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Hossein Zahir

  • Call: 2005
  • (Solicitor 1998 - 2005)
  • Admitted as a solicitor: 1998
Hossein Zahir
"Courageous, intelligent, diligent and creative."

Legal 500, 2019


Hossein Zahir has acted as lead defence counsel in some of the most high-profile criminal and terrorist trials in recent times. He is recognised as a leading individual in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. He is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team, winners of the Legal 500 Crime Team of the Year 2015.

Hossein specialises in criminal defence work. Formerly as a solicitor and now as a barrister he has represented defendants charged with murder, drug trafficking, fraud, money laundering and other serious crimes. He has particular experience in terrorism as well as public order and protest cases.

Hossein is ranked for criminal law in Chambers UK 2018 (Band 4) and The Legal 500 2017 (Tier 2).

Prior to coming to the law Hossein worked for the Newham Monitoring Project, a community organisation in East London committed to supporting and campaigning on behalf of the victims of racial harassment.

Reported and Notable Cases


R v Safaa Boular – Central Criminal Court
Represented Safaa Boular the youngest female ISIS supporter (her sister and mother were convicted of separate plots) convicted of two charges relating plans to carry out attacks in Syria and the UK. Complex issues of disclosure engaged as well as the role of MI5.

R v Nadeem Patel – Central Criminal Court
Leading counsel for defendant charged with firearms offences jointly with Umar Haque (in turn charge with grooming children and planning UK attacks). The only defendant of four acquitted.

R v Tadesse Kersmo – Snaresbrook Crown Court
Leading counsel representing senior member of democratic Ethiopian opposition group charged with terrorism, offences. This case involved detailed expert evidence on the geo politics of the region. Defendant acquitted on all charges.

R v Ayfer Yildiz (2017) – Central Criminal Court
Represented the defendant was accused of disseminating terrorist publications, namely Turkish communist magazines. The defendant was acquitted on all charges.

R v Pervez Rafiq (2016) – Central Criminal Court
Leading counsel for Mr Rafiq who was charged with terrorism fundraising by organising aid convoys to Syria. The defendant included the use of evidence from MI5. The defendant was acquitted on all charges.

R v Tarik Hassane (2016) – Central Criminal Court
Represented Tark Hassane in relation to allegations of planning to shoot a soldier or policeman in support of ISIS. The plot had progressed to the stage where a weapon and ammunition had been purchased.

R v Iqbal & others (2013) – Woolwich Crown Court
Represented Mohammed Ahmed who pleaded guilty to engaging in preparatory terrorist conduct.

R v Irfan Naseer (2013) Woolwich Crown Court
Represented Bahader Ali, Mohammed Rizwan and Mujahid Hussain on guilty pleas in relation to allegations of acts preparatory to acts of terrorism and terrorist fund raising.

R v Khan & others (2013) Woolwich Crown Court
Represented O Khan who pleaded guilty to engaging in preparatory terrorist conduct, namely an armed attack on an English Defence League rally in Dewsbury.

R v DD (2013) Central Criminal Court
Represented DD charged with breaching a Terrorism Prevention Investigation Measure (TPIM).

R v Begum (2012) Central Criminal Court
Defendant charged with possessing terrorist documents/ publication.

R v Chowdhury & others (2012) Woolwich Crown Court
Represented O Latif who pleaded guilty to engaging in preparatory terrorist conduct.

R v Shanthan (2009) Kingston Crown Court
Represented Shanthan in a trial of alleged members of the proscribed organisation LTTE (Tamil Tigers) and providing support for that organisation.

R v Saleem (2008) Kingston Crown Court
Trial of former members of the Islamist group Al Muhajiroun. Represented Abdul Saleem accused of inciting terrorism and fundraising.

R v Ahmed Ali and others (2008) Woolwich Crown Court
The “Heathrow bomb plot” or Operation Overt – represented Mohammed Gulzar.

R v Baluch and Marri (2008) Woolwich Crown Court
Represented Faiz Baluch who successfully raised the defence of self defence to allegations of inciting terrorist murder overseas and involvement with a terrorist group operating in Baluchistan, Pakistan.

R v Khyam & Others (2006-2007) Central Criminal Court
Operation Crevice “fertiliser bomb plot” trial – Represented Anthony Garcia

Other Cases

R v Dixon and others (2018) – Wood Green Crown Court
Leading counsel for juvenile defendant charged with firearm conspiracies with his mother and older brother.

R v Balachandran (2017) – Luton Crown Court
Represented first defendant. Multi handed murder with ‘cut throat’ defences.

R v N Rashid (2016) – Sheffield Crown Court
Represented defendant charged with 11 others after a large scale violent disorder following a counter protest against ‘Britain First’ and far right protestors. All defendants acquitted on grounds of self-defence.

R v M Ali (2015) – Central Criminal Court
Represented defendant MA was charged with possessing a chemical weapon (ricin). He relied upon the statutory defence of ‘peaceful purpose’ (not previously argued). MA convicted.

R v Eroglu (2012) – Central Criminal Court
Represented defendant charged with arson by throwing petrol bombs into a cafe used by political opponents.

R v Iqbal (2012) – Liverpool Crown Court
Represented defendant in relation to complicated allegation of fraud linked to dental practise.

R v Rollins (2011) – Blackfriars Crown Court
Represented defendant charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder as part of an anti-fascist protest.

 R v Woollard (2011) – Southwark Crown Court
Represented a student who threw a fire extinguisher from a roof top during protest.

Criminal Appeals

R v Ahmed [2018] EWCA Crim 133
Attorney Generals reference of first instance sentence in this terrorist case. Sentence unchanged.

R v Golamaully [2017] EWCA Crim 898
Successful sentence appeal in terrorist fundraising case.

R v El-Gurbozi [2016] EWCA Crim 1172
Successful sentence appeal for complex car theft conspiracy

R v Ali [2016] EWCA Crim 864
Sentence and conviction appeal for possession/ purchase of chemical weapon.

Secretary of state for the Home Dept v (1) EC (2) EG (2017) [2017] EWHC 795 (Admin)
Appeal against the imposition of a Terrorism Prevention and Information Measure appeal

R v Dart & 4 Ors  (2014) [2014] EWCA Crim 2158
Led for the applicant Ahmed and alone for the applicant Hussain. Conjoined terrorism sentence appeal. Sentence reduced for Hussain.

R v Usman Khan [2013] EWCA Crim 468
Consideration of dangerousness in terrorist cases.

R v Wassab Khan [2013] EWCA Crim 1345
Consideration of the test to be applied on submission of no case to answer.

R v Abdul Rehman Saleem & Ors [2009] EWCA Crim 920
Sentences reduced on appeal for terrorist convictions.

R v Omar Khyam & Ors [2008] EWCA Crim 1612
Appeal against conviction and sentence.

Ayliffe, Swain and Percy v DPP [2005] EWHC 684 (Admin)
Appeal by way of case stated on the question of lawful activity in aggravated trespass the appellants claiming the activity they disrupted was unlawful as it was in pursuance of the Iraq war. Hossein was the instructing solicitor.

R v Saddiqui [2003] EWCA Crim 1191
Appeal against sentence in relation to the Burnley disorders. The court clarified the approach to violent disorder arising from the appellants’ lawful presence in the streets in defence of their community.

Percy v DPP [2001] EWHC Admin 1125
Appeal by way of case stated on protest, freedom of expression and Article 10 ECHR. Hossein was the instructing solicitor.


In the early 1990s Hossein spent a number of years working for the Newham Monitoring Project, an anti-racist campaigning organisation that provides legal advice and practical support to victims of racial violence and harassment in east London.

He qualified as a solicitor in 1998 having completed his training at Bindman and Partners solicitors. He then moved to Hickman and Rose solicitors where he qualified as a court and police station duty solicitor. In 2000 he moved to Birnberg Peirce and Partners solicitors where he qualified as a Higher Courts Advocate in 2003. He transferred to the Bar in 2005.