Our People

  • John Carson
  • Director

John Carson


John enjoys an outstanding reputation as one of the UK’s most sought after leading criminal defence practitioners. John is a founding partner of Carson Kaye and his leadership has seen the firm progress to becoming internationally recognised for its expertise in advising both companies and individuals who face proceedings and allegations of a criminal nature.

John is regularly instructed by clients faced with prosecution by the National Crime Agency, HMRC, Serious Fraud Office, Financial Conduct Authority and Environment Agency. John regularly advises high profile individuals including well-known actors, sportspersons, journalists, and political figures. He has particular expertise and experience in providing discreet, prompt and clear advice, he has featured in some of the most complex criminal cases in the UK over the past decade.

John enjoys working on miscarriages of justices and has acted for clients on appeals in some of the UK’s leading authorities in the Court of Criminal Appeal.

John is also a registered intermediate with the Football Association, advising professional footballers and is able to act as an agent to players.

What the legal directories have said:

‘John Carson’s clients receive the very best advice and representation on a case by case basis.’ (Legal 500 2023)

‘John Carson and John Kaye are a formidable team with an international reputation. They are excellent with clients, realistic, honest but go the extra mile to secure the best results possible.’ (Legal 500 2023)

‘Name partners John Kaye and John Carson lead the team. Kaye has expertise across public order, financial and serious crime, and is a notable solicitor for Encrochat matters, while Carson has a particular specialism in business crime’ (Legal 500 2023)

'John Carson and John Kaye make a formidable pair; Carson's hands-on approach to client care and the key issues in cases paired with Kaye's tactical nous mean all cases are fully prepared and set in a direction to give their clients the best possible outcome' (Legal 500 2023)

'John Carson is consistently instructed in high-profile cases and is a very user-friendly lawyer. A tactically astute and thoroughly prepared lawyer who will always endeavour to put his client’s best foot forward. John ensures that he knows what is going on at the practice and in the market'. (Legal 500 2022)

‘John Carson - a true street fighter who will find a pragmatic solution to his client’s problems. John is a main player in the field of crime as is rivalling those more established firms. He is highly respected by counsel and hugely experienced in the system. His team evidently cares about client’s welfare throughout and he is robust and firm when it comes to his cases. He is devoted and experienced'. (Legal 500 2022)

'John Carson and John Kaye make a formidable pair; Carson's hands-on approach to client care and the key issues in cases paired with Kaye's tactical nous mean all cases are fully prepared and set in a direction to give their clients the best possible outcome'. (Legal 500 2022)

John’s recent work includes the following:

  • Advising clients in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal Court challenging the authenticity of the NCA’s use of EncroChat evidence from the largest ever police operation to date known as Operation Venetic (https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/all-about/encrochat)
  • Operation Pollux: Advising the first defendant on the indictment in relation to a large scale multi-million-pound investment fraud which has been investigated by the City of London Police & the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Represented Mr Willie McKay who is what is known as a “super-agent” in professional football. He is a well-known public figure who regularly acts for professional footballers or football clubs around the world in the transition and procurement of top flight footballers. Mr McKay was prosecuted by the Insolvency Service having been under investigation by HMRC for a number of years having initially been arrested with public figure Harry Redknapp. The investigation originated from allegations of corruption within the football  industry. Mr McKay charged with Fraudulent disposal of property, contrary to Section 357 (1) of the Insolvency Act 1986 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-57585075
  • Operation Resurge: Advising 4 of 8 suspects (most of whom are directors of companies) who have been arrested in a complex investigation into the fraudulent evasion of excise duty and associated money laundering due to the suspected importation of illicit tobacco on an industrial scale. The investigation commenced with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in September 2019, relating to a significant Organised Crime Group (OCG). Members of the OCG have been observed in the UK and in the Netherlands obtaining large quantities of illicit tobacco goods, arranging for their transport to the UK and then distributing them at a wholesale level to willing retailers. At least some of the cash obtained by selling the illicit goods would then be transported back to the Netherlands to pay for the next load. Opportunities for interception by HMRC and UKBF in the UK and by Dutch and Belgian authorities have resulted in seizures of millions of cigarettes and the recovery of cash including €250,000 in the Netherlands. It is estimated that the OCG has the capacity to import significant quantities of Non-UK Duty Paid cigarettes per annum with a tax loss to the exchequer in excess of £500m per year.
  • Operation Rockrose: Advising a client who is charged with conspiracy to murder. The evidence in this matter has been the subject of a series of legal challenges due to the evidence obtained by the NCA from the largest ever UK police operation named Operation Venetic. Some of the evidence was obtained from mobile handsets around the world and in particular Dubai. The trial is expected to last 4 months.
  • Operation Venetic: Gangland shooting where the deceased was shot in a drive by shooting. The prosecution allege that the assassination of the victim was pre-planned and rely on encrypted Encrochat telephone communications (currently subject to multiple legal changes) in support of this.
  • Operation Hornstay: Case said to relate to a major international crime organisation involving the alleged importation of many hundreds of kilos of class A drugs and large quantities of unlawful firearms. This case involved no fewer than 5 different countries’ police forces working together. The defendants used encrypted telephones to evade authorities for several years.
  • Operation Venetic: Advising a professional boxer accused of conspiracy to supply class A drugs using an Encrochat mobile telephone.
  • Operation Cranfield: NCA investigation in to the importation of over £7 million worth of cocaine in to the UK via helicopters from Europe.
  • Operation Gribble-  Represented 2 defendants in NCA operation known as the “Dutch ambulance” case- importation of £1.6 billion cocaine & heroin.
  • Advising a professional horse jockey who has been convicted in Sweden in relation to Extradition proceedings.
  • Advising the leader of a British political party in relation to several ongoing allegations.
  • Advising a journalist in relation to contempt of court proceedings.
  • Advising the many families of the victims of David Fuller, convicted British murderer and necrophile, in the battle for a statutory inquiry with Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Sajid Javid.