Leighton Hughes

His wide-ranging expertise includes complex frauds, historic sexual offences and murders

Legal 500

Leighton Hughes

  • Called in 1989

Leighton Hughes is a specialist Criminal Advocate and expert in professional regulatory proceedings. Leighton is often the first choice in cases of great sensitivity, with experience of defending and prosecuting legal professionals, police officers and Doctors. He also has 25 years of experience in local authority and health and safety prosecutions.

He is well known for his exhaustive preparation and client handling skills and is recognised for a sensitive yet determined approach.


As a criminal advocate he is regularly instructed in cases of the utmost gravity, including charges of murder, manslaughter, historic rape, drug conspiracies and complex frauds.

Leighton habitually appears before the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and whilst he has significant experience being led he is often instructed as a leading junior. He has been a CPS Grade IV prosecutor for over 20 years.


His regulatory background means that Leighton is now an established and highly regarded legal advisor to regulatory and disciplinary tribunals. He is a legal assessor and adviser to the General Medical Council; the Nursing and Midwifery Council; the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; the General Dental Council; the General Chiropractic Council; and is legal Chair to Police Disciplinary Panels.

Leighton also re-drafts procedural rules and guidance for the key regulators as well as providing advice to regulators on the interpretation of their existing procedural rules. He also lectures widely on regulatory law, practice, and procedure.

Recent examples illustrating the breadth of Leighton’s work in this area include:

  • Acting for the GMC on an application for restoration to the medical register by an EU Consultant Neurologist who had previously been administratively erased from the register.
  • Further advising the GMC on a key authority on the overlap between lack of professional competence and misconduct, assessing the extent to which a doctor’s performance has to be deficient in order to amount to serious professional misconduct.
  • Advising The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on an appeal of two chartered accountants in a case involving issues including abuse of process and the fluctuating current approach to dishonesty in professional regulatory hearings.
  • Advising police forces on cases involving professional discipline; and
  • Advising the NMC on its approach to allegations of dishonesty and the use of telephone and video link evidence.

Notable Cases

R v Mullender (2016)
Prosecution Counsel. Murder, shaken baby syndrome.

Operation Moccasin (2015)
Defence Leading Junior in Eastern Region Complex Casework prosecution of a major paedophile ring. Secured acquittal of key defendant.

R v Watkins (2014)
Prosecution Counsel. Historic child sex abuse. 30 years determinate sentence imposed.

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Operation Olympia (2013)
Prosecution Counsel Wales Complex Casework prosecution, multi-handed large scale trafficking of cocaine into Wales.

R v Bower (2012)
Defence Counsel. Murder in the course of robbery.

Operation Ribble (2012)
Prosecution Counsel. 3 defendant drug-related killing.

R v S & M (2011)
Prosecution Counsel. First prosecution of care workers under the Mental Capacity Act.

R v Harrison (2011)
Prosecution Counsel. Solicitor perverting the course of public justice following allegation of gross negligence manslaughter.

R v Deda & Others (2011)
Complex Crime Unit prosecution. Prosecution Counsel. 9 defendant conspiracy to defraud a major building society.

R v Lipski (2010)
Defence Counsel. Murder, identical twins, disputed DNA evidence.

R v Dunne (2010)
Defence Counsel. Gross negligence manslaughter by employer.

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If you would like to instruct Leighton Hughes or would like help or advice in doing so, please call and talk to our excellent clerking team, led by senior clerk Alan Kilbey MBE. Our phone number is +44 (0)20 7583 9241. Alternatively, please email us at chambers@farrarsbuilding.co.uk

For more information about our clerking team, please click here for the clerks page.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Pupil Supervisor
  • Tribunals Judge
  • Valuation Tribunal Judge
  • Immigration and Asylum Judge
  • Legal Assessor to the General Medical Council
  • Legal Assessor to the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Legal Assessor to the Health and Care Professions Council
  • Legal Adviser to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • Legal Adviser to the General Dental Council
  • Legal Adviser to the General Chiropractic Council
  • Legal Chair to Police Disciplinary Panels
  • Legal Chair of the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service
  • Member of the Licence Committee of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Directory Quotes

Leighton is listed as a leading junior for Crime and Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law in the Legal 500.

His advice is clear, well thought through and current.’ Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law

‘Experienced in cases of serious sexual abuse.’ Crime

‘Highly diligent, and inspires confidence among panels.’ Legal 500, 2018. Professional Discipline & Regulatory Law

‘Well known for advising regulators on interpretation of existing procedural rules.’  Legal 500, 2018. Regulatory, health & safety and licensing

Legal 500