Tom’s criminal practice sees him instructed in an array of both heavy weight and complex criminal cases. He is particularly noted for his experience in prosecuting and defending regulatory offences. Often praised for his hard-work and attention to detail he is recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners Guides.
Outside of court Tom supports Wimbledon AFC and flies aeroplanes.
Serious and Organised Crime
- Operation Cowling. Instructed by the CPS Complex Casework Unit. Prosecution of an Organised Criminal Group following the seizure of 42 kilos of pure cocaine and nearly 1 million ecstasy tablets valued at approximately £12 million.
- Operations Gharial and Saffron. Southwark Crown Court. Instructed by the Specialist Fraud division in linked cases prosecuting an international group responsible for the largest attack on HMRC’s online VAT and ITSA systems.
- Operation Afterburn II. Multi-handed large scale drug conspiracy involving an Organised Criminal Group operating in Manchester and Portsmouth.
- Operation Accord. Conspiracy to kidnap and supply of Class A drugs. Nationwide drugs supply network selling heroin and cocaine via ‘deal lines’.
- R v F+ F. Successful defence of the Director of a private ambulance company, alleged to have defrauded the NHS and stolen high value medical equipment. The case involved arguments about the legality of searches, the integrity of NHS stock keeping records and allegations of evidence having been deliberately planted.
- R v Powis. Successful defence of conveyancing executive alleged to have been at centre of £3.5m mortgage fraud.
- R v DD. Successful defence of owner of care home owner alleged to have stolen large sums of money from vulnerable residents.
- R v Gibson. Instructed by Specialist Fraud division. Widely publicised prosecution of watch dealer who had claimed to have exported £1.9m of Rolex watches.
- R v Arif. Successful appeal against immediate custodial sentence in case of pharmacist convicted of defrauding NHS. Court of Appeal found ‘wholly exceptional circumstances’ to substitute a lengthy custodial term for suspended sentence.
Misconduct in Public Office/Government
- R v SF. Defence of sitting County Council leader accused of failing to declare a pecuniary interest (non-executive directorship in an Housing Association) in first ever prosecution under the Localism Act 2011.
- R v ES. Successfully persuaded CPS to discontinue the prosecution of a Prison Visitor who had had a relationship with a manipulative and dangerous prisoner serving life for a string of sexual offences.
Other serious Crime
- R v Y. Defending young father accused of causing multiple fractures to 6 week old baby.
- R v H. Led by Nigel Lickley QC. Defending allegation of attempted murder involving a hammer attack against a vulnerable sex worker.
- R v AL. Led by Nigel Lickley QC.Non-accidental brain injuries sustained by a 6 month old child.
- R v N and others. Successful defence of gang member alleged to have kidnapped, imprisoned, robbed and tortured a university student. Case received widespread media coverage.
- R v Spry. Defence junior in infamous case of extreme cruelty by mother against children over many years.
- MCA v Tarmac Marine Ltd. Instructed by the MCA in Prosecution arising from the discovery of asbestos containing material on board the City of Westminster. The Defendant Company were fined £120,000.
Health and Safety (and Inquests)
- HSE v LHSC Ltd. Defence of Health and Safety Consultant in an unusual prosecution arising from the drafting of inadequate risk assessments and advice to a furniture manufacturer. The Prosecution arose following two serious accidents involving cutting equipment.
- HSE v GC. Defence of agricultural college in respect of serious injuries caused to students observing tree-felling.
- HSE v PG Ltd. Prosecution involving serious chemical burns caused by the incorrect use of an Intermediate Bulk Carrier as a reaction vessel to dispose of spent cleaning chemicals.
- HSE v UF Ltd. De-gloving injury caused during the cleaning of an industrial dough maker.
- HSE v BB Ltd. Collapse of basement excavation leading to prosecution of developer.
- HSE v Apex. Defending a scaffolding gang leader following a collapse of scaffolding resulting in fatality.
- HSE v G. Defence of contractor instructed to decommission a petrol station. The resulting explosion caused serious injury and extensive damage to neighbouring properties.
- HSE v R.S Ltd. Proceedings relating to the alleged unsafe removal of asbestos.
Recent inquest work
- Re FB - acting for the owners of a care home following the fall from height of an elderly dementia patient
- Re ML - representing Police Force following case involving heart failure following arrest using CS spray and subsequent restraint in Police custody
- Re RS – acting for family of deceased who died following NHS failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism
Food Safety and Standards
- R v BB. Defence of director of food business prosecuted for Fraudulent Trading. Case involved allegations of the mis-selling of bacon as UK produced and free-range.
- R v RB. Defence of the manager of an abattoir alleged to have been selling lamb as goat meat.
- SBC v K. Defence of food wholesaler in respect of multiple allegations of food hygiene offences in respect of the storage and transportation of refrigerated products.
- Cherwell DC v Premier Foods. Prosecution of UK’s largest food producer (turnover £3bn) in respect of food hygiene offences resulting in a mouse being found sliced within a loaf of bread sold by a leading supermarket.
Trading Standards/Trade Marks
- DCC v WE Ltd. Complex prosecution of building firm in respect of high value residential building contracts. Company prosecuted under Consumer Protection Regulations, Fraud Act and Insolvency Act.
- OCC v M. Prosecution of rouge builder routinely targeting vulnerable and elderly victims and undertaking expensive but unnecessary roofing repairs.
- PBC v NH – Prosecution for fraudulent trading of an individual who miss-sold advertising in a range of publications that never materialised.
- A1 Distribution Limited. Successful prosecution of company supplying electronic goods under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. The case involved consideration of the measures an importer of goods from China should take in order to establish a defence of ‘due diligence’.
- WDDC v S. Novel but successful prosecution of owner of residential caravan park under s.9 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development At 1960.
- X Ltd. Advising manufacturer of Moses baskets in respect of prosecution under both the General Product Safety and Toy (Safety) Regulations.
- DCC v W. Defending individual who ran profitable business importing counterfeit handbags. Acted in subsequent confiscation proceedings.
- GB Ltd. Acting for a well-known building firm facing civil proceedings (and subsequent committal application) under the Enterprise Act.
- SBC v Roshni. Prosecuting wholesale supplier of counterfeit alcohol.
- DCC v K+S. Counterfeiting designer clothes, confiscation and restraint dealt with in POCA proceedings.
Tom welcomes instructions on a direct access basis .
He particularly welcomes direct access instructions relating to aviation offences and Pilots facing the prospect of CAA prosecution.
Tom has previously prosecuted, defended and advised in a range of aviation related matters including; an allegation of low flying by a CPL(H) holder during a filming assignment, airspace infringement in Class A airspace, licensing and type certificate infringements by a microlight pilot and an allegation of log book fraud against a senior airline pilot.
Tom has a PPL having learnt to fly during an RAF Flying Scholarship and as a member of his University Air Squadron. He flies his Rollason Condor from Thruxton and has been lucky enough to fly a wide range of aircraft ranging from Bulldogs to an SF260.
- R v PH. Successful defence of husband accused of more than 30 allegations of rape and buggery against his ex-wife, as well as similar accusations against his son, over a 25 year period.
- R v H. Successful defence of man accused of a ‘stranger rape’ in a busy town centre.
- R v ME. Successful defence of man accused along with 6 other family members of historic and inter-generational sexual-abuse over a 20 year period.
- R v E. Defence of cardiologist accused of sexual assault.
- R v X. Successful defence of youth (14) accused of raping younger sister.
- R v Y. Prosecution of youth with learning difficulties alleged to have sexually abused a 5 year old.
Tom Horder has considerable experience in defending the full range of driving and motoring offences. He is regularly instructed in cases involving serious injury and complex expert evidence (including tachographs, accident reconstruction, mechanical and medical defect) as well as those in which a period of disqualification would result in exceptional hardship. He receives instructions from both private individuals and insurers and can be instructed on a direct access basis.
Example cases include:
- R v A – successful exceptional hardship argument on behalf of a consultant surgeon.
- R v R – defending a former premier league footballer in respect of a failure to respond to a s.172 notice.
- R v HH – successful ‘hip flask’ defence of yachtsman wrongly accused of drink driving.
- R v ZK – defending a lorry driver who tragically ran over an 89-year-old man who was crossing the road using his Zimmer frame. The Prosecution offered no evidence following Tom’s cross-examination of their tachograph expert.
- R v T – successful defence of Company director said to have ridden his motorbike at 121mph. The court withdrew the case at half-time on the basis of the Prosecution not being able to exclude mistaken identity.
Tom Horder is recommended by both the Legal 500 and the Chambers and Partners Guide to the Bar and regularly defends and prosecutes in heavy weight and complex criminal cases.
He has a broad range of experience in Court Martial work and has represented personnel from all 3 branches of the military. Cases of note include;
- the successful defence of a serving Special Forces soldier charged with aggravated burglary in what was an unusual and sensitive case
- a senior Army NCO charged with allegations of racially aggravated assault
- a successful appeal on behalf of a young soldier facing custody as a result of alleged involvement in an initiation ceremony that made the front pages of a national newspaper
- defending a Guardsman charged with fraud in another case that made the front pages of national newspapers. Tom help to ensure that a custodial sentence was avoided.
Tom is well versed in all aspects of service law. He learnt to fly via an RAF flying scholarship and then as an Officer Cadet on Northumbria University Air Squadron. He continues to fly and is well versed in all aspects of military aviation. He is also a pupil supervisor and his current Pupil is a serving Lt Commander in the Royal Navy.
"I would like to thank you for your diligent work on this case. Your client care and commitment to the case was exceptional. Your willingness to “go the extra mile” was impressive and proved crucial. Your planning and delivery of the cross examination proved decisive. An ok case (partly because of the statute) transformed into a strong case, according to his honour the Judge, before our very eyes, as our opponent was exposed as a liar."
Instructing solicitor, 2017
"Tom was brilliant, stood head and shoulders above the other barristers"
Instructing solicitor, 2016
Has a robust practice in regulatory offences that sees him instructed by a range of parties including public sector bodies, companies and private individuals. He also handles cases concerning violent crime and sexual abuse, as well as fraud and drug offences. Additionally, he has expertise in cases involving regulatory offences.
Strengths: "He has a really nice manner in court and very good judgement." "Mr Horder is extremely experienced in all areas of criminal defence. He takes a hand-on approach to trial preparation, which makes him a popular choice among solicitors and clients alike."
Recent work: Defended a CCTV operative who unlawfully accessed the footage of an autopsy featuring a footballer who tragically died in a well-publicised plane crash.
Chambers UK Bar 2021/Crime - Band 2
Strengths: "He is an extremely affable barrister who deals with difficult clients with commendable patience. He delivers calm and measured advocacy with the right amount of flair and is an exceptionally impressive trial advocate and lawyer behind the scenes."
Recent work: Defended a care worker accused of assaulting and abusing a large number of mentally and physically disabled residents at an adult care home.
Chambers UK Bar 2020/Crime - Band 2
"His advice is always clear and concise and precisely what is required. His client care and commitment is exceptional. His willingness to go the extra mile has been impressive."
Recent work: Prosecuted an organised criminal gang controlling the supply class A drugs across the South of England.
Chambers UK Bar 2019/Crime
Strengths: "He is meticulous and tenacious, both in terms of his preparation and his conduct of cases in court." "He is smart, clever and pragmatic."
Chambers UK Bar 2018/Crime
Strengths: "Very able, a rising star."'
Chambers UK Bar 2017/Crime
'Praised by instructing solicitors for his expertise in cases concerning fraud, drugs and other serious criminal offences.
Strengths: "He has a particular skill in dealing with extremely demanding clients. He is very committed to his work and is very accessible when it comes to seeking advice or updates."'
Chambers UK 2016/Crime
'...covers the full range of criminal offences, and is best recognised for his expertise in regulatory criminal cases. He receives regular instructions from local authorities, government bodies and insurers in relation to cases concerning health and safety, trading standards, environmental, aviation and maritime issues.
Expertise: "His advocacy is very good and he impresses with his knowledge of legislation and case law in niche areas."'
Chambers UK 2015/Crime
‘He has sterling advocacy skills and exceptional levels of client empathy.’
Legal 500 2021/Crime – Leading juniors - Tier 2
‘Reliable and meticulous in his preparation for conferences and hearings with good presentation at trial.’
"Tom Horder is another key name within the set"
Legal 500 2021/Business and regulatory crime (including health and safety) - Leading Juniors - Tier 2
‘He is an exceptionally impressive advocate; calm and measured, with just the right amount of flair.'
Legal 500 2020/Crime – Leading juniors - Tier 1
‘His preparation is meticulous and he inspires confidence in his clients.’
Legal 500 2020/Regulatory, health and safety, and licensing - Leading Juniors - Tier 1
‘An unruffled barrister with a light touch.’
Legal 500 2018/19/Crime – Leading juniors - Tier 1
‘Experienced across a broad spectrum of criminal cases.’
Legal 500 2017/Crime – Leading juniors
'An excellent advocate with a strong courtroom presence.'
Legal 500 2016/Crime – Leading juniors
'He is led, and often leads, in some of the most complex cases, including those involving serious violence'
Legal 500 2015/Crime – Leading juniors
'Particularly highly regarded for his ability to handle the most serious and complex cases.'
Legal 500 2014/Crime
'...attracts praise, and is ‘very good at explaining procedure and tactics to clients’
'Particularly highly regarded for his ability to handle the most serious and complex cases'
Legal 500 2013/Crime
- BA (Hons) History, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
- PGDL and BVC, BPP Law School
Professional qualifications & appointments
- Attorney-General’s Unified List of Prosecuting Advocates (Panel C)
- Specialist Regulatory Advocates in H&S and Environmental Law List.
Tom Horder is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.More Information