Craig Hassall KC

Year of call:

1999 · Silk 2021


1993 - Thomas Sumpter Comprehensive School, Scunthorpe

1995 - John Leggott Sixth Form College, Scunthorpe

1998 - University College, Oxford, BA Jurisprudence (2:1)

1999 - Inns of Court School of Law, BVC (‘very competent’)


1999 - Pupil at Sovereign Chambers

2000 - Tenant at Sovereign Chambers

2004 - Young Barristers’ Committee of the Bar Council

2006 - Junior of the North Eastern Circuit

2012 - Accredited advocacy trainer

2015 - Sovereign Chambers becomes Park Square Barristers

2015 - Head of the regulatory & public team at Park Square Barristers

2016 - Legally Qualified Chair of Police Misconduct Hearings for the Police & Crime Commissioners of the North Eastern Region

2017 - Vulnerable Witness - Advocacy Training Facilitator

2021 - Silk


2009 - Pupillage supervisor

2012 - Grade 4 Prosecutor and appointed to the Rape Panel List A of the Panel of Specialist Regulatory Advocates

2013 - Panel A of the Prosecution Counsel for the Serious Fraud Office

2015 - Head of regulatory & public team

2019 - Judicial appointment to the First-Tier Tribunal Criminal Recorder appointment


North Eastern Circuit

Criminal Bar Association

Health and Safety Lawyers Association

United Kingdom Environmental Law Association


1999 - Sweet & Maxwell Prize, Inner Temple

2017 - Certificate of Commendation, Immigration Enforcement

Ranked in The Legal 500 (2024) for Crime.

  • “Craig is excellent and can cut through any complex case to the heart of the issues. He gives clients confidence and handles sensitive issues extremely well.” Chambers & Partners (2024)

“Craig has a commanding courtroom presence. He cross-examines defendants with measured – and devastatingly effective – calm. His jury speeches are hugely persuasive.” – The Legal 500 (2024)

“The consummate professional – calm under pressure with the ability to think quickly on his feet.” – The Legal 500 (2021)

“Specialises in serious fraud cases.” – The Legal 500 (2020)

“Noted for his expertise in fraud cases.” – The Legal 500 (2019)

“A strong advocate, who acts with intelligence and calm authority.” – The Legal 500, 2017

“Conscientious and good with clients.” – The Legal 500, 2017

Over the last twenty years, Craig’s criminal practice has covered a vast range of work: from road traffic offending through sexual offences, serious and organised crime, violence including homicide, fraud and complex regulatory offences.

In silk, his practice has been split between murder, manslaughter, serious fraud, regulatory crime and associated inquests and inquiries. He sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court and as a fee-paid judge in the Mental Health Tribunal, and has significant experience of dealing with cases involving mental disorder, experienced by defendants or witnesses. Craig has a particular interest in cases involving defences arising from mental disorder.

Craig has become well-known for his ability to prosecute and defend in highly complex cases. His depth and breadth of experience of cases involving a wide range of prosecuting authorities enables him to bring a unique perspective to cases that transcend more than one area. He has been involved in many large cases with multiple defendants and has often handled sensitive issues of disclosure and public-interest immunity, including covert human intelligence sources, intercept material and offenders with links to terrorism.

Craig has extensive experience in all areas of financial offending, including applications for restraint, confiscation, compensation, appointment of receivers and disqualification of directors. Many of his cases have involved corporate defendants and the interpretation of corporate accounts. Since taking silk he has appeared in several trials of corporate and gross negligence manslaughter allegations, relying on his wide-ranging experience in regulatory crime and in particular health and safety and food safety.

Craig’s sympathetic approach towards clients has repeatedly been identified by legal directories. He can be relied upon to deal sensitively with clients accused of the most serious offences.

Alongside his advocacy and advisory work, Craig is the North Eastern Circuit’s Advocacy Training Officer. He is an accredited advocacy trainer and a facilitator for the Inns of Court College of Advocacy training courses: Advocacy and the Vulnerable and Advocacy for Children in Conflict with the Law.

Recent and Notable Cases

Homicide & Serious Violence

  • Op Poplincard – ongoing prosecution of a 14-year-old for the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old boy.
  • Op Pedalbourne – ongoing prosecution of four teenage defendants for the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old at a house party.
  • Op Pearlside – 2023 ongoing prosecution of two defendants for the murder of the first defendant’s vulnerable and frail step-father.
  • D.H.Willis & Sons Ltd and Others – 2022 corporate and gross negligence manslaughter prosecution together with associated regulatory offences.
  • R v Ali & Matthews – 2022 successful murder prosecution. Both defendants were convicted notwithstanding that it was impossible to prove which of them drove the car deliberately into the deceased.
  • R v Barrott – 2022 successful prosecution of the husband of a nurse for her murder. Partial defence of diminished responsibility based on long-standing serious mental health issues rejected by the jury.
  • R v Jones & Recycle Cymru Ltd – 2022 gross negligence manslaughter and associated regulatory offences.
  • Op Thememike – 2022 murder prosecution arising from the fatal shooting of a local solicitor in Sheffield City Centre.
  • R v Cookson & Eaton – 2021 prosecution of two teenagers for murder, arising from the “cuckooing” of the deceased in the context of the defendants’ drug supply enterprise [2023] EWCA Crim 10 – setting of minimum terms and credit for time served on remand.
  • R v Patrick Clayton Snr. – Craig’s first defence murder trial in silk. Client acquitted of all charges.
  • R v Dearlove – Junior counsel to Richard Wright QC in a prosecution for murder 49 years after the death of the victim. The defendant was convicted of murder in relation to the death of his baby stepson on Teesside in 1968. He had evaded prosecution in the 1960s by suggesting that the child had sustained the fatal head injury by falling out of bed. The trial involved calling contested expert evidence in the fields of paediatrics, paediatric neurosurgery and paediatric neuropathology.
  • R v Zaman (Operation Hoe) – prosecution junior counsel in the first successful prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter arising from a food allergy, and its subsequent successful defence in the Court of Appeal [2018] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 26.
  • R v Azad, Thapar & Hussain – prosecution junior counsel in an attempted murder by arson. The principal defendant was sentenced to 32 years imprisonment.
  • R v M – “baby shaking” case with numerous expert medical witnesses.
  • R v H – defence of a father accused of failing to protect his child, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. Significant factual findings had been made against the client in family proceedings and the child had been removed from his care. After Craig’s consideration of the expert paediatric neurology evidence and negotiation with the Crown, no evidence was offered against Craig’s client.


  • R v K & P (Operation Coconut) – ongoing multi-million tax fraud prosecution. Multiple types of tax evaded.
  • R v N – 2023 successful defence of a fraud prosecution arising out of a historical partnership dispute. The prosecution offered no evidence in response to Craig’s application for a stay on the basis of abuse of process.
  • R v D (Operation Dulcie) – Fraud prosecution following concurrent investigations by Greater Manchester Police and NHS Protect. The Defendant accountant and finance director defrauded three NHS trusts and several private companies. Complex accounting evidence and issues surrounding calculation of losses.
  • R v Goulbourne & Others (Operation Accordion) – Junior counsel to Guy Gozem QC in a six-defendant mortgage fraud case. The case involved expert conveyancing evidence, extradition and complex issues in relation to calculation of loss. Craig conducted part of the trial alone (including cross examination of the principal defendant and the prosecution closing speech) against three Queens Counsel, Treasury Counsel and six juniors.
  • R v D (Operation Filtermill) – Prosecution of an independent financial advisor who claimed inflated commission by “churning” his clients pension investments from fund to fund. Associated confiscation and enforcement proceedings.
  • Operation Wizardry – Leading junior counsel for the prosecution in a five-defendant (including two former police officers), £11million tobacco-smuggling conspiracy, which the Court of Appeal described as “one of the most serious examples of its type”.
  • R v Rathod & Others (Operation Apple) – Leading junior counsel for the prosecution in a four-defendant immigration fraud operated through two fake Sikh Gurdwara. The defendants had facilitated the entry into the country of hundreds of immigrants by falsely claiming they were religious workers in the temples.
  • R v Ishaq (Operation Earthworm) – Prosecution of a former mayor of Scunthorpe for fraud and perverting the course of justice.
  • R v Wood & Others (Operation Paste) – Leading junior counsel in a nine-defendant prosecution of fraud against the NHS. The defendants, including a senior NHS manager had defrauded the NHS of £3.5 million through the awarding of overpriced contracts for management training in contravention of NHS procurement rules.

Proceeds of Crime (in addition to the above)

  • Operation Y – advising the prosecuting authorities in relation to pre-charge restraint in a multi-million-pound pensions fraud investigation.
  • Re a firm – advising an LLP in relation to confiscation proceedings following the conviction of a former partner of the firm for fraud and money laundering. The prosecution and Court threatened contempt proceedings in relation to disputed funds in the possession of the firm. Craig provided advice and drafted a skeleton argument, upon which the prosecution discontinued all action against the client.

Sexual Offences

  • R v M – successful defence of a gay man charged with the sexual assault of a man who was alleged to have been asleep. The defendant had a previous conviction for a similar assault against another unconscious male. Acquitted at trial.
  • R v JH – successful defence of a stepfather charged with the attempted rape of his seven-year-old stepdaughter. Craig challenged the disclosure process and identified items that could be shown to be in the possession of the police, the existence of which had not been disclosed. Following legal argument, no evidence was offered.
  • R v BR – successful defence of a former police officer with previous convictions for indecent assault. The client was charged with sexual offences against two young female family members. Charges relating to one complainant were stayed as an abuse of the process of the Court following Craig’s application based on disclosure failures. The client was acquitted of all other charges at trial.


  • R v Yasutake, Yasutake and Yasutake – an utterly unique case. Craig represented all three defendants charged with preventing the burial of a body. The prosecution accepted that each defendant was not guilty by reason of insanity but proposed to continue with a trial of issue, notwithstanding that each defendant believed that the deceased was still alive, and therefore that there was no body to bury. In response to Craig’s application for a stay on the basis of abuse of process, the prosecution was discontinued. Craig went on to represent the family, pro bono, at the inquest into the death and secured an open conclusion that the cause of death was unascertained.
  • R v DD – defence of a juror, prosecuted for contempt of Court who contacted a convicted defendant and disclosed the content of jury deliberations. Craig appeared before the Lord Chief Justice, prosecuted by the Solicitor General. His client received a suspended sentence and on the basis of his submissions the LCJ directed a national review by HM Courts Service into the information routinely provided to jurors.

Public Access

Craig Hassall KC is qualified to accept Public Access work, where he can be instructed directly by a member of the public rather than a solicitor. 

Contact Craig’s clerks

Andrew Thornton on 0113 213 5202

Gina Hawkins on 0113 213 5205

Rebecca Wilson on 0113 213 5203

Hannah Dempsey on 0113 213 5211

Lucy Finney on 0113 213 5220



Craig Hassall KC is an employee of Craig Hassall Ltd

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