Naeem Karbhari

Call 2003

"I came into this complex case very late and would have found it very difficult to deal with without the benefit of the excellent, detailed, accurate and very thorough way in which Naeem had prepared the case. His schedules were invaluable and his work as a junior throughout the trial was of the highest standard. It was a pleasure to work with him."

Naeem Karbhari practices in all areas of criminal law and exclusively defends as an advocate.

He has been led in cases of murder, fraud, conspiracy to run brothels and associated money laundering offences, and an immigration fraud case involving legal professionals.

Naeem has been the sole advocate in cases of attempted murder, kidnap, conspiracy to import cannabis, among other cases. He conducts dozens of Crown Court trials on an annual basis, many of which relate to drugs cases or violent offences.

He is sought-after by legal professionals in high page count cases given his ability to easily absorb and retain detail, and easily cross-refer documents. He has particular expertise dealing with telephone evidence and cell site analysis, having conducted numerous cases using cell site experts.

Professional and lay clients greatly appreciate his easy-going manner, yet quietly persuasive and tenacious approach.

Naeem was described by a client as having an “unfaltering, smooth and direct style” and “amazing bedside manner”, as well as the ability to deliver “challenging points with a hint of sarcasm”.


Naeem has appeared in a number of murder cases. He has expertise in meticulous case preparation and the ability to digest high-volume case papers, distilling through the relevant documents to provide the ammunition for leading counsel to effectively represent the lay client in a team effort.

He has been able to use his digital expertise to review and enhance CCTV footage in a number of murder cases. In one murder case, he successfully challenged the CCTV officer (who had spent more than 100 hours watching footage from a number of cameras) to show that she had put the knife in the wrong hand of the alleged stabber.

Featured Murder & Manslaughter cases

R v JC & others (2021) – Operation Aruba

Two-month murder trial at Northampton Crown Court. Junior counsel for the lead defendant who was acquitted of murder (convicted of manslaughter). All other defendants convicted of murder. Case involved careful analysis of CCTV evidence and correcting the clock time errors to show the defendant’s car was only in the street for about 40 seconds as opposed to the two minutes alleged by the Crown.

R v EK & others (2020) - Operation Rimini

Eight-week murder trial at Central Criminal Court. Defendant alleged to be the stabber. Defendant acquitted of murder and manslaughter. Others convicted of murder or manslaughter. Careful analysis of cell site evidence and movement, together with review of CCTV evidence, undermined the suggestion by the police of which hand the knife was held in by the stabber.

R v MC & others (2019) – Operation Poncaville

Drugs turf war murder amongst group of youths. Defendant alleged to have chased victim down an alleyway with several others armed with a knife and stabbed him to death. One of the co-defendants drew pictures of the murder on his prison cell wall, amounting to a confession. A cut-throat defence with defendant and one of his co-accused. Issues of gang association at the forefront of case. Careful analysis of hundreds of hours of CCTV leading up to the murder resulted in the Crown conceding that the CCTV backdrop of the lead up that they had alleged was wrong. They put forward further agreed fact to the jury to amend the errors.

R v DK & others (2018)

Three-month multi-handed murder trial at Ipswich Crown Court. Junior Counsel for the second defendant in a case involving cut-throat defence of blame with the first defendant. Case revolved around county drugs line sent up from London to Ipswich. Cuckoo and local drug runners accused of stabbing to death a drugs customer who had a reputation for robbing the drugs line. Case involved extensive CCTV analysis, telephone data analysis and cell site analysis.

R v N (2012)

Two-week murder trial at Luton Crown Court, led by Niall Quinn QC. Man stabbed his friend nine times following a cannabis fuelled evening.

Naeem undertakes instructions on some of the most high-profile organised crime cases across the country.

Featured Organised Crime cases

R v MR & Others (2015-2018) – Operation Tavernhouse 1

One of the UK’s largest bed manufacturers accused of employing a slave workforce of trafficked Hungarian nationals. A four-month trial involving more than 20 alleged victims who worked close to 20-hour days on less than £10 per week, paid to them by the Gangmaster who pocketed the £3 per hour paid by the firm. Issues of ethical audits carried out by the likes of John Lewis Plc, Next Plc & Dunelm. Successful half-time submission before the trial judge, but case re-instated by Court of Appeal following an appeal of a terminatory ruling. Convicted on a majority direction. AG reference and counter appeal on sentence followed. A multimillion-pound confiscation case followed, which was described as one of the most complex cases with issues of corporate veil and hidden assets.

R v AK & others (2018) – Operation Dubrava

Latvian men and women from hostels promised a good life and good wages in the UK. Exploited and kept in squalid conditions, forced to work with income being kept and spent by their capturers. A large, organised gang of linked family members who kept the exploited workforce under their own roof and often locked them in the house so they could not leave.

R v LH & others (2018) – Operation Alvin

Two-week trial at Bristol Crown Court as junior counsel in a conspiracy to cultivate cannabis case involving several grow houses. A paper-heavy case with more than 10,000 pages. His expertise in dealing with large-volume cases was invaluable in understanding this case following last-minute instructions.

R v T (2017)

Case with more than 100,000 pages of evidence involving arson with intent and possession with intent to supply.

R v SK (2017)

Largest ever educational fraud case by an in-house accountant. Challenged computer and banking evidence.

R v McG & others (2017) - Operation Milden

Represented one of five defendants charged with importation of 35kg of cannabis. The case papers extended to more than 10,000 pages. The case against his client was based on association and telephone records. Required expert analysis of telephone attribution and call patterns. Only defendant to be acquitted following a four-week trial.

R v D & others (2017)

Conspiracy to supply more than 250kg of cannabis. Effective representations led to the Crown agreeing a simple alternative of joint possession with intent to supply about 75kg of cannabis.

R v SE & 1 other (2016)

Represented the defendant as sole counsel. Crown had silk and junior, and co-defendant granted silk and junior. Case involved attempted murder and firearm offences. Client charged with assisting an offender. Case dismissed at end of prosecution case.

Naeem has accepted a number of instructions in high-profile terrorism cases, particularly in cases involving religious motive.

His experience from within the community, and knowledge of Islamic terms and the different factions, help him quickly understand the dialect and use of terms in predominantly Arabic or Islamic text exchanges and videos used by the suspects.

Naeem is the ‘go-to’ barrister of choice for a family dubbed the most dangerous (terrorism related) family in the UK.

Featured Terrorism cases

R v MA (2021) - Operation Radiometer

Defendant from family from which it was alleged two members travelled to Syria and died fighting for ISIS. Other family members have convictions for dissemination of terrorism material. This case involved two brothers, the first of whom was accused of planning an act of terrorism. Defendant is accused of failing to disclose this fact and having intimate knowledge of his brother’s preparations and ideology. Case papers in excess of 25,000 pages, with intricate details of ISIS-based searches carried out by defendant, and group chats with other siblings about their alleged hatred of the ‘West’. Naeem was instrumental in securing the defendant’s acquittal.

Naeem’s ability to quickly absorb and assimilate cases with a high of volume pages makes him an ideal choice of counsel on fraud cases.

He has been involved in a number of high-value Hawala banking cases and has a sound understanding of the Hawala banking process and its use by the Asian community. There is often a misguided assumption by the authorities that the use of the Hawala banking system is illegal, but this is far from the truth. During 2019, the remittance overseas using the Hawala system reached a record $554bn, overtaking foreign direct investment as a source of external funds. These funds predominantly transferred in cash is not illegal per se, and careful analysis is required to ascertain the source of the money.

Featured Fraud & Money Laundering cases

R v IP & others (2022)

Ongoing case listed for a 10-week trial. Relates to allegations of possession and transferring criminal property revolving around Hawala banking.

R v IP (2022)

Ongoing two-week trial relating to a community member alleged to be involved in Hawala banking and possession of more than 3kg of gold bullion at his home address.

R v KH (2021)

Involved in representing Afghani national said to be using Hawala banking system to transfer criminal property (cash) and found to be in possession of more than £400k in cash.

R v H (2019)

Instructed as junior counsel in paper-heavy case revolving around banking fraud with a bank manager.

R v K (2017)

Largest ever educational fraud case by an in-house accountant. Challenged computer and banking evidence.

R v SK

Defendant charged with 12 others for defrauding various banks under finance agreements for cars. Successfully had legal aid transferred for another matter in which the defendant faced re-trial on drugs importation (both cases had an over-arching police investigation).

R v M & others

Large sham marriages case.

R v A & others

Large-scale fraud case arising out of £200m sim swap fraud.

R v RC

Large charity fraud case by in-house financial controller.

Recent articles

Success in high value fraud trial for Naeem Karbhari leading Matthew Keliris-Thomas

Naeem Karbhari led Matthew Keliris-Thomas upon instructions from Hazal Arzlan of Atesh Solicitors in a three-handed high value fraud where the Crown alleged hundreds of thousands of pounds had been taken fraudulently and dissipated through various bank…

Naeem Karbhari

Matthew Keliris-Thomas

Naeem Karbhari leads Matthew Keliris-Thomas in a three-handed fraud trial at St Albans Crown Court

Naeem Karbhari leads Matthew Keliris-Thomas, instructed by Hazel Arslan at Atesh Solicitors, have commenced in a three-handed fraud trial at St Albans Crown Court. The Defendants are accused of over a hundred thousand pounds of…

Naeem Karbhari

Matthew Keliris-Thomas

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Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB)

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"I came into this complex case very late and would have found it very difficult to deal with without the benefit of the excellent, detailed, accurate and very thorough way in which Naeem had prepared the case. His schedules were invaluable and his work as a junior throughout the trial was of the highest standard. It was a pleasure to work with him."

Sally O'Neill QC

"I had the pleasure of leading Naeem Karbhari in a murder trial this year and he more than earned his red bag. His written work was quick and accurate. He formed a good rapport with a hard to reach client and his ideas had significant value for the conduct of the case. It was not a case in which a junior could shine on his feet but I have had other opportunities to watch Naeem and he is a quietly determined and courteously persuasive advocate. I know solicitors who have briefed him whose opinion closely matches my own."

Niall Quinn QC

“Naeem's forensic grasp of the case papers, marshalling of relevant facts and acute tactical awareness were instrumental in securing our clients acquittal”

Gul Nawaz Hussain QC

  • 2003 – BPP Law School Bar Vocational Course (England & Wales)
  • 2002 – Inns of Court School of Law – LL.M Criminal Litigation
  • 1998-2001. LLB. (Hons)
  • Jameson Scholarship Award Winner (Middle Temple)

  • Middle Temple

  • Urdu
  • Gujrati
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