Barrister Luke Blackburn

Luke Blackburn

Year of call: 1993  

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“A very good tribunal advocate who works well with the solicitor”

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Overview


Luke is a highly-experienced tribunal and appellate advocate dealing with employment, disciplinary and regulatory law.

He frequently acts for individual employees and companies in all aspects of litigation arising out of the business world, including cases involving whistleblowing and corruption. He is often asked to advise corporates and individuals about PoCA and anti-competitive liabilities.

Disciplinary work forms a substantial part of Luke’s practice. He often represents medical professionals, lawyers and players and officials in sports and games before the disciplinary committees of their regulatory bodies. He is often asked to give advice on a discreet and confidential basis before professional negligence or disciplinary proceedings may be brought.

  • Appointed to panel of counsel instructed to prosecute barristers before disciplinary tribunals.
  • Inquest work instructed by insurers and bereaved families, particularly deaths caused by driving or breaches of H & S regulations.
  • LPP.
  • Alcohol, gaming and entertainment licensing.
  • Civil applications regarding s.298 forfeiture and PoCA.
  • DVLA appeals.
  • Writes on employment and disciplinary matters in Employment Law Journal and Counsel magazine.
  • Lectures to professional clients on law and procedure.
  • Public access trained work (able to accept instructions directly from lay clients).
  • 2011 Bar Pro Bono award nominee (about 5% of his practice on this basis).
Complex Fraud Crime Employment Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Complex Fraud


Luke specialises in high-value money cases such as fraud and money laundering. He is often asked by investigators in the United Kingdom and abroad to advise on whether suspects should be charged with criminal allegations, including in delicate cases such as the prosecution of police officers, and thereafter gives strategic advice in such investigations.

He has recent experience of carousel frauds, diversion frauds, counterfeiting, mortgage frauds, revenue frauds, long firm frauds, false escrow systems, boiler-room frauds and Ponzi frauds.

He has extensive experience of advising individuals (including legal and financial professionals) and corporates at an early stage as to their liabilities in terms of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He is often asked to assist on a discreet basis before the involvement of prosecuting authorities as to sensitive issues such as protected and authorised disclosures, due diligence and diversion from prosecution.

Similarly he assists business clients with all aspects of forfeiture, restraint and confiscation, both in terms of guidance and advocacy.

He has experience of corporates’ particular requirements in Office of Fair Trading investigations, both in terms of cartel raids and longer-term investigations of anti-competitive practice. Where raids have been conducted his involvement has been as early as the time of the raid itself and immediately afterwards.

Luke was recently a paper speaker at the debate organised by the Fraud Advisory Panel about prosecution policy changes in the Serious Fraud Office, against Jessica de Grazia, the author of the report on which the new policy was based.

Particular expertise:

  • Delicate LPP issues
  • Cash forfeiture (s.298 PoCA)
  • Management receivers (s.48 PoCA 2002)
  • Directors’ disqualification
  • Corruption
  • Bribery

Complex Fraud Cases


  • R v Patel & Patel [2012] EWCA Crim 2479: A £4.5 million cash money laundering via Dubai and India against QC.
  • R v K: £3.9 million mortgage fraud and money laundering.
  • Operation Chromium: An eighteen-handed case involving allegations of £1.5 million-worth of money laundering.
  • Operation Albury: A seven-handed fraud on the NHS worth £1.3 million.
  • Operation Wickerball: A five-handed fraud with a strong international element.
  • Operation Steamroller: A US$100 million boiler-room fraud based in Spain and Germany, investigated by the City of London Police and prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • A multi-defendant mortgage fraud said to have involved complicit professionals, prosecuted by the SFO.
  • Operation Inertia: At the time the largest MTIC fraud ever prosecuted.
  • Operation Calliper: A multi-million pound banking diversion fraud, the proceeds of which were said to have been channelled via the Netherlands Antilles.
  • Operation Storm: A boiler-room fraud in which the proceeds were laundered via Hong Kong and St Lucia.

Crime


He specialises in fatality cases (including driving fatalities), serious sexual allegations and high-value money cases such as fraud and money laundering. He is often asked by investigators in the United Kingdom and abroad to advise on whether suspects should be charged with criminal allegations, and thereafter gives strategic advice in such investigations.

As well as state-funded work Luke is often instructed on a private basis by those clients seeking access to a barrister very early in a criminal investigation, and who want to assure themselves of the best client-care and consistency of representation at all times. He is particularly experienced in meeting the specific requirements of such clients. Luke is also regularly instructed by insurance-backed clients, and is well able to assist lay clients and insurers by giving realistic and accurate advice about prospects and workload.

He usually appears as a leading junior. He appears on a regular basis before the Court of Appeal, often against Queen’s counsel.

Particular experience:

  • Murder/manslaughter
  • Vehicle fatality
  • Sexual cases including historic and multiple-complainant cases
  • Complex Fraud
  • Money-laundering
  • Paper-heavy and/or lengthy cases
  • Cases with scientific or computing aspects to the evidence
  • Tax fraud, including HMRC cases
  • Government regulators (DEFRA, HSE)

Memberships


  • Criminal Bar Association

Crime Cases


  • Kuchhadia: £3.8 million fraud against bank, and money-laundering.
  • R v Patel & Patel [2012] EWCA Crim 2479: £4.5 million cash laundering case; international transfers via Dubai and India; against silk at trial and in Court of Appeal.
  • R v Suleman [2012] EWCA Crim 1569: Multiple arsons to own workplace and home, allied with hoax calls; leading junior, seven-week case; against silk in Court of Appeal.
  • Ziga & Ors: International fraud against HMRC; leading junior, six week case.
  • Hussain & Ors: £180 million MTIC fraud; largest ever prosecuted at the time.
  • Smith: Attempted murder and multiple rape; life sentence followed conviction.
  • Operation Albury: A seven-handed fraud on the NHS worth £1.3 million.
  • Operation Steamroller: A US$100 million boiler-room fraud based in Spain and Germany, investigated by the City of London Police and prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • A multi-defendant mortgage fraud said to have involved complicit professionals, prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • Operation Calliper: A multi-million pound banking diversion fraud, the proceeds of which were said to have been channelled via the Netherlands Antilles.
  • Operation Storm: A boiler-room fraud in which the proceeds were laundered via Hong Kong and St Lucia.
  • O & Ors (on-going): Leading junior; eight week case.
  • F & Ors (on-going): Manslaughter.

Employment


Luke undertakes all aspects of employment and discrimination cases for both claimant and respondent, and has a particular aptitude for cases:

  • Which concern parallel claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination.
  • Involving internal or professional disciplinary investigations or other particular sensitivity.
  • Which are complex, and either for or against large employers.

He often advises on settlement agreements, and undertakes public access and licensed access work.

He is a highly-experienced tribunal advocate, able to adapt his style as fits opponents from litigants-in-person to senior counsel.

In December 2013 Luke addressed the Cambridge Union Society at a debate about positive discrimination, having been invited by the then president because of his experience in employment matters.

He writes articles for national publications such as the Employment Law Journal, most recently on zero-hours contracts, and is often asked for comment by broadcasters, newspapers and professional journals.

Recent cases have involved:

  • TUPE, especially historic transfers with poor record-keeping
  • Race discrimination
  • Sexual orientation discrimination
  • Disability discrimination, particularly as relates to ill-health defences
  • Age discrimination
  • SOSR/third party request dismissals
  • ACAS code reductions/increases
  • Victimisation
  • Redundancy
  • ET claims by current employees
  • Pensions’ apportionment
  • Complex pensions/benefits when considering remedies
  • Failure to mitigate loss
  • Polkey/equitable reductions of damages

Memberships


  • Employment Lawyers’ Association
  • Employment Law Barristers’ Association

Employment Cases


  • A v A London Borough: Unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, ill-health dismissal, victimisation for issuing proceedings.
  • G v A London Borough: Race, gender and age discrimination, capacity dismissals.
  • O v A London Borough: Gender and age discrimination, redundancy, five-day ET.
  • Re B: Direct and indirect disability discrimination.
  • S v BBC: Redundancy, pregnancy and maternity discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimization over grievance procedure, covert recordings.
  • A v ECC: Unfair dismissal: reinstatement, re-engagement, ‘Polkey’ reduction, contributory fault, breach of ACAS code, delay, fairness of internal disciplinary procedures.
  • W v P: Out-of-time for unfair dismissal: thus action for wrongful dismissal, involved whistle-blowing and internal corruption.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline


Disciplinary work forms a significant part of Luke’s regulatory practice, at preliminary strike-out, first instance and appellate level. He often represents legal, medical and financial professionals, and the players and officials of sports and games before the disciplinary committees of their regulatory bodies. He specialises in disciplinary proceedings involving barristers and solicitors.

He is often asked to give advice on a discreet and confidential basis before professional negligence or disciplinary proceedings may be brought. He also writes on disciplinary matters in publications such as Counsel magazine and lectures to professional clients on law and procedure.

He has been appointed to the panel of counsel instructed to prosecute barristers before disciplinary tribunals.

Memberships


  • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers

Regulatory & Professional Discipline Cases


  • X: Barrister acted in unregulated manner.
  • Y: Barrister managed pupillage system in discriminatory manner.
  • Z: Barrister acted without instructing solicitor.
  • A: Pharmacist dispensed medicine to self, other than in regulated manner.
  • B: Bridge player accused of cheating, appealed to appellate body of regulator.
  • C: Solicitor mismanaged client funds, but disciplinary prosecution avoided.
  • D: Barrister failed to act on deficiencies in indictment, which later were said to have caused client’s imprisonment and subsequent release.
  • E: Barrister said to have failed to act in client’s interests in PoCA hearing before Crown Court.
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