John Carl Townsend

year of call :




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John Carl provides advice and representation to clients in respect of financial misconduct and business disputes across the civil and criminal courts. His experience encompasses the representation of company directors and finance professionals in allegations of criminal and commercial fraud and he is well placed to deal with cases where there is the potential for dual criminal and civil liability (his experience in this area includes the cross-admissibility of material disclosed in compliance with CPR Part 31). 

In the civil courts John Carl appears on behalf of both Claimant and Defendant companies and individuals in a variety of commercial disputes including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unlawful means conspiracy and deceit. He has experience of cross-border enforcement and registration under the European Enforcement Order regime and the Brussels-Lugano Convention. He has represented companies that have been subject to goods seizures as a result of alleged duty evasion and has been instructed on behalf of companies and individuals in tax tribunal proceedings.

His practice in asset forfeiture and seizure includes international freezing orders in the civil courts and all proceedings connected to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (including Part 5 and Part 6). He has acted for clients in judicial review proceedings and at appellate level.

In addition to his financial practice he represents individuals accused of grave crimes, companies and individuals accused of regulatory breach and has acted on behalf of families in inquest proceedings. In recent years he has appeared in the CIVIG litigation, defended a former Director of KPMG against allegations of fraud and advised a major UK manufacturer in a contract dispute with a supplier.

Member of the Fraud Lawyers Association, ALBA, the Criminal Bar Association and POCLA.


Steven Acheson & Others - and - Sir Robert McAlpine & Others (2009-2016), High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (the CIVIG Litigation)
A £25-million-pound claim against Sir Robert McAlpine and a number of other construction companies for unlawful means conspiracy and breach of the Data Protection Act. Highly complex issues of law and fact with case management being subject to a Group Litigation Order and the overview of a Master and High Court Judge sitting in tandem. Led by Hugh Tomlinson Q.C.

Otkritie Investment Management & Others - and - RP & Others (2014 – present), High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, The Commercial Court
Involved in a number of matters relating to the central claim including, at present, junior alone in respect of an appeal against Eder J’s 2014 findings, junior alone in the contempt permission proceedings against a separate defendant and led junior in respect of the intended contempt trials.

National Crime Agency - and - A, High court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (2016)
Civil proceedings for non-payment of taxes against an alleged drugs importer. The claim has been brought by the NCA through the assumption of Inland Revenue functions pursuant to Part 6 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Led by Charles Bott Q.C.

B & Others - and - P, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (2016)
Junior alone on behalf of the Claimants in registration and enforcement of European Enforcement Orders obtained following successful proceedings in Poland.

J & Another, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (2016) Instructed by a Swiss law firm in relation to the High Court registration of an authentic Swiss instrument subject to Articles 57 and 38(2) of the Lugano Convention. 

A Set of Barristers Chambers Limited - and - Former Members, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (2015)
 The name of the management company of the former Chambers and the former tenants are not specified above in order to save embarrassment for the parties involved. Instructed as junior alone and successfully represented four former members of a set of chambers in a difficult and fraught dispute about fees that were said to be outstanding to the management company of their former set.

A Sportswear Manufacturer - and - Supplier (2015)
Representing a major UK sportswear manufacturer in respect of a contract dispute with a supplier that was based outside of the UK.

Cambr Limited and Others - and - ECA Limited (a Partnership in Dissolution) and Others, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (2014)
Junior alone for the defendant, the principal of a firm of chartered accountants, in an allegation of commercial fraud in the sum of US$7,130,399.92.

R (on the application of Agogo) - and - North Somerset Magistrates’ Court, High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, The Administrative Court, [2011] All ER (D) 252 (Feb) 
Judicial review of proceeds of crime enforcement proceedings connected to a £20m banking fraud. The enforcement decision was quashed as a breach of Art 6(3) ECHR.


R v Balk (2016) Representation of the fourth defendant in relation to allegations arising from an alleged US$175m fraud against a Russian Bank. (Led Junior).

R v Caussyram (2016) Representation of the second defendant who was a Director of home care provider Care First 24. Eight-week trial. in an allegation relating to fraudulent claims for workers whose leave to remain in the UK had expired or who were improperly working on a self-employed basis. The indictment also contained a count of money laundering relating to £2.5 million pounds of assets. Complex and paper heavy case involving the personal profiles of many hundreds of individual agents of the company (Junior alone)

R v Ndoli & Others (2016) Acted for the second of 7 defendants in a substantial fraud against HMRC, DWP and Eurostar that the Crown had valued at £14m. (Junior alone).

R v BC (2014) Acted for a former KPMG Director accused of fraud. Successfully acquitted after two trials. (Junior alone).

R v Ntege & Others (2014) Acted for the second defendant in substantial and heavily publicised trial relating to alleged sham marriages at the Church of St. Jude and St. Aiden’s. Paper heavy and complex. The proceedings were eventually halted as an abuse of process due to bad faith on the part of the UKBA and the serious misconduct of their investigating officers (Leading junior).

R v W (2015) Attempted murder of a prostitute in a stabbing attack in a block of flats. The case required the analysis of complex DNA evidence and the cross-examination of child witnesses and a vulnerable victim. (Junior alone).

R v A and Others, Central Criminal Court (2013) Successful cut-throat defence against Queen’s Counsel in the context of a murder trial. (Junior alone).

R v Pagan, St. Alban’s Crown Court (2012) Allegation of child destruction and s.18 wounding with intent. The defendant had entered a psychotic state having consumed the legal high 'AMT', which caused serious injury to his partner and the death of their unborn child. Issues of non-insane automatism and drug-induced psychosis. The defendant was eventually found to lack the necessary intent to be guilty of the offences (Junior alone).

R v Jawad, Guildford Crown Court (2012) Appeared for the first defendant in a complex, multi-handed, international conspiracy to ship high value, stolen prestige vehicles to the Middle East.  (Junior alone).

R v Cheliou and Others – Cross-border conspiracy to manufacture electronic devices for use in fraud and fraud by UK wide cash machine interference.