Rudi Fortson QC
  • He cuts through the most difficult legal technicalities and puts client at ease.

    Chambers UK

  • Skilled at handling confiscation, asset recovery and money laundering matters.

    Chambers UK

  • He combines academic skill with a perfectly genuine charm.

    Legal 500

  • He's diligent, very able and quick to boil down large quantities of case papers into what really matters.

    Chambers UK

  • A formidable advocate in the courtroom. He has an easy manner which clients like.

    Legal 500

  • Very approachable and friendly and extremely knowledgeable - everyone looks to him for guidance.

    Chambers UK

  • He is building himself a reputation as an expert on psychoactive substances.

    Legal 500

  • A quick thinker and solid strategist with strong convictions.

    Legal 500 2018

  • A leading expert on psychoactive substances and the misuse of drugs.

    Legal 500

  • He has huge knowledge and expertise in the field and is warm and helpful with clients.

    Legal 500

  • Well-known as a specialist in illegal and semi-legal drugs and their scientific components.

    Legal 500 2020

Called 1976

Silk 2010

Rudi Fortson QC


An independent practising barrister for some 30 years, and a Visiting Professor of Law at Queen Mary, University of London

A highly rated academic barrister with a fine and analytical mind.Legal 500

Rudi Fortson QC is noted for his work in relation to serious crime, including fraud, confiscation, asset-recovery, money-laundering, drug trafficking and drug law.  He has been described in the Chambers and Partners Directory as “exceptional” (2007), “a staff and a rock to his client” (2008). He has chambers at 25 Bedford Row, London.

Rudi Fortson QC served on the ‘Runciman’ Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act, and he was a member of the Criminal Justice Forum for the Institute for Public Policy Research. He has attended ‘experts meetings’ at the European Commission in Brussels. His work on behalf of the Bar Council of England and Wales in relation to Justice and Home Affairs Issues at EU Level forms part of written evidence that is appended to the Third Report (Session 2006–07) of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

Rudi Fortson QC has written and lectured extensively on a wide range of issues relating to the criminal law (as it applies in the UK and in the EU). He recently gave evidence to the inquiry carried out by the all-party parliamentary group into new psycho-active substances.
His work has been cited by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, on "Towards a Safer Drug Policy: Challenges and Opportunities arising from ‘legal highs’" (2013); and in Parliamentary Debates in Hansard (Psychoactive Substances Bill 2015).  He has provided work for the Law Commission of England and Wales in respect of its scoping project on reforming the Firearms Acts.  He is due to attend Renmin University in Beijing, China, in September 2015, as part of a delegation from the Law School, Queen Mary University of London (lecture on bribery and corruption).

Articles & Publications

  • Firearms & the Law - commissioned by the Law Commission as part of their Scoping Exercise for reforming firearms legislation
  • Misuse of Drugs and Drug Trafficking Offences (6th ed., 2012; Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Currently a contributing editor to Blackstone’s Criminal Practice (2008 to 2016) – Firearms and weapons; Drug offences.
  • Criminal Law Review Conference (December 2012 - December 2014);
  • Contributing author (Encouraging and assisting crime: Part 2 offences: Serious Crime Act 2007) (2013; Participating in Crime, editors Professors Alan Reed and Bohlander, Ashgate Publishing
  • Case Comments for Criminal Law Review (2012-2015) e.g. R v S and H [2012] Crim.L.R. 448; R v Aziz [2012] Crim.L.R. 800.
  • The Serious Crime Act 2007, Blackstone's Guide: Oxford University Press
  • Contributing author to "Banks and Financial Crime The International Law of Tainted Money", edited by William Blair QC and Richard Brent, OUP, 2008.
  • The Criminal Justice Act 1991, Sweet & Maxwell.
  • The Criminal Justice Act 2003, Sweet & Maxwell.
  • The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, Sweet & Maxwell.
  • A former contributing editor of "Archbold: Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice";
  • He is a regular annotator for Current Law Statutes, Sweet & Maxwell Ltd., including:
  • The Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990
  • The Criminal Justice Act 1991
  • The Criminal Justice Act 1993
  • The Drug Trafficking Act 1994
  • The Police and Magistrates’ Courts Act 1994
  • The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Part 5)
  • The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (parts 1-11)
  • Gangmasters Act 2004
  • Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004
  • Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
  • Drugs Act 2005
  • Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
  • Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (Parts 2-9, inclusive).

Associated Work

  • Member of the Criminal Bar Association of England and Wales, and the Forensic Science Society. Rudi Fortson has represented the Bar Council of England and Wales, and the European Criminal Bar Association, at many high level events including various experts meetings in Brussels at the invitation of the European Commission.
  • For three years he was an active member of the Police Foundation Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 [Chair: Dame Ruth Runciman; report March 2000], and for 18 months thereafter he was a member of the Criminal Justice Forum for the Institute of Public Policy Research [IPPR].  He has given evidence to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Professional Memberships

  • Rudi Fortson is a member of the Criminal Bar Association (England and Wales), the Forensic Science Society (Great Britain), the British Academy of Forensic Science, the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association, and the Financial Services Lawyers Association.

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