Criminal Law

“…a strong practice across the full spectrum of criminal law, and is particularly well recognised for its expertise in homicide and sexual offence cases. Its team of highly qualified silks and juniors are experienced in both prosecution and defence work and also regularly take on major cases relating to drug trafficking, fraud and animal cruelty. The set wins high praise overall from instructing solicitors, with one remarking: “The quality of the advocacy is very high, but their client manner is also excellent and the clerks will go out of their way to help you if they can.”
Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017

“In 6 Pump Court’s ‘impressive’ crime team, ‘each member has exceptional skills’. Counsel handle the full range of criminal cases and have a particularly strong reputation for high-profile and sensitive sexual offences and homicide matters.”
Legal 500 2016 – Leading Set (Crime) 

“…an exceptionally good chambers to work withThey manage to balance professionalism with approachability; they take the stuffiness out of what has been over the years a very forbidding environment for some.”
Chambers UK Bar Guide 2015


The 6 Pump Court Criminal Law Team has universally recognised and long-established excellence at all levels in all aspects of advisory and advocacy work within the broad context of criminal practice. As a leading set in this area, its members are regularly instructed both to prosecute and defend, a feature ensuring a balanced, informed and incisive approach.

Areas with which our criminal law barristers are particularly associated include homicide, complex fraud and serious sexual offences, together with regulatory, inquest, disciplinary and other tribunal work, and the more varied assistance often required by private clients.

The Criminal Law Team was established and took deep and proud root almost one hundred years ago in Kent and Sussex where it established a reputation second to none and from which emerged eminent Silks, Circuit, High Court and Court of Appeal Judges. The reputation and practice of the criminal law barristers in the Team has now expanded throughout England and Wales, and offshore. With 4 Queen’s Counsel and 22 highly rated Juniors, the Team offers the depth and breadth of experience that ensures efficient, imaginative and robust representation in any case, irrespective of gravity or complexity. Furthermore, as an integral part of a true ‘mixed set’, the Team has a proven track record beyond mainstream crime dating back many decades, something of particular relevance in the context of quasi-criminal/criminal-civil litigation, advice and representation.

Our Criminal Law Barristers are also members of other Teams within Chambers and operate in the narrower fields of Environmental, Health and Safety and Regulatory prosecutions by the CPS and other agencies. Senior Members of the Team act in the most sensitive of cases and are often brought in to lead in the Court of Appeal.

Our Criminal Law Barristers are expertly managed by a dedicated Clerks’ Room which insists in each case that the client’s expectations are understood and advanced. The Clerks have built up ‘second to none relationships’ with the list offices at the many court centres where members of the Team appear and are well positioned to overcome listing difficulties should they arise.

Criminal Law Barristers at 6 Pump Court accept publicly or privately funded and direct access work.


Stephen Hockman QC:  “…incredibly bright and great to deal with.” “The speed of his understanding is amazing.” Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017. “A top-drawer silk who is regularly seen in high-profile matters…He offers peerless analysis of complex and difficult issues, and provides pragmatic and succinct advice.” Chambers and Partners 2016.  

Richard Barraclough QC: “He’s very hard-working and shows meticulous attention to detail.” Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017. “He has an incredible presence in court.” Chambers and Partners 2016. “Highly recommended for serious sex trafficking and homicide cases.Legal 500 2016 “Amazing ability to cross-examine, thanks to his preparation, application and intellect. Legal 500.

Oliver Saxby QC: “A distinguished silk…particular expertise in high-profile homicide and sexual abuse cases…skilled in the treatment and handling of vulnerable witnesses…very popular with his clients and those he represents…very down to earth, personable and gets on well with clients. An all-round excellent advocateChambers UK Bar Guide 2018A good communicator and charming advocate with an outstanding ability to grasp the issues quickly…A masterclass in cross-examination techniques.Legal 500 2017. “Outstanding preparation, excellent court manner…He went out of his way to be particularly helpful, very proactive and very quick in terms of his responses.Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017. “Charming and courteous with a steel core…An excellent jury advocate.Legal 500 2016. “He has a strong reputation for acting in high-profile serious crimes, in particular acting for the defence in homicide cases. He has also been instructed on a number of high-profile serious sexual offences… He gets right to the heart of the case at a very early stage… He is calm, succinct and persuasive.” Chambers and Partners 2015.

Paul Taylor: “…a persuasive and tenacious advocate.”  The Legal 500 2014

John O’Higgins: “He’s an extremely confident and commanding advocate, capable of undertaking the most serious work. His written work is also excellent: prompt and succinct.” Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017. “He is an exceptional advocate who has a commanding courtroom presence. He is a fearless opponent who nevertheless possesses the soft skills to deal with the most vulnerable of clients. He quickly identifies the heart of a case but also finds points of law that elude other.” Chambers and Partners 2016. “An instinctive advocate and excellent cross-examiner.” The Legal 500 2015

Nina Ellin: “A highly effective and no-nonsense advocate.” Legal 500 2017

Ian Whitehurst: “A very good performer. He is fearless and defendants love him. He will get stuck in but knows when not to lock horns with witnesses. A very good tactician.” Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017. “…has real strength in terms of his ability to tease out the issues of the case.” Chambers and Partners 2015. “A much praised criminal fraud junior. His experience encompasses a range of fraud and money laundering issues. “He is a talented and pragmatic defence counsel, tactically astute and very hard-working…He is very good with clients.” Chambers & Partners 2014.

Peter Alcock:Great with complex cases and very calming with clients.” Legal 500 2016

Catherine Donnelly: “A top-rate advocate with a very appealing jury manner and robustness during legal argument...An oasis of calm in a trial.” Legal 500 2017She is an expert in the field of child sexual abuse.” Legal 500 2016

Simon Taylor: “His conduct of a case defines case ownership.” Legal 500 2017 “He’s user-friendly for defendants, juries and judges, and his preparation is among the best I’ve seen from anyone.” “He’s very organised, very user-friendly and incredibly efficient.” Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017. “Efficient, effective and liked by juries and judges.” Legal 500 2016He is an extremely hard-working barrister who has excellent client and solicitor communication skills. He is very prompt with advices and is always available to give an opinion. He’s a strong jury advocate.” Chambers & Partners 2016.

John Fitzgerald: “He has a first-class reputation for serious criminal defence work.” Legal 500 2017  “His direct approach helps him fight cases that look hopeless.” Legal 500 2016

Tom Dunn: “Very conscientious and diligent.Legal 500 2017