Charlotte Atherton

Call 2003

Photo of Charlotte Atherton

Practice Overview

Acting for both the prosecution and defence, Charlotte is a specialist criminal practitioner with experience in a broad range of criminal matters, including the following:

  • Fraud and money laundering offences
  • Violent offences
  • Drugs offences
  • Public Order offences
  • Sexual offences
  • Dishonesty offences
  • Road traffic offences
  • Environmental offences
  • Confiscation proceedings and Asset recovery

Charlotte was recently led by Chris Stables in the prosecution of the Zholia Alemi case which made headlines around the globe.  The defendant forged medical qualification documents, misled the GMC into registering her to practice as a doctor in the UK, and then practiced the length and breadth of the UK in the NHS for more than 20 years.

Charlotte has wide experience of large and complex VHCC cases and has developed a strong fraud practice. She is used to dealing with voluminous case papers requiring extensive and detailed case preparation and is adept at the complex evidential analysis that these cases require both when prosecuting and defending.

Charlotte has a particular interest and specialism in large scale disclosure cases. Most notably, Charlotte acted as Disclosure / Junior Counsel in the Prosecution of the Hillsborough Disaster Trial and Re-trial.

Charlotte prosecutes on behalf of the CPS (Category 3), DWP, Local Authorities, Health and Safety Executive and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. She has been admitted to three CPS Specialist Panels – the Fraud panel, the Serious Crime panel and the Counter-Terrorism panel. Charlotte is also appointed to the Specialist Regulatory panel (Category B).

Charlotte is always thorough in her preparation and is renowned for her ability to get to the crux of the issue in an expedient manner. She is able to bring together her legal expertise, much-praised client care skills and a robust approach to her cases that those who instruct her really value. She works well as part of a team and has strong strategic and tactical awareness.

Charlotte has completed Vulnerable Witness training, and is able to deal with sensitive issues with compassion and tact.


Since 2015, Charlotte has developed a specialism in large scale disclosure cases both in the criminal and civil / commercial spheres. The experience and skills she has amassed as a result of her large and voluminous complex fraud cases has enabled her to excel in the organisation, management and review of material for the purposes of disclosure.Charlotte’s adaptable legal skills and knowledge allow her to foresee legal arguments, plan effectively and identify relevant material for the purposes of scoping and disclosure.

Charlotte delivers webinars and talks on the criminal disclosure regime and has provided guidance and advice to police investigations on the most effective methods and processes to be adopted for the purposes of disclosure in cases with a significant evidence base.

Criminal Cases

Hillsborough – Second Junior / Disclosure Counsel in the Prosecution of the Hillsborough Trial and Re-trial at Preston

R v LB – successful prosecution of man charged with Child Cruelty in respect of his four children.

R v M L – Defence of a retired man of good character for Inciting a Child under 13 to Engage in Sexual Activity.

R v R D – Prosecution of a young defendant for s.18 OAPA 1861 stabbing.

R v D H – Defence of man charged with Rape and Sexual Assault

R v L L – Prosecution of man charged with Committing an Offence (namely false imprisonment) with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence and Threats to Kill on 3 female victims.

R v W & O – VHCC – 2nd Junior representing the Director of a company in a multi-million pound bank fraud with attempts to launder the proceeds internationally resulting in a Trial of 4 months and proceeds of crime application (Southwark, London)

R v D & Ors – VHCC – 2nd Junior in a large-scale, multi-handed red diesel fraud resulting in a Trial lasting 3 months (Leeds).

R v S & Ors – VHCC – 2nd Junior in a multi-million pound international advanced fee fraud resulting in a Trial lasting 4 months (Liverpool).

R v H & Ors – VHCC – 2nd Junior acting for the Financial Director of a large distance learning company. Trial arose out of the collapse of the Government’s Individual Learning Account scheme. The fraud attracted widespread national reporting including Watchdog, The News of the World and the Today programme. Trial lasted 5 months (Teesside).

R v S & Ors – 2nd Junior in a large, multi-handed cigarette VAT tax evasion case (Manchester).

R v P D – 2nd Junior in a Conspiracy to Defraud where it was alleged that the defendants represented that they could buy the Ritz hotel. National reporting.

R v S K – VHCC – 2nd Junior acting for the lead defendant charged with corruption offences involving the Merseyside Police Authority.

R v H & Ors – VHCC – 2nd Junior defending in a large Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue case.

R v S L H & Ors – VHCC – 2nd Junior defending the wife of the first defendant in a multi-million pound Mortgage Fraud and proceeds of crime application

Operation Hilmar – Prosecution Disclosure Junior in a case involving fraud and regulatory offences.