Patrick O’Connor QC

Year of Silk


Year of Call

Patrick O’Connor QC

Patrick O'Connor QC 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 an Inquest into a death in custody or a Public Inquiry, he brings his experience, his imaginative creativity and his commitment to bear for the benefit of the client.


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."



He has written two authoritative articles in the Criminal Law Review, which have received judicial approval: on criminal appeals and prosecution disclosure: and a review of documentary hearsay, for Archbold Supplement.


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 a paper published by 'Justice', in January, 2009, on 'The Constitutional Role of the Privy Council and the Prerogative'.



He has conducted many seminars on legal and human rights issues: most recently, upon constitutional reform, namely the 'Privy Council and the Prerogative': upon 'Hate Speech and the criminal law' at a Justice conference on 'Freedom of Expression.': and upon ‘Developments in Abuse of Process.’

Criminal Appeals

He 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 'M25' appeal, for Raphael Rowe
  • Andrew Evans, released after 25 years in prison for murder:
  • Robert Maynard in the 'headless torso' case from the 1970s.

In several Privy Council death penalty appeals he has acted on a pro bono basis: Stanley Abbott, 1976, authority on duress in murder: and 'Farrington', 1996, and 'Higgs', 1999.

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.
  • After his reference from the C of A to the ECJ, Luxembourg, in 1980, R v Tymen, he won the first ever criminal appeal based on Community Law.


He 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: and the first major Islamic terrorism trial, 'Operation Crevice'. He is instructed in the Massereene Barracks murders in Northern Ireland.

Homicide and Related Grave Offences

He has defended in many murder trials: and prosecuted a high profile corporate manslaughter case. He acted for the DPP in the prosecution against BNP leaders for 'incitement to racial hatred' arising out of an undercover BBC operation.

Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities

For 20 years, he has pursued actions against the police, including:

  • record damages in Rupert Taylor v CMP, 1988
  • the first damages award for police 'torture', Treadaway v CC West Midlands, 1994
  • 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.

Inquiries and Inquests

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.

He acted for the family of the deceased boy, who died in a secure training centre, in their successful JR 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.


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


LLB (Hons) University College, London

He is authorised counsel before the new ICC in The Hague

He has been called to the Bar of Bermuda and Northern Ireland.

He is a Bencher of Inner Temple.



Criminal Bar Association


Inquest Lawyers' Group

Haldane Society



French, at a moderate level


About cookies on our website

Following a revised EU directive on website cookies, each company based, or doing business, in the EU is required to notify users about the cookies used on their website.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience of certain areas of the site and to allow the use of specific functionality like social media page sharing. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but as a result parts of the site may not work as intended.

To find out more about what cookies are, which cookies we use on this website and how to delete and block cookies, please see our Which cookies we use page.

Click on the button below to accept the use of cookies on this website (this will prevent the dialogue box from appearing on future visits)