Orlando Pownall QC


Orlando Pownall QC

What others say:

'He gives wonderful speeches.'- Legal 500, 2014

"He's a very able advocate and a star performer."- Chambers UK, 2015

"One of the most highly sought after criminal silks, he is an extremely persuasive and impressive jury advocate.  He is a supreme performer and an artist of the courtroom." - Chambers UK, 2014

"A formidable advocate with good jury-handling skills.  He's a class act who is conscientious and approachable." - Chambers UK, 2014

Orlando Pownall QC is cited as a leader in crime by The Legal 500, and also as a "Star" Silk by Chambers UK, in which he is described as "a good cross-examiner, a silky smooth clever brief who defends well and has a huge presence in court". He has established a formidable reputation as a criminal advocate and was winner of the 2008 "Crime Silk of the Year" Chambers Bar Award. He is widely regarded as one of the leading jury advocates of his generation.

Until his appointment as Treasury Counsel he almost exclusively defended. In the twelve years which followed he was involved in a large number of serious and complex cases, e.g. the trial of Barry George and those responsible for the Ealing, BBC and Birmingham bombings, and cases involving police corruption.  In 1999 he was appointed First Senior Treasury Counsel, and in 2001 he took Silk.

Since 2001, he has defended almost exclusively, and has been involved in a variety of high profile cases including the representation of Danny Preddie, who was charged with murder of Damilola Taylor, and Sean Hoey, who was alleged to have been responsible for the Omagh bombing and other bombings in Northern Ireland.  He also defended the man charged with the murder of Robert McCartney.  He has also defended in prosecutions brought under the Medicines Act and was instructed in the trial of allegations relating to so called 'Cartel' activity by pharmaceutical companies.  This case went to the House of Lords and eventually resulted in the prosecution being refused leave to appeal against an order made by Pitchford J. who declined leave to amend the indictment. 

In the last year he has appeared before the Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in two significant criminal appeals.

This year he is instructed in a number of high profile murders including an historical allegation of rape and murder and a double murder in Braintree. He is also instructed in a number of regulatory matters including forfeiture proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act and prosecutions brought by the MHRA, together with proceedings under the Trade Descriptions Act.  He also specialises in Appeals.

Much of the work he undertakes is privately funded, although he remains committed to legal aid defence work, and our Director of Clerking, Julian Campbell, is always happy to discuss the possibility of Orlando being instructed on this basis.

He served as Head of Chambers at 2 Hare Court between October 2009 and October 2013.


Chambers UK 2014 - Leading Individual


Notable recent cases:

Criminal Defence
Case name R v Steele
Appearance Defence QC
Detail Alleged £22m fraud by a partner of a well-known solicitors' firm.
Case name R v Khori Hines
Appearance Defence QC
Category Murder
Detail Alleged contract murder outside the gates of Wandsworth Prison.
Case name Attorney General of the States of Jersey v Curtis Warren
Appearance Defence QC
Detail Appeal before the Privy Council regarding the application of the doctrine of Abuse of Process.
Case name CPS v Mark Peacock
Appearance Defence QC
Detail Appeal to the Supreme Court regarding the enforcement of confiscation orders under the Drug Trafficking Act.
Case name R v Boudjenane
Appearance Defence QC
Detail Defendant charged with murder and rape. Beheaded his victim. Ran defence of diminished responsibility.
Case name R v Sean Hoey
Appearance Defence QC
Detail 29 counts of murder and further 30 counts of possessing explosive substances and kindred offences. Omagh bombing case heard at Laganside Crown Court in Northern Ireland at the end of which defendant cleared of all charges.
Case name R v Sutherland
Appearance Defence QC
Category Gang rape
Detail High profile alleged gang rape by QPR footballers.


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