Profile

Consistently recommended by the legal directories, Esther is a highly regarded criminal advocate who is known for her sharp mind, high quality advocacy, and expertise in the conduct of complex cases. Her practice spans all areas of serious crime with a particular focus on fraud. In addition, she has particular expertise in human rights law from working at the European Court of Human Rights. Esther is regularly instructed in judicial reviews involving points of statutory construction or human rights and is instructed in appeals against confiscation and restraint orders. Esther is ranked in legal directories as a recommended Junior in crime.

Recognition

Legal 500 2017 C&P 2018

Expertise

Fraud

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Esther’s experience in fraud is extensive. She has appeared in some of the most high profile fraud cases of recent years including  Kweku Adoboli’s $2.3 billion fraud on UBS (R v Adoboli); Asil Nadir’s theft of £146 million from Polly Peck International (R v Nadir); and James Ibori’s £50 million fraud on the Delta State of Nigeria (R v Ibori and others). She continues to be regularly instructed in high value and international fraud and money laundering cases.

Criminal Litigation

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Esther’s criminal practice is exclusively in serious and complex cases. She has been instructed in numerous murder cases including: multi-handed cut-throat revenge killing (R v Degoze and others); the killing of a vulnerable 98 year-old (R v Franklin and Cordice); murder motivated by hatred of homosexuality and shame (R v Foley); and murder within the Indian community motivated by an addiction to online gambling (R v Maulin Patel). A specialist rape prosecutor, she is instructed in high profile cases (R v Rolf Harris) has conducted a number of sexual cases, including allegations of the rape of a virgin, serial paedophilia and familial rape and persistent child abuse. She has a particular interest in cybercrime and has experience in hacking prosecutions, Operation Ore cases, international jurisdictional considerations in cases involving data and the use and misuse of computers. She regularly presents evidence electronically. In particular she has obtained a specialism with regard to surveillance and covert policing, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, Public Interest Immunity and disclosure difficulties. Much of her work involves large organisations and the strategic issues which arise in investigations.

Human Rights

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Esther has appeared in a number of leading cases on human rights as a special advocate including Bank Mellat and Ignaoua. This represents an expanding area of her practice.

Appellate Courts

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Esther frequently appears in the Court of Appeal, in relation to appeals against conviction and sentence. She has particular experience in interlocutory appeals and sentencing appeals. She successfully defended a challenge to the imposition of a financial reporting order and has conducted appeals on issues ranging from autrefois acquit to the disclosure of material obtained under mutual legal assistance by third parties, a decision that involved prior Court of Appeal authority being overturned.

Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance

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Esther has detailed knowledge of both Part One and Part Two of the Extradition Act 2003, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 and its predecessor, and other international instruments governing this area. She has advised on all aspects of obtaining evidence from overseas and on extradition. She has been instructed in leading cases on both extradition and mutual legal assistance.

Immigration

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Esther has a particular specialism in the operation of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004 and the protections afforded to defendants under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. She has been instructed in a number of cases before the Court of Appeal and the High Court involving negligent advice.

Public and Administrative Law

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Esther is regularly instructed in judicial reviews involving points of statutory construction or human rights, including the successful defence of a Coroner’s decision not to hold an inquest; the construction of two conflicting provisions in the area of youth justice (Appiah); the effect of negligent advice where refugees plead guilty to immigration offences (Maalin); and defending a challenge to a decision to offer no evidence in a rape case. Esther gained invaluable experience working as a lawyer in the European Court of Human Rights and is the contributing editor of the chapter dealing with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights in the practitioner’s guide, Human Rights Practice (Sweet and Maxwell). Her practice has encompassed numerous challenges on the basis of Articles 3, 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in particular, but also Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the Convention.

Restraint, Confiscation and Asset Forfeiture

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Esther has broad and comprehensive experience of conducting confiscation and asset forfeiture litigation at first instance and on appeal. She has acted for both prosecuting authorities and defendants and is regularly instructed in cases involving high value and international restraint and confiscation proceedings. She is currently instructed in an appeal against a confiscation order dependent on statutory construction and in a separate appeal against an order relating to the operation of a restraint order.

International Criminal Work

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Esther is interested in developing her experience in international criminal law beyond the ambit of cases in the UK which have a significant international aspect. She has advised in and successfully defended jurisdictional challenges.

Appointments

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  • Serious Fraud Office Panel
  • Attorney General’s panel
  • Special Advocate
  • Treasury Counsel Monitoree
  • Grade 4 Prosecutor (including specialist panels for Sexual Offences, Serious Crime, Fraud, Proceeds of Crime)

Other

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  • Public Access Accredited
  • Contributing Editor, Human Rights Practice, (Sweet and Maxwell)
  • Contributor, EU Law in Criminal Practice (Oxford University Press)
  • Basic French

Education

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University of Oxford, MA (Hons)

 

Notable cases

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R v Kweku Adoboli

Prosecution of the UBS “Rogue Trader” for a $2.3 billion City fraud.

R v Asil Nadir

A high-profile fraud by the Director of Polly Peck International who stole £146 million from his blue chip company in the late 1980s and fled the jurisdiction in 1993.

R v James Ibori and others

James Ibori, while serving Governor of Delta State in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 defrauded the public purse of over $250 million, giving rise to a number of highly published trials in the UK....

R v Terry Adams

The prosecution of a notorious career criminal and later prosecution for breach of a financial reporting order.

Related news

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28 September

Standing Counsel Appointment

Chambers congratulates Esther Schutzer-Weissmann on her appointment as Standing Counsel to the Insolvency Service (Criminal Enforcement). The appointment will take effect from 1 October 2017.