Will is a highly-regarded Junior practising in crime, the proceeds of crime and judicial review. He has appeared in the most significant recent cases on confiscation, including three cases before the Supreme Court. He advises companies, prosecuting authorities and overseas governments on restraint, confiscation and enforcement. Will also practises in general civil litigation and appears regularly in the Tribunal, Tax and Immigration chambers. He was appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel for Civil Litigation (List C) in March 2012.


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Restraint, Confiscation and Asset Forfeiture

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Will has extensive experience of all aspects of restraint, confiscation and asset forfeiture. His experience includes representing defendants in the Crown Court in proceedings for restraint and confiscation; advising individuals and corporations on tactics and liability to confiscation both pre- and post- charge; advising overseas governments on recovering the proceeds of crime through mutual legal assistance; and advising on appeal. Will is a contributor to The Proceeds of Crime Review and to the fourth edition of Millington and Sutherland Williams on The Proceeds of Crime (Oxford University Press).

Public and Administrative Law

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Will is appointed by the Attorney General to undertake civil work on behalf of the Government. Much of this work is judicial review. Typical cases in which Will acts concern challenges to decisions to prosecute or decisions not to prosecute; challenges to prisoners’ release dates; immigration decisions and decisions made in the Magistrates’ Court. He has also been heavily involved in the recent spate of public law challenges to seizures and detentions conducted at the border by HM Customs and the UK Border Agency.

Criminal Litigation

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Will represents clients in the full range of criminal cases, from terrorism to sexual assault, and from drugs importations to serious violence. He has developed a busy practice in the High Court and Court of Appeal, representing individuals and prosecuting authorities in all types of appeal.

Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance

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Will’s experience of mutual legal assistance primarily arises in the context of asset forfeiture. He has established a niche practice advising overseas governments on the restraint and recovery of criminal assets located in England and Wales.


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Fraud is a rapidly expanding area of Will’s practice. A background in mathematics and economics has given him an edge in cases with a financial component. Recent instructions have included two multi-handed allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud and a case of cross-jurisdictional money laundering. He is currently advising in connection with “phoenix companies” offering MOT services (typically springing up to replace companies disqualified by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency).


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  • Attorney General’s Panel for Civil Litigation (List C)
  • Serious Fraud Office Panel of Counsel (Panel C)
  • Crown Prosecution Service Prosecutor (Level 2)


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Member of the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers’ Association, South Eastern Circuit


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University of Oxford, BA (Hons), Modern History and Economics.

Notable cases

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R v Waya

One of the most significant cases to be heard in the Supreme Court in recent years, concerning the confiscation provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The case considered the issue of what...

R v Waya

The most important case on confiscation in the last decade.

R v Varma

A Supreme Court case which decided that a conditional discharge may be coupled with a confiscation order.

Re Peacock

A Supreme Court case which decided that a confiscation order may be increased with reference to assets subsequently and legitimately acquired.

R (Seroka) v Redhill Magistrates' Court

A complex High Court challenge to a speeding conviction concerning the admissibility of evidence produced by the LTI 20-20 Speed Scope (Gatso).

R v Q

Concerning the correct approach to sentencing young persons to detention and training orders.

R (E) v Governor of Hatfield Prison

Concerning whether a default term for non-payment of a confiscation order may be back-dated.

R v Jawad

Concerning whether the combining of a compensation order with a confiscation order amounts to impermissible “double recovery”.

MP (Sri Lanka)

A Country Guidance case in relation to Tamil asylum seekers.

Related news

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28 June

Attorney General's 'B' Panel

Chambers is delighted to announce that William Hays have been appointed to the Attorney General's 'B' Panel of Counsel to the Crown (civil).

17 February

Top 10 set for Supreme Court appearances in 2016

We are delighted to have been recognised by The Lawyer Magazine as one of the top 10 sets in the country in terms of frequency of appearances before the Supreme Court in 2016. Seven of our members...

8 May

Will Hays appointed to Attorney General's C-Panel

Will Hays appointed to Attorney General's C-Panel Chambers is pleased to announce that the Attorney General has appointed Will Hays to the C-Panel for civil and EU work. Four members of chambers...