Nick Johnson QC

Call 1994
Silk 2016

“He is an exceptional advocate and a highly experienced fraud lawyer.”

Chambers and Partners 2021
Photo of Nick Johnson QC

Practice Overview

Nick Johnson is a Queen’s Counsel barrister in independent practice with a focus on financial and corporate crime, associated regulatory work and other serious and organised crime. He is currently ranked Silk Band 1 for both Crime and Financial Crime in Chambers & Partners 2021 and Tier 1 for Crime in the Legal 500 2021.

Nick has specialised in criminal fraud and money laundering cases since 2001, appearing as leading counsel in some of the largest fraud jury trials in the UK, concerning tax to pharmaceutical and medical devices to financial markets and property frauds, prosecuted by specialist agencies. He has been described in the legal directories over the years as “tactically phenomenal”, “a fantastic courtroom advocate” and “pleasingly personable”. He has particular expertise in bribery and corruption investigations, including large scale multi-jurisdictional investigations. Companies and individuals retain him, both advising on preventative measures such as Bribery Act compliance and corporate governance, and for wider strategic advice in civil fraud, economic sanctions, mutual assistance, DPAs and civil recovery, often at an early stage. Nick has experience of corporate investigations brought by the Department of Justice and SEC in the United States and investigations and litigation in Europe, Russia and the CIS and the Middle East.

In addition, Nick has extensive experience of regulatory and professional misconduct proceedings, acting for individuals, directors, and companies. These proceedings often overlap with his criminal fraud practice. He has represented police officers, teachers, solicitors, and other professionals over the years, whether in the Crown Court, before their disciplinary body or at inquests. He also provides expert advice and representation in asylum and extradition proceedings.

Nick continues to prosecute and defend in other serious and organised criminal cases. For example, in 2017 he defended the teenage girl who killed 7-year-old Katie Rough, a case concerning schizotypal and persecutory delusional disorders. In 2018/19, he defended in a double gangland assassination case, concerning the shooting of prominent figures Paul Massey and John Kinsella.

Nick has also been instructed as leading counsel in multiple private prosecution cases in recent years. For the prosecution, he has led investigations into HMRC officers for corruption, into senior company directors for fraud and perverting the course of justice, into a Swiss private bank for corporate criminal offences and leading a crowdfunded investigation into police officers for inflicting GBH and corruption. He has also defended private prosecutions, including acting for a Russian national alleged to have devised a sophisticated fraud scheme which targeted the Hong Kong-based accounts of a Kazakhstani businessman. As such, he has extensive experience of the investigative tools and duties of a private prosecutor, including obtaining foreign evidence, the use of Norwich Pharmacal orders, the enhanced duties of disclosure and candour which apply prior to making an application for a summons and issues of funding and costs. Nick also brings to this work his extensive experience of prosecuting serious crime on behalf of the CPS and specialist prosecuting agencies, in particular in relation to complex business crime.

Complementing his work as UK barrister, Nick is a member of the American and International Bar Associations, the Fraud Lawyers Association and the Bar Council International Committee. He has been a speaker and at the annual ABA White Collar Crime conference and regularly contributes to online publications. He also speaks conversational Japanese and undertakes advocacy training at the University of York.

Nick is qualified to accept instructions by direct access as well as working closely with other UK and foreign lawyers.