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Tayab Ali

Deputy Managing Partner

Crime, Fraud and Regulatory | Head of International Law

Tayab is a partner in our Crime, Fraud and Regulatory team, and heads our International Law Practice. He is internationally recognised and a highly respected Solicitor Advocate. His practice encompasses criminal and civil/public law in both the UK and international jurisdictions.

He is routinely retained by high profile, high net worth, clients seeking to protect their reputations against false public and criminal allegations. His skills are matched by his sensitivity, discretion and single-minded devotion to his clients’ interests.

As a criminal defence lawyer, Tayab’s work and case profiles have consistently been recognised by the principal Legal Directories which have ranked him as a leading lawyer in multiple practice areas.

Chambers & Partners described him as “an irresistible force – he’s fearless and he always gets the right results for his clients”. He is rated as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters and recognised in the field of Civil Liberties by The Legal 500.

Tayab has acted in many of the most high profile and complex criminal trials over the last two decades. He has represented clients in the Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights as well as at international political and legal institutions including the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Tayab was shortlisted as Human Rights Lawyer of the Year in the Law Society’s Excellence Awards and nominated as Criminal Defence Lawyer of the Year by the Society of Asian Lawyers. He has been twice featured as The Times Lawyer of the Week. First in 2012 for his successful representation of a senior Arab Israeli politician and activist and again in 2020 for his successful representation of Lesley Gibson who was prosecuted for cultivating cannabis she used to medicate her symptoms of MS. In 2023, Tayab was highly commended for Lawyer of the Year at the Modern Law Awards.

Tayab is regularly asked for his views and analysis on topical legal issues by journalists, broadcasters and various national and international news channels.  He is often invited to lecture at leading Universities and prestigious organisations such as the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. Tayab has made important contributions to public debates on counter-terrorism legislation, the prosecution of international crimes and the use of torture. He has also provided evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees on behalf of his clients.

Tayab has advised a number of UK and foreign members of parliament, ministers as well as political parties and former governments.

As a result of his unique expertise he has been retained by clients to represent them in a wide variety of cases. Here are a few examples of Tayab’s recent work:


Tayab is one of the country’s leading authorities on counter-terrorism law, having acted in numerous high profile prosecutions over the last two decades. He was the solicitor in the Supreme Court case, R v Gul, which defined “terrorism” in the context of military attacks by non-State armed groups in a non-international armed conflict.

He also acted for Sally Lane and John Letts who were prosecuted for funding terrorism when they sent money to their son in Syria. The case involved pre-trial clarification of law, which included a Supreme Court case ruling on the test in terrorism funding cases and a Court of Appeal case which ruled on whether duress of circumstances was available as a defence in terrorist funding cases.

Fraud, Financial Crime and Regulation

Tayab regularly represents clients accused of fraud, money laundering and financial crime, including in an international context. His clients have included individuals, business directors, companies, charities, trustees and professionals.

He is currently advising a client and his company with regards to corporate money laundering obligations arising out of a multi-jurisdictional bitcoin ATM enterprise.

Tayab advises clients that are subject to UK, US and UN sanctions regimes and is currently advising a client who is challenging his special designation pursuant to the United States Global Terrorism Sanctions Regime.

National Security

Tayab has also acted and advised clients on National Security cases. His recent clients have included a member of a UK Government Department in an investigation involving leaks from the Government’s National Security Council.

Tayab has acted as standing counsel for Sarah Harrison, the former investigative editor of WikiLeaks; Bitcoin entrepreneur Amir Taaki and he has also advised US Crypto-anarchist and gun rights activist Cody Wilson.

Tayab has also advised and represented clients on matters related to national security and official secrets including former members of the security services and other government agencies.


Tayab has represented clients in prosecutions involving hacking and cybercrime. His clients have included journalists and IT specialists as well as defendants investigated under data and computer misuse laws.

Tayab acted for the whistle-blower who provided information to the Guardian about the NHS’s failure to send medically sensitive correspondence to thousands of patients which led to a debate in Parliament on the issue. He also acted for a defendant accused of hacking a competitor’s computer systems in order to steal commercially sensitive information.

Tayab advises extensively on digital rights and data protection including data access and protection, hacking, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), schedule 7 Terrorism Act and protected material.

Drugs offences

Tayab has been retained by defendants accused of their part in large scale drugs conspiracies often relating to organised criminal enterprises.

Drugs – Medicinal Necessity 

Tayab has recently successfully represented Lesley Gibson who was prosecuted for the cultivation of cannabis. Lesley and her husband Mark were acquitted in Carlisle Crown Court after the Crown Prosecution Service were persuaded that to continue to prosecute Lesley could not be in the public interest. Tayab is now assisting Lesley in her wider campaign to allow sufferers of MS to either obtain cannabis on the National Health Service or grow their own. You can read more about Lesley’s case here 

General Crime (Private)

Tayab represents clients on a private basis where they are accused of general criminal acts. His clients regularly include professional people accused of a variety of criminal offences including murder, fraud, manslaughter, rape, assault, sex offences, theft, and public order offences.

International Law

Tayab is regarded as a leading expert in Universal Jurisdiction. He has advised and acted in private prosecution cases in the United Kingdom where his clients have sought to hold people accused of international crimes accountable in the United Kingdom for their part in the act.

He has advised widely on international criminal law and brought cases before the International Criminal Court and other international bodies including the United Nations and African Union.

His international law clients have included the Egyptian Freedom and Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood. He represented and advised President Morsi’s family and has drafted complaints to the United Nations on their behalf.

Tayab has represented the interests of hundreds of people sentenced to death in recent Egyptian mass trials. This is included making oral submissions in Gambia to the Commissioners of the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ rights.

Tayab is currently representing several Syrian returnees and a man who was unlawfully detained by the UK and US armed forces for a 10-year period during the Iraq war.

Tayab gave a lecture on Individual Criminal Responsibility to diplomats, lawyers and civil servants as part of the SOAS Executive Course in Public International Law.

Political, Diplomatic International law (Human Rights / Public Law)

Tayab has a unique practise in advising political groups both in the UK and abroad.

Following the Egyptian coup in 2013 Tayab was retained by the Egyptian Freedom and Justice Party to advise the political party on how best to respond to the massive human rights violations being committed by the military.

Tayab established and led an international legal team which brought the violations to the attention of States and international political and legal institutions. The work included complaints to the United Nations and International Criminal Court. The work led to the British police investigating members of the coup government for international crimes.

In 2015 Tayab represented the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the then Prime Minister’s review of the organisation’s international activities. He was also retained by the group to provide evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee’s Inquiry into Political Islam.

In 2018 Tayab established the Detention Review Panel which sought to intervene and review the detention of people where there was reason to believe the detention was for political reasons and violated international law. The DRP reviewed the detention circumstances of President Morsi and has also reviewed the detention of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia.

Tayab’s cases include:

(Please note that whilst some of the cases below are featured in news articles we have anonymised some of our client’s names in order to protect their identities)


Case of AB

  • Representation of a defendant in criminal investigation of alleged corporate computer hacking where it is alleged a commercial advantage was obtained following the hacking. Ongoing

Case of BR

  • Representation of a former Mayor in respect of police investigations where allegations were made of election fraud. Not charged

R v JJ

  • Successful representation of a nurse accused of manslaughter and health and safety breaches after a patient died following an abortion in a London clinic. Client was acquitted

R v JC

  • Representation of property developer accused of large scale fraud in bogus international property development schemes

R v J

  • Representation of a defendant accused of murder where it was alleged that he was a professional hitman for a criminal organisation

R  v K

  • Representation of a defendant accused of a property and mortgage fraud

R  v JK

  • Representation of a defendant and Company charged with corporate manslaughter following an explosion inside a petrol tanker which caused the death of an employee involved in welding the tanker

R v S

  • Representation of a banker accused of fraud and money laundering involving super cars

Counter Terrorism

Sally Lane & John Letts

  • Representation of defendants accused of sending money to their son who was is Syria. The CPS accuse the parents of sending money to their son where there is reasonable belief that the money is may be used to fund terrorism. Currently at the Supreme Court pre-trial to determine a legal point in the case

R v Gul

  • Representation in the leading Supreme Court case which sought to determine the definition of terrorism in an international law context

Amir Taaki

  • Representation of a prominent Bitcoin exchange developer and activist in a police investigation when he was arrested for allegations that he had assisted YPG fighters in Syria


  • Representation of a defendant in the prosecution of men accused of conspiring to murder a police man or civilian in the streets of London.  It is said to be the largest ever investigation by the Counter Terrorism command, with over 2 million files inspected, the equivalent of over 75 miles of paper if printed

R v MD

  • Representation and acquittal of a defendant who had been accused of travelling to Syria/Iraq to join IS.  Our client was found in the back of the lorry at Dover and charged with two other defendants who were both convicted of the offence.  This was a highly sensitive matter which involved cross examination of police officers, especially pertaining to the practices of the Counter Terrorism/Security Services Command when investigated terror suspects

R v AH

  • Representation of an individual charged with the disseminating terrorism publication on his Facebook page.  We successfully submitted that our client had been reckless in his dissemination and had not intentionally encouraged acts of terrorism

R v MR

  • Representation of a defendant charged with breaching his terrorism notification order

R v MB

  • Representation of a defendant who was suspected of having committed terrorism offences having returned from an unknown location abroad.  After seeking advice from us client was only charged with offences under the Fraud Act for which he received a non-custodial sentence

R v AH

  • Representation of a defendant who was suspected of having committed terrorism offences having returned from an unknown location abroad.  After receiving advice from us our client was only charged with offences under the Fraud Act

R v NE

  • Representation of a defendant charged with numerous counts of disseminating a terrorism publication

R v A and A and A

  • Representation of 3 defendants who were accused of hoaxing elderly citizens from their life savings with a view to sending this money to ISIS


  • Representation of the defendant said to be the head of the British wing of IS with links to the Brussel Airport bombing in 2016 which killed 32 people. We successfully submitted a basis to the effect that our client was not a leading member and had in fact no connection to Brussels

R v A

  • Representation of an individual who was prosecuted in relation to writing threatening communications to a French bookshop in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre

International Law and National Security


  • Legal advisor on international law matters to a leading American crypto-anarchist, free-market anarchist, and gun-rights activist, founder/director of Defense Distributed, a non-profit organization that develops and publishes open source gun designs

Sarah Harrison

  • Legal advisor to British journalist and former section editor WikiLeaks


  • Representation of a journalist in respect of their obligations under section 38B of the Terrorism Act 2000 when the journalist obtained material which could have assisted in the apprehension of a terrorist


  • Representation of a journalist whose story led to potential liability under the Terrorism Act 2000 for interfering in government electronic systems

Freedom & Justice Party

  • Lead international law advisor to the Egyptian Freedom & Justice Party following the coup that removed them from power in 2013. Tayab represent the FJP in their complaints at the International Criminal Court, African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights, European Union, United Nations and UK High Court. As a result of his instructions Tayab represented hundreds of Egyptian protestors who had been sentenced to death for participating in protests against the violent coup. Following an oral hearing at the African Commission in Gambia the death penalties were revised to life sentences by the Egyptian Courts

Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt

  • Following the 2013 coup in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood retained Tayab to represent them. He advised and represented them the Prime Ministers review and following Foreign Affair Select Committee Inquiry into political Islam

War Crimes

  • Representation of victims of war crimes in Palestine which led to the issuing of a private arrest warrant by a UK court for a former Israeli Minister
Chambers and Partners 2024
  • Tayab is currently ranked Band 3 in Crime.
  • Clients say, ‘Tayab is calm and sensible in the face of pressure and is a pleasure to work with.”
  • “His professionalism and knowledge with regards to our case was simply outstanding. We could not have got through this difficult time without his support.”
  • Tayab is also ranked Band 1 in International Human Rights Law.
  • Clients noted that, ‘Tayab is a force to reckon with and always ready to help. He is a legal genius and we cannot praise him enough.”
  • “He is a very professional lawyer.’
Legal 500 2024
  • Tayab is also ranked as a ‘Leading Individual’ in Crime: General.
Chambers and Partners 2023
  • Tayab is ranked Band 3 in Crime
  • “Tayab Ali is a talented solicitor advocate and criminal defence specialist. He regularly handles cases of the utmost complexity related to terrorism and international criminal law”
  • “He worked very hard for me and was very transparent”
  • Tayab is also recognised in the ‘Spotlight Table’ for International Human Rights Law
  • “Tayab Ali is known for his wide-ranging human rights practice which sees him act on matters that intersect with international criminal law and public law in the UK. Recent cases of note include representing individuals who have had their British citizenship stripped, as well as advising on universal jurisdiction”
  • “Tayab has a lot of good contacts internationally and is very good with clients”
  • Tayab is recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ in Crime: general
  • “Tayab Ali – utterly fearless and focused upon achieving the best results for his clients. His polymath nature adds a unique benefit to his advice, strategy and tactics. Working with him really feels like you’re starring in a legal film”