Adrian Darbishire QC


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QEB News: Wall Street Swaps Trader Acquitted of LIBOR Misconduct
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QEB News: Fishermen’s Friends Manslaughter Trial
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QEB News: Three QEB Hollis Whiteman Silks selected as leading practitioners by Who's Who Legal
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QEB News: Barclays Libor
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QEB News: Adrian Darbishire QC and Tom Doble represent defendant in Libor trial starting today
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18.11.2015 More >

QEB News: Adrian Darbishire QC defends Consultant Paediatrician cleared of sexual assault
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QEB News: "Wholly improper" private prosecution results in huge costs award
19.10.2015 More >

QEB News: Adrian Darbishire QC and Rachna Gokani comment on the government’s apparent back down on proposals to extend the reach of corporate criminal liability
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QEB News: Health and Safety Fatality - Adrian Darbishire QC represents Projects Manager
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QEB News: MHRA Prosecution Dismissed
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QEB News: Health & Safety Seminar at QEB Hollis Whiteman
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QEB News: Adrian Darbishire QC defends GP acquitted of sexual assault
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QEB News: Adrian Darbishire Silk of the Year at Chambers Bar Awards
3.10.2014 More >

QEB News: Mark Ellison QC and Adrian Darbishire QC are featured as Specialists in Business Crime Defence in Who’s Who Legal 2014
24.9.2014 More >

Adrian Darbishire QC

Silk 2012
Call 1993
Diploma in Law
BA (Hons)

Practice: Business Crime; Professional Regulation & Discipline; Health & Safety; Crime

"He has a very nice relaxed manner with the clients and is forensic in his advice" and "He is used on cases that are reserved to real stars. This shows the trust solicitors have in him." Chambers UK (2015) Financial Crime

"Adrian Darbishire QC is noted for his 'good eye for detail,' and his 'measured and effective submissions'."
Legal 500 (2013) Professional discipline and regulatory law.

"He's meticulous and good with clients." Chambers UK (2014) Fraud: Criminal

"An awesome tactical thinker, who is extremely dependable when it comes to large-scale or complex investigations." Chambers UK (2014) Fraud: Criminal

"New silk Adrian Darbishire QC has had an excellent year according to impressed sources, who comment on the 'huge gravitas' he displays in court, and his lack of pomposity out of it especially when dealing with clients.  He is particularly good on fraud cases relating to cartels, insider dealing and corruption, but can handle all manner of criminal work.  He was the leading junior in R v Youssef Wahid & Others, the notorious murder of a singer whose body was found in a suitcase at Heathrow."  Chambers UK (2013) Crime 

"Interviewees rate Adrian Darbishire QC as 'a very strong performer' when it comes to criminal fraud work.  Recent cases of note have seen this talented silk acting for an international banker accused of money laundering and insider dealing.  He has also been representing an overseas national who is implicated in massive corruption originating in the Middle East."  Chambers UK (2013) Fraud: Criminal

"Adrian Darbishire QC of QEB Hollis Whiteman is a renowned criminal silk with a thriving health and safety practice, who has been involved in major cases in the past including Cotswold Geotechnical case, the first prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.  In the last year he has handled serious health and safety cases, including R v Structurestone & Swift Horseman, where he successfully defended a contractor in a fatality case.  One source described him as 'very able both academically and as an advocate.'"  Chambers UK (2013) Health & Safety 


Adrian Darbishire’s principal area of defence practice relates to professionals charged in criminal and disciplinary proceedings arising in connection with their work, especially anti-competitive behaviour, fraud, corruption, market abuse, serious professional misconduct and negligence/health and safety breaches.

He is also engaged in advising and defending companies in other criminal matters, such as those relating to dangerous or environmentally damaging products and workplaces.

He has considerable experience defending doctors in criminal and GMC matters, including gross negligence, sexual offences, verbal/physical abuse of patients, misuse of alcohol/drugs and claims frauds (see below for illustrative cases).

He has a particular interest in criminal cases with technical aspects such as accounting, engineering and medicine.


 "New silk Adrian Darbishire is 'a great resource at every stage of a case.'"  Legal 500 2012

"Adrian Darbishire is a versatile performer who turns his hand to criminal, professional disciplinary and regulatory matters"... "A strong performer with a highly effective skill set, he is a barrister whose 'advocacy skills are second to none'.  Market sources say he is 'a highly academic lawyer who produces very good court advocacy.'" Chambers UK 2012 Crime, Fraud and Health & Safety

"Adrian Darbishire is 'an imaginative and creative counsel, with a first-class client manner and judgement'.  He has a particular niche in workplace-related crime and is known for being 'utterly dedicated and phenomenally hard-working'.  He wins market commendation for being a dab hand in matters involving complex medical and scientific evidence, 'exceptional at marshalling detail in cross-examination.'" Chambers UK 2010 Crime, Fraud and Health & Safety

"The 'extremely bright' Adrian Darbishire principally defends in matters ranging from general crime and fraud to regulatory and health and safety matters.  'He is highly versatile and has a really good mind that allows him to come up with novel solutions to tricky legal issues.'"  Chambers UK 2011 Crime, Fraud and Health & Safety

"His 'polished advocacy' and 'expertise in the defence of professionals accused of fraudulent behaviour has won him legions of admirers'.  'Very bright, very able' and in possession of 'a great client manner'".  Chambers UK 2011

"Adrian Darbishire 'has fantastic communication skills; his written ability is of the highest standard and he offers clear strategic advice.'  He 'is exceptionally intelligent and a very able advocate."' Legal 500 2010

"Adrian Darbishire enters the top tier as 'a wonderful all-round counsel, providing the highest level of advice.  He is a creative thinker and a powerfully persuasive advocate.'"  Legal 500 2009

"Adrian Darbishire is a 'top criminal law brain who can turn his hand to any related subject.'"  Chambers UK 2009

Recent Work

Fraud/Corruption/Market Abuse: Adrian is currently instructed in the SFO Yen LIBOR and Dollar LIBOR investigations, the hacking and misconduct in public office inquiries (Operations Elveden and Weeting).  Recent work includes representing an entrepreneur charged with money laundering as a result of capital raising in breach of FSMA (successful dismissal application), and representing a Mizuho banker charged with insider dealing.  

Health & Safety:  Adrian has acted in many workplace gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety cases since 2005, including the first prosecution for statutory corporate manslaughter (R v Cotswold Geotech) in 2011.  Most recently, he acted for the firework operator initially charged with manslaughter in relation to the M5 crash in 2011.  The manslaughter charges were discontinued following representations to the prosecution and, in December 2013, the trial judge ruled that there was no case to answer on the charge of breaching section 3(2) of the HSWA.

Ongoing cases include representing a company charged with breaching section 3 in relation to the operation of a water sport facility at which a child drowned, and defending an individual sub-contractor charged with manslaughter following the death of an operative during a domestic basement extension project.

Regulatory/Healthcare:  Recent cases (all 2013) include representing Kent GP charged with sexual abuse of six patients in the course of clinical examinations (acquitted), a Hospital O&G Consultant charged with sexual assault during an ante-natal scan (acquitted), Chiropractor charged with professional misconduct in relation to mistreatment of patient (not proved). Adrian also successfully persuaded an MPTS Panel that suspension was a proportionate sanction in the case of a hospital consultant previously convicted of the manslaughter of a patient under his care.

In 2012 Adrian represented an orthopaedic surgeon before the MPTS in relation to wide-ranging allegations of dishonesty and clinical misconduct.  None of the allegations was found proved.

Current matters include: representing GPs charged with sexual assault of patients, acting for erased GP on appeal to the High Court against sanction of the MPTS and acting for doctor in judicial review of decision by police to supply material to GMC, following acquittal in criminal proceedings.

Career Details

Examples of Adrian Darbishire’s defence practice include:

- Acting for defendant in DoJ cartel investigations relating to conduct in the UK, resulting in ground-breaking non-prosecution decision;
- Acting for UK-based senior managers in concurrent Department of Justice investigations' including making representations directly to prosecuting authorities;
- Representing individual defendant in the first prosecution under the Cartel Offence provisions of the Enterprise Act, following the historic 'Marine Hose' plea agreement with DoJ;
- Acting for a central figure throughout the 'Cash for Honours' investigation;
- Acting for company and managing director prosecuted for manslaughter following the death of employee;
- Acting for individual charged and prosecuted for manslaughter following major rail disaster.

He has Administrative Court experience for applicants and respondents on judicial review, case stated and habeas corpus. He has experience in inquests for implicated parties and family of the deceased and substantial appellate experience in criminal matters, particularly in relation to sentencing.


2007 Junior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court
2003 Member of the Bar Standards Board Prosecuting Counsel Panel for Disciplinary Hearings

Additional Information

Member of: Competition Law Association; Health and Safety Lawyers' Association; Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers; CBA and ECBA.

1992-1993 Corporate Adviser, Coopers & Lybrand, advising on business strategy including fundraising and acquisitions.
1988-1991 Coopers & Lybrand Accountants (Price Waterhouse Coopers)


1993-94 King's College, London, LLM in Administrative and Criminal Law
1991-92 City University, London Diploma in Law
1985-88 Balliol College, Oxford BA (Hons) English Literature


The Criminal Appeal Act 1998 (Solicitors’ Journal 1998)

Section 78 - Exclusion of Unfair Evidence, Archbold Practical Research Paper with David Calvert-Smith QC (Sweet & Maxwell)

Notable cases:

MHRA Prosecution Dismissed (2015)
Adrian Darbishire and Rhys Meggy were instructed to defend a pharmaceutical manufacturer, P Ltd., and a senior manager of tha

Re: Dr F (2015)
Adrian Darbishire QC defends GP acquitted of sexual assault

Re: D (2015)
Advising broker under investigation by the SFO over Yen Libor manipulation

Re: R (2015)
Representing derivatives trader charged with Dollar Libor manipulation.

Re: X (2015)
Advising Foreign Exchange trader in relation to various investigations, including one by the SFO.

Inquest into the death of BW (2014)
Inquest into a death by electrocution

R – v – Sterecycle (2014)
Successful prosecution of a recycling company for Corporate Manslaughter

R v Sidebottom (2014)
Mark Ellison QC represents construction company director on manslaughter by gross negligence charge relating to health and s

MHRA v P (2014)
Acts for a pharmaceuticals company who are alleged to have supplied controlled drugs in breach of the Misuse of Drugs act.

R v C (2014)
Acting for leisure company in health and safety prosecution following the drowning of a schoolgirl on a supervised inland bea