Nicola Finnerty


Criminal Litigation | White Collar and Financial Crime | Financial Services

"…a force to be reckoned with, she's a fighter and a thinker who relishes new law and the toughest of challenges."

Legal 500 UK, 2020

"her remarkable drive and innovative thinking have cemented her reputation as an opponent to be admired and feared."

Legal 500 UK, 2022

"We were impressed with Nicola’s thoroughness and strategy and the way she was able to keep the client on board through a very difficult process."

Legal 500 UK, 2022

"Nicola Finnerty is an exceptionally able lawyer with a great breadth of experience across crime and regulatory. Spiky and determined. A pleasure to work with."

Legal 500 UK, 2022

Nicola is a leading criminal defence expert in white collar and business crime, general criminal defence, and proceeds of crime and asset forfeiture.

White collar crime, business crime, fraud and investigations

  • Over the last 25 years she has been involved in many of the most high-profile, complex criminal and regulatory investigations and prosecutions, both in the UK and in matters which span jurisdictions.
  • She represents high net worth individuals, multi-national corporate clients, financial institutions and professional firms in investigations and proceedings brought by all the UK enforcement agencies including the SFO, FCA, CMA, HMRC, NCA,  Food Standards Agency, the Environment Agency, the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and other prosecuting bodies.
  • She also advises on matters relating to extradition and mutual legal assistance.
  • Her expertise includes dealing with cartels, bribery and corruption, insider dealing, money laundering, fraud and director’s disqualification.
  • She routinely advises on cross border and domestic investigations across a wide range of industry sectors including financial services, construction, property, telecommunications and mining.
  • She conducts and advises in internal investigations and is regularly appointed as an independent legal advisor.
  • She is ranked as a Leading Individual in the Legal 500, the International Who’s Who of Business Crime Defence Lawyers.
  • She is a well-respected contributor to legal publications and is often quoted in the press on legal issues of the day.

Criminal defence and police investigations

  • Nicola has a wider criminal defence experience, including rape and other sexual offence cases, drugs, violence, misconduct in a public office, blackmail, harassment and electoral offences.
  • Her vast experience of representing suspects during the investigatory stage or while held in police custody and during police interview is often regarded as being key to securing a favourable client outcome.
  • She has acted for many high profile individuals who have needed advice on criminal matters which potentially impact on their reputation and freedom to enjoy international travel.
  • She sits as a Magistrate in London.

Proceeds of Crime and Asset Forfeiture

  • Nicola advises on all aspects of money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).
  • She is regularly consulted by individuals and institutions in the regulated sector in respect of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017.
  • She deals with all aspect of asset forfeiture, asset freezing and related proceedings.
  • She is currently advising several investors (both individual and institutional) in respect of POCA and the legalisation of cannabis in Canada and various Universities as to money laundering protocols.
  • She was part of a small group of practitioners who took part in the recent review by the Law Commission of the Confiscation regime.


  • Previously, she was a partner at Corker Binning for over 13 years (2000-2014) having started her career at Peters & Peters (1992-2000).
  • In 2014 she was appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice to the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Pentonville and by the Lord Chancellor as a London Magistrate.

what clients and directories have said

She is very talented, and is passionately committed to her clients."

Chambers and Partners 2022

one of the great lawyers of her generation"

Legal 500 UK

outstanding ability to guide clients through extremely stressful processes of investigation and prosecution... praised for her ability to manage large-scale complex litigation."

Chambers and Partners

…a fierce defender who’s utterly client-focused"

Chambers and Partners

Nicola Finnerty is “Well established” and noted for being able to quickly pick up a case and “achieve results” without getting intimidated.”

Chambers and Partners

Sources admire Nicola Finnerty for her “excellent client management skills,” “great understanding of the issues and ability to identify weak spots in the prosecution’s case.”

Chambers and Partners

Nicola Finnerty is applauded for the strong rapport that she builds with clients. Sources are impressed by her commitment, noting “her efforts to secure the right result were exceptional.”

Chambers and Partners

Nicola Finnerty garnered votes for her “sound commercial judgement “ and “client friendly manner”.

Who’s who legal, Business Crime Defence Lawyers

Nicola Finnerty is strongly acclaimed for her “fabulous tactical sense, and extremely good client skills.” She advised a high-profile peer in relation to the fallout from the UK parliamentary expenses investigation, and is also involved in major SFO prosecutions.”

Chambers and Partners

Nicola Finnerty’s “work rate is phenomenal” and she is “unflappable”.

Legal 500

…(Nicola) has arrived in a major way: the quality of her work is superb and she is very bright, with exceptional people and organisational skills.”

Chambers and Partners

…a practitioner with a wealth of experience; who leaves no stone unturned; her preparation and understanding is impeccable.”

Chambers and Partners

…excellent client management skills, great understanding of the issues and ability to identify weak spots in the prosecution’s case.”

Chambers and Partners

…immensely experienced” and “excellent.”

Legal 500

…applauded for the strong rapport that she builds with clients... her efforts to secure the right result were exceptional.”

Chambers and Partners

…Terrific with the most demanding of clients, incisive and tactically very astute”

Legal 500

…admired for her strong commitment to her client’ s best interest.”

Chambers and Partners




  • currently advising a number of individuals in relation to investigations into alleged Competition Act 1998 infringements by the CMA and the FCA;
  • presently instructed in a number of insider dealing cases being investigated by the FCA. She has acted in several FCA prosecutions for insider dealing (including Operation Tabernula – the FCA’s largest insider dealing case to date);
  • represented individuals in relation to criminal cartel investigations by the CMA (and OFT) in various sectors;
  • advised a high profile businessman in respect of an investigation by the NCA into alleged donor offences relating to the EU referendum – the investigation was discontinued following successful representations;
  • advising an individual in respect of the high profile collapse of Russell Hulme;
  • advising a corporate on a high profile investigation by the Environment Agency;
  • acted for 2 people investigated by the GLAA in respect of allegations of modern day slavery. Following extensive representations the case was discontinued;
  • acted in the first case prosecuted by the SFO under the Bribery Act 2010;
  • advised a participant in the Leveson Inquiry;
  • advised a number of suspects in Operations Weeting and Elveden (the police investigation into journalists for hacking and corruption);
  • acted for a director of Madoff Securities International Ltd;
  • acted for various clients in SFO investigations/prosecutions including R v Achilleas Kallakis, the high profile SFO prosecution in respect of Allied Irish Bank and HBOS;
  • acted for a peer in the parliamentary expenses scandal;
  • advised in relation to the LIBOR investigation in the UK and US;
  • acted for professionals accused of fraud for criminal wrongdoing including a barrister cleared of VAT fraud and a London solicitor acquitted of a multi-million pound mortgage fraud;
  • acted for a defendant acquitted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs;
  • acted for Anne Darwin, in the 'missing canoeist' insurance fraud case.




She is smart, experienced and approachable."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2021

She is a very capable lawyer. She has great knowledge."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2021

Nicola Finnerty is a great addition to the team and has brought a huge back catalogue of high-profile experience."

Legal 500 UK 2021

Excellent client management skills, great understanding of the issues and ability to identify weak spots in the prosecution’s case.”

Chambers UK

Immensely experienced” and “excellent.”

Legal 500

Applauded for the strong rapport that she builds with clients... her efforts to secure the right result were exceptional.”

Chambers UK

Terrific with the most demanding of clients, incisive and tactically very astute.”

Legal 500

…admired for her strong commitment to her client’ s best interest.”

Chambers UK

Related Services

Bribery and Corruption

We have a long track record of defending corruption investigations for individuals. Our expert lawyers can also advise on internal investigations.

White Collar and Financial Crime

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

Corporate Crime

Corporate crime is under the spotlight more now than ever before with an increasing appetite for corporate prosecutions.

Serious Fraud

Defending complex white collar cases successfully is what we are known for. The firm has the largest team of specialist criminal lawyers in the UK.

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

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

Internal Investigations

Corporate clients require sophisticated and sensitive advice when they encounter internal crises which have the potential to escalate.


When an individual or company is faced with a criminal or regulatory investigation we manage every step of the process.

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.

Police Station Representation and Advice

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


When fraud occurs the first steps are critical. Our unparalleled expertise will show you how to act.

Cartels, Competition, Price Fixing and Anti-trust

Our top ranked cartels team is extremely well placed to provide advice to individuals and companies who are caught up in cartel activity.

Directors and Officers

In the current economic climate, directors and officers are under more scrutiny than ever before in their duties to companies, shareholders and employees.

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'

Insider Dealing

We have extensive experience in representing individuals who have become embroiled in insider dealing investigations.

Financial Services Investigations

We provide intelligent and tactical representation to those involved in an investigation by defending accusations and mitigating risks.

FCA Investigations

Our team of expert lawyers has an impressive track record of successfully defending both individuals and institutions facing regulatory misconduct, disciplinary breach and criminal investigations conducted by the FCA.

Political Affairs

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

Art and Creative Media

Providing holistic legal advice for the particular needs of the art and creative media world.

Insight from Nicola

View all


"How to prevent Monet Laundering" - Nicola Finnerty features in The Times

FCA launches criminal proceedings against NatWest for failure to comply with AML rules - Nicola Finnerty quoted in GIR

Criminal gangs steal £2bn through furlough fraud - Nicola Finnerty quoted in City AM

Is the grass always greener? The legalities of investing in cannabis for UK Investors - Nicola Finnerty writes for Investment Week

City may face flurry of litigation after ‘FinCEN’ dirty money revelations - Nicola Finnerty quoted in The Times

Clothing fibres can transfer without contact, study finds, posing issues for future criminal investigations - Nicola Finnerty quoted in The Telegraph

Fraudulent UK packaging waste exports leads to dumping - Nicola Finnerty quoted in Materials Recycling World

Serious Fraud Office under fire over big investigation failures and lack of convictions - Nicola Finnerty quoted in The Times

Crime agency gets record reports of suspicious financial activity - Nicola Finnerty quoted in Financial Times

Financial crime: Tax schemes and investigations - Nicola Finnerty quoted in Citywealth

Crime agency in the dock over standard of expert witnesses - Nicola Finnerty quoted in The Times

Nicola Finnerty writes for E Financial News on money laundering clampdown

Investigators eye up unexplained wealth - Nicola Finnerty quoted in The Times

Dirty money: why can't banks clean up their act? - Nicola Finnerty quoted in The Telegraph

First anniversary of the new Anti-Money Laundering Regime – is it working? Nicola Finnerty writes for Compliance Monitor

View all


The FCA proposes new listing guidance for cannabis-related businesses – a positive step for investors concerned about the Proceeds of Crime Act

AML and the Art Market: HMRC publishes its first risk assessment

COVID-19 Fraud: HMRC ramps up its investigations activity

What do universities need to know about the UK’s Anti-Money Laundering regime?

How immune are COVID-19 relief scheme fraudsters from law enforcement action?

The risks and penalties of money laundering for charities and how to guard against it

COVID-19 Fraud: New Taxpayer Protection Taskforce

HMRC’s record fine for money laundering breaches

Cannabis and the UK investor – two years on

Furlough Fraud - what about the other £2bn?

Furlough fraud: the offences and sanctions

HMRC to clampdown on businesses that have abused the Furlough scheme

The compulsory embrace of the art market by the UK's Anti-Money Laundering regime

Beware the hidden cost of furlough abuse

The (quiet) extension of the AML regime: an overview

The Fourth AML Directive - The current roadmap and possible changes to the AML landscape two years on

AML: HMRC flexes enforcement muscle to the tune of £7.8 million

'Flipping defendants' – a new emphasis or a recycled aim?

Is this the guidance on cannabis-based medicines we have all been waiting for?

AML failure: Gambling Commission takes action

The cannabis industry is clearly in flux

The Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill - An Overview

SFO secures “largest seizures of its kind” using new asset forfeiture powers

Fraud in Packaging Recycling: Environment Agency is clamping down on ‘Waste Crime’

Routinely and aggressively pursuing money-laundering investigations: the verdict on the UK’s AML regime

Canada relaxes cannabis laws: what this might mean for the UK investor

AML: reforming the suspicious activity reporting regime – have your say

Corporates in the spotlight: NCA and SFO confirm tackling money laundering a strategic priority

The FCA Annual Report 2017-18: Anti-Money Laundering takes centre stage

Sentencing guidelines - acting as a director whilst disqualified

Bribery Act 2010: under scrutiny

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