Michael Atkinson is an experienced criminal practitioner. Prior to joining Arnold & Porter, Mr. Atkinson practised as an independent barrister and then as a Crown Advocate and Specialist Prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Mr. Atkinson has prosecuted and defended a wide range of criminal offences and appeared as an advocate in matters up to appellate level.

For the five years prior to joining the firm, Mr. Atkinson was employed as a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Counter Terrorism Division responsible for:

  • advising on and litigating many sensitive and high-profile prosecutions;
  • leading investigations into breaches of the Official Secrets Acts;
  • reviewing and prosecuting the spectrum of offences under UK terrorism legislation;
  • advising on and litigating criminal matters with a public and administrative law element;
  • advising on potential offences contrary to asset freezing orders;
  • advising on international evidence; and
  • the management and review of complex and highly sensitive disclosure exercises.

Mr. Atkinson has been called upon to advise government departments on the development of legislation and policy, and has spoken on legal issues regarding electronic communication, surveillance and counter-terrorism at international seminars. In the last year, he has spoken on developments in UK anti-corruption practice and has assisted colleagues from Arnold & Porter's office in Washington, DC, in providing training to clients on the European and UK aspects of export controls and international trade sanctions.

Mr. Atkinson draws on his considerable experience as a criminal litigator and advocate to represent companies and individuals engaged in criminal investigations or where this is anticipated, including in cases where there may be associated administrative law challenges to the actions of public bodies.


  • News UK as part of the team instructed as lead criminal advisers in respect of criminal and associated litigation concerning allegations of telephone voicemail interception and corruption of public officials.
  • GlaxoSmithKline as part of the team instructed as lead criminal advisers in respect of the company's ongoing investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • Individuals involved in the SFO's investigations into Rolls Royce and Tesco.
  • Companies on their responsibilities in providing information to police forces investigating employees as well as their responsibilities for notifying suspicious activities under the Terrorism Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act.
  • Multinational automotive parts manufacturer on the impact on its business practices of the UK Bribery Act.
  • Multinational companies in various sectors, including defence, pharmaceutical and humanitarian, on the interaction and compliance of their businesses with the UK and EU sanctions programmes.


  • BVC, Inns of Court School of Law, 2003
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies, University of East Anglia, 2002
  • BA (Hons), History, University of East Anglia, 2001
  • England and Wales
Government & Military Service
  • Crown Advocate/Specialist Prosecutor, Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division
  • Member, Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Member, Criminal Bar Association

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