Details of practice

Stephen is a leading practitioner in the interrelated fields of regulatory crime, coronial and licensing law.  He has been recommended in the legal directories for a number of years in the fields of Health and Safety and Licensing in which he is ranked as a “Star” in Chambers UK 2018.

Regulatory crime and inquests

Stephen’s practice encompasses a range of regulatory legislation, particularly health and safety, food safety, environmental and trading standards.  He prosecutes and defends in a broad range of cases, advises regulatory authorities generally on matters of enforcement, and provides guidance to corporate and individual clients on compliance.  Stephen has appeared for both the prosecution and defence in a number of health and safety cases arising from accidents resulting in serious injury and death with particular specialisms in the leisure and construction industries and in fire cases. He advises and represents the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) on enforcement issues and is regularly consulted by leisure and construction companies in connection with enforcement proceedings arising from serious accidents in the work place.

Stephen  has broad experience of coronial proceedings arising from major incidents including the Hillsborough Inquests (Stadium Safety Phase), the Lakanal tower block fire in south London and the latter stages of the inquest into the 7/7 terrorist bombings (in which he advised the London Fire Brigade).


Stephen’s licensing practice is comprehensive.  He deals with all forms of licensable activities and is the first port of call for advice and representation by a number of the most prominent operators of bars, night clubs, restaurants and casinos in the UK, while his advice on compliance with licensing law is also sought from manufacturers and suppliers to the licensed trade.  Stephen also advises and represents a number of local licensing authorities and the Security Industry Authority for whom he has appeared on a number of appeals concerning “Approved Contractor” issues.

In the field of gambling Stephen has represented most of the notable providers of terrestrial betting and casino facilities in the UK for many years and regularly provides  advice on the provision of both terrestrial and remote (internet) gambling products to financial traders and  the media . In recent months he has been actively engaged in advising leisure and casino operators on the implementation of the Gambling Act 2005 and the competitive bidding process for new casinos.

Public Law

Stephen has extensive experience representing claimants and respondents in the Administrative Court and Court of Appeal in cases concerning regulatory enforcement, gambling and general licensing issues.

Directory recommendations

Stephen has consistently appeared in the legal directories as a leader in his fields of practice.

He was nominated as Health and Safety Silk of the Year in Chambers & Partners Awards 2014 and is ranked as a “Star” in the field of licensing.

Recommendations in the last three years include:

Health and Safety

‘A very good advocate who is good with the clients.’  ‘Acts on a range of cases and has a particularly strong reputation in fire safety cases.’  (Chambers UK 2015)

‘An excellent advocate who articulates complex issues in an understandable way.’  (The Legal 500 2014)

“fantastic and particularly good at representing individuals in health and safety prosecutions.”  (Chambers UK 2012)

“Stephen Walsh QC is esteemed as being able to connect with tribunals and juries that may not understand the technicalities of a case. His strong licensing practice has fed though a number of defence instructions from retail and leisure clients, and he now has a developing health and safety practice” (Chambers UK)

“Stephen Walsh continues to make a name for himself in the market, winning over commentators with his confidence and well orchestrated performance in court” (Chambers UK)


‘Very cerebral and academically capable, he applies himself well to the legal arguments and has a fantastic relationship with the client.’  ‘A leading expert in his field, he takes a hard-working and commercial approach.’  (Chambers UK 2015) 

‘An extremely effective and client-friendly advocate.’  (The Legal 500 2014)

”outstanding and an all-round advocate. He ’knows the industry inside out and is always able to take a very commercial view’.”  Chambers UK 2012

“Stephen Walsh QC is universally respected by peers and, having taken silk in 2009, has gone from strength to strength.  Commentators describe him as an exceptional advocate; he has a wonderful courtroom manner” (Chambers UK)

“Absolutely superb”…”has a good background in criminal law which is helpful for cross over between crime and licensing” (The Legal 500)

“Stephen Walsh is universally recognized as absolutely top class and the first port of call for any contentious issue…his greatest attribute is his approachable and easy going personality”

Education/professional qualifications

LL.B (Hons) 1981
Called to the Bar (Middle Temple) 1983

Direct access

Stephen Walsh 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.