Simon Ray

Barrister

Year of Call

2001

Profile

“Simon is a first class brief, who is a silk in all but name. He picks up the details of a case quickly, and understands what matters. He fights his corner fiercely but fairly and his cross-examination is well-prepared and effective.”

He is extremely bright, hard-working, diligent, reliable and assiduous A team player – Simon worked quickly and efficiently to produce high quality work.”

Legal 500

“Simon’s the cool head that keeps the ship steady. People think that means he’s really gentle but actually, he’s lethal”

“He’s extremely bright and technically proficient, but what stands him apart is that he’s extremely personable”

“He has an easy manner but he’s fiendishly intelligent”

He just gets it right every time. He has great, sound judgement…

A very good black-letter lawyer who is highly responsive to those that instruct him.

He has an understated yet extremely effective advocacy style and is superb with clients.

He’s incredibly calm but authoritative, and inspires confidence in clients through his very measured and reasoned approach.

“Simon is very experienced and always on top of the law and facts of any given case. He immediately wins the trust and confidence of lay clients and any tribunal.”

“Has a lovely manner with judges and clients.”

Chambers & Partners

Simon is a sought after and highly regarded criminal advocate with market-leading expertise in serious and complex litigation. He has appeared in several of the most high-profile cases in recent years, with a practice focused on work for private clients whose prominence and professional status gives rise to particular sensitivities. Simon has been ranked as a Band 1 leading junior by Chambers & Partners every year since 2016, and market sources praise him for his ‘ability to mop up a huge amount of material and get to grips with it’, as well as the ‘experience and skill’ he brings to private cases.

Simon’s practice incorporates the full criminal spectrum, and he has particular expertise in financial crime. He is regularly instructed by City clients, large international law firms, and large corporate clients, and is on the Serious Fraud Office’s A Panel of counsel.

Simon is praised for the clarity and effectiveness of his written and oral advocacy, and his ability to provide strong, strategic advice on complex legal issues. It is notable that Simon’s expertise is sought by other members of the legal profession to advise on sensitive issues affecting firms and individuals.

Work highlights include:

  • Leading counsel advising the SFO in a complex overseas bribery investigation involving corporate and individual suspects.
  • Acting on behalf of six directors of an international advertising agency under investigation for tax fraud.
  • Defending the former head of compliance at Alstom, the multi-national energy and engineering company, who was acquitted of corruption following two trials in the Crown Court.
  • Instructed as leading counsel to provide sensitive advice to two major international law firms about serious internal misconduct, appropriate interaction with UK law enforcement and regulators.
  • Instructed to provide strategic advice and draft a major report into a FTSE350 company under extraordinary time pressure and with real risk to the company’s future.
  • Instructed by Allen & Overy on behalf of a key former officer of Quindell Plc under investigation by the SFO and under threat of private prosecution.
  • Defending the former CEO of Hotcha Ltd charged with a fraud to secure £7.5millon of venture capital.
  • Instructed by Clifford Chance to act on behalf of officers and employees of an international corporation in a harassment claim in the High Court against an activist investor.
  • Leading counsel in the defence of the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Coldstream Guards who in 2022 was acquitted of a conspiracy to supply stolen army ammunition.
  • Defending Chris Cairns, the former New Zealand cricket captain who was found not guilty of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with his successful libel claim to refute allegations of match fixing.
  • Appearing as junior defence counsel for the entertainer Rolf Harris.

Expertise

Simon has particular depth of experience advising corporate clients, law firms and enforcement authorities on the full range of corporate criminal offences. Simon also advises corporate clients in connection with internal investigations and other compliance-related issues, in a way which is practical, efficient, and sensitive to clients’ commercial needs.

In the last 18 months Simon was instructed (as leading counsel) to provide sensitive advice to two major international law firms about serious internal misconduct, appropriate interaction with UK law enforcement and regulators. One concerned serious client fraud by a senior associate, with huge reputational risk for the firm.

In 2021 he was instructed to provide strategic advice and draft a major report on behalf of a FTSE350 company under extraordinary time pressure and with real risk to the company’s future.

Simon is advising the SFO on corporate liability for two UK companies under investigation in connection with offences under the Bribery Act 2010.

Simon has worked with magic circle law firms to advise on corporate criminal liability. His work includes acting for a major international corporation to conduct a review of potential criminal conduct within its UK subsidiary, and the potential liability of a Swiss company under the Bribery Act. Simon has advised a City firm on the preparation of a manual for their international corporate clients and overseas lawyers on UK anti-money laundering requirements.

He was instructed for a period of two years by Linklaters and Arnold & Porter on behalf of News Corp in connection with the phone hacking and misconduct in a public office investigation. The role included providing advice on complex questions of legal professional privilege and data protection issues.

He has also been involved on behalf of the companies in the SFO investigations into Glencore and GSK.

Other recent corporate clients have included Uber, a car-industry marketing and sales data company, well-known charities and a UK hedge-fund in connection with an overseas cum-ex trading investigation.

Simon has also acted on behalf of the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica and provided advice ahead of his Parliamentary Select Committee appearance.

Simon has a particular specialism in cases involving serious fraud and corruption. Notably, he is one of a small number of barristers with experience of negotiating on behalf of a defendant with the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority under the Attorney General’s Guidelines on Plea Discussions in Cases of Serious or Complex Fraud.

Current instructions include representing the former CEO of Hotcha Ltd in connection with a £7.5m venture capital fraud.

Simon has a track record of guiding and advising professional people through complex financial investigations. Examples include:

acting on behalf of six directors of an international advertising agency under investigation for tax fraud;

advising a key individual in the SFO’s investigation into Quindell Plc;

representing a key individual in the SFO’s investigation into the £236million collapse of London Capital & Finance.

In each case the investigations concluded without criminal charges being brought.

Simon was instructed by Wilmer Hale to defend the former head of compliance at Alstom, the multi-national energy and engineering company, who was acquitted of corruption following two trials in the Crown Court.

He has also received recognition for his work on market abuse cases. Cases include representing an equities trader prosecuted by the FCA for insider dealing (Operation Tabernula).

Other notable cases include the defence of the former CEO of a City re- insurance broker, prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office for offences of overseas corruption.

Simon is a member of the Serious Fraud Office A Panel and notable cases include the prosecution of fraud offences arising from the collapse of a litigation funding company, involving allegations of fraudulent trading with a loss to international investors of £80 million. In 2015, he was instructed in the SFO prosecution of a £20m conspiracy to mis-sell green energy pension investments and fraudulent trading. This case included the first Bribery Act charges brought by the SFO. In 2016-2018 he was instructed to advise on the investigation into Lloyds HBOS following the LIBOR scandal.

Currently Simon is instructed as leading counsel advising the SFO in a complex overseas bribery investigation involving corporate and individual suspects.

Simon has vast experience of working at the highest level in all types of serious criminal litigation, both for the defence and the prosecution, including cases of murder, attempted murder, organised crime, serious assault, rape and serious sexual offences. His experience includes addressing issues arising under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

He has particular experience of defending in allegations of sexual misconduct with an emphasis on sensitive and privately funded cases.

He regularly appears in cases of homicide at the Old Bailey and elsewhere.

Simon is regularly instructed as leading counsel, appearing alongside and against silks.

Recent notable recent examples include:

leading in the defence of the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Coldstream Guards who in 2022 was acquitted of a conspiracy to supply stolen army ammunition; and

leading in the prosecution of a defendant for encouraging the suicide of a fellow patient on a mental health ward. This followed an earlier instruction in the first case of assisting suicide prosecuted in the UK where the defendant met the deceased through online suicide forums.

Throughout his career, in addition to his defence work, Simon has been instructed by specialist divisions of the Crown Prosecution Service to conduct cases involving computer piracy, conspiracy to defraud, corruption, misconduct in public office, international drug trafficking, money-laundering and election offences.

Between 2013 and 2021 Simon advised the CPS on criminal liability for undercover police officers who adopted the identities of dead children. This included difficult questions of aliases and sexual consent. This was an issue of great public concern.

Simon has considerable experience in confiscation, including proceedings arising from multi-million pound money laundering, drug trafficking and fraud cases. He has experience of cases involving asset tracing in multiple jurisdictions. He appeared in the Court of Appeal in R v Del Basso and Goodwin [2010] EWCA Crim 1119, a case concerning the relationship between legitimate business expenses and “benefit” for the purposes of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

It is common for Simon’s cases to involve parallel financial restraint proceedings.

In 2020 he successfully resisted multiple bank account freezing orders on behalf of a network of international cosmetic sales companies.

Simon frequently appears in the appellate courts for both the Prosecution and the Defence. He is instructed regularly by the Appeals Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service. Simon provides specialist advice to the Association of Chief Police Officers and police forces on police powers and statutory interpretation including on questions of technical road traffic law.

Several of Simon’s cases for both the defence and prosecution have involved complex international investigations giving rise to multi-jurisdictional questions of evidence and disclosure.

He has particular experience in cases involving parallel investigations by UK law enforcement agencies and the US Department of Justice.

As a result, Simon has experience for both the prosecution and defence of dealing with issues arising from evidence obtained via Letters of Request in several jurisdictions and of negotiating with the US Department of Justice over complicated disclosure arguments. In addition, Simon has advised on the comparisons between United States procedure on plea-bargaining and the regime in this jurisdiction for the acceptance of bases of plea and judicial indications as to sentence.

Simon has provided advice to the Supreme Court of the Canton of Bern on a question of jurisdiction and equivalence in English/Swiss law; and has also provided advice to the Swiss government concerning potential fraud offences by a British citizen against Swiss interests.

Simon has appeared for both defendants and requesting states in extradition proceedings at first instance and in the High Court.

Simon has appeared in several cases in the appellate courts involving important principles of human rights and public law.

In 2020, he was instructed for the Director of Public Prosecutions (led and alone) in a series of High Court cases involving the extension of custody time limits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The case was of significant public importance, given the extraordinary pressure on the criminal justice system.

In 2022 he appeared in a significant decision of the High Court concerning the jurisdiction of the Youth Court in rape cases where the defendant turns 18 during the course of the proceedings.

Simon was instructed as junior to David Perry KC to prepare submissions on behalf of the Advocate to the Court in the appeal to the Supreme Court from the High Court decision on police powers of detention in Hookway.

Simon also appeared in R v Davis [2008] UKHL 36, the decision of the House of Lords on anonymous witnesses that led to the passing of the Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008.

He has expertise in the area of the retention of DNA samples, fingerprints and Police National Computer records.

Simon appears in Inquests. His experience includes the representation of a CCTV camera operator arrested and interviewed under caution for gross negligence manslaughter at a subsequent Coroner’s inquest. He has also appeared on behalf of London Underground staff in an inquest into a death at an underground station.

Simon has extensive experience of professional disciplinary tribunals and regulatory cases.

In R v B&S Ltd & others, Simon led in a case at the Old Bailey that involved complex and novel questions of EU and domestic law. The defendants (two companies and three people, one a Romanian barrister) unlawfully advised hundreds of clients, asserting that they had found a lacuna in UK immigration legal services regulation.

He defended a corporate defendant charged under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Regulations. The case involved questions of interpretation of UK and European Community legislation.

Simon appeared in the Court of Appeal in R v Clarke [2008] EWCA 893 – a case involving the reverse burden of proof in regulatory offences. He has lectured to City solicitors on regulatory crime.

  • Serious Fraud Office Panel of Counsel (List A)
  • Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel Specialist Lists: Serious Crime Group; Fraud; Proceeds of Crime.
  • Grade 4 prosecutor

Fraud Lawyers Association.

Criminal Bar Associaton

South-Eastern Circuit

University of Durham, BA (Hons) History.

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Notable cases