Damian Nolan

Call 1994


“A quality barrister, master tactician and a real fighter.”

The Legal 500 2021
Photo of Damian Nolan


Damian specialises in criminal work. He undertakes defence work mainly, but as a Category 4 (the highest grade) Prosecutor continuously since 2005 he represents the Crown in complex matters. He has also been appointed to the CPS Specialist Rape and Child Sexual Abuse List and is a Category 4 (highest grade) Prosecutor member for both the Serious Crime Panel and the Fraud Panel. Damian has recently been appointed to the Specialist Regulatory Panel List B.

He has consistently appeared as recommended counsel and a “leader in his field” in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 since 2003. In the 2019 and 2020 editions of Chambers and Partners, Damian was one of only 3 junior counsel ranked in Tier 1 on Circuit. He is well respected within the profession by his peers and the judiciary.

He appears as a leading junior, led junior and junior alone in complex and lengthy cases and has vast trial experience in all aspects of serious and heavyweight criminal work including experience in financial and regulatory offences and serious organised crime. He has appeared in a number of high profile cases and regularly appears in cases covering all aspects of business related crime and enforcement. Damian has experience of the multi-faceted and multi-jurisdictional aspects of criminal procedure including legal professional privilege, judicial review, appeals by way of case stated, voluntary bills of indictment, appeals against terminating rulings and appellate work including when not counsel originally instructed.

Damian also undertakes inquest work and appears as an advocate before various professional disciplinary tribunals.

Damian likes to be involved in each case at an early stage and is able to adopt a team approach to the conduct of criminal litigation. Damian recognises that in complex litigation a successful outcome to a case can more often than not be underpinned by detailed preparation in advance of the trial and an early recognition of the key issues in the case combined with the formulation of the appropriate strategy applicable to the case at hand.  He is bright while remaining grounded when dealing with issues. These key attributes coupled with his tenacity and determination to see each instruction through set him apart from others. Damian is known by those who instruct him to work tirelessly for his professional and lay client, seeking to provide clear, robust advice and a high standard of advocacy throughout the course of proceedings. He is known for his meticulous preparation of cases, his clear focus on the client’s cause, but also his relaxed and approachable style.

Defence work is undertaken for a wide range of solicitors across Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, The Midlands, West and North Yorkshire. He has established a loyal following amongst senior solicitors and this work spans all aspects of serious crime. His extensive practice includes both privately funded and legal aid work.

Criminal Cases

Selected Cases

Fraud/Regulatory (sample since 2013)

R v Knutsen – Defendant was charged with failing to register a series of business interests for VAT and income tax. The resultant loss was in hundreds of thousands. Issues around the legal ambit of The Partnership Act 1980 were relevant as that affected her legal obligations around registration.

R v Pickard – Led junior in a 4 month Ponzi fraud scheme trial representing a solicitor. The case involved FSMA offences and considerations as to the legal ambit of the Act and when various statutory offences can be said to have been committed

R v Thompson – Junior in a 3 month fraud trial dealing with allegations of Pension Tax Relief fraud. Defendant acquitted on a terminating ruling upheld by the Court of Appeal

R v Chandler – Junior in a 2 month trial concerning allegations of Land Banking fraud

R v Donnelly – Led junior in 5 month MTIC trial involving the Directors of FCIB; said to the bank utilised by MTIC fraudsters for over a decade.

R v Rutherford – Junior in trial alleging a fraudulent scheme exploiting the Construction Industry Scheme for sub-contractors

R v Boyd – Leading junior in a 3 month trial dealing with the VAT evasion of duty associated with “red diesel”

R v Williams – Leading junior in a 3 month trial concerning allegations of a nationwide fraud over advertising fraud surrounding the emergency series in England and Wales

R v Roper – Represented (Led Junior) defendant charged with fraudulently utilising bureaux de changes. Case stayed before the jury was sworn as an abuse of process by the trial Judge after 12 months of legal argument

R v Siegler – Represented (Leading Junior) defendant charged with an Advance Fee fraud in a 4 months trial. Defendant acquitted.

R v Good – Junior in advertising fraud – similar factual background to R v Williams


Murder/Organised Crime (sample cases since 2015)

R v Brown (Operation Blush) – Defendant charged with Conspiracy to possess Firearms with Intent to Endanger Life, Conspiracy to Possess Ammunition, Conspiracy to Supply Class A and B drugs. The defendant was said to be one of the main protagonists in an OCG involved in an attempted murder, possession of submachine guns, possession of handguns, trading with other OCGs in handguns and the supply of very large amounts of drugs.

R v Thomasson and others – Led Junior in high profile case involving an OCG. Centered around two shootings – one of a known criminal nominal and one involving the shooting of a woman and child as part of a revenge attack.

R v West and others – OCG case involving the murder of one OCG nominal and the attempted murder of another. Alleged that an OCG had fallen out with a rival group over Class A drug dealing territory.

R v Walker – Defendant was alleged to have murdered a customer from drug trade who refused to pay monies due.

R v Tavano – Defendant charged with strangulation of his victim – motive said to be financial

R v Woodford – Led Junior representing an NCA “nominal” charged with organising the execution of a member of a another “nominal” crime family

R v SBE (juvenile) – Led junior representing a youth charged with murder arising from a gangland feud (8 week trial)

R v Beckford – Led junior – representing a defendant in a high profile murder trial in Manchester (9 week trial)

R v Fleetwood – Represented (Led Junior) young defendant charged with two murders (separately committed) in a “gangland style” execution

R v Yavuz – Represented (Led Junior) defendant charged with murder (Old Bailey) arising from the unrest between Turkish community and PKK in London

R v Trussell – Represented (Led Junior) defendant charged with 19 offences of Armed Robbery of sub-Post Offices

R v Ambrose – Represented defendant charged with Perverting the Course of Justice arising from his involvement in offences leading to the Home Secretary commuting the original sentence of 15 years’ to 5 years’


Drugs/SOCA/NCA (sample of cases from 2014 onwards)

R v Brown (Operation Blush)

R v West and others

R v Walker

R v Marley and Others (Operation Quartz)

R v Whelan

R v Hughes

R v Rowley

R v Forster

R v Whalley

R v Nicholls

R v Howard

R v Perry

R v Campbell

R v Wiggan

R v Ulshan

R v Busutill

R v Prescott

R v Singleton

R v McCarten

R v McNally


All of these cases and trials covered the length and breadth of the country and involve the importation/cultivation of huge amounts of drugs for distribution through national networks