Ben Douglas-Jones QC is a specialist fraud, criminal, regulatory, consumer and human rights barrister. He is a member of prestigious London Chambers, 5 Paper Buildings.
He is highly recommended in Chambers and Partners, ranked in Financial Crime, Crime, Consumer Law, and described by them as: "Fantastic and incredibly hard-working", "He's very on top of his cases and a very good lawyer."
He is ranked in Tier 1 by Legal 500 for Criminal Fraud, Consumer Law and General Crime. The Legal 500 describes him as “extremely bright”, with "great intellectual strength" and “extremely able” with the ability to “marshal cases of the utmost complexity”.
Ben defends professional and corporate clients including public limited companies. He prosecutes for the Serious Fraud Office and CPS Headquarters' Specialist Fraud Division, Appeals and Review Unit, Organised Crime Unit and Proceeds of Crime Unit and Complex Case Units. He also prosecutes for local authorities.
He practises in all serious and complex fraud, including corporate, financial, banking, carousel, MTIC, tax evasion scheme, acquisition, mortgage, Excise, Hawala, advance fee (419), boiler room, Ponzi , NHS, dental, pharmaceutical, Internet, car-ringing, gambling, cheque clearing cycle and insurance fraud.
Recent cases include the “Ed Sheeran” landmark National Trading Standards prosecution of ticket “touts. In R v Hunter, Ben represented the first defendant in the prosecution of the officers of BZZ Ltd for reselling concert and event tickets using multiple names.
Ben led an abuse of process argument based on the Regulators’ Code (Adaway consumer abuse) and the law concerning tickets and contractual webs involved in the ticketing industry; and unfairness to consumers in business-to-consumer contracts forming part of contractual webs. He led argument on the law of fraud, fraudulent trading and dishonesty concerning consumer fraud in the secondary ticketing industry.
Current cases include the representation of a 19-year-old indicted for conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life in connection with a drive-by shooting in Birmingham, a complex Ponzi fraud and proceeds of crime proceedings in serious fraud.
Ben is a member of the Fraud Advisory Panel and the Fraud Lawyers' Association.
Ben’s regulatory practice extends to all areas of consumer law, with an emphasis on trade-marks and copyright law, criminal planning, food safety and environmental health.
Ben was The Times Lawyer of the Week in February 2019 for successfully prosecuting Ieuan Harley for the murder of David Gaut, who had been convicted of murdering a 15-month-old baby in 1985 and released on parole in 2017.
He is currently instructed by the family of Shamima Begum, one of the Bethnal Green Academy girls - the alleged "IS bride".
He prosecutes and defends in serious criminal cases, including murder.
Ben’s human rights and appellate practice has seen him appear in many leading and reported cases.
He has vast experience in Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 cases, including restraint, confiscation, receivership, forfeiture, civil recovery and asset freezing proceedings.
Ben conducts second-opinion defence appellate work where he did not appear in the Crown Court and is instructed by the CPS Appeals and Review Unit in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
He also has significant expertise in miscarriage of justice work having represented Colin Stagg and secured the £706,000 compensation for Stagg’s wrongful indictment for the murder of Rachel Nickell.
Ben’s civil practice centres on judicial review and fraud Court, authorised to hear cases involving serious sexual offences.
Ben is a Recorder of the Crown Court.
Ben is an editor of Southwell, Brewer and Douglas-Jones QC – Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Law in Practice; Bloomsbury Professional - February 2018.
Ben is an author of the Blackstone’s Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Ben has co-written the 2019 CPS Guidance on charging and prosecuting victims of human trafficking, the Law Society Guidance on defending people who might be victims of human trafficking and the refugee defence and the Judicial College Guidance on trying defendants who might be victims of trafficking or slavery.
Ben is also an attorney-at-law in Grenada, with rights of audience in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.
As well as being a tenant in 5 Paper Buildings, he is a door tenant in Apex Chambers, Cardiff, Linenhall Chambers, Chester and St Ives Chambers, Birmingham.
Ben is a qualified advocacy trainer for Gray's Inn.
Ben was called to the Bar in 1998.
Recent appeals include:
The second edition of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Law and Practice has been published.
"This book provides a detailed and practical guide to the legal regimes," the Rt Hon Lady Justice Nicola Davies DBE, wrote in her foreword to the second edition.
She added that "the guidance is not confined to the courtroom. It realistically encompasses matters outside of a court hearing, relating to victims and those charged with a criminal offence. It is guidance which can properly form the basis of advice to be given by practitioners. It is necessary and welcome.”
Meanwhile, the second edition of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Law and Practice has been labelled as a recommend read by The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, in her 2020 report on “The Modern Slavery Act 2015 Statutory Defence: A call for evidence”.
In his foreward to the first edition, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said that the book “gives a very comprehensive guide to the legal regimes and much practical assistance. For example Chapter 6 gives a very comprehensive account about what should happen on arrest at the police station and the matters that the lawyer should consider; this is reinforced by clear guidance on ethics in Chapter 16.
"Another example of the practical guidance given, drawn from the experience of the authors, is Chapter 15, which provides a clear summary of ways in which victims are trafficked and exploited. I therefore warmly welcome this book and very much hope it will make a real contribution to the protection of victims of trafficking and modern slavery and to the prosecution of those who perpetrate this most heinous of crime.”
According to The London Advocate, "Anyone investing in this book can feel confident they will not only be able to handle their problems but will have the skills and knowledge to ensure a just outcome.”
Ben Douglas-Jones QC took part in a recent 5 Paper Buildings seminar with James Marsland and Christopher Jenkins about human trafficking and modern slavery victims who offend: identification, non-prosecution and Section 45.
Ben Douglas-Jones QC recent comment piece in The Times argues that Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which provides a
defence to the charge of slavery or trafficking if the suspect was compelled to commit the act because of their own enslavement or exploitation, should be changed.
Just click the download button below to read Ben's article.
Ben Douglas-Jones QC, leading Andrew Johnson, represented the Crown in an important case concerning victims of trafficking who commit serious convictions which do not attract a defence under s.45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015: R v A  EWCA Crim 1408:
(1) This case is important re the notion of residual abuse of process following R v DS  EWCA Crim 285. It is an important acknowledgment (alluded to in other cases but never said in terms) that serious cases require a greater dominant force of compulsion before trafficking extinguishes culpability/criminality in the context of the CPS’s guidance and public interest.
(2) Schedule 4 to the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and its exclusion of certain offences from the scope of the defence in s.45, is not in conflict with the international obligations imposed by council of Europe Convention On Action Against Trafficking In Human Beings and/or the EU Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims 2011/36/EU.
(3) The 2015 Act has changed the legal landscape in relation to the protection available to victims of trafficking who commit criminal offences. The special abuse of process jurisdiction in these cases was because there was a lacuna in domestic law in relation to the UK’s international obligations. Parliament has now determined how those obligations should be implemented by enacting the 2015 Act. The lacuna has been filled.
(4) Schedule 4 of the 2015 Act which excludes s.45’s application to serious sexual and violent offences reflects the balance struck by Parliament between preventing perpetrators of serious criminal offences from evading justice and protecting genuine trafficking victims from prosecution.
(5) Cases in which duress and the s.45 defence are not available, but where it would not be in the public interest to prosecute on the basis of a victim of trafficking’s status will be rare. The seriousness of the offence will in such circumstances require an even greater degree of continuing compulsion and the absence of any reasonably available alternatives to the defendant before it is likely to be in the public interest not to prosecute an individual suspected of an offence regarded by Parliament as serious enough to be included in Schedule 4.
(6) There is no conflict between the Schedule 4 exclusions and the UK’s international obligations under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (“ECAT”) or the EU Directive 2011/36/EU (5 April 2011).