“Michael Drury is praised for his mastery of complex financial crime cases. Sources note: ‘He has demonstrated that he is fearless when dealing with the SFO and FCA, and other international investigating agencies’ and that he is ‘excellent in giving firm, but good advice, with the client’s best interest at heart’.”
Michael Drury joined BCL as a partner in September 2010 from GCHQ where for a number of years he was Director for Legal Affairs and a member of the main Board of Directors, having been appointed GCHQ’s first full-time legal adviser in 1996. He was called to the Bar in 1982 and subsequently admitted as a solicitor at the time of his move to GCHQ. Prior to that he was a tax lawyer in the City and then prosecuted for HM Customs & Excise and the Serious Fraud Office where he had the conduct of some of the most notable cases in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He is the last of those who founded the SFO to remain in full time practice.
Michael’s practice is diverse, ranging from extradition, where he has successfully represented senior Ministers and others in former Soviet Union states and a number of significant Turkish businessmen (falsely alleged to be terrorists and part of the 2016 coup attempt) defeating extradition claims and securing the removal of and preventing the issue of Red Notices; representing individuals in regulatory proceedings brought by the FCA (in LIBOR and other matters); acting in criminal investigations by the SFO (including for corporates and individuals in bribery and corruption cases, and in LIBOR), as well as in fraud investigations by a variety of police forces in England and Wales; to achieving successful outcomes for clients in investigations by the Information Commissioner’s Office, in the spin off from National Crime Agency (‘NCA’) investigations into ‘blagging’.
Michael has recently successfully avoided attempts by the NCA to obtain an Unexplained Wealth Order against individuals who were under threat of this, leaving his clients free to deal with their assets as they wished. He is also representing other clients in resisting actions sought to be taken by the NCA on the basis of mutual legal assistance being provided to criminal investigators overseas.
Notably, Michael represented individuals, including the deputy head of MI6, in the Metropolitan Police investigation into the alleged involvement of British officials in the transfer of individuals to Libya under the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi: that six year investigation resulted in no prosecution. Michael has a special expertise where the criminal law interacts with national security and official secrets.
Michael’s work in the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’) is notable, with him having been part of the team of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta against whom proceedings before the Court were discontinued by the prosecutor on the basis of, amongst other things, analysis suggested by Michael. He is instructed in ongoing ICC matters being investigated by the Office of the Prosecutor.
Moreover, given his background and continuing instructions, Michael is a leading expert on surveillance and investigatory powers (as well as information law and cybercrime) advising a number of corporates about their obligations under the UK regime and its interaction with the regimes overseas. That expertise was acknowledged by the invitation to give public evidence in April 2106 to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights in respect of the human rights compatibility of the Investigatory Powers Bill (as it then was). Michael also provided evidence to David Anderson QC – the then reviewer of terrorism legislation – in his “Bulk Powers” review. Michael has provided a very substantial body of advice about the effect of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (‘IPA’), concentrating on the implications for ‘tech companies (UK and overseas) and especially in the light of the dynamic and changing jurisprudence concerning electronic surveillance powers in the UK coming from the Strasbourg Court, the European Court of Justice, and the English Courts and Tribunals.
This practice builds on Michael’s unique experience at GCHQ, where he had control of the full range of legal issues. He has unrivalled expertise in the fields of interception and surveillance, being responsible in part for the drafting of the IPA’s predecessor (which is still to be seen in the current law) and its secondary legislation, and taking part within Government in every subsequent consideration of the law in this area. Aside from being part of the team managing GCHQ’s legal relations with communications service providers and gaining a deep understanding of the law in this area, he was involved in all of the significant litigation concerning interception under RIPA. From that time he has wide experience of acting in public inquires, resisting challenges to Government action in the surveillance field (especially in relation to interception and the collection of communications data), and disclosure in civil and criminal litigation (including asset freezing) where issues of public interest immunity and the ban on the use of interception as evidence were to the fore.
Michael was appointed a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list.
“Michael Drury is praised for his mastery of complex financial crime cases. Sources note: “He has demonstrated that he is fearless when dealing with the SFO and FCA, and other international investigating agencies.” He is recognised for his deep experience in criminal investigations and is said to be “excellent in giving firm, but good advice, with the client’s best interest at heart.””
Chambers UK, 2015
“Michael Drury ‘has a very good strategic mind’.”
The Legal 500, 2014
“…is ‘particularly good at advising companies as regards their relations with government’.”
The Legal 500, 2013
“Former director for legal affairs at GCHQ Michael Drury is ‘brilliant to work with, very hands-on, very knowledgeable about criminal procedure, and good at anticipating bear traps as well’ according to sources, who go on to laud his client care and pragmatism.”
Chambers UK, 2013
“Sources agree that ‘his natural and easy-going style gives him a great affinity with clients’.”
Chambers UK, 2012