Clea Topolski KC.

  • Barrister
  • KC 2024*
What others say:

  • "A real strategist, who prepares every avenue of defence for her client and has the ability to draw everyone together."

    "She's bright, she's got good judgement and she has a really nice style of advocacy."

    "Her written work is flawless." Chambers & Partners - Crime 2024

  • 'Clea is a charming individual and forms great bonds with lay clients. She is thorough and hardworking and quickly and efficiently analyses evidence.' Legal 500 - Crime, Leading Juniors 2024
  • 'Brilliant with professional and lay clients, she is able to present cases well and is someone who knows the issues straight away - Clea has all the attributes to become a silk in the coming years'. 'She leaves no stone unturned and wants the best result for her client'. Chambers & Partners - Crime 2023
  • Legal 500 - Crime, Leading Juniors 2023
  • 'A very able advocate who works collaboratively and always keeps a clear focus on the important issues in her client’s case. She is diligent and prepares her cases fully.'  Chambers & Partners, Crime in London (Bar) 2022
  • Clea Topolski ranked as ‘Up and Coming’ Chambers & Partners, Crime in London (Bar) 2021
  • 'Impressive in her handling of prison-related matters. She is committed and shows good judgement.' Chambers & Partners, Crime in London (Bar) 2021
  • 'A dedicated advocate who will go the extra mile’ Legal 500 -Crime, Leading Juniors 2020

Practice Profile:

Clea has worked within criminal defence since 2003, when she was first a paralegal in a busy high street solicitors’ office. She initially qualified as a solicitor before securing higher rights shortly thereafter. She then transferred to the Bar where she has practiced ever since. She took silk in 2024.

She practices exclusively in criminal defence work and is particularly specialist in homicide and serious sexual offences. She is regularly instructed in cases concerning the commercial supply and importation of drugs as well as fraud and financial crime. She is adept at putting the lay and professional client at ease and is often commended for her client care. She is routinely instructed in paper heavy cases with complex legal and factual issues.

She regularly practices from the Central Criminal Court and the south-eastern circuit and accepts instructions in appellate work in the Criminal division of the Court of Appeal.

Clea was the founding member of an outreach programme in a south London secondary school that gives students from “non-traditional” backgrounds, an opportunity for mini pupillage. The programme is a resounding success.

*Call 2014 and solicitor 2008. 

Present and recent instructions:
  • R v. V Represented Mr V in a multi handed boiler room fraud at Southwark Crown Court
  • R v. B-A  Single handed murder at the Old Bailey. The murder concerned a stabbing in South-East London.
  • R v. S  Multi handed murder at Southwark. 6 handed murder concerning an alleged ambush in a park.
  • R v W  Represented a male accused of raping his 9 year old niece. The case involved a s28 cross-examination.
  • R v. A  Conspiracy to murder at the Old Bailey. 6 handed trial concerning a shooting in a club with alleged gang rivalry. 
  • R v T Represented a man accused of causing death by careless driving. The facts concerned Mr T who was driving a HGV who hit a motorcyclist who was overtaking him. 
  • R v. B  Murder at the Old Bailey. 7 handed “execution style” shooting with shot guns resulting in the murder of one victim and two attempted murders of two others.
  • R v. H 4 handed murder to be tried in May. 

  • LL.B (Hons), University College London
Professional memberships:
  • Criminal Bar Association
Other details:
  • She is a member of both Amnesty International and Liberty.
  • When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her two young children, and is a keen runner.

Practice Areas:

Serious crime

A specialist in serious violent crimes, she is well-known for her client care and ability to provide advice regarding often complex cases in a friendly and clear manner. She has substantial experience dealing with vulnerable clients, whether suffering from mental illness or of a young age.


She has a growing practice in extradition where she represents clients from final hearings to appeals in the High Court.

Notable cases:

Serious crime

R v G 2021

Central Criminal Court - Junior alone - unanimously acquitted of attempted murder. 

R v L 2020

Kingston Crown Court – instructed in a multi-defendant conspiracy to rob and possess firearms case involving the targeting and robbing of cash in transit vehicles.

R v T 2020
Central Criminal Court – led junior in a two-handed murder resulting in acquittal.

R v L 2020
Kingston Crown Court – large scale conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

R v C 2020
Defended the female defendant in a kidnapping case, when her role was to be a visual assurance to the female complainant getting into a fake taxi-cab.

R v M 2019
Defended in a serious kidnapping case, when the complainant was a drug dealer targeted for his drugs and money.

R v D 2019
Kingston crown court successfully argued a stay of proceedings as an abuse of process in a multi-handed s18 trial.

R v F 2019
Maidstone Crown Court defended in the first of three trials of a large-scale prison mutiny case. One of the few defendants to be acquitted of Criminal Damage

R v T 2019
Blackfriars Crown Court – defended in the original trial of this modern slavery case which resulted in a hung jury in January. Made a successful half time submission in the re-trial in October.

R v S 2018
Led junior in a murder committed in a domestic setting, with a 12 year old as the Crown’s key witness.

R v SS 2018
Successfully defended a man charged with possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

R v D 2018
Multi-handed s18 assault.

R v D 2016
Represented a man in a large conspiracy to burgle residential properties spanning over 5 years.

Serious Sexual offences

R v P 2020
Inner London Crown Court – instructed in a multiple complainant historic sexual assault case.

R v B 2018
Historic sexual assault on the step-child in the familial home

R v J 2018
Historic sexual assault and buggery of children

R v H 2017
Defended a man charged with multiple rapes, false imprisonment and assault which included careful cross-examination of a witness with learning difficulties.

R v R 2016
Successfully defended a man charged with sexual assault

Financial crime

R v W 2021
Southwark Crown Court – instructed in a multi-handed boiler room fraud VHCC case. The trial will last 4 months in 2021.

R v O 2014
Represented the bride in a sham marriage trial

Clea Topolski KC news.

Clea Topolski's client acquitted of conspiracy to murder.

Clea Topolski KC


Clea Topolski appointed King's Counsel.

Clea Topolski KC


Clea Topolski's client acquitted of serious sexual offence.

Clea Topolski KC


Clea Topolski appears on Talk Radio to discuss extension of police powers.

Clea Topolski KC


Clea Topolski's client acquitted of Murder.

Clea Topolski KC


Making the Case for Women.

Clea Topolski KC


Suspended sentence for client following involvement in £5.4m fraud.

Martin Goudie KC


Clea Topolski Ranked in Chambers and Partners.

Clea Topolski KC


Crucible Publishes 2022 Annual Pupillage Report.

Clea Topolski KC


Clea Topolski secures acquittal in firearms conspiracy case.

Clea Topolski KC


Crucible counsel achieve affray acquittals .

Clea Topolski KC


R v Brecani - the end of s.45 modern slavery defences?.

Clea Topolski KC


Clea Topolski considers the case that has sent shockwaves through the criminal defence community

Read the full news story

Clea Topolski successfully challenges sentence in Court of Appeal.

Clea Topolski KC


The Sentencing Act 2020.

Clea Topolski KC


Libby Anderson and Clea Topolski consider the new Sentencing Code

Read the full news story

Crucible inviting applications for Third Six Pupillage.

Clea Topolski KC