Richard Horwell QC

Call: 1976 / QC: 2006

"Speaks with justified confidence and has superb judgement."

Chambers UK 2021: Crime

"Absolutely stupendous."

Chambers UK 2021: Financial Crime

“A very traditional and experienced trial advocate, who is wonderful to watch on his feet …”

Chambers UK 2020: Crime

"He is very experienced and a reassuring presence on the team …"

Chambers UK 2020: Financial Crime

“A pleasure to observe on his feet; he delivers especially well-crafted speeches. “

Legal 500 2020: Crime

Instructing Richard

To instruct Richard please contact our Clerks on +44 (0)20 7400 6400 or email

Richard Horwell QC is 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 been instructed in many prominent Inquests and Public Inquiries which have included the Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed Inquests, the Jean Charles de Menezes (Stockwell) Inquest, the London Bridge terrorist attack Inquests, the Alexander Litvinenko Public Inquiry and the IICSA Public Inquiry into the Roman Catholic Church. He advises prosecuting authorities in and outside this jurisdiction and since the announcement of IICSA, has advised schools, religious institutions and other organisations as to how best to respond to its demands. Richard is regularly instructed to advise on independent inquiries and conducted the Home Office inquiry into the collapse of the trial of R v Mouncher & Others.

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

Legal Expertise

Inquests & Public Inquiries overview

Richard’s extensive criminal law background, court presentation and expertise has proved invaluable in the public law domain of inquests and public inquiries.

Notable Inquests & Public Inquiries cases

Princess Diana & Dodi Al Fayed

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the Inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed. The Guardian in 2008 reported that: Horwell was the only barrister to enhance his reputation at the inquests with a series of devastating cross-examinations of key witnesses, including Fayed and his head of security, John Macnamara, which fully exposed the weaknesses of their allegations.”

Jean Charles de Menezes

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the Inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Olaseni Lewis

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the Inquest into the death of Olaseni Lewis.

London Bridge Terrorist Attack

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the Inquests into the deaths from the London Bridge terrorist attacks.

Jermaine Baker

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the forthcoming Inquest into the death of Jermaine Baker.

National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)

Continuing to advise the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the Metropolitan Police Service on the implementation and development of the post-Stockwell changes and advised ACPO on the drafting of parts of the ‘Police Use of Firearms Manual’.

Lectures at the annual CT Commanders’ course

Australian Federal Police

Gave presentations in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Perth to the Australian Federal Police on the lessons learnt from Stockwell and the need to record decisions and their rationale.

Counsel for the family in an inquest where the deceased took her own life. The Mental Health Trust was criticised for failings in its care.

Instructed by a leading university in respect of an inquest following the suicide of one of its members of staff.

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the Public Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

Counsel for the Archdiocese of Birmingham

Counsel for the Archdiocese of Birmingham at the IICSA Public Inquiry into the Roman Catholic Church.

Methodist Church

Advising the Methodist Church in relation to the forthcoming IICSA Public Inquiry into multi-faith religious institutions.

Home Office

Conducted the independent inquiry on behalf of the Home Office into the collapse of the trial of R v Mouncher & others. This was a corruption trial of 12 police officers which was stayed due to disclosure inadequacies. It followed the two murder trials which resulted from the brutal killing of Lynette White in Cardiff.

Has advised in a number of other inquests and public inquiries including: the Azelle Rodney Public Inquiry and the Undercover Police Public Inquiry.

Crime overview

Richard has considerable experience in the criminal law and was Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court from 1991 to 2006 during which he was First Senior Treasury Counsel from 2002 to 2006, the longest serving First Senior Treasury Counsel for many decades.

Notable Crime cases

Medouni & Kouider

Counsel for the prosecution in this trial following the murder of the French nanny Sophie Lionnet.

Koh & Others

Counsel for the prosecution in this trial following the murder of the model Harry Uzoka.

Woodgate & Clark & Others

Counsel for the Information Commissioner's Office in this prosecution for breaches of the Data Protection Act.


Represented the Deputy Head Master of a famous school charged with historic sexual abuse of pupils. Prosecution stayed as an abuse of the process of the court.


Represented a lawyer charged with the historic sexual abuse of a child. The defence highlighted the inadequacies of the investigation and eventually the prosecution offered no evidence.


Represented a high profile publicist at his trial and appeal following allegations of historical sexual abuse.


Represented a businessman charged with money laundering. After long negotiations the prosecution offered no evidence.


Importation of drugs. Client acquitted of importing cocaine from Columbia.


Counsel for the defendant in the 'N'Dubz' GBH trial. Client acquitted of section 18 wounding.


Counsel for the son of an international businessman. Client acquitted of murder.


Counsel for an appellant in an appeal against conviction for supplying drugs and instructed in the re-trial.


Advised the Managing Director of a Jersey based Trust Company in connection with charges of forgery and perverting the course of justice. Acquitted following the identification of flaws in the prosecution case.


Represented Jeremy Bamber at his appeal against sentence in this jurisdiction and his subsequent application to the European Court of Human Rights as to whether the imposition of an irreducible life sentence amounts to a violation of Article 3. The full court held that the UK Government's sentencing policy violated Article 3.


Represented a Brazilian national who was charged with attempted murder after he had stabbed his girlfriend. Found not guilty by reason of insanity. Apart from the preparation of the psychiatric defence, also advised on issues concerning immigration and the Mental Health Act.

Professional Discipline overview

Richard has appeared before the GMC and Police Misconduct Hearings.

Notable Professional Discipline cases

Operation Kalmia

Advised a Chief Constable and a senior police officer who was investigated in Operation Kalmia, an investigation into the alleged misconduct of a large number of high ranking police officers. The proceedings were eventually abandoned.

Search Warrants overview

For many years, Richard has advised on the legality of the applications for and the execution of entry and search warrants.

Notable Search Warrants cases

Avon & Somerset Constabulary

Advised Avon & Somerset Constabulary on the legality of an entry and search warrant.


Counsel for 'G' who challenged and successfully quashed an entry and search warrant which the Administrative Court described as 'casual and slipshod'.

Advised a foreign prosecuting authority as to its search warrant legislation and procedures.

Fraud & Financial Crime overview

Richard has wide-ranging experience in fraud and financial crime going back as far as the 1980s when he was instructed by the SFO in the Posgate and Grob Lloyd’s reinsurance trials and the Guinness series of trials.

Notable Fraud & Financial Crime cases


Counsel for a Ghanaian banker charged with money laundering in the series of trials connected to Ibori, a previous Governor of the Delta State, in Nigeria.

Investment Company

Instructed by solicitors registered in the Cayman Islands to advise large investment company ($500 million Hedge Fund) registered in the British Virgin Islands. Multi-jurisdictional issues relating to BVI, Brazilian and European law.

G & W

Counsel for the director of an investment company prosecuted by the SFO in a £140m Ponzi fraud and the corruption of a US prosecutor.

Instructed on behalf of a director arrested by the SFO in its investigation into payments made by BAE.


Advised the FSA re Insider dealing.

Instructed on behalf of a solicitor charged with a land registration fraud.

Advised regarding the SFO's investigations re 'Oil for Food'.

Company Director

Advised a company director under SFO investigation for conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

Company Director

Instructed on behalf of a company director charged with money laundering.

Instructed by the Serious Fraud Office in Grob and Posgate; Guinness; and advisory work in respect of other investigations.

Represented the managing director of MTM who had been charged by the Serious Fraud Office.

The Security Express robbery
Ronnie Knight, Freddie Foreman and others – then the largest cash robbery in British history.
Various IRA prosecutions including: the plot to assassinate the Prime Minister; the Stoke Newington lorry bomb; the Heathrow mortar bomb attacks; and the conspiracy to obtain munitions from Iraq – this involved an operation which covered five other jurisdictions

The terrorist who trained with Richard Reid and who conspired to bring down a passenger aircraft when in flight.

Trooper Williams
Instructed after this British soldier had been charged with the murder of a citizen in Iraq.

Regan, Horncy and Rees
The murder of three generations of the Chohan family.  The longest and most complex murder case to have been tried at the Old Bailey.

Harris, Rock, Cherry and Faulder
The consolidated appeals in which the Court of Appeal reviewed the medical evidence and hypotheses surrounding “shaken baby syndrome”.

The murder of school girl Toni-Ann Byfield.

Hanson and White
The murder of the banker John Monckton.

The murder of PC Patrick Dunne and William Danso.

The London and south coast serial killer.

Ali Dizai
The trial of a Commander in the Metropolitan Police Service for misconduct in a public office.
Instructed on behalf of a group of directors who were considered for prosecution by the SFO in the investigation into price fixing in the pharmaceutical industry.
Hearings before the General Medical Council and the RAC Motorsport Tribunal

Instructing Richard

To instruct Richard please contact our Clerks on +44 (0)20 7400 6400 or email

“Speaks with justified confidence and has superb judgement.”  Chambers UK 2021:  Crime

“Absolutely stupendous.”  Chambers UK 2021:  Financial Crime

“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

“ A pleasure to observe on his feet; he delivers especially well-crafted speeches. “  Legal 500 2020:  Crime

“A real master of advocacy. Jurors hang off his every word. A fantastic advocate.” Chambers UK 2019: Crime

“He’s clever, quick and commands the utmost authority.” Chambers UK 2019: Inquests

“A very good, very experienced criminal QC with excellent judgement” who is “a very compelling advocate. A very good, very experienced criminal QC with excellent judgment who is a very compelling advocate.” Chambers UK 2019: Financial Crime

“A specialist in the appeal courts, he is widely respected by the senior judiciary.” Legal 500 2019: Crime

“He is experienced, talented and he has such a sharp mind; he doesn’t miss anything.” Chambers UK 2018: Crime

“A commanding advocate who is utterly dedicated to getting the best result for his clients.” Chambers UK 2018: Inquests.

“A very experienced and impressive advocate who is very persuasive as well as charismatic.” Chambers UK 2018: Financial Crime

“A true expert in Court of Appeal cases.” Legal 500 2017: Crime.

“Very classy. His presentation and drafting are faultless.” Chambers UK 2017: Crime.

“He’s fantastic and is meticulous both in his preparation and his attention to detail. He is a solid practitioner, thorough in his approach and very experienced.” Chambers UK 2017: Inquests

“One of the top-rated barristers in the country as far as Court of Appeal work is concerned.” Chambers UK 2017: Financial Crime

“His presentation, drafting and construction of arguments are faultless and he shows a meticulous level of preparation and attention.” Chambers UK 2017: 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.” 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.” Legal 500 2014: Administrative & Public & Law

“His ability on the defence side is hard to match.” Legal 500 2014: Crime

“A superb barrister.” 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 investigation.” Chambers UK 2013: Fraud

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

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

“Methodical and thorough.” Legal 500 2011: Public & 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
  • 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

I, Richard Horwell QC, 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 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 (

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 01.08.2019

Data Protection Policy

Legitimate Interests Assessment

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.

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