Called to the Bar:1990

Silk:2012

  • A phenomenally bright and accomplished Silk with impeccable strategic judgement; she is one of the finest jury advocates there is.

    Corporate & Financial Crime

    For much of her career, Zoe has prosecuted and defended in all areas of corporate and financial crime. She has been at the forefront of the field, advising on the legislation at its foundations and has frequently been involved in ground breaking cases, processes and decisions. Her keen intellect and impeccable judgement make her a prime candidate for the largest, most complex and challenging cases.

    Crime

    An exceptional criminal advocate who is adept at dealing with serious, sensitive and complicated matters; she has the utter respect of the market.

    Zoe was Treasury Counsel for 11 years, four of which were as Senior Treasury Counsel. She is sought out to advise on complex new areas of law and to advise and represent parties involved in grave, sensitive and evidentially complex cases.

    Regulatory

    The go-to Silk for forensically challenging and sensitive cases, Zoe has a phenomenal track record at every stage of the process of professional regulation.

    She is recognised for her authoritative yet calm approach and ease of understanding; she is regularly instructed to advise on new areas of law and to take technically difficult arguments to the highest courts in our system.

    Public Law

    Calm, self-assured, reassuring and incredibly bright, Zoe Johnson has progressed into the domain of Internal Investigations and Public Inquiries, whilst in Silk. She is sought out for her expertise across vast areas of practice, her ability to grasp complex systems and detail and her personable yet commanding presence. She is engaged in matters arising from the criminal, professional regulatory and corporate fields.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2020: Crime – Band 1; Professional Discipline – Band 2.

    Legal 500 2020: Crime – Tier 2

    'Has fantastic judgement and tactical awareness. She always instils confidence in the client.' Chambers UK Crime (2020)

    'So good that she is both a joy and a terror to be opposite.' Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2020)

    ‘Truly superb on any case with medical issues involved.’ Legal 500 Crime (2020)

    ‘A barrister with a real gift who has a great understanding of medical cases.’ Chambers UK Crime (2019)

    ‘Very well prepared and very focused.’ ‘Very well respected. Judges trust her.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2019)

    ‘She has a firm, clear advocacy style which comes over extremely effectively with juries without overawing them.’ Legal 500 Crime (2018)

    ‘Friendly, charming and supportive, she has gravitas without being overbearing.’ Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law (2018)

    ‘She has real gravitas in court: she commands the room and makes her arguments with really impressive articulation.’ Chambers UK Crime (2018)

    ‘A very capable defence advocate in this area of work.’ ‘Clever and very able.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2018)

    ‘Her prosecution practice includes work for the Financial Conduct Authority.’ Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (2017)

    ‘She has a fine intellect and a capacity for hard work, as well as very effective forensic skills.’ Legal 500 Crime (2017)

    ‘She is a class act, combining tremendous intellect with equal amounts of charm.’ Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory Crime (2017)

    ‘She is an effective communicator and an accomplished practitioner who leads by example and not just direction. She is one of the finest jury advocates out there.’ Chambers UK Financial Crime (2017)

    ‘She is just awesome. She’s so bright, so hard-working and she’s got such good judgement.’ Chambers UK Crime (2017)

    ‘A compassionate, dedicated and persuasive advocate.’ Legal 500 Crime (2015)

    Appointments

    • SFO Approved Counsel List 2010
    • Recorder 2010

    Professional Memberships

    • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
    • Bar Disability Panel (founder member)
    • Criminal Bar Association

    Education

    • Dip Law (City University)
    • BA (Oxon)

    Privacy Notice

    Recent Cases

    News

    Articles

    • FGM, The Law the Lessons and the Unintended Consequences

      Sean Larkin QC and Zoe Johnson QC explore the criminal prosecution, the new legislation and the duty of professionals.

  • Corporate and Financial Crime

    A master tactician, Zoe Johnson QC brings her "first-class brain" and calm, fair and authoritative approach to the corporate and financial crime arena, with great effect.

    Overview 

    For much of her career, Zoe has prosecuted and defended in all areas of corporate and financial crime. She has been at the forefront of the field, advising on the legislation at its foundations and has frequently been involved in groundbreaking cases, processes and decisions. Her keen intellect and impeccable judgement make her a prime candidate for the largest, most complex and challenging cases.

    Experience 

    Zoe’s experience in corporate and financial crime covers the full spectrum of offences including: bribery and corruption; all types of fraud; insider dealing; and sanctions.

    Zoe advises and represents individuals, corporates and prosecuting entities. She is engaged pre-charge for both sides, whether it is to advise a prosecuting authority on whether to prosecute, or to give those under investigation tactical advice in a bid to avoid charge. Zoe was leading counsel who advised the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on their extensive investigation into Hewlett Packard’s takeover of Autonomy and whether there was sufficient evidence to launch a prosecution. 

    Her knowledge in this field has placed her at its very foundation and put her at the forefront of changes in the law: she has advised on the construction of legislation for the FCA; she was lead counsel in R v XYZ, the second ever Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in the UK, setting the bench mark for future such agreements. She is frequently involved in high-profile matters; she prosecuted Mark Lyttleton on behalf of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in relation to allegations of insider dealing whilst he was working at Black Rock. Much of her work in the field has an inter-jurisdictional aspect to it. She has advised in relation to the Iran EU Financial Regulations in respect of a proposed takeover of a multi-national company.

    Zoe is liked and respected by those working with and against her, managing to be both a fierce and gracious opponent; she is a class act.

    Notable Cases

    R v Lyttleton (2016)
    Prosecuted Mark Lyttleton on behalf of the FCA in relation to allegations of insider dealing whilst he was working at Black Rock.

    SFO v XYZ (2016)
    Instructed as leading counsel in the second ever deferred prosecution agreement which set the bench mark for such agreements and was approved by the Court in June 2016.

    Reviews

    ‘Very well prepared and very focused.’ ‘Very well respected. Judges trust her.’ Chambers UK (2019)

    ‘She has real gravitas in court: she commands the room and makes her arguments with really impressive articulation.’ Chambers UK (2018)

    ‘She has a fine intellect and a capacity for hard work, as well as very effective forensic skills.’ Legal 500 (2017)

    ‘She is just awesome. She’s so bright, so hard-working and she’s got such good judgement.’ Chambers UK (2017)

    ‘A compassionate, dedicated and persuasive advocate.’ Legal 500 (2015)

    Recent Cases

    News

    • QEB News: Ex Black Rock portfolio manager imprisoned.

      Following his guilty plea in November to two counts of insider trading, Mark Lyttleton was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.

    • Zoe Johnson QC and Paul Raudnitz instructed in landmark Deferred Prosecution Agreement case - "SFO v XYZ Ltd"

      Zoe Johnson QC and Paul Raudnitz have today concluded a landmark hearing before Sir Brian Leveson, the President of the Queen's Bench Division, in which the Court approved what is only the second Deferred Prosecution Agreement in England and Wales. The ag...

  • Only the second woman ever to have been appointed Senior Treasury Counsel, Zoe Johnson QC is regarded as an extremely accomplished practitioner; she combines tremendous intellect with phenomenal advocacy.

    Overview 

    An exceptional criminal advocate who is adept at dealing with serious, sensitive and complicated matters; she has the utter respect of the market.

    Zoe was Treasury Counsel for 11 years, four of which were as Senior Treasury Counsel.  She is sought out to advise on complex new areas of law and to advise and represent parties involved in grave, sensitive and evidentially complex cases.  She is a Recorder and sits as a Judge in the Crown Court.

    Experience

    Zoe Johnson QC defends and prosecutes the most serious, sensitive, demanding and high profile crime. Her 11 years as treasury counsel (the second woman ever to have been appointed senior treasury counsel) gave her vast experience in cases of homicide, terrorism, organised crime and misconduct in public office. She was instructed in the first ever case of terrorist fund raising (R v Oumerzouk), has prosecuted in Islamic terrorist cases, advised in the case of Gary McKinnon (accused of hacking into NASA and the US Department of Defence) and advised in relation to the prosecution of News International. 

    Zoe is often asked to advise organisations and individuals. She advised the CPS in the matter of Randox Testing, a company used by police forces in the UK to carry out toxicological testing. They were accused of malpractice possibly effecting thousands of convictions.

    She defended the multimillionaire Carl Hirschmann and the founder of Pimlico Plumbers in their respective assault cases.

    She has acted in a number of “honour killings” and hate crimes.

    Zoe has particular expertise in cases with medico-legal features. Since appearing in R v Harris & Others in 2005, she has become adept in allegations of “shaken baby syndrome” and has appeared in many such cases (most recently R v Tautz). Zoe is accomplished in presenting and dissecting psychiatric evidence and has been involved in a large number of contested diminished responsibility, insanity and fitness to plead cases.

    Zoe is instructed in cases of extreme sensitivity, often involving the death of children (e.g R v Tania Clarence, a mother who suffocated her three disabled children and R v Dixie, the murder of Sally Ann Bowman).  Throughout her career as a criminal practitioner both prosecuting as Treasury Counsel and defending in extremely sensitive cases, Zoe has carefully dealt with the most vulnerable of witnesses, including children, people with mental health issues, deaf witnesses, people who need intermediaries, those dealing with extreme grief, people with physical disabilities, women from religious groups too afraid to come into court.  She is extremely experienced in this field.

    She has a special interest and expertise in medical gross negligence manslaughter cases and recently secured the acquittal, at the close of the Crown’s case, of Dr Rudling, a GP accused of failing to recognise a life threatening illness. She has been instructed in the three most recent medical gross negligence manslaughter decisions – Bawa Garba, Rudling, Honey Rose (instructed to advise).

    Zoe successfully defended in the first ever prosecution under the Female Genital Mutilation legislation (R v Dharmasena) and as a result has been asked to advise several clients (individuals and religious groups) prior to possible charges of FGM.

    Zoe has developed a practice in public law. She has appeared in both civil and criminal judicial review cases. Most recently, she successfully defended an application for judicial review arising from the first ever attempt to waive an order for anonymity. The anonymity order in question was granted for a witness who testified in the case of Ellis and Others, the 2004 Birmingham New Year shootings.  

    Zoe has also represented the Crown Prosecution Service at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

    Zoe’s experience of corporate crime and professional discipline means that she frequently represents professionals facing criminal charges; she recently successfully defended a doctor accused of multiple sexual assaults.

    Zoe Johnson sits as a Recorder; her understanding of the criminal law and its application in our courts is exceptional. As an advocate, she is recognised for her intellect, advocacy and ability to deal with the most difficult cases with both poise and sensitivity.

    Notable Cases 

    R v Ellis and Others 2018/2019
    Zoe Johnson QC appeared for the respondent in the first ever application to discharge an anonymity order.

    Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse 2019
    Zoe Johnson QC represented the CPS in the Westminster and Children outside the UK strands of the inquiry.  

    R v Bawa Garba  
    2016– Zoe Johnson QC defended the doctor charged with gross negligence manslaughter.

    R v Rudling 2016 
    Zoe Johnson QC secured the acquittal of this GP accused of failing to act on the signs of a life threatening illness.

    R v France (2015)
    Zoe Johnson QC led the prosecution of the case against Sun journalist Anthony France, for aiding and abetting a police officer to commit misconduct in public office.

    R v Clarence (2015)
    Zoe Johnson QC prosecuted a mother that had killed three of her children, who all had spinal muscular atrophy.

    R v Dharmasena (2015)
    Successfully defended in the first-ever prosecution under the Female Genital Mutilation legislation.

    R v McInerney & Others (2013)
    Zoe Johnson acted for the prosecution of 14 males accused of the murder of Andrew Jaipaul as a result of North London gang rivalry.

    Seminars

    Webcast on FGM and the law, with Kingsley Napley - 2019

    The lessons to be learnt from the Bawa Garba case, for the MDU - 2018

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2019: Crime - Band 2

    Legal 500 2020: Crime – Tier 2 

    ‘Truly superb on any case with medical issues involved.’ Legal 500 Crime (2020)

    ‘A barrister with a real gift who has a great understanding of medical cases.’ Chambers UK Crime (2019)

    ‘She has a firm, clear advocacy style which comes over extremely effectively with juries without overawing them.’ Legal 500 Crime (2018)

    ‘She has real gravitas in court: she commands the room and makes her arguments with really impressive articulation.’ Chambers UK Crime (2018)

    ‘She has a fine intellect and a capacity for hard work, as well as very effective forensic skills.’ Legal 500 Crime (2017)

    ‘She is just awesome. She’s so bright, so hard-working and she’s got such good judgement.’ Chambers UK Crime (2017)

    ‘A compassionate, dedicated and persuasive advocate.’ Legal 500 Crime (2015)

    Recent Cases

    News

    Articles

    • FGM, The Law the Lessons and the Unintended Consequences

      Sean Larkin QC and Zoe Johnson QC explore the criminal prosecution, the new legislation and the duty of professionals.

  • Compelling and persuasive, Zoe Johnson QC combines her knowledge of criminal and regulatory fields to offer real expertise in professional discipline matters. Her keen intellect, effective forensic skills and commanding presence, place her at the very top of this field.

    Overview 

    The go-to Silk for forensically challenging and sensitive cases, Zoe has a phenomenal track record at every stage of the process of professional regulation.

    She is recognised for her authoritative yet calm approach and ease of understanding; she is regularly instructed to advise on new areas of law and to take technically difficult arguments to the highest courts in our system.

    Experience

    Zoe has appeared regularly over the years in various tribunals including the GMC, General Dental Council (GDC) and Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). She has prosecuted and defended at the most senior level in the most difficult and sensitive of cases. She recently successfully defended a senior registrar obstetrician accused of mismanagement of a twin delivery leading to death and dishonesty (GMC v Dr Mohan) and in 2014 she successfully defended a consultant in accident and emergency medicine accused of sexually motivated misconduct in relation to multiple female patients.

    Zoe’s knowledge of the field means she is often instructed in areas of new law and regulations; she is instructed in the first proceedings ever brought by the British Psychological Society. She successfully defended the first prosecution for female genital mutilation in the UK against a hospital doctor.

    Zoe’s immense experience in medico-legal criminal cases is of enormous benefit when she appears in the medical regulatory tribunals. She has also been instructed in judicial review proceedings in relation to the decisions of the GMC tribunal. She has particular experience of defending sensitive allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2018 she advised a dentist accused of sexual misconduct so that the charges were dropped.

    A Silk with an already enormous presence in the field of professional regulation, her reputation continues to grow with each case. 

    Notable Cases

    GMC v Mohan 2016
    Successfully defended an obstetrician accused of being responsible for the death of a twin in delivery.

    GMC v Clinton (2014)
    Zoe Johnson QC was successfully defended Dr Clinton against various sexual assault charges. 

    GMC v Lawrence (2010)
    An eminent psychiatrist accused of abusing his position with a female patient.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2020: Professional Discipline – Band 2.

    Legal 500 2018: Professional Discipline and Regulatory – Tier 3.

    ‘Very well prepared and very focused.' 'Very well respected. Judges trust her.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2019)

    ‘Friendly, charming and supportive, she has gravitas without being overbearing.’ Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law (2018)

    ‘A very capable defence advocate in this area of work.' 'Clever and very able.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2018)

    ‘She is a class act, combining tremendous intellect with equal amounts of charm.’ Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory Crime (2017)

    Recent Cases

    • Zoe Johnson QC led Philip Stott representing Dr Rudling (charged with the gross negligence manslaughter of a 12-year-old patient).

    • Two QEB Hollis Whiteman barristers appeared on opposing sides in a Medical Practitioner Tribunal Council Fitness to Practise Hearing. Zoe Johnson QC defended.

    News

    Articles

    • FGM, The Law the Lessons and the Unintended Consequences

      Sean Larkin QC and Zoe Johnson QC explore the criminal prosecution, the new legislation and the duty of professionals.

  • With experience across the full breadth of chambers' fields of expertise, Zoe Johnson's wealth of knowledge and insight and her calm yet authoritive approach, have made her a first choice for Inquests, Internal Reviews, Public Inquiries, and Judicial Review. 

    Overview

    Calm, self-assured, reassuring and incredibly bright, Zoe Johnson has progressed into the domain of Internal Investigations and Public Inquiries, whilst in Silk.  She is sought out for her expertise across vast areas of practice, her ability to grasp complex systems and detail and her personable yet commanding presence.  She is engaged in matters arising from the criminal, professional regulatory and corporate fields.

    Experience

    Zoe Johnson has experience across the full gamut of this field.  Drawing from her experience in crime, healthcare regulation and corporate crime, she has built a practice heading internal investigations, acting for individuals and corporates in Public Inquiries and advising and acting in Judicial Review proceedings.

    Zoe is currently instructed to represent Post Office Limited in their internal inquiry into the Horizon computer system and the possible miscarriage of justice of c.900 sub postmasters. This is one of the most extensive post-conviction disclosure inquiries ever conducted. She leads the team, oversees the inquiry and drafts the various responses to the Post Office Board and the Court of Appeal.

    Zoe is also instructed to represent a potential witness in the Grenfell Inquiry and possible suspect in any criminal proceedings arising from the Inquiry.

    She represented the CPS in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and she was instructed to represent the CPS in the internal inquiry surrounding the murder of Kevin Nunes and the police misconduct which led to the wrongful conviction of several men allegedly responsible for the murder.

    She has been involved in a number of judicial reviews involving regulatory and criminal law.

    Notable Cases

    Re: C (2020)
    Representing a senior figure within a company at the centre of the Grenfell Inquiry.

    Re Post Office (2019-2020) 
    instructed to represent Post Office Limited in their internal inquiry into the Horizon computer system and the possible miscarriage of justice of c.900 sub postmasters.

    Independant Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (2019-2020)
    Representing the Crown Prosecution Service as a core participant to IICSA.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2020: Crime – Band 1; Professional Discipline – Band 2.

    Legal 500 2020: Crime – Tier 2

    'Has fantastic judgement and tactical awareness. She always instils confidence in the client.' Chambers UK Crime (2020)

    'So good that she is both a joy and a terror to be opposite.' Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2020)

    ‘Truly superb on any case with medical issues involved.’ Legal 500 Crime (2020)

    ‘A barrister with a real gift who has a great understanding of medical cases.’ Chambers UK Crime (2019)

    ‘Very well prepared and very focused.’ ‘Very well respected. Judges trust her.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2019)

    ‘She has a firm, clear advocacy style which comes over extremely effectively with juries without overawing them.’ Legal 500 Crime (2018)

    ‘Friendly, charming and supportive, she has gravitas without being overbearing.’ Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law (2018)

    ‘She has real gravitas in court: she commands the room and makes her arguments with really impressive articulation.’ Chambers UK Crime (2018)

    ‘A very capable defence advocate in this area of work.’ ‘Clever and very able.’ Chambers UK Professional Discipline (2018)

    ‘Her prosecution practice includes work for the Financial Conduct Authority.’ Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (2017)

    ‘She has a fine intellect and a capacity for hard work, as well as very effective forensic skills.’ Legal 500 Crime (2017)

    ‘She is a class act, combining tremendous intellect with equal amounts of charm.’ Legal 500 Professional Discipline and Regulatory Crime (2017)

    ‘She is an effective communicator and an accomplished practitioner who leads by example and not just direction. She is one of the finest jury advocates out there.’ Chambers UK Financial Crime (2017)

    ‘She is just awesome. She’s so bright, so hard-working and she’s got such good judgement.’ Chambers UK Crime (2017)

    ‘A compassionate, dedicated and persuasive advocate.’ Legal 500 Crime (2015)

    Recent Cases

    News

    • Inquiry reports on Westminster abuse

      The public inquiry into child sexual abuse published its Report into allegations of abuse linked to Westminster this month. It considers the institutional responses to allegations of abuse and exploitation involving persons of public prominence, such as M...

    • Zoe Johnson QC and Nicholas Griffin QC: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

      The Inquiry investigation into “Children Outside the UK” started on 11 February.

    • Zoe Johnson QC and Paul Raudnitz in landmark Deferred Prosecution Agreement Judicial Review

      Judgment has been handed down in the landmark judicial review case of “AL v SFO”.