James Thacker KC

Call: 2001     |    Silk: 2024

James Thacker KC 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:

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

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 prosecutes and defends in serious and organised crime. He is regularly instructed in cases of factual and legal complexity often involving multiple defendants.

James is experienced in representing and prosecuting defendants in allegations of rape, child abuse and other serious sexual offences.

He has substantial experience dealing with expert evidence including telephone/cell site data, scientific and medical evidence. He is knowledgeable about the Encrochat platform and dealt with one of the first prosecutions in which it featured.

Prior to taking silk, James was a grade 4 prosecutor on the CPS General Panel and CPS Serious Crime Panel.

Notable Crime cases

  • Operation Goldafar, Central Criminal Court, 2024

    Leading Emilie Morrison in prosecution of multiple defendants for attempted murder, firearm offences and conspiracy to steal drugs.

  • Operation Hankcom, Harrow Crown Court, 2023-24

    Prosecuted two defendants in conspiracy to murder. Revenge attack where attempt made to execute victim in daylight by shooting him while sat in stationary vehicle. Both defendants convicted sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • Operation Mudden, Kingston Upon Thames Crown Court, 2020-23

    Leading Thom Dyke/Amelia Katz in prosecution of 4 defendants (including a youth) who were members of an Organised Criminal Group for conspiring to supply 70kg+ of cocaine through EncroChat, conspiring to laundering £2.3m+ and conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm.

  • 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, Court of Appeal Criminal Division [2021]

    Led by Tom Little KC, Senior Treasury Counsel. Successfully prosecuted serial rapist sentenced to life imprisonment. Leave to appeal against conviction and sentence refused. Appeal against sentence renewed on basis of how minimum term calculated. Court of Appeal held that two thirds of the notional determinate sentence was correct. Appeal dismissed.

  • Operation Labootan, Kingston CC, (2018-2020), Court of Appeal Criminal Division [2021] EWCA Crim 1925

    First junior to Christopher Donnellan KC in substantial (1 tonne plus) conspiracy to supply high purity cocaine (£32m wholesale) that spanned December 2016 to January 2018. Court of Appeal examined the law of conspiracy and interplay with co-conspirators’ convictions under s.74 PACE 1984. Appeals dismissed. Sentence of 27 years’ imprisonment for leading defendant upheld.

  • 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.

James represents 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.

Prior to taking silk, James was a grade 4 specialist fraud prosecutor.

Notable Fraud cases

  • Operation Funsea, Southwark CC (2023)

    Prosecuting an Organised Criminal Group for conspiring to sell an antique Pomegranate bottle vase from the Yongle period (1403-1425) stolen from the Musee des Arts d’Extreme-Orient in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • 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 is a fearless advocate with a detailed knowledge of the law, which he deploys to maximum effect. He reduces with ease complex technical details into jury friendly language.”

Legal 500 2024

“James always goes beyond expectation in terms of his meticulous preparation and is a fearless advocate.”

Chambers & Partners 2024

“He is hard-working, meticulously prepared and a formidable opponent, he is a recognised heavyweight at the Criminal Bar.”

Chambers & Partners 2023

“James is meticulous in his preparation, dedicated to his cases and always available to support client and juniors alike.”

Chambers & Partners 2023

“James is an exceptional criminal advocate with an uncanny ability to cut to the chase in the most serious and complicated cases.”

Chambers & Partners 2023

“An incredibly safe pair of hands for very complicated and serious cases.”

Chambers & Partners 2023

“James is formidable and feisty, with an excellent knowledge of the law. His written work is outstanding. A true star at the Bar.”

Legal 500 2023

“James’ written work is outstanding – he is a true fighter, taking no prisoners along the way.”

Legal 500 2023

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

Chambers UK Bar 2022

“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

“His reputation goes before him.”

Legal 500 2016

“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

“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

“He combines a good intellect and a calm approach.”

Legal 500 2019

“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

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

Chambers UK 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 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

“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

“Absolutely meticulous in his preparation of cases.”

Chambers UK 2021

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB)

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate.

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB)

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate.

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Deka Chambers: 5 Norwich Street, London EC4A 1DR

© Deka Chambers 2024


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