Kathryn Hughes

  • A highly respected junior who specialises in corporate and financial crime, private prosecutions, and financial regulation.

    Corporate & Financial Crime

    Kathryn has developed a practice focused on corporate and financial crime and financial regulation. She regularly works with top-tier law firms, high-net worth individuals and financial institutions and has an acute understanding of the complex law in this area, as well as the specific concerns of corporate clients facing allegations of financial crime, bribery and corruption. Kathryn also has considerable experience in leading and advising on internal investigations.

    Financial Services Regulation

    Kathryn has a growing practice in financial services regulation. Kathryn is frequently instructed on behalf of firms and individuals in relation to FCA investigations concerning alleged breaches of FCA Rules and Principles and for market abuse.

    Private Prosecution

    Kathryn has a flourishing practice in private prosecutions. Her particular expertise lies in complex corporate and financial offences where she acts on both sides for individuals and companies.

    Reviews

    Legal 500 2024: Financial Services Regulation - Tier 3 

    Legal 500 2023: Financial Services Regulation - Tier 3 

    ‘Excellent attention to detail and quick to grasp complex issues in cases. Understands her clients' needs and strategic approach to defending them.’ Legal 500 Financial Services (2023)

    Legal 500 2022: Financial Services Regulation - Tier 3

    'Kathryn is extremely hard-working and diligent. A fantastic team player who quickly grasps complex points.' Legal 500 Financial Services (2022)

    Appointments

    • CPS External Advocates Panel Grade 2
    • CPS Extradition Panel Grade

    Professional Memberships

    • Association of London Welsh Lawyers
    • Gray’s Inn
    • Private Prosecutors' Association
    • Defence Extradition Lawyers Forum (DELF)

    Education

    • 2013: Cardiff University, BPTC (Outstanding and First in Year) 
    • 2012: Utrecht University, LLM in European Law (First Class Honours)
    • 2011: LLB (Hons), University of Bristol

    Languages 

    • French (conversational) 

       

     

    Recent Cases

    News

    • Mark Ellison QC and Kathryn Hughes act for the FRC in their case against KPMG

      Mark Ellison QC and Kathryn Hughes act for the FRC in 'The Executive Counsel to the FRC v KPMG, Peter Noel Meehan, Alistair Wright, Richard William Kitchen, Adam David Bennett, Pratik Paw, Stuart Peter and James Smith (alongside Nicholas Medcroft QC and <...

      ...
    • Adrian Darbishire QC and Kathryn Hughes successful in defending a company prosecuted under Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010

      A company, RESL Ltd, and its director have been acquitted of charges of bribery and failing to prevent bribery after the proceedings were terminated due to lack of evidence.  This is only the third prosecution for the section 7 failure to prevent offence,...

      ...
    • New Tenants

      QEB Hollis Whiteman is delighted to announce that Kathryn Hughes, Nadesh Karu and William Cholerton have all accepted invitations to join Chambers following the successful completion of their Pupillages.

      ...

    Articles

    • Deferred Prosecution Agreements

       Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) were introduced in Jersey in March 2023 and are now available for corporate entities at risk of prosecution for regulatory breaches and/or financial crimes. By entering into a DPA, businesses can effectively strike ...

    • The not so long arm of the law - the Supreme Court's decision in R (on the application of KBR, Inc) v Serious Fraud Office [2021] UKSC 2

      A Briefing Note by Jason Mansell and Kathryn Hughes.In a long-awaited judgment, the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the Serious Fraud Office’s (“SFO”) claim that its powers under s.2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (“CJA...

    • French DPAs - considering the first guidelines

      This article was first published on Lexis®PSL Corporate Crime on 24 July 2019.   Corporate Crime analysis: Kathryn Hughes takes a closer look at the first guidelines on the convention judiciaire d'intérêt public and says it is evident that the French auth...

    • Italian VAT fraud case sparks debate and divided opinion (MAS and MB (Taricco II))

      Corporate Crime analysis: Discussing the Court of Justice’s judgment in MAS and MB (Taricco II), Kathryn Hughes says that by failing to address significant issues, the court has merely fuelled the ongoing debate about the primacy of EU law vis à vis...

    • French Court authorises first-ever French deferred prosecution agreement

      Corporate Crime analysis: Kathryn Hughes takes a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the first French deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and considers how the French DPA process compares with that of the UK.This article was first published on L...

    • Court approves France's first DPA against HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)

      This article was first published in the Money Laundering Bulletin - you can read the article, here. 

    • The French DPA: The Same but Different

      On 14 November 2017, the Cour D’Appel de Paris approved the first French ‘DPA’ between HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA (“PBRS”), the Swiss private banking unit of HSBC, and the French National Financial Prosecutor, Parquet Nati...

    • The Action Plan - Tackling Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding (2016)

    • Trends in the prosecution of directors Lexis Nexis (2016)

      Directors need to know their responsibilities under the Companies Acts and Insolvency Act 1986.

    • Criminal Liability Following Mid Staffs - Lexis PSL (2015)

      View Article.

  • Corporate and Financial Crime

    Kathryn is a highly respected junior who specialises in corporate and financial crime, international arbitration, private prosecutions, and financial regulation.

    Overview

    Kathryn has developed a practice focused primarily on corporate and financial crime and financial regulation, in which she is regularly instructed by both top-tier law firms and financial institutions. Kathryn has an acute understanding of the complex law in this area, as well as the specific legal, financial, and reputational concerns of corporate clients facing allegations of financial crime, bribery, and corruption.

    Experience

    Kathryn has experience beyond her years. She is frequently sought after by market leaders for her particular expertise in the field. 

    In particular:

    • Kathryn successfully represented a company and its Director facing allegations under the Bribery Act 2010. Both the Company and the Director were acquitted in what was the first acquittal for an offence under Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010.
    • Kathryn has been instructed to act for a number of listed companies and individuals under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and other international agencies such as the Parquet National Financier (PNF) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
    • Kathryn has also been instructed by the SFO in an investigation into allegations of corruption.

    Kathryn has particular experience in advising companies on internal investigations into issues of data protection, fraud, money laundering and bribery and corruption. In 2022, Kathryn led an investigation into allegations of fraud in connection with a company’s activities in Qatar. She has also previously advised on the treatment of whistleblowers, conducted interviews and advised on specific issues of LPP in connection with internal investigations. 

    Kathryn has advised a number of global financial institutions on Sanctions, Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Bribery and Corruption compliance procedures. In particular, she has advised on Source of Wealth and Source of Funds procedures, third party risk, transaction risk and gifts and hospitality. Kathryn has designed and delivered training to high-risk third party consultants, stationed in high risk jurisdictions, on issues of bribery and corruption. Kathryn also has experience in advising financial institutions on Suspicious Activity Reporting and tipping off risks.

    Kathryn regularly advises company directors in connection with prosecutions brought by Companies House. She is uniquely familiar with the strategic nuances applicable to these cases and has had considerable success in persuading Companies House to discontinue its prosecutions. Kathryn is also experienced in advising both companies and directors and officers in criminal investigations being conducted by the Insolvency Service.

    Arbitration

    Kathryn also has experience in international arbitration. For example, in 2018 Kathryn worked with a leading Chinese oil and gas company and its overseas subsidiary as claimants in a multi-billion-dollar arbitration administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) related to their investment in a European oil company. Kathryn is able to quickly understand and digest a high volume of technical information, a skill which has proved invaluable in the context of arbitration cases. Kathryn was also instructed in an arbitration in London dealing with a high-profile employment dispute involving allegations of dishonesty. 

    Other

    In addition to her busy corporate and financial crime practice, Kathryn also takes time to contribute to various publications. She has particular expertise in relation to Deferred Prosecution Agreements, and she writes regularly on this topic. Kathryn understands how DPAs operate in various different jurisdictions, having undertaken a detailed comparative analysis of several different legislative frameworks

    Recent Work

    • In 2023, Kathryn has represented a number of directors across five separate entities facing prosecution by Companies House for failing to file company accounts in the relevant time period. In each case, the Prosecuting Solicitor has been persuaded to discontinue its prosecution.
    • In July 2023, Kathryn successfully prosecuted an individual for fraud offences totalling in excess of £200,000. The case involved an individual who used false identity documents to gain access to the bank accounts of individuals in a number of different bank branches in and around London. The money was then used to make a string of luxury purchases in high-end retailers.
    • In March 2023, Kathryn advised an energy company on compliance with sanctions legislation during a multi-million pound contract negotiation.
    • In August 2022, Kathryn successfully persuaded Companies House to drop the prosecution of a company director in connection with an alleged failing to fail company accounts.
    • R v R and others (2022) – Kathryn successfully represented an individual charged with fraud in connection with a grant application to the Rural Payments Agency.
    • FRC v KPMG and others (2022) – Mark Ellison QC and Kathryn Hughes act for the FRC in 'The Executive Counsel to the FRC v KPMG, Peter Noel Meehan, Alistair Wright, Richard William Kitchen, Adam David Bennett, Pratik Paw, Stuart Peter and James Smith (alongside Nicholas Medcroft QC and Daniel Carall-Green of Fountain Court Chambers)'
    • In February 2022, Kathryn led an internal investigation for a company based in the middle east in connection with allegations of fraud and corruption in connection with the Qatar world cup.
    • JAMS arbitration (2019): Kathryn was instructed as junior counsel to William Boyce QC in a multi-million dollar employment dispute involving claims of dishonesty. 
    • In 2018, Kathryn worked with a leading Chinese oil and gas company and its overseas subsidiary as claimants in a multi-billion-dollar arbitration administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) related to their investment in a European oil company. 
    • In 2017-2018, Kathryn was instructed by a former FTSE 100 company in relation to an SFO investigation into potential issues of bribery and corruption.
    • In 2017, Kathryn acted as Independent Counsel to make determinations of LPP in relation to an SFO investigation into a private company. 

    Reviews

    Legal 500 2023: Financial Services Regulation - Tier 3 

    Legal 500 2023: Business and Regulatory Crime and Global Investigations - Tier 3

    ‘Excellent attention to detail and quick to grasp complex issues in cases. Understands her clients' needs and strategic approach to defending them.’ Legal 500 Financial Services (2023)

    Legal 500 2022: Financial Services Regulation - Tier 3

    'Kathryn is extremely hard-working and diligent. A fantastic team player who quickly grasps complex points.' Legal 500 Financial Services (2022)

    Recent Cases

    News

    • Mark Ellison QC and Kathryn Hughes act for the FRC in their case against KPMG

      Mark Ellison QC and Kathryn Hughes act for the FRC in 'The Executive Counsel to the FRC v KPMG, Peter Noel Meehan, Alistair Wright, Richard William Kitchen, Adam David Bennett, Pratik Paw, Stuart Peter and James Smith (alongside Nicholas Medcroft QC and <...

    Articles

    • The not so long arm of the law - the Supreme Court's decision in R (on the application of KBR, Inc) v Serious Fraud Office [2021] UKSC 2

      A Briefing Note by Jason Mansell and Kathryn Hughes.In a long-awaited judgment, the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the Serious Fraud Office’s (“SFO”) claim that its powers under s.2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (“CJA...

    • French DPAs - considering the first guidelines

      This article was first published on Lexis®PSL Corporate Crime on 24 July 2019.   Corporate Crime analysis: Kathryn Hughes takes a closer look at the first guidelines on the convention judiciaire d'intérêt public and says it is evident that the French auth...

    • Italian VAT fraud case sparks debate and divided opinion (MAS and MB (Taricco II))

      Corporate Crime analysis: Discussing the Court of Justice’s judgment in MAS and MB (Taricco II), Kathryn Hughes says that by failing to address significant issues, the court has merely fuelled the ongoing debate about the primacy of EU law vis à vis...

    • French Court authorises first-ever French deferred prosecution agreement

      Corporate Crime analysis: Kathryn Hughes takes a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the first French deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and considers how the French DPA process compares with that of the UK.This article was first published on L...

    • Court approves France's first DPA against HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)

      This article was first published in the Money Laundering Bulletin - you can read the article, here. 

    • The French DPA: The Same but Different

      On 14 November 2017, the Cour D’Appel de Paris approved the first French ‘DPA’ between HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA (“PBRS”), the Swiss private banking unit of HSBC, and the French National Financial Prosecutor, Parquet Nati...

  • Kathryn has experience of both presenting and defending in a wide range of regulatory and professional disciplinary proceedings. She has particular experience in the fields of financial regulation and healthcare regulation. 

    Overview

    Kathryn is developing a reputable practice in the fields of financial regulation. She has considerable experience in advising both individuals and institutions facing civil and criminal enforcement investigations by the FCA.   

    Kathryn is currently ranked in the Legal 500 as Tier 3 for Financial Services Regulation.

    Financial Regulation

    Kathryn has expertise defending companies and individuals in enforcement investigations and proceedings by the FCA and Takeover Panel. She has assisted financial institutions subject to S.166 through to appeal proceedings before the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Division).

    Notable experience includes:

    • In 2022, Kathryn was instructed as junior counsel to Mark Ellison QC (alongside Nicholas Medcroft QC and Daniel Carall-Green of Fountain Court Chambers) to act for the FRC in The Executive Counsel to the FRC v KPMG, Peter Noel Meehan, Alistair Wright, Richard William Kitchen, Adam David Bennett, Pratik Paw, Stuart Peter and James Smith
    • From 2020 to 2022, Jason Mansell and Kathryn Hughes (instructed by Greg Brandman at Eversheds Sutherland International LLP) acted for Mohammad Ataur Rahman Prodhan, the former Chief Executive Officer of Sonali Bank (UK) Limited (SBUK) in FCA proceedings before the Upper Tribunal. Find out more HERE.
    • Kathryn has worked with Allen & Overy LLP on a dual practising basis in order to advise a financial institution on an extremely complex and large-scale FCA investigation.
    • In 2021, Kathryn advised a high-net worth individual in relation to various separate financial regulatory and corporate criminal investigations.
    • In 2021, Kathryn advised two high-net worth individuals on their pledging and reporting obligations as well as in relation to a number of ongoing regulatory investigations.

    Kathryn has particular experience in advising in cases of a high-profile nature where there is significant interest by media outlets and various parliamentary select committees.

    Whether defending or presenting, Kathryn is skilled at quickly assimilating complex, financial information and presenting arguments in a clear, concise and persuasive manner. Kathryn is also alert to the wider reputational, public and personal consequences of regulatory action.

    Healthcare

    Kathryn has experience working with the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which includes drafting detailed case reviews in circumstances where the Authority is concerned about the outcome in a particular case and advising on whether the Authority might appeal the matter to the High Court. In addition, Kathryn has acted on behalf of the MDU and GOC in in applications for interim orders, and at substantive hearings.

    Reviews

    Legal 500 2023: Financial Services Regulation - Tier 3 

    Legal 500 2023: Business and Regulatory Crime and Global Investigations - Tier 3

    ‘Excellent attention to detail and quick to grasp complex issues in cases. Understands her clients' needs and strategic approach to defending them.’ Legal 500 Financial Services (2023)

    Legal 500 2022: Financial Services Regulation - Tier 3

    'Kathryn is extremely hard-working and diligent. A fantastic team player who quickly grasps complex points.' Legal 500 Financial Services (2022)

    Recent Cases

  • Private Prosecutions

    A phenomenally bright and promising junior advocate with a burgeoning practice in Private Prosecutions.

    Overview

    Kathryn has a flourishing practice in private prosecutions.  She is regularly sought after to advise upon, prosecute and defend companies and individuals in complex and high-profile private prosecutions.

    Experience

    Kathryn has an in-depth understanding of the law and procedure governing private prosecutions. 

    Given her academic background and experience in extradition, Kathryn has often been called upon to assist where matters of European law arise in the context of private prosecutions which cross jurisdictional boundaries.

    Notable experience includes:

    • Advising a number of companies in relation to the merits and process for commencing a private prosecution in relation to various allegations of fraud, bribery, corruption and money laundering.
    • In particular, Kathryn was instructed as a junior counsel to Rachna Gokani, acting on behalf of a gaming institution in the prosecution of a multi-million pound fraud allegation. She advised on the case from the initial investigation stage through to the successful conclusion of the court proceedings.
    • Successfully opposing the application for three summonses against individuals accused of perverting the course of justice. This involved complex legal argument as the proposed prosecution overlapped with civil proceedings.  The District Judge found that the prosecutor had failed to establish a prima facie case, the applications were improperly motivated and involved a breach of the duty of candour. 

    Kathryn is a member of the Private Prosecutors’ Association and adheres to the Code for Private Prosecutors.

    Notable Cases

    NG v KG & Ors  (Uxbridge MC, 2024) 
    Successful opposition of an application for summonses against three individuals for perverting the course of justice, on the basis of improper motive and serious breaches of the duty of candour.  

     

    Recent Cases

    • Sean Larkin QC and Katherine Lloyd defended in a private prosecution brought by a casino against a high net worth individual said to have issued a fraudulent cheque for £2m. There were complicated issues surrounding the principles of the Gambling Act link...