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Philip Williams


"His experience in large complicated frauds and Serious crime is unsurpassed"

Legal 500


Phil joined Blackfords LLP in 2009 further to an extensive career in criminal litigation. Phil specialises in the defence of complex criminal invesitgations, regulatory and disciplinary matters.

He was involved in defending an individual in Britain’s first ‘General Election’ fraud.

Phil advises individuals and businesses at all stages of the investigatory process and criminal litigation. He has experience of dealing with all major prosecuting authorities, including the SFO. He is also experienced in Private Prosecutions and has represented individuals and companies in such matters.

His regulatory experience extends to sports law and he has experience in representing individuals in high profile race and match fixing, as well as doping matters.

Phil’s regulatory experience covers prosecutions by Health and Safety Executive, Financial Conduct Authority, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency and a number of professional bodies. He is often instructed by insurance companies on behalf of their clients.

His regulatory experience includes all aspects of licensing legislation and he has advised clients in proceedings before Local Authority licensing committees and the Magistrates’ Court.

Phil had been involved in some of the most high-profile criminal litigation and law cases of the last ten years, including Operation Elveden, the Hatton Gardens burglary, the Lynette White Police Corruption case and is currently advising individuals in respect of the ongoing SFO investigation into Rolls Royce.

Renowned for his ability to consider tactical decisions at an early stage, Phil is often instructed by companies who might be at risk of prosecution in bribery and corruption cases.

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  • Recent & notable cases
    • R v J & Others – £14 million VAT fraud
    • R v M & Others – £238 million MTIC VAT Fraud
    • R v S & Others – £26 million Pyramid Scheme Fraud – Prosecuted by OFT
    • R v M –£20 million advanced fee fraud
    • R v E – £35 million mortgage fraud
    • R v E – £120 million Ponzi fraud
    • R v L – £88 million Ponzi fraud brought by the SFO
    • R v P –Cardiff Three, Corruption case
    • D – Residential care home investigation carried out by Police and HSE
    • B – Residential care home investigation carried out by police
    • S – Residential care home appeal against CQC
    • K – Residential care home appeal against CQC
    • C – Care home charged with 10 counts of neglect
    • C – HSE Prosecution following fatality in workplace.
    • B – Food Safety matter against Corporation of London
    • E – HSE Prosecution of breaches by Residential Care Home
    • R v E – Celtic Energy 160 million pound mining prosecution brought by the SFO
    • R v E – £2 million waste recycling prosecution, Environment agency.
    • R v E – persuaded Court to dismiss £160m SFO prosecution.
    • R v L – representation of individual involved in the legal trade, import and export of firearms. Client’s previous customers had included a former US President. Specialist firearms expert used.
    • M – advising client in respect of licence revocation as a result of ongoing but unrelated criminal investigation.
    • R v C – large scale drugs case where possession of illegal firearms was an issue.
    • R v M – Operation Elveden – Central Criminal Court. Acquittal of The Sun’s news night editor after an 8 week trial as part of the Operation Elveden investigation into allegations of misconduct in a public office.
    • R v C – Currently representing one of the main defendants in the Hatton Garden safety deposit multi £m heist.
    • R v R & others – Large scale modern slavery matter
    • BCBC – C Bar – Licensing matter
  • Sports Legal Services
  • What the directories say

    Ranked as a leading individual in the Legal 500, 2023 in the fields of General Crime and Fraud and a Recommended Lawyer in Health & Safety.

    Recommended Lawyer, Chambers and Partners 2020

    • “Quite simply one of the finest lawyers at the moment in the country in this area of white collar crime and serious crime. His experience in large complicated frauds and Serious crime is unsurpassed. He combines a mental dexterity in the law with an effortless ability to communicate with clients of all backgrounds.” (Legal 500, 2023)
    • “Philip Williams has impeccable strategic judgement.” (Legal 500, 2023)
    • “Has exceptional tactical nous; if there’s a weakness in a case against a client Phil will see it and exploit it ruthlessly to his client’s benefit.” (Legal 500, 2023)
    • “A font of knowledge and his ability to convey difficult, complex matters whilst maintaining a true rapport with his clients underlines his true skill.” (Legal 500, 2022)
    • “The ultimate rainmaker. It is remarkable that he generates such country-wide, high-profile work whilst based on one side of it!” (Legal 500, 2022)
    • A tactical master with a wonderfully diplomatic approach that literally pulls clients along and ensures that sensible and pragmatic decisions are made from the outset. He is adept at handling both large corporations or individuals. In short he is a class act.” (Legal 500, 2021)
    • “Understands strategy in a way which gives clout and weight to every decision made. He applies resources to cases when they require it in a way which gives a direct benefit to clients.” (Legal 500, 2021)
    • “Provides ‘proper old fashioned and inspirational leadership to his team, as well as exceptional legal acumen and an unruffled expertise based on a comprehensive knowledge of his cases and an imaginative approach to problem solving in heavy litigation” (Legal 500, 2021)
    • “Years of experience in fraud and a deeply impressive list of past cases. That experience shows and is deeply reassuring to clients, as is his strategic approach” (Legal 500, 2021)
    • “First port of call for individuals and businesses on many high-profile matters” (Legal 500, 2020)
    • “Appreciated for his grasp of the legal issues and ability to cut through any litigation fog” (Legal 500, 2020)
    • “Very well prepared and provides a very high standard of work” (Legal 500, 2020)
    • “Provides sound commercial advice” (Legal 500, 2020)
    • “Tactically gifted with a strong grounding in the law pertaining to serious crime, fraud and regulatory matters” (Legal 500, 2020)
    • From the largest companies or richest individuals to the poorest of society, Philip Williams is able to convey the most complex issues and ease the most troubled minds’ (Legal 500, 2020)
    • “Combining a mental dexterity in the law with an effortless ability to communicate with clients of all backgrounds” (Legal 500, 2019)
    • Huge experience in large complicated frauds and serious crime is unsurpassed, predominately because he understands business” (Legal 500, 2019)
    • “Ability to handle large cases with huge amounts of material and to disseminate the relevant from the irrelevant” (Legal 500, 2019)
    • “Dynamic and client friendly” (Legal 500, 2017)
    • “Excellent communicator” (Legal 500, 2017)
    • “Client focussed” (Legal 500, 2016)
    • “Eye for detail” (Legal 500, 2016)
    • ‘Solid reputation for criminal investigation work.’ (Legal 500, 2015)
    • ‘Inspires confidence in his clients.’ (Legal 500, 2015)
    • “Very impressive”, “has his clients’ interests at heart.” (Chambers and Partners 2015)
    • “Exceptional”, a “leader” in serious fraud cases – (Legal 500, 2014)
    • Recommended – (Legal 500, 2013, 2014)
    • Recommended for cases involving serious fraud, and the defence of prosecutions by the OFT, HMRC, and SFO. (Legal 500, 2013)

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