Details of practice

Long recognised as a leading silk in Crime, Financial Crime, Inquests and Public Inquiries. Richard is renowned for his advisory and advocacy work across a wide range of disciplines and proceedings. He was Treasury Counsel from 1991 to 2006 (First Senior Treasury Counsel from 2002 to 2006) during which he prosecuted many high profile cases involving murder and terrorism. Since taking silk he has defended in numerous notable cases and has been instructed in prominent Inquests and Public Inquiries ranging from the Inquests touching the death of the Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed to the Litvinenko Public Inquiry. He advises prosecuting authorities in and outside this jurisdiction and since the announcement of the Goddard Inquiry has advised schools and other organisations how to respond to it. Richard is regularly instructed to advise on independent inquiries, including the recent Home Office review into the collapse of the R v Mouncher & Others Trial in 2011.

Main areas of practice:

  • Inquests and Public Inquiries
  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Sexual offences
  • Fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Corruption and misfeasance in public office
  • Police discipline
  • Search warrants
  • Appellate advice and advocacy

Directory recommendations

“A very traditional and experienced trial advocate, who is wonderful to watch on his feet. It is a joy to sit behind him and watch the jury hang off his every word. He has them in the palm of his hand.”  Chambers UK 2020: Crime

“A good choice if you’re defending and need to pull out all the stops.” Chambers UK 2020: Crime

“He is very experienced and a reassuring presence on the team. He has that prosecutorial insight which you can then use as part of your defence strategy.” Chambers UK 2020: Financial Crime

‘He is someone that you want in your camp as he’s an intimidating cross-examiner with a great legal brain.” Chambers UK 2016: Crime

“He is noted for his capabilities in cases where discretion is paramount.” “He is very affable” and “Seriously classy.” “His advice is like gold dust.” Chambers UK 2016: Inquests

“An incredible drafter who is clearly very on top of the papers and able to deal with difficult questions.” “Has an excellent work ethic.” Chambers UK 2016: Financial Crime

“He brings a very valuable sixth sense to case strategy.” The Legal 500 2015: Crime

‘He is one of the top QCs in general crime and has huge amounts of experience and skills which he brings to cases’.  ‘Has notable expertise in cases that straddle the divide between criminal law and human rights.’ Chambers UK 2015: Crime

‘An extremely wise and experienced advocate.’ Chambers UK 2015: Inquests

‘He has the ability to talk about something which is fairly complex in a way that everyone can understand.’ Chambers UK 2015: Financial Crime

‘Experienced in public inquests’ The Legal 500 2014: Administrative & Public & Law

‘His ability on the defence side is hard to match.’ The Legal 500 2014: Crime

‘A superb barrister.’ The Legal 500 2014: Fraud

“Extremely experienced barrister” Richard Horwell QC’s “knowledge of the law is vast, and his ability to apply it is undoubted.”  His practice covers all criminal law matters and he is a veteran of handling cases that go all the way to Strasbourg. Commercial fraud, terrorism and murder all figure prominently in his caseload, and he is noted for the strength of his appellate practice.  In the case of Overmeer he successfully defended a Brazilian national accused of the attempted murder of his girlfriend.  Chambers UK 2013:  Crime

The “excellent” Richard Horwell QC has a broad criminal practice, with a substantial fraud element to it.  Solicitors comment that “he’s so good in front of a jury because he has that gravitas that comes with years of experience.”  Recently, he dealt with a restraint order imposed on the UK assets of a Brazilian hedge fund following a Brazilian fraud investigationChambers UK 2013:  Fraud

“A significant track record in appellate cases” The Legal 500 2011 Crime

“An exceptionally talented counsel with a huge breadth of experience” The Legal 500 2011 Fraud: Criminal

“Methodical and thorough” The Legal 500 2011:  Public and Administrative Law

“Richard Horwell QC is applauded for his broad commercial fraud practice and his expertise in relation to multi-jurisdictional matters.” Chambers UK 2011: Fraud

“Richard Horwell QC has a stellar commercial fraud practice and is particularly experienced at advising on multi-jurisdictional issues” Chambers UK 2010

“The impressive Richard Horwell” is “a barrister long admired for his poise and precision” Chambers UK 2009


Bencher of Gray’s Inn 2009
Appointed Queen’s Counsel 2006
Appointed a Recorder 2004
First Senior Treasury Counsel 2002 – 2006
Senior Treasury Counsel 1996 – 2006
Appointed Treasury Counsel 1991
Called 1976

Direct access

Richard Horwell 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.