Piers Desser is a Partner and Head of Department specialising
in fraud, criminal litigation, investigations and business crime with a
distinguished reputation in the field. His client portfolio includes
individuals and companies facing investigation and proceedings. Recognised as
one of the Leading Individuals in the Legal 500, he is described as “the consummate criminal
range of expertise includes multi-jurisdictional cases involving allegations of
bribery and corruption, tax fraud, false accounting, conspiracy to defraud,
commodities and currency frauds, bank fraud, insider dealing, money laundering,
cartels and financial sanctions breaches.
clients regard him as a solicitor who provides “excellent legal advice”,
has “great negotiation skills and a shrewd understanding of the
prosecution’s motives and incentives” and goes “beyond the call of duty”.
As a result he is often referred sensitive cases by other lawyers and
professionals in which the client is facing dual criminal and professional
Piers is described in the Legal 500 2020 as “an
excellent tactician”, displayed in his approach to advising on and
defending against criminal and regulatory investigations. His client base
includes individuals targeted for financial investigations by nationwide police
forces, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
and borough Councils.
Piers deploys responsive and preemptive strategies to
assist his clients with all the difficulties that can accompany such
investigations - including asset and property seizure, account freezing and
forfeiture orders and restrictive bail conditions.
With a track record of success, he has protected
clients’ interests in complex investigations by the Metropolitan Police Service
and the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Business and Financial Crime
Having developed a significant corporate practice,
Piers believes in
adopting a proactive approach, where appropriate taking technical points,
arguing that cases should be withdrawn due to evidential issues or when a prosecution
would not be in the public interest.
approach to defending business interests is complimented by Ronald Fletcher
Baker LLP’s experienced and highly regarded Commercial and Property Litigation
Departments, which provides clients with a distinct advantage in any matters
that overlap jurisdictions and involve a multi-disciplinary approach.
assists commercial clients in advising on money laundering, tax fraud, false
accounting allegations, mortgage fraud and financial sanctions breaches.
aspect of advising clients in this respect is keeping ahead of the developing
area concerning Proceeds of Crime legislation (POCA). Piers is experienced at
tackling cash seizures, restraint orders, confiscation, Account Forfeiture and
Freezing Orders under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and other POCA actions.
intelligent, thoughtful and diligent”
Piers is instructed in all aspects of criminal proceedings. Cases involving
novel and complex aspects of law have frequently led to instructions from professionals,
corporate bodies and national governments.
as advocate at trials, applications and key hearings - holding Higher Rights of
guiding his clients through proceedings at the Magistrates’ Courts and the
Crown Courts, Piers also has a well-established appellate practice with a
number of matters of legal precedent significance having progressed through the
Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
Extradition and International Crime
Piers has extensive experience in extradition matters, especially those
involving human rights issues, and he is regularly instructed in cases which
require the closest attention to detail and benefit from a novel approach.
- Acting in relation to a private prosecution
concerning a nation state at judicial review
- Representing an international Dubai based FCA
regulated company in relation to high-value crypto-currency fraud
- Proceeds of crime proceedings relating to a
premium estate management company in Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation proceedings relating to
multi-million pound property portfolio
- Acting for a national food production company in
relation to a large cash seizure
BA (Hons) Classics – University of Wales
MA – Classics and Philosophy
Legal Practice Course – University of Central Lancashire
London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association
The Fraud Lawyers Association
Proceeds of Crime Lawyers
Defence Extradition Law Forum
provided me with excellent legal advice, which in the end led to a very
satisfactory resolution of my case. In securing this outcome he demonstrated
great negotiation skills and a shrewd understanding of the prosecution's
motives and incentives. More than anything I would like to commend Mr Desser
for his great human touch. He was infallible in his moral support to me and my
wife. Mr Desser went beyond the call of duty in always being understanding and
compassionate towards us.'
“An excellent tactician”
“A shrewd negotiator with a fine eye for detail”
“a very astute and considered lawyer”