Henry Skudra

Year Of Call: 
2012

Practice details

General crime

Has already gained significant experience in Crown Court trial matters, having been instructed in cases including terrorism, multi-handed robberies and frauds, drugs offences of all gravity, conspiracy to convert criminal property, assaults (up to and including s.18 matters), weapons offences and public order matters. Several of those cases have involved complex expert evidence, vulnerable witnesses, and young or otherwise vulnerable defendants.

Has a particular interest in and knowledge of fraud, bribery and money laundering, developed during research for an academic thesis and a 6-month secondment to the City of London Police, Economic Crime Directorate – the U.K. policing lead for economic crime.

Experience of such cases includes: large investment fraud worth over £100 million, large-scale money laundering, boiler room fraud, bribery investigations and fraudulent schemes involving organised crime groups.

Prosecutes general crime for the C.P.S. at grade 2 level and also for the Home Office, H.M.R.C., the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, West Midlands Police and the Probation Service.

Also conducts quasi-criminal proceedings, including contempt of court proceedings, injunctions and other preventative orders.

Recent matters include:

  • defending an individual as part of a large multi-million pound conspiracy to rob across the Midlands. Due to successfully highlighting a failure by the Crown to indict him correctly, he received 2 years’ custody less than his co-accused: R. v. K. and Others
  • defending a matter listed for 4-day multi-handed robbery trial at Warwick Crown Court. After pursuing the Crown for disclosure, the matter was dropped against all 3 defendants: R. v. B.
  • a conspiracy to blackmail case. Following advice provided to instructing solicitors applying pressure and asking probing questions of the C.P.S. no evidence was offered: R. v. G.H.
  • instructed in a multi-handed s.18 trial. An alternative plea was offered and the client received a suspended sentence order. R. v. H.
  • defending a week-long multi-handed money laundering trial where the client was the only one to be acquitted. R. v. T.C. and Others

 

 

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (P.O.C.A.) and asset recovery

Has considerable experience and in-depth knowledge of confiscation and asset recovery work, with an ability to cut seamlessly across traditional distinctions between criminal law and civil law work.

Using understanding and experience of civil law, is frequently instructed to act in matters of notable complexity – in both civil and criminal asset recovery proceedings.

Is familiar with the intricacies of both P.O.C.A. 2002 and its statutory predecessors as well as appeal and reconsideration applications.

On the C.P.S. specialist prosecutor panel for P.O.C.A. matters.

Recent instructions include:

  • defending in P.O.C.A. proceedings following a local authority prosecution for Trade Marks Act 1994 offences. The confiscation order being pursued was for £338,233. Having sought the prosecutor and robustly outlining the relative strengths of both sides’ cases, including supporting caselaw, no ‘criminal lifestyle’ finding was made. The order was agreed in the sum of only £8,500 – almost 40 times less than the sum sought. A City Council v. E.M.
  • P.O.C.A. matters in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
  • prosecution junior in ongoing highly complicated confiscation proceedings in a £110 million H.M.R.C./C.P.S. direct tax case. Operation A.
  • successfully challenging a s.23 P.O.C.A. application leading to its rejection, with costs. R. v. N.J.
  • defending P.O.C.A. matters in a conspiracy involving money laundering and fraud valued in the region of £7-8 million, prosecuted by leading counsel. An order of only £20,000 was made in respect of the client. R. v. A. and Others
  • restraint order applications
  • multi-handed cash forfeiture proceedings

 

 

Criminal law and P.O.C.A. 2002 advisory work

In addition to courtroom work, provides pragmatic, timely and thorough advice on complex practical or legal issues.

Recent examples include:

  • large-scale disclosure, particularly e-disclosure
  • advice in relation to technical grounds for preventing the activation of default sentences
  • the validity of search warrants, including P.O.C.A. search warrants
  • advising H.M.R.C., Border Force, City of London Police and the N.C.A. in a difficult investigation involving alleged multinational currency fraud and money laundering, potential counterfeiting and bills of sale fraud
  • whether damaged notes are ‘cash’ or ‘goods’ under C.E.M.A. 1979, P.A.C.E. 1984, P.O.C.A. and taxation legislation in relation to bills of sale

 

 

Regulatory

Experienced in defending and prosecuting regulatory matters, including contraventions of planning law, insolvency law, customs and excise legislation, food hygiene law, and trade marks/copyright legislation. This also extends to dealing with any consequential P.O.C.A. 2002 matters.

Recent matters include:

  • defending in food hygiene matters where, highly unusually following conviction, a food hygiene prohibition order was not imposed. This enabled the client to carry on running his successful chain of food outlets: A City Council v. R. H.
  • instructed to defend in a private prosecution relating to offences under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. The case also closely involved P.O.C.A. proceedings in which the correct statutory interpretation of the relevant section of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 had to be argued at length as it affected the criminal benefit figure: A District Council v. H. R. Limited and B.P. and G.P.
  • prosecuting and defending criminal proceedings brought under the Insolvency Act 1986 and unlawful activity arising out of bankruptcy: Insolvency Service v. T.J. and R. (on the prosecution on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) v. R.R.
  • planning law contraventions

 

 

Civil law

Has been instructed to provide written advice and to represent claimants and defendants in a broad range of matters – including those of a sensitive and high value nature.

These have included corporate and personal insolvency matters (drawing on knowledge gained from masters degree research), property / landlord and tenant, personal injury, consumer disputes, employment law (including T.U.P.E.) and has an array of experience in the High Court, County Court (on all tracks), First-tier Tribunal (Tax) and (Property) as well as the Employment Tribunal.

 

Recent instructions include:

-a multi-track personal injury matter which involved a Proposed Defendant becoming insolvent. The older Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930 applied. Advice was provided on an application under the Insolvency Act 1986 to set aside the company voluntary arrangement. O.E. v. A.W. Limited

-successfully defending an N.H.S. trust against a multi-faceted claim. This included harassment, Data Protection Act 1998 and Human Rights Act 1998 issues. Mrs. A.B. v. An N.H.S. Trust

-appearing on behalf of Border Force in the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax). The case had a long and complicated procedural history raising issues of res judicata, given the previous rulings in the case. R.Z. v. Director of Border Revenue

-defending several contemnors in High Court committal proceedings following breaches of an injunction. Joint Councils v. L.I., J.H., L.I., J.H., N.B., C.B., N.R. and S.C.

 

Sports law

Experienced in advising clients and appearing at tribunals across a range of different sports, each with different regulatory frameworks.

Recent matters include:

  • appealing the revocation of a boxer’s licence involving detailed medical expert evidence: S. v. British Boxing Board of Control
  • prosecuting an appeal against the revocation of firearms and shotgun certificates: G.P. v. The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police
  • advice and drafting of correspondence to prevent the unlawful removal of a highly lucrative fixture and costly litigation: A Cricket Club v. N.S.S.C.C. League

 

 

Publications

Consultant editor of Lloyd’s Law Reports: Financial Crime

‘Drug-Driving : Bringing the Law up to Speed’ (2015) 179 Criminal Law & Justice Weekly 27

R v Yasain – delineating the re-opening of appeals’ [2015] 9 Archbold Review 4

‘Contempt of court – criminal court reporting’ [2014] 4 Archbold Review 4

‘Fraudulent trading as a creditor’s remedy – Time for a rethink ?’ (2013) 94 Amicus Curiae: the journal of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 11

 

 

Direct Access

Authorised by the Bar Council under the Direct Access scheme, and in suitable cases welcomes instructions directly from members of the public. Please see the Direct Access section of the website for further details.

 

 

 

 Career background

Between graduation and pupillage, worked in various legal roles:

  • assistant editor of Banks on Sentence
  • worked at the Law Commission in the criminal law team resolving detailed legal and practical problems and assisting in the publication of reports: areas of work included sentencing, contempt of court, unfitness to plead and firearms
  • paralegal at a firm of solicitors dealing with several different fields of practice, including attending on clients arrested and detained at police stations

 

 

Other information

  • a member of the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (P.O.C.L.A.)
  • has carried out pro bono work for the North East Prisoner After-care Society, and for the Kalisher Trust
  • major scholar of the Inner Temple
  • awarded a Kalisher Trust secondment scholarship
  • governor of a Warwickshire school
  • in his leisure time enjoys running, travel, languages (fluent in German, conversational Italian)