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 criminal and common law Bar (1970-1986).

Notable Cases

Firearms case -  with intent to endanger life referred to -secured acquittal - October 2021

R v S Secured acquittal of rape charge in 2009...Accounts Executive in City firm of solicitors - February 2022 

R v M Achieved excellent result for client.  At head of an avoidance of duty case on importation of cigarettes involving £1 and a half million of avoided duty ... no POCA - September 2021 

R v J Woolwich Crown Court Serious rapes and violence on young girl over 50, 000 pages

R v Lash N Leading junior on large scale money laundering case where 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 Leading junior large scale importation of drugs conspiracy ... liquid amphetamine ... from mainland Europe ( 4 defendants)...defendant said to have imported over £1 million of drugs

R v K possession of sawn-off shotgun and perverting course of justice Old Bailey

R v H possession of saw-off shotgun....ran defence od DURESS ...defendant aged 17 indicted with 4 adult men one of whom she had dated over the relevant period. Crown alleged there had been a drive by shooting and as a result retribution sought. Defendant acquitted

R v C defendant charged with rape of adult sister. Father gave evidence for prosecution. Defendant acquitted

R v SJ defendant who was chartered accountant charged with theft and fraud x 2 of £1 million from his employers 2017

R v B Leading Junior main defendant ( 3 others) controlling prostitutes for gain in central London alleged to have received nearly £3 million from 2 brothels

R v A plus 3 other defendants Robbery x 2 .. violent attacked on men meeting under age girls from a dating website. Succeeded on submission of no case to answer.

R v B 2 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 F multi handed case. Defendant charged with attempted murder s.18 x 3 and violent disorder. Pursuaded prosecution to abandon attempted murder and reduce the number of s.18s on a guilty plea so as to obtain a very good sentence.

R v A defendant charged with sexual penetrative assault on his niece.

R v L defendant charged with Conspiracy to supply class A drugs... police found 3 kgs of heroin in his house.

R v C E defendant charged with possession of over 2 kgs of class B Drugs...said co- def boyfriend had hold over her

R v H gbh ..unprovoked attack on man in night club

R v H with three other defendants conspiracy to supply 3 Kgs of class A drugs ..cocaine

R v H defendant charged with sexual assault on two children and two women in the street

R v L GBH and fraud and sexual assault on former partner

R v P Leading junior four handed bribery case ..thousands of pages of unused ... bribery of a company official to obtain engineering contracts. Pursuaded prosecution to halt prosecution against client.

R v P GBH with two other defendants...defendant acquitted.

R v L three other defendants conspiracy to supply class A drugs - large scale case

R v S 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 W-D violent disorder inside prison...defendant serving life imprisonment minimum of 18 years. Defendant denied involvement.

R v M defendant charged with 5 rapes on 14 year old daughter and 239 pornographic photos of children....defendant denied all offences.

R v L defendant charged with attempted kidnapping of a schoolgirl out jogging at 6 am and robbery of previous partner.........succeeded in obtaining a non-custodial sentence.

R v H £2 million avoiding duty on importation of cigarettes ..prosecution say defendant is at top of the ladder.

R v Grillo and Grillo - 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 (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 - 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

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