Nicholas Cotter

Year of Call: 1999
Email Address:
Secure Email:
Telephone: 01962 868 884

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Nicholas has extensive experience of criminal law, including:

  • Serious crime consisting of murder, manslaughter, drugs importation, organised crime and sexual offences
  • White-collar crime consisting of fraud, MTIC matters, Bribery, compliance advice, and asset recovery matters
  • Regulatory / Quasi-Criminal matters involving particularly sports law, disciplinary hearings, maritime and food standards matters.

Recent cases:

Serious crime

  • R v X
    Instructed Prosecuting Counsel in an ongoing matter involving a significant drug syndicate operating along the South Coast
  • R v X
    Instructed Prosecuting Counsel in an ongoing matter involving kidnap and the infliction of serious violence
  • R v X
    Instructed Defence Counsel in an ongoing matter involving a campaign of stranger rape
  • R v X
    Instructed Defence Counsel in an ongoing matter involving a campaign of arsons across the County of Hampshire
  • R v X
    Instructed Defence Counsel in ongoing large multi-handed drugs nationwide importation conspiracy
  • R v X
    Instructed Defence Counsel in a multiple victim rape allegation at a music festival
  • R v X
    Instructed Defence Junior Counsel in a multiple death dangerous driving case on the M3
  • R v F
    Defence Junior in a 6 handed murder case at the Old Biley resulting in an acquittal on the murder charge
  • R v Parker et al
    Prosecution Junior in “Operation Elevdon" on behalf of the CPS Organised Crime Unit arising from press corruption discovered during the Leevson Inquiry
  • R v B
    Defending at the Old Bailey in a historic rape case dated from the 1960s involving a teacher accused by seven former pupils of repeated and systematic sexual abuse
  • R v X
    Defended in a case involving fraud and linked arson values in excess of £2million
  • R v L
    Successfully overturned a conviction before Lord Chief Justice Fulford for alleged historic sexual matters in the 1970s. The appeal was in relation to the unsafe admission of a Defendants previous sexual conviction in the 1980s
  • R v B
    Successful prosecution of a stranger rape case in which the Defendant received a 16 year sentence with an 8 year extension period
  • R v X
    Successful defence at the Old Bailey of a young man implicated in a significant cocaine importation conspiracy. Involving legal argument over evidence procured from Columbia

Financial crime / Asset Forfeiture & recovery / MTIC matters

  • R v H
    Instructed Junior Counsel for the in £140 million VAT ‘Missing trader’ fraud (MTIC), Croydon (VHCC PANEL)
  • R v P
    Instructed Defence Counsel in relation to an alleged £65,000 false accounting matter, Portsmouth
  • R v P
    Instructed Defence Counsel in an internet Conspiracy to defraud, Isleworth. This matter involved an alleged Nigerian internet cash scam targeted at very elderly people
  • R v X
    Instructed Defence Counsel in significant hidden assets POCA matter involving six figure sums
  • R v X
    Instructed Counsel in multimillion pound POCA matter, Portsmouth. This fully contested matter concerned a convicted loan shark

Violence/Organised crime

  • R v B
    Instructed Defence Counsel for a 13 year old boy charged with manslaughter and robbery, Old Bailey
  • R v M
    Instructed counsel in the large 'gang' gun seizure in South London
  • R v K
    Instructed Defence Counsel in drug importation case, Canterbury. This case involved a group of Latvian males who were charged with smuggling drugs hidden within the engine of a vehicle
  • R v X
    Instructed Defence Counsel in a large conspiracy to kidnap matter. This matter involved a Lithuanian gang who were alleged to be involved in the extortion, violence and kidnap of low-skilled immigrant workers
  • R v S
    Instructed Counsel in an arson with intent to endanger life
  • R v B
    Instructed Defence Counsel in murder trial, Winchester
  • R v B
    Instructed Defence Counsel in attempt murder s18, Woolwich
    This matter concerned a male from Romania who was observed on CCTV planting a carving knife into the neck of a male and concerned issues of mental health and intention
  • R v E
    Instructed Defence Counsel in large scale violent disorder, Woolwich. This matter involved a large pre-arranged gang fight the case demanded detailed disclosure matters and sensitive part eight applications
  • R v S
    Instructed Defence Counsel in organised high value jewellery robbery, Chichester. This matter concerned a highly organised gang from Liverpool who as a team committed a daylight robbery on the shop before undertaking a high-speed getaway from the police
  • R v S
    Instructed Defence Counsel in an attempt murder in Cambridge
  • R v Y
    Currently instructed Defence Counsel in a gang kidnap, extortion and torture case in South London
  • R v Aylett
    Instructed Defence Counsel in road rage violence, Court of Appeal, reported. This matter concerned an appeal of sentence passed in relation to the actions of a male involved in road rage
  • R v C
    Instructed to represent the defence in a highly reported case involving the defence of a lorry driver accused of causing the death of an elderly lady at a crossing within the grounds of Luton airport


Has a general criminal and regulatory practice, with an emphasis on the Western Circuit and London. He has a track record of acting in cases involving fraud, organised crime, serious sexual offences and murder. His expertise also includes regulatory law with particular experience handling environmental law and health and safety matters.
"A very client-friendly and expert criminal counsel."
Recent work: Defended one of the defendants charged with the aggravated burglary of a Hatton Garden jeweller.

Chambers UK 2019/Western (Bar) - Crime - Band 3

Strengths: "He has a terrific brain, a formidable work ethic, an unflappable demeanour and his tactical awareness can make the difference in a tricky case."

Chambers UK 2018/Western (Bar) - Crime - Band 3

'Has a general criminal and regulatory practice, and is active on both the Western and South Eastern Circuits. He has a track record of acting in cases involving fraud, organised crime and serious sexual offences.'
Strengths: "Completely unflappable, he has an extremely good temperament in court. Destined for great things." "A very capable advocate."'

Chambers UK 2017/Western (Bar) - Crime - Band 3

'A consummately able barrister.'

Legal 500 2018/19/Crime - Tier 1

‘A formidable advocate.’

Legal 500 2017/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading juniors

“Now this case is over, may I express my significant grateful thanks for the way you have consistently and over a lengthy period handled the complex case of R v O.

This case was never destined to be easy, and indeed it proved to be one of the most difficult cases I have dealt with in the last 30 years. I am in awe of the skill, professionalism, compassion and knowledge that you put into this case, coupled with your ability to look after, control and satisfy a very difficult Client.

Your willingness to see our Client without Solicitor and to promptly report back to myself was an outstanding pathway to enabling us to deal efficiently with a client of the most demanding nature, who barely spent a day off the telephone whilst in prison.

Notwithstanding the sentence passed, I think it is fair to say that without your extremely high level of expertise, the result could have been tremendously less beneficial to the Client.

I think it would be correct in this case to concentrate on the level of acquittals obtained for O, which speak volumes for your ability and dedication."

Instructing Solicitor, Bournemouth, June 2017

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Academic qualifications

  • Diploma in Law / CPE (Bristol)
  • BA (Hons) History

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • A Grade 4 Crown Prosecutor
  • Member of the Rape Panel of Crown Prosecutors
  • Member of the Serious Crime Panel of Crown Prosecutors
  • Member of the Serious Fraud Panel of Crown Prosecutors

Professional bodies

  • The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
  • Association of Commonwealth Criminal Lawyers
    British Association for Sport and Law (BASL)
  • Member of the Western Circuit
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers' Association
  • The Health & Safety Lawyers Association
  • Member of the Criminal Bar Association

Direct Access

Nicholas Cotter is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

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