Private Prosecutions

With our vast experience and a reputation for our quality-led, fair-minded and rigorous approach, QEB Hollis Whiteman is considered the market-leading set in this field.


The right of private prosecution is long-established and provides a means (almost unique to the UK), by which entities other than the State may pursue actions through the criminal courts. Private prosecutions are considered by many to be an important constitutional safeguard against potential inertia of the State and, when properly undertaken, can be an effective remedy for those finding themselves the victims of crime. We have conducted the vast majority of high-profile private prosecutions and have established a reputation for doing so with the utmost care and skill, producing outstanding results.

Our Experience

When considering bringing a private prosecution, it is essential to select a legal team who are not only capable of advising on the mechanics of the system but who are also specialists in the offence underpinning the prosecution. Each of our private prosecutors has a particular field; be it intellectual property, corporate fraud or other serious crime. This enables our team to quickly and efficiently advise on all aspects of a case, providing a one-stop shop.

Chambers’ corporate fraud unit specialises in high-value and complex crime, bringing cases on behalf of companies and individuals. In 2014, Chambers acted for the prosecution in what is believed to be the largest-ever private prosecution brought by an individual.

In addition, Chambers has a highly specialised intellectual property unit, which has successfully undertaken almost 300 private prosecutions on behalf of major multinational organisations such as The Football Association Premier League, Federation Against Copyright Theft, Sky, The British Recorded Music Industry and Virgin Media Ltd. This unit has been responsible for almost every major Copyright and Trademark Private Prosecution brought within this jurisdiction.


'It has the benefit of fantastic corporate City premises and represents an impressive set-up that is perfect for blue-chip, white-collar crime clients' Chambers UK (2018)

'Very well-managed chambers' Chambers UK (2018)

'Delivering quality at every level' Chambers UK (2018)

'It attracts the most significant and substantial criminal instructions on both the prosecution and defence sides. The very talented barristers here are known for their superior advocacy skills and their approachability' Chambers UK (2017)

'Fantastic barristers at all levels' Legal 500 (2017)

Notable Cases

R v Somaia (Ketan) (2009-2017)
Successful Private Prosecution: Ketan Somaia convicted by a Jury of nine counts of Obtaining a Money Transfer by Deception.

Haigh v Gray & Others (2015)
Defending Partner of global Law Firm subject to Private Prosecution in respect of Allegations of People Trafficking and Fraud.

R v Wu
Mark Ellison QC represented the Private Prosecutor, Billionaire Samuel Tak Lee, in relation to an alleged Blackmail of him.

Solicitors Regulation Authority v Preston (2015)
Prosecution of a Solicitor who had been struck off but continued to practise. An immediate custodial sentence was imposed, together with an order for Prosecution costs.

Solicitors Regulation Authority v Gandham (2012)
Prosecution of a Person who had never been admitted to the Roll, but who had held herself out as a Solicitor and who had practised in a number of different fields. A suspended sentence was imposed, together with an order for Prosecution costs.

General Dental Council v Hill & PW Healthcare (2011)
The first Private Prosecution for Illegal Commercial Tooth Whitening.

R v Sohail Rafiq, Reece Baker, Graham Reid and Ben Cooper (2015)
Five receive Prison sentences in Private Prosecution for Illegal Film Distribution.

R v Mahoney (2015)
A Northern Ireland man was sentenced to four years in Prison at Londonderry Crown Court for running an Internet Piracy Scam.

R v Helidon Vuciterni (2014)
David Groome and Ari Alibhai acted for the Premier League in the successful Prosecution of Helidon Vuciterni.

Dancing Jesus (aka: Kane Robinson & Richard Graham) (2014)
Private Prosecution success against Dancing Jesus website.

R v Danks (Philip) (2014)
Philip Danks, Ringleader of a sophisticated Online and Filming Piracy network, was sentenced to 33 months in Prison at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

R v Reid & Lewis - Araditracker (2013)
Instructed by Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland to prosecute in the alleged operation of the film torrent site Araditracker.

R v Zinga (Munaf) (2013) 
Private Prosecution (on behalf of Virgin Media Ltd) of importer and wholesaler of devices designed to defraud Virgin Media.

R v Helidon Vuciterni (2013) 
Private Prosecution (on behalf of FAPL) of Defendant for alleged operation of a card-sharing network.

R v Rayyonics Ltd (2012)
Illicit set-top box supplier. Rayyonics Ltd designed, manufactured and imported the Eurovox series of television set-top-boxes, which, when programmed, enabled access to the entire Virgin Media subscription television service without payment. Zinga sold approximately 400,000 set-top-boxes in a conspiracy spanning some three years. The judge ordered an £8.7 million Confiscation Order. 

R v Vickerman (Anton) (2012)
Private Prosecution (on behalf of Federation Against Copyright Theft) of the most popular pirate film indexing site in the world.

Recent Cases

R v Gleave (2018)

Ari Alibhai, instructed by Mishcon de Reya, acted for Sky in a successful private prosecution in...

R v Haigh (2015-2017) (2017) EWHC 232 (Admin)

Adrian Darbishire QC, instructed by Peters & Peters, represented former Gibson Dunn partner...

R v A, B, C & D (2015-2016)

Adrian Darbishire QC, instructed by Peters & Peters, represented four company directors...



Briefing Note: A Prosecutor's Duty of Candour

On 23 May, the High Court (Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Sweeney) allowed an application for judicial review against the refusal of Leeds Magistrates' Court to dismiss summonses that had been issued upon the application of a private...

Ari Alibhai co-authors Private Prosecution Practice Note for Lexis Nexis

QEB Hollis Whiteman member Ari Alibhai, private prosecution specialist, collaborated with solicitor David Northfield of Fieldfisher LLP to produce a Practice Note, Protecting Intellectual Property through Private Prosecutions for legal publisher Lexis Nexis PSL series.  

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