Emma Shafton

Emma joined Chambers in 2011. She has developed a busy criminal practice prosecuting and defending both as a led junior and a junior alone. She is known for her meticulous preparation, tenacity and for being ‘lightning-quick’.

Emma has particular experience and expertise in financial crime and the proceeds of crime. As a led junior Emma appeared for the defence at the Isleworth Crown Court in confiscation proceedings arising from £42 million money laundering convictions and at the Blackfriars Crown Court in a multi-handed money laundering trial lasting 9 weeks. In the Magistrates’ Court, Emma defends in enforcement and cash forfeiture proceedings. Emma completed a secondment at the Serious Fraud Office between July 2015 and March 2016 as disclosure counsel providing assistance with an investigation into liquidity auctions held by the Bank of England in 2007 and 2008.

Emma is currently instructed as led junior for the defence in a multi-handed Class A drug conspiracy in Liverpool. The case involves complex telephone evidence and has lasted for several months. As a junior alone she is currently appearing for a defendant charged with possession of 2 kilograms of heroin with intent to supply.

Emma was appointed to the CPS Panel of Advocates at Grade 2 in early 2015 and regularly appears on behalf of the prosecution at trial in the Crown Court. Current instructions include prosecuting a VAT fraud and a Benefit fraud.

She also has a Court of Appeal post-conviction referral practice where she has advised applicant’s convicted of charges of murder, kidnap, and rape.

Emma accepts direct instructions from the public under the Bar Direct scheme.

Notable Cases

R v JA and another ‘Operation Okha’ (Isleworth Crown Court, 2016)

Acted for the second defendant alleged to have acted in joint enterprise with his brother in the commission of a section 18 GBH (two stab wounds). Successful submission of no case to answer in respect of the GBH charge.

R v LO (Blackfriars Crown Court, 2016)

Defended in a 9-handed conspiracy to handle stolen goods. High value goods from Louis Vuitton, Sloane Street were stolen during a smash and grab burglary.

R v AT (Wood Green Crown Court, 2016)

Acted as junior alone for the defendant charged with assault by penetration and sexual assault. The case was particularly sensitive, both defendant and complainant residents of a supported living care home for adults. Both had a variety of mental health conditions and learning disabilities. The complainant was assisted by an intermediary at trial. The defendant was unanimously acquitted of all charges.

 R v IY ‘Operation Gravati’ (Wood Green Crown Court, 2016)

Acted as junior alone for the second defendant charged with possessing and discharging a Skorpion submachine gun with intent to endanger life. The Prosecution offered no evidence two weeks prior to trial.

 R v TD (Wood Green Crown Court, 2015)

Acting as junior alone secured the acquittal of a defendant charged with arson with intent to endanger life (setting alight to a residential home with occupants inside). The case involved extensive legal argument including application for dismissal, abuse of process, custody time limits, bad character of both the defendant and two non-defendants, exclusion of evidence under s78 PACE and a submission of no case to answer.

R v PFH (Wood Green Crown Court, 2015)

Acted as junior alone for defendant charged with an ‘acid attack’. The defendant was acquitted of the assault.

 R v AR & ors ‘Operation Kelpie’ (Basildon Crown Court, 2015)

Appeared for the third defendant in a 9-handed prosecution concerning the organised criminal activities of a group of men from Essex. The defendants faced charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

R v Anthony Moran (Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, 2014)

Successful appeal against sentence on the single ground of disparity in sentence between co-defendants in a case of attempted domestic burglary. 4 years’ imprisonment reduced to 3 years’ on appeal.

R v Sherrine Xavier [2014] EWCA Crim 50

Successful appeal against sentence in a three-handed case of conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. Defendant received a non-custodial sentence. The case was reported as the Court of Appeal revisited the definition of vulnerable victim.

R v OO (2014)

Represented a 15-year-old boy charged with a series of sexual offences against a girl under the age of 13 including rape. The defendant was sentenced to a 12-month Referral Order. A certificate for counsel was granted.

R v Solmaz Jalali ‘Operation Distraction’ (Blackfriars Crown Court, 2013)

Led by Kieran Galvin in a 9-week multi-handed money laundering trial. The case centered around 2 money exchange businesses in North London run by Iranian defendants, which the Crown said acted as a front to launder millions of pounds throughout the indictment period in 2011. The case papers were voluminous exceeding 12,000 pages and Defendant received a suspended sentence of imprisonment.

R v Naveed Ahmad (Isleworth Crown Court, 2012)

Led by Lisa Freeman in confiscation proceedings following a conviction for multi-million-pound money laundering offences.

R v Gary Dobson (Central Criminal Court, 2011)

As Stephen Moses’ (now QC) pupil, assisted the defence team for Gary Dobson, charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence.


Aside from crime, Emma also has a thriving civil regulatory practice. She frequently appears before the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Health and Care Professions Council in fitness to practise proceedings. She has also, unusually, appeared before the Association of Child Psychotherapists on two occasions. Emma acts for registrants at all stages of proceedings from interim order to post-adjudication review and her experience means that she is familiar with the legal principles underpinning all healthcare regulators and equipped to deal with any case.

Notable cases:

NMC v AS (2016)

Represented a nurse charged with lack of competence. She had been suspended by her Trust and the NMC for almost two years. Several successful submissions of no case to answer were made and several of the charges found not proved. The registrant was allowed to return to work with an unrestrictive conditions of practice order.

ACP ‘Association of Child Psychotherapists’ v LRA (2016)

Appeared for registrant child psychotherapist alleged to have breached the professions’ Code of Ethics.

NMC v PW (2015)

Secured a Conditions of Practice Order at the outcome of proceedings for a registrant who had been suspended for two years by the NMC pending the conclusion of the proceedings. The case involved the deaths of two patients.

NMC v SH (2015)

Nurse working in an NHS hospital. Charged with assaulting a patient by forcibly bathing her. Misconduct not found on any charge after a three-year process from Disciplinary Proceedings at Trust level until the conclusion of the NMC proceedings. The case raised important issues relating to a patient’s capacity to consent when not subject to admission under the Mental Health Act.

HCPC v RL (2015)

Social worker employed by West Sussex County Council who faced various conduct charges alleging becoming too personally involved with a family who had a young child under a Special Guardianship Order. Exceptionally, persuaded the panel to take ‘no further action’ at the sanction stage of proceedings arguing that the public interest component had been satisfied by the finding of impairment under that head and making submissions as to proportionality. The registrant had been unable to find work for over 2 years pending the resolution of proceedings and was able to reapply for jobs without any restriction or caution attached to her pin.

NMC v AB & another (2015)

Successfully persuaded the NMC screening team not to proceed with referrals made against two members of staff at a private nursing home by use of ‘early engagement’.

NMC v DA (2014)

Nurse and manager of a private BUPA care home. Charged with a series of medication errors and conduct charges. Successful submissions of no case to answer at both facts and misconduct stages. Misconduct not found on any of the 8 charges.


Road Traffic

Emma is frequently called upon to advise and represent defendants in complex road traffic matters. She is known for her success in advancing arguments of exceptional hardship and special reasons. Emma has dealt with cases involving laced drinks, emergencies, necessity/duress of circumstance, and calibration of speed cameras and has extensive experience of instructing expert witnesses to assist in the preparation of the defence case.

Education, prizes & awards

LLB (Hons.) Law (First Class)

The College of Law, Bloomsbury, London (2011)

Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding)

The College of Law, Bloomsbury, London (2011)

Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction)

The College of Law, Bloomsbury, London (2010)

BA (Hons) History

University of York (2009)

Lincoln’s Inn Cholmley Studentship (2011)

Buchanan Prize (BPTC Result of ‘Outstanding’) (2011)

Lincoln’s Inn Lord Denning Scholarship (2010)

Lincoln’s Inn Lord Brougham Scholarship (2009)

Lincoln’s Inn Hardwicke Entrance Award (2009)


Professional memberships

Criminal Bar Association

Young Fraud Lawyers Association

Free Representation Unit

Amicus (Assisting Lawyers for Justice on Death Row)

The Denning Society


‘Cash Forfeiture: A Practical Guide’ (2015)