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Brenda Campbell QC

  • Call: 2002
  • 2002 (Northern Ireland)
  • Silk: 2018
Brenda Campbell
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner   
"She's an excellent barrister and a really effective cross-examiner." 

Chambers UK, 2019

"She defends in high-profile terrorism and complex organised crime cases."

Legal 500

Brenda will be appointed Queen’s Counsel on 28 February 2018.


Brenda Campbell has a busy and varied practice in all areas of criminal law and inquests. She strives to achieve successful outcomes in all her cases.

Brenda is ranked in Chambers UK 2019 and the Legal 500 2019 for Crime and Inquests.

She has been described by solicitors and other barristers as:

“An excellent barrister and a really effective cross-examiner.”
Chambers UK 2019 (Inquests)

“She is an impressive advocate. Her cross-examination is incisive and she has a style which suits juries.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Inquests)

“She defends in high-profile terrorism and complex organised crime cases.”
Legal 500 2017 (Crime)

“A really excellent cross-examiner.” “Her advocacy is punchy, effective and well judged for the environment.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Inquests)

Her record in terrorism and murder cases speaks for itself.”
Legal 500 2016 (Crime)

“A very persuasive advocate who is pleasant and calm to deal with.” “She has a very appealing advocacy style and she commands the ear of the jury.”
Chambers UK 2016 (Inquests)


Brenda is regularly instructed to defend in the most serious of allegations. Due to her determination to ensure the best possible defence representation, she is regularly instructed in high profile and complex criminal cases or to act on behalf of vulnerable defendants. She endeavours to ensure a consistently high standard of representation, and has a particular interest in the representation of women and children.

In 2016, Brenda represented Seamus Daly, who was accused of 29 murders and associated offences relating to the Omagh Bomb in 1998. Following a 17 year police investigation and a civil trial and re-trial in which Mr Daly was found liable in trespass, Brenda was instructed to represent Mr Daly in the criminal courts. Following her cross-examination of a key witness in the Magistrates’ Court at an ‘old style’ committal, the prosecution sought an adjournment to review, and ultimately withdraw, all charges. The case was widely reported including by the BBC, Sky News and in local and national press.

Brenda is currently instructed as leading counsel in case alleging trafficking, brothel keeping and money laundering and has accepted instructions in a number of murder trials later in the year.


Brenda is regularly instructed to represent families in Article 2 inquests. She has particular expertise in representing families in complex, historic inquests in England & Wales and legacy inquests in Northern Ireland.

Between 2013 and 2016, Brenda was part of a team of counsel who represented the families of 77 of those who died in the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster. Brenda directly represented the families of 14 of those who were unlawfully killed and reports of her cross examination can be found here and here.

Notable Cases


Inquests into the deaths of Martin McCaughey & Dessie Grew
Brenda appeared in the Belfast Coroner’s Court, led by Karen Quinlivan QC, representing the families of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew, who were shot and killed by the SAS in October 1990. Judicial review proceedings are ongoing.

Inquests into the deaths of Danny Doherty & William Fleming
Representing the next of kin in these fresh inquests, reopened by order of the Attorney General. Mr Doherty and Mr Fleming were shot by British Special Forces in the grounds of a Derry hospital in 1984. The inquest proceedings have been reported in the Irish Times.

Inquest into the deaths at Ballymurphy

Brenda is instructed to represent the families of two of those who died in the British Army shootings in Ballymurphy, west Belfast between 9 – 11 August 1971.

Inquest into the death of Marion Brown

Marion Brown was 17 years old when she was shot through the neck as she said goodnight to her boyfriend in June 1972. Brenda represents her family in the fresh inquest proceedings.

Inquest into the death of Gareth Myatt
Together with Dexter Dias QC, Brenda represented the mother of Gareth Myatt, a child who died following restraint in the privately-run Rainsbrook detention centre. This is reported to be the longest inquest into a death in prison custody.



R v Nathaniel & others, Central Criminal Court (2013)
Murder, conspiracy to commit GBH. Represented the first defendant in this 10-handed trial. Mr Nathaniel was a high profile sports and celebrity agent, alleged to have planned a revenge attack upon young people who had robbed his business partner. The complex and lengthy trial, which was advanced on a joint enterprise basis against all defendants, ended in the acquittal of all but the stabber. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v SS & others, Central Criminal Court (2012)
Double murder and attempted murder. The case was built upon the identification of one of the accused (the identical twin of another accused) by the surviving victim of this triple shooting, together with cell site evidence and a revenge motive. Following a successful legal argument, the identification evidence was excluded by Fulford J. The ruling amounted to a terminating ruling against all four defendants. It was appealed by the Crown to the Court of Appeal who in turn upheld the High Court Judge’s ruling. All charges were the subject of formal not guilty verdicts.

R v Harrison & others, Central Criminal Court (2012)
Murder. Three defendants, all teenagers, accused of joint enterprise stabbing in a stairwell in Battersea in the course of an apparent cannabis transaction. Omar Harrison, the second defendant, was inside the stairwell while the stabbing occurred and had blood from the victim on his clothing. Following a trial involving cut-throat defences, the first and third defendants were convicted of murder while Mr Harrison was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter. This case was reported by the BBC.

R v AC & others, Central Criminal Court (2011)
Murder. The defendant faced a second trial on an allegation of murder, the jury having been discharged in his initial trial following a successful severance argument. It was alleged that the defendant was involved in the execution of the deceased, Larry Malone, and moments later had passed the murder weapon (a Mac 10 machine gun) on to another defendant for safe-keeping. The Crown’s case relied on telephone evidence, knowledge of the victim and association with the movement of the murder weapon. The defendant was acquitted of murder and convicted of possession of a prohibited weapon and ammunition. This case was reported by the Daily Mail.

R v McPherson & another, Central Criminal Court
Murder / attempted murder. Defendant accused of shooting his co-defendant (Nankani) immediately after Nankani had fatally driven at the defendant’s friend outside the Ministry of Sound nightclub.

R v Lee & another, Central Criminal Court
Murder. Defendant was the passenger in a car that reversed over and killed a pedestrian following an argument. Defendant acquitted. Co-defendant, the driver, was convicted on re-trial.

R v C & others, Central Criminal Court
Represented one of seven defendants accused of murder and attempted murder following a shooting at Streatham Ice Rink. Acquitted at half time.

R v S, Central Criminal Court
Allegation of attempted murder following a shooting in which the victim was shot in excess of 14 times and named the defendant as a perpetrator. Unanimously acquitted.


R v Gassama & others, Leicester Crown Court
Conspiracy to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier.

Other Serious Crime

R v A.P, & others, Blackfriars Crown Court (2013)
Money laundering. Leading junior counsel in this allegation of Hawala-style money laundering. Defendant acquitted.

R v Stancilas & others, Central Criminal Court (2011)
Perverting the course of justice, in the context of a double murder and attempted murder. The defendant was acquitted of one count following a successful half-time submission and convicted of the lesser count. This case was reported by the BBC.

Protest and Direct Action

R v Levin & others, Hove Crown Court
Conspiracy to cause criminal damage. Represented one of seven defendants cleared of conspiracy to cause criminal damage to a Brighton weapon manufacturer allegedly involved in the illegal supply of bomb release mechanisms to the Israeli Air Force. Approximately £200,000-worth of damage was caused to the factory during the protest, which took place at the same time as the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed Operation Cast Lead. This case was reported in the Guardian.


Brenda has an active appellate practice in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). She is regularly instructed to review the safety of historic convictions.

International Human Rights

Brenda has worked extensively in the field of human rights, both nationally and internationally, with a focus on women’s rights, children’s rights and the rule of law. She is a former Executive Committee member of the Bar Human Rights Committee and she works closely with the International Senior Lawyers Project in a joint project to deliver the Criminal Practice and Procedure Module at the Tanzania Law School.

With a focus on international women’s rights, Brenda has represented the International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific on the Steering Committee of the NGO coalition for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Having been an active participant in the drafting process at the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva, she then became involved in the global campaign for the ratification of the Optional Protocol.

Brenda has travelled, on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee to Kabul, Afghanistan to deliver a three-day workshop on the rights of women and children. On behalf of the Kurdish Human Rights Project she travelled to Iraqi Kurdistan to deliver cross border training on the rule of law, and to south eastern Turkey to deliver training on the rights of women and to undertake a fact-finding mission. On behalf of IWRAW Asia Pacific she has participated in conferences and training courses in Nairobi, New York, Warsaw, Geneva and Liechtenstein. She is a regional trainer on the use of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol and regularly teaches related modules in on behalf of national Universities.

Brenda is on the Board of Trustees of Just for Kids Law.


Contributing author to Blackstone’s Guide to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.


Brenda studied Law with French at Queen’s University, Belfast. She enjoys adventure travel and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Just for Kids Law.

More recently she has run marathons in New York, Florence, England and Ireland – with another planned for 2016.