Consumer Law

R v Hunter and Smith [2021] EWCA Crim 1785; [2021] 11 WLUK 384 Ben represented both appellants in this case, leading Rhodri James.  The Court of Appeal considered components of fraudulent trading, Companies Act 2006, s.993(1), in the “Ed Sheeran” ticket touting case where profit was made by reselling tickets for sporting and cultural events, in breach of ostensible restrictions imposed by event organisers. The s.993(1) offence was not subject to limitations of conspiracy to defraud; no requirement for prosecution to prove intention to deceive.  Where criminal allegation is founded on breach of civil law, the judge must rule on the breaches before the jury decides the criminal issues. The case involved the “fairness” and enforceability under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 of the event organisers terms and conditions of sale which impose restrictions on the purchase and resale of tickets and the risk of ticket nullity, the status in law of a “ticket” and the scope, effect and operation of the doctrine of “equity’s darling”.


Worldwide Tickets Limits v North Yorkshire County Council [2019] 4 WLUK 418 Ben acted for the four appellants in the first secondary ticketing s.90 Consumer Rights Act 2015 appeals before the President of the FTT General Regulatory Chamber.  He raised procedural impropriety and the four appeals succeeded paving the way to concessions that the penalties imposed in other cases were not safe, due to procedural manipulation by the enforcement authority.  The penalties were also found (technically given that the appeals succeeded) to breach natural justice.


PIPCU operation [2018-2019] Ben is advising the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in relation to programmatic advertising and infringing websites.


R v Pegram et al [2017-2019] Ben, leading Aparna Rao, prosecuting for the Specialist Fraud Division, secured convictions against four men who used the foundry website to distribute films, including The Expendables 3, illegally before their official release dates by torrent software and “seedboxes” for the “MiLLENiUM” release group, costing the film industry a minimum of £8.5 million.


R (TM Eye) v Pama [2018] Ben, leading Dominic Lewis, successfully opposed an appeal by TM Eye against the DPP for discontinuing a private prosecution for alleged trade mark fraud.


R v Brooks [2016-2018] Ben successfully prosecuted three defendants who used a file transfer protocol to distribute infringing material to the public.


Operation Tambourine [2016-2019] In two separate trials, Ben succeeded in prosecuting three members of an international trade marks and copyright fraud in which infringing goods were brought in from China.


Copycat website alleged fraudster acquitted

October 2017

Operation Cleo 2.

Stephen Oliver was represented by Ben, led by Graham Trembath QC.  He faced allegations of creating and operating copycat government websites to defraud the public.  The case was complex and substantial.  After a trial the defendants were acquitted of copycat website fraud and the prosecution abandoned further proceedings concerning consumer protection offences.  A second case has been discontinued.

Operation Albatross [2013-2014] Ben, instructed by Ayo Awoyungbo and Bryony Dean of the MHRA Unit of the Welfare, Rural and Health Division of CPS HQ, is currently prosecuting the directors of a company for illegally importing counterfeit Durex condoms. The operation has been the subject of a BBC Fake Britain documentary due to the public health implications of counterfeit contraceptives.


DBIS v Rees [2010-2012] Leading Defence Counsel in criminal proceedings involving the alleged breaches of a director’s disqualification order in the context of two separate companies.


Herts CC v E [2011] Counsel for Defence in trade mark and copyright case concerning the distribution of T-shirts at Nebworth. Legal argument concerning the definition of distribution led to the Prosecution abandoning the copyright allegations.


Coventry City Council v Vassell [2011] EWHC 1542 (Admin); 2011 WL 844057;;;;


Instructed by Gary Lesin-Davis of EAD Solicitors, Ben recently appeared for the successful Respondent in an appeal by way of case stated. The case concerned section 112(1A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. The High Court (Hickinbottom J) held that:

(i) “prompt notice” would not require a conditional prospective change in circumstances to be notified to a local authority;

(ii) “failure” to give prompt notice in paragraph (d) required mens rea (i.e. knowledge);

(iii) furthermore, the local authority is required to provide a benefit claimant with relevant information on how to notify a change of circumstances in clear terms or, as here, the actus reus will not be made out; and

(iv) the local authority has to prove that the benefit claimant knew that the change in circumstances would (and not merely could) affect his entitlement to benefit for the offence to be made out.


Merton, LBC v Sinclair Collis Ltd [2010] EWHC 3089 (Admin); [2010] WLR (D) 286; [2010] All ER (D) 68 (Nov); [2011] 1 W.L.R. 1570; (2010) 175 J.P. 11. Ben and Edward Jenkins QC appeared for London Borough of Merton (instructed by Head of Civic and Legal Services, Merton London Borough Council). They successfully argued that, notwithstanding the civil complaint procedure embodied in s 7(2) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (as amended) a sale of tobacco to a person under the age of 18 through a cigarette vending machine was capable of being an offence contrary to s 7(1) of the 1933 Act. Click here for judgment.


Operation Citrus / Bedford County Council v M [2011-2012] Restraint and Management Receivership Counsel in multimillion pound advance fee / consumer fraud.


Operation Cantonese [2007-2012] Counsel for Merton LBC and the Central Fraud Group in successful prosecution of three men for conspiracy to defraud through betting tipster and advance fee frauds relating to bloodstock.  Confiscation involves tracing assets in the middle East and Cyprus.


Regina v Thompson [2006] EWCA Crim 3058; 2006 WL 3846387: Counsel for Appellant in regulatory appeal which settled the ‘average consumer’ test in trade mark infringement following Arsenal v Reed and R v Johnstone.


Merton, LBC v Tesco Counsel for Local Authority in food safety case against Tesco, concerning its flagship store in New Malden, resulting in its highest fine ever for a food-safety offence.


Asset Recovery Agency v Green [2005] EWHC 3168 (Admin); 2005 WL 3719494; Times, February 27, 2006 Counsel for Respondent in largest civil recovery case of all time. Leading case defining “criminal property” in restraint (Part 5 of POCA).


Regina v Isaac [2004] EWCA Crim 1082; 168 JP 417; (2004) 168 JPN 617; (2004) 27(6) I.P.D. 27, 064; Archbold 2009 7-53 Counsel for Appellant in leading criminal trademarks case, defining the scope of the essential elements of trade mark offences.