Eleanor Laws QC


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QEB News: Eleanor Laws QC to speak at Criminal Bar Association training event for RASSO qualification
15.01.2018 More >

QEB News: Eleanor Laws QC and Philip McGhee defend Barry Bennell in historic sex charges case
15.01.2018 More >

QEB News: Eleanor Laws QC, one of the Bar Council’s Lead Facilitators for Vulnerable Witness Training, is providing training in a number of upcoming events
31.10.2017 More >

QEB News: Marvyn Iheanacho convicted of murder of five year old stepson
21.07.2017 More >

QEB News: Appeal Court reserves judgement in Adam Johnson appeal case
28.02.2017 More >

QEB News: Prosecution offer no evidence against Royal Agricultural University students accused of rape
12.04.2016 More >

QEB News: Eleanor Laws QC represents prosecution in Ched Evans appeal
23.03.2016 More >

QEB News: Eleanor Laws QC joins QEB Hollis Whiteman
23.11.2015 More >

Eleanor Laws QC

Silk 2011
Call 1990

Practice: Crime

Nominated for Crime Silk of the Year 2015 by both Chambers UK and Legal 500.

“Outstanding. Astonishing performance, breathtaking cross-examination and closing speech. I would have thought the go-to silk for all sexual allegations. Brilliant” –
Chambers UK 2017

‘She is a barrister of the very highest quality scoring high marks in all categories’–
Chambers UK (2016)

‘The pre-eminent barrister for case involving sexual misconduct’–
Legal 500 (2015)

“She is very well prepared and a very good strategist." "She has a calm manner that radiates power." –
Chambers UK (2015)

“Her enormous experience of high profile cases is always invaluable. Her advice is on point, practical and of the highest quality. She is excellent to work with" –
Chambers UK 2014

“Top rate intellect and a strong track record." –
Chambers UK 2012

Eleanor is an outstanding criminal practitioner instructed in the most prominent and demanding cases, notably those involving serious sexual violence and child abuse.

Eleanor accepts work via direct public access.

Eleanor is instructed in all manner of criminal cases, in particular serious violence (including murder), serious sexual offences and drugs importations. Her chief expertise is in prosecuting and defending serious sexual violence and child abuse.

Cases have involved historic allegations, abuse in children’s homes, doctors/hypnotherapists/teachers charged with sexual offences upon patients/pupils, charity workers, and people in charge of hospital patients.

Eleanor was instructed in relation to four of the defendants charged in connection with the child abuse investigation at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey. She continues to act as Specialist Advisory Counsel to Jersey advocates in cases involving serious sexual allegations.

Eleanor Laws is regularly instructed pre-charge to advise high profile clients facing police investigation. Engaging her at the earliest stage of the criminal process frequently results in an investigation being dropped, promptly concluding any distress that the client will naturally experience and ultimately maintain the privacy of the individual, important to all clients and particularly crucial to those in the public eye.

Vulnerable witnesses and training

Drawing on her considerable experience of high-profile cases such as the Oxford sex trafficking trials, Eleanor is at the forefront of educating the Bar and outside agencies (including police, medical practitioners, the National Crime Agency and the Child Exploitation Online Protection Agency) on the treatment of vulnerable witnesses.

She was invited to attend an all-party parliamentary inquiry into the treatment of vulnerable witnesses and defendants, and also took part in Sarah Champion MP’s inquiry into sexual exploitation legislation. The report is here. She assisted with Keir Starmer QC’s Victims’ Taskforce to examine victims’ rights. The report is here .

R v RD (2015)
Successfully defended man charged with serious sexual offences.

R v C (2015)
Successfully defended man charged with serious sexual offences.

R v ES (2015)
Successfully defended man charged with date rape.

R v Zidonis (2014)

Defence counsel regarding group attack upon two Italian boys.
Click here for BBC news report and here for local news report.

R v Jamil & others (Oxford sex trafficking cases), Central Criminal Court (2013)
Successfully defended one of nine defendants.

Inquiry into the Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey (2010)
Child abuse investigation. Instructed in three cases, all Royal Courts Jersey (2010): Re Jordan, Re Wateridge, Re Donnelly (2010).

R v Janner (2015)
Click here for national news report.

Operation Pallial (2014-2016)
Eleanor is lead counsel instructed to review and prosecute all cases arising out of Operation Pallial, investigating allegations of child sex abuse in North Wales children’s homes. It is the largest investigation into child abuse in the UK to date.

Appellate work

R v LP (2015)
Instructed to review and advise on grounds of appeal.
Click here for national news report.

R v Butler (2015)
Successful response to CCRC referral. Highlighting the limited use to which third party records may be used in an historic case.

R v McCabe (2014)

Successful response in Court of Appeal to a fresh evidence appeal where applicant had been convicted of rape and murder of his mother-in-law and attempt to murder his wife in 1978.  Psychiatrists later claimed that he must have been suffering from PTSD. The Court of Appeal rejected the appeal.

R v F [2013]
Successfully argued in Court of Appeal that a terminating ruling declaring a vulnerable witness as incompetent be reversed. Witness had learning difficulties and required intermediary and interpreter.
Click here for report.

Media/articles/books published

Sexual Offences Referencer (Oxford University Press, second edition ), the definitive guide to indictments and sentencing dating back to 1950, dealing with special measures, CPS charging practice and ancillary orders upon conviction. The book is recommended to practitioners at Criminal Bar Association training days and to judges on JSB training sessions.

This excellent book is a welcome and timely addition to the literature covering sexual offences…All those who work in this area will be grateful for its easy accessibility . – His Honour Judge Rook QC, Central Criminal Court

Incompetent Competency Hearings (Counsel magazine, April 2014)

Eleanor has commented on BBC news, the Today programme on Radio 4 and on Radio 5.


Appointed by Council of the Inns of Court to chair Bar Disciplinary Tribunal Hearings;
elected committee member (Criminal Bar Association);
external advocacy assessor for CPS Grades 2-4

Notable cases:

R v B (2017)
Eleanor Laws QC successfully defended property owner for rape offence.

R v D (2017)
Successfully defended nightclub owner for sexual assault.

R v H (2017)
Defended youth alleged with rape. Acquitted.

R v K (2017)
Defended man charged with historic sex offences Two complainants. Defendant acquitted.

Dr F, acquitted of serious sexual assault upon a male patient.
Dr F, consultant physician, charged with the serious sexual assault upon a patient was acquitted today at Isleworth CC.

R v S (2016)
Successful defence in case involving historic allegations of abuse.

R v D (2016)
Prosecution dropped all charges against D after receiving Abuse of Process submissions.

R v C (2016)
Successful defence of man charged with making 170 indecent images on his computer. Defence: remote access.

R v P (2016)
Successful appeal to the Court of Appeal representing man charged with serious sexual offences. Eleanor Laws was instructed after the Appellant had been convicted.

R v D and others (2016)
Defended student at Royal Agricultural University accused of rape. Prosecution offered no evidence following defence submissions.

R v K (2016)
Successfully defended Veterinary Surgeon for sexually assaulting nurses in his practice.

R v AK (2016)
Successfully defended an licensed taxi driver for sexually assaulting a passenger.

R v H (2015)
Successfully defended male charged with rape offences.

R v B (2015)
Successfully defended male charged with historic rape offences arising out of a cold case DNA investigation

R v RD (2015)
Successfully defended man charged with serious sexual offences.

R v C (2015)
Successfully defended man charged with serious sexual offences.

R v ES (2015)
Successfully defended man charged with date rape.


Legal Research Paper 2016/2017
Used in training Advocates and Judges as to developments in the law relating to Vulnerable Witnesses.

SE Circuit lecture this year on Vulnerable Witnesses

Article in Counsel Magazine Feb 2014

CBA Lecture on Recovered Memory