Sir Ivan Lawrence QC

Called in 1962

Areas of Practice
Crime, Direct Public Access Barristers


Practice Profile

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MA (Hons.) Christ Church, Oxford

LLD (Honorary) University of Buckingham


Queen’s Counsel 1981

Recorder (& Assistant Recorder) of the Crown Courts 1983 - 2002

Knighted 1992

Practice Profile

Sir Ivan is one of the most experienced criminal QC's in practice at the criminal bar today. He has won a considerable reputation, mainly as a defender, in some of the UK’s most notorious cases. He has appeared in more than 90 murder trials, and has wide experience in drug trafficking, smuggling, rape, child abuse and large-scale commercial frauds. His practice has taken him to the Divisional Court, Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and, in a mass murder war crimes trial, to The Hague. He is qualified to appear in the International Criminal Court

As a Member of Parliament for 23 years, Sir Ivan was heavily involved in improvements to criminal justice, continued his practice in the criminal courts, and also sat regularly as a Recorder (and Assistant Recorder) in London for 19 years.

Notable Cases

• R v Ronald Kray (blackmail trial and three murder trials concerning Cornell, Jack the Hat and Mad Axe-Man Mitchell)
• R v McVicar (bank robbery)
• R v Deanus (the Mountnessing silver bullion robbery)
• R v Hickson (the Shoreditch Great Banknote raid)
• R v Martin (attempted police murder)
• R v Nilsen (the serial killer)
• R v Bishop (Brighton Babes in the Wood murders)
• R v Riley (Leonie Darnley child murder)
• R v Patch (receiving Brinks-Mat gold bullion)
• R v Preston (House of Lords: telephone-tapping case)
• R v Emmett (House of Lords: drug trafficking compensation)
• R v Velasquez (asylum-seeker murder)
• R v Hoskins (large-scale Liverpool drug importation)
• R v Gowe (Yardie machete attempted murder)
• R v Kayretli (body in concrete slab murder)
• R v Rahman (wife murder in a Chinese takeaway)
• Prosecutor v Kolundzija (Bosnian mass murder war crimes trial at The Hague)
• R v South (multiple child rape and indecency)
• R v Moules (Leeds paedophile rapes)
• R v Quentin Hann (international snooker-star rape at Savoy hotel)
• R v Biggs (the Loughborough bin-bag child murder)
• Ajaelu v Home Secretary (false imprisonment of British citizen wrongly believed to be an illegal immigrant)
• Turcan v Toplum Postasi (defamation)
• R V Ely (Court of Appeal; historic multi child abuse in local authority home)


• R v Clarke (Brinks-Mat gold bullion money-laundering)
• R v Moser (mortgage fraud)
• R v Knight (pyramid selling and off-shore investment fraud)
• R v Bishop (business tax fraud)
• R v Holmes (VAT gold fraud)
• R v Reynolds (Diversion fraud from London City Bond)
• R v Ratcliff (Money laundering)


• US Government v Newton (1989) (At Bow Street: for solicitor charge with assisting Howard Marks)
• Government of Canada v Davies (1997) (Divisional Court: on issue of fitness to be tried)

Memberships and Affiliations

Master Bencher of Inner Temple

Criminal Bar Association

Inner Temple Advocacy Trainer

Visiting Professor of Law at The University of Buckingham & the BPP Law School

South Eastern Circuit



His memoir “My Life of Crime” is published by Book Guild.

Additional Information

Sir Ivan’s wider legal and legislative experience has been as:

• MP for Burton 1974-1997
• Member of Employment and Social Services Select Committee 1974 1979
• Member of Foreign Affairs Select Committee 1983-1992 (assisting Amnesty International)
• Member of Consolidation of Statutes Committee 1974-1987
• Member of Executive Council of Justice 1989-1995
• Member of Executive 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs 1987-1997
• Chairman of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (UK Branch 1992-1997
• Chairman of the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee 1992 1997
• Chairman of All Party Barristers Group 1987-1997
• Chairman of Conservative Backbench Legal and Home Affairs Committees 1987-1997
• Chairman of Criminal Justice Committee of Society of Conservative Lawyers (in which capacity he gave evidence to the Runciman and Auld Royal Commissions on the Criminal Justice system)
• Fellow of the Society of Advanced Legal Studies (and Chairman of working group of the Society reviewing anti-terrorist legislation) 2002
• Honorary member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America 1980
• As member and chairman of these various Committees, he was and unofficial legal advisor to a series of Home Secretaries, from William Whitelaw to Michael Howard, and to Lord Chancellors Hailsham, Havers and Mackay

Sir Ivan’s successful campaigns relevant to the law have included:

• Introduction of tape recorded interviews with suspects
• Creation of the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad and the Criminal Cases Review Commission
• Introduction of the concept of Racially Aggravated Offences
• Abolition of the “year and a day rule” for murder
• Council house and mortgage protection for deserted wives
• Private management of adult prisons
• Extending protection to battered wives
• Improving the treatment of juvenile offenders

He is also a broadcaster, lecturer and contributor to national newspapers and magazines on current legal topics, and he initiated the National Lottery with his private member’s Bill in Parliament.

Sir Ivan is able to accept instructions direct via the Direct Public Access to Barristers scheme in appropriate cases. 

For more information about Sir Ivan Lawrence QC please click on Criminal QC

direct access

Sir Ivan is qualified to accept instructions under the Direct Public Access to Barristers Scheme.

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