Stephen Harvey QC

Year of Call: 1979
Year of Silk: 2006
Email Address:
Telephone: 020 7583 8055 

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From 1982 – 1990, Stephen Harvey QC had a general common law practice in the provinces. It developed into a solid criminal practice and in 1990 Stephen joined the then Attorney General’s Chambers and developed a solid background in serious crime. Over the past few years his practice has expanded into other areas.

Direct Access - Stephen is qualified to accept cases under the direct public access scheme. He accepts direct access instructions in suitable cases to advise generally in respect of proceedings or proposed applications, to assist in the preparation of paperwork, and to represent clients at Court. Stephen has been granted the authority to conduct litigation by the Bar Standard Board.


  • Crime
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    Stephen has prosecuted and defended in equal measure in all aspects of the criminal law, and particularly over recent years, in allegations of serious and non-recent sexual offending and ‘shaken baby’ homicides and assaults. His practice also includes offences involving organised crime, white and blue collar fraud, firearms, drugs, explosives, computer crime, copyright theft, proceeds of crime, money laundering and road traffic.

    His expertise includes:

    • Regulatory compliance
    • Health & Safety
    • Planning, planning enforcement and planning inquiries
    • Inquests
    • Disciplinary tribunals
    • Corporate governance (including anti-corruption and bribery).
    • Courts Martials
    • Sports law

    Cases of note

    Sexual offences:

    • R v B – Defended in a case in which a 16 year old was charged with serial rape involving teenage girls
    • R v H – Represented a high-flying lawyer charged with historical sexual allegations upon his two daughters. The accusations included stupefying them with drugs
    • R v X – Represented an Imam charged with sexual offending
    • R v B – Prosecuted an osteopath who faced multiple allegations of sexually abusing his patients
    • R v H – Prosecuted to conviction a ‘cold case’ stranger rape
    • R v B and Others - Advised the prosecution and drafted a 70 + count indictment against 10 defendants accused of being members of a paedophile ring involving some of the defendant’s children, and others, and alleged corruption within Social Services departments of local authorities and outside agencies. The trial is ongoing.

    Military law and courts martials:
    During Stephen’s early years in practice he appeared for the defence in a number of Courts Martials. The charges ranged from petty thefts to serious assaults and sexual offending. A recent appearance was on behalf of a Gurkha soldier accused of sexual assault and harassment. He was acquitted upon both charges.

    Notable military cases 

    • Captain M – Captain M was charged Under Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act with spying. The case involved the officer travelling to Eastern European destinations (without authority) and meeting with Soviet security personnel.  Following an application for Habeus Corpus seeking a release from closed custody, the case was passed over to the civilian authorities. The case resulted in an acquittal
    • Major JG – This officer was the Range Safety Officer at a live firing range in Alberta, Canada. He served as such during the British Army’s tenancy of the range. There were some fatalities culminating in the death of two soldiers who were in a trench with tank mortar firing over them. Due to an error in the transmission of firing coordinates one of the tanks dropped its shells into the trench thereby killing both soldiers. JG, given his role as Safety Officer, was charged with two counts of negligent manslaughter. He was acquitted upon both counts.

    Stephen has been security cleared (DV’d) by the State enabling him to have access to classified and other sensitive material. Without such security clearance, the more serious and sensitive cases would be closed to an advocate.

    Much of Stephen's recent criminal fraud practice has involved advisory work at an early stage of an investigation. When defending, he has sought to influence its course and to negotiate a favourable outcome for the client. In this role Stephen has dealt with the major investigating bodies including the Serious Fraud Office (using its wide-ranging powers) and the Financial Services Authority in its regulation of financial markets as well as large-scale fraud inquiries by the police and the CPS.

    • R v AB – Represented a bank manager who had spent some years defrauding his bank using ‘ghost’ accounts and other devices to conceal and move monies around
    • R v J – Financial Services Authority prosecution of a large insurance brokerage and allegations of misappropriated premiums. Case involved ‘early day’ successful appearances in the Chancery Division in respect of a number of world-wide injunctions granted to the investigators
    • R v M – An insurance company fraud involving substantial amounts of monies being syphoned off through a complex trail of bank accounts throughout Europe
    • R v W – A substantial VAT ‘carousel’ fraud brought by HMRC involving cross-jurisdictional transactions, money laundering and a ‘supergrass’
    • R v G – A fraud involving the creation of a company to act as a vehicle for the sales of vast quantities of stolen specialist building materials from the company employing the defendants
    • R v H – A six-figure fraud on an international leasing company by the ‘creation’ of assets against which funds were borrowed.

    Proceeds of crime and money laundering:

    • R v M – A large conspiracy to steal and distribute prestige cars throughout Europe with the proceeds being passed through a network of bank accounts
    • R v C – An international conspiracy to supply drugs and launder the proceeds through bank and building society accounts in the UK and in Spain
    • R v B – Successfully retained the clients financial interests in a property in the face of the prosecutions claim that all the property should be the subject of confiscation.


    • R v A – Represented a senior tax investigator employed by the Inland Revenue who was acquitted upon all allegations of corruption after an inquiry lasting 4 years and a trial lasting 3 months.


    • R v M – Successful defence of an army major charged with spying.


    • R v U – Junior counsel in the ‘Stansted Afghan Hijacking’ case.

    Abuse of process:

    • R v H – Successfully argued that the case should be stayed due to errors made by the prosecution during the investigation. The case involved an international drug conspiracy. The legal arguments took three months to advance
    • R v E – At the time of trial the case involved the largest UK tobacco smuggling allegation that Customs & Excise had prosecuted. Successfully argued that case should be stayed due to significant non-disclosure by the prosecution of material it had acquired during the investigation and which was helpful to the defence.


    • R v J and Others – This was the largest gangland trial that had been brought to court in the North of England. It involved Moss Side gangsters (‘The Gooch Street Gang’ and ‘The Longsight Crew’) gun-related violence, homicide, attempted homicides and drug dealing over a number of years. The trial took in excess of 6 months
    • R v G and Others – Successfully defended a 17 year old charged with murder and grievous bodily harm following allegations that he had set fire to a block of flats when he was just 14 years of age. The case was brought to trial after a ‘cold-case review’, a Crime Watch appeal and following two major police investigations. The client was acquitted following detailed submissions as to the unreliability of the prosecution evidence
    • R v M – Prosecuted to conviction a difficult and sensitive ‘shaken baby homicide’ case involving medical evidence from a total of 17 distinguished experts from a variety of medical disciplines
    • R v W – Successfully defended a young man charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to dispose of the body
    • R v N – Prosecuted to conviction a Zimbabwean ex-policeman who attacked his wife with an axe
    • R v A – Successfully defended a 17 year old who was accused of being part of a group of youths who broke into the deceased’s home twice and on the second occasion attacked him leaving him for dead. The client was acquitted after an 8 week trial
    • R v B – Prosecuted to conviction a rare case of infanticide where a young mother having delivered her own baby killed it
    • R v S – Defended an escaped prisoner who murdered his wife in the presence of their very young (5 to 12 years of age) children by repeatedly stabbing her. The defence was provocation and a great deal of sensitive advocacy was required in dealing with the children who were witnesses in the case
    • R v M – Prosecuted to conviction a difficult and sensitive ‘shaken baby homicide’ case involving medical evidence from a total of 17 distinguished experts from a variety of medical disciplines.

    Kidnapping and Blackmail:

    • R v L – Defended in a trial involving the targeting, kidnapping and blackmailing of family members of lottery millionaires
    • R v S – Defended a Turkish client charged with armed kidnapping and blackmail in a ‘Kebab wars’ trial.


    • R v C – A substantial cannabis smuggling operation involving over 100 armed police officers in a midnight raid at a quiet east coast location.

    Computer crime and copyright theft:

    • R v V – Successfully defended in a private prosecution brought by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). This was the first case that has come to trial involving accusations against the operators of a ‘linking’ website. The prosecution originally claimed that the losses of copyright revenues were in the region of £18 billion. The case, at the time, represented  the highest value criminal prosecution brought in a UK court. The site was one of the most popular on the world wide web which, at its peak, was the 500th most visited site out of the 40 billion sites there are on the web. Complex cross-jurisdictional issues and a number of internationally renowned computer experts were called during the case. The client was charged with two conspiracies to defraud. Successfully argued that the first of the conspiracies should not proceed beyond close prosecution’s case and the jury acquitted the client of the second conspiracy. The trial lasted 8 weeks
    • R v S – Another private prosecution by FACT. It involved the importation and distribution of illegal set top boxes which facilitated the illegal downloading of copy written material. A significant six-figure loss was alleged. The client was acquitted.

    Explosives and firearms:

    • R v K – A case involving the manufacture of two bombs one of which exploded destroying a solicitor’s office. The second was a ‘video tape’ designed to explode and kill the recipient when it was inserted into a video player
    • R v E – A case involving the petrol-bombings of two senior police officers homes.
  • Public and Regulatory
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    Stephen has spent some time over the past five years advising on the ever-increasing volume of regulation affecting the financial sectors.

    He is shortly to be instructed by an overseas investment bank in relation to its obligations under the European Market Infrastructure Regulations (MMIR), the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), the obligations that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) imposes (introduced by the American government with effect from July 2013) and of its responsibilities under the Dodd-Frank Act.

    The economic situation has also seen a growth in the number of small to medium sized businesses enter the ‘Peer to Peer’ lending market.  Stephen is currently advising a small British PLC wishing to create a peer to peer lending operation on the regulatory framework attaching to such an operation and Stephen has commenced the drafting of the documentation required for use in this new venture.

    Other regulatory: 

    • R v C Z – Successfully argued for a low-level penalty having analysed in microscopic detail the way in which the breaches of the regulations had come about. The fines imposed were 1/5th of those expected.

    Health and Safety 

    • R v M – Advised upon the non-prosecution of a nursery school where a 3 year old child died in an accident whilst at school. The case eventually went to judicial review where Stephen's original advice as to what course the case should take was approved and upheld by the Queen’s Bench Division
    • R v S – Alleged breaches of workplace regulations concerning welding equipment. Employee died in an explosion and the HSE investigated. Advised from the outset and before the client was interviewed. As a result the HSE were persuaded not to prosecute the client although others were.

    Planning enforcement:

    • R v BP – Alleged breaches of planning regulations over a 10 year period. Successfully argued technical failures in the prosecution case leading to acquittals on all matters and a full indemnity of costs
    • R v SL – Successfully argued highly technical issues regarding planning enforcement proceedings taken by a local authority against a person with no legal or equitable interest in the property. Client obtained a full indemnity of the costs incurred
    • R v P – A planning enforcement case involving technical submissions regarding the local authority’s litigation procedures. Case resulted in an acquittal after three days of legal argument. The client was awarded all of his costs.


    • R v AB – Represented the family of a deceased who died as a result of alleged medical negligence whilst in hospital. Key witnesses were cross-examined at this critical stage to facilitate the progress of the civil action in clinical negligence against the doctors and the health authority
    • R v GH – Client involved in a fatal road traffic accident and was facing a criminal prosecution for causing the death and a civil action for damages. Successfully cross-examined key witnesses at this key stage of the matter resulting in no prosecution taking place.

    Disciplinary tribunals: 
    Stephen has successfully represented police officers before Police Disciplinary Tribunals.

    Corporate governance and bribery:
    To date, much of the corporate governance and Bribery Act 2010 work has been in the form of advising organisations as to protocols, procedures and processes. The Act came into force on 1st July 2010 and the results of the investigations under it are now beginning to see the light of day.
    Stephen has written and lectured to a number of audiences on the Bribery Act 2010.

    • F v K and L – Advising on a civil claim to recover tens of thousands of pounds involving accusations of fraud, forgery and an attempt to pervert the course of justice allegedly occurring during the course of earlier civil litigation
    • J v JB – A case involving the identification of hidden assets here and abroad and the recovery thereof
    • R v G is a civil fraud case presently before the Companies Court. The client is alleged to have defrauded two British banks of a total of £1.68 million using a BVI company (now in administration) to acquire properties in the UK. The case involves a number of issues arising under BVI company law
    • AB - Stephen is presently instructed on behalf of an American finance investment company in relation to a ‘Ponzi’ type scheme in which it is seeking to trace and recover £2.7 million.

    Stephen has appeared before a variety of tribunals during the course of his career.

    Stephen has appeared in inquiries and public meetings concerning, inter alia, the retention of medical services (a doctor’s surgery) in a community during health service restructuring, and the inadequate provision of sewage plant by a water company resulting in environmental pollution in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

    He is currently representing an auction house in relation to a public inquiry regarding an application to reinstate an ancient and historically significant public right of way. If the inquiry finds in favour of the application the valuable commercial buildings and business the client owns will be rendered virtually worthless.

    Miscellaneous and unusual cases:

    • R v H – Defended a mortician charged with theft of body parts from a number of different hospital mortuaries over a number of years. A non-custodial sentence was secured
    • R v S – Defence of a fisherman in which the legitimacy of the entire European fishing quota system was in issue. Issues such as the legislation being unlawful due to reasons of anti-competitiveness were advanced as well as other constitutional issues involving the interaction between UK and European legislation
    • AA v A School – Successful defence of the Board of School Governors and three of its teachers against an accusation of racial discrimination
    • He has also recently been instructed on behalf of a Deputy Head teacher from a different school who has been suspended pending accusations which amount to accusations of gross misconduct and potential summary dismissal.
  • Sports
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    Stephen has dealt with a number of sporting disciplinary issues and has expertise involving situations in which the criminal law impinges upon a sports personality or sporting activity.

    Stephen’s particular expertise is anti-corruption, bribery and corporate governance. He has been involved in issues from both the individual and a club's perspective.

    Stephen has a particular interest in the regulation and discipline of football, rugby, motor sport, horseracing and greyhound racing.

    Recent cases 

    • AB - Football Disciplinary Commission hearing. Advised and represented a footballer accused of racial abuse and assault. Acquitted
    • YY - Advised and represented a premier league footballer in relation to allegations of assault
    • AA - Advised another premier league football player in relation to motoring and accusations of dishonesty
    • XX - Advised another premier league footballer in relation to criminal charges involving assault and public order offences.
  • Inquests
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    Recent inquests include:

    R v AB – Represented the family of a deceased who died as a result of alleged medical negligence whilst in hospital. Key witnesses were cross-examined at this critical stage to facilitate the progress of the civil action in clinical negligence against the doctors and the health authority.

    R v GH – Client involved in a fatal road traffic accident and was facing a criminal prosecution for causing the death and a civil action for damages. Successfully cross-examined key witnesses at this key stage of the matter resulting in no prosecution taking place.


‘Stephen is a meticulous and confident performer who is both charming and hardworking’. He is active in a wide range of areas, and has notable specialisations in fraud and copyright theft’.
‘…(he) honed his skills in engineering and financial services before coming to the Bar. He wins acclaim for his charming manner and clear headedness’.

Chambers UK

Stephen has a ‘…wealth of experience in the cross-examination of experts (in a variety of fields) and (he) has lectured…on the topic of ‘The expert witness’.

Legal 500

Academic qualifications

  • LLB(Hons)(Lond)

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Associate Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

Professional bodies

  • The Criminal Bar Association
  • The Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association
  • The British Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • The Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
  • The Health and Safety Lawyers Association
  • The Public Access Bar Association.

Direct Access

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

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