of conspiracies to defraud by using copy-cat websites, not guilty verdicts prior to trial.

R v Thwaites

Defence – involving the deployment of test purchase officers as covert human resources.

WYCC v Hemingway

Defence – mis-selling second hand cars, confiscation proceedings.

NYCC v Wileman

Defence, company director alleged to have allowed false statements to be made on his company’s behalf.

News & Insights

Read more

"John Harrison KC is a well-respected silk who is recognised for his strong criminal defence practice. He acts in a wide range of cases including those involving investment schemes, money laundering and tax fraud"

Chambers & Partners 2024- Financial Crime

"He is a well-rounded financial crime silk - approachable, technical and consistent"

Chambers & Partners 2024 - Financial Crime

Ranked as Leading Silk in Crime (General and Fraud)

The Legal 500 2024

"A highly accomplished silk in the field of financial services. John is a first-class advocate and has a clarity of thought and expression that cuts through a lot of irrelevant material."

The Legal 500 2023 – Business & Regulatory Crime

"John is a silk who commands respect. It is extremely easy for lay clients to like him."

The Legal 500 2023 – Crime (General & Fraud)

"John is excellent at processing large amounts of complex evidence and is diligent in his case preparation. His advocacy is persuasive and juries love him."

The Legal 500 2022 – Crime (General & Fraud)

"John has an incredible ability to cut through regulations and legislation to succinctly identify the key points. He is an effortless advocate. When he speaks, the court listens."

The Legal 500 2022 – Business & Regulatory Crime

"Bribery and corruption cases are a particular specialty. Recent work includes complex fraud and murder cases."

The Legal 500 2021

"Very well known for his expertise in health and safety matters."

The Legal 500 2021

"Recommended for prosecuting and defending serious crime and fraud."

The Legal 500 2020


  • Kings’s Counsel (2016)

News & Insights

Read more

Contact Us

Chambers is centrally located within walking distance of the train station, secure car parks and the Courts.

Contact Us

St Pauls Chambers
Park Row House
19-20 Park Row

For out of hours assistance please call the senior clerk on 07854170429.

The switchboard will open from 08:30 until 17:30

Phone: +44 (0)1132 455 866
Email: [email protected]
CJSM: [email protected]

Portfolio Builder

Select the expertise that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Title Type CV Email

Remove All


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)