Details of practice

Hugh Davies QC’s principal areas of specialisation are criminal law (including fraud and corporate regulation); police complaints, misconduct and public regulation; inquests; public inquiries; professional misconduct proceedings; the regulation of child protection in institutions; and claims for judicial review arising in each of these areas.

Recent SFO cases include the defence of the most senior US-based Barclays trader accused of manipulating the $Libor rate.

He has extensive experience of prosecuting and defending serious crime of all types, including leading multi-handed prosecutions involving serious organised crime investigated by national policing agencies. He has been at the forefront of criminal proceedings involving cybercrime.

In relation to professional misconduct, the nature and extent of his work as 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, is reflected in the comments made by national directories. He has extensive experience advising and representing police officers at public inquiries; inquests; during IPCC investigations; internal disciplinary proceedings; and associated judicial review proceedings, and is co-author of the leading OUP practitioner textbook Police Misconduct, Complaints, and Public Regulation (second edition 2017).

Other professional misconduct work includes proceedings against medical practitioners arising from alleged clinical negligence. This reflects extensive experience of mastering subject matter relating to pathology, clinical norms and causation from the criminal and coronial jurisdictions.

He was Chambers and Partners professional discipline junior of the year in 2009, and QC of the year in 2016.

He was 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.

In 2011 he was awarded an OBE for services to children and young people reflecting his role as voluntary legal adviser to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). In 2013 he was lead author of an ACPO commissioned multi-specialist report that resulted in the Government enacting legislative reform of the sexual civil prevention order regime in the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. He advises institutions as to safeguarding responsibilities and performance.

Directory recommendations

He is ranked in Band 2 of Chambers and Partners UK Guide in each of crime, inquests and professional discipline.

Under crime, in 2017 the directory reports ‘He has an exceptional knowledge of the niche area of cybercrime’; ‘very, very classy and very, very calm’; and ‘if it is a high-profile, demanding case with a high-profile, demanding client, then Hugh Davies is the one you would turn to.’

Under inquests, the 2017 directory reports he is ‘A highly popular choice for politically-charged inquests’; ‘… extremely intelligent and his technical knowledge is first class’; and  ‘… able to absorb huge amounts of detail and knows the case inside out before it’s even started.’ The Legal 500 2017 says ‘His knowledge of Article 2 inquests is unparalleled and his guidance is unquestionable.’ Earlier Chambers and Partners directories say “He is very intelligent, he communicates well with solicitors and he has an eloquent and forensic style to his advocacy’; ‘His manner with clients is excellent; he breaks down any perceived boundaries and places them at ease in stressful situations’; ‘He is incredibly thorough. He knows every page that is necessary and he is a very good strategist’; and ‘The man for the most serious cases. His analytical and forensic approach to cases is unmatched.’

Under professional discipline, the 2017 Chambers and Partners directory says ‘He is one of the best in the business in the field of police discipline and is often involved in the most serious and complex cases’; and ‘If it’s a high-profile, demanding case he’s a go-to because there are so many strings to his bow’ and in 2016 as ‘… standout, top-flight and very experienced’.

Education/professional qualifications

Reading School

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


Queen’s Counsel 2013


Review of Civil Prevention Orders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003: Lead Author May 2013. This report was commissioned by the ACPO Child Protection and Abuse Investigation Working Group and resulted in legislative reform under the Anti-Social Crime and Behaviour Act 2014.

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.”


Regular delivery of training to other professionals, the judiciary and the police in the areas of expertise listed above.

Other information

Member of:

Fraud Lawyers Association
Criminal Bar Association
Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

Direct access

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.