Gavin Irwin

Gavin Irwin

"A criminal barrister with the finesse and smoothness to switch very easily to the corporate or commercial context...a skilled negotiator...he understands a case from the technical, commercial and human angles"

Chambers UK 2018
Year of call: 1996
For enquiries please call: 020 7353 5324 or email vcard cv linkedin save

Business Crime & Financial Services

Gavin advises corporates, as external counsel, in investigations relating to:

  • the impact of the money laundering regulations (particularly, recently, in the context of high value dealers and intellectual property portfolios)
  • breaches of financial sanctions and breaches of the export licensing regime (particularly, recently, in relation to: dual-use goods and services in the manufacturing sector where end-user concerns and WMD proliferation risks have been identified; and, the sale of cryptographic software to designated jurisdictions

Gavin has:

  • designed and delivered training seminars on the Bribery Act 2010 and Anti-Money Laundering systems, for: senior editorial staff and lawyers at the Guardian News and Media Group; the corporate clients of Shepherd Wedderburn; and, Shearman Sterling LLP. He advises on ABC health-checks for at-risk companies in exposed industry sectors and geographical locations and has advised intellectual property law firms and regulators on AML concerns
  • advised in a dispute involving two sets of Russian interests in a mobile telephone company. The case involved LCIA arbitration, proceedings in the Commercial Court, the BVI, Isle of Man, Kyrgyzstan and the Seychelles
  • regularly been instructed by the prosecution to conduct confiscation proceedings where he did not appear as trial counsel. Likewise, he is often instructed by the defence in similar circumstances and at appellate level. He offers PoC advice to companies and directors in the context of fraud, money laundering, export licensing and other business risk enquiries

Gavin appeared in the Family Division for a BVI company whose assets were frozen pursuant to ancillary relief proceedings after a ‘big-money’ divorce. Since then, he has assisted a number of litigants in matrimonial finance proceedings

Gavin also undertakes restraint and confiscation work.  He acted for Raymond May in the seminal House of Lords case on the definition of ‘obtaining’ benefit. He has a wealth of experience in applying for injunctions on behalf of prosecuting authorities and in resisting them on behalf of individuals and other legal entities. Gavin advises and represents individuals in enforcement proceedings and has recently assisted the proprietor of the London Fields Brewery in proceedings before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court

Recent Cases:

R v H – defence
Gavin acts as leading counsel for the defence in ongoing appellate and confiscation proceedings arising from breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – one of the most sophisticated and complex of the ‘copycat website’ prosecutions launched by National Trading Standards

R v A&B Ltd – defence
Prosecution of a company for offences under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 for obtaining and disseminating personal information

R v M – defence
Prosecution for an alleged £10m money laundering scheme relating to duty evaded on wholesale alcohol shipments within the European Union

R v L – defence
Prosecution of a globally recognised researcher in space technology for alleged involvement in a fraud on an academic institution

R v R – defence
Confiscation proceedings arising from the defendant’s conviction for what the SFO have dubbed “the largest boiler room fraud ever pursued by a UK authority”, valued at £70 million

R v B – defence 
The defendant was alleged to have ignored the advice of the Security Service and the Export Control Organisation, within BIS, to send to Iran a chemical that may be involved in the manufacture of a suitcase ‘dirty’ bomb. After a retrial, the prosecution offered no evidence

R v SAS Fire & Security Ltd – prosecution
Gavin acted as leading counsel for the prosecution in the most significant proceedings ever brought under the CPUT Regs. Charged as a nationwide conspiracy to defraud, involving multiple contraventions of the CPUTRs, allegations centred upon cold-calling the elderly and vulnerable and offering them ‘free’ alarm, fire and security systems. Victims were visited in their homes where they were subjected to hard sales techniques in an attempt to sign them up to lengthy monitoring contracts at punitive costs

R v B – defence
Customs and Excise officer working in Pakistan, charged with misfeasance in public office and the deliberate misuse of the Hawallah banking system. The defendant had diplomatic status and unlawfully imported £1m worth of heroin into the UK. The prohibition on the disclosure of official secrets was waived for the purpose of the trial. The disclosure exercise was complicated by the fact that it was necessary to review the entirety of the defendant’s 4-year diplomatic tenure

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