Karim Khalil KC


Chambers & Partners 2020: "An impeccably polished and very smooth advocate. He gets every point right". Legal 500: "Particularly recommended for gross negligence manslaughter cases".

Karim Khalil appears in serious and high profile cases across the UK and advises in cases involving foreign jurisdiction and/or cross border issues. He took Silk in 2003 having been called to the Bar in 1984 and becoming one of the youngest Recorders. Karim’s casework includes murder, gross negligence manslaughter, 'baby-shaking’, serious fraud (including Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise and MTIC), Health & Safety, drug trafficking and sexual offences.

Karim became a member of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences following his keynote speech on the “The science of the Soham murders” and is one of the Directory ranked leading Silks in the cross-examination of experts in many fields. Karim has represented those facing extradition when accused or convicted of multiple homicides in foreign jurisdictions.

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 resisted criminal proceedings against one of the government scientists in the Porton Down nerve gas investigation. He has represented prisoners before the Discretionary Lifer Panel and has a successful appellate practice, often replacing original trial Counsel. He is a qualified Mediator and mediation advocate.

Karim is consistently among the top ranked list of Silks in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners Directories.

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Notable cases


Jan-v-Regina - 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



R v Woolcott & Ors - Defence of £7million carbon credit and diamond fraud. Leading Annie Johnston.

  1. BBC
  2. Independent
  3. The Guardian

R v Roberts - Successful defence of the alleged ‘frontman’ for a series of frauds and related money laundering activities over 6 years upon UK and foreign individuals and companies totalling over $40m.

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

Hannan -v-DTI - Defence – Company Directors Disqualification Act


R v Huntley & Carr (Soham murders) – successful prosecution for murder and assisting an offender

R v Hill (Shoreham Aircrash) - Successful defence of pilot accused of gross negligence manslaughter of 11 members of the public – exposed serious failings in the original investigation conducted by the AAIB together with shortcomings in the medical data base and knowledge relating to cognitive impairment in pilots. Leading Stephen Spence.

R v  Innes (Cheekie Rafiki) - Successful defence of yacht manager accused of gross negligence manslaughter of 4 crewmen – exposed serious failings in the regulation of the yachting industry and its failure to give statutory force to important regulatory clauses

R v Taylor - Advised on and convicted D following a “cold-case review” of a series of historical rapes against several women, culminating in a murder between 1974-1979. Largest case investigated by Cambridgeshire constabulary since the Soham murders.

R v Stretch -  Dennehy, Layton & Moore - Defence of duress of murderer’s accomplice who buried the bodies of her victims; involved psychiatric conclusion that the murderer was a psychopath.

R v Crompton - One of the first successful defences of “loss of control” (the partial defence replacement to provocation) to murder of wife with hammer blows to head

R v Billingham - Prosecution of father murdering eight year old daughter and attacking wife – elements of narcissism and psychological control

  1. BBC
  2. Sky News
  3. The Guardian
  4. The Independent

Regina v Chandler, Clarke & Stewart - Torture and murder of teenager in scenes copied from a horror film: described by Norfolk Police as ‘the worst case that Norfolk police have had to deal with’.


R v X - Successful representation of a young mother accused of the murder of her baby


R v Warden & others - Prosecution of the largest drug conspiracy in Cambridgeshire exposed by international covert Police activity)


Sadushi - v - Govt of Albania - VAT TRIBUNAL

Bliss Trading - v - HMRC


HSE v Pepper & others - Advice and mitigation resulted in the penalty restricted to Magistrates’ Court level fine despite death of employee

HSE v  Kings College, Cambridge University - Advised re Issues of asbestosis – kept matter in Magistrates’ Court despite multiple breaches


R v Wang - Successful appellant in House of Lords – Judge wrongly directing conviction – with Andrew Shaw

• Link to Judgement

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 2020 directory states: "An impeccably polished and very smooth advocate. He gets every point right ".
Legal 500 recommends Karim, stating "Particularly recommended for gross negligence manslaughter cases".


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