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Practice Profile

Sam is a specialist criminal barrister. He is instructed for both prosecution and defence, and has experience across the full range of criminal proceedings. He has appeared in the Magistrates' Court, Crown Court and Court of Appeal.

As a committed advocate, Sam places great emphasis on thorough preparation and first class advocacy.

Formerly an IT developer, Sam is at ease conducting cases involving digital evidence e.g. mobile phone downloads, computer forensics and CCTV analysis. He draws on his experience to quickly analyse and present high-volumes of complex information.

His most recent instructions have included defending in a high-profile stalking case involving 90,000 pages of digital evidence, prosecuting a defendant for multiple county-lines drug supply operations, and defending in a 12-handed tobacco importation matter.


Sam publishes a free weekly 'updater' of criminal law news - intended for practitioners, law students, and anyone with an interest in the criminal justice system of England and Wales. You can subscribe to Witness here.

Sam has also developed a free criminal legal aid calculator for barristers and solicitors. The app, Crime Fees, can be downloaded here for iOS and Android.


  • MPhil, Criminology, University of Cambridge
  • LLB, Law, University of East Anglia


  • CPS General Crime Panel at Level 2
  • CPS Specialist Serious Crime Group Panel at Level 2
  • CPS Specialist Fraud Panel at Level 2

Scholarships and Prizes

  • 2017, Levitt Scholarship - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2017, Third Prize, Kalisher Essay Competition - The Kalisher Trust.
  • 2016, Clare Hall Bursary - Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.
  • 2015, Sir Louis Gluckstein Prize for best student advocate - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2015, Buchanan Prize - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2013, Runner-Up, Law Reform Essay Competition - Bar Council.
  • 2013, Lord Denning Scholarship - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2013, Hardwicke Scholarship - Lincoln’s Inn.

Recent Cases

  • R v. N & ors [Newcastle] 2020

    Fraudulent Evasion of Duty

    Sam Willis was instructed as led-junior in this 12-handed tobacco importation matter. The overall duty evaded was calculated to be over £2.6 million. Preparation for the case required extensive analysis of mobile telephone billing data.

  • R v K [Lewes] 2019


    Sam Willis, led by Paul Walker, defended in this five-week trial involving allegations of stalking. The prosecution evidence consisted of 74,000 pages of Facebook extracts and computer downloads. The ability to analyse large quantities of digital evidence was crucial to the defence case - it led to a 40-page defence bundle being placed before the jury to provide context and balance to the 550-page prosecution bundles.

  • R v. K [Snaresbrook] 2019

    Supply Drugs

    Sam Willis acted for this defendant accused of supplying cannabis. The case involved careful analysis of evidence served late by the prosecution, including a report by a drugs expert, mobile telephone downloads and forensic drug analysis.

  • R v. L [Woolwich] 2019


    Sam Willis was instructed in this two-day trial. The case involved alibi evidence, and required carefully-planned cross-examination of a Police Constable purporting to recognise the defendant from poor quality CCTV. During the first trial, the jury had to be discharged - the prosecution dropped the charges just before the re-trial was due to begin.

  • R v M [Woolwich Crown Court] 2019

    Assault on an Emergency Worker

    Sam Willis acted for this defendant who was acquitted after a three day trial. The defendant was of good character and was seen on police 'bodyworn video' striking a police constable to the throat. The issue for the jury was self defence.

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