Sir Ivan Lawrence QC


Year of call 1962

Areas of practice Prosecution, Defence, Public Access

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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

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 was Co-Chair of the Thirty-Eighth International Symposium on Economic Crime and was one of the key speakers at their event held at Jesus College Cambridge in September 2021. 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 has also recorded an interview on Nilsen to be shown during 2021. 

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 John Wooloughan.


  • 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 and University of Shanghai

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)