Adam Vaitilingam QC

Adam Vaitilingam QC
MA (Cantab)
Year of call and Inn: 
1987; Middle Temple
Professional Membership: 
Western Circuit, CBA
QC 2010; Recorder 2005 (Crown and County Courts)
Public Access Areas: 
Practice Overview: 

Adam Vaitilingam QC is recommended in all of the legal directories as one of the leading silks on the Western Circuit, with expertise in major crime, serious fraud and regulatory work. He is instructed in many of the most high profile trials; recent cases include prosecution of three men involved in the Bath tipper truck crash and the trial of Nathan Matthews for the murder of his step-sister Becky Watts.

Although working mainly in the West of England, he defends individuals and companies across the country in murder, fraud, fatal road accident, health and safety, sexual assault and environmental cases. He has successfully defended many professional and commercial clients, from accountants, financial advisors and surveyors to sportsmen, teachers and business leaders.

“An excellent advocate with cross examination skills that are second to none”: Chambers and Partners

“Recommended as a specialist in serious crime (particularly fraud and murder) and regulatory crime (particularly health and safety and environmental crime)”: Legal 500

“A well-reputed silk, responsive and helpful, a good manner with clients”: Chambers and Partners

Recommended as a specialist in crime: Black Letter Law

From the Daily Telegraph, reporting on the recent case of Environment Agency v England: “over five weeks he tore the prosecution case to shreds”, leading to acquittal on all 12 counts.

Specialist areas of work include:


Adam has a heavyweight practice defending individuals and businesses charged with fraud, money laundering, corruption and theft. He has most recently been instructed to advise an IFA charged with tax fraud, a princess accused of identity fraud and a chief executive accused of conspiracy to defraud. He has a highly successful record in defending cases that go to trial, and in resisting claims for confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Fatal driving offences

Adam has defended many motorists charged with causing death by dangerous driving including, recently, the driver of a hitched trailer that became detached, causing the death of a child. He recently prosecuted three men for gross negligence manslaughter and causing death by dangerous driving, arising from the Bath “runaway lorry” disaster in which four people died.

Murder and manslaughter

Adam acts for the prosecution and the defence, and has been involved in some of the most well known recent trials. They include: the case of Claudia Martins, accused of the murder of her newborn child; Nathan Matthews, accused of the murder of his stepsister, and Operation Axiom, prosecuting eight men accused of the murder of Dolton Powell in Gloucester.

Health and safety

Adam is regularly asked to advise defendants in cases brought by the Health and Safety Executive, both before and after charge. He has been involved in some of the most serious health and safety trials involving one or more fatalities, including accidents on construction sites, in factories and at sea. High profile recent cases include an apprentice killed in a quad bike accident on a Dartmoor farm and a bulldozer driver killed during construction of the London Gateway Port.

Environmental and waste management offences

Adam defends companies and individuals across England and Wales who are accused of offences against the environment, ranging from illegal landfill, river pollution and dust and noise pollution to technical breaches of permit and failure to store waste correctly. He is the only silk on the Western Circuit recommended in the field by Chambers and Partners, both in 2016 and 2017.

Sexual offences

As a junior, Adam spent years prosecuting and defending sexual offences, and in silk he has defended some of the most serious cases heard on the Western Circuit, ranging from rape and sexual assault to the production and distribution of indecent images. Current cases include defence of a Premiership rugby international charged with sexual assault, and defence of a young man charged with offences arising from his consensual relationship with a fifteen-year old.

Regulatory cases
Adam has defended in a very wide range of regulatory cases. Most recently, following dismissal of the prosecution case in proceedings brought by a National Parks Authority, he successfully argued that the prosecution should pay the entire defence costs.

Recent cases of interest have included:

Farmers prosecuted under gang-master regulations for employing foreign labour;

The manager of a care home accused of neglect in the treatment of clients;

A manufacturer of gaming equipment charged with breach of copyright;

Owners of an ancient farm, accused of breaches of planning law during restoration work.

Adam has lectured in the UK and overseas on human rights law, including in Russia and Hong Kong on behalf of the Council of Europe and the British Council.


Bonnie Colbeck
T: 0117 311 0301

Nick Jeanes
T: 0117 311 0307

Ken Duthie
T: 0117 311 0368


Areas of Practice