Download PDF

Sir Ivan Lawrence KC

Year of Call


Year of Silk


Areas of practice

Prosecution, Defence, Direct Access


Professor Sir Ivan Lawrence is one of the most experienced criminal QC's in practice at the Bar. 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. 

In the field of international human rights, Sir Ivan played a prominent part in campaigns to release a million Jews from the Soviet Union; the release of 32 prisoners under President Mubarak's regime in Egypt; and the release from prison and subsequent installation of President Mohammed Nasheed in the Maldives. 

Sir Ivan continues in practice today, both at the criminal bar and in family cases where there are allegations of fraud. He remains enthusiastic about advocacy, and is also available to advise in any of his areas of expertise (either in current cases or potential appeals).

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. 

Sir Ivan is committed to legal education and is a Professor of Criminal Law at BPP University and the University of Buckingham. He also undertakes guest lecturing particularly on advocacy and criminal law. He is currently Co-Chairman of the annual Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime at Jesus College and takes a very active part in their annual events. He continues to write for parliamentary and legal publications, and to advise on issues in criminal law. He is a Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple.

Public interest in a number of the cases in which Sir Ivan has acted remains very high. In 2020, The Trial of Christine Keeler portrayed the Profumo affair, and he was portrayed by the actor Pip Torrens in the programme 'Des' which is based on the 1983 arrest of Dennis Nilsen. He also recorded an interview on Nilsen which was shown during 2021. 

Crime (defence)

Sir Ivan is a very well known criminal defence lawyer who has acted in many high profile cases, often for notorious defendants. He has acted in over 90 murder trials, as well as in many cases of non-fatal violence, blackmail, robbery, sexual assault and rape.

Sir Ivan has also acted in numerous cases of fraud, including money laundering arising out of the Brinks-Mat gold robbery. He has expertise in dealing with a wide variety of fraud allegations including money laundering, mortgage fraud, business tax fraud and VAT fraud.


To instruct Sir Ivan Lawrence please contact Stephen Bush.


  • M.A. (Hons) Christ Church College, Oxford University
  • LL.D. (Honorary) University of Buckinghamshire


  • Master Bencher, Inner Temple
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Inner Temple Advocacy trainer
  • Visiting Professor of Law, University of Buckingham, BPP Law School

Notable Cases

R v Ronald Kray (blackmail trial and three murder trials concerning Cornell, Jack the Hat and Mad Axe-Man Mitchell)

R v Deanus (the Mountnessing silver bullion robbery)

R v Hickson (the Shoreditch Great Banknote raid)

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 Hoskins (large-scale Liverpool drug importation)

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)

R v Ely (Court of Appeal; historic multi child abuse in local authority home)

Back to people