‘UK’s top barrister’ forced to defend accusations of being ‘wholly incompetent’

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By Thomas Connelly on

Convicted murderer unhappy with Michael Wolkind QC, whose incredible website seems to have raised expectations


The “UK’s top barrister” has been forced to defend his courtroom skills, after allegations suggested he was “wholly incompetent” in representing a multi-millionaire property developer client who was found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife.

Michael Wolkind QC, a criminal specialist at Gray’s Inn’s 2 Bedford Row, dismisses the accusations made by property developer Robert Ekaireb in an application to appeal against his conviction heard last week.

Ekaireb, 41, was given a 22-year jail term last year for the murder of his 27 year-old wife, Lihau Cao, following a row at their luxury apartment in Hampstead, north west London, in 2006. Cao’s body was never found. The property developer is currently challenging his conviction in the Court of Appeal, alleging that it is unsafe because he was not represented properly at his trial.

Ekaireb apparently chose Wolkind after recommendations and internet research — which would have seen him directed to the QC’s legendary “www.topcriminalqc.co.uk” website. But he was not satisfied with Wolkind’s work and dismissed him after the silk’s closing speech to the jury in his trial.


According to The Times‘ legal newsletter The Brief, at the hearing last week Ekaireb’s new lawyer, Orlando Pownall QC, made a catty dig to Wolkind about his online presence, stating:

My suggestion, with regret, is that, whether or not you are deserving of the praise contained on your own personal website, you failed Mr Ekaireb by a performance that was — no doubt because you were overworked — wholly incompetent.

Wolkind is standing his ground. The barrister — who was called to the bar in 1976 and took silk in 1999 — reportedly told the Court of Appeal that he had put up a “real fight” while defending Ekaireb last year at the Old Bailey, and was well-prepared and not over-worked.

Wolkind hit headlines back in 2012 when he created his somewhat self-indulgent website.

The site describes Wolkind as the “UK’s top barrister”, includes a ‘Diary of Success’ listing the silk’s “stunning serious crime victories”, and is awash with gushing client testimonials including:

You are the most talented man I have ever met… you have given me my life back… you are awesome.

What can I say, you are the greatest.

The judgment in Ekaireb’s hearing has been reserved, with the result set to be announced next month.