Called to the Bar:1993

Silk:2012

  • An imaginative and collaborative lawyer with great intellect and forensic insight, Adrian Darbishire QC is recognised for being a superb tactician and a powerfully persuasive advocate. Adrian was shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year at the Chambers & Partners 2018 Bar Awards.

    Corporate and Financial Crime 

    Adrian specialises in the defence of professional individuals charged in criminal and disciplinary proceedings arising in connection with their work as well as in advising and defending corporates in relation to allegations of financial crime and health and safety breaches and related criminal offences. He has vast experience of the full gamut of offences in this field and creatively defends against them with apparent ease.

    Crime

    Adrian Darbishire QC is an experienced criminal practitioner with a principal focus on the defence of professionals facing serious criminal offences arising from the workplace. He is recognised for being extremely bright, thoughtful and creative in his approach with a first-class client manner. Formerly Treasury Counsel he now specialises in defending allegations of sexual misconduct, dishonesty, gross negligence manslaughter and criminal breaches of confidentiality, data security, copyright and health and safety.

    Regulatory 

    Adrian specialises in the defence of professionals as they face regulatory and criminal investigation as a result of their conduct at work. He is known for being forensically astute and technically superb; he masters complex medical and scientific evidence and delivers the results beautifully in court. He is adept at assessing the best approach for a case and appealing to clients as they face the most difficult period of their career.

    Private Prosecution 

    Having commenced the largest-ever private prosecution brought by an individual in the UK to date, Adrian Darbishire QC has since developed a particular specialism in defending them. Adrian is a shrewd tactician who is at ease with complex investigations and has particular expertise of the specific issues that arise in them, such as those relating to disclosure, LPP, confidentiality and the nature (and misuse) of investigatory powers. He is a creative advocate providing novel solutions to difficult legal issues which is paramount in this relatively new and niche area of defence work. His lateral thinking and outstanding advocacy skills make him ‘capable of winning the seemingly unwinnable’.

    Reviews 

    Chambers UK 2019: Financial Crime - Band 1; Financial Crime: Corporates - Band 2; Crime - Band 2; Health and Safety - Band 1

    Legal 500 2018: Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations) - Tier 1; Health and Safety - Tier 2

    'His written work is impressive and his advocacy is super smooth.' Chambers UK Crime (2019)

    'A very thoughtful, strategic and compelling advocate.' 'He's an excellent young silk who has very good client skills and is a first-class advocate.' Chambers UK Financial Crime (2019)

    'An exceptional advocate who has a great manner in court.' Chambers UK Health & Safety (2019)

    'Fully deserving of his place at the top of the white-collar crime Bar.' Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations) (2018)

    'A meticulous advocate with a great eye for detail.' Legal 500 Health & Safety (2018)

    'He’s a sought-after person; if you get him on a case, you’ve done pretty well.' Chambers UK Crime (2018)

    'Effortlessly comprehends the most complex cases and delivers beautifully in court.' Chambers UK Health & Safety (2018)

    'A charming, sparkling advocate. He’s a strong strategist and a terrific drafter.' 'He has the ability to understand the complexities of a case and ensure that a jury fully understands what is happening during a trial.' 'An imaginative and collaborative lawyer-working with him is a dream.' Chambers UK Crime (2017)

    'In a league of his own when it comes to advocacy – he is capable of winning the seemingly unwinnable.' Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations) (2017) 

    'A superb tactician and compelling advocate, who has a great intellect and forensic insight.' Legal 500 Fraud: Crime (2017) 

    'Adept at assessing the mood of the court, exceptionally bright and appealing to demanding clients.' Legal 500 Health & Safety (2017) 

    'He is an extremely personable chap and has a fantastic sense of humour. He’s smart as well.' 'He is a class act.' 'He shows meticulous attention to detail and is very down-to-earth with lay clients and a team player with professional clients.' Chambers UK Health & Safety (2016)

    Appointments

    • Junior Treasury Counsel at Central Criminal Court, 2007 – 2012

    Professional Memberships

    • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
    • Competition Law Association
    • Criminal Bar Association
    • Health and Safety Lawyers' Association

    Education 

    • LLM, King’s College, London
    • Diploma in Law, City University
    • MA English Literature, Balliol College, Oxford

    Recent Cases

    News

    Articles

  • Corporate and Financial Crime

    A strong strategist, terrific drafter and compelling advocate, Adrian Darbishire QC is recognised for his ability to master the complex with ease. He is exceptional at marshalling detail in cross-examination and is respected for the "huge gravitas" he displays in court, and his lack of pomposity out of it.

    Overview

    Adrian specialises in the defence of professional individuals charged in criminal and disciplinary proceedings arising in connection with their work, as well as in advising and defending corporates in relation to allegations of financial crime and health and safety breaches and related criminal offences. He has vast experience of the full gamut of offences in this field and creatively defends against them with apparent ease.

    Experience 

    Adrian is a specialist defence advocate practising primarily in the field of corporate and financial crime. His practice is focused on workplace crime in many forms, but particularly in relation to health and safety matters, including manslaughter, and financial matters, especially sanctions breaches, cartels, corruption and money laundering issues.

    He primarily represents professionals under investigation or charged in criminal and disciplinary proceedings arising in connection with their work, and similarly on advising and defending corporates in relation to allegations of financial crime and offences relating to dangerous or environmentally damaging products and workplaces. 

    Adrian has particular expertise in: anti-competitive behaviour; fraud; corruption; market abuse; serious professional misconduct and negligence; and health and safety breaches. He is regularly instructed at the preliminary stages of an investigation to halt proceedings before charge and, where that is unavoidable, to shape the defence of a case at the earliest opportunity. His experience in this field is from pre-charge, through every tier of the English legal system to the very top; he has substantial appellate experience.

    Adrian has practised at the highest level of financial crime cases since 2007. He acts for individuals and corporations in some of the most high-profile investigations, such as: Marine Hose, BA/Virgin, Darmoo & Brown, Sweett Group plc, UBS FX Trading, UBS LIBOR, Barclays LIBOR, Mizuho Bank, Tesco, Rolls-Royce and Unaoil. He has an excellent feel for commercial issues and the reality of financial markets and trading, together with a good understanding of corporate finance and accounting; he has a particular interest in criminal cases with technical aspects. 

    Adrian has long had experience of the specific issues that arise in these fields, such as those relating to disclosure, LPP, confidentiality and the nature (and misuse) of investigatory powers. He is well-versed in the interplay between prosecutors and regulators, and has appeared in or advised in relation to many tribunals including the Competition Appeal Tribunal. 

    Through cartel, corruption and sanctions work in particular, he has significant experience in and knowledge of the international dimension to domestic criminal law, for example where parallel domestic and foreign investigations are in place. He has been involved in challenges to domestic legislation based upon European directives (see R v B(I) (2010) 1 Cr App R 16), UN Security Council Resolutions (see R v PD & EB (Iraq Sanctions) (2011) EWCA Crim 2082) and ECtHR. He has Administrative Court experience for applicants and respondents on judicial review, case stated and habeas corpus.

    Adrian acts in manslaughter and Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) cases for individuals and corporations. His experience of manslaughter cases includes: Hatfield Rail Crash (2005); LLEL (2007); Moyano (operating theatre death, 2009); Maurice Agis (Dreamspace "flyaway artwork" deaths, 2009); Counsell (firework display linked to seven deaths on nearby M5, 2012); Naylor (catastrophic door failure causing deaths of two members of singing group, 2016). All manslaughter prosecutions resulted in acquittal.

    Recent work in HSWA and related cases invariably involves guilty pleas, where the focus is on the basis of the plea and the presentation of mitigation material; when done comprehensively, this is neither straightforward nor simple. Because of the levels of fines, significant investment in presentation, even where there is a plea of guilty, is essential and something that Adrian is widely recognised and highly recommended for.

    Adrian Darbishire QC is acknowledged for giving realistic and informed advice on the prospects of success and the likely consequences of failure. As an experienced criminal defence advocate, he relishes the opportunity to fight any case where to do so is the informed wish of the lay client.

    Adrian has previously acted for the prosecution in Cotswold Geotech, which was the first-ever Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 prosecution, and Sterecycle Ltd, which was a trial of corporate manslaughter following an industrial explosion.

    Adrian is an advocate with intricate knowledge of all charges that can face an individual and corporate in the field of financial and corporate crime; his collaborative and creative approach and impressive intellect, place him at the very top of the list.

    Notable Cases 

    Re MHRA (2015)
    Defended a pharmaceutical manufacturing company and senior manager charged with the unlawful supply of industrial quantities of controlled drugs.

    Re D (2015)
    Advising broker under investigation by the SFO over Yen LIBOR manipulation.

    Re X (2015)
    Advising foreign exchange trader in relation to various investigations, including one by the SFO.

    R v Sterecycle (2014)
    Successful prosecution of a recycling company for corporate manslaughter.

    R v S (2014)
    Adrian Darbishire QC advised director of the construction company, regarding a death of an employee.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2018: Financial Crime - Band 1; Financial Crime: Corporates - Band 2; Health and Safety - Band 1

    Legal 500 2017: Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global investigations) - Tier 1; Health and Safety - Tier 2

    Legal 500 2014: Health and Safety Silk of the Year.

    'A very thoughtful, strategic and compelling advocate.' 'He's an excellent young silk who has very good client skills and is a first-class advocate.' Chambers UK Financial Crime (2019)

    'An exceptional advocate who has a great manner in court.' Chambers UK Health & Safety (2019)

    'Fully deserving of his place at the top of the white-collar crime Bar.' Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations) (2018)

    'A meticulous advocate with a great eye for detail.' Legal 500 Health & Safety (2018)

    'Extremely bright, thoughtful, creative, interested, calm and assured- he is right at the top of his game and at the top of his field.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'An awesome tactical thinker who is extremely dependable in large-scale or complex investigations.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'Technically superb, he’s hard-working and outstanding in court.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'An "outstanding" barrister who specialises in serious cases including corporate crime, sexual offences and corruption cases. Described as "utterly brilliant" by sources, he is also highly experienced in health and safety work.' Chambers UK (2017)

    'A superb tactician and compelling advocate, who has a great intellect and forensic insight.' Legal 500 (2017)

    'An awesome tactical thinker who is extremely dependable in large-scale or complex investigations.' Chambers UK (2016)

    'He is used on cases that are reserved for real stars. This shows the trust solicitors have in him.' Chambers UK (2015)

    'He has a very nice relaxed manner with the clients and is forensic in his advice.' Chambers UK (2015)

    Recent Cases

    News

    Articles

  • Considered to be in a league of his own, Adrian Darbishire QC is an outstanding advocate operating in the most serious echelon of the field. Adrian was shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year at the Chambers & Partners 2018 Bar Awards.

    Overview 

    Adrian Darbishire QC is an experienced criminal practitioner with a principal focus on the defence of professionals facing serious criminal offences arising from the workplace.  He is recognised for being extremely bright, thoughtful and creative in his approach with a first-class client manner. Formerly Treasury Counsel he now specialises in defending allegations of sexual misconduct, dishonesty, gross negligence manslaughter and criminal breaches of confidentiality, data security, copyright and health and safety.

    Experience 

    Adrian Darbishire QC has a wealth of experience of the full gamut of serious general crime. Treasury Counsel for five years, Adrian has worked on the most grave and high-profile cases. For nearly a decade, his practice has been focused on serious criminal offences occurring in the workplace and these have included everything from suggested sexual impropriety to manslaughters that are alleged to have been a result of catastrophic industrial accidents.

    Adrian has particular experience of defending medical and legal practitioners in relation to criminal and linked regulatory proceedings. These include many allegations of gross negligence manslaughter, sexual offences, dishonesty, verbal and physical abuse of patients, offences concerning the conduct of clinical research, misuse of alcohol and drugs and claims frauds. He is well-versed in the interplay between prosecutors and regulators, and has appeared in or advised in relation to the full spectrum of tribunals that can arise when a professional is under criminal investigation. Before taking silk, Adrian regularly enjoyed being led by the now Hon. Mrs Justice Nicola Davies DBE.

    Adrian is recognised for his forensic intellect. He has particular interest in criminal cases with technical aspects; aside from medicine, this includes accounting and engineering.  Beyond the scope of medicine and the legal profession, his representation of professionals charged in criminal and disciplinary proceedings arising in connection with their work also extends to: anti-competitive behaviour; fraud; corruption; market abuse; serious professional misconduct and negligence; and health and safety breaches.

    Adrian has been involved in every stage of criminal and related proceedings: he has been involved in challenges to domestic legislation based upon European directives and ECtHR; he has Administrative Court experience for applicants and respondents on judicial review, case stated and habeas corpus; he has experience of inquests for implicated parties and families of the deceased; and substantial appellate experience in criminal matters, particularly in relation to sentencing. He is regularly instructed at the preliminary stages of an investigation to halt proceedings before charge and where that is unavoidable, to shape the defence of a case at the earliest opportunity. 

    Notable Cases 

    Operation Weeting and Elveden
    The hacking and misconduct in public office inquiries.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2019: Crime - Band 2

    'His written work is impressive and his advocacy is super smooth.' Chambers UK Crime (2019)

    'He’s a sought-after person; if you get him on a case, you’ve done pretty well.' Chambers UK Crime (2018)

    'A charming, sparkling advocate. He’s a strong strategist and a terrific drafter.' 'He has the ability to understand the complexities of a case and ensure that a jury fully understands what is happening during a trial.' 'An imaginative and collaborative lawyer-working with him is a dream.' Chambers UK Crime (2017)

    'He’s very good with clients – they warm to him quickly and he is good at getting on their level.' Chambers UK (2016)

    'He is excellent at drafting and he forms arguments intelligently.' Chambers UK (2016)

    'He is able to get on the clients wavelength.' Legal 500 (2016)

    'He is very bright and charming with clients. He has a pleasant manner.' Chambers UK (2015)

    News

    Articles

  • A compelling advocate who is in ‘a league of his own’ with a genuine interest and effortless comprehension of technically complex cases; he is the obvious choice for professionals under investigations by their regulator and prosecuting entities.

    Overview

    Adrian specialises in the defence of professionals as they face regulatory and criminal investigation as a result of their conduct at work. He is known for being forensically astute and technically superb; he masters complex medical and scientific evidence and delivers the results beautifully in court. He is adept at assessing the best approach for a case and appealing to clients as they face the most difficult period of their career.

    Experience

    Adrian has particular experience of defending medical and legal practitioners in relation to criminal and linked regulatory proceedings. These include many allegations of gross negligence manslaughter, sexual offences, dishonesty, verbal and physical abuse of patients, offences concerning the conduct of clinical research, misuse of alcohol and drugs and claims frauds. He is well-versed in the interplay between prosecutors and regulators, and has appeared in or advised in relation to the full spectrum of tribunals that can arise when a professional is under investigation for his/her conduct. Before taking Silk, Adrian regularly enjoyed being led by the now Hon. Mrs Justice Nicola Davies DBE.

    Adrian is recognised for his forensic intellect. He has particular interest in cases with technical aspects; aside from medicine this includes accounting and engineering. Beyond the scope of medicine and the legal profession, his representation of professionals charged in criminal and disciplinary proceedings arising in connection with their work also extends to: anti-competitive behaviour; fraud; corruption; market abuse; serious professional misconduct and negligence; and health and safety breaches.

    Adrian has been involved in every stage of criminal and related proceedings: he has been involved in challenges to domestic legislation based upon European directives and ECtHR; he has Administrative Court experience for applicants and respondents on judicial review, case stated and habeas corpus; he has experience of inquests for implicated parties and families of the deceased; and substantial appellate experience in criminal matters, particularly in relation to sentencing. Adrian acted for an erased GP on appeal to the High Court against sanction of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) and acted for a doctor in judicial review of a decision by the police to supply material to GMC, following his acquittal in criminal proceedings. Adrian is regularly instructed at the preliminary stages of an investigation to halt proceedings and where that is unavoidable, to shape the defence of a case at the earliest opportunity. 

    Adrian’s work has included representing: a Kent GP charged with sexual abuse of six patients in the course of clinical examinations who was acquitted; a Hospital O&G Consultant charged with sexual assault during an ante-natal scan who was acquitted; and a Chiropractor charged with professional misconduct in relation to mistreatment of patient, where misconduct was 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 and 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.

    An outstanding barrister with a proven track record in this field, Adrian is frequently called upon to defend professionals facing the most challenging circumstances.

    Notable Cases

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

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2019: Financial Crime - Band 1; Financial Crime: Corporates - Band 2

    Legal 500 2018: Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations) - Tier 1

    'A very thoughtful, strategic and compelling advocate.' 'He's an excellent young silk who has very good client skills and is a first-class advocate.' Chambers UK Financial Crime (2019)

    'Fully deserving of his place at the top of the white-collar crime Bar.' Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations) (2018)

    'In a league of his own when it comes to advocacy – he is capable of winning the seemingly unwinnable.' Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations) (2017)

    'A superb tactician and compelling advocate, who has a great intellect and forensic insight.' Legal 500 Fraud: Crime (2017)

    'He is an extremely personable chap and has a fantastic sense of humour. He’s smart as well.' 'He is a class act.' 'He shows meticulous attention to detail and is very down-to-earth with lay clients and a team player with professional clients.' Chambers UK (2016)

    'He routinely obtains better outcomes than would normally be thought possible.' Legal 500 (2016)

    'He’s got very good judgement and is an attractive advocate – judges just like him.' Chambers UK (2015)

    'Handles witnesses and juries superbly.' Chambers UK (2015)

    'An enormously reassuring presence, and incredibly talented.' Legal 500 (2015)

    Articles

  • Private Prosecutions

    Measured and meticulous with a forensic eye for detail, Adrian Darbishire QC is perfectly placed for the field of private prosecution.

    Overview 

    Having commenced the largest-ever private prosecution brought by an individual in the UK to date, Adrian Darbishire QC has since developed a particular specialism in defending them. Adrian is a shrewd tactician who is at ease with complex investigations and has particular expertise of the specific issues that arise in them, such as those relating to disclosure, LPP, confidentiality and the nature (and misuse) of investigatory powers. He is a creative advocate providing novel solutions to difficult legal issues which is paramount in this relatively new and niche area of defence work. His lateral thinking and outstanding advocacy skills make him ‘capable of winning the seemingly unwinnable’.

    Experience 

    Adrian Darbishire QC began work in this field with the commencement of the private prosecution of Ketan Somaia for nine counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, totalling USD19.7 million. This was the largest private prosecution brought by an individual in the UK to date.

    Since his involvement with this landmark case, Adrian’s practice has focused on the defence of prosecutions brought by private individuals or entities other than the police or other prosecution authorities.

    Adrian has predominantly operated in the areas of corporate and financial crime within the private prosecution field. He brings the phenomenal expertise he has developed in defending corporate crime and uses his keen intellect and vast skill set to great effect in this specialised practice area.

    His experience includes defending a banker against allegations of conspiracy to defraud in relation to the treatment of substantial loans to a client company and of the associated perjury/perverting allegations. In this case, the summonses were refused and an award for costs made. Adrian has also defended a partner of a global law firm against a private prosecution arising from allegations of conspiracy to defraud and people trafficking. As before, summonses were refused, a costs order was made against the prosecutor and later upheld by the Administrative Court on appeal. He has defended the directors of a housing trust against allegations of fraud, false accounting and Company’s Act offences, brought by an aggrieved former director. Again, Summonses were refused, and a costs award was made against the prosecutor. Adrian has also defended an entrepreneur facing prosecution for fraud arising from breakdown of relationship with his business partner and supplier in Poland. In this ongoing matter, the grant of summons is currently subject to judicial review.

    Adrian’s practice in this field has seen him advising various company owners in respect of possible criminal proceedings against directors and managers believed to have acted for personal gain and against the interests of the company (intellectual property theft, fraud, destruction of company data); his keen intellect, fantastic judgement and creative thinking mean he is extremely sought-after in this field.

    Notable Cases

    Haigh v Gray & Others (2015)
    Defending partner of global law firm subject to private prosecution in respect of allegations of people trafficking and fraud.

    Reviews

    'His written work is impressive and his advocacy is super smooth.' Chambers UK (2019)

    'Technically superb, he’s hard-working and outstanding in court.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'An awesome tactical thinker who is extremely dependable in large-scale or complex investigations.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'A charming, sparkling advocate. He’s a strong strategist and a terrific drafter.' 'He has the ability to understand the complexities of a case and ensure that a jury fully understands what is happening during a trial.' 'An imaginative and collaborative lawyer-working with him is a dream.' Chambers UK (2017)

    'He is very bright and charming with clients. He has a pleasant manner.' Chambers UK (2015)

    Recent Cases

    • Adrian Darbishire QC, instructed by Peters & Peters, represented former Gibson Dunn partner Peter Gray in a private prosecution dismissed by the Magistrates' Court.

    • Against private company and its MD, for alleged deception of principal supplier over pricing.

    • Adrian Darbishire QC and Rachna Gokani acted for the defence in a private prosecution of a large British Bank and its former Director for offences of conspiracy to defraud and perjury.

    • Adrian Darbishire QC, instructed by Peters & Peters, represented four company directors accused of false accounting and a series of Companies Act offences connected with the management of a property company. 

    News

    Articles

    • Briefing Note: A Prosecutor's Duty of Candour

      On 23 May, the High Court (Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Sweeney) allowed an application for judicial review against the refusal of Leeds Magistrates' Court to dismiss summonses that had been issued upon the application of a private prosecutor.The Cla...