Merry Van Woodenberg2018-06-25T15:06:32+00:00
Merry Van Woodenberg

Merry Van Woodenberg

Prosecutes and defends a range of serious crime with particular expertise in financial crime.




Law LLB Queen Mary University of London
Harmsworth Scholar, Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
Major Scholar, The Kalisher Trust


Grade 2 CPS prosecutor
SFO Panel C Advocate


Financial Services Lawyers Association
Young Fraud Lawyers Association
Criminal Bar Association
Extradition Lawyers Association

Overview of Practice

Merry prosecutes and defends in the Crown Court, and in serious Youth Court cases. She has experience across a broad range of serious offences, including GBH with intent, firearms, the supply of Class A drugs, and serious sexual offences.

Merry’s particular interest is in financial crime and regulation. She has had significant success in fraud and money laundering trials. She is experienced in financial regulation, having been seconded to the Enforcement arm of the Financial Conduct Authority. She is comfortable acting in cases with a voluminous page count and complex issues of fact and law. She understands the intricacies of the law of disclosure and is an efficient disclosure counsel, with experience of working in and managing teams.

Merry has written for or appeared as a legal commentator on Channel 4 News, ITV News, MSN News, The Lawyer, The Barrister, Halsbury’s Laws Exchange and UK Criminal Law Blog.

Practice Areas

Merry has experience across the full range of criminal offences, including GBH with intent, possession of firearms, the supply of Class A drugs, and serious sexual offences. She has a particular expertise in crimes with a financial element (see below ‘Fraud and Financial Misconduct’). She both prosecutes and defends. Merry has appeared as sole counsel in complex trials of up to a month in length and her criminal practice has developed beyond her Call year.

Merry is adept at both representing and cross-examining youths and other vulnerable individuals, and has represented many defendants on the autistic spectrum. She is alive to the particular issues that arise in cases involving the vulnerable, and has experience of working with intermediaries. She has cross-examined witnesses as young as 9 years old, with a judge commenting her witness handling was conducted ‘very ably and entirely in accordance with the Advocate’s Gateway’.

Merry has experienced particular success defending fraud and money laundering trials. She is a Grade 2 CPS prosecutor, and has also prosecuted cases of fraud for the Royal Mail.

In 2016 Merry was instructed by the Central Fraud Division of the CPS to assist with a disclosure exercise in relation to a £250 million serious fraudulent trading and money laundering case. She coordinated a team of 15 counsel in performing a document review of voluminous material.

Merry has worked for the Financial Conduct Authority, firstly in the Enforcement Department, where her work largely focused on an investigation into a multi-national Bank, and thereafter in the Proceeds of Crime Division. Merry conducted detailed legal analysis and obtained in-depth knowledge of financial regulation and asset recovery.

Prior to joining Chambers, Merry spent two years working at top law firm Corker Binning, where she assisted in the defence of those accused of insider dealing, cheating the revenue, fraud (including film tax credit and carbon credits fraud), corruption and phone hacking. Merry assisted the head of the firm with an internal investigation into alleged fraud on the NHS by a pharmaceutical company. Merry gained experience of defending cases brought by the SFO, FCA, HMRC, BiS and the CPS. As a result, Merry is proficient at dealing with the complicated issues that arise in white-collar crime cases, in particular those relating to legal professional privilege.

Merry was seconded to the Proceeds of Crime Division of the Financial Conduct Authority, dealing with restraint and confiscation matters. She has also acted as sole counsel in defending contested confiscation proceedings. She is experienced at dealing with the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and associated civil recovery powers. Merry also acts in condemnation proceedings on behalf of the Home Office.

Merry accepts instructions in extradition cases. She has also written extensively on elements of extradition law. In her previous role at Corker Binning, Merry had the opportunity to work on some of the most high-profile extradition cases.

Merry is currently instructed as junior by HMRC in relation to a high-value MTIC fraud.

Notable Cases

R v W – Rape – Isleworth Crown Court –Secured funding for the assistance of an intermediary to assist the Defendant for the duration of the trial. Following several section 8 applications and resulting disclosure, successfully secured the admission of ‘bad character’ evidence in relation to previous alleged false accounts of sexual offending by the Complainant. Defendant acquitted.

R v S – Sexual assault – Blackfriars CC – Merry secured an acquittal for a tattoo artist accused of a serious sexual assault on a client.

R v H – Indecent Images – Maidstone CC – D found unfit to plead. Merry conducted a ‘trial of the facts’ and, through cross-examining the expert, undermined the technical evidence leading to an acquittal on one count of the indictment.

R v. Waters – s18 – Maidstone Crown Court: Despite her client being named as ‘the ringleader’ by the complainant, Merry secured the only acquittal on a joint enterprise charge of wounding with intent.

R v. Yassin – money laundering – Isleworth Crown Court: Merry identified a disclosure issue mid-trial which led to the discharge of the jury and the Crown offering no evidence against her client only.

R v. Delaney – fraud by false representation – Reading Crown Court: Successful half-time submission based on recent case law developments.