Karina Arden

Call 1970

Karina Arden is a highly experienced barrister, focusing on criminal defence. She is experienced in both high-profile cases and those involving international clients.

She takes on all types of criminal work, both leading and junior briefs. These include financial crime (fraud, money laundering and restraint proceedings) and serious organised crime, such as multi-handed drug trafficking and importation, and sex crimes of all sorts.

She is also experienced in cases involving serious and violent crime (including murder, manslaughter, firearms, knife crime, kidnapping and false imprisonment), sexual offences of all kinds (including dealing with vulnerable complainants and defendants), robbery of all grades of seriousness, and extradition.

She is a skilled cross-examiner and negotiator. Her experience with judges, juries and witnesses, along with her international experience, enable her to obtain results against the odds.

She has been at the criminal Bar since 2004. Before this, she worked at the multinational law firm Herbert Smith (1986-2004; becoming a French avocat in 1990) and at the common law Bar (1970-1986).

In her spare time, she is passionate about travelling, fine food and wine.


Karina has expertise in organised crime, often handled cases involving drugs and money laundering.

Featured Organised Crime cases

R v L, 2018

Leading junior on large-scale money laundering case. The allegation was that the source of the money was from conspiracy to supply drugs. Originally 18 defendants and case divided into two trials. Defendant Albanian and all defendants different nationalities. Case resulted from large-scale drug operation by police.

R v M, 2017/18

Leading junior in large-scale importation of drugs conspiracy. Liquid amphetamine from mainland Europe. Four defendants. Defendant said to have imported more than £1m of drugs.

R v B, 2018

Leading Junior. Main defendant (three others) controlling prostitutes for gain in central London. Alleged to have received nearly £3m from two brothels.

R v A, 2019

Three other defendants. Robbery x 2. Violent attack on men meeting underage girls from a dating website. Succeeded on submission of no case to answer.

R v L, 2019/20

Defendant charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Police found 3kgs of heroin in his house.

R v H, 2019

Three other defendants. Conspiracy to supply 3kgs of Class A drugs (cocaine).

R v P, 2019

Leading junior in four-handed bribery case. Bribery of a company official to obtain engineering contracts. Persuaded prosecution to halt prosecution against client.

R v L, 2019

Three other defendants. Large-scale conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

R v S, 2019

Multi-handed conspiracy to contravene immigration law. Succeeded in obtaining an acquittal on a submission of no case to answer just before final speeches.

R v H, 2020/21

Avoiding duty on importation of cigarettes (£2m). Prosecution said defendant was at top of the ladder. Defendant pleaded guilty and obtained very good result. No confiscation proceedings.

R v I

Acquittal of client charged with large conspiracy to supply Class A drugs when other defendants were already serving very long prison sentences

Featured Serious Sexual Offences cases

R v J, 2017

Serious rapes and violence on young girl – Woolwich Crown Court

R v B, 2020

Two rapes of women he knew well. Extreme violence used in one and buggery and other sexual assaults. Defence was consent (usual activities in relationship) on one and consent on the other.

R v C, 2019

Defendant charged with rape of adult sister. Father gave evidence for prosecution. Defendant acquitted.

R v A, 2019

Defendant charged with sexual penetrative assault on his niece.

R v H, 2019

Defendant charged with sexual assault on two children and two women in the street.

R v M, 2020

Defendant charged with five rapes on 14-year-old daughter and 239 pornographic photos of children. Defendant denied all offences.

R v M

Allegations of serious rape of 17-year-old daughter of defendant’s previous partner over a period of around three months

R v M

Very serious sexual abuse case involving 23 counts of rape and sexual assaults of the defendant’s stepdaughter from the age of 11. Succeeded in negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the charges considerably and obtaining a much lesser sentence than if the case had been contested. He was likely to have received a life sentence

R v W, 2020

Defendant charged with attempted rape on an elderly woman sleeping in her ground floor flat after entering in middle of night. Jury failed to agree in first trial. Jury out for two days in second trial and convicted by majority

R v P, 2021

Defendant charged with historic sexual assault on his now adult niece when she was a child under 13 years old. He was extradited from France to meet the accusation. Negotiated very good result of suspended sentence enabling defendant to return immediately to France.

R v C, 2021

Defendant charged with rapes and other serious sexual offences on a vulnerable 12-year-old.

R v M, 2021

Serious grooming offences on the internet of girls under 13 by defendant with previous identical convictions. Obtained good sentence after trial.

R v H, 2021

Represented ex-trainee solicitor in city firm of solicitors with first-class university degree on rape and sexual assault charges.

Featured General Crime cases

R v K, Central Criminal Court, 2017

Possession of sawn-off shotgun and perverting course of justice.

R v H, 2018/19

Possession of sawn-off shotgun. Ran defence of duress. Defendant aged 17 indicted with four adult men, one of whom she had dated during the relevant period. Crown alleged there had been a drive-by shooting and retribution sought as a result. Defendant acquitted.

R v F, 2020

Multi-handed case. Defendant charged with attempted murder s.18 x 3 and violent disorder. Persuaded prosecution to abandon attempted murder and reduce the number of s.18s on a guilty plea. Obtained a very good sentence.

R v C E, 2020

Defendant charged with possession of more than 2kgs of Class B drugs. Said co- defendant boyfriend had hold over her.

R v H, 2019

GBH. Unprovoked attack on man in nightclub.

R v L, 2020

GBH and fraud and sexual assault on former partner.

R v P, 2019

GBH with two other defendants. Defendant acquitted.

R v W-D, 2019

Violent disorder inside prison. Defendant serving life imprisonment (minimum of 18 years). Defendant denied involvement.

R v L, 2020

Defendant charged with attempted kidnapping of a schoolgirl out jogging at 6am and robbery of previous partner. Succeeded in obtaining non-custodial sentence.

R v F, C and others

Private prosecution issued by Asif Aziz, CEO of Criterion Capital and a large-scale developer, against the defendants for sundry offences ranging from threats to kill to blackmail (with regard to the defendants’ attempts to recover unpaid money for building works). Applied for a stay of proceedings for abuse of process, ultimately resulting in  acquittal.

R v W, 2021

Possession of firearm with intent to endanger life. Very complex case. Defendant acquitted of all counts after three days of jury deliberation.

Featured Corporate & Financial Crime cases

R v SJ

Defendant, a chartered accountant, charged with theft and fraud x 2 of £1m from his employers.

R v G & G

Defendants acquitted of fraud on Charles Saatchi and his then wife Nigella Lawson in relation to the use of credit cards. The client represented was charged with using the cards to a total value of more than £600,000. The case required skilful cross-examination of witnesses and involved numerous legal submissions under the gaze of press and public.

R v N and others

Money laundering case involving a large number of defendants who were charged with laundering money from a significant drugs conspiracy. Trial lasted many weeks. Case went to Court of Appeal on a point of material irregularity in the proceedings in relation to all the defendants.

R v C

Acquittal of a client in a multi-handed £40m mortgage fraud which involved alleged frauds against Barclays dating back ten years. Trial lasted nearly three months at Southwark Crown Court. Karina took the unusual step of asking no questions of any of the prosecution witnesses and not to call the defendant – in effect, to put the prosecution to proof.

Recent articles

Karina Arden represents ex trainee solicitor on rape and sexual assualt charges

Karina Arden represented TH aged 29 at Isleworth Crown Court . Then a trainee Solicitor at Evershed Sutherlands he was accused of rape and two counts of sexual assault by penetration ( digital and by tongue)…

Karina Arden

Karina Arden successful in possession of firearm with intent to endanger life trial

Karina Arden represented a defendant at Wood Green Court in September. He was charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life . After a…

Karina Arden

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Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB)

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

  • LLB. ( Hons)  London School of Economics
  • French Avocat
  • Solicitors conversion examinations

  • Criminal Bar Association

  • English, French, Italian, German
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