Gavin Irwin

Gavin Irwin

"He has a lovely jury manner." "He is refreshingly approachable and understands the need to be pragmatic. He appreciates the commercial reality of cases and is very responsive and flexible." "He is very organised and someone you definitely want on your side."

Chambers UK 2022
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:

  • on the impact of the money laundering regulations – recent instructions relate to: estate agents; intellectual property portfolios; and, those wishing to establish interests in lawful cannabis businesses
  • on breaches of financial sanctions and breaches of the export licensing regime – recent instructions relate 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 also undertakes restraint and asset freezing 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

In the recent past, Gavin has:

  • represented a company director in £5million VAT evasion
  • represented a globally recognised principal researcher in space technology for alleged involvement in a fraud on an academic institution
  • advised on criminal and professional conduct issues in a high profile property dispute in the High Court
  • advised an individual in relation to an SFO investigation into alleged corruption between UK companies and Indonesian state actors
  • represented a company in the first proceedings brought by the Pensions Regulator for failure to implement the Workplace Pension
  • advised a company director in relation to proceedings brought by the Information Commissioners Office for offences under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (obtaining and disseminating personal information)
  • represented the principal defendant in complex fraud proceedings arising from breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  (And, separately, advised a number of web-based businesses on compliance matters arising under the 2008 Regulations re: ‘copycat websites’)
  • 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
  • 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

R v SS

Gavin, advised a former director of Quindell PLC (now Watchstone PLC) in relation to an SFO investigation into the business and accounting practices at the company.

The investigation arose following the acquisition of the company’s Professional Services Division by the personal injury law firm, Slater & Gordon for a reported £637 million. The purchase was later described by the Law Society Gazette as one of the most “contentious acquisition deals in legal history … the most expensive ever by a business in the legal sector of England and Wales”. It led to civil proceedings against Watchstone by Slater & Gordon (ultimately settled) and an FRC fine and reprimand for KPMG as auditor of Quindell during the relevant period.

Gavin advised the former director throughout an extensive and protracted investigation by the SFO, which finally announced that no criminal charges would be brought.

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