Details of practice
Criminal law; police regulation; inquests; associated public law
Extensive experience of serious crime, including leading multi-handed prosecutions involving serious organized crime on behalf of the National Crime Squad (now SOCA/NCA); the National Hi Tech Crime Unit; and so-called “cybercrime” cases investigated by the Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU). Particular expertise in prosecuting offences involving child exploitation, either involving the internet, or by way of extra-jurisdictional contact offending against children.
Serious fraud work includes defending Frank Warren (alleged VAT evasion) and Michael Wilson-Smith (reported as R v G, R v B, 2004). Panel member of counsel instructed by the Serious Fraud Office. SFO cases include the prosecution of international corporate corruption in the conduct of public procurement contracts by a subsidiary of J&J in Greece (reported as R v Dougall, 2010).
Additionally, specialises in proceedings relating to the actions and accountability of police forces and police officers, including defending charges of manslaughter, corruption, attempts to pervert the course of justice, and misconduct in public office. Extensive associated experience advising and representing police officers at public inquiries, inquests, IPCC supervised investigations, internal disciplinary proceedings and associated judicial review proceedings. Co-author of “Police Misconduct, Complaints, and Public Regulation”, OUP 2009, the leading practitioner textbook on all aspects of police regulation, including performance, misconduct, the IPCC, crime, and inquests (see “publications”: second edition pending).
Presently instructed as Counsel to the Inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian former KGB officer allegedly poisoned by polonium 210 in London in 2006.
He is head of the Bar Human Rights Committee Child Rights Unit and an independent member of the ACPO child protection executive board. He delivers training to judges and other professionals in relation to crimes involving indecent photographs of children.
In 2011 he was awarded an OBE for services to Children and Young People, in his capacity as Legal Adviser to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). CEOP is responsible for policing national and international sexual offending against children, including internet based crime, extraterritorial offending and child trafficking. He has advised CEOP throughout its history. In 2013 he was lead author of an ACPO commissioned report that has resulted in the Government tabling extensive legislative reform of the sexual civil prevention order regime.
Ranked as a “Band 1” Silk in Chambers UK 2014 both in crime and professional discipline.
Ranked as a “Band 2” Silk in Chambers UK 2014 in inquests.
“One of the few new Silks in crime this year, he is held in very high esteem at the Bar. “ “He is good all round, you can throw any case at him, and he gets it right each time.” Chambers UK 2014: Crime
“He is incredibly thorough. He knows every page that is necessary and he is a very good strategist.” “The man for the most serious cases. His analytical and forensic approach to cases is unmatched”.
Chambers UK 2014: Inquests
“Considered to be amongst the elite when it comes to police disciplinary law. He also handles inquest work and judicial review matters.” “I would go to him. He stands head and shoulders above the rest. He is just incredibly professional and very good at judging the level at which to pitch things.” Chambers UK 2014: Professional Discipline
Ranked as a “Band 1” leading junior in Chambers UK 2011 and 2013 both in crime and professional discipline
Professional Discipline Junior of the Year - Chambers and Partners Bar Awards, 2009, and nominated as such again in 2010 and 2011
The "frighteningly bright and very sharp" Hugh Davies is seen as "simply one of the best barristers in the country" when it comes to police misconduct matters and criminal proceedings brought against the police. His increasing workload in cyber-crime is also noted, and he specialises in prosecuting child exploitation offences. In the past twelve months he has been leading a 24-handed Old Bailey prosecution regarding allegations of industrial-scale cannabis cultivation across the UK. Chambers UK 2013 (Crime)
Leading junior Hugh Davies is "the best junior barrister for police discipline bar none." Specialising in defence work, he will often lead opposite silks, and has been instructed in high-profile cases and inquests. These include the inquest into the death of former Russian Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko. Chambers UK 2013 (Professional Discipline)
‘prosecutes at the highest level short of Silk’. The Legal 500 2012 (Crime)
“one of the most thoughtful of barristers “. Chambers UK 2012 (Crime)
“The ‘always impressive’ Hugh Davies has been instructed in the lion's share of politically sensitive cases in recent months regarding internal police matters and deaths in custody” Chambers UK 2012 (Professional Discipline)
“Hugh Davies’ ‘sensitive handling of emotional situations and robust approach to situations which need firmer resolution’ make him an ideal candidate for prosecuting child exploitation and human trafficking cases.” The Legal 500 2011 (Crime)
“Hugh Davies co-wrote the leading textbook on police misconduct, and his remarkable expertise singles him out as one of the lead practitioners in the field. Clients say they always instruct him when they need a particularly ‘clever and academic approach’ to cases as ‘he knows what will work well’. He is known for his immense intellect and his ‘understated, balanced style’.” Chambers UK 2011 (Professional Discipline)
Pembroke College, Oxford (BA(Hons) Jurisprudence, Domus Scholar)
University of Oxford Winter Williams Prize in Law, 1988
Lincoln's Inn, Walter Wigglesworth Major Scholar, 1990
CBA working party into the role of Treasury Counsel 
CBA working party re Home Office Consultation “Modernising Police Powers to Meet Community Needs”; 
Co-author CBA submission to Home Office consultation in relation to criminalising possession of extreme pornography 
Legal advisor to the Children’s Charities Coalition for Internet Safety (CHIS) [2005 - ]
Chair of ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) inter-agency legal advisory panel on internet and international crimes against children [2008 - ]
Member of the ACPO Combating Child Abuse on the Internet (CCAI) committee and travelling sex offenders working group [2007 - ]
Member of the new ACPO child protection executive board and plenary boards (multi-disciplinary expert boards directed at all aspects of the policing of crimes against children, nationally and extra-territorially)
Head of the Bar Human Rights Committee Child Rights Unit [2009 - ] (directed at initiatives to address international child exploitation, and involving projects with local jurisdiction NGOs, police forces, Government, and prosecutors)
Queen's Counsel 2013
Review of Civil Prevention Orders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003: Lead Author May 2013. Please click here for a copy of this report, which was commissioned by the ACPO Child Protection and Abuse Investigation Working Group and has resulted in proposed legislative reform under the Anti-Social Crime and Behaviour Bill.
Police Misconduct, Complaints, and Public Regulation, Oxford University Press, publication July 2009. A comprehensive practitioners’ text book, co-written with John Beggs QC, covering the national organisation of policing; the IPCC; chief officer appointment and removal; police performance and misconduct regulations 1999-2008; internal reviews and appeals; Police Appeals Tribunals; abuse of process; inquests; and police related criminal offending.
Mr Justice Burnett’s review states:
"John Beggs QC and Hugh Davies have brought together the detail of all the relevant law into one comprehensive volume and provided a readily understandable commentary on all of its major aspects. This book deals succinctly with the criminal offences with which police officers may be changed in connection with their duties. The section on Coroners' Inquests provides an impressive précis of law and procedure as it affects deaths for which the police may be responsible. The disciplinary chapters explain the processes and then provide the texts of all the material statutory instruments. This work will be an invaluable guide to any practitioner concerned with any aspect of Police behaviour. To have all the material in one place will save hours of work. This work is something of a trail-blazer in the disciplinary field. It will not be long before similar works appear dealing with other professions."
See here for more information
Child Pornography and the internet – A Practical Guide to Prosecution (2003)
Misconduct in Public Office: A Guide to Definition and Avoidance (2003)
Child Pornography: Investigation and Prosecution (2005 conference at The British Library)
Firearms Operations: managing the legal and professional risks a series of lectures to Bronze, Silver and Gold Commanders in July 2006 with John Beggs QC, Colin Burrows QPM and Phil Manns (ex SO19)
Social Networking: A Lawyer’s Perspective (Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP), June 2006, part of a wider conference addressing dangers to children from social networking sites)
Regular delivery of training to judges (through JSB serious sexual offences seminars) and, separately, CPS lawyers on internet based and extra-jurisdictional offending against children
International child abuse prevention initiatives and Communication technologies and child abuse; The South African Professional Society on the Sexual Abuse of Children (SAPSAC; a national multi-disciplinary organisation), as international guest speaker (Pretoria, May 2010)
Twin of Robert Davies, Principal Crown Advocate, CPS SCD
Criminal Bar Association
Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
Hugh Davies is qualified to accept instructions direct from clients under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme. This means that members of the public who seek specialist advice can come direct to him. In addition, he welcomes instructions from solicitors, in-house law departments, qualified foreign lawyers, and clients licensed by the Bar Council to give instructions direct to barristers under the Bar Council’s Licensed Access Scheme.
For further information please contact our Clerks.