Charles Row

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Head of Chambers / Barrister

Charles is Head of Chambers.

He is regularly instructed by a wide range of solicitors in serious criminal offences including fraud (mortgage, VAT, PAYE and NI, bankruptcy and disqualified director), sexual offences (child, historic and mental cases involving mental vulnerability) inquests, regulatory (to include food safety) and private/insurance backed fatal road traffic incidents.

He has a particularly empathetic, sensitive approach with a measured yet tenacious style and is trusted to put individuals at their ease and to inspire confidence.

Charles is known for his meticulous and forensic case preparation, hard work and personal investment into every case he handles. By way of example, such was his hands on preparation, following his cross examination of mechanical engineers in Operation Newcastle (the gross negligence manslaughter case R v Gordon, Potter and Wood) the press enquired if he had an engineering background.  He doesn’t.

For Charles, it is simply about achieving the very best result possible in the most efficient way.

‘Highly methodical, with a very keen eye for detail.’ – Legal 500 2018

“He’s an outstanding advocate who exudes confidence and professionalism.” “He delivers exceptional preparation and research of complicated matters.” – Chambers and Partners 2017

‘A talented advocate.’ – Legal 500 2017

“A really good practitioner. I have a huge amount of time for him, he’s excellent.” – Chambers and Partners 2017

“He has a very pleasant manner; he is accessible, amiable and really professional when on the other side.” – Chambers and Partners 2016

‘Experienced in complex fraud, serious sexual offences and murder trials.’ – Legal 500 2016

“He is an incredibly capable barrister, and has a keen eye for the tactics in a case.” – Legal 500 2015

“He is very authoritative and conscientious, never flustered, and respected by judges.” Chambers and Partners 2015

“He is not showy, but is very effective, and he has a beautiful style of advocacy.” Chambers and Partners 2014

Specialist areas:


Charles prosecutes and defends fraud cases including Conspiracy to Defraud, Money Laundering, Theft from Employer, Mortgage, VAT, PAYE/NI Fraud and other General Business related crime. He has extensive experience of Trading Standards work including defending in a large pyramid fraud prosecuted under the terms of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.   Charles is a Grade 4 (RASSO) prosecutor and in 2018 was leading junior in an 8 week carbon credit ‘boiler room’ type fraud.

Along the way Charles has acquired a good working knowledge of accounting procedures and issues surrounding payroll fraud (including SAGE). Charles defended a man in along running trial in Leeds, accused of utilizing his management training company to defraud the NHS in the sum of £3.8 million.  The conviction was overturned in the Court of Appeal on the grounds of judicial bias and is to be retried in the autumn 2018.  Charles is instructed in Operation Dalmas in Kingston upon Thames, a £12 million tobacco importation fraud due to be heard for 8-10 week in the spring of 2019 and later in 2019 he will be defending a company director of a building firm accused with others of fraud against NHS England.

Charles is willing to accept long running cases which take him off Circuit as necessary.

Fatal Road Traffic

Charles undertakes insurance backed and or private client work in cases including death by dangerous or careless driving and causing serious injury through dangerous driving, often involving multiple victims and or young defendants. He has extensive experience of working with accident reconstruction and medical experts. As part of this work he is also instructed to attend inquest hearings.

Charles’ caring and attentive manner provides reassurance to defendants who are often bewildered, frightened and confused at finding themselves in the criminal justice system for the first time facing serious criminal charges, accused of causing the death of another person.  Such cases demand specialist and careful handling which Charles is particularly well placed to provide.

He has just successfully defended two such cases, back to back, the first in Aylesbury for a woman accused of causing death by careless driving where a woman cyclist fell in front of her and the second in Cardiff where a speeding motorcyclist was in collision with the defendant who was turning right.  The latter case was dismissed at half time.

Charles will also attend for insurance companies in the Magistrates’ Court on careless driving charges where there has been a serious and perhaps lasting injury.

Sexual Offences 

Charles prosecutes and defends very serious sexual offences very often involving multi complainant historic abuse matters with vulnerable witnesses and defendants of varying age, maturity and intellectual ability. He is used to dealing with intermediaries, psychiatrists, psychologists and experts of all types. He successfully defended a young Somalian male accused as part of Operation Button, a multi handed, multiple victim case involving the serious sexual abuse and rape of young, vulnerable teens by a group of men from Bristol.

Murder/Manslaughter/Section 18

Charles’ ability to deal with complex, paper heavy cases had led to instructions in substantial, long running murder trials.   He defended a man, jointly charged with his lover and her brother, accused of murdering his partner before burning her body in a car.  He also defended a young man involved in a street shooting in the Easton area of Bristol.

Charles’ most recent case of this type was where he successfully defended a man with psychiatric difficulties was accused of attempting to murder his mother, a vulnerable woman in her 70s with a long history of alcohol abuse, suspected Korsakoff symdrome and delusions of parasitosis.

He has also defended manslaughter cases often involving young defendants, typically involving “single punch” assaults. Most recently he defended two youths accused of manslaughter where the elderly occupant of the house they were burgling died soon after the event.  He is currently dealing with a mechanic accused of gross negligence manslaughter resulting in the death of 4 people including a four year old girl when a lorry he had inspected ran away out of control in Bath.

Charles has also been instructed to defend in the case of a machete attack outside the Tesco store in Easton.

Other areas of interest

Charles has a keen interest in sailing and all things maritime and has prosecuted for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, involving a reserve Naval Officer racing his yacht at Cowes who came into collision with a tanker making her way into Southampton.  The case received some notoriety on Youtube.  He has also defended a man accused of destroying an ancient monument in a case brought by English Heritage.


BA (Hons) Business First Class

Common Professional Examination (Distinction)

Bar Finals (Very Competent)

Member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

Awarded Thomas More Bursary

Criminal Bar Association

CPS Grade 4 (Rape Panel approved)

RYA Qualifications in Sailing and Navigation

Briefed GDPR Quality Mark for Barristers




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Latest News

  • Crime - 3, November

    Charles Row secures acquittal for Somali man accused of rape

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    Posted by Charles Row

    Charles Row defended Nasir Mahamoud before Bristol Crown Court, in a case where a group of young Somali refugee men were on trial for the rape and sexual exploitation of vulnerable, young teenage girls.  The case relied on evidence of trafficking and grooming activity over a period of 2 years.  Mr Mahamoud was acquitted on … Continue reading Charles Row secures acquittal for Somali man accused of rape

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