James Thacker

Call: 2001

"A truly exceptional advocate with an in-depth knowledge of EncroChat cases." "

Chambers UK Bar 2022

James is an experienced barrister who prosecutes and defends in high-profile, complex, and serious cases. He regularly leads a team in cases involving Organised Criminal Networks.

Specialisms include:

  • Financial Crime
  • Organised and Complex Crime
  • Road Traffic prosecutions involving death or serious injury
  • Rape and Child Abuse
  • Disciplinary Proceedings
  • Health & Safety
  • Inquests
  • Appeals

As a grade 4 prosecutor, James is approved to prosecute serious and organised crime, fraud, rape, and serious sexual offences. He was appointed to the Serious Fraud Office’s Prosecution Panel, and to the Regulatory List enabling him to prosecute on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

James is experienced in defending road traffic prosecutions, especially where death or serious injury has occurred, and accepts instructions directly or through insurers. His expertise extends to representation in Inquests.


James regularly acts as leading counsel representing defendants and prosecuting agencies in major business crime cases; multi-handed, high value financial crime perpetrated against multinationals, banking institutions, government and Trusts.

He is experienced in highly specialised areas of fraud such as benefit fraud, NHS prosecutions and MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulation Authority) prosecutions.

He is a grade 4 specialist fraud prosecutor.

Notable Fraud cases

Operation Sanguine, Southwark CC (2021-2022)

Prosecuting multiple defendants for defrauding Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton LLP.

R v SF, RT and AW, Canterbury CC (2020)

Leading William Dean in £2.7m Government grant aid fraud under the Countryside Productivity Scheme administered by the Rural Payments Agency at DEFRA.

Operation Veil nos.1 and 3, Snaresbrook CC (2018)

Leading Jennifer Newcomb on behalf of HMRC in combined £2.3m fraudulent evasion of duty.

Operations Amaryllis and Ensete, Wood Green CC (2018)

Leading Thom Dyke in £7½ million multiple global banking conspiracies.

James prosecutes and defends in serious and organised crime. He is a grade 4 prosecutor on the CPS General Panel and CPS Serious Crime Panel. He is regularly instructed to lead other barristers in cases of factual and legal complexity often involving multiple defendants.

James is experienced and approved to prosecute rape, child abuse and other serious sexual offences.

He has substantial experience in dealing with telephone and cell site data. He is knowledgeable about the Encrochat platform and dealt with one of the first prosecutions in which it featured. He is currently instructed by CPS London and the Complex Casework Unit in a number of ‘Venetic’ cases.

Notable Crime cases

Operation Estadio, Woolwich Crown Court, 2020-22

Leading Emilie Morrison in prosecution of 5 defendants for the purchase and distribution of 89kg+ of cocaine and the laundering of at least £3.5m+ following the successful infiltration of EncroChat. Members of this professional and sophisticated Organised Criminal Network were sentenced to substantial terms with the two principal defendants each
receiving 25 years’ imprisonment.

Operation Acceptilate, Kingston Upon Thames CC, 2021-22

Leading Laura Hibberd in prosecution of Organised Criminal Group in EncroChat ‘Venetic’ case that involved principal defendants dealing in 100+ kilos of cocaine.

Operation Enlist, Southwark CC, 2021

Leading Laura Hibberd in prosecution of Organised Criminal Group for multiple conspiracies to supply class A and B drugs. Principal defendant used EncroChat and dealt in multi-kilo quantities of cocaine.

Operation Scenario, Southwark CC, 2021

Successfully prosecuted Organised Criminal Group in EncroChat ‘Venetic’ case.

R v JA, Central Criminal Court, 2021

Successfully prosecuted defendant for an attempted so-called honour killing.

R v PJ, Maidstone CC, 2020

Defended in allegation of causing death of a motorcyclist by careless driving. Successfully argued that charge should be dismissed.

Operation Edge, Woolwich CC, 2020

Leading Jennifer Newcomb and Kyah Mufti in substantial conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs by an Organised Criminal Group. All defendants convicted and sentenced to substantial terms of imprisonment.

R v WT, Croydon CC, 2020

Led by Tom Little QC, Senior Treasury Counsel. Successfully prosecuted serial rapist sentenced to life imprisonment.

Operation Labootan, Kingston CC, (2018-2020)

First junior to Christopher Donnellan QC in substantial (1 tonne plus) conspiracy to supply high purity cocaine (£32m wholesale) that spanned December 2016 to January 2018.

R v HP, KM and AS, Harrow CC, 2019

Leading Jennifer Oborne in premediated and sustained assault to abort the foetus of a pregnant teenager. Complicated issues relating to the Modern Slavery Act arose. All defendants successfully prosecuted.

R v SG, Central Criminal Court, 2019

Successfully defended HGV driver accused of causing a death by careless driving. Proceedings stayed as an abuse of process following legal argument and after s8 disclosure requests unearthed police corruption during the investigation that tainted evidence from various eye witnesses and caused exhibits not to be retained.

R v AA, Snaresbrook CC, 2018

Successfully prosecuted Scoutmaster who groomed and sexually abused at least 7 young cubs and scouts, aged between 9 and 13 years.

R v GS, Woolwich CC, 2017

Successfully prosecuted non-recent inter-familial rape and child abuse (sexual, physical and psychological) case which spanned 4 decades and involved multiple complainants.

R v PO, Isleworth CC, 2017

Successfully prosecuted the defendant dubbed ‘Ripper of Ravenscourt’ who attacked eight women including one schoolgirl over the course of three days around the Ravenscourt Park area of London.

Recent News

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB)

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. To see my privacy notice click here.

  • LLB (Hons), Birmingham University

  • Fraud Lawyers Association
  • Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • South Eastern Circuit

  • Recorder of the Crown Court
  • Level 4 CPS General panel
  • Level 4 CPS Serious Crime Group panel
  • Level 4 CPS Fraud panel
  • CPS Rape panel
  • Level A SFO prosecution panel
  • Level B Regulatory panel
  • Pupil supervisor
  • Central London Bar Mess junior
  • Committee member of South Eastern Circuit
  • Recorder of Seniors in Hall at Gray’s Inn

"A devastating advocate. His meticulous preparation leads to compelling jury speeches. Judges and counsel respect him, and juries are persuaded by him"

Legal 500 2022 Fraud

"A staunch barrister who, having marshalled the factual detail, deploys it efficiently and effectively. He remains resolutely calm under pressure."

Legal 500 2022 Crime

"An excellent barrister with a thorough knowledge of the law. He is tactically astute."

Chambers UK 2021

"Absolutely meticulous in his preparation of cases."

Chambers UK 2021

"Detailed and focused preparation leading to a very strong grasp of all areas of the complicated case in which we were involved. Was strong in every area of the case and his advocacy was thorough, clear and persuasive. Reliable, friendly and excellent at working within a team and leading it. He is unshakeable in court."

Legal 500 2021

"A thoroughly prepared, calm, hardworking and assured criminal advocate, James is meticulous in every area of his preparation. He leaves no stone unturned and is a strong advocate and negotiates robustly with opponents."

Legal 500 2021

"He's measured, analytical and devastating. His overall manner, his preparation and his general ability distinguish him. He doesn't lose his calm ever."

Chambers UK 2020

"A very robust advocate who knows when to pick his fights."

Legal 500 2020

"He's an incredibly committed and diligent lawyer."

Chambers UK (Financial Crime) 2019

"He combines a good intellect and a calm approach."

Legal 500 2019

"James is a fantastic advocate who is particularly good at paper-heavy cases. He will always be sure to leave no stone unturned."

Chambers UK (Financial Crime) 2018

"A clever advocate who is highly strategic and always eyeing the opportunity to trap his opponent."

Chambers UK (Financial Crime) 2017

"Fantastically well prepared, hardworking and great to deal with."

Legal 500 2017

"His reputation goes before him."

Legal 500 2016

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