Emma Shafton

Emma Shafton is a highly sought after junior specialising in fraud, financial crime, heavyweight general crime and professional discipline.

She has been instructed in high-value cases spanning the full range of financial crime, including serious fraud, insider dealing and market abuse, VAT fraud, money laundering, benefit and mortgage fraud.

Emma has a detailed understanding of both the law and procedure relating to ancillary proceedings, such as restraint and confiscation proceedings. Emma is well-placed to advise clients on all aspects of asset forfeiture, from pre-charge restraint through to post-conviction confiscation.

Emma was seconded to the Serious Fraud Office to assist with an investigation into liquidity auctions held by the Bank of England during the financial crisis. She is a Grade 3 prosecutor and has been appointed to the CPS Fraud and Serious Crime panels.

Emma is an experienced junior who is able to master voluminous cases with precision and ease. She is known for her tenacity.

Emma’s mixed practice allows for continuity of representation for professionals potentially facing disciplinary and criminal proceedings. She regularly advises on professional disciplinary matters and appears before the NMC and HCPTS.

Emma is qualified to accept instructions directly from clients under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme.

Fraud and Financial Crime

Emma specialises in fraud, financial crime and civil ancillary matters both prosecuting and defending.

Notable cases:

R v Myers & others: Counsel for the Crown in multi-handed confiscation proceedings arising from mortgage fraud and importation of cannabis offences linked by tainted gifts. The case involved considerable hidden assets.

R v Jalali ‘Operation Distraction’: Led Junior for the defence in a nine-week multi-handed money laundering trial. The case concerned a number of money exchange businesses in North London, alleged by the Crown to be a front to launder over £10,000,000 through Hawala banking networks in Iran and Dubai.

REP01: Seconded to the Serious Fraud Office to assist with an investigation into liquidity auctions held by the Bank of England at the time of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Operation V: Disclosure junior to the Crown in a multi-million-pound foreign exchange fraud carried out by individuals regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

R v Naveed Ahmad: Led by Lisa Freeman for the defence in confiscation proceedings following a conviction for £42,000,000 money laundering offences.

General Crime

Emma is regularly instructed in cases of a serious, complex and often multi-handed nature. Recently, Emma has spent three months as a led junior representing a client alleged to be the head of a heroin and cocaine racket operating in Merseyside, and three months appearing as led junior for the defence in a case concerning a nationwide conspiracy to cause explosions. She has developed a reputation for her expertise in dealing with complex telecommunications evidence.

Emma defends clients charged with serious sexual offences, including allegations of offences against children. She has dealt with a number of historic sexual allegations. She has particular expertise dealing with vulnerable witnesses and defendants, including youths.

Notable Cases:

R v AP (2018): Acted as junior alone for a 78-year-old retired teacher accused of the historic indecent assault of two primary school pupils in 1978. The defendant was unanimously acquitted.

R v JG (2018): Appeared for the second defendant, a prisoner officer accused of seriously assaulting an inmate at HMP Swaleside. The defendant was unanimously acquitted.

R v CL (2018): Led by Ben Gordon, appeared on behalf of one of four prison officers charged with misconduct in public office. The charges arose out of an undercover investigation conducted by the BBC’s ‘Panorama’ programme into juvenile prison MSTC run by G4S. Defendant acquitted of all counts after a 9-week trial.

R v GM (2018): As junior alone, secured unanimous acquittals in a historic sex case. Emma’s client was accused of indecently assaulting two sisters aged 6 and 7 in 1981. The allegations were first reported to the police in 2015 and 2017.

R v Gower & others (2018): As junior alone for the Crown, prosecuted a conspiracy to supply five kilograms of cocaine.

R v AB (2017): As junior alone, acted for a newly qualified female teacher who pleaded guilty to having a consensual sexual relationship with a 15-year-old male pupil. The case attracted international media attention.

R v NO (2017): Represented a teacher of 47 years’ standing charged with sexually assaulting a teenage student. A successful submission of no case to answer was made. The case was featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘File of 4’ programme in February 2018 in respect of disclosure failings.

R v TLT (2017): Appeared for the lead defendant in a planned aggravated burglary of the address of two “high-class escorts” in Knightsbridge.

R v NM ‘Operation Sydney’ (2017): Appeared as led junior for one of eight defendants charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and commit commercial burglaries. The charges related to a nationwide campaign of thefts from ATMs employing either ‘gas attack’ or ‘drag out’ methods. The case involved complex telecommunications evidence.

R v KD (2017): Appearing as junior alone, secured the unanimous acquittal of a man of good character charged with assault by penetration and sexual assault of a ten-year-old girl. The defence was one of fabrication.

R v GW & another (2017): Appearing as junior alone, secured the unanimous acquittal of a prison officer charged with misconduct in public office. It was alleged that she conspired with her senior officer to plant an improvised weapon in the cell of a prisoner who had assaulted a colleague by ‘potting’.

R v Leon Grant [2017] EWCA Crim 414 (Court of Appeal, Criminal Division): Successful appeal against conviction for domestic assault in respect of a jury irregularity.

 R v Mark Chandler (2017): Appeared as junior alone for a defendant charged with possession of two kilograms of heroin with intention to supply.

R v Tony Hackett ‘Operation Cygnet’ (2016): Acted as junior alone for a defendant in a thirteen-handed football violent disorder between Arsenal and West Ham supporters. Emma’s client was the only defendant to be spared an immediate custodial sentence.

 R v JO (2016): Appearing on a certificate for counsel for a 15-year-old defendant charged with three other male juveniles with serious sexual offences against a female classmate on school premises. The defendant was acquitted of two of the three charges against him and avoided notification.

R v Kyle Sheils ‘Operation Supola’ (2016): Led by Tarquin McCalla for the lead defendant in a multi-handed conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine. The case last for three months and the papers served exceeded 150,000 pages. The case involved extensive and complex telecommunications evidence.

R v JA and another ‘Operation Okha’ (2016): Acted for the second defendant alleged to have acted in joint enterprise with his brother by stabbing a young male twice. The offence was gang-related. Successful submission of no case to answer in respect of the section 18 GBH charge.

R v LO (2016): Defended in a nine-handed conspiracy to handle stolen goods. High value goods from Louis Vuitton, Sloane Street were stolen during a ‘smash-and-grab’ burglary.

 R v IY ‘Operation Gravati’ (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 (2015): Acting as junior alone secured the acquittal of a defendant charged with arson with intent to endanger life (setting fire to a residential home with occupants inside). The case involved extensive legal argument.

R v PFH (2015): Acted as junior alone for a defendant charged with carrying out an ammonia attack. The defendant was acquitted of the assault.

R v AR & ors ‘Operation Kelpie’ (2015): Appeared for the third defendant in a nine-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 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. The defendant received a non-custodial sentence. The case was reported, the Court of Appeal revisiting 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.

R v Gary Dobson (2011): As Stephen Moses QC’s pupil, assisted the defence team for Gary Dobson who was charged with and later convicted of the murder of Stephen Lawrence.


Professional Discipline

Emma frequently represents professional people (often members of trade unions) in both criminal and regulatory matters.

She has represented members of the Prison Officers’ Association, the Royal College of Midwifery, the National Union of Teachers, Unison and Unite.

In the criminal courts, Emma has represented prison officers charged with misconduct in public office and accused of assaulting inmates. Emma has successfully defended teachers charged with sexually assaulting students (please see notable cases under General Crime).

In the regulatory sphere, Emma frequently represents health and care professionals including nurses, midwives, paramedics and social workers facing allegations of professional misconduct. 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 KE (2018): Represented a midwife accused of stealing dihydrocodeine from new mothers’ ‘to take home’ medication packs and then falsifying clinical records to avoid detection.

 NMC v LH (2018): Represented a newly qualified midwife who was part of a team caring for a mother whose baby passed away shorty after birth. Through early engagement, the NMC were persuaded that there was no case to answer in respect of impairment at the Case Examiners stage.

NMC v CE (2017): Represented a midwife of over 30-years standing with an unblemished career, accused of failing to act upon reports of reduced fetal movements and sharp abdominal pain in a full-term high risk expectant mother. The baby in question was born with significant brain damage and passed away at the age of two. The registrant’s case was that no reports were made to her. The NMC found none of the facts against the registrant proved and dismissed the case against her.

HCPC v RW (2017): Represented a paramedic who posted racially insensitive comments on Facebook whilst intoxicated and suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The case raised interesting points about the prevalence of work-induced mental health issues amongst those in the ambulance service. The registrant received a caution.

NMC v KZ (2017): Represented a midwife facing numerous charges concerning the care of two patients, including a charge of dishonesty (alleged falsification of clinical records). The NMC found none of the facts against the registrant proved and dismissed the case against her.

 HCPC v RD (2017): Represented a social worker working within the Foster Care team at a London Borough Council. He faced seven charges alleging lack of competence/misconduct and had been dismissed following an internal disciplinary hearing. The HCPC did not find misconduct or lack of competence and the registrant was free to return to practise without restriction.

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 through neglect.

 NMC v SH (2015): Represented a nurse working in an NHS hospital who was charged with assaulting a patient by forcibly bathing her. Misconduct was not found on any charge. 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): Represented a social worker who faced various charges in relation to her deemed inappropriate relationship with a family who looked after a young child under a Special Guardianship Order. Exceptionally, Emma persuaded the panel to take ‘no further action’ at the sanction stage of proceedings arguing that the public interest component had been satisfied by a finding of impairment and by making submissions as to proportionality. The registrant had been unable to find work for over two years pending the resolution of proceedings and was able to reapply for jobs without any restriction or caution attached to her registration.

NMC v DA (2014): Represented a nurse who was the 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 eight charges.



Sports Law

Emma accepts instructions to represent athletes facing disciplinary proceedings before their governing body. She is currently retained by a Premier 15s women’s Rugby team as standing counsel.

Road Traffic Law

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 the calibration of speed cameras.

Education, Prizes and Awards

First Class LLB, The College of Law (2011)

Lincoln’s Inn Cholmley Pupillage Award (2011)

Outstanding grade in Bar Professional Training Course (2011)

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

Distinction grade in Graduate Diploma in Law (2010)

Lincoln’s Inn Lord Denning Scholarship (2010)

Lincoln’s Inn Lord Brougham Scholarship (2009)

Lincoln’s Inn Hardwicke Entrance Award (2009)

BA (Hons) History, University of York (2009)

Professional Memberships

Criminal Bar Association

Young Fraud Lawyers Association

Amicus (Assisting Lawyers for Justice on Death Row)

Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers