Karina Arden


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

Karina 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.

Karina 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. Karina's experience with judges, juries and witnesses, along with her international experience, enable her to obtain results against the odds.

Karina 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).

Notable Cases

R v Grillo and Grillo, 2013  - 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, 2015 - Money laundering case involving a large number of defendants who were charged with (in effect) laundering money from a massive drugs conspiracy. This was a trial that lasted many weeks. The case went to the Court of Appeal on a point of material irregularity in the proceedings in relation to all the defendants.

R v C, 2016 - Acquittal of a client in a multi-handed £40m mortgage fraud which involved alleged frauds against Barclays dating back ten years. The trial lasted nearly three months at Southwark Crown Court. Karina took the unusual course of asking no questions of any of the prosecution witnesses and not to call the defendant - in effect, to put the prosecution to proof.

M v M - Allegations of serious rape of the 17-year-old daughter of the previous partner of the defendant over a period of circa three months

R v I - Acquittal of a client charged with large conspiracy to supply Class A drugs when other defendants were already serving very long prison sentences.

R v M - Very serious sexual abuse case involving 23 counts of rape and sexual assaults of the defendant's step-daughter 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 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 the acquittal.

Other activities

Serious world traveller. Passionate about fine food and wine.




French (fluent)
Italian (fluent)
German (fluent)

Areas of work

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Karina Arden