Christina Russell has an MA in English Literature from Trinity College Cambridge, a Diploma in Law from City University and the Bar Vocational Course from the Inns of Court School of Law. She is a Member of Gray’s Inn and was awarded its Lord Justice Holker and Mould scholarships. She was a pupil first at 3 Verulam Buildings (which the Legal 500 describes as “one of the leading commercial sets”) and then at 9-12 Bell Yard (described by Joshua Rozenberg in the Daily Telegraph as “one of the leading criminal sets”) where she stayed for over fifteen years. Christina deals with business crime and related areas such as extradition, mutual legal assistance, corruption and regulatory cases.
Cases at the bar
Christina has considerable experience of business crime having defended in complex cases. She acted for the former Chairman and Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company in the Serious Fraud Office prosecution of five executives for fraudulent trading following an alleged £20million overstatement in the published accounts. Her client was acquitted by the jury after less than two days of deliberations following an eleven month trial. She acted for a property developer in a three month banking corruption trial also prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office. The allegation was that the head of the loans department at the bank had funnelled £22 million in loans to the property developer enabling him to secure housing sites and develop them profitably in return for corrupt payments said to have totalled £650,000.
Christina acted for the former Finance Director of a £400 million computer services business in directors disqualification proceedings. She succeeded in getting permission for her client to continue as a director of the company which provided him with his livelihood. She has dealt with police discipline matters for a variety of offences from conduct unbecoming a police officer to attempted rape. She acted for a firm of solicitors challenging the suspension of their legal aid franchise.
Christina was appointed to the Prosecuting List for the Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) after a competitive application process and conducted Magistrates’ and Crown Courts Trials for Insolvency Act Offences. Her other prosecuting experience includes acting for the Post Office, TV Licensing Authority, British Telecom and various local authorities. She prosecuted weekly for Westminster City Council appearing regularly on their list of successful prosecution results. She also contributed to finding non-criminal solutions to their problems – for instance obtaining injunctions to prevent people littering phone boxes with cards advertising sexual services.
Christina has defended a very wide variety of criminal matters in the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts – ranging from street trading and truancy offences to driving and sexual offences and assaults. She acted for a Canadian fraudster and murderer, who was number two on Interpol’s most wanted list, in his appeal. She has appeared in Court of Appeal and Judicial Review cases.
Christina is also interested in the development of the law. She acted for the Law Society of England and Wales which was an interested party in R. v Chesterfield JJ ex parte Bramley concerning the extent of police powers under a search warrant which specifically considered material subject to legal professional privilege. The case established that the police were not entitled to seize materials and then later sift through them for legal professional privilege material.
Christina has worked for a number of Government Agencies. She worked at the Crown Prosecution Service’s Confiscation Unit where she was dealing with confiscation matters mainly concerning organised crime. Subsequently at the Home Office’s Mutual Legal Assistance Department she dealt with sensitive and confidential requests for assistance from other Governments. These requests related to a large range of offences (from internet fraud to murder) from over twenty countries. At the Financial Conduct Authority, she worked in the Enforcement Market and Oversight Division where she worked on a highly confidential case requiring interaction with specialist accountants, both internal and external to the Financial Conduct Authority, private equity fund managers and company representatives.
Christina ran her chambers in-house advocacy training for several years and was also invited to give seminars to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on matters to consider when drafting criminal legislation. This allowed her to further her interest in the evolution of law. She has contributed to the Independent on Sunday comment section and to professional journals. Christina has also annotated the Consumer Credit Act and other statutes for Westlaw.
She has been featured in the Fraud Section of Chambers & Partners: “she is incredibly meticulous and has everything at her fingertips”, “extremely good indeed”, “general excellence on white-collar crime cases shines through”.
Languages and memberships
Christina speaks good French and Dutch. She is a member of Gray’s Inn, the Criminal Bar Association, the Defence Extradition Lawyers' Forum and the Fraud Lawyers Association.