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Michael Forster

Regulatory and Local Government

BSB Barristers’ Register

Mike is a highly regarded expert in all areas of Regulatory work and has prosecuted many complex cases for local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive. One of his key areas of expertise is handling health and safety cases.

He has represented a number of major high street retailers in respect of a wide range of criminal matters including major health and safety offences, trade descriptions, misleading price indications, under-age alcohol sales, food hygiene, breach of advertising regulations and water pollution offences.

Mike has also advised and represented retailers in relation to appeals against the issue of prohibition

  • been instructed in numerous cases involving accidents in industrial and commercial premises. For example: one case involved an incident concerning a fork-lift truck and side loader which was in a dangerous condition.  Another was an appeal against a prohibition notice preventing use of an escalator in a large department store.
  • advised a water company in relation to a water pollution incident involving the discharge of cyanide. 
  • represented a major retailer in appeals against prohibition notices and / or prosecutions under s2 & 3 of the Health & Safety At Work Act 1974 when workers fell from the roofs of industrial premises sustaining fatal injuries.  
  • represented a Local Authority in a two-week appeal in the Crown Court following the conviction of an engineering company for noise nuisance, where he was against Queen’s Counsel instructed on behalf of the defendant company.
  • been instructed for the prosecution and the defence in cases relating to distributing counterfeit software in breach of copyright and supplying goods to which a false trade description had been applied. 
  • been instructed in gross negligence manslaughter cases, one of which concerned an investigation involving a large number of fatalities of elderly patients in hospital.
  • Advised on disclosure issues under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and requests for further information by various statutory bodies in respect of a large investigation involving gross negligence manslaughter.
  • advised local authorities on various issues in relation to: (i) An appeal by way of case stated regarding delegation of power to commence proceedings within a local authority and the effect of the same on subsequent proceedings.  (ii) An appeal to the High Court about the ambit of a resolution prohibiting street trading.  (iii) An appeal by way of case stated in relation to the detention of goods by a port authority.  (iv) As to whether there were any criminal offences committed as a result of alleged irregularities during a local election.
  • Instructed to advise and represent in several pollution cases involving the deposit of controlled waste and also concerning breach of planning control on behalf of both the Environment Agency and local authorities.
  • been instructed in inquests involving: (i) the fatal injury of a rope access maintenance contractor falling onto a railway track; (ii) the death of a young worker in a grain silo; (iii) a fatality during a police pursuit; (iv) the death of a police officer responding to an emergency call; and (v) the treatment of a young person whilst in care of a local authority.
  • Mike also has long experience of applications for judicial review & appeals by way of case stated

Mike is also on the SFO Panel ‘A’




Mike specialises in commercial fraud and other complex offences. He has been instructed in numerous cases including income tax fraud, VAT/MTIC fraud, conspiracy to defraud and corruption. 

He has a background of instruction and advocacy in respect of other serious crime including (for example) murder, attempted murder, gross negligence manslaughter, drugs conspiracies and rape and serious sexual offences. 

He was prosecution junior to Nicholas Haggan QC in the murder trial of the first Indian national to be extradited to the UK.  He received a commendation from the Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary for ‘outstanding professionalism, dedication and personal commitment’ for his work in this trial.  In 2013 and 2016 he received further similar awards.

Mike has regularly been instructed by the CPS Complex Casework Unit. This includes the recent trial and resulting conviction of a serial killer.

As leading junior, Mike has prosecuted several long jury trials including a 26 handed conspiracy and money laundering case resulting in two trials which took in excess of 4 months to complete overall and a seven month seven handed trial of a multi million pound tax and duty fraud and fraudulent trading.

Mike has long experience of appeals to the court of appeal, applications for judicial review & appeals by way of case stated. 

This includes:

  • a judicial review case concerning the issue of whether a head teacher was bound by codes under PACE when questioning a teacher about an alleged assault on a pupil (Reported as DPP-v-G (Duty to Investigate) – see Archbold 2018 paragraph 15-10).  
  • an appeal to the Court of Appeal in a case which is one of the leading authorities on the meaning of ‘demand’ in blackmail (see R-v- Lambert [2010] 1 Cr App 21 – Archbold 2018, paragraphs 21-212-214). 
  • several applications for judicial review relating to technical aspects of road traffic offences.  P–v-DPP was a test case in relation to the “envelope argument”.  This postulates that any non-compliance with the signage regulations results in unenforceability of the speed limit.  This would have had significant consequences for traffic enforcement nationally.  The Divisional Court rejected the argument.
  • an appeal to the Court of Appeal in relation to a terminating ruling in the Crown Court in relation to a case involving a multi handed conspiracy to defraud.

R-v- CR and 6 others [Electron]

Leading Counsel for the prosecution in a 6 month, seven handed VAT and Duty fraud and fraudulent trading trial.

R-v- K & 9 others (Op Jasper)

 Leading junior for the prosecution in a 21 count conspiracy and money laundering trial.

 R –v- A & 25 others

Leading junior for the prosecution in ‘Operation Buntline’ which involved trials lasting 4 months in a 26 handed ‘County lines’ drugs conspiracy.

 R-v- H

Junior for the prosecution in the trial of a serial killer later dramatized in the ITV series ‘A Confession’.

 R (West Sussex CC) –v- M, A & B

Leading junior for the prosecution in 5 week Fraudulent Trading trial.

 R –v- O’D

Leading Junior in a trial involving prosecution under the medicines legislations.