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Axiom Legal Financing Fund

The SFO conducted a criminal investigation into the collapse of the Axiom Legal Financing Fund. This investigation was opened on 10 July 2014.

The SFO publishes updates on our website every few months and we ask that, if you are a witness in this case, you keep us informed if your contact details change at all.

On 21 August 2020, the SFO charged three men with multiple offences in connection with its investigation. Timothy Schools, David Kennedy and Richard Emmett were charged with carrying out a fraudulent scheme to divert money from the Axiom Legal Financing Fund for their own benefit.

Outcome of criminal case

On 9 August 2022, following  an 18 week trial, Timothy Schools was found guilty by a jury on three counts of fraudulent trading, contrary to Section 993(1) of the Companies Act 2006, one count of fraud, contrary to Section 1 and 4 of the Fraud Act 2006, and one count of transferring criminal property, contrary to Section 327(1)(d) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 20022. 

Richard Emmett was acquitted of one count of fraudulent trading, contrary to Section 993(1) of the Companies Act 2006, and one count of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by another, contrary to Section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict with regard to David Kennedy, who was charged with one count of fraudulent trading, contrary to Section 993(1) of the Companies Act 2006.


On 11 August 2022, Schools was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was also handed a Serious Crime Prevention Order, in place until 5 years after his release, and a Directors disqualification for 15 years. 


A re-trial date for David Kennedy has now been fixed for Monday 18 March 2024.

Confiscation proceedings

Confiscation proceedings have started with a confiscation timetable set for the service of documents . A hearing is listed for the 7 September 2023, where in the absence of agreement on a confiscation order, the Court will list the matter for a contested hearing.

Appeal against sentence

Mr Schools’ appeal against his 14 year sentence was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on the 29 March 2023. 

Page published on 16 May 2017 | Page modified on 3 May 2024