Nicholas has extensive advocacy and advisory experience both in the United Kingdom and in the United States, and has regularly appeared in courtrooms in complex, contested cases in both jurisdictions, focusing primarily on high value fraud litigation, financial services and regulatory matters, public, constitutional & human rights law, commercial disputes, general civil litigation, and serious criminal allegations including financial service offences, political and environmental crimes. Nicholas is widely published in multiple jurisdictions in the fields of constitutional and administrative law, international bribery and corruption, fraud and financial services litigation, land use planning and human rights.
Overseas and Offshore Work
Nicholas practiced in the United States from 2003-2008, and frequently appeared in federal and state courts in a variety of regulatory, constitutional/public law and criminal matters, including securities fraud and insider trading, tax fraud, civil and criminal forfeiture of assets, land use planning, free speech and other areas of constitutional and administrative law, quasi-criminal and regulatory litigation against the Securities and Exchange Commission, and serious criminal matters including political, environmental, drug and violent crimes. Nicholas has considerable experience with international corruption allegations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Bribery Act 2010. Nicholas also has extensive appellate experience in the United States, having briefed and argued cases before the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Oregon and New Mexico Courts of Appeal and Supreme Courts.
In 2012 Nicholas undertook a six-month secondment at Baker & Partners in Jersey, part of the 7 Bedford Row alliance. During his time at Baker & Partners Nicholas worked principally as a second chair/led junior in the In re DH Trust litigation, a factually complex commercial trust dispute involving allegations of fraud and misapplication of trust assets stretching back several decades, amounting to over £30 million in value, involving corporations and trust assets in Jersey, the BVI, Panama and the United Kingdom. During this period Nicholas gained valuable experience with offshore commercial and civil fraud litigation, and with the specific needs of offshore clients.
Nicholas undertakes regulatory litigation at the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Financial Services Authority, the Upper Tribunal and the High Court, including acting as led junior in a judicial review of the FSA’s decision-making processes in relation to a number of small-cap stockbroking firms in 2009-2010. He also represents individuals and corporations in related criminal proceedings including market abuse and insider trading allegations. Nicholas also has extensive experience representing corporate and government clients engaged in internal investigations under financial services, environmental and other legislation in multiple jurisdictions.
Public and Administrative Law
Nicholas has extensive experience with constitutional, administrative and human rights litigation in multiple jurisdictions, on behalf of individual, corporate and government clients in a variety of fields including financial services regulation, land use planning, property, health care and criminal matters. Recent experience includes advising on prospective claims against the Legal Services Commission under section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998 for funds lost through unlawful mortgage repossessions, a judicial review of the FSA (see above), advisory work relating to VOSA’s guidance on exemptions from UK and European tachograph regulations, and advising the ACLU on a prospective free speech/due process challenge to a novel Oregon statutory scheme criminalising the provision of “sexually explicit” materials to minors. Nicholas’s publications in the field of constitutional law and land use planning appear on several prominent law school syllabuses in the United States and have been cited to the US Supreme Court. Nicholas was formerly a tutor in Public Law for undergraduate and postgraduate law students at the University of Westminster.
Commercial and Civil Litigation
In addition to his offshore work, Nicholas is part of the 7 Bedford Row Commercial Team and has considerable experience representing clients in multi-track commercial and civil litigation involving civil fraud allegations, banking and insolvency disputes, the interpretation of solicitors retainer agreements and other contractual disputes (including credit hire, unfair terms, sale of goods, agency and misrepresentation), personal injury and clinical negligence matters. He is happy to consider instructions on a CFA basis in appropriate cases. Nicholas was formerly a tutor in Company Law for undergraduate law students at University College London.
Complex Fraud and Criminal Litigation
A determined and successful jury advocate who appears principally for the defence, Nicholas is regularly instructed to appear in Crown Courts around the UK in a variety of serious financial criminal matters ranging from money laundering to tax fraud, market abuse and insider trading allegations. In addition Nicholas has considerable experience representing individual, corporate and government clients in multiple jurisdictions accused of a variety of regulatory, environmental, political, drug, property and violent crimes. Nicholas provides advisory and advocacy services in proceedings arising from the Bribery Act 2010 and from the UK’s complex and draconian confiscation regime, including on behalf of corporate and professional clients who have been subjected to production orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and on behalf of corporate victims of fraud seeking recovery in related POCA proceedings. Nicholas also has extensive criminal appellate experience in the UK.
Nicholas is able to accept instructions on a direct access basis in appropriate cases, including in regulatory and financial services, corporate crime/fraud, commercial litigation and human rights/civil liberties matters. Please see our section on Direct Public Access for further information on how to instruct Nicholas directly.
- In re DH Trust : second chair/led junior in offshore commercial trust litigation worth approximately £30 million dealing with entities/assets in Jersey, the Caymans, Panama and the UK, involving allegations of negligence and fraud in an internationally reputable accountancy firm.
- In re H (Disclosure Orders) : representation of a prominent central London solicitors firm from whom extensive conveyancing materials were improperly sought pursuant to overbroad production orders under POCA.
- United States v. Staren : representation of London-based witnesses from the financial services industry subpoenaed to give evidence in proceedings linked to a long-running US federal prosecution in California, concerning a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
- R. v. Nadir : led team of disclosure counsel at the Serious Fraud Office dealing with various aspects of the ultimately successful prosecution of Asil Nadir, for the theft of some £34 million (specimen counts) from Polly Peck plc in the 1980s and 1990s.
- FSA v. W (a firm); FSA v. G (a firm) [2009-2010]: representation of several small-cap stockbroking corporations before the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Financial Services Authority, the Financial Services & Markets Tribunal, and in the High Court in judicial review proceedings against the FSA.
- R. v. Robinson : Court of Appeals (Pitchford LJ, Rafferty J and HHJ Goldstone QC). Secured significant reduction in sentence for car-ringing offences prosecuted under the money laundering provisions of POCA but improperly sentenced under pre-POCA car-ringing sentencing authorities.
- R. v. Button : Court of Appeals (Pitchford LJ, Owen J. and the Recorder of London). Secured significant reduction in sentence for second domestic burglary in circumstances where the sentencing judge had wrongly determined that a burglary was committed in breach of trust.
- United States v. Lee : Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Concerned criminal forfeiture of real property belonging to a Vietnamese-American husband, where forfeiture failed to properly account for the customary interests of his wife.
- United States v. Wooh : Federal Ninth Circuit (District of Oregon). Whistleblower case involving allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practice Act violations in the international scrap steel shipping industry, particularly in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and China.
- State of Oregon v. Johnson : Novel constitutional challenge to application of mandatory minimum sentencing provisions to mentally disabled client.
- United States v. Kornman : Federal Fifth Circuit (Northern District of Texas). Complex motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence in securities fraud/insider trading prosecution.
- State of Oregon v. Moyer, Tune & Sturgeon : Oregon Court of Appeals. Constitutional challenge, on free speech grounds, to unlawful charging instrument criminalising, inter alia, provision of anonymous donations to political candidates.
- United States v. Stringer [2006-2008]: Federal Ninth Circuit (District of Oregon). Led junior in landmark case involving the dismissal of an indictment against a CEO due to improper, secret collusion between the SEC and the US Department of Justice.
- Just v. City of Lebanon : Oregon Supreme Court. Amicus brief concerning extent of citizen involvement & standing in Oregon’s land use planning system.
- Albuquerque Commons Partnership v. City of Albuquerque [2003-2008]: New Mexico Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Amicus briefs in landmark case concerning the importance of urban master plans in New Mexico’s land use planning system.
- Utsey v. Coos County : Oregon Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Amicus brief concerning extent of citizen involvement & standing in Oregon’s land use planning system.
- 1999, Bar of England and Wales.
- 2003, State Bar of the State of Oregon (Non-Practicing).
- 2006, Federal District Court, District of Oregon.
- 2007, Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- 2012, State Bar of the State of New York.
- Fraud Lawyers Association.
- Lawyers for Liberty.
- Administrative Law Bar Association.
- Bar Pro Bono Unit
- LLB Hons (University College, London), First Class Honours and Deans List, 1998
- Gray's Inn Junior Scholar, 1998
- Bar Vocational Qualification, ICSL, 1999
- British Academy Scholar, 1999
- BCL (Pembroke College, Oxford), 2000
Nicholas regularly comments on serious fraud, financial services and regulatory matters in the national press and in professional publications, and is widely published in several specialist fields, including:
- Banksters can sleep easy again, The Lawyer, 24 June 2013. Discusses the June 2013 report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. See the article here.
- The Emperor's New Clothes, Solicitors Journal, June 2013. Discusses the proposed new law criminalising reckless endangerment of the public by senior bankers. See the article here.
- A Serious Cause For Worry, Solicitors Journal, March 2013. Discusses the Tchenguiz v. SFO litigation. See the article here.
- Bribery Act Compliance – The Saga Continues, Jersey Evening Post Finance and Regulatory Supplement, February 2012. Discusses the impact of the Bribery Act 2010 on offshore jurisdictions.
- How to Handle Public Inquiries, The Guardian, 24 November 2011. Discusses the intersection between public inquiries and complex criminal investigations in the context of the Leveson Inquiry. See the article here.
- The Bribery Act vs. The FCPA: Nuance vs. Nous  Criminal LR, Issue 2 at 122. Compares the UK’s new Bribery Act regime with the post-1997 OECD Convention enforcement of the FCPA by the US Department of Justice. Part of the 2011 Bribery Act Symposium. See the article here.
- Commercial Sensibility in Corruption Cases  Commercial Litigation Journal 34 (Nov/Dec) at 16. Compares the approach taken to bribery and corruption in the UK and the US, reviews US law on "honest services" fraud, and outlines the key provisions of the Bribery Act 2010 and their application to commercial organisations.
- Recent Patriot Act Developments, Presentation to Priestleys with 7 Bedford Row, Cayman Islands October 2010. See the presentation here.
- Contributor to Advertising Law and Regulation (Tottel, 2nd Ed. 2010); specifically Chapter 22: Regulation of Financial Services Advertising.
- Sources of ‘Public Use’ Requirements – Takings or Due Process?  27 Zoning & Planning L. Rep 1. Article cited to the United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London , one of the most significant land use planning decisions in modern Supreme Court history.
- “Legislative vs. Quasi Judicial – Deference or Defense?”  27 Zoning & Planning L. Rep 20. 
- “Making It Up – Original Intent and Federal Takings Jurisprudence”  Urban Lawyer, Vol. 35, No. 2, 203.
- “How Useful is Rawls’ Theory of Justice? Does It Help Us to Avoid Unjust Systems?”  UCL Jurisprudence Review 188.
Pro Bono Work
Nicholas has undertaken pro bono work for the American Civil Liberties Union, Thousand Friends of Oregon (amicus briefs to the Oregon Court of Appeals and Supreme Courts arguing for greater citizen involvement in the land use planning process), the American Planning Association (amicus briefs to the Oregon and New Mexico Courts of Appeal and Supreme Courts arguing for greater prominence for urban master plans), the League of Conservation Voters (advocacy on a wide variety of economic, environmental, social and political topics for the non-partisan environmental group's 2004 presidential campaign, in support of John Kerry) and the Bar Pro Bono Unit (Public Law and Human Rights, Commercial and Regulatory/Criminal Proceedings and Advisory Work).
Listed as a "rising star" and one of the top criminal defence attorneys in his home state in the 2008 edition of Superlawyers.
Contact Nicholas Cropp
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7242 3555
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7242 2511