Rachel Spearing

Call 1999

Rachel Spearing | Call 1999

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Rachel is instructed in a wide variety of civil and criminal matters with a particular emphasis on business crime, financial & regulatory and disciplinary law. A confident advocate with over 15 years’ experience and qualified civil mediator, Rachel  has particular expertise in handling difficult or vulnerable clients.  She also works with executive boards at organisational level to assist in risk management and reporting.

Rachel is the co-founder and chair of the Bar Wellbeing Initiative, which aims to address and support the challenges facing the legal profession. For more information visit the Bar Council’s Wellbeing website.

“Sensitive, sensible and seriously smart”

Instructing solicitor

Experience & Expertise

Prior to a career at the Bar Rachel worked in Capital Markets in a US investment bank. In 2014 she attended the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology adding a Masters in Global Risk Management and Criminology to support her work with business.

In 2017 she founded the Wellness for Law UK Network a ‘not for profit’ organisation providing a network of research professionals, clinicians and practitioners to support and share positive practice and initiatives to improve health and wellbeing at the Bar.

Appointed a Fellow of Higher Education & Academia in 2016, she has developed bespoke executive education and training for boards and business to facilitate regulatory, due-diligence and monitoring requirements. A visiting Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, she was appointed a Senior Consultant to the Singapore Academy of Law in June 2017.

Rachel also provides consultancy via a ‘think tank’ to support business leaders (including the Royal College of Surgeons) on regulatory, and disciplinary issues. She has designed and delivered executive education training via FCO, Commonwealth and Consultancy to the Nigerian Government, British Virgin Islands, Ghana Government and corporate clients in financial, regulatory law and Penology.

Rachel has experience in supporting clients in overseas jurisdictions with UK regulatory matters, and sits on the General Council of the Bar International Committee in regards to international development and mutual legal assistance. In 2018 she was appointed a senior teaching & research fellow of the Dispute Resolution Centre at Bond University, Brisbane, Australia.

Rachel also sits on the UK General Council of The Bar International Committee and General Council.



Rachel has an extraordinary range and depth of experience in this area, including all aspects of Financial Regulation, Data Protection, Proceeds of Crime, (Including Restraint, Confiscation, Contempt, Receivership & Enforcement), Bribery & Corruption, Money Laundering, Civil & Criminal Fraud and Directors Disqualification.

Rachel provides advice and representation to wide range of clients from hedge funds to private equity groups, regulators and professional bodies to directors and senior executives.

She has undertaken secondments with the Revenue & Customs Prosecution Office, (Asset Forfeiture Department), the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She is regularly instructed for expertise in relation to security surveillance and private investigations.

In 2004 she provided General Counsel assistance in New York for a UK Advertising Agency advising on regulatory duties between US & UK.

Rachel has been instructed to defend and prosecute proceedings brought against local authority inspectors, regulatory bodies and internal investigators. A keen rider and follower of horse racing, she has provided advice & representation to the Race Owners Association, National Trainers Federation and Jockey Club conducting hearings, appeal and advice following Steward and regulatory enquiry.

Notable cases include:

  • R v T: ‘Operation Carnival’ substantial bank fraud. Multi-national and multi-handed.
  • Scott v HMRC: Confiscation – Hidden Assets, PII and findings of fact by sole Judge in contested confiscation hearings following plea to substantive offences. Procedure to be applied for hidden assets.
  • The Cargo Inquiry: Successful reinstatement & overturning of Stewards Enquiry at Jockey Club Appeal. Acting for Owners & Trainers.
  • Kent Trading Standards v Bonner: Test Case involving novel legal argument. Successful prosecution of ‘Irish Tom’ rogue horse dealer in Kent under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968
  • Re: C: Leading Authority concerning Extradition to Romania. High Court, House of Lords & Strasbourg. Led by Edward Fitzgerald QC.
  • Re V: Novel F.A.C.T Private Prosecution of global counterfeiting fraud (successfully defending)



Rachel qualified as a Civil & Commercial Mediator in 2015, She undertakes facilitative mediation to support dispute resolution in a wide range of disputes. She brings a practical, empathetic and efficient approach to support resolving complex and contentious matters.

Rachel helps parties to concentrate on essential issues, understand and make a realistic assessment of one another’s cases, canvass ways forward and formulate an agreed solution.

Rachel also provides advice to clients on risk management and pre-litigation preventive measures.


General Crime:

Rachel has been instructed as a senior junior over the last 15 years in cases of serious and organised crime, involving murder, drugs, fraud and money laundering.  She maintains a specialist interest with Intelligence led investigations.

Her current practice focuses on corporate criminal responsibility, civil and criminal fraud and financial crime.

Cases and Work of note

  • R v K & Others: ‘Operation Eyeful’. Largest ever, single importation of cocaine in customs history.
  • Appeals to CA & Strasbourg. Trial and International Confiscation.
  • R v H & Others: Gangland Kidnap, Murder & Attempted Murder.
  • R v L & Others: Chinese Organised Crime, human trafficking and money laundering.
  • R v K & Others: Turkish Drugs Conspiracy. Lengthy drugs/violence international organised crime.
  • R v A & Others: Multi-handed Murder / Violent Disorder between Iraqi/Kurd organised crime.
  • R v K & Others: ‘Operation Benbradagh’ Largest undercover Met Drugs Operation. Extensive legal arguments relating to RIPA & Covert Methods. Abuse of Process.
  • R v D & Other: ‘Operation Benzol’. NCA / Customs substantial cannabis importation conspiracy. Legal arguments relating to use of probes, RIPA.
  • R v A: ‘Operation Carousel’. Multi-handed, multi-national identity conspiracy to defraud. Civil and Criminal proceedings with multiple restraint aspects.


Championing wellbeing at the Bar, Rachel has written many articles on this subject, recent examples include:

Other work includes:

  • The Annual Bar Conference (2017 Chair)
  • Masters thesis planned for publication in 2018 (via Cambridge University Press & Institute of Criminology) ‘Risk Takers & Rule Breakers in Banking – Predicting Crime’ part of a compendium with professors within SAT discipline (Situation Action Theory).
  • Educating for Well-being in Law (Chapter 13), Positive Professional Identity & Well­being at the UK Bar. Published by Taylor & Francis, under Routledge imprint. Final print due July 2018, for publication Oct 2018.
  • Extensively contributed to CPD training for solicitors (General Crime, Criminal Responsibility in Business, POCA & Wellbeing)
  • Wellbeing at the Bar Portal: co-founded the initiative & led the research/professional response for Bar Council. www.wellbeingatthebar.org
  • Drafted BSB policy & protocol for practical application of the Handbook Code on Fitness & Mental Health
  • Trained BSB Staff (summer 2017)