"He is extremely smart, very strategically sound and vastly experienced."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

"Stephen Parkinson is a wise head who combines wide experience with excellent judgment."

Legal 500 UK 2021

"He litigates in the most effective way. He's very smart and very strategic."

Chambers UK 2020 - A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"He has been at the top of the market for a long time and is a brilliant lawyer with a very strategic mind."

Chambers & Partners, High Net Worth Guide, 2019

“Stephen Parkinson is the great string puller – invisible, deadly, the wisest lawyer in the white collar industry in London.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Stephen Parkinson is Kingsley Napley’s Senior Partner.

Stephen is a highly experienced and versatile litigator with extensive experience of advising on, or undertaking, investigations for organisations, companies and individuals. His previous client list has included numerous individuals at the top of their fields, whether in business or politics, and he has acted in many of the major public inquiries of the last twenty years.

Stephen is unusual in having achieved distinction in a number of areas of law, and in having worked at the highest levels both in the public and private sectors.  This experience has given him an unusually broad perspective and ability to advise on a wide range of issues.

Prior to joining Kingsley Napley, Stephen was the Deputy Head of the Attorney General’s Office. Stephen became a partner at Kingsley Napley in 2005, and then the Head of the Criminal Litigation department from 2006-2018, before stepping up to Senior Partner on 1 May 2018.

Stephen is a BAME and LGBTQ+ Ally, and has made the promotion of diversity and inclusion a key objective for his term as Senior Partner.


I was really impressed by his approach. He is someone I admire for his experience."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2021

Stephen Parkinson is the great string puller - invisible, deadly, the wisest lawyer in the white collar industry in London."

Legal 500 UK 2021

Stephen Parkinson is clever and experienced."

Legal 500 UK 2021

Stephen Parkinson is regarded as the doyen of this space."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2020

Probably has the most faultless judgement in London when it comes to financial crime."

Chambers UK 2020 - A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

His background in prosecuting, his erudite manner and his disarmingly modest approach make him the most perfect foil for both the SFO and the FCA."

Chambers UK 2020 - A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

He is a top man. He has a consistently good reputation and is a leader in the field. He is always a pleasure to work with."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2020

Brings significant value to clients due to his excellent regulatory experience and expertise in criminal investigations."

Who's Who Legal: Investigations, 2020

He comes highly recommended for his expertise representing senior executives facing allegations of corruption and bribery."

Chambers UK 2020 – A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Stephen Parkinson probably has the most faultless judgement in London when it comes to financial crime."

Legal 500 UK 2020

If you are a senior director at a blue-chip company who needs heavyweight representation, he  [Stephen] would be one of the first names on the list."

Chambers & Partners, High Net Worth Guide, 2019

He is phenomenal; he's an extraordinarily smart lawyer," adding that "he sees things from all perspectives."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

He's very experienced, very sensible and knows the SFO extremely well," adding that "he has great knowledge of criminal trials."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

A huge figure” in the business crime space who comes highly recommended by market sources for his vast experience handling regulatory and criminal investigations."

Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence 2018

Stands out for his excellent advocacy work in relation to business crime investigations."

Who’s Who Legal, Investigations 2018 

He comes across as measured and considered; he's very highly respected."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2018

Draws high praise from a range of international sources for his world-class practice."

Who's Who Legal, Business Crime Defence 2017: Analysis

The ‘highly intelligent and calm’ Stephen Parkinson is ‘admired by those who lead the prosecuting authorities, from whom he obtains, as a consequence, results which appear impossible’."

Legal 500, 2017

Fantastically able practitioner who is well connected."

Who’s Who Legal and GIR top lawyers for internal /external investigations, 2017

One of the most talented solicitors around."

Chambers UK, 2017

Hugely knowledgeable and hugely experienced, with a really good sense of judgement in complex cases, and a very strategic mind."

Chambers and Partners, 2017

His diplomatic skills are second to none, which is very valuable."

Chambers UK, 2017

Exceptional judgment."

Chambers UK, 2017

...Respected for his crisis coolness, strategic judgement and political sensitivity..."

Quote taken from Spear's, Top Five Criminal Lawyers, 10th Anniversary Issue

...Recommended for his abilities in politically significant criminal proceedings. Sources praise him as "high-minded and clever."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

...His knowledge is amazing; he's very sharp and very quick..." 

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession                                     

Really top-notch given his experience and insight. …His knowledge is amazing; he's very sharp and very quick."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

High minded and clever"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Strong on the interface between criminal and public law". He is described as "very incisive, pragmatic and easy to work with." 

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Fantastic lawyer, with a political head on him,' ... 'absolutely cool in a crisis."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Regularly entrusted with cases of the very greatest complexity and intellectual demand."

Legal 500 UK


Recent cases

  • Currently advising several key witnesses in independent inquiries which in due course will result in published reports.
  • Currently advising senior business people in corruption-related investigations.
  • Led an independent investigation in 2019/20 for a major charity in a complex multi-jurisdictional investigation, together with colleague Caroline Day.
  • Represented Tesco Plc in the SFO investigation into its accounting practices (2014-2017).
  • Represented the Financial Conduct Authority  in the Davis Inquiry (2014).
  • Advised Rebekah Brooks in the early stages of operations Weeting and Elveden (phone hacking and police corruption) and the Leveson Inquiry. A Kingsley Napley team led by Angus McBride represented her at trial.
  • Advised several former Cabinet Ministers on a range of criminal and public inquiry work: 2012 – 2018.
  • Advised the former Prime Minister Tony Blair and all the No 10 and Cabinet Office witnesses in the Hutton Inquiry.
  • Advised former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major and former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine in the BSE Inquiry.
  • Advised a key witness in the Iraq Inquiry.
  • Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards: advised former UBS Chief Executive, Dr Marcel Rohner.
  • Represented several clients in corruption investigation/prosecution in Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • Represented Sir Ian Blair and other officers in the IPCC investigations arising out of the shooting of the Jean Charles de Menezes.
  • Represented clients in the BAE/Saudi corruption investigation.


Recent Publications, Press Highlights & Speaking Engagements


Professional SOCIETIES and Memberships

Stephen was called to the Bar in 1980 and requalified as a solicitor in 2005. He became a partner of Kingsley Napley in 2005 and the head of the Criminal and Regulatory Practice Area in 2006. He is also admitted to the Bar of the Turks and Caicos Islands in respect of a number of cases.


Related Services

Criminal Litigation

Our criminal lawyers are astute, supportive and highly sophisticated, particularly known for providing strategic, sensible and practical advice.


The vote in favour of the UK leaving the European Union has created uncertainty and given rise to a lot of unanswered questions.

Corporate Crime

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

Crimes of Universal Jurisdiction

Travel to the UK can occasionally bring about unexpected consequences. There are a range of criminal charges that can be faced by non UK nationals even though the alleged criminal acts may have occurred abroad and may not involve the UK in any way.

Dealing with an Investigation

Under investigation? We ensure you have the specialist, strategic advice to help you manage.

Deferred Prosecution Agreements

A Deferred Prosecution Agreement allows the SFO or CPS to defer a prosecution of a corporate subject to it complying with certain conditions.

Financial Services Investigations

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


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

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.

Internal Investigations

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

International Families

Our expert team of lawyers can help you plan for and protect all of your interests and affairs as you are on the move.

Judicial Review

We are known for our notable strengths in judicial review litigation and our incisive and pragmatic advice.

Monitorships & Independent Reviews

Kingsley Napley understands the complexities and sensitivities of acting as a monitor and the importance of building a relationship of trust with the company.

Political Affairs

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

Public Law

Our 'exceptional' team has over 25 years' experience, acting in the most significant public law cases.

Public Inquiries

The team is consistently recognised for its public inquiry expertise, with over 25 years experience in all the major inquiries.

Public Policy and Governance

We have expertise in administrative and public law, together with our real enthusiasm for the work we do.

Business and Human Rights

Consumers and regulators increasingly expect companies to demonstrate a commitment to human rights, where companies fall short, they increasingly face both reputational and legal consequences.

Charities - Litigation, Crisis & Investigations

Our highly experienced team of litigation lawyers offer specialist advice covering a range of issues affecting charities.

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.

COVID-19 Inquiry

On 12 May 2021 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an independent public inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, to be held in Spring 2022.

Insight from Stephen

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Stephen Parkinson speaks on the Business Daily programme on the BBC World Service

Keep the customer happy - Stephen Parkinson & Leor Franks quoted in The Law Society Managing for Success Magazine

The Tiffin Girls' School wins Legal Apprentice competition 2020

Serious Fraud Office slow to get back to work after lockdown - Stephen Parkinson quoted in the Financial Times

The Legal Apprentice 2020 - Finalists Announced

Questions raised over attorney-general's independence - Stephen Parkinson quoted in Financial Times

Press release: Kingsley Napley opens entry process for The Legal Apprentice 2020

Supreme Court judgment on prorogation - Stephen Parkinson writes letter in The Times

Boris Johnson’s court victory is good news for remainers and leavers - Stephen Parkinson writes for The Spectator

Huawei inquiry. Stephen Parkinson writes letter in The Times

Deferred prosecution agreements are not the cosy deals they seem - Stephen Parkinson writes for The Times

SFO plans to flip insiders to speed up criminal probes

Brexit legal advice: your questions answered - Stephen Parkinson quoted in The Times

Dishonesty test: Playing with a new deck - Stephen Parkinson quoted in CDR

GIR 100 2017: Kingsley Napley a world leader in cross-border investigations

Stephen Parkinson comments on Ivey v Genting Casinos

Decision to axe Serious Fraud Office is bizarre in the face of £650m success

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Progress on our pledge to increase diversity and inclusion within Kingsley Napley

Preparation for Public Inquiries - Webinar Summary

Regulation and Uptake of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Brexit and ‘Physical Presence’ Requirements for Irish professionals resident in the UK

Parliamentary scrutiny in the time of Coronavirus

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