Alisdair Williamson QC

Call: 1994 / QC: 2017

"Majestic".

Chambers UK

"A tactically brilliant silk".

The Legal 500 2020: Police Law (defendant)

"Technically brilliant - one of the very best."

Legal 500

"A brilliant cross-examiner."

The Legal 500 2019: Crime

"His witness handling is outstanding".

Chambers UK

Instructing Alisdair

To instruct Alisdair please contact our Clerks on +44 (0)20 7400 6400 or email clerks@3rblaw.com.

Alisdair Williamson QC practises in serious crime and professional discipline, and has been recognised for many years as of one of the foremost barristers in his area.

He is well-known as specialist defence counsel in homicide, fraud, and difficult, complex sexual offences. He has acted in many very high-profile cases, including the successful defence of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell. He is a former Times Lawyer of the Week and also practises in professional disciplinary tribunals, inquests, and licensing.

Alisdair is currently instructed to defend a high-profile solicitor in allegations of sexual misconduct before the High Court on appeal from the SDT. He is also instructed for the lead defendant at the manslaughter trial arising from the tragic deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants concealed in a container. He successfully represented the lead officers in the police discipline case arising from the death of Sean Rigg. He represented the lead officer cleared of gross misconduct in the investigation into the murder of a 3-year-old child. He was also instructed to defend in a claim of professional negligence against solicitors in the case of footballer Ched Evans following his acquittal of rape charges. He is also instructed in cases of murder, money laundering, and fraud around the country.

He has a successful appellate practice in both the Court of Appeal, where he is asked to take over cases in which he was not previously instructed, and in the form of judicial review.

He is ranked in Chambers UK and Legal 500.

Legal Expertise

Crime overview

Alisdair is one of the leading barristers in criminal law. He has defended in the gravest and most serious cases around the country. His experience of complex and sensitive allegations is of the highest order, whether murder or sexual offences. He has a truly impressive record in defending the most difficult and emotionally charged cases where a range of advocacy skills and styles are required. He has particular expertise in cross-examining vulnerable witnesses in the most demanding of circumstances.

Notable Crime cases

R v AD (2020)

Alisdair secured the acquittal of a member of staff accused of sexual assaults on a vulnerable patient in a psychiatric unit

R v W (2019)

Alisdair secured the acquittal of a man found with £500,000 hidden in his flat. Charged with money-laundering, he explained that he was a semi-professional gambler and the money represented his winnings.

R v WM (2019)

Alisdair's client was acquitted of murdering his mother in a case of complicated psychiatric, evidential, and forensic issues.

R v P (2018)

After successfully appealing the defendant’s conviction arising from the judge’s wrongful refusal to allow time for an expert to complete their report, Alisdair secured complete acquittals for a police officer accused of historical sexual abuseof his partner’s daughter. The case involved complicated forensic issues arising from the effect of therapy and EMDR on the complainant’s memory.

R v H (2018)

Successful defence of a woman accused of serious, historical sexual assaults on her son. A highly unusual, difficult and emotionally charged case in which Alisdair secured his client’s acquittal.

Fraud & Corruption overview

Alisdair has been at the forefront of fraud work throughout his practice. Whether it has been advising in high-profile cases, strategic management of crises to prevent litigation, or representing high net worth individuals at every stage of the criminal process, Alisdair’s experience and expertise is in constant demand. He has defended in a variety of VAT, missing trader, income tax and regulatory frauds. His background degree in economics enables him to master the financial details and nuances. Solicitors and lay clients value his approachable style and analytic ability.

Alisdair has extensive defence experience of tax evasion, missing trader and other VAT frauds, frauds on public bodies such as the NHS, and frauds in the obtaining of contracts from government departments.

Notable Fraud & Corruption cases

R v H (Southwark Crown Court)

Leading counsel international conspiracy to defraud and money-laundering.

Re W-C (Chancery Division)

Proceedings in respect of an accountancy services firm.

R v S (Ipswich Crown Court)

Leading counsel multi-million pound international conspiracy to defraud.

R v B (Leeds Crown Court)

Leading counsel multi-million pound international VAT missing trader fraud.

R v C (Chichester Crown Court)

Regional Development Office fraud.

Inquests & Inquiries overview

Alisdair has extensive experience acting for individuals, including police officers and doctors, at Inquests in a range of areas around the country. He has particular expertise in investigations into deaths in police custody.

Notable Inquests & Inquiries cases

Inquest into death of ST (2016)

Represented three Custody Sergeants in a widely reported death in custody.

Inquest into death of DB (2015)

Represented a police officer whose vehicle crushed a member of the public after being left unattended. Complex issues of latent defect in the braking system, an unlawful killing conclusion was avoided following representations on behalf of the officer.

Professional Discipline overview

Alisdair has an enviable record in defending police officers in disciplinary proceedings and the criminal courts; he well understands the unique pressures that face police officers accused of wrong-doing. He has widespread experience representing senior officers accused of corruption. He has successfully represented officers accused of the most serious offences and misconduct.

Alisdair also acts for lawyers, doctors, and dentists before their professional disciplinary bodies. He has particular expertise in allegations of sexual misconduct against professionals.

Notable Professional Discipline cases

SRA v Beckwith (2019)

Alisdair represented Mr Beckwith in this ground-breaking prosecution by the SRA; following a hearing of 9 days the SDT imposed a fine on Mr Beckwith for engaging in inappropriate sexual activity with a colleague when her judgment was impaired, the SDT refusing to make the more serious findings sought by the SRA.

In the matter of Sean Rigg (2019)

Successful representation of officer cleared of any wrong doing arising from the death of Sean Rigg in 2008. Police discipline hearing held 10.5 years after the tragic events.

R v P (2018)

After successfully appealing the defendant’s conviction arising from the judge’s wrongful refusal to allow time for an expert to complete their report, Alisdair secured complete acquittals for a police officer accused of historical sexual abuse of his partner’s daughter. Complicated issues of memory contamination from Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR).

R v T (2018)

Successful defence of police officer accused of historical serious sexual offences against step-daughter.

R (Chief Constable of the Derbyshire Constabulary)v The Police Appeals Tribunal (Green and Stewart –Interested Parties)[2012]

EWHC 2280.

Re H (2016)

Successful representation of Police Custody Sergeant at discipline proceedings for failure to secure medical attention for a detainee with two broken legs.

Re R (2014)

Successful defence of a dentist accused before the GDC of sexual assaults on two members of staff. The case was dismissed.

Crime

R v AD
2020
Alisdair’s client, a teacher in a secure psychiatric unit, was acquitted of all counts of sexually abusing a child patient.

R v W
2019
Successful defence of man found with £500,000 in cash hidden in his flat. Charged with money-laundering, he explained that he was a semi-professional gambler and the money was his winnings from poker and horse racing.

R v P
2018
After successfully appealing the defendant’s conviction arising from the judge’s wrongful refusal to allow time for an expert to complete their report, Alisdair secured complete acquittals for a police officer accused of historical sexual abuse of his partner’s daughter. Complicated issues of memory contamination from Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR).

R v T
2018
Successful defence of police officer accused of historical serious sexual offences against step-daughter.

R v F
2018
Successful defence of man accused of historical sexual offences against his partner’s three children.

R v C
2018
Legally and factually complex defence of loss of control for man accused of murdering his wife over her sexual humiliation of him.

R v H
2018
Successful defence of a woman accused of serious, historical sexual assaults on her son. A highly unusual, difficult and emotionally charged case in which Alisdair secured his client’s acquittal.

R v W-C
2018
Successful defence of businessman accused of buggery and other serious historical sexual offences against his cousin during the late 80s.

R v B
2018
Successful defence of headmaster and former scout master accused of a series of historical, serious sexual offences.

R v U
2017
Successful defence of young defendant accused of a leading role in fatal stabbing. Found not guilty of murder, manslaughter and conspiracy to commit GBH.

R v M
2017
Successful defence of man accused of raping his sister 35 years ago. The case raised complicated issues of doli incapax and also the presumption of incapacity of rape by reason of age. He was acquitted of rape and of ABH but convicted of an indecent assault for which he was fined.

R v L
2017
L was acquitted of attempted murder. He had stabbed through the heart the leader of a gang who had harassed L and damaged his property. Convicted of GBH.

R v L, V & S
2016
Successful defence of man accused of double gang-rape in the mid-eighties

R v O
2016
Secured the acquittal of a man accused of raping his brother’s wife over an extended period, and historical sexual assault of his niece

R v C
2016
Successful defence of a man accused of raping an unconscious woman. Complex pharmacological and mental health issues

R v A
2015
Successful defence of a man accused of historical childhood incestuous sex offences by his sister. (Direct Access)

R v J
2015
Man accused of historical sexual assaults by a male friend of the family. Acquitted.

R v J
2015
Successful defence of man accused by former wife of a historical campaign of rape and assault.

R v E
2015
Secured the acquittal of a police officer accused of serious abusive behaviour, sexual and physical, on previous partners

R v M
2015
Secured the acquittal of a PC who had previously served with distinction as a Firefighter and who had been accused of the physical and indecent assault of recruits to the Fire Service.

R v C
2015
Police Officer accused by colleague of serious sexual assaults. Acquitted.

R v GC
2014
Successful defence of serving DS against allegations of child rape going back to the 1970s.

R v WH
2014
Secured acquittal of man accused of gang rape during the 1970s.

R v GJ
2014
Defended an allegation of child sex abuse dating back 30 years. The defendant was acquitted.

R v C
2013
Secured the acquittal of a police firearms officer accused of attempting to anally rape and digitally penetrating, his partner.

R v Michael Turner (Michael Le Vell)
2013
The successful defence of actor Michael Le Vell in his prosecution for child rape and other serious sexual offences.

R v D & Y
2013
Successful defence of a 14 year old boy accused of, when 13, raping his co-defendant’s 15 year old girlfriend.

R v Ezekiel & Another
2013
Counsel for the Crown in the successful prosecution of the former leader of Thanet Council for Misconduct in Public Office.

R v G
2012
Secured the acquittal of defendant accused by well-known author of rape and GBH during their marriage

R v Studholme
2012
Leading junior counsel for the only defendant acquitted of conspiracy to supply London’s largest ever seizure of cocaine.

Fraud

R v H (Southwark Crown Court)
Leading counsel international conspiracy to defraud and money-laundering.

Re W-C (Chancery Division)
Proceedings in respect of an accountancy services firm.

R v S (Ipswich Crown Court)
Leading counsel multi-million pound international conspiracy to defraud.

R v B (Leeds Crown Court)
Leading counsel multi-million pound international VAT missing trader fraud.

R v C (Chichester Crown Court)
Regional Development Office fraud.

R v W (Isleworth Crown Court)
Money laundering web.

R v JF (Croydon Crown Court)
Leading counsel million pound fraud on the Home Office.

R v A (Southwark Crown Court)
Large scale bribery for the award of local government contracts.

R v H (Lewes Crown Court)
Million pound income tax fraud and ancilliary JR proceedings.

R v B (Southwark Crown Court)
A complex and large-scale multi-million fraud on the mobile phone networks.

R v W (Inner London Crown Court)
Industrial scale money-laundering through domestic casino networks, and property transactions in Spain.

R v S (Kingston Crown Court)
Leading counsel multi-handed money laundering.

R v AJ (Croydon Crown Court)
Leading counsel multi-million pound fraud against DEFRA.

R v E (Maidstone Crown Court)
Prosecution of the former Mayor of Thanet for corruption and Misconduct in Public Office.

R v Hamper
2012
Leading junior counsel in the successful defence of a woman accused of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of cocaine supply.

R v John & Others
2012
Leading junior for 3rd defendant in largest DEFRA prosecution for fraud relating to animal medicines.

Inquests

Inquest into death of ST
2016
Represented three Custody Sergeants in widely reported death in custody case

Inquest into death of DB
2015
Represented a police officer whose vehicle crushed a member of the public after being left unattended. Complex issues of latent defect in the braking system, an unlawful killing conclusion was avoided following representations on behalf of the officer.

Police

In the matter of Sean Rigg
2019
Successful representation of officer cleared of any wrong doing arising from the death of Sean Rigg in 2008. Police discipline hearing held 10.5 years after the tragic events.

R v P
2018
After successfully appealing the defendant’s conviction arising from the judge’s wrongful refusal to allow time for an expert to complete their report, Alisdair secured complete acquittals for a police officer accused of historical sexual abuse of his partner’s daughter. Complicated issues of memory contamination from Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR).

R v T
2018
Successful defence of police officer accused of historical serious sexual offences against step-daughter.

R (Chief Constable of the Derbyshire Constabulary) v The Police Appeals Tribunal

(Green & Stewart – Interested Parties) [2012] EWHC 2280

Re H
2016
Successful representation of Police Custody Sergeant at discipline proceedings for failure to secure medical attention for a detainee with two broken legs.

R v E
2015
Secured the acquittal of a police officer accused of serious abusive behaviour, sexual and physical, on previous partners.

R v M
2015
Secured the acquittal of a PC who had previously served with distinction as a Firefighter and who had been accused of the physical and indecent assault of recruits to the Fire Service.

R v C
2015
Police Officer accused by colleague of serious sexual assaults. Acquitted.

R v GC
2014
Successful defence of serving DS against allegations of child rape going back to the 1970s.

R v C
2013
Secured the acquittal of a police firearms officer accused of attempting to anally rape and digitally penetrating, his partner.

Instructing Alisdair

To instruct Alisdair please contact our Clerks on +44 (0)20 7400 6400 or email clerks@3rblaw.com.

“A tactically brilliant silk.” Legal 500 2020: Police Law

“Technically brilliant – one of the very best.” Legal 500 2019: Police Law

“He has a great strategic mind.”  Chambers UK 2020: Crime

“So personable, with a sharp legal mind and a great manner with instructing solicitors and clients.” Chambers UK 2018: Crime

“He has a fantastic manner. His witness handling is outstanding.” Chambers UK 2018: Professional Discipline

“A majestic practitioner.” Chambers UK 2017: Crime

“Always the first choice for defendants facing allegations of rape or sexual assault”. Chambers UK 2017: Crime

“A leading barrister in defending rape cases – calm, measured and a brilliant cross-examiner.” Legal 500 2017: Crime

“His quality of advocacy in cross-examination is of the first order.” “Always the first choice for defendants facing allegations of rape or sexual assault.” “He’s got a very reassuring manner with clients and an excellent jury manner.” Chambers UK 2017: Crime

“He’s very good at getting his head around a case quickly, and from there he makes the right strategic calls.” “A highly experienced, unflappable advocate, he’s always calm and able to think on his feet.” Chambers UK 2017: Professional Discipline

“Unflappable and good at dealing with challenging clients.” Legal 500 2016: Crime

“He receives attention for the quality of his client care and for his abilities in cross-examination. “He is very thorough in his preparation of cases and is very good with clients, including potentially difficult ones.” “He is an absolute master of the art of cross-examination. He has an ability to deal with everyone, from clients to solicitors and judges.” Chambers UK 2016: Crime

“He is a brilliant cross-examiner and an excellent jury advocate.” “He’s very understated, but he’s an experienced tactician and very good at making clients feel comfortable.” “He is very good with all aspects of the process. He grasps what the client needs and what the strong points of the defence are, and liaises with the police well.” Chambers UK 2015: Crime

“He is a brilliant cross-examiner and a compelling advocate.” “He is energetic, highly effective and a pleasure to deal with.” Chambers UK 2014: Crime

“Very tough and knows what he is talking about” … “plays well to the jury and has that bearing that juries expect of a senior advocate”. Chambers UK 2013: Crime

“A great presence at the Criminal Bar, with a strong reputation for handling murders and sexual offences.” Chambers UK 2012: Crime

“A highly expert cross-examiner who has dealt with a number of cases of great seriousness.” Chambers UK 2011: Crime

  • The Criminal Bar Association
  • The Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Fraud Lawyers AssociationSouth Eastern Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association Working Party on section 41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act
  • Undertakes work for the Bar Council Pro Bono Unit
  • Pro Bono Privy Council work
  • MA (Oxon) -Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Open Exhibitioner)
  • Dip Law (City) with Commendation
  • Called to the Bar 1994 (Astbury Scholar)

I, Alisdair Williamson, am a data controller and can be contacted at 3 Raymond Buildings, Gray’s Inn, London WC1R 5BH or by telephone on 020 7400 6400 or by email at alisdair.williamson@3rblaw.com. My Data Protection Policy can be found below.

All personal data that I process is for the purposes of providing legal services, conducting conflict-checks, marketing, defending potential complaints, legal proceedings or fee disputes, keeping anti-money laundering records, training other barristers and pupils and when providing work-shadowing opportunities, and/or exercising a right to a lien. The types of data I process vary upon the nature of the legal matter in relation to which I am engaged to advise, but can include names, contact details, biographic details and ‘special category personal data’ (such as details of racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, health, sex life and criminal convictions and proceedings).

Depending upon the circumstances of the case, the legal bases upon which I process personal data are (i) the performance of a contract to which the data subject is a party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract, (ii) the processing is necessary to comply with legal obligations to which I am subject, or (iii) the processing is necessary for the legitimate interests set out above, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subjects which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child. When I rely on (iii) legitimate interests, my ‘Legitimate Interests Assessment’ can be found here. When I process data which has not be obtained directly from the data subject (e.g. personal data contained in evidential materials), it will have been supplied to me as part of my instructions in circumstances covered by legal professional privilege.

Depending upon the circumstances of the case, I may share the personal data with:

  1. my Chambers, which supplies professional and administrative support to my practice;
  2. Courts and other tribunals to whom documents are presented;
  3. my lay and professional clients;
  4. potential witnesses, in particular experts, and friends or family of the data subject;
  5. solicitors, barristers, pupils, mini pupils and other legal representatives;
  6. ombudsmen and regulatory authorities;
  7. current, past or prospective employers;
  8. education and examining bodies;
  9. business associates, professional advisers and trade bodies.

I retain personal data for no longer than 7 years after the case has come to an end or as otherwise required by law.

I do not intend to transfer data to any country which is not either within the European Union, ‘white listed’ by the EU or otherwise permitted by EU law (e.g. to the USA under the provisions of the ‘Privacy Shield’).

Under the GDPR, data subjects whose personal data I process have the right to request from me access to, and rectification or erasure of, their personal data, the right to the restriction of processing concerning them, the right to object to processing as well as the right to data portability. Data subjects also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ico.org.uk).

In cases where there is a contract between me and the data subject, the provision of personal data is a contractual requirement and the data subject is obliged to provide the personal data in order that I can supply legal services. A failure to provide such data may mean that I will not be able to provide the legal services.

Rev 1.1 – 24.05.2018

Data Protection Policy

Legitimate Interests Assessment

Alisdair Williamson QC 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.