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Patrick O'Connor QC

Year of call:
Year of silk:

Patrick O'Connor Q.C. has 40 years' experience of the broadest range of criminal and civil work. Whether it be at trial or on appeal, in high profile criminal or civil law, at a Public Inquiry or Inquest, he brings his experience, his imaginative creativity and his commitment to bear for the benefit of the client. Patrick O'Connor has been called to the Bars of the Bahamas and Northern Ireland. He is recognised counsel for victims at the ICC.


What the directories say

He is regularly recognised for his work in Chambers and Partners (crime, civil liberties and police law) and Legal 500 (civil liberties and human rights). "A really stellar reputation": "a hugely talented major player boasting a wealth of experience": "formidable advocacy and tigerish cross-examination": "strength, wisdom and experience": "a compelling force in court": and "A really fine and lengthy track record and a wonderful skills base to work from; he is first-class."


International work

Patrick has acted in several Privy Council death penalty appeals, including from Trinidad, Stanley Abbott, [1976] 3 WLR 462, authority on duress in murder, and the Maharaj appeal in 2006. From the Bahamas, 'Farrington', [1996] 3 WLR 1079, and 'Higgs', [2000] 2 WLR 1368.

He is called to the Bahamas Bar: and acted in the successful conviction appeal of Terrence Smith, a highly controversial fraud case involving the government.

After his reference in R v Tymen, from the Court of Appeal to the ECJ, Luxembourg, in 1980, acting on behalf of French fishermen, Patrick won the first ever criminal conviction appeal based on European Community Law.

Patrick acted for Lorraine Osman, in the longest ever fight against extradition from the UK.

He has acted for victims in several ‘universal jurisdiction’ cases before the English courts, including one ongoing trial for alleged torture.

He is acting for the victims of a major historic miscarriage of justice before the Guernsey courts.

He is advising on aspects of the salvage of a high value and celebrated wreck off the coast of South America.


Criminal trials and appeals

Patrick has conducted many leading 'miscarriage of justice' appeals: the 'Guildford Four', for Gerry Conlon and his father, Giuseppe; the 'Birmingham Six'; the 'Carl Bridgewater' case, for Jimmy Robinson; the 'M 25' appeal, for Raphael Rowe; Andrew Evans, who had served 25 years: and for Robert Maynard in the 'headless torso' case from the 1970s.

He has appeared in five leading House of Lords criminal appeals:

- R v Chard (1984, Home Secretary's references to Court of Appeal)

- B. v DPP (2000, strict liability in crime) [2000] 2 WLR 452: "one of the most important of the last century" (Professor Smith)

R v Looseley, [2001] 1 WLR 2060, the guideline case on 'entrapment' and the limits upon incitement:

R v Kennedy [2007] UKHL 38, overturning his ten-year-old conviction for manslaughter, after supplying drugs to the deceased. Several Court of Appeal decisions were overruled, and basic principles of causation and complicity re-affirmed.

- R v Maxwell [2011] 1 WLR 1837, leading ‘abuse of process’ authority.

Patrick has defended in many high profile political and 'terrorist' criminal trials, including the 'Bradford 12', the Orgreave miners, the Harrods bombing and in 2003, the 'Real IRA' BBC and Ealing bombings: the first major Islamic terrorism trial, 'Operation Crevice': and the Massereene Barracks murders in Northern Ireland. He won the subsequent appeal against conviction in that case.



For 20 years, he has pursued actions against the police, including record damages in Rupert Taylor v CMP , 1988, and the first award for police 'torture', Treadaway v CC West Midlands : and the 2004, appeal Paul v CC Humberside , on the trial role of judge and jury.

He won the first two civil claims for victims' families against unconvicted murderers: 'Halford v Brookes' and 'Francisco v Diedrick' , both also later convicted.  He acted for the family of the deceased boy, who died in a secure training centre, in their successful Judicial Review of proposed amendments to the restraint practices of custody staff: ­[2009] 2 WLR 1039.

He won three of the rare successful JR challenges to CPS decisions: 'Treadaway', 'O'Brien' and 'Simon Jones', the Shoreham Docks case.


Public Inquiries

He represented the family of Zahid Mubarek, who was murdered by his cell-mate in Feltham YOI, winning a landmark 2003 House of Lords order for a public inquiry, under Article 2, ECHR, R [Amin] v SSHD [2003 3 WLR 1169: and in the Mubarek public inquiry. He represented the Conlon family at the 'May Public Inquiry', into their miscarriages of justice. He led the Doughty Street team in the 'Al Sweady' public inquiry  into allegations against the British Army in Iraq. The Chairman praised their conduct: “…you and your team are to be commended for the courage that you have displayed in making this statement at the stage that you did. In my view, it is in the highest traditions of the English Bar.”: transcript 20.3.14., page 210.   “



He has acted, pro bono, at Inquests for the families of the victims of deaths in police custody. He obtained 'unlawful killing' verdicts in both 'Ibrahim Sey', and 'Richard O'Brien' inquests. He acted for the victims of the London 7/7 bombings, in the recent Inquest and their JR of the Home Secretary's refusal of a public inquiry.



In 2002, Patrick O'Connor visited and jointly reported for the Human Rights Committee of the Bar on the Israel/Palestine conflict.

He has written several influential articles for the Criminal Law Review: and a paper published by 'Justice', in January, 2009, on 'The Constitutional Role of the Privy Council and the Prerogative'.

Regional expertise

Language skills

French, at a moderate level


Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS
Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 53-54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS