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 advised on the prosecution and defence of a very wide range of criminal offences and appeared as an advocate in matters up to appellate level.

Mr. Atkinson has been called upon to advise government departments on the development of legislation and policy, and has spoken at international events on legal issues regarding electronic communication, covert evidence-gathering, surveillance and counter-terrorism.

Since entering private practice, he has spoken on developments in UK anti-corruption practice and has provided training to clients in the UK and US on the European and UK aspects of compliance and enforcement in business crime, export controls and international 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.

Mr. Atkinson maintains a busy pro-bono practice, having dealt in recent years with cases assisting NGOs in challenging international human rights abuses, refugee resettlement matters before the UNHCR and domestic matters concerning vulnerable individuals.


  • 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 investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • Investment company conducting an investigation following its receipt of whistleblower allegations, including advising on a linked anti-retaliation claim brought by the whistleblower.
  • Multinational company in an internal investigation stemming from public allegations of bribery.
  • Individuals employed by a multinational investment bank in an investigation being conducted in the US and UK into the bank's alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar fraud.
  • Individuals involved as either suspects or witnesses in a number of high-profile SFO investigations
  • 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 companies on the impact on their business practices of the UK Bribery Act.
  • Multinational companies in various sectors, including defence, energy, high-value goods, humanitarian and pharmaceutical, on the interaction of their businesses with the UK and EU sanctions regimes, and developing adequate export compliance policies, procedures and compliance programmes.
  • UK and multinational companies engaged in cannabis-related business on the impact of the Proceeds of Crime Act on their proposed activities.


  • 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 Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division
  • Member, Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Member, Criminal Bar Association
  • Member, Fraud Lawyers Association
  • Panel Member, Advocate (the Bar Pro Bono Unit)

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