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Christopher Milligan

Senior Partner

Christopher Milligan

Chris was educated at Nottingham High School (along with Kenneth Clarke, Ed Balls, DH Lawrence and others).  He studied law at Northumbria University and attended the Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court School of Law.  Chris was called to the bar in 1993 and later re-qualified as a solicitor. He initially practised as a barrister on the Midland and Oxford Circuit prior to joining Bird & Co. Solicitors to head up the Criminal Law Department.

Chris became a partner at the Firm in 1996 and became Senior Partner in April, 2001.  He oversaw the Firm’s expansion and it’s subsequent conversion to LLP status.

Chris specialises in criminal law. He appears regularly in the Crown Court and also in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). He is recognised as one of the leading criminal lawyers in the Midlands and acts for Corporate Clients and individuals.  He is frequently led in serious and complex cases.

Chris’s practice is predominantly criminal defence, both private and legally aided. He also prosecutes for Government Departments including DEFRA and the Environment Agency. He is a respected advocate and a formidable opponent used to litigating serious and complex cases.  His clients respect his measured and frank advice and his enthusiasm within the adversarial system.

Chris deals regularly with serious crime and has specific expertise in drug trafficking cases, large scale fraud, serious assaults and homicide.

Chris' work is supervised by the Head of Department, Damian Sabino.

As well as his work within the Criminal Department Chris is also the firm's Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Complaints Partner.

Some of his more notable cases include:

R-v-Marshall 1996

Attempted murder (throat slashing) of a disabled woman by a 14 year old girl

R-v-Sutherland 2002

5 Defendant murder case – thrown out by Judge after police “bugging”

R-v-Wilmore and others 2003

Huge drugs conspiracy known as Operation Galaxy. Case stopped by trial judge after police malpractice as an abuse of process
R-v-Williams 2004

The Marian Bates murder in Nottingham. National TV coverage of the murder of a woman in her Jewellery Shop in Arnold, Nottingham

R-v-Hudson 2005

Successfully defended Shane Hudson in murder trial – the Newstead Abbey “body in the lake” murder

R-v-Blackwell and others 2006

Boston United Football Club fraud. Instructed Richard Latham QC and successfully defended the Club’s General Manager in large scale fraud trial

R-v-Colin Noddings 2006

Successfully defended man accused of pre-meditated murder of his wife. Manslaughter conviction recorded.

R-v-Malcolm Anderson 2007

Defended man accused of murdering wife. Case went before Court of Appeal regarding point of public importance in the starting points for sentencing in murder cases

R-v-Leonard French 2007

Prosecuted “Fake Vet” Leonard French. Defendant sentenced to 12 months imprisonment at Lincoln Crown Court. Large confiscation order imposed. Defendant’s sentence upheld by the Court of Appeal.

R-v-John Kinsella 2008

Represented the underworld enforcer who disappeared from Court before the verdict in a robbery trial had been recorded. Subsequently, successfully appealed against the sentence, despite the client being on-the-run. Successfully appealed confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the Court of Appeal, instructing Chris Jeyes, in-house counsel at Bird and Co. Case decided 22 March 2011.

R-v-Self and Others 2009

Lead junior in multi-handed conspiracy to steal ATMs / cash machines.  Value of criminal enterprise estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds. Dealt with Confiscation Proceedings thereafter. Case prosecuted by the East Midlands Complex Casework Unit.

R-v-Shaun Watt 2010

Junior in New Year’s Eve 2009 murder. Defendant killed his partner with a hatchett. Led by Jeremy Benson QC (18 Red Lion Court).

R-v-Joe Palmer 2010

The Mezz Bar murder in Lincoln.  Junior. Led by Nigel Rumfitt QC and Maureen Baker QC (both from 7 Bedford Row).  Case involved a stabbing in a busy nightclub in Lincoln in May 2010.  Defendant the first appellant to appeal to the Court of Appeal under the recent changes in the law under Schedule 21 CJA 2003, section 5A.

R-v-Butler & Others 2010 – Operation Danks Corner

Counsel for Stephen Butler who was charged in relation to a large scale fraud against the Metropolitan Police Service against the backdrop of the 7/7 Bombing Investigation. Dealt with Confiscation Proceedings thereafter under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

R-v-Rudenko and Others 2011

Led by Maureen Baker QC (7 Bedford Row) in a multi-handed murder involving complex questions of causation, including novus actus and issues relating to joint enterprise. Murder charge against Chris’s Client dropped by Prosecution on day of trial after extensive legal argument on causation of injury.  East Midlands CCU Prosecution at Nottingham Crown Court.

Operation Alpine 2011

Led by Maureen Baker QC (7 Bedfrod Row) in multi-handed worldwide distribution of indecent images case. Investigation spans 2006-2011 and Chris represented an ISP charged with facilitating the distribution of images and associated money laundering offences. Case came to trial at Nottingham Crown Court in June 2011 and following extensive legal argument before the trial judge, Calvert-Smith J, the case was resolved with Chris’s Client pleading guilty to two counts of distribution covering a 7 year period and being sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.  Following this plea, the Crown elected not to proceed against the Defendant’s wife (represented by Chris Jeyes and Tim Spencer QC) who was cleared.

Chris dealt with Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) litigation thereafter with Rory MacMillan (Solicitor in the POCA Team at Bird & Co Solicitors LLP). They were able to reduce the recoverable amount claimed by the prosecution by thousands of pounds.

Operation Cairn 2011

Chris is represented a yound man charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the murder of Alan Cowley which occurred in November 2010.  Mr Cowley was killed near the Ballast Pits in Sleaford, Lincolnshire and two young men faced trial in 2011 in connection with his death. Chris was led by Tim Spencer QC (7 Bedford Row).  Chris’s Client was acquitted at the close of the Prosecution Case following a submission of “No Case to Answer”, on the direction of the Trial Judge, His Honour Judge Michael Heath.

Operation Atlanta / Operation Ridion 2011

Chris is counsel for Timothy Louth who is charged as part of a wide ranging nationwide conspiracy to supply class A drugs throughout the Country over a two year period. Operation Atlanta is being investigated by officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) and is being prosecuted by the East Midlands Complex Casework Unit (CCU).  Chris’s Client was sentenced to 7 years imprisonmnet for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and 2 years imprisonment for conspiracy to supply class B drugs. A total of 9 years.  The sentence is currently under appeal.

R-v-John Thorpe 2011

Representing John Thorpe, accused of the murder of his elderly mother in Grantham in March 2011. Chris is being led by Jeremy Benson QC of 18 Red Lion Court. Mr Thorpe pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday 21st November 2011. He was sentenced by Mrs Justice Macur on the 21st December 2011.  John Thorpe was oredered to be detained in hospital under the Mental health Act 1983, together with a Restricition Order.

R-v-Beverly Boughen 2011

Chris represented Bev Boughen at Norwich Crown Court in relation to offences of theft in breach of trust.  Mrs Boughen had worked as the Clerk and / or Finance officer for several Parish Councils and defrauded them of in excess of £60,000.00.  Sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

R-v-T & H 2012

Chris represented Defendant in Armed Robbery in rural Lincolnshire.  Case involves complex issues relating to facial mapping, ANPR and cell site analysis. Case was tried in the Spring of 2012, prosecuted by leading junior counsel Gordon Aspden (7 Bedford Row). T was convicted after trial by the jury and sentenced to 5 years 4 months imprisonment.

Operation Latious 2011/12

EMSOU Serious Organised Crime Investigation into the supply of class A drugs in the East Midlands and beyond. Chris has been instructed in this multi-handed prosecution which is being conducted by the CPS East Midlands Complex Casework Unit (CCU). Case is ongoing.

R-v-M & A 2012

Chris represented KM, a successful personal trainer and salon owner, accused of producing class B drugs.  The evidence centered on a police search warrant which was executed at a large scale commercial cannabis “factory”.  KM was arrested a the scene of the “factory” allegedly covered in cannabis.  KM was accused of producing the drug with her partner and 3 others. Chris managed to successfully exclude key prosecution evidence in a trial within the tria at the Crown Court, which ultimatley led to a successful submission to the Trial Judge that there was no case to answer for KM.  Chris’s Client was cleared, as was her partner (also represented by Bird & Co Solicitors LLP)  and very relieved.  Lindsey Whotton in the POCA Team was credited with successfully obtaining the swift return of the KM’s Porsche 911 Turbo motor car after it was seized by Police following the initial raid.


In his spare time, Chris’s  interests include scuba diving, road cycling, going to the gym, and cooking.