Brian Altman KC - Leading Barrister

Brian has a remarkable reputation as a leading criminal lawyer and as lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). The hugely respected 2021 Chambers Bar Guide refers to him as a “stalwart of the criminal Bar” and as a “stunningly good cross-examiner”. Both Chambers Bar Guide and the Legal 500 consistently rate Brian as one of the UK’s leading Crime Silks year after year. The 2018 Guide to the World’s Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers names him as one of the experts in the field in the UK and Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2018 names Brian as one of “47 standout barristers who are considered leaders in the field of criminal fraud.”  The London Evening Standard considered him one of the top three “criminal masterminds” in the UK. He is also consistently listed as one of the top Leading Silks in the Chambers Bar guide where he is top ranked in their ‘Crime’ and ‘Financial Crime: Corporates’ sections. He is also top ranked in their ‘Inquests & Public Inquiries’ section for his work on IICSA, and he is top ranked in The Legal 500 (UK Bar) where he is featured as a Leading Silk in the top tier of Crime silks and in the Business and Regulatory Crime tables. ‘Lawyer Monthly’ awarded him ‘White Collar Crime Barrister of the Year 2015 – UK.’

“Stalwart of the criminal Bar who has attracted significant attention and commendation for his work at the helm of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.”
Chambers Bar guide for 2022 (Inquests & Public Inquiries)

“He is always on top of the facts and brilliant in his lateral thinking. His advocacy is second to none in terms of the way he cross-examines and conveys his points .”
Chambers Bar guide for 2022 (Crime)

“Brian is formidable. He sets high standards for all involved and has complete mastery of the details of a case.”
Legal 500 2022 (Inquests and inquiries)

“He leaves no stone unturned and is a first-class advocate.”
Chambers Bar guide for 2021 (Inquests & Public Inquiries)

“He is an absolutely top silk and is very determined.”

“Fearless in his approach to cases.”

“A leader who cuts through to the essence of a case. When you instruct him, he inspires huge confidence. A true luminary. Above all, in heavy business and regulatory crime and investigatory cases, he is truly fearless.”cases.”
Legal 500 2021 (Crime)

“Pre-eminent silk whose experience as former First Senior Treasury Counsel cemented his status as a highly in-demand prosecutor of some of the most noteworthy murder and terrorism cases of recent years. He now boasts a flourishing defence practice and undertakes work in murder and drug trafficking cases among others. He is also noted for his skill in handling high-profile terrorism cases.”
Chambers Bar guide for 2020 (Crime)

“He is frequently sought out by global corporations to advise on the potential criminal ramifications of officer conduct and corporate transactions. His deep expertise in financial crime cases encompasses significant SFO and CMA investigations.”
Chambers Bar guide for 2020 (Financial Crime: corporates)

“Brian Altman QC, is extensively experienced in representing high-net-worth individuals and large corporates, as well as prosecuting for the FCA and CMA in large fraud cases. According to one peer, “He is extremely influential and carries significant personal gravitas”.
Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2017

Brian has exceptional insider knowledge and experience. In June 2013, he completed his highly successful 16 year tenure as Treasury Counsel at the Old Bailey, the last two and a half years of which were as as First Senior Treasury Counsel – the country’s most senior practising prosecuting barrister. During that period he was involved in prosecuting some of the most high profile cases of the day.

Since then Brian has advised the Boards of national and multinational corporations on bribery, corruption, fraud and money laundering, as well as corporate governance, compliance and regulation. Additionally, Brian advises and represents corporate and individual private clients on a variety of issues, including private prosecutions. He prosecutes and defends in serious crime cases, such as homicide, terrorism, money laundering and drugs, fraud and business crime.

In January 2017, Brian was appointed lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. In October 2017, Brian led in the Inquiry’s hearings into allegations (among others) of child sexual abuse by Cyril Smith in Rochdale, and, in March 2019, he led in the Inquiry’s hearings which examined whether there was a culture of deference and tolerance by the political parties and the police towards persons of public prominence in the Westminster establishment. In October/November 2019, he led in the Inquiry’s Wider Catholics investigation.  In October/November  2020, he led in the Inquiry’s investigation into institutional responses concerning allegations of child sexual abuse against the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC and in December 2020 the investigation into Effective Leadership in Child Protection.

In the spring of 2021, Brian was appointed as lead counsel to the Brook House Inquiry, whose terms of reference are to examine the mistreatment of detained individuals at the Brook House Immigration Removal Centre in Gatwick, then run by G4S, which was exposed in a BBC Panorama programme in September 2017. See more information here. 

In March 2021, Brian, instructed by Peters & Peters and leading two other QCs and three junior counsel, appeared on behalf of Post Office Ltd in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division in relation to 42 cases referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission regarding individuals who had been prosecuted by the Royal Mail Group and, post-2012, by Post Office Ltd between 2000 and 2013, relying on evidence from the Horizon accounting system since found to suffer from bugs, errors and defects, in what was the largest conjoined appeal ever heard by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (R v Hamilton & Others [2021] EWCA Crim 577). You can read the full judgment here. 

Brian was featured in The Times on 17 December 2020 as their Lawyer of the Week for his work as lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse.

Brian’s defence work is highly regarded. In January 2019 Brian acted privately for SG who was accused of committing a substantial housing benefit fraud. After a two week trial, SG was acquitted. September 2017 Brian acted for AB who was charged with multimillion pound money laundering offences. Despite the defendant pleading guilty to most of the charges only just before trial, and in spite of the amount said to have been laundered, Brian was able to secure a non-custodial sentence for AB. In June 2017 Brian secured the acquittal of GD, a former senior police chief in Avon & Somerset, who was accused of sexually assaulting women on cross country trains in the West Country. Following a 5 day trial at Bristol Crown Court, the jury acquitted GD of all the charges.  In 2015 Brian was instructed to represent a businessman accused of a large-scale drugs conspiracy, who was subsequently acquitted at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Brian also represented one of four serving police officers accused of misconduct in public office arising from a high profile murder case in Bristol in July 2013. The officer was unanimously acquitted after a seven week trial just before Christmas 2015. Brian was commissioned by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office in May 2021 to investigate and report into the collapse of the Serco trial of R v Woods and Marshall in April 2021. His report was published by the Serious Fraud Office on 21 July 2022. The link to the Director’s statement and the Report and Annexes may be found at:

Call Brian Altman KC on 020 7440 8888 or email: [email protected]

Brian Altman KC is a barrister regulated by the Bar Standards Board