Karim Khalil QC


Karim Khalil appears in many of the most serious and high profile cases across the UK. He also advises and represents people in cases involving issues of foreign jurisdiction and/or cross border matters. He is equally happy to work with hard copy or digital materials and has a formidable reputation for working quickly and effectively. He took Silk in 2003 prior to prosecuting the Soham Murders, having been called to the Bar in 1984 and becoming one of the youngest Assistant Recorders/Recorders.

His advice and advocacy is sought across diverse fields including murder, gross negligence manslaughter, 'baby-shaking’, serious fraud (including Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise and MTIC), Health & Safety, drug trafficking and sexual offences. Karim has a special interest in cases involving forensic experts across a wide spectrum.

Karim has represented those seeking to avoid extradition when accused or convicted of multiple homicides in foreign jurisdictions.

He advises those considering private prosecutions and is a qualified Mediator and mediation advocate.

His close association with Cambridge University enables him to draw on significant expertise and has contributed to making him one of the Directory ranked leading Silks in the cross-examination of experts in may fields. He wrote the chapter on Confiscation Law for Lexis Nexis and has been asked to contribute to a new journal on palynology (plant based forensics).

Karim successfully resisted criminal proceedings against one of the government scientists in the Porton Down investigation.

He has been involved in many trials involving Police informants. He has represented prisoners before the Discretionary Lifer Panel and regularly represents appellants in the Court of Appeal, often superseding trial Counsel.

Karim has long championed the increased use of digitally presented evidence and was the keynote speaker at the inaugural conference for SIOs across the country, working closely with Acume. He was invited to become a member of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences following his keynote speech on the “The science of the Soham murders”.

Since their launch, Karim has consistently been placed among the top ranked list of Silks in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners Directories.

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Notable cases

Company Fraud:

Advised northern football club in relation to their dispute with the relevant football authority re the suitability of their ground and their administrative demotion in relation to allegations of financial impropriety.

Hannan -v-DTI

Defence – Company Directors Disqualification Act


Sadushi –v- Govt of Albania

VAT Tribunal

Bliss Trading –v-HMRC

Health & Safety:

HSE-v-Pepper & others

Health and Safety Defence – advice and mitigation resulted in the penalty restricted to Magistrates’ Court level fine despite death of employee

HSE -v- Kings College, Cambridge University

Defence – asbestos

• Safety & Health Practitioner

House of Lords:


Successful appellant in House of Lords – Judge wrongly directing conviction – with Andrew Shaw

• Link to Judgement

Court of Appeal:


Appellant’s request to represent him in relation to a campaign of harassment, including firebombing of a home: described in some newspapers as one of the most dangerous men in the UK – with Gregory Perrins


R v Woolcott & Ors

Leading Annie Johnston, successful defence of £7million carbon credit fraud. See news item here and press reports below:

  1.  BBC
  2.  Independent
  3. The Guardian
  4. Evening Standard

R v X

Instructed to advise at initial stage of infanticide on medico-legal experts - ongoing

R v F & Ors

Successful defence of teenage defendant charged, along with three others, of murder.


R v Hajji & Ors

Successful defence of Dutch national accused of drug-related ‘execution’.

• Luton ExpressMK web

R v Stretch, Dennehy, Layton & Moore

High profile case acting for murderer’s accomplice. Led Charles Myatt.

• BBCGuardianDaily Mail

R v Crompton

Successful defence to murder of wife with hammer blows to head on the basis of ‘loss of control’ – the partial defence replacement to provocation.

• BBC,Daily Mail,BBC,BBC,BBC,Norwich Evening News 24

R v Roberts

Successfully defended the ‘frontman’ for a series of frauds and related money laundering allegations over 6 years upon UK and foreign individuals and companies totalling over $40m.

R v PAGE & Others

Led Andrew Shaw in securing the only acquittal of a defendant in the “Christmas Day” murder.

R v Jewell

Defence to Murder by strangulation: Jury accepted lack of intent due to the defendant’s severe alcoholism.

• BBCNorthampton ChronicleBBC


R v Billingham

Successful prosecution, gaining national press coverage, of father murdering eight year old daughter. See press reports for detail:

  1. BBC
  2. Sky News
  3. The Guardian
  4. The Independent
  5. Express
  6. Mirror

R v Huntley & Carr

Prosecution – Soham murders. Download trial article

R v Taylor (leading Christopher Morgan)

Successfully prosecuted and resisted the appeal in a series of historical rapes culminating in a murder between 1974-1979. Largest case investigated by Cambridgeshire constabulary since the Soham murders.

R v Warden & others

Prosecution – largest drug conspiracy in Cambridgeshire exposed by international covert Police activity)

R v Line

Prosecution on behalf of CPS Complex Crime Unit in a high profile shotgun ‘execution’ of two members of the travelling community. Led Greg Perrins.


R v Pun

Prosecution and significant POCA of a family and their accomplices of running restaurants staffed by illegal immigrants and retail outlets selling counterfeit goods.

• Evening Star

Regina v Chandler, Clarke & Stewart

Prosecution – torture and murder of teenager in scenes copied from a horror film in a high-profile case described by Norfolk Police as ‘the worst case that Norfolk police have had to deal with’ – leading Christopher Morgan


Directory recommendations

Chambers & Partners and Legal500 have given Karim Khalil QC their highest accolade – a ‘rated individual’ recommendation each year. See below for this and previous years comments:


Chambers & Partners 2019 directory states: "He is meticulous, thoughtful, a superb strategist and a spell-binding advocate".
Legal 500 recommends Karim, stating "A spellbinding advocate".


He is considered by his peers to be one of the leading figures in his practice area. He has significant experience of taking on some of the highest-profile, most sensitive and high-value cases. He has particular expertise in cases concerning fraud and murder.
"He's extremely charming".  "He's absolutely fantastic".


"Standout criminal silk with established practices in London and the South East. He has a varied practice, prosecuting and defending major cases of actual and attempted murder, firearms possession and sexual offences". "He is phenomenal". "A supreme lawyer".


"A commanding Criminal advocate on the South Eastern Circuit. He has extensive experience of handling severe criminal matters, such as mass homicide, corporate manslaughter and possession of firearms cases." Client feedback states: "He is extremely amazing - judge material. He is probably the best criminal silk on circuit." 


“Has a presence and authority enhanced by his time sitting as a recorder at the Old Bailey. His highly respected practice encompasses the full range of serious criminal offences, including fraud and murder.” Legal 500 also recommend Karim, stating "He is particularly experienced in cross-examining a wide range of scientific experts."


"Highly recommended for his superb handling of serious criminal cases. His caseload encompasses a wide range of work, from homicides to complex frauds. Clients state that "...he certainly has that skill on his feet - he's able to hold the court's attention perfectly."


Chambers & Partners 2013 directory states: Is singled out for his “persuasive court manner” which he deploys to great effect in a range of serious criminal trials. Work highlights include acting for the defence in R v Page, a murder case involving complex forensics issues. Legal500 also recommend him, stating in their 2012 directory: “handles large-scale VAT and tax fraud cases”


Chambers & Partners 2012 directory states: Karim Khalil QC is now joint head of the set. Sources speak highly of his service ethic: "His attention to detail and preparation are second to none." High-profile work is a given, as illustrated by his appearance for the defence in the murder trial of R v Tucker.


Chambers & Partners 2011 directory states: “is a barrister who regularly appears in some of the nation's most publicised cases. He recently prosecuted in the high-profile R v Chandler, Clarke & Stewart, a case concerning a teenager who was tortured and murdered in scenes copied from a horror film” Legal500 have also recognised Karim's ability by recommending him, stating in their 2011 directory “At 1 Paper Buildings, Karim Khalil QC is recognised as a ‘dominant’ practitioner on circuit and has a leading heavyweight practice”


Chambers & Partners 2010 directory states: “He’s everything you could want in a silk” say interviewees, who are particularly impressed with his “ability to relate to clients and speak to them in a way they understand without making them feel small.” “One source reported having to sit on their hands to keep from applauding his awesome courtroom presence and outstanding advocacy skills.”

Associations and memberships


  • Bencher of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn (2013)
  • Recorder of the Central Criminal Court 2013
  • Queen’s Counsel 2003
  • Recorder 2000
  • Called to the Bar 1984
  • MA Hons (Law) – Queens’ College, Cambridge

Professional Associations

  • South Eastern Circuit Committee
  • Joint Advocates Selection Committee (S.E Circuit)
  • Cambridge & Peterborough Bar Mess (Chair) & Norfolk Bar Mess
  • British Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • Judging panel of the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire’s Award for Forensic Excellence


  • Fraud: Law Practice and Procedure – contributor (click here to view)
  • South Eastern Circuit response to the Legal Services Board – Fee sharing in Criminal Cases (click here to view)
  • Karim Khalil and Angela Rafferty prepared the submissions of the South Eastern Circuit for the Law Commission Consultation Paper No 173 on “Partial Defences to Murder”.
  • Response of the South Eastern Circuit to the BSB review of Continuing Professional Development