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Barra McGrory has been one of the most prominent and best known lawyers in the Northern Ireland jurisdiction for many years, first as a solicitor and then as counsel. He became a QC in 2007 and was called to the Inner Temple of the Bar of England and Wales in 2016 and joins Doughty Street Chambers as an associate tenant at the conclusion of a six year term as DPP for Northern Ireland. He brings with him vast experience of both criminal and human rights law and an acute sense of the impact that law can have on the lives of citizens and the need for the rigorous and impartial application of the rule of law from the perspectives of both the prosecution and defence.

Public Inquiries

Barra Mc Grory has played a central role in most of the public inquiries established as part of the northern Irish peace process to inquire into allegations of state misconduct during the troubles. These include the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry and the Robert Hamill Inquiry in which he appeared as QC for the family of Robert Hamill who was murdered by a hostile mob in close proximity to a police patrol. The case has often been compared to the Stephen Lawrence case in England and the inquiry hearings took place throughout 2010 resulting in renewed prosecutions that are still ongoing. He is therefore very familiar with the full range of issues that arise in these important legal proceedings including the many in the area of public law.


Much of Barra McGrory’s experience in defending in terrorist cases was gained as a solicitor during the height of the Northern Ireland troubles. During this period he became a leading expert in anti terrorism legislation and the impact it had on individuals in communities whether it be the exercise of stop and search powers, arrest and detention or prosecution in the special non jury courts. As DPP he was the sole consenting authority on all terrorist cases in that jurisdiction and has therefore personally made the decision to prosecute in all terrorist cases between November 2011 and December 2017. He has seen many radical developments in counter terrorism law during his years of practice.

Appellate Advocacy

Barra has appeared in the Court of Appeal and subsequently in the ECHR in the case of O’Donnell v United Kingdom [2015] ECHR 16667/10 to argue that defendant’s with a low IQ should not be subjected to adverse inferences and has appeared as Director of Public Prosecutions in over 40 cases in unduly lenient references where he has established a significant body of guideline sentencing law in areas such as murder tariffs in terrorist cases, driving death cases and industrial related manslaughter. He successfully argued in the case of R v McAtarsney [2013] NICA 59 that the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal should depart from the ruling of the Court of Appeal (E & W) in R v Wright [2011] EWCA Crim 1180 that there could be no intention to supply cannabis from plants prior to the formation of flowering heads. In R v Brown [2013] UKSC 43 he appeared in the UK Supreme Court to successfully argue that the prosecution should not be required to prove absence of honest belief of age in respect of the offence of unlawful carnal knowledge with a girl under 14.

Human Rights Law

Barra argued a significant portion of the landmark case of McCann and others v United Kingdom (App. No. 18984/91) before both the Commission and the Grand Chamber of the ECHR in Strasbourg in which the UK was found to have violated the right to life established by article 2 of the Convention. He also successfully argued the case of Shannon v UK [2005] ECHR 6563/03 in which it was established that the attempt by the prosecution to have admitted into evidence in a criminal case, the fruits of compulsory interviews in  a parallel Proceeds of Crime investigation was a breach of a defendant’s article 6 right to a fair trial. 

Sexual Abuse

Barra Mc Grory has considerable expertise in defending, as both a solicitor and advocate, individuals accused of sexual crime. He has successfully defended a number of clerics in a wave of accusations of historical clerical sexual abuse in contested trials including members of the De la Salle Order who made up the teaching staff of a boys home. (R v Fr. K, R v Fr. M and R v JS & ors). As DPP, he applied his deep knowledge of this area of the law by personally taking over and securing a conviction in the prosecution of a sexual abuse trial in which the original jury had to be discharged due to serious errors made by Crown counsel in his opening. 

Advocacy Training

Barra McGrory has completed the National Institute of Trial Advocacy Teacher Training course in Harvard USA and has taught many times on both the evidential and practical modules of the annual Law Society Higher Courts Advocacy Certificate programme. As DPP he established an in house Higher Court Advocacy tier within the PPS to complement panel counsel and arranged and participated in an advocacy training programme to have every Public Prosecutor undertake a NITA course.