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“He’s probably the cleverest barrister I’ve ever met, he’s super bright . In one sexual offence case, he managed to come up with more legal arguments than I thought were possible .”

Solicitors told Chambers & Partners:

“He’s client-focused in all areas of work . He is a totally safe pair of hands, committed to his clients, works the jury and judge really well, and achieves fantastic results . He is wonderful to work with .” 

“He’s probably the cleverest barrister I’ve ever met, he’s super bright . In one sexual offence case, he managed to come up with more legal arguments than I thought were possible .”

“He’s exceptionally good . He was outstanding in a difficult case." 

“His legal analysis is very sophisticated, but he also manages to speak to juries in a way that evokes sympathy and understanding .” 

“My colleagues have worked with him on financial crime . They say he is outstanding, has a fantastic eye for detail and is very good to work with .” 

Adrian has a reputation for being skilled in dealing with legally and factually complex issues, whilst at the same time being tactically astute and presenting even the most difficult case attractively to a jury. Whether in a criminal or a civil case he brings the same skills to bear each and every time, no matter who the client. He has represented clients from the most forgotten to the most high profile.

Throughout his career at the Bar, Adrian has appeared in cases which have taken place in the glare of publicity, and which have therefore required the additional sensitivity that this requires, such as the case of Leeds United Footballers (R v Woodgate and Bowyer), the first ever trial to be filmed by the BBC from its inception (R v Blackstone and Morrison), the trial of Boy George (R v O’Dowd), and the first ever double-jeopardy trial (R v Dunlop). His skill in handling sensitive cases is frequently employed in cases involving sexual allegations, including historical and high profile allegations, such as Operation Yewtree(the investigations flowing from the publicity surrounding Jimmy Savile). His ability to master and control large amounts of detail is demonstrated in his fraud work, which has included not just mainstream fraud, but also other cases involving the alleged manipulation of information, such as “election frauds”. He also has considerable experience and skill in both civil and criminal cases involving complex expert evidence, including gross negligence manslaughter, inquests and cases involving state agents and national security. He is developed vetted. His wider criminal and civil work includes advising individuals and corporations at an early stage of proceedings. These have included those involved in particularly troublesome areas such journalism.

Adrian accepts instructions under the Bar's Public Access scheme.

He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Blackstone's Criminal Practice (OUP) and is a lecturer and contributor to legal journals.

In Legal 500 (2010): "Adrian Waterman QC has an outstanding legal brain and is a commanding and confident advocate". In Legal 500 (2012): "Adrian Waterman QC is frequently instructed in serious and complex matters". In 2013, he was described as: “a commanding and confident advocate.”

Articles and Lectures

  • Abusing a Stay for a Grant, Covert Policing Review, 1 October 2005.
  • Bad Character: Feeling Our Way One Year On. [2006] Crim LR 614. An article with Tina Dempster, reviewing of the principles of admissibility of bad character evidence.
  • Be the Expert You Are. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment [2008]. An article on the role of the expert witness. Lectured to senior journalists of a national broadsheet newspaper on the legal implications of undercover journalism [2009].
  • Prosecution Appeals – Too Much of a Good Thing? [2010] Crim LR 169. An article with Professor David Ormerod and Rudi Fortson QC, reviewing the provisions as to prosecution appeals.
  • Lack of Responsibility. (Blackstone’s Bulletin) An article addressing the iniquity of the unique common law imposition of the legal burden of proof being placed upon the accused where the accused raises insanity.
  • A member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Blackstone’s Criminal Practice (OUP).
Homicide and Related Grave Offences

Examples of Homicide

  • R v Murphy and others. A multi-handed, high-profile, racist murder of an Asian taxi driver.
  • R v Milakovic. Defence of a profoundly deaf social worker for the "mercy-killing" murder of his seriously ill baby son.
  • R v Walsh. Defending in a double murder of the accused’s partner and her daughter, with bodily mutilation and complex psychiatric issues.
  • R v Hunt. A woman charged with murder and section 5 of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004, relating to her baby, involving a two week abuse argument. (One of the recent notorious Doncaster cases.)
  • R v Mendez. A joint enterprise murder. Complex post-Rahman issues. Subsequently taken to the Court of Appeal and widely reported.
  • Operation Amarillo City. City. A case of attempted murder, involving allegations of police officers deliberately listening to and viewing privileged material in the possession of a solicitor defendant.
  • R v Doherty. A woman charged with murdering her ex-police officer partner.
  • Operation Pencader. A high profile multi-handed, joint enterprise murder of an Asian shopkeeper in Huddersfield.
  • Inquest touching the death of Jackie Fisher. Representing a mining company in an inquest and civil claim relating to the death of an employee and the ensuing civil claim for damages.
  • R v Smith. A man charged with murdering his infant, in which the injuries were bilateral, complex skull fractures, and which involved very complex medical issues.
  • R v Kemp. A woman charged with the joint murder of her infant whilst she and he were detained in hospital, based entirely on complex medical opinion.
  • R v Boadi. Defence of one of 10 defendants charged with a joint enterprise murder, involving difficult issues of joint enterprise.
  • R v Foster. Defence of a man charged jointly with another for the murder of a church organist on Christmas Eve.
Regulatory and Financial Crime

Examples of Regulatory and Financial Crime

  • R v Webster. A four month trial of nurse charged with large scale fraud in relation to theft of controlled drugs from hospital.
  • R v Lane. SFO prosecution of fraudulent asset stripping.
  • “Donnygate”. Many cases arising out of local councillor corruption in Doncaster.
  • R v Norris. A case depending on the analysis of hundreds of thousands of pages of medical records.
  • R v G. Instructed post-conviction to appeal in a case of alleged fraud and corruption involving hundreds of millions of pounds and overseas politicians.
  • R v M. Ongoing advice to one of the suspects during a huge SFO investigation into international commercial corruption.  
  • R v PR. Advice on the potential criminal implications of a compromise of a commercial dispute.
  • Disciplinary hearings involving various professions, such as the police, professional sports and health professionals. 
Other Serious Criminal Offences

Examples of Sexual Allegations                             

  • R v McG. A young professional charged with date rape.
  • R v Simpson. A cold case prosecution for rape.
  • R v A. A businessman in the City, charged with date rape.
  • R v S. A teacher charged with sexual activity with a pupil.
  • R v H. A case arising out of Operation Yewtree.    


Examples of other Serious Criminal Offences

  • R v Marshall. Two very large alleged drug conspiracies, involving extensive legal argument.
  • R v A. An allegation of a heroin and cocaine smuggling operation run by the accused from overseas.
  • R v Blackstone and Morrison. Conspiracy to commit armed robbery. It was the first of a series of cases filmed from its inception, with the approval of the judiciary, by a BBC documentary team for a program called "Anatomy of Crime".
  • R v O'Dowd. Defending singer Boy George for false imprisonment of a male escort.
  • R v F. The defence of a student for alleged violent disorder inside the Treasury during the student protests of 2010.
  • R v B. A successful, high profile businessman alleged to have kidnapped and beaten a person, arising out of a business dispute.

Examples of Inquests

  • Fisher. An industrial death at a mine.
  • Jones. A death in custody.
  • Booth. A death in custody.
  • Barnes. A suicide in a hospital. 
Criminal Appeals

Examples of Criminal Appeals

  • R v B [2003] 1 WLR 2809. The prosecution of an allegation of rape in which the accused was convicted and appealed on the basis that the question "Do you know of any reason why the complainant should have made the allegation up?" was impermissible. The highest judicial authority in some Commonwealth jurisdictions forbids the question. Considerable Commonwealth case-law was cited. The Court of Appeal held that the question was a proper question.
  • Pattison v DPP [2006] 2 All ER 317. A judicial review, in which the Administrative Court redefined how a court can prove that a memorandum of conviction related to a particular accused, overruling R v Derwent Magistrates’s Court, Ex P Heaviside.
  • R v D [2007] 1 WLR 1657. The first re-trial of an acquitted person under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
  • R v Mitchell [2009] 1 Cr App R 31. Court of Appeal. The legal principles of joint enterprise murder and withdrawal.
  • R v Mendez & Thompson [2011] QB 876. Court of Appeal. Introduced the "altogether more life-threatening" test in fundamental difference joint enterprise cases.  
  • R v Barry Ward [2011] 1 WLR 766. Establishing that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear an appeal against a refusal to vary a confiscation order pursuant to section 23 of the POCA.
  • R v Julian Jones [2013] 2 Cr App R 10. Revising the contemporary application of the principle of autrefois acquit.
  • R v Gohil. An ongoing appeal from convictions for very large-scale fraud and money laundering as a result of allegations of corruption during the original investigation.