• 'An exceptional, ‘top-end’ set with a long-standing reputation for professionalism and efficiency' Chambers UK 2017
  • 'The very talented barristers here are known for their superior advocacy skills and their approachability' Chambers UK 2017  
  • 'Rightly regarded as a leading criminal set' Legal 500 2016

Sexual Offences

We are at the forefront of the education of the profession and developments and changes to the law in this field; members are frequently selected for their tactical expertise, accomplished advocacy and sensitive, discreet approach. 


QEB Hollis Whiteman has an outstanding track record for all cases involving Sexual Offences but most notably for very difficult cases including historic sexual abuse, serious sexual violence and trafficking. Our experience includes acting for professionals charged with sexual offending towards those in their care and cases with multiple complainants. We have specialist knowledge regarding the handling of vulnerable witnesses and defendants. We are also particularly alive to the need to deal promptly but comprehensively with disclosure issues, which are often complex and highly problematic in cases of this nature.

Our Experience

Members of QEB Hollis Whiteman have been involved in most of the recent high-profile trials and appeals including: R v D (the successful Defence of the only Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) case to be prosecuted to date); Adam Johnson and Ched Evans (both Appeals); the Prosecution of Greville Janner; and the landmark Cases of R v F (2013) EWCA Crim 424 (on Competency Hearings) and R v Butler (2015) (approach to Historic Third-Party Material). Other recent cases include a US Investment Banker (charged with Attempted Rape and Sexual Assault); a Celebrity Masseuse (charged with 21 counts of Sexual Assault on 18 women); and a doctor who was acquitted of sexually abusing a patient.

Members regularly advise pre-charge, and frequently do so for well-known individuals being investigated for Sexual Offences. Our work has included assisting with the drafting of letters of representation to the police or CPS. Given our strength in regulatory work, we are well placed to act for professionals who are facing prosecution for such offences including doctors, headteachers, teachers and the police. We are valued for our sensitivity and discretion.

We have been involved in two of the most significant investigations of recent times: the Haut de la Garenne Children’s Home Investigation in Jersey and Operation Pallial (the North Wales Child Abuse Investigation) - the UK’s largest investigation into historic sexual abuse. Furthermore, three members of Chambers have been instructed for core participants in the ongoing independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (formerly the Goddard Inquiry). 

A number of members of Chambers are recorders with serious sexual offences tickets, and others sit on the General Medical and General Dental Councils as legal assessors. They deal with the assessment and application of the law and industry regulations in this ever-complex field.

Chambers is at the forefront of vulnerable witness training, with Bar Council-trained lead facilitators and facilitators numbered amongst its members. team members have provided lectures on topics such as s.28 (video-recorded hearings), recovered memory, child exploitation cases and vulnerable witness training to the Bar, including the Criminal Bar Association, South East Circuit and outside agencies including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, paediatricians and advocates abroad. We delivered the new vulnerable witnesses course to Jersey advocates, and we are running in-house seminars about the new regime for instructing solicitors. We have provided similar training for regulatory bodies; members have delivered a full-day training course on vulnerable witnesses for the GMC.

Members of Chambers frequently write and contribute to publications. Eleanor Laws QC is the author of the Sexual Offences Referencer, the seminal text on indictments and sentencing in sex cases from 1950 to date. Members have also contributed to the Vulnerable Witnesses Legal Research Paper, included in the vulnerable witnesses training package for the Bar and Judiciary.


Recent Cases

R v X (14 year old youth) (2023)

Tom was instructed to represent a young man of 16 with autism. X was 14 at the time of his...


Jennifer Newcomb appointed as Treasury Counsel Monitoree

We are delighted to announce that as of the 1 st  April 2024 Jennifer Newcomb will be...

Philip McGhee to be appointed Treasury Counsel

We are delighted to announce that as of the 1 st April 2024 Philip McGhee will be Junior Treasury...


A Briefing Note: R v Ng & R v O'Reilly Abuse of process and non-attendance

The Court of Appeal has recently given guidance on the options for the criminal courts when dealing with non-attendance of counsel, particularly prosecution counsel, at hearings and at trials. In this briefing note,  Philip Stott  and ...

Benefits & Brothels by Polly Dyer & HHJ Hopmeier

Polly Dyer co-authored an article with HHJ Hopmeier titled Benefit and Brothels. It can be found on pages 4-6 of Archbold Review issue 8. 

Adam King considers the role of the jury in rape trials in this article for Unherd.

In this article for UnHerd, Adam King explores whether you can, in fact, trust a jury.  Adam considers how the judiciary assumes that the public have misconceptions pertaining to sexual offences and he analyses the new research...

#MeToo: The disciplinary implications of misconduct, both inside and outside of the workplace

In this podcast, Sean Larkin QC , Edward Henry QC and Alexandra Felix consider the disciplinary implications of misconduct, both inside and outside the workplace in the context of the #MeToo movement. This podcast was developed from an article Edward...

R v Manning: Sentencing considered during the period of the pandemic

Philip Stott considers R - v -  Manning and the observations of the Lord Chief Justice on sentencing during Covid-19 A recent ‘unduly lenient’ sentencing reference to the Court of Appeal – R v Manning – provided an opportunity...

Criminal Courts: Coping with Covid-19

Edmund Smith  of  Kingsley Napley  and  Kerry Broome  of QEB Hollis Whiteman review how the administration of criminal justice has changed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and what this might mean for the future.  ...