John Traversi

Called 1977 (Gray’s Inn)



John is a highly respected criminal defence advocate of many years experience. He has developed a practice with a trans-national emphasis, acting largely for non-English speaking clients. He has defended in heavy duty drugs cases, human trafficking, fraud and money laundering, together with murders, rapes and other offences of serious violence. He is also a grade four (highest grade) prosecutor domestically, dealing with similar cases to those in which he defends. He is on the prosecution specialist rape and fraud panels.



John has a wide knowledge of European legal systems. His experience of adversarial justice systems and those governed by civil codes provides him with a keen appreciation of evidential and legal issues necessary in the hybrid environment of the international courts. He has handled a multitude of cases with trans-national and international dimensions and has been invited to address a variety of bodies internationally on criminal law subjects from a perspective of comparative law.

John is appointed to the lists of defence counsel at:

  • International Criminal court
  • Special Tribunal for the Lebanon (lead counsel), incuding 2010 training for defence counsel.
  • International Tribunal for Rwanda.


Associated legal work

  • Oral trials in Mexico, 2006, 2007, 2008. John was involved in the preparation and training of Mexican judges, lawyers, police and scientific investigators in respect of recent constitutional reforms adopted, which introduced oral trials and the receiving of oral evidence. This involved capacity building in the formulation of judgments and legal argument, how to prepare and formulate cases, how to present and cross-examine on evidence. Of necessity, this involved the consideration of important human rights issues, significant in the current situation in a country gripped by a militarised “war on drugs”. This engagement was carried out under the auspices of the British Council, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Penales (INACIPE). During his time in Mexico, John lectured at a major criminal law conference involving 2000 delegates from Latin American countries and at a similar criminal law symposium at the prestigious University of Guanajuato. He also lectured the members of the judiciary in Guanajuato.
  • In 2011, John returned to Mexico as a member of a four person delegation sent by the Bar Human Rights Committee to investigate progress or otherwise in the human rights field, presenting the report written by the delegation, in the House of Lords in November 2012.  (
  • In 2006, John and Steven Kay Q.C. were invited by Ceeli-ABA to Kazakhstan to train judges and lawyers in jury trial techniques in preparation for the introduction of constitutional reform of the justice system. (Almaty, Astana, Aktobe)
  • Lecturer to the British Spanish Lawyers Association in London and Santiago de Compostela in Spanish criminal justice and jury trials in England and Wales.
  • Lecturer on Criminal Investigation Procedures in Europe from the perspective of comparative law at the Judicial College of the Spanish Consejo General del Poder Judicial in Barcelona. An audience of judges and prosecutors from all over the European Union.



  • Criminal Bar Association
  • BPI
  • British Spanish Lawyers Association
  • British Italian Lawyers Association



  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian


Notable cases

  • Lundin Oil Company 2019-  Universal jurisdiction proceedings in Sweden alleging war crimes committed in Sudan 1997-2003 against Lundin Oil Company, its Chairman and CEO.
    The matter is currently at the investigation stage.
  • R v Teixeira d’Abreu, Richardson and others, Winchester Crown Court and CCA. Massive drug smuggling case, involving notorious crime family members. Acted for the South American connection.
  • R v Sanchez Gonzalez, Portsmouth Crown Court, importation via Spain of 100 kilos of cocaine.
  • R v Castro Peiteado, Luton Crown Court, acted for Spanish connection in 40 kilo cocaine supply conspiracy
  • R v Kadaris, Larcenko and others, Snaresbrook Crown Court, human trafficking for sexual exploitation, one of first such cases involving Eastern European traffickers and victims together with Chinese connection at the receiving and exploitation end, a brothel in SW3.
  • R v Early and others, Wood Green Crown Court, large scale diversion fraud with serious disclosure problems regarding participating informants, agebts provocateurs and HMCE propriety.
  • R v Fleming and others, multi million pound duty evasion conspiracy.
  • R v Borrero Cruzado and others, Acted for Spanish connection in a cocaine conspiracy which also involved Colombian defendants.
  • R v Moore and another, gunpoint kidnapping of wealthy man from his home for £¼ million ransom.
  • R v Julkowski, Harrow Crown Court, marital rape over 20 year period. Origins of complaints in Poland. Evidence taken from abroad and difficult questions as to receipt of “bad character” evidence from abroad.
  • R v Ibanez Cantero, acted for Spanish connection in 77 kilo cocaine conspiracy
  • R v Baranzadeh Nejad, Middlesex Crown Court defended man charged with £1 million fraud on a Swiss based charity. Took evidence in Switzerland under Swiss law.
  • R v Binford Ltd and others, defended in pharmaceutical fraud on the Isle of Man, described as the Island’s largest case.
  • R v L, defended father accused of raping stepdaughter over six year period, accompanied by other serious sexual offences.
  • R v Doran, Maidstone Crown Court,prosecuted “sex romp” killing.
  • R v Fernley Southwark Crown Court, prosecuted detective constable for false accounting of expenses claims.
  • R (ex p. Corbett) v Secretary of State for Justice and National Offender Management Service. Challenged the imposition of a “lie detector test” as a condition on release from prison of a sex offender on human rights grounds.
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