David Sleight


Criminal Litigation

"A consistent focus on client service combined with deep experience and down to earth manner. David Sleight personifies these qualities."

Legal 500 UK 2021

"He is second to none at avoiding prosecution, but if that’s not possible he has the most impressive ability to spot the points that will win. Bright and canny."

Legal 500 UK 2022

David has an extensive criminal litigation background. Regularly acting for individuals and companies in high profile cases, he specialises in providing advice at the crucial early stages of an investigation. This includes representing clients who are arrested and interviewed under caution, challenging the legality of search warrants and other investigatory powers and making pre-charge representations to the police and prosecuting authorities. Case highlights include representing the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica in the Facebook data breach scandal and other high profile matters (see notable cases below).

Astute and practical in his approach, David’s early involvement in the case can make the difference between being charged with an offence or not. Should matters progress to court he is meticulous in his preparation and has a high acquittal rate.

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

David acts for defendants, witnesses and victims in a broad range of criminal matters, including: serious assaults, sexual offences, internet and cyber crime, serious road traffic offences, theft, drugs offences, harassment and murder.

He has significant experience in representing well known individuals (including sports stars, celebrities and senior executives) who come into contact with the authorities. Whether the client is in the public eye already or wishes to avoid publicity at all costs, David understands the importance of reputation management and adopts a tenacious yet discreet approach, with a view to getting the best possible result for the client.

Financial Crime

David’s ‘white collar’ crime practice includes acting for companies and individuals accused of complex financial investigations involving fraud, overseas corruption and mutual legal assistance (MLA). He specialises in defending tax evasion/fraud allegations brought by HMRC and has developed a specialist expertise in advising in cross border tax litigation involving MLA requests between Member States.

David has experience in defending money laundering allegations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as well as the associated proceedings relating to restraint, forfeiture and confiscation.

He acts for individuals in investigations and prosecutions brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), The National Crime Agency (NCA), The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) – see list of notable cases below.

Notable Cases (in the public domain)

  • R v AN (2018) – Acting for the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica in relation to the Facebook Data Breach scandal including representing the client at his hearing before the DCMS Parliamentary Select Committee.
  • R v GM (2017) – Represented a Hedge Fund manager at Southwark Crown Court following allegations of controlling and coercive behaviour and assault against his wife.  The client was acquitted of all charges.
  • R v PN (2017) – Acted for a former CFO investigated for Data Protection Act offences in large scale operation by the ICO (Operation Spruce).   Following representations to the ICO no further action was taken.
  • R v Y (2015) – Ongoing representation of a Hedge Fund, following HMRC dawn raid.  Advising on the legality of searches and technical aspects of mutual legal assistance between member states.
  • R v X (2015) – Representing 4 accountants in an ongoing high profile investigation relating to allegations of tax evasion.
  • R v CB (2015) – Represented celebrity accused of sexual assault.  Defended the client at his police station interview.  No further action was taken.
  • R v BF (2015) – Represented a former British Airways Pilot in high profile case relating to historic sexual offences.
  • R v AL (2015) – Represented Premiership footballer accused of assault.  Defended the client at his police interview under caution and thereafter made successful representations to the police that no further action should be taken.
  • R v FB and GB (2014) – Acted for two Directors facing allegations of fraudulent trading against the Ministry of Defence. On 3 November 2014 at Southwark Crown Court, following seven years of litigation, not guilty verdicts were officially entered. The Prosecution decision not to proceed with this matter followed substantial representations made to the reviewing lawyer as to why the defendants should not be prosecuted.
  • R v AV (2014) – Acted for a solicitor accused of causing death by careless driving during her trial at Southwark Crown Court. The client was acquitted.
  • R v LR (2013) – Represented Premiership Footballer accused of rape allegations at his police interview and beyond. In January 2014 the case was formally dropped by the CPS with no further action being taken.
  • R v SW (2013) – Represented a Taxidermist accused of fraud and breaches of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Following significant disclosure and abuse of process arguments, the prosecution conceded that the client was unable to have a fair trial.
  • R v JC (2012) – Acted for a property developer in relation to corruption allegations between himself and the Government of the Turks & Caicos Islands. A civil recovery settlement was agreed with no criminal findings.
  • R v AS (2012) – Acted for Premiership Footballer following his arrest for dangerous driving. The client received a financial penalty and avoided a custodial sentence.
  • R v W (2011) – Acted for two directors of a multi-million pound scrap metal business, accused of conspiracy of handling stolen beer kegs. Following written representations to the CPS and abuse of process arguments the Prosecution dropped the case against both clients.
  • R v TT (2010) – Represented the father of England Footballer John Terry for supply of Class A drugs following a News of the World Sting.
  • R v RM (2010) – Acted for an individual in a wide scale Cartel/Competition Act investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into an automotive component supply company.
  • Baha Mousa Public Inquiry (2009) – Acted for a number of soldiers who were witnesses at this large scale Public Inquiry, which investigated the death in custody of Iraqi Hotel receptionist, Baha Mousa, following interrogation by British troops.
  • R v DJ (2008) – Represented an interpreter in the British Army in relation to misconduct in a public office and Official Secrets Act charges.


What clients and directories have said

He is really good with clients, very knowledgeable, user-friendly and approachable. He is very good at handling complex matters, very capable and intelligent."

Chambers and Partners, 2022

He is hard-working and diligent, with an excellent knowledge of the law."

Chambers and Partners, 2022

David Sleight – sharp, astute and caring. David is reassuring and has a fantastic manner with clients, and his talent for straightforward but effective negotiation provides exceptional results time after time.”

Legal 500 2022

He is second to none at avoiding prosecution, but if that’s not possible he has the most impressive ability to spot the points that will win. Bright and canny.”

Legal 500 2022

An excellent lawyer who is at the top of his game."

Chambers UK 2021

He is a talented lawyer that can handle a wide range of different cases."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2021

He's really good with clients and very knowledgeable. He's a user-friendly and approachable lawyer. He's an impressive strategist."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2021

His client care is exceptional, he is absolutely devoted to his clients and his work and it shows."

Chambers UK 2021

David Sleight pores over every detail, which is exactly what you want in a solicitor. He's hugely reassuring - you just feel better when he is in the room. He is empathetic even with the most difficult and demanding of clients."

Legal 500 UK 2021

He throws his heart and soul into cases and his advice is spot on."

Chambers UK 2021

He is very clear and very straight to the point about things. His client care is exceptional and really impressive."

Chambers UK 2021

David Sleight has established himself as a force to be reckoned with."

Legal 500 UK 2020

A tactically astute and hardworking criminal defence practitioner who commits completely to his clients"

Chambers UK 2020 - A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

..is relentless in his pursuit of his client's case."

Legal 500 UK 2020

David has a confidence-inspiring style in which he clearly demonstrates his considerable knowledge and experience of criminal law but also possesses the rare ability to transfer this confidence to the client."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

Criminal expert David Sleight (is) also active in sports litigation."

Legal 500 UK


Legal 500 UK 2019

Extremely calm, tactically astute and ferocious in his support of clients."

Chambers and Partners 2018

Distinguished Individual."

Spear's, 2018    

"He is wonderful with clients, knowledgeable on the law and a very calming influence. He will immediately put everyone involved in the case at ease."

Chambers and Partners 2017

"...esteemed for his intellectual capacity and ability in both serious sexual offence and motor crime cases..."

Chambers and Partners, 2016                     

 "...He is very relaxed in his manner but his approach to work is incredibly diligent and hard-working. He has superb judgement and a great manner with clients..."      

Chambers and Partners, 2016    

Thank you for all your help during the interview, it was such a stressful day, and although not something that I enjoyed, so great to have you advising me.” 


My son and I were arrested in March 2010 and charged with fraud to the value of £2.1 million in June 2011. It is difficult to express the trauma that we and our families endured over four years until the case against us was dismissed..…. If I had not met David and we had remained with the previous solicitors I believe that we could be serving a prison sentence now as a result of the sheer amount of mud thrown and the unfairness of the investigation. I cannot speak highly enough of David and his team. He undertook the task of defending us with the disadvantage of being at least two years behind the prosecution. The team worked tirelessly to understand and manage the heavy, complex prosecution case against a background of procrastination and a lack of openness by the police.”


From every aspect of the litigation together with all the practical things…..You will never know how much you have helped us get through this period in our lives, but from the bottom of both our hearts thank you.”



Professional societies and memberships


Publications, Press Highlights & Speaking Engagements


Related Services

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

From police station representation and advice to restraint and confiscation proceedings, we are proactive in achieving the best outcomes.

White Collar and Financial Crime

Our experienced lawyers provide strategic and pragmatic advice in complex business crime cases and situations.

Tax Investigations

A tax investigation by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) could have serious implications for you and your business.

Sexual Offences

We deal with the highest profile and most sensitive cases, providing expert advice and support to both individuals and companies.


Kingsley Napley has a long history of representing high profile individuals, teams and regulators within the sports industry.

Sports, Media and High Profile Personalities

For over 75 years, our lawyers have discreetly advised public figures in some of the highest profile cases of the last century. Our lawyers understand the pressures of being in the public eye and seek to shield our clients from the often intrusive media glare.

Police Station Representation and Advice

Our team includes specialist police station advisers. We are proactive in achieving the best outcomes for our clients.

Dawn Raids, Search and Seizure

When subject to a “Dawn Raid”, search and seizure operation and search order you require timely advice. Our specialist lawyers can provide the assistance you require.

Money Laundering

The UK’s anti-money laundering (AML) regime is amongst the most stringent. We represent both individuals and organisations in AML matters.

Mutual Legal Assistance

Robustly defending requests from foreign jurisdictions is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in the field.

Defending an Allegation

Someone has made an allegation against you. What is the first thing you do?

Dubai & UAE Services

Support for British expats based in Dubai and the UAE. Services include family law, immigration advice, wills and succession planning.

Dealing with a Data Breach

Our specialist data breach solicitors can assist you from the moment that a breach is first identified to the conclusion of the legal processes which may follow.

Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering

Recent years have seen considerable growth in this practice area, following the introduction of new measures designed to tackle illicit finance and the increased attention of enforcement agencies.

Account Freezing and Forfeiture Orders, and Cash Seizure

Tackling illicit finance and the proceeds of crime is a government priority and law enforcement focus.

AML Compliance

Ensuring that the UK financial system is an increasingly hostile environment for illicit finances is a key government priority.

Restraint Orders, Confiscation and Third Party Rights

We advise individuals and corporates in relation to restraint orders and third party applications in respect of property caught by restraint orders.

Unexplained Wealth Orders

UWOs are used by law enforcement agencies to require an individual to prove that a particular asset was obtained through legitimate means.

Extending Moratorium Periods

Another feature of the Proceeds of Crime Act that can have the unwelcome effect of freezing property is the 'moratorium period'

Legal Services for Accountants

Our specialist team of solicitors provides a wide range of advice and training to accountants and accounting firms on legal and regulatory issues.

Political Affairs

Our international work includes dealing with the suite of issues that may arise from politically motivated persecutions.

Responding to a Data Leak

Our Specialist Data Leak Response Team are able to advise on mitigating any potential consequences for you or your business.

Tax Law

Insight from David

View all


Civil or criminal proceedings for serious fraud?

Three years on and still no prosecutions for HMRC’s Corporate Criminal Offence

Tax advisers beware - avoidance is the new evasion

IDAHOBIT Day 2020: I am an Ally

The Corporate Offence of Failure to Prevent the Facilitation of Tax Evasion: Two years on

Common ‘good character’ issues when applying to naturalise as a British citizen

Coming soon: the Domestic Abuse Bill

Changes to the Code for Crown Prosecutors

New guidance for prosecutors will make the slow grind of our legal system worse

HMRC takes on off-shore tax evasion

Will the new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion and enhanced international tax transparency change the landscape for tax investigations?

Failure to prevent tax evasion? Responsibility shifted from HMRC onto companies

Corporate Crime Q&A: The new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion

50 years on from the Sexual Offences Act 1967

Bahamas succumbs to OECD pressure to implement the Common Reporting Standards

United Arab Emirates - the latest "tax haven" to sign up to enhanced tax transparency

HMRC continue to clampdown on aggressive tax avoidance schemes

New measures to support victims of sex crime should not be rushed into

Budget 2017 – 35 “New” ways to tackle tax avoidance and evasion

Beckham’s HMRC “Red Card” is a sign of the times

Violence Against Women and Girls (‘VAWG’) – Is the CPS Strategy Working?

What the Autumn Statement means for tax evasion and avoidance

Tackling Tax Evasion – Finance Act 2016 establishes new criminal offences

Criminal Finance Bill: legislative action to back up political commitments

Tackling Tax Evasion – Finance Bill establishes new criminal offence

What the Budget means for tax avoidance

"Relentless in pursuit of tax evasion and avoidance”: HMRC sets out plan to 2020

Public Account Committee hauls Google and HMRC over the coals

MPs question HMRC’s response to tax evasion, the hidden economy and criminal attacks

Global Business Risks: Davos debates Cybercrime

Sexual offences on the increase whilst police budgets shrink

HMRC proposals for tackling off-shore tax evasion seriously flawed

CPS and police struggle under the load of sex abuse investigations

Metropolitan Police steps up investigations into historic abuse cases

Cecil's tragic death demands action - but mistakes can be devastating

No place to hide: HMRC shines a light on tax havens

Close Load more

Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility