Christopher Bertham


Christopher Bertham is an experienced specialist in serious crime who has acted as a Leading Junior advocate in many cases before the higher courts with criminal jurisdiction. His practice is based in the Crown Court, but he has also been instructed in the appellate Courts.

Christopher Bertham is ranked in Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2022.

The 2022 edition of Chambers and Partners says of Christopher..."Exceptional on case preparation and excellent at technical legal arguments." 

The 2021 edition of Chambers and Partners says..."Has an excellent courtroom manner and leaves no stone unturned in defence of his clients."

Please see the link below to access Christopher's profile in Chambers and Partners

Christopher is additionally ranked in The Legal 500, 2022

The 2022 edition of The Legal 500 says of Christopher... "Christopher is an impressive, conscientious and hard-working junior, who doesn’t stint in his preparation of cases, and has excellent advocacy skills. He has very sound judgement and is able to make a well-reasoned assessment of a case and the issues in it, which is reflective of his very thorough preparation. His advice, both oral and written, is objective, articulate and to the point. He has very good court presence, and is concise, cogent and persuasive in his advocacy."

The 2021 edition of The Legal 500 says... "A dedicated and diligent advocate with a great jury manner. One of the leading juniors at the bar who is destined for silk. He provides excellent client care and explains the most complicated things simply."

He has successfully represented those accused of all manner of serious offences, including (but not limited to):

Violent Offences - murder; manslaughter; wounding with intent.

Financial Offences - international conspiracies to defraud financial institutions; money laundering; corporate crime; market rigging; insider dealing; insolvency offences; forfeiture of funds for alleged terrorism; tax evasion; benefit fraud; insurance fraud.

Organised Crime - firearms offences; conspiracies to rob; kidnapping; false imprisonment; people trafficking; forgery; blackmail.

Drugs Offences - conspiracies to supply Class A drugs; importation; cultivation; production.

Sexual Offences - rape; trafficking for the purposes of prostitution; sexual assault.

Miscellaneous - riot; violent disorder; arson; perverting the course of justice; abuse of police powers; conspiracies to commit criminal damage.

Christopher Bertham is accredited by the Bar Council to provide Public Access services.

Notable Cases:

R v Z - After a trial lasting over 2 weeks, acquittals secured on all charges in respect of a defendant alleged to have funded terrorism in Syria. 

R v DB & Others -  After a trial lasting 7 weeks, a jury returned Not Guilty verdicts on two conspiracy to kidnap charges and for allegations of conspiracy to falsely imprison and conspiracy to blackmail.

R v HN & Others After a trial lasting 5 weeks, HN was acquitted of conspiring to supply 10kg cocaine. £1.35m of cocaine was seized by the NCA in Operation Volata after an attempt to import it from the Netherlands.

R v Y & Others - Represented Y who was accused with three other men of the murder of a man on the streets of Harlesden with a machine gun. They were tried at the Old Bailey, after three weeks Y was acquitted and the case continued against the two others. 

R v S & Others - A large fraud involving unauthorised use of credit cards resulted in purchases of gift cards for use in Apple Stores. The Defendants worked for a mobile phone company that bought Apple products with gift cards. Police searched the address of the mobile phone company and seized many documents that related to the purchasing of Apple products with gift cards and evidence of trade in the UK and abroad. The credit on some of those gift cards had been added from unauthorised credit card use. The 8 Defendants were charged with a conspiracy to convert criminal property. Their defence was that they themselves were the victims of fraud, they had given adequate consideration when purchasing the gift cards and they were running perfectly legitimate businesses. They had not known or suspected that they had purchased criminal property, and had not agreed to do so. Through Chris Bertham's persistent disclosure requests, aimed at verifying the lawfulness of the searches conducted by the police, the prosecution reviewed their case on the third day of trial and decided that they should offer no evidence against all Defendants. All Defendants were acquitted, avoiding the necessity of a 6 week trial.

R v A - A was charged with several co-Defendants of conspiring to supply 4 kg of heroin. The prosecution asserted A was part of a gang who met some importers to buy the drugs for £97 000, and he was to drive a getaway car. The gang he was part of robbed the importers with a firearm, which was found in the centre console of the car A was driving. The police observed the robbery and there was a high speed chase through the streets of Wembley. A was charged with conspiracy to rob, having a firearm with intent to commit robbery, possession of a prohibited weapon, and conspiracy to supply class A drugs. He was acquitted after a trial lasting 3 weeks of the conspiracy to rob and the firearm offences.

R v P -  successful defence of Mr P, who was charged with conspiracy to rob, possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit robbery, conspiracy to supply 4kg of heroin, and conspiracy to possess criminal property (£96 000 cash). The prosecution alleged that Mr P had brought a firearm to a meeting with a gang of importers of heroin, who expected to sell 4kg for just under £100k. Mr P attended with others and was alleged to have executed a ‘double-cross' by using the firearm to rob the importers of the drugs, whilst keeping the cash. A high-speed chase followed through the streets of Wembley and Mr P was arrested, whilst the firearm was recovered from a seat he had been occupying in the car. Mr P was one of six defendants prosecuted, and he was acquitted of all counts by a jury after a trial that lasted 3 weeks.

R v N - Instructed as led Junior representing a defendant charged with a £10m land banking fraud. A jury acquitted 'N' of an allegation of Conspiracy to Defraud following a trial that lasted over two months. Two men who ran three land banking companies pleaded guilty to the fraud before the trial commenced. N was accused of selling land to victims of the fraud while employed in the sales teams of the land banking companies. The allegations advanced by the prosecution were systematically deconstructed against N: claims that he was a company secretary to two of the companies, and that he had opened bank accounts for those companies were shown to be false, particularly as many of his signatures were identified as forged. The main allegation, that as a conspirator he was a ‘trusted lieutenant' to those who ran the companies, was demonstrated to be incorrect.

R v L - The defendant was accused of five counts of witness intimidation and intentionally encouraging witness intimidation. The trial had occupied the court for six days before the jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts on all counts within an hour of retiring. 

R v M - Instructed as led Junior representing a defendant charged with banking and mortgage frauds valued at £4.3 million. The Crown claimed that the defendant had obtained loans and mortgages fraudulently from banks and mortgage lenders in order to purchase or re-mortgage a large number of properties. Following pressure in respect of disclosure the Crown offered no evidence on a series of charges in respect of one bank just before the jury was sworn. The trial was set to occupy the court for three weeks, but after seven days the defendant was acquitted by the jury of all the remaining charges.

R v S - A stay of proceedings was granted in a knife-point affray following an application made that to continue to prosecute S, would be to permit an abuse of the Court's process. The trial involved allegations of assaults and an affray. The witnesses had spoken together during the course of the evidence whilst unsupervised in spite of the Judge's directions. As a result of Chris Bertham's application, the prosecution against S was stayed.

R v M -  Instructed as led Junior representing a defendant charged with conspiracy to commit arson. The Crown alleged that the defendant had committed the same offence on a number of occasions in the past. Following targeted pressure in respect of disclosure, the Crown offered no evidence with the defendant duly acquitted and he received an order for his costs, 2012.

R v O'Rourke - Allegations of attempted murder and firearms offences; sentenced for robbery, escape and perverting the course of justice, 2011 - BBC news report here:

R v McDermott - Leading Junior in a conspiracy to commit criminal damage (graffiti), 2011 (read an article in The Guardian on the case and its broader context here:
HHJ Peter Clarke QC, the Judge at the trial, was "extremely impressed at his [Christopher Bertham's] professionalism, mixing courtesy with firmness and achieving a very high standard of advocacy". Read the commendation from HHJ Peter Clarke QC for Christopher Bertham [Adobe PDF] in full.

HMRC investigation into alleged Carbon Credit trading frauds - Advising Mauritian companies in respect of disclosure sought following letters of request, 2011

Alleged tax fraud and immigration offences - Advising in respect of an investigation into tax fraud and border offences, 2011

R v Jackson - £¾ million fraud by employee against Southwark Council and allegations of money laundering through investments in properties in Dubai, 2010

R v Zabit - Allegation of attempted murder, 2010

R v Hart - Allegations of rape and harassment, 2010

R v Thompson - Allegation of false imprisonment, grievous bodily harm with intent and robbery, following snatch of 6kg of heroin from a gang of suppliers, 2010

R v Parnell - Conspiracy to rob with firearms, 2010

R v Pervaiz - Allegation of false imprisonment and causing others to engage in sexual activity, 2010

R v W.H. - Allegation of attempted murder by a gang of youths, 2010

R v Mohothar - Allegation of rape, 2010

R v Atkins - Conspiracy to rob allegation involving 12 defendants, 2009

R v Korpiela - Conspiracy to wound with dogs allegation, 2009

R v Malone - Leading junior counsel in a conspiracy to rob trial, 2009

R v Reid - Conspiracy to defraud (tax credits), 2009

R v Paterson - Allegations of conspiracy to kidnap and supply cocaine - led junior, 2008

R v C - Leading junior counsel in a conspiracy to defraud by importing stolen vehicles, 2008

R v Trinh - Leading junior counsel in a conspiracy to cultivate and supply cannabis, 2008

R v Parry - Allegations of rape, grievous bodily harm and sexual assault against children, 2008

R v Krasniqi - Murder, led junior, 2007

R v Connor - Allegation of conspiracy to defraud major financial institutions (international - Holland, Switzerland and the United States) - led junior, 2007

R v Thorpe - Money-laundering in context of conspiracies to supply large amounts of cocaine, 2007

R v Cooley - Allegation of murder - led junior, 2006

Christopher Bertham - Privacy Notice

Christopher Bertham


LL.M Cambridge University, Hughes Hall (1994)
Called to the Bar, Inns of Court School of Law, London (1993)
LL.B (Hon's), De Montfort University, Leicester (1992)

Memberships & Associations

Lincoln's Inn; Criminal Bar Association; Lawyers for Liberty; Fraud Lawyers Association

Areas of work

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