Karina Arden


Karina is a highly experienced barrister, focusing on criminal defence. She speaks French and Italian, and is experienced in both high-profile cases and those involving international clients.

Background and Expertise

Karina takes on all types of criminal work, with leading or junior briefs. These include financial crime (fraud, money laundering and restraint proceedings) and serious organised crime, such as multi-handed drug trafficking and importation.

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She is also experienced in cases involving serious and violent crime (including murder, manslaughter, firearms, knife crime, kidnapping and false imprisonment cases), sexual offences of all kinds (including dealing with vulnerable complainants and defendants), robbery of all grades of seriousness, and extradition.

She is a skilled cross-examiner and negotiator. Her experience with judges, juries and witnesses, along with her international experience, enable her to obtain results against the odds.

Karina has been at the criminal Bar since 2004. Before this, she worked at the multinational law firm, Herbert Smith (1986-2004; becoming a French avocat in 1990) and at the common law Bar (1970–86).

Notable cases

R v Grillo and Grillo, 2013
Defendants acquitted of alleged fraud on Charles Saatchi and his then wife Nigella Lawson in relation to use of credit cards. Client represented was charged with using the cards to a total value of more than £600,000. Case required skilful cross-examination of witnesses, and numerous legal submissions, under gaze of press and public. Isleworth Crown Court.
R v N and others, 2015
A long money laundering case involving a large number of defendants who were charged with (in effect) laundering money from a massive drugs conspiracy. This was a trial that lasted many weeks. The case went to the Court of Appeal on a point of material irregularity in the proceedings in relation to all defendants. Southwark Crown Court.

Read more Notable cases

R v C, 2016
Acquittal of client in multi-handed £40m mortgage fraud trial – involving alleged frauds against Barclays Bank, dating back 10 years. Trial lasted nearly three months at Southwark Crown Court. Karina took the unusual course of asking no questions of any of prosecution witnesses and not to call the defendant – in effect to put the prosecution to proof.
R v M
Allegations of serious rape of 17-year-old daughter of the previous partner of the defendant, over a period of about three months.
R v I
Acquittal of client charged with large conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, when other defendants were already serving very long prison sentences.
R v M
Very serious sexual abuse case involving 23 counts of rape and sexual assaults of defendant’s stepdaughter, from the age of 11. Succeeded in negotiating for the prosecution to reduce charges considerably, obtaining a much lower sentence for the defendant than if he had contested the case, in which event he was likely to obtain a possible life sentence.
R v F, C and others
Private prosecution issued by Asif Aziz, CEO of Criterion Capital and large-scale property developer, against defendants for sundry offences ranging from threats to kill to blackmail – in relation to defendants’ attempts to recover unpaid money for building works. Applied for a stay of proceedings for abuse of process – ultimately resulting in acquittal.

Other Activities and Interests

  • Serious world traveller. Passionate about fine food and wine


  • French (fluent)
  • Italian (fluent)
  • German (fluent)
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PROFILE: Karina Arden

Year called



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Confiscation / POCA

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Financial Crime

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Fraud, Bribery & Corruption

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Sexual offences

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Inquests / public inquiries

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Regulatory / Disciplinary

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Financial and Corporate law

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Civil Fraud

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Corporate Offences


020 7489 2727


LLB (Hons), London School of Economics

Diploma in Italian Law, University of Urbino


Criminal Bar Association

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